How much does power usage cost for the Pi 4? — PiCockpit | Monitor and Control your Raspberry Pi: free for up to 5 Pis! (2023)

Use this interactive tool to calculate the power cost for your Raspberry Pi.

A customer asked me an innocent question:

I would like to use a Raspberry Pi for the two following purposes:

a) Pi Hole to filter ads
b) Baikal-Server for Carddav and Caldav

Which Pi would you recommend, considering power usage, heat development, etc.?

My answer required some research:

For me it was clear that thePi 4 / 4 GB would be the server of my choice, of course with the FLIRC case for passive heat dissipation. No noise, no moving parts. GBit Ethernet, … but could I recommend the Pi 4 to the customer in good conscience? Can people actually afford to operate the Pi 4 non-stop, 365 days a year, 24 / 7?

The answer will surprise you. I was surprised myself!


We’ll start out for some basics for all those of us who have put high school physics behind them a long time ago:

  • Ampere: this is the power current (how much electrical power flows through a conductor or device – imagine this as number of electrons flowing through the pipe per second)
  • Volt: this is the voltage (you can imagine this as the pressure under which the electrons flow – similar to water pressure in a pipe. Same amount of water under different pressure can be pleasant in your bath tub… or cut through steel)
  • put together, Volt and Ampere yield Watt,the actual power (defined as work per second): 1 W = 1 V * 1 A

An important thing to keep in mind is that Watts are independent of the voltage, and independent of direct or alternating current being used (DC or AC) – it is the actually delivered power.

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Usually utilities charge in kWh – kilowatt hours. This is the power which is delivered is summed up across the time it was delivered. The kilowatt hours are the actual work the power utility delivered to your house.

Pi 4power usage

The Pi 4 isn’t a light bulb. It does not use (and deliver) the same amount of power consistently over time. Depending on what you are using it for, parts of its SoC (the silver chip on the Pi, the ingenious device at the core ofthe magic of the Pi) will be turned on and off.

The Pi 4 can also be compared to a human being: if the person is resting, for instance watching a movie on their KODI media centre, they need much less energy than if they would run a marathon. Still, it’s the same person.

For this reason it is important to look at idle power consumption of the Pi 4, but also at the power consumption under heavy load.

An important thing to also keep in mind before we start: this does not include external devices (USB devices which draw power, for instance external harddrives, SSDs, etc.) – but you can easily add them using the formulas I provide below.

I am using the power measurements of the excellent Alex Eames of Raspi.TV as base for my calculations. Thank you very much, Alex!

The Pi 4 draws the following currents:

  • 575 mAwhile idling
  • 885 mAwhile LXDE is being loaded
  • 600 mA to view 1080p video
  • 640 mA to record 1080p video

We take the bottom and top values, 575 mA and 885 mA. Power usage of the Pi 4 averaged over time should be something in between.

Because the official USB C power supplysupplies 5,1 V, we can turn the mA (m is for milli, a thousandth) into Watts:

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  • 2,93Wwhile idling
  • 4,51 Wwhile the Pi 4 is loading LXDE

The Pi 4 draws between 3 and 5 W on the average.

The power supply

We should not omit an important factor which plays into calculating the actual power drawn from the utility! The power supply itself.

Even though the official USB C power supply is very efficient, it is not perfect. It uses up some power for it’s own circuitry.

The USB C power supply was certified according to the Effieciency Marking Protocol (a standard introduced in the USA). Here’s a PDF with more background information.

This standard was launched after peoplewere shocked to see that a lot of inefficient power supplies (using linear regulators) were using up to 50 % of the power themselves – independent of whether the device it was supposed to power was active or not! It was predicted that around 2010, the power supplies alone would use up to 30 % of the total power in the USA. Of course, something had to be done about this situation – which lead to this standard.

The official power supply has a 5,1 V voltage, and a maximum of 3 A of current which it is able to provide. This is a maximum power of 15,5 W (5,1 V * 3 A) which it is able to supply to the Pi. Please keep in mind, we are working with averages above – the Pi will draw in a lot of power in very short bursts, which requires more than the 4,51 W to be available. Averaged over time, even under load, we should see the power draw Alex measured. Furthermore the power supply also has to power USB devices if you have any attached to the Pi, which is budgeted in.

