Knowledge Base

How Many Watts Does a Radio Use? (Radio Wattage Tested)

By:Michael Johns

radio on green background

On this page, you will find out how many watts a radio draws.

There’s something quite magical about listening to the radio. It opens up your imagination and feels so personal to you. It’s like the person at the other end is speaking directly to you. I’ve always listened to the radio for hours on end. I’m always amazed at how long you can run one without noticing a change in your overall power consumption. 

Below we will discuss and test radio wattage, explain how to work it out for yourself, and calculate the total electricity required.

How Many Watts is a Radio?

The average radio uses between 1 and 3 watts.

The exact number depends on the size and model of your radio. For example, a small portable radio uses 1W or less while a larger device with multiple in-built speakers uses 3W or more.

The exact number can vary a little, but they are very low powered devices that can be run via AC or battery power. 

How to Find Out Your Radio Wattage

There’s 3 ways you can work out the wattage of a radio.

  1. Check Product Specification

The quickest way is to look at the radio’s specification. The watts (W) is usually written on a sticker on the base of the appliance. If not, you can check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website for technical details.

radio power spec
  1. Use a Wattmeter

A wattmeter is brilliant for getting a live wattage reading and tracking total energy usage of any appliance. You can simply plug it into your radio to get instant information. 

I used one to test my radio which gave a live reading of 1W.

radio watt test showing 1W
  1. Wattage Formula or Calculator

If you know the amperage and voltage of your radio you can use this to find the maximum watts. Simply use the formula Amps x Volts = Watts. Or you can head over to the ‘Watt Calculator’ to work this out.

How Much Electricity Does a Radio Use?

You can use radio wattage to work out how much electricity it uses. Plus this can be useful in understanding how much it costs to run your radio.

A watt (W) is a measurement of power at a single point in time. A watt-hour is the total amount of electricity used in an hour. For example, a radio drawing 3W would use 3Wh when running for an hour.

Happily, electricity bills are recorded in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A kilowatt is simply 1000 watts. So a 3W radio running for 1 hour uses 0.003kWh.

In reality, you use a radio for 5 hours a day. This means a radio uses upto 15Wh or 0.015kWh electricity a day. That’s 0.45kWh a month and 5.4kWh a year. 

That’s an electricity cost of upto $0.82 a year to listen to your radio for 5 hours every day.

Using a Radio Off-Grid

If you’re planning to use your radio in an off-grid situation like a power outage, RV, boat, truck, or similar, the information above is important. It enables you to pick the correct power products and how long they can run.

To be honest, I suggest you get yourself a battery powered radio in this situation. It will make life a lot easier. Although, you might want to plug in a digital AC radio or recharge batteries.

Radios will usually be DC devices so you can easily run/charge them from a battery source, vehicle, or portable power station.

To make sure everything runs smoothly you should check two things on this equipment – wattage capacity and total energy capacity. 

As we already know, a radio won’t use more than 3Wh electricity per hour. This is the equivalent to 0.25Ah on a 12V battery. Almost nothing!

How Many Watts Does a Radio Use Summary

I hope you now understand how many watts a radio uses.

One of the reasons radios have stood the test of time is their simplicity. You can get the news or listen to entertainment at the touch of a button. The added benefit is how little power they consume. You can run one all day every day and not even notice the difference on your electricity supply. This makes them very popular when off-grid, like an RV, as you can relax and enjoy anywhere, anytime.