Menu

Energy Monitoring Systems: Take Control of Your Energy Use

Jessica Jones

Ever wonder why your electric bill is what it is, or been concerned about a spike in your overall cost and confused as to how to better control your energy use? An energy monitoring system may be an excellent option for you to consider if this is the case. The products provide you an insight into your energy spending, and allow you the opportunity to pay close attention to where you might be able to make improvements.

This energy monitoring buying guide should be all you need to truly understand what these products actually are, how they work, and what it takes to take advantage of it. If you have any of the following concerns, or questions about home energy use, this is the article for you.

  • Energy bill fluctuations
  • Energy spike costs
  • Unexplained energy company bills
  • Environmental influences on energy use
  • Energy use influences on the environment
  • Budget savings concerns

1. Gen 2 Emporia Vue Smart Home Energy Monitor – Editor's Choice

Check Price
  • Professional Installation: DIY compatible
  • Individual Device Usage: yes, 8 or 16
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, solar monitoring, smart plug compatible

2. Sense Energy Monitor

Check Price
  • Professional Installation: recommended
  • Individual Device Usage: yes
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, smart home device compatible

3. Sense Energy Monitor with Solar

Check Price
  • Professional Installation: recommended
  • Individual Device Usage: yes
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, solar monitoring

4. Eyedro Home Solar & Energy Monitor

Check Price
  • Professional Installation: DIY friendly
  • Individual Device Usage: no
  • Features: whole home and solar energy use, real-time app, WiFi compatible

5. TOPGREENER Smart Wi-Fi Outlet with Energy Monitoring

Check Price
  • Professional Installation: no
  • Individual Device Usage: yes, but not a whole home
  • Features: timer and schedule availability, smart home compatibility, energy monitoring of individual devices

Best Energy Monitoring Systems

The following systems are excellent choices and are designed to install easily, either via DIY or professional install) and provide the information you need to begin monitoring the energy in your home. These are all comparative choices, but have various features worth considering.

1. Gen 2 Emporia Vue Smart Home Energy Monitor – Editor's Choice

Highlights

  • Professional Installation: DIY compatible
  • Individual Device Usage: yes, 8 or 16
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, solar monitoring, smart plug compatible

Pros

  • Great customer service and upgraded software
  • Works well and is dependable
  • Great to help with saving on energy use

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well with access to only busbars

The Gen 2 Emporia Vue installs quickly and easily into your circuit panel with clamp-on sensors, either with 8 or 16 50A options. It is DIY compatible with included instructions, but should be professionally installed if unfamiliar with the system. With a quick connect app that reads through your WiFi, you can monitor your energy use from anywhere, including solar usage via net monitoring.

Real-time spending is also included to provide actionable results, and provides notifications to alert you to concerning energy use or sinks. Add smart plugs (sold separately) to help to monitor the energy of lighting, small appliances, and set timers.

Who This is For
This is an incredibly affordable choice that provides excellent, detailed monitoring. It allows for up to 16 separate circuit clamps so you have full control over the energy use through your entire house.

2. Sense Energy Monitor – Runner Up

Highlights

  • Professional Installation: recommended
  • Individual Device Usage: yes
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, smart home device compatible

Pros

  • Very accurate whole-home use energy use
  • Identifies resistance loads
  • App works well

Cons

  • Smaller, individual device detection may be hit or miss

The Sense energy monitor works to identify patterns in your energy use to help you discover where you can save by keeping certain things off, and paying attention to your appliances that draw the most energy. You can also monitor real-time use via an app and online webpage, which also provides notifications and alerts you can set up to warn you of issues with critical devices- such as freezers or sump pumps.

It also learns individual devices with use, and can integrate with smart home devices, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assist, and Philips Hue to name a few. It is recommended that you have a professional install it. There also is no minimum Wattage monitoring threshold.

Who This is For
When you want a system that learns your energy uses and detects devices with up to a 2% accuracy threshold, this is a great choice.

3. Sense Energy Monitor with Solar – Best Solar Energy Monitoring

Highlights

  • Professional Installation: recommended
  • Individual Device Usage: yes
  • Features: whole home and individual appliance monitoring, quick connect app, WiFi compatible, solar monitoring

Pros

  • Highly accurate for whole-home and various device detection
  • Solar use is easy to track
  • The app is very detailed

Cons

  • May have issues picking up various devices

This Sense Energy Monitor is an upgrade from their basic home monitor and can track your solar energy collection and use. Like the original, it works to identify the energy use patterns and also allows for data collection and graphing overtime on the app and website in order to view historical trends. Customized notifications and individual tracking are all included.

Solar saving trends can also be tracked, as well as remote checking on various appliances for safety reasons. With a quick install by a professional, this is a choice well worth considering for those with solar panel energy capabilities.

Who This is For
If you have solar panels for energy use, you should carefully monitor its output in order to determine if it is working correctly, and what you are saving. This monitor is a perfect solution for easy tracking and control of how to best use energy.