According to the standard (VI) the official Pi 4 power supply may draw a maximum of 0,1 W when idling itself – that is no Pi is attached. (The actual value in the datasheet is 0,075 W maximum)

The standard further demands, that if the Pi 4 is beign powered, that the power conversion efficiency must be at least:

0.0834 x ln ( Pout) – 0.0014 x Pout + 0.609

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This is the natural logarithm, Pout is the power output to the Pi. Luckily, there’s Excel which can crunch the numbers for us:

  • a minimum of 69 % efficiency for the Pi 4 when idling
  • a minimum of 73 % efficiency for the Pi 4 while it is loading LXDE

If the Pi 4 is working hard, the power supply is required to be more efficient – an interesting insight!

According to the datasheet of the Pi 4 power supply, the minimum efficiency at 10 % load is 72 %, and minimum of 81 % at 100 % / 75 % / 50 % / 25 % load. I will continue to use the values I calculated above, as they should be applicable to any other power supply with the VI certification.

At the power socket, the Pi 4 actually draws:

  • 4,22 Wpower when idling
  • 6,20 Wpower while LXDE is loading

Calculated for a whole year

A day has 24 hours, the year has 365 days (most of the time). The kilowatt hours are what they say they are: 1000 W * amount of hours:

  • 36,98 kWh power usagewhen idling per year
  • 54,28 kWhpower usage when loading LXDE per year
  • 0,88 kWh if the power supply for the Pi 4 would be plugged into the power socket 365/24/7– without Pi. (Actual value even lower due to datasheet giving 0,075W maximum)

Please simply tell me how much it costs

Theenergy prices currently fluctuate. In Germany, they are amongst the highest in Europe – even considering income adjustment. I have used a price of 32,8 Cent pro kWh for the calculations, according to these two sources. The price might be lower for you – please redo the calculations in this case!

I will also include pricing I’ve estimated for the UK – which is significantly lower. I’ve used this site as a source:

  • 13 pence per kWh on average
  • 20 % VAT
  • 1,17783 € / GBP
  • = 18,39 Euro-Cent per kWh

Are you ready for your mind to be blown?

  • 12,13 €power cost for the Pi 4when idling365 / 24 / 7
    • 6,80 € power cost in GreatBritain
  • 17,80 €power costfor thePi 4 under load,365 / 24 / 7 (all the year long!)
    • 9,98 € power cost in Great Britain
  • 00,29 €power cost for the USB C power supply, if it is simply plugged into the socket, no Pi, for a whole year
    • 0,16 € in Great Britain
    • note this value is actually even lower, due to the Raspberry Pi power supply being even more efficient!

And all this including the VAT!

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The surprising message of this article (which I never expected myself, although I’m writing it!):

This blogpost by codinghorror can give us a rough approximation of what a desktop computer uses in power, in comparison. The article is from 2007, and talks about 120 to 150 W of actual usage (pre power-supply efficiency). But let’s say, out of fairness, that you use a really power-efficient x86 computer as mini-server. Possibly an old notebook. And that this x86 computer (power draw from the socket) uses only 10 times the amount of a Pi 4:

  • 62 W on average
  • 543 kWhper year
  • 178,14 € power cost per yearfor your really power efficientx86 server
    • 99,87 € power cost in Great Britain

The actual differencebetween the Pi 4 and the “efficient x86 server” out of your pocket, just for power usage, are 160,34 € per year! Depending upon how “fat” your server is, how inefficient it’s power supply is, you could be looking at even higher savings!

To be fair, I should admit that there are also quite power efficient Intel Atom SoCs, which draw less power – according to this article, we’re somewhere between 10 to 15 W idling. Still about two to three times more than the Pi!)

Our Pi 4 comfort set saves you money in the first year of operation already!

When operating a small server 24/7, our Pi 4 comfort set would save you money, compared to a classic desktop PC as server:

  • Pi 4 Comfort Set: 95 €
  • shipping (within Germany): 4,99 €
  • power usage: 17,80 €
  • Total cost in the first year: 117,79 €
  • You save, xompared to x86: 60,35 €

YES! You save money, in the first year of ownership already! Even considering the purchasing cost of the Pi 4 – simply by saving on power!

Why not use the savings to buy a second Pi 4 / 4 GB as a present for a friend? You will actually be giving a gift of money – with a yearly profit in power cost savings, year after year!

The Pi 4 is supporting our green planet – time to get rid of our old x86 servers which are running in idle most of the time anyways (not really delivering their full capacities / possibilities) – just the power savings alone might justify a purchase of a Pi 4!

Note: People who are lucky to have cheaper costs of power, as in Britain, wil be able to realize the savings within two years, and benefit year over year after that! Few investments pay that quickly for themselves, and start yielding benefits.

