Energy labels decoded

Make sense of the new energy labels with our handy infographic!

01 Apr 2022

Energy labels explained: what do they really mean?

Why have we changed them? And how do they look now? Find out here...

If you've ever been shopping for an appliance, you might have noticed that some of them are assigned a special energy efficiency rating. Well, that system has been revamped by the government. So, in March 2021, energy labels on our products in-store and online changed.

The new system is designed to be less confusing and more helpful than the old one. That's because we've moved from a system that ranged from A+++ to F, to one that simply goes from A to G.

Why have an EU energy label?

Energy labels are there to help you make an informed choice when you're shopping- and that's true whether you're in the UK or the EU. An appliance with a low energy rating is less energy efficient than one with a high rating. So, if you buy a piece of tech with a G rather than an A rating, you could end up spending more on your electricity bill. And, of course, it's not as nice to the planet either!

Why did they get rid of the A++ energy rating?

Back when energy labels were first introduced 20 years ago, the rating system was fairly simple. An A for the most energy efficient appliances and F for the least. But things got a little more complicated as new, more efficient products started coming out. That's how we've ended up with ratings of A+, A++ and even A+++ in the mix.

As appliances got better over time, more and more ended up in the A+ to A+++ category. That made things confusing, since it was harder to tell which appliances actually used less energy. This new change cuts out the confusion. Now appliances are rated from A to G - nice and easy!

Energy labels decoded

So what do these new labels look like? Here's a steer on all those different symbols and what they mean!

A to G rating

On the left-hand side of the label you'll see a scale with different colours from deep green for A all the way through to red for G. A is the most energy efficient and G is the least. To find out what energy rating the tech you're looking at has, check the black pointer symbol next to the scale.

QR code

A QR code is a patterned black and white square and you'll see it in the top right-hand corner of the label. When you focus your phone's camera on it, it'll give you a link. And when you follow that link, you'll get loads of in-depth info about the tech's energy rating.

Energy consumption

Beneath the scale you'll see a number with a measurement next to it. How the tech's energy efficiency is rated will change from category to category. So a TV's measurement would be different to a dishwasher's, for example. Most will base that number on 100 cycles using that piece of tech - like how much energy a washing machine uses over 100 washes.

More detail

Below the energy consumption rating you'll see a whole bunch of different symbols. Again, which symbols you see will depend on what type of tech you're buying. Take a fridge freezer- you'd see info about the volume of all the fridge compartments, the volume of all the freezer compartments and it would tell you how noisy the fridge is too.

If you've got any more questions, just check out the handy energy efficiency rating page on our website.

Which energy labels have changed?

Not all tech has energy labels. And some types of appliances never introduced the A to A+++ ratings. So the ones that have changed are:

  • fridges

  • washing machines

  • washer dryers

  • wine coolers

  • dishwashers

  • TVs

  • PC monitors

  • gaming monitors

If you want to go a little more in-depth on exactly how it'll work with your kitchen kit, take a look at our guide to the energy rating on kitchen appliances.

Eco friendly means wallet friendly

Washer dryers, dishwashers and fridge freezers contribute a large chunk to household energy consumption throughout the year, so consider a machine that uses less power to do the job. Greener tech with a high energy rating can cost as much as 50% less to run annually than a lower rated appliance. So, while an eco-efficient machine may cost a little more at the start, it'll help the planet and save you more in the long run.

What can you do to be greener?

There are plenty of little things you can do to save energy. If you're going out, make sure all the lights are off and devices are taken off standby where possible. Fridge freezers and home security systems might always need to be on. But TVs, sound systems and even chargers still use energy even when not in use - so it's good to check that they're 'off off'.

Tip: many washing machines and washer dryers have an 'eco' mode that uses less energy and water to clean your laundry, so it's worth looking out for. And if laundry day is a warm one, hang your washing out on the line instead of tumble drying it. It'll smell super fresh and save you plenty on energy bills.

Related in What to buy

What to consider when buying a laptop for your child

11 Jul 2022

How to set up your perfect workspace

04 Jul 2022

Top 10 gifts for Father's Day

25 May 2022

Treat your kids to top summer tech

20 May 2022

Five Mother’s Day gift ideas that aren’t flowers or chocolates

15 Mar 2022