Who makes the best Kill-A-Watt meter

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Another thread on here mentions using a Kill-A-Watt meter to test the power usage of a freezer (or anything else). I'm considering buying one of these. I'm sure there are many brands available. I want something that's functional, durable, and has the most *useful* options. Yet cost is a factor too. I generally wont buy the cheapest one, but dont want to spend a fortune on it either.
I've never used one of these, but the way I understand it, they are plugged into an outlet and the appliance plugged into the meter. However, what if I want to monitor the power usage in (example), my garage/workshop. Can this be done? Or what if I want to monitor total power usage in my home, going across the Mains. I suppose some wiring would be required, (which is no problem for me). Another consideration, are they only made for 120V, or can they be used for 240V such as a dryer, elec range, or a welder?
Which brands do what?
Please include the BRAND NAME and MODEL. Then list their FEATURES, PRICE, and the STORE or ONLINE place that sells them.
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I don't know who makes it. I just bought 2. I was reading and might be some problem with newer units. The original I what you want.$20
Your getting complicated. Kill a watt is dirt cheap. I would suggest you do calculations and your main meter.
Greg
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On 4/10/2012 1:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

...
You can DAGS as easily as we and make your own judgments as to what features you would like/must have/don't care as well as pricing.
AFAIK the Kill-A-Watt is about unique (or at least ubiquitous) in the household consumer monitoring field and is throwaway cheap so it doesn't make any sense to overthink the previous recommendations.
When you talk about much more extensive monitoring, think $$...
--



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What are you talking about when you say DAGS? You completely lost me.....
Yea, I guess "Kill-A-Watt" is the brand name (I guess). But I'm sure there are others.....
Just like everyone calls them Sawsalls, even though thats the brand name for the ones made by Milwaukee Tools.
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wrote:

"do a google search"
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On Apr 10, 2:41pm, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

Not *everyone* calls them Sawsalls. I don't.
First off, the name is Sawzall, not Sawsall.
Second, I call them a reciprocating saw.
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On Wed, 11 Apr 2012 10:00:44 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

You're right on the spelling, and I know they're a reciprocating saw, but everyone I know calls them Sawzalls. Once at an auction I saw one of them on a table, and I asked a guy if they had sold that reciprocating saw yet. He said "what's that?". I pointed to the tool, a Black & Decker brand, and they guy said "That's called a sawzall". When the auctioneer finally sold it, he called it a Black & Decker sawzall. I dont even try to call them a reciprocating saw anymore because no one knows what I'm talking about. (plus that word is too long to keep saying on the job).
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On 4/11/2012 3:22 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

People around here used to always call them Sawzalls but now that many people own a reciporcating saw, many of started calling "Recip Saw". Seems both are interchangeable now, at least locally.
I just bought a brand new Makita one today!
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On Tue, 10 Apr 2012 13:08:32 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

You can do that by reading the meter mounted to your house.

You can do that by reading the meter mounted to your house too. Just read the usage and then turn on the dryer and read the usage again.
If you are OK with wiring, why not just use an amp meter?

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tangerine3 toyotamail.com wrote:

Right...
A casual user of such a device should consider the possibility that it might be a one-shot thing. It's very useful (and fun) at first. But after you have run around and gotten all of the on and off wattage levels of your devices, it might sit around unused for a very long time. You might want to consider the possibility that it will be shared with other people after your initial flurry of use.
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On Tue, 10 Apr 2012 19:13:19 +0000 (UTC), John Doe

According to the response to this post, it appears that it wont do much of anything that I want. Such as check out a 240v dryer, or read the wattage going to my garage/workshop. I may as well just use the amp selection on the multimeter I already own for everything, including the refrigerator, etc. I kind of had a feeling this was just another gimmic to make a fast buck for the seller.
Thanks
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tangerine3 toyotamail.com wrote:

The cheap ones have a 15 amp current limit?

Make sure it's fused.
--









> I kind of had a feeling this was just another gimmic to make a
> fast buck for the seller.
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On 4/10/2012 9:54 PM, John Doe wrote:

You would think a $16 unit would be a lot more versatile...

And you have a comfortable chair.

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On Apr 10, 5:36pm, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

I already had a feeling you're an idiot who can't do a google research to figure out the features of a product and if it fits your usage. Just because you want to measure the usage of your whole house or 240V devices, which the KillaWatt meter won't do, doesn't make it a gimmick. I can plug any appliance in my house into it and measure the energy usage, displaying it directly in $$ per day, week, year, etc. Want to know how much energy that basement dehumidifier is using? Want to know how the computer is using if you prefer to leave it on? Just plug it in. That is what it was designed for and for $25, it's a useful tool to me.
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On Wed, 11 Apr 2012 05:05:30 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Sure, it meter all the small energy usage stuff, but I'm concerned with the stuff that costs me the BIG money. My electric water heater, welder, clothes dryer are at the top of that list, and all of them are 240V. I know I can sit in front of my electric meter and watch the thing spin to monitor my whole house, but I want to determine what individual items are using, particularly the ones that use the most power. A little mathematics will easily determine what my tv set uses per hour, and multiply that by the amount of hours it's turned on per day. The same for most small appliances, space heaters, and light bulbs. Most of them have a wattage rating listed somewhere on a tag.
But that water heater is only running a few times per day. Even when no one is home, it will turn on to keep the water hot. I want to monitor just how much power it's using over the course of a week. I've been considering replacing it with a gas model, but then I will have to figure out the cost to have LP gas delivered, etc (no natural gas available, since this is a rural area).
Maybe when these Kill-a-watt meters include a means to measure 240v, I'll buy one. Till then, they seem pretty useless, except for someone who dont know how to determine that using a 100W lightbulb for 10 hours is one KWH consumed, and at 10 cents per KWH, it costs one cent to leave it turned on for an hour.
At the same time, I will say that these meters might be helpful for monitoring a refrigerator, freezer, or air cond. Those are also large usage items and they CAN be tested with it (except central air cond). But if I want to monitor the WHOLE picture, these meters are not capable.
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On 4/11/2012 12:47 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

