Efergy Ego Wireless Power Meter Review
The Efergy Ego is a new type of wireless power meter and power usage controller.
Conventional plug in power meters
We have been selling 'conventional' plug-in power meters since they first came onto the market.
The Steplight Power Meter is still one of our most popular products thanks to its low price and high accuracy.
However, this meter does have some limitations. For example:
- It only tracks one number for cumulative total power consumed (kWh);
- It has no facility to download or further analyse the data;
- You can't use it for other purposes such as controlling power usage.
The Efergy Ego smart socket
The main appeal of the Efergy Ego is that it effectively performs the function of a power meter as well as acting as a timer or standby power controller. And it does so using a quality display screen that you already use anyway (your smart phone or tablet).
In other words, after you have checked your appliance power usage you'll still have an additional ongoing use for the smart socket device.
How it works - remote monitoring & control
The Efergy Ego smart socket connects to the internet using your existing wireless network. During set-up you'll be prompted to enter your wireless network's password.
You can then tap into the data (which is encrypted) using any smart phone or tablet that you have 'paired' with the smart socket. You can even have multiple devices all connected to the same set of power sockets (for example, different family members may each want to have access).
Once the devices are linked, you can then monitor and control the various sockets in your home. If this level of functionality is not for you, you can always 'lock' the sockets and prevent them from being turned on and off by others who have been granted access.
Unlike other network-enabled wireless energy monitors, the Efergy Ego is physically fully self-contained. It does not require a separate "hub" or "bridge" device. This makes it really easy to set-up and use.
Simply download the app, plug the socket in, and follow the instructions on your screen.
Efergy Ego accuracy
Many power meters on the market are known to perform poorly when measuring certain types of appliances. They can have difficulty calculating actual wattage due to the difference between 'real' and 'apparent' power. This is why it's important to test a device's accuracy on a wide range of loads.
I put the Efergy Ego through its paces against our highest accuracy plug-in power meter, the Power-Mate Lite.
I started by testing the Efergy on a refrigerator over 24 hours. The results were impressive, as the Power Mate Lite and Efergy recorded virtually the same result (as shown below, 0.636kWh).
Next up I tested a load of washing (cold wash). Again, the results were very close (0.141kWh vs 0.139kWh), the slight variation seen here is still well under 5% of total power consumption:
Even when the power was over-stated by a large degree, which happens from time to time, the kWh reading was correct. If your primary concern is accuracy in reading the instantaneous power draw at any given time, we recommend using the Steplight Power Meter or Power Mate Lite.
Also - the Efergy Ego screen only updates once every 5 to 10 seconds. If a faster update is important to you, you may prefer one of the other meters mentioned above.
More screenshots from the App
The App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play, which means it works on iPhone, iPad as well as most Android devices. See the Efergy Ego product page for links.
One of the most exciting features of the App is the power usage chart over the previous 24 hours. This allows you to analyse actual power usage in far more detail than regular power meters.
For example, after monitoring my refrigerator for a few days I was surprised to see a usage spike over-night. After inspecting the fridge I discovered the door had been left cracked open over-night. You can clearly see a 'normal' usage profile for the fridge (below left) vs. the one when the door was left open (below right).
This wasn't a fault (I just closed the door), but it shows how easily you can pinpoint problems and issues with power usage around your home.
The main display screen on the App tracks instantaneous power usage in watts (W), total usage over the last 24 hours (kWh), and estimated weekly cost ($).
You can also view a separate cost screen which shows estimated cost per month and year (see below).
I should add that you can easily adjust the cost settings with your actual electricity tariff. You should do this immediately on set-up as the default setting is an unrealistic $1.00/kWh - whereas your tariff is likely to be closer to $0.30/kWh.
Further test results and other functionality
To minimise energy consumption I normally turn off my wireless network over-night. I was concerned that this may cause the Efergy Ego to drop out when the network was re-started in the morning. Thankfully, this did not occur. The app on my iPad simply picked up the connection as if it had been there the whole time.
Despite the wireless network being off over-night the historical chart was still up to date when I checked it in the morning. The socket continued to log data over-night and just updated the app once it had a new connection in the morning.
Other functionality of the device (which I have not yet tested in detail, but by all accounts should work as promised) include:
- Timer mode - The timer feature can be used to automatically turn sockets on and off at pre-set times throughout the day. This is particularly useful when away on holiday (you can program a couple of lamps or a radio to switch on and off).
- Standby mode - Once the ego learns the standby power of an appliance it will then recognise the appliance is "on" only when it’s power reading is above 1.5. This feature can be used to automatically turn appliances off after a period of time in standby.
Grouping and naming appliances - If you buy multiple Efergy Ego sockets you can group and name them on the app. You can link up to 100 sockets to the app, but that could get expensive!
How much power does it use?
All this functionality does use a little extra power, but it's not much when you consider how much more control over your energy consumption the device gives you.
During testing I found the device typically used about 2.4W of power, which is relatively low. To put this into perspective, if the Efergy Ego was left switched on 24/7 for a whole year, the total operating cost would be about $6 per year (at $0.30/kWh).
So, using a couple of sockets on key appliances is well worth it, just don't install scores of them or you'll start to defeat the purpose of monitoring your energy consumption in the first place!
Further Details and Order Online: Efergy Ego smart power socket and app