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Coffee Makers on Standby: Are They Secret Energy Drains?

Coffee makers have become an essential appliance in many households, providing the convenience of brewing a fresh cup of coffee at any time. As responsible consumers, it’s important to understand the energy consumption of these devices, even when they are not actively brewing.

Coffee makers consume a small amount of electricity when they are plugged in but not actively brewing. This is often referred to as standby power or phantom power. While the energy usage during standby mode is relatively low, it still contributes to overall energy consumption.

In this article, we will explore whether coffee makers use electricity when they are plugged in but not in use, and discuss ways to minimize their energy consumption.

How Coffee Makers Work

Coffee makers consist of various components that work together to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Understanding their basic functioning can help shed light on their power consumption. Coffee makers typically include a water reservoir, a heating element, a pump, and a control panel with buttons and indicators.

Power Consumption of Coffee Makers

Electricity usage when the coffee maker is not in use is a common concern. While coffee makers do consume a small amount of electricity in standby mode, often referred to as phantom power, modern models are designed with energy-saving features to mitigate this.

In standby mode, coffee makers typically use a minimal amount of electricity to power the display, and control panel, and maintain certain functions like clock settings. However, the power consumption during this period is relatively low compared to when the coffee maker is actively brewing.

To further reduce energy consumption, some coffee makers come equipped with auto-shutoff features. These features automatically turn off the coffee maker after a specified period of inactivity, saving energy in case you forget to do so manually.

Energy Consumption During the Brewing Process

When you turn on your coffee maker to brew a fresh pot, it draws a significant amount of electricity to perform various tasks. The main energy-consuming components during the brewing process are the heating element, pump, and display/control panel.

The heating element is responsible for heating the water to the optimal brewing temperature. It consumes a substantial amount of electricity, especially if the water reservoir is large and takes longer to heat up. Once the desired temperature is reached, the heating element cycles on and off to maintain the water temperature.

The pump in a coffee maker is responsible for moving the hot water from the reservoir to the coffee grounds. It requires electricity to operate and can consume a moderate amount of power during the brewing process.

Additionally, the display and control panel on some coffee makers consume a small amount of electricity to power the indicators, buttons, and other features. While this energy usage is relatively low, it contributes to the overall consumption during brewing.

Factors Affecting Energy Usage

The energy consumption of coffee makers can vary depending on various factors, including their design, features, brewing capacity, serving size, and customization options.

Different types of coffee makers have different energy requirements. Single-serve coffee makers, like pod-based systems, generally consume less electricity compared to larger drip coffee makers or espresso machines.

The brewing capacity and serving size also play a role in energy usage. Larger coffee makers that can brew multiple cups at once will generally consume more electricity compared to smaller models designed for individual servings.

Moreover, coffee makers with additional brewing options and customization features, such as programmable timers, multiple strength settings, and specialty brewing modes, may consume slightly more energy due to the complexity of their operations.

Energy-Saving Tips for Coffee Maker Usage

To minimize the energy consumption of your coffee maker, here are some practical tips:

  1. Unplug the coffee maker when not in use: Even in standby mode, coffee makers consume some energy. By unplugging the device when it’s not actively brewing, you can eliminate this standby power consumption.
  2. Utilize energy-saving settings and features: Many modern coffee makers offer energy-saving options, such as auto-shutoff timers and eco-mode settings. Take advantage of these features to reduce energy consumption.
  3. Optimal brewing practices for efficiency: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal brewing practices. Using the recommended water-to-coffee ratio and avoiding excessive preheating can help conserve energy.
  4. Consider alternative brewing methods: If energy efficiency is a top priority, consider alternative brewing methods like pour-over coffee, French press, or cold brew, which often require less electricity or no electricity at all.

Read also my article: Energy Conservation 101: Unplugging Your Coffee Maker.

Environmental Impact of Coffee Maker Energy Consumption

Considering the cumulative energy usage of coffee makers at a household level, their environmental impact becomes significant.

While the energy consumption of a single coffee maker may seem small, multiplied by the number of households and commercial establishments, it can contribute to overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

To mitigate this impact, it’s crucial to be mindful of our energy consumption, make informed choices when purchasing coffee makers, and adopt sustainable practices like using reusable filters and responsibly sourcing coffee beans.


Coffee makers do consume a small amount of electricity when they are plugged in but not actively brewing, primarily due to standby power.

However, modern models often feature energy-saving options to minimize this consumption. By being conscious of our energy usage, utilizing energy-saving features, and exploring alternative brewing methods, we can reduce the environmental footprint of our beloved coffee makers while still enjoying a great cup of joe.

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