The 30 Best Energy-Efficient Appliances for Your Home

Swap out your old, power-guzzling appliances for these high-efficiency models to save money on your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact.

Joe Roberts
Published Aug 15, 2022
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13 min read

Replacing old, inefficient appliances with Energy Star-approved models is one of the easiest ways to use less energy in your everyday life. Image source: Samsung

Whether you’re sick of sky-high electric bills or you just want to reduce your emissions, replacing your home appliances with more energy-efficient models is a great first step. Energy-efficient products – especially those with Energy Star labels – use up-to-date tech to accomplish the same jobs as yesteryear’s electronics while using less power. 

This means you can get noticeable energy savings and do your part for mother earth by just swapping out your 20-year-old refrigerator, your clunky clothes dryer, or your fussy air conditioner. 

How much money you’ll actually save can depend on a lot of factors, such as energy prices in your region and how efficient your appliances are. Keep reading, and we’ll break down how to calculate energy savings and pick high-efficiency appliances. 

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Do energy-efficient appliances really save money?

Brand new appliances aren’t cheap. Replacing your refrigerator alone can cost over $1,000, and replacing every appliance in your home will likely set you back anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000. While high-efficiency appliances often come with nice rebates when you buy them new, you’ll still shell out a lot of money upfront to make your home more efficient. 

However, new, energy-efficient appliances can bring down your utility bills. Throughout a high-efficiency product’s life, it can save you more money on electricity, natural gas, or water than it initially cost. 

Because of this, you have to think of energy-efficient products as long-term investments. It might take years before a new product even pays for itself by reducing your costs, but it will eventually happen, especially if your current model uses a lot more energy than it should or power costs more than the national average in your state. 

The bottom line is that the amount of money your energy-efficient appliances can save you depends. Before you bank on saving bundles of money by getting an energy-efficient fridge, dishwasher, or laptop, check to see what electricity costs in your area, how much power the new appliance will use in a year, and how much your current model uses.

Keep an eye out for rebates! A rebate is kind of like a refund you can apply for when you buy a new appliance, and they’re usually offered as incentives to make your home more efficient. The application process can be lengthy, but it’s usually worth it. As we said, a new appliance can be very expensive, so getting a hefty rebate can help keep your initial costs low.

What do Energy Star’s labels mean?

Simply look for Energy Star labels when you buy appliances to ensure you get high-efficiency products. Image source: Energy Star

Energy Star is an initiative by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that helps consumers find reliable, energy-efficient products to reduce emissions and cut energy costs. When you find an Energy Star label on a product, it means the product has met the EPAs efficiency standards and is more efficient than standard models.

Refrigerators

In today’s market, it’s possible to find a high-efficiency fridge that still meets all your size and functionality requirements. Image source: Samsung

When you’re scouting for a new refrigerator, there are a lot of factors to consider, such as its capacity, its add-on features (like ice makers, freezers, and WiFi connectivity), and how good it looks in your kitchen. Luckily, you don’t have to compromise on any of these priorities. Energy-efficient refrigerators come in all shapes, sizes, and styles.

To pick the most efficient fridge, look for options that meet your size needs but use fewer kilowatt-hours (kWh) than similarly-sized models. If you want to reduce your impact on the environment, then opt for a fridge that uses an EPA-approved refrigerant to keep things cool. 

Energy Star certified refrigerators

Dishwashers

An energy- and water-efficient dishwasher is a must-have if you want to make your home as environmentally friendly as you can. Image source: Designer Appliances

Your dishwasher, like your fridge, isn’t just an appliance. It’s also part of your kitchen’s decor, so it’s important to pick one that looks great with what you’ve already got going on. Luckily, energy-efficient dishwashers are available in various styles.

Unlike your fridge, though, your dishwasher uses water to run in addition to electricity. This means that the dishwasher you buy can also have an impact on your water bill, not just your power bill. To keep all your costs low and conserve as much as possible, pick a dishwasher that uses fewer kWh of electricity and less water per cycle.

While you’re shopping, you should also keep an eye out for washers with soil sensors. These sensors detect how clean the dishes you’ve loaded into your dishwater are and adjust the machine’s water and power consumption to ensure nothing is wasted on dishes that only need a gentle rinse. 

Energy Star-certified dishwashers

Washing machines

Front-load washing machines like this Samsung model are roughly 25% more efficient than top-load options. Image source: Samsung

Like dishwashers, washing machines use water to run as well as electricity, so you can keep your machine’s operating costs low by considering both water and energy consumption when you look for a replacement washing machine. In short: get a washer with a high Integrated Modified Energy Factor (IMEF) and a low Integrated Water Factor (IWF).

Not every high-efficiency model will cut it for your household, though. On top of the IMEF and IWF of any washer you might buy, you should also take its capacity into account. Otherwise, you might end up doing more loads with your new, smaller machine than you used to do with your old machine.

Energy Star-certified clothes washers

Dryers

Dryers are one of the biggest contributors to residential emissions, so getting a more efficient dryer is essential if you want to shrink your carbon footprint. Image Source: Beko

When you get a new clothes dryer, you should first make sure you pick a replacement with a large enough drum to hold everything you’ll need to put in it. If you get one that’s too small – even if it’s highly efficient – you might end up running it more times per laundry day and consume more energy despite your good intentions. 

Second, find a dryer with a high Combined Energy Factor (CEF) rating. CEF is a measurement of how much energy a dryer uses when it runs. The higher this number is, the more efficient the dryer is. Getting a dryer with sensors that detect when your clothes are dry can also help keep your energy costs down since they’ll shut the machine off when the load is done.

To make your selection easy, turn to Energy Star. Energy Star certified dryers use 20% less energy than standard models. 

