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Difference Between kWh and kW

kWh vs kW

A kW (kilowatt) and kWh (kilowatt-hour) are two units that we often encounter when we talk about electrical appliances like air-conditioning units, coffee makers, and others. What do they actually mean and how do they apply to our daily lives? Actually, kW is a unit of power and is the amount of power that an appliance will consume when turned on. You will see this on the specifications of your appliance. For example, a 1.5 hp air-conditioning unit may consume around 1.3kW. “kWh” is a measurement of work and directly translates to your electric bill. It is displayed on your bill and is the total amount of electricity that you consumed.

The relationship between kW and kWh is pretty simple. You get the kWh consumed by multiplying the kW rating by how many hours it was used. So for the air-conditioning unit mentioned above, if you use it for 2 hours, you will add 2.6kWh to your bill. If you used a fan that only consumes 0.1kW for the same time, you will only increase your consumption by 0.2kWh.

Something you should take note of is that the kW rating listed on appliances is the maximum that it will consume. There are appliances that will consume pretty close to this but most often consume less. The electric fan mentioned above would consume 0.1kW when set at the highest speed but may only consume 0.05kW when set at the lowest speed. Even the power consumption of TVs can be reduced by reducing the brightness level although not as much.

An important point about kW is that most devices, even extension cords, have a maximum kW rating. You should avoid plugging in multiple appliances with very high kW ratings into the same outlets or on extension cords as that can cause overloading and start a fire.

To sum it up, the kW rating is the maximum amount of electricity that an electrical appliance will consume. When you multiply that with the number of hours it was operating, you get the maximum power consumption which is what you will pay for. You can reduce your electric bill by reducing the length of usage time or by setting it at a lower level than the maximum.


1.The term “kW” is a measurement of power while “kWh” is a measurement of work.
2.A kilowatt-hour is equivalent to the kWh rating multiplied by the time in hours.
3.“kW” is important to prevent overloading.
4.The kW rating is the peak consumption, and the kWh consumption may be less.

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