Electricity use from power tools

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Forum topic by mission76 posted 02-22-2010 08:59 PM 11437 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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47 posts in 3042 days

02-22-2010 08:59 PM

Does anyone have any clue how much power a basement shop can add to an electricity bill? I know it’s a hard question to answer without all the rates, but I’m really just looking for a ballpark amount. I am in the process of buying my own place, and being single..all the bills will fall to me.

Anyway to give you a better idea..I would like to build a basement shop. Nothing spectacular, but believe it or not I have about 5-6k in change that I saved up for 13 years that I’m planning on using for new tools. These tools will be for the most part 220v. Now I’m not using these tools everyday…lets say I’ll use them maybe 8 hours a week, normal usuage. My question is, how much of a difference will these tools make on my electric bill? Will it skyrocket or will it be like a 20 dollar difference?

40 replies so far

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3110 days

#1 posted 02-22-2010 09:01 PM

simple answer to this question is use hand tools then all you have to worry about is lighting

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

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47 posts in 3042 days

#2 posted 02-22-2010 09:04 PM

Haha..yeah I knew that was going to be an answer, and there will be plenty of hand tools in the shop. But every once and awhile I need to break out the table or band saw, or jointer..and would rather not face foreclosure after I find out these tools made my bill jump 100 dollars a month!!

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2899 days

#3 posted 02-22-2010 09:21 PM

I dont think it will skyrocket. I actually didnt see much difference on my electric bill after installing all of the equipment including the lights. I would think that $10 – $15 a month would be a wild guess. It would of course depend on what your local rates too. The heating in my shop (gas) is where I see the big difference in billing.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View chrisl's profile


17 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 02-22-2010 09:32 PM

Your amps usage will be more telling – that’s the measure of how much current you’re using. Voltage really isn’t that helpful. 220v at 9 amps is the same as 110v at 18amps, it just balances the load on the electric grid better to pull 220.

-- Chris L from Beatrice, NE

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5590 posts in 2651 days

#5 posted 02-22-2010 10:09 PM

Negligible. Running my computers at home costs me substantially more than my shop… Except for when I run the electric heater. THEN the shop COSTS ME A LOT…

I have since shoved the electric heater into the attic, and only use my Mr. Heater propane heater…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View PaulfromVictor's profile


224 posts in 2764 days

#6 posted 02-22-2010 10:16 PM

I don’t think it would add much. As Wayne said, $10-15 is a good estimate for a typical hobbyist in a typical area. I can tell you that in my area the electric utility bumped up the cost for being connected to the grid, and dropped the cost per Killowatt hour. By doing so, there is less incentive to save electricity.

If you want to guestimate the cost, look at your elec bill for the cost per kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour is the cost of using 1000 watts for 1 hour. So for example if your cost is .10 per KW/hr , a 100 watt light bulb costs 1 cent per hour to use. In theory at least.

View mission76's profile


47 posts in 3042 days

#7 posted 02-22-2010 10:17 PM

Thanks to all..I’m sorry to even ask but as you can see I know nothing about electricity. I always figured that something running with 220v power would cost twice as much as something running at 110v.

Ever since I restarted this little hobby a few years ago, I have been working with small tools in an unheated garage…I always said that when I’m ready to get that house I’m going to build a nice little respectable shop in the basement. Now that the time is getting nearer for the house..I find myself thinking more and more about what I’m building…and getting psyched to build my first real workbench. It would suck to go through all this and then find out i can only stare at the thing because the lighting/tools cost me more than I could afford!!

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2899 days

#8 posted 02-22-2010 10:29 PM

Actually 220 v draws half the current that 110 does with the same load.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2534 days

#9 posted 02-22-2010 10:51 PM

jaa but if you new ohm´slaw its abaut the same watt inthe end
110v x 2a is the same as 220v x 1a = 220w
and then you can calculate backwards from watt iff nesserery

if you look at the watt a bulp is use per our you just multiply
with the time you use it and multyply it with the kost per K watt

its the same with powertools except that they useing a little extra under start


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51452 posts in 2899 days

#10 posted 02-22-2010 11:09 PM

Yep I agree…I dont think you save a whole lot by increasing the voltage. Power is equal to the current times the voltage so one goes up the other has to go down to support the same power.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2487 days

#11 posted 02-22-2010 11:11 PM

Mission -
It isn’t about the rates, it’s about the kwh (kilowatt hours) you use – and the usage brackets the power company uses for billing. You’ll use a few more kwh’s because you have a shop, but probably not much more. At worst, you may have some kwh’s in a higher useage bracket which have a higher rate.

When I “went pro” five years ago, there was only a small increase in my monthly electrical consumption although I was in my garage shop all day every day instead of the occasional weekend.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2534 days

#12 posted 02-22-2010 11:22 PM

but there is one great advance on useing higher volt mashinery
they have usely more power (Horsepower) than if you use 110 v mashines
as I remember

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 2819 days

#13 posted 02-22-2010 11:33 PM

They won’t have more horsepower on 220v than 110v, but the will run more smoothly. With 220v, its not starving for power like it is when you are running 110v, which is why most single phase motor’s have capacitors to help when they startup/run under a load. You will use the same power regardless of the voltage.

As far as the “addition” on your power bill, $15 to $20 seems reasonable depending on how much time you are working.

View a1Jim's profile


115171 posts in 2996 days

#14 posted 02-22-2010 11:35 PM

My shop has it’s own power meter and it’s bill is about $ 250 a month but I would expect a non commercial shop to use less than that.

-- Custom furniture

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3637 days

#15 posted 02-22-2010 11:39 PM

Jim, you should really turn off all those routers when you aren’t using them. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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