Do Night Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

Nightlights are a common way to provide lighting to a room after dark, but do they use a lot of electricity?

We need to consider what type of light it is, its wattage rating, for long it remains on each night, how many nights it will be turned on in each billing period, and how many night lights are used in the house.

Night lights do not consume a lot of electricity (compared to daylight bulbs), but you can save on the electricity cost by using LED night light bulbs instead of incandescent ones and using dawn-to-dusk or motion-sensor night lights.

We will look at all these considerations and options with an example.

Type of Light

Incandescent night lights, popular before LED night lights replaced them, consumed a lot more energy. Typical incandescent night lights consume between 2 and 7 watts of electrical energy, compared to LED night lights, which can run on less than one watt.

Wattage Rating

The wattage rating is very important in determining how much electricity is used. It does not strictly indicate light output, but generally, a bulb with a higher wattage should give more light when comparing bulbs of the same type. Being more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs, LED light bulbs generally have a lower wattage rating for a similar light output.


The consumption of all the night lights in the house is calculated in watt hours as follows:

Night light consumption (in watt hours) = wattage x no. of hours used per night x no. of nights per billing period x no. of night lights in the house

If different night lights are being used with different wattage ratings, then you can add them to work out the total wattage across all of them, and you don’t need to multiply by the number of night lights.

An example: If one 7-watt incandescent light bulb is used continuously during the night for one month, it will consume around 7x8x30x1 = 1,680-watt-hours or 1.68 kWh. If the electricity rate is 16 cents per kWh, the cost will be $0.27. This assumes the night light is used for 8 hours daily for 30 days.

This is roughly equivalent to using a 60-watt for only 28 minutes daily over the same period. It might seem a very small amount, but in a time of increasing energy prices, it can make a difference and make it worth looking at ways to save on the cost of electricity. Multiply this by the number of night light bulbs in your home to determine the total cost for all night lights per month.

Electricity Saving Options

The lower wattage of LED light bulbs makes them more energy efficient, so changing all the incandescent light bulbs in your home to LED ones is one big way to save on your electricity bill. Compared to a 7-watt incandescent light bulb, using an LED one will cut the cost to less than one-seventh while giving the same light output.

Another thing you can do is to control the number of hours the night light will be used to ensure it is not more than you need. You have two options for this. Consider using a plug-in dusk-to-dawn light that turns on and shuts off automatically or a motion-sensor night light, which will save you even more. You can also buy light bulbs that combine both functions.

a dusk-to-dawn night light
A dusk-to-dawn night light
a motion-sensor night light
A motion-sensor night light

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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