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Wattmeter vs. Energy Meter — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 28, 2024
A wattmeter measures the power (in watts) being used by an electrical device, while an energy meter calculates the total energy consumption (in kilowatt-hours).
Wattmeter vs. Energy Meter — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Wattmeter and Energy Meter


Key Differences

A wattmeter is an instrument specifically designed to measure the electrical power (in watts) consumed by a device at any given moment. An energy meter, on the other hand, records the total electrical energy (in kilowatt-hours) consumed over a period.
The wattmeter is typically used in testing and measuring scenarios to determine the real-time power usage of various devices. Energy meters are commonly found in households and businesses, where they keep track of cumulative energy usage for billing purposes.
In terms of functionality, a wattmeter can measure both direct and alternating current power. Energy meters, particularly those used in residential settings, are primarily designed to measure alternating current energy usage.
Wattmeters are crucial for engineers and technicians in assessing the performance and efficiency of electrical devices and circuits. Energy meters are essential for utility companies and consumers for monitoring and billing energy usage.
While wattmeters provide instantaneous power data, useful for diagnosing and troubleshooting, energy meters provide long-term consumption data, crucial for understanding usage patterns and managing energy expenses.

Comparison Chart


Power in watts
Energy in kilowatt-hours

Use Case

Real-time power measurement
Cumulative energy consumption

Current Type Measured

Both AC and DC
Primarily AC

Primary Users

Engineers, technicians
Utility companies, consumers

Data Provided

Instantaneous power usage
Long-term energy usage

Compare with Definitions


Measures electrical power in watts.
We used a wattmeter to check the power consumption of the appliance.

Energy Meter

Records total electrical energy usage.
Our monthly electricity bill is calculated using the readings from the energy meter.


Used for real-time power analysis.
The wattmeter showed fluctuations in power during the test.

Energy Meter

Commonly used in residential and commercial settings.
Every home in our neighborhood has an energy meter for billing purposes.


Helps in diagnosing electrical issues.
A wattmeter is crucial for pinpointing power-related problems in electronic devices.

Energy Meter

Measures energy consumption in kilowatt-hours.
The energy meter tracks how many kilowatt-hours we use each day.


Essential for assessing device efficiency.
Engineers rely on a wattmeter to optimize electrical circuit performance.

Energy Meter

Essential for monitoring long-term energy usage.
Businesses monitor their energy meters to manage energy costs effectively.


Can measure both AC and DC power.
Our wattmeter is versatile enough to measure both AC and DC power outputs.

Energy Meter

Primarily measures alternating current energy.
The energy meter in our office measures the AC power consumption of all devices.


An instrument for measuring in watts the power flowing in a circuit.


An instrument for measuring electric power in watts.


An instrument for measuring power in watts, - much used in measuring the energy of an electric current.

Common Curiosities

Do wattmeters help in electrical troubleshooting?

Absolutely, they are crucial in diagnosing power-related issues.

Can a wattmeter be used for both AC and DC circuits?

Yes, most wattmeters are capable of measuring both AC and DC power.

Are wattmeters portable?

Many models are portable and easy to use in various settings.

Do energy meters measure power quality?

No, they primarily measure quantity, not quality, of energy.

How is energy consumption calculated by an energy meter?

It calculates total energy consumption over time in kilowatt-hours.

Can an energy meter work in a power outage?

It cannot measure during an outage but will resume once power is back.

Are energy meters necessary for home electricity billing?

Yes, they are essential for accurately billing residential electricity use.

What does a wattmeter specifically measure?

It measures the instantaneous power usage in watts.

Can a wattmeter measure the efficiency of an appliance?

Yes, by providing real-time power usage data.

How often should energy meter readings be taken for billing?

Typically, monthly readings are taken for residential billing.

How does an energy meter help in energy conservation?

By monitoring usage, it helps identify areas to reduce consumption.

Is a wattmeter useful for household appliances?

Yes, it can be used to check the power consumption of household appliances.

Do wattmeters need calibration?

Yes, regular calibration is necessary for accurate measurements.

Can I install an energy meter myself?

It's recommended to have energy meters installed by professionals.

Are there digital wattmeters?

Yes, digital wattmeters offer precise measurements and easy readability.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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