What is a Kilowatt?


A kilowatt is a measure of power, which is equal to 1000 watts (much like 1 kilogram is equal to 1000 grams).

Great, but what, then, what is a watt?

  • A watt is also measurement of power.

Power is a measurement of the energy produced (or consumed) over a period of time.

If energy were to be compared to distance, then power would be the measure of speed. i.e. just like speed is the distance travelled over a certain amount of time, power is the amount of energy consumed (or produced) over a certain amount of time.

Kilowatts (or watts) on your home appliances

Each appliance in your house (your refrigerator, your lamps, your computer) has a definite power consumption, in watts.

A laptop computer, when plugged, will consume what is displayed on its charger

Here, the charger's consumption when charging is 65W, (65 watts). This is the charger's power consumption.

Consumption of other typical home appliances
Appliance Power consumption
Traditional light bulb

60 watts

Ecological light bulb 15 watts
Laptop computer 50 watts
Microwave 600 watts
Electric oven 2000 watts
Washing machine 500 watts
Dishwasher 1200 watts

While a kilowatt describes the power consumption of an appliance, it will not describe the actual power an appliance has used over a whole day, week, or month. Appliances are not always using 100% of their power. For example, microwaves only use power when they are heating something. You refrigerator is only using power a few times every hour or so (when you can hear it making a vibrating noise). The rest of the time, it is using little or no power (it might still use a little bit of power to keep the clock and lights on). In order to determine how much power your appliance actually uses during a whole period of time, you will need to multiply the number of kilowatts drawn by your appliance when turned on by the number of hours it has been used. This will measure the energy it has consumed during a period of time. This measurement is called a kilowatt-hour.

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