4. Eyedro Home Solar & Energy Monitor – Best Energy Monitoring System App

Highlights

  • Professional Installation: DIY friendly
  • Individual Device Usage: no
  • Features: whole home and solar energy use, real-time app, WiFi compatible

Pros

  • Easy to download data
  • Easy to install and provides excellent energy tracking
  • Easy to customize

Cons

  • Doesn’t track individual devices

The Eyedro home solar and energy monitor installs easily with instructions or professionally. The clamps are easy to attach on your circuit panel and have a quick connect app via WiFi (also available with ethernet and wireless mesh systems). Monitor your energy use via an app, Amazon Echo, or on a website.

Easy to customize, you can track and view Watts, Amps, solar use, and cost easily and effectively, and watch your energy use habits to find the best plan for your home. Notifications for electrical and solar are available to help with your energy spending. It also supports net monitoring.

Who This is For
If you want to keep track of your home energy use and solar savings, this is an option that provides all the details and functions you need.

5. TOPGREENER Smart Wi-Fi Outlet with Energy Monitoring – Best Energy Monitoring Alternative

Highlights

  • Professional Installation: no
  • Individual Device Usage: yes, but not a whole home
  • Features: timer and schedule availability, smart home compatibility, energy monitoring of individual devices

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Great settings for outlet control
  • The app is user friendly

Cons

  • WiFi location connectivity needs to be kept in mind

If the cost of a full home monitoring system is more than you want to invest in, but you do want to check out the energy use for various appliances, these smart WiFi outlets are the perfect alternative. Easy to install and equipped with energy monitoring for anything plugged into it, it also can be remotely accessed via an app to help set up timers and read energy monitoring for energy tracking purposes.

Smart home device compatible, it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assist for voice activation, and can work to set up schedules for when you are away as well. The WiFi connection requires no wires and is powerful enough for home reach with no added hubs.

Who This is For
When the idea of energy monitoring appeals to you but the cost of a whole system is more than you can afford, these are the perfect solution to provide you some insight into energy usage.

What is an Energy Monitor?

Energy monitors provide a view into the inner workings of the appliances and outlets that draw energy in your home. They connect to an electricity meter and have the ability to provide various features to help you narrow down unnecessary energy draws, insight into the usage of individual appliances, and may even provide suggestions to help you be more energy efficient. To make them even more user friendly, the majority of them make wireless connections via wifi or bluetooth to an app or website.

Types of Monitors

Basically, there are two types of home monitoring systems you can use. One requires professional installation, and the other is more friendly to a do-it-yourself type attitude. However, it is important to mention that any time you are working with electricity, extreme caution and care should be taken. If you are unfamiliar with circuit breaker, or uncomfortable with the work, you should always hire somebody who knows what they are doing.

A CT, or current transformer is the most simple system and is generally a DIY project. It often only takes a half-hour to install, and simply clamps onto your two main lines. The monitor consumption patterns, and may also be able to differentiate certain individual devices as well.

A multiple circuit monitor is a bit more complicated, and does require professional installation as they include up to 24 clamps that attach to main lines and individual breaker circuits. This allows you to closely monitor each circuit, and anything plugged into it.

Features to Consider

There are actually quite a few features these systems may have, and depending on the type of information you are seeking, you will need to inform yourself of what is offered. Other than the obvious differences between a CT and multiple circuit monitor that provides a whole picture vs individual energy use, respectively, each may include other details to give you the information you are seeking.

— Appliance Recognition

These plug into your circuit breaker and can help provide insight into how various appliances use electricity. There are variances with these concerning how sensitive they are to certain types of appliances. For example, it may easily read a microwave or refrigerator, but might not distinguish between a heating pad and a toaster.

— Mobile Apps and Notification

Mobile apps and notification features are a great way to keep track of energy usage, know when there might be a problem, or help with finding patterns that provide ways to cut costs. This also may be able to help you know if there is an interruption of electricity to a certain appliance (such as a refrigerator or freezer).

— Real-Time Cost Tracking

This can be a real budget-saving feature. Tracking the energy use in association with the real-time cost can help you find what energy draws you may have, help is mindful of turning off things not in use, and also find ways to save.

— Solar Ready

If you have a solar energy source, a monitor that helps you determine solar use and how it is being used. This allows you to determine the effectiveness and learn which appliances are best used off the main power source.

— Benefits of Energy Monitoring

Energy bills only let you know what you have used and what you are paying for it. Tracking your energy allows you to have a more detailed understanding of how it is used, and you can more easily work within a budget, reduce your carbon footprint, or make certain appliances more efficient.

You may want to check out: Best Solar Motion Lights

Conclusion

Energy monitoring is a great way to not only help you save, but also reduce your environmental footprint. These options are excellent choices to help keep track of your energy use, either as a whole home grid or by individual devices. Features, such as smart home compatibility, wireless connectivity, and solar monitoring are all covered to help you pick and choose which is the best for your needs.