Energy Star certified dryers

Furnaces

Natural gas-burning furnaces, like this Ruud model, can be highly efficient, but they aren’t your only option. You can also get furnaces that burn oil or propane. Image source: Ruud

When replacing your furnace or any other part of your HVAC system, you’ll need to work with a professional technician instead of doing it all yourself. In a lot of ways, this is a good thing. It means you’ll have an expert’s guidance when choosing the right furnace for your home. 

The bad news is that you usually won’t know exactly how much the replacement furnace will cost until you meet with the technician. On average, a homeowner with a home that measures 2,000 square feet will spend about $6,000 to replace their furnace.

When you meet with your technician, ask them which Energy Star-approved furnaces they can hook you up with to ensure you get one that won’t use too much fuel to warm your home. 

Energy Star certified furnaces

Product

Energy Star Certification

Cost

Lennox Variable-Capacity Gas Furnace

Certificate

Dependant on retailer

Ruud Upflow Gas Furnace

Certificate

Dependant on retailer

Rheem 2 Stage Gas Furnace

Certificate

Dependant on retailer

Don’t forget the thermostat! If you want to keep your home’s energy usage low, then you should also get a programmable thermostat when you rework your HVAC system. A smart thermostat helps your whole system run efficiently by automatically adjusting your home’s temperature to match your habits and schedule.

Air conditioners

Being energy efficient doesn’t mean you have to suffer through sweltering summers. With an Energy Star certified AC unit, you can cool off efficiently. Image source: Amana

Like your furnace, your central air conditioner is part of your HVAC system, and so it needs to be installed by a trained professional. This means that exact pricing for a replacement AC can be difficult to track down ahead of time. On average, replacing your central AC unit will cost you about $7,000.

When you’re talking over your options with your technician, ask them to help you find a new unit with a high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). This ratio measures how much energy an AC unit consumes vs. how much cool air it pumps out during the summer.

Energy Star-certified air conditioners

Need something smaller? If you’re just trying to cool a studio apartment, a single room, or another small living space, a room air conditioner is probably a better option than a central AC unit.

Water heaters

A.O. Smith water heaters like this one tend to be among the most efficient on the market. Image source: A. O. Smith

It’s not part of your HVAC system, but your water heater is another appliance that should only be replaced by a technician. Unlike prices for furnaces and air conditioners, though, you don’t need to talk with a retailer before you can find water heater prices. 

The technician you hire will help you pick a model with a large enough tank for your household and walk you through the different fuel types you can choose from, such as solar, natural gas, and propane. Whichever fuel type you go with, your technician can also help you choose one that runs as efficiently as possible.

Energy Star certified water heaters

Light bulbs

LED light bulbs like this one can illuminate your home much more efficiently than incandescents or CFLs. Image source: Prolighting

Swapping out your old light bulbs is one of the easiest and cheapest jobs on this list. And while efficient bulbs won’t impact your utility bills as much as a good furnace or clothes dryer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much energy you can save by just lighting your home more efficiently.

These days, most high-efficiency light bulbs are LEDs since they run cooler and waste less energy than older light bulb designs that produced lots of heat as well as light. Opt for LEDs over incandescents or CFLs if you want to use as little energy as possible without sitting in darkness.

Energy Star-certified light bulbs use up to 90% less electricity than conventional light bulbs, and as an added bonus, they usually last over 15 times as long so you won’t need to replace them as often. This makes Energy Star the best place to begin your search for a better bulb. 

Energy Star-certified light bulbs

Dehumidifiers

Install an energy-efficient dehumidifier to make your home less muggy without significantly raising your power bills. Image source: Amazon

Swampy air bogging you down at home? Well, you don’t have to use exorbitant amounts of power to dehumidify your air. With an energy-efficient dehumidifier, you can keep your home nice and dry while keeping your energy use nice and low.

A dehumidifier with an Energy Star label uses almost 15% less power than an uncertified model of the same size. Whether you’re looking for a mobile dehumidifier you can roll from room to room or a whole-home dehumidifier to install in your basement or crawl space, you can find exactly what you’re looking for on Energy Star’s list of approved dehumidifiers.

Energy Star-certified dehumidifiers

Computers

With an Energy Star certified computer—like this Google Pixelbook—you can get all the performance you need without guzzling electricity. Image source: Amazon

Are you looking to replace your workstation or gaming rig with something a little more efficient? Then we’ve got good news. These days, you don’t have to compromise on performance or storage space to get an efficient laptop, desktop, or tablet from the world’s best brands.

The key measurement to watch out for when scoping out an energy-efficient computer is typical energy consumption (TEC). TEC is a measurement of how many kWh of power a computer consumes while it's operating.

Unfortunately, retailers often don’t list a computer’s TEC among its specs on their websites. To get the full scoop on a computer’s energy consumption, you usually have to check its Energy Star certificate

Energy Star-certified computers

Product

Energy Star Certification

Cost

Google Pixelbook Go

Certificate

$849.00

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

Certificate

$1,449.99

HP ENVY x360 Convertible Laptop

Certificate

$1,159.99

Are energy-efficient appliances right for your home?

Unless you’re doing an extensive remodel or outfitting a new home with appliances from scratch, you should probably upgrade your home’s efficiency slowly over time instead of all at once. Depending on what you’re replacing, it can cost thousands of dollars to get a new appliance, and you won’t recoup those costs quickly, even with lower utility bills. 

Instead of purging all of your stuff right now, just replace it all with new Energy Star appliances whenever you’d have to get replacements anyway. That way, you won’t clean out your savings for an investment that will only pay off years from now. 

That said, if money is no object and you want to shrink your carbon footprint ASAP, then getting efficient appliances quickly is one of the best ways to decrease your emissions. Just make sure you properly recycle all your old appliances.

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