The water heater is one of the more predictable loads you have. The nameplate sez how many watts. You only need to know how long it runs.
A 240V mechanical clock clipped across the load will accumulate run time. But it might be easier to use a battery powered clock that runs off a 120/240V wall wart. Or a 240/120 stepdown transformer.
It's a very simple thermodynamic model. It's nearly 100% efficient, so you can calculate exactly how many killowatt-hours it takes to heat a pound of water from the inlet temp to the outlet temp. You can measure flow with a milk jug and a stopwatch. If you know the ambient temperature and the thermostat setting, you can calculate radiation loss with only one actual measurement of how long it takes to heat back up after you've turned it off for a few hours without using any hot water.
Turning down the thermostat will help some with the radiation loss. But people taking a shower will just turn up the hot to get the water temp they like and defeat any savings you might get there.
I can save a significant percentage by washing my face in the kitchen instead of the bathroom. The kitchen is much closer to the WH and wastes less filling the pipes. But the real savings is time. It takes so long for the hot water to get thru the low-flow spigot that I can walk to the kitchen and back several times over. But a significant percentage savings of approximately zero use is still zero.
But knowing doesn't help much. One of my guilty pleasures is a long, hot shower. I know I can save $$$, I choose not to.
There's been enough talk about global warming and energy efficiency that most people have already done the things that don't inconvenience them in any way. But when it starts becoming an inconvenience, they/we backslide.
I've been

The math on that one will be interesting. My neighbor recently replaced his worn-out gas water heater. Cost him $900. My electric cost me $130, and I didn't have to pay someone to run a gas pipe for conversion. I'm sure there's a break-even point, but I don't use enough hot water to get there. If you use a lot of hot water and depending on where you live, a solar preheater may be a good investment.

That's not a technical problem, it's a logistic one. In the US, lots of 240V stuff doesn't plug in. For the stuff that does, there are several different plugs. And I'd have to pull the clothes dryer out of the closet, hook up a vent pipe extension and crouch at floor level to read the thing. The higher voltages and currents will result in more people electrocuting themselves or setting the house on fire. The product liability lawyers don't like that risk.
Till then, they seem pretty useless, except for someone

I gave a lot of thought to the welder issue. Probably get better answer in a welding newsgroup, but isn't the cost of a weld pretty closely related to how much metal you put down? IF you can get adequate strength with less metal, do so. Don't need any measurements to do that. Then, there's that old risk/reward ratio. Would be a shame to save a penny on a weld and lose an arm when the mower broke apart.
I maintain that two people with a stopwatch can easily determine the incremental load of any device with a switch by watching the utility meter. Absolute accuracy is not necessary. No matter what behavior modification you employ, you're likely to be back to your old ways in a month or so.
Most of the lighting in my house is provided by three 1.5W LED lamps. But I'm too lazy to turn them off when I leave the room. I estimate I waste at least 80% of that 4.5Watts. My bad...
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On 4/10/2012 5:36 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

Seems a little tedious to sit there all day long with your multimeter to try to record the power usage of a fridge?
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On Tue, 10 Apr 2012 19:13:19 +0000, John Doe wrote:

Exactly. I've heard of power companies overseas giving them away to customers (as part of a drive to save energy; I assume local governments ultimately paid for them), but I'm not aware of any power companies over here doing that - but it sure would be nice! :-)
cheers
Jules
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On 4/10/2012 2:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

My smart meter gives data thru the internet so that I can look at it the next day. No it's not real time, but it's still handy. Most people here will eventually get these meters I think. They are mandatory in some juristictions.
When I first became a stay-at-home dad I spent a week with a notebook and recorded times when I used certain appliances. It helped me see if I was going to be wasteful at home or not. I then compared my notes with the smart meter data the next day.
I found that I could save a penny or two by turning off the coffee maker's keep warm element and I saved about 4 or 5 cents but not using the dishwasher's dry features. I was doing it more for a fun entertaining experiment but it did open my eyes a bit to conservation, but I never took the monitoring too seriously.
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snipped-for-privacy@toyotamail.com wrote:

For inductive loads like motors, I wouldn't trust those consumer-grade "kill-o-watt" meters any further than I could throw them. They won't be measuring the actual power being used the same way that your utility power meter does.
For electric baseboard heaters, incandescent lights, toasters, electric stoves, kettles, boilers, electric hot-water heaters - the kill-o-watt meter will work ok.
For inductive loads like compressors (fridge, air conditioner, furnace fan) and especially anything with a switching power supply like your desktop computer, TV, CFL or any other fluorescent lights - forget it.
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