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Tags:Conserve power,Ecoonomy,Green energy,Green planet,Ökologisch,Ökonomisch,Pi 4,Power efficiency,Power efficient computing,Save power,Server,Strom


How much power does a Raspberry Pi 4 consume? ›

Power and Heat on Raspberry Pi 4. With a more power-hungry processor and the need for at least a 5-volt, 3-amp power adapter, the Pi 4 should be expected to consume more power than its predecessors.At idle, the Pi 4 B draws 3.4 watts, which is just 17% more than the 3 B+.

How much power does a PI Pico use? ›

I also use an external 18650 battery to perform my test, as there's no un-invasive way to put the digital multimeter in series with the micro USB port of our Raspberry PI Pico.
Summarizing the tests.
TestPower Consumption
WiFi + ping (power-saving DISABLED)72 mA
WHILE loop43 mA
FOR loop43 mA
time.sleep()39 mA
7 more rows

How much power does a Raspberry Pi Use an hour? ›

In any case, this means 3.5W and running 24/7 it gives about 31 kWh of energy per year.

How much power does Raspberry Pi Pico WiFi use? ›

The power consumption of the Raspberry Pi Pico amounts to 91mA. However, in the case of ESP32 C3, there are three different options; while it is spiked with the WiFi, it consumes more than 100 mA. While it is in light sleep mode, it will consume 2mA, and for deep sleep, it consumes about 100uA.

How long can Pi Pico run on battery? ›

The PIco Long Life Battery is a LiPO battery specially designed for the UPS PIco, that easily upgrade to the extended capacity of 3000mAh version, which enables prolonged use of a Raspberry Pi for up to 8 hours without a power supply connected!

How do I power my Pico externally? ›

The Raspberry Pi Pico requires a power supply capable of delivering a minimum of 1.8 volts and a maximum of 5.5V. A battery pack with a USB to micro-USB cable can also power a Raspberry Pi Pico. This battery pack provides up to 2.1A of current at 5V.

How much does it cost to run a Raspberry Pi for a year? ›

In other words: running a Raspberry under maximum load should cost no more than roughly 5 dollars per year.
Cost to keep a Raspberry Pi running for one year.
ModelCost (Idle)Cost (High CPU load)
Raspberry Pi 2 B1,16 EUR / USD2,10 EUR / USD
2 more rows
Jul 10, 2019

How much power does Raspberry Pi 4 use to underclock? ›

Like you can overclock the Raspberry Pi, you can also underclock your Pi. The reason is mainly to reduce power consumption. Not all parts of the chip are affected by the central clock governor, for instance, the USB and Ethernet devices. Clocked at 200 MHz, your RPi consumes about 1.7 Watts.

How long will a Raspberry Pi run on a power bank? ›

Yes, most (but not all!) USB power banks are capable of powering a Raspberry Pi, since they usually have an output voltage of 5 V . And yes, by using a (quite large) 50 Ah power bank, you can definitely expect your Pi to run for at least 24 h . See the long answer below for reasoning and further relevant aspects.

How much electricity does a Wi-Fi router use per day? ›

Yours could consume anything from 2 to 20 watts, although the average is around 6. Taking a standard rate of 21.63 cents per kilowatt hour, you can therefore expect your Wi-Fi router to cost around $0.0311 per day to operate.

How much power does a wireless access point use? ›

Generally, Wi-Fi routers use between 5 and 20 watts (W) of electricity, depending on the model. Most Wi-Fi routers use about 2 amps, connect to a 120 volt outlet, and pull somewhere around 5 to 7 volts.

Is a Raspberry Pi powerful enough to be a router? ›

Therefore, if you have some spare Raspberry Pi 3, it can still serve you well as a router, just hook up some switch behind it, and make sure your Internet link is slower than 200 Mbit/second. Otherwise, your speed is limited.

Can I use pico without soldering? ›

Soldering can be a delicate and tricky process, which is why what we've designed This straightforward-to-use product to make it much simpler to attach headers into a PICO board without using a soldering iron! Our customers strongly recommend and love the solderless header installation jig for raspberry pi pico.

How long will an SD card last in a pi? ›

Unfortunately, practically everything out there has a write-heavy component with the exception of simple scheduled scripts, so you'd expect to replace the SD card on your Raspberry Pi, on average, every 12 months.

How big a memory card can pi run off? ›

The minimum capacity required is 8GB to 32GB, which is Raspberry Pi's largest supported size by default, though higher capacities can be formatted to work with the units. Keep in mind, to install the official Raspbian OS you'll need at least an 8GB microSD card whereas Raspbian Lite you'll need a minimum 4GB.

How to power Pi Pico without USB? ›

Power the Pico via GPIO

Connect the positive and ground wires - If your Pico has male headers soldered into place, you will need to connect the positive and negative ground wires to the Pico. Pin 39 is the VSYS pin capable of accepting power. Pin 38 is an adjacent ground pin, but any ground pin will do.

Does the Pico need an SD card? ›

Nope! The onboard flash memory stores your program, so there's no need to buy an SD card for your Raspberry Pi Pico. There's also no SD slot on the Pico, so you even if you really wanted to you can't use one on this board.

Can a Raspberry Pi Pico control a motor? ›

The short answer is no. The GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi Pico cannot deliver the current needed for a DC motor and, if we were to try, there is a good chance that we would damage the Pico. Instead we need a motor controller that acts as a bridge between the Pico and our motor.

Can a Raspberry Pi stay on 24 7? ›

Yes, Raspberry Pi can handle 24/7 run time when used with proper linear power supply which must be regulated through DC adapter or any good quality battery supply. Components or other electronics parts won't get fried until and unless you provide wrong power supply or more voltage than recommended.

Why Raspberry Pi is not used in industry? ›

RPi boards lack USB header connectors, which makes it impossible to connect sensors, modems, etc. via USB connection. This forces developers to connect those peripherals via USB cable (not the recommended way, particularly not for industrial applications).

Why do Raspberry Pis cost so much now? ›

"Demand for Raspberry Pi products increased sharply from the start of 2021 onwards, and supply constraints have prevented us from flexing up to meet this demand, with the result that we now have significant order backlogs for almost all products.

Does Underclocking reduce power consumption? ›

Underclocking is used to reduce a computer's power consumption, increase battery life, reduce heat emission, and it may also increase the system's stability, lifespan/reliability and compatibility. Underclocking may be implemented by the factory, but many computers and components may be underclocked by the end user.

Is it OK to just unplug Raspberry Pi? ›

Firstly, by pulling the power cord out early, you heighten the risk of your SD card becoming corrupt. Secondly, anything that is running will not make a graceful exit and save. This forced exit may cause data loss depending on what your Raspberry Pi was doing at the time.

What happens if you Underpower a Raspberry Pi? ›

The main risk is corrupting the the filesystem on the SD card, you might also see some slow down in responsiveness as well. I would suggest against using an under-powered Pi, or at the least minimizing any voltage load on it.

What are the disadvantages of Raspberry Pi 4? ›

It does not replace the computer, and the processor is not as fast. It is a time consuming to download and install software i.e.; unable to do any complex multitasking. Not compatible with the other operating systems such as Windows.

Is it okay to not use power bank for A long time? ›

Charge the power bank when not used for period: Lithium ion and lithium polymer rechargeable batteries do not like being left in a discharged state for long periods. As batteries will always lose a little charge with time, it is best to periodically recharge the power banks when they have not been used for some while.

Can you run A Raspberry Pi 4 on A battery? ›

USB port powering is definitely the best way to go, but you can't just connect a battery—we don't have 5V batteries. Commonly used supplies are four AA batteries (over 6V fully charged), a 9V battery, or two 3.7 Lithium Ion Batteries (7.4V). All of them will fry a Raspberry Pi.

Is 2.4 amps enough for Raspberry Pi 4? ›

It should be fine. Anker makes decent supplies, 2.4A is way more the sufficient to power a Pi4.

How long can Raspberry Pi 4 run on battery pack? ›

Watts = Volts x Amps so 50 x 3.7 = 185 WH. If your Pi uses 2 W you could, with accurate spec and perfect DC-DC power supply, get 185/2 = 92.6 Hours.

Is 5V enough for Raspberry Pi 4? ›

While how much current (mA) it requires is dependent on what you hook up to it or what it is used for, a 5V @ 2.5A power supply is sufficient for most applications, including the use of its 4 USB ports. However, the Raspberry Pi 4 requires 5V @ 3A and a cable with a USB-C connector!

Can a Raspberry Pi 4 overheat? ›

A reported issue with Raspberry Pi can be overheating, with a resulting loss of performance, when the board is exposed to high temperatures. All electrical devices are qualified to a specific operating temperature range at which the device will work effectively.

Is it okay to not use power bank for a long time? ›

Charge the power bank when not used for period: Lithium ion and lithium polymer rechargeable batteries do not like being left in a discharged state for long periods. As batteries will always lose a little charge with time, it is best to periodically recharge the power banks when they have not been used for some while.


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