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Arcade Machine Electricity Usage Blog Cover Photo

How Much Electricity Does an Arcade Machine Use?

Rear view of human playing arcade machine

What better way to achieve cave nirvana than to install an arcade machine? They're the ultimate accessory for your at-home hideaway.

We've all dreamed of owning one. From games rooms to home pubs, an arcade machine takes pride of place and is the thing your mates are most likely to be jealous of.

But there is one concern if you're thinking of getting one. How much electricity does an arcade machine use? Are they expensive to run and maintain?

Both pretty sensible questions to ask before you decide to buy one. Knowing how much power they consume won't necessarily stop you from buying one, but it can help you understand what to expect and how you can manage your costs.

So how much energy does an arcade machine really use? Let's find out.

The Way Energy Use is Measured

To understand how much energy an arcade machine uses, we first have to know how energy use is measured. You'll find electrical appliances are typically given a rating in watts (W) of how much energy they consume per second.

Another useful rating is kilowatt-hours (kWh), which measures how much energy the appliance needs each hour. One kilowatt is a thousand watts, so if something has a rating of 1 kWh, it will require 1,000 watts to run for an hour.

So how does this translate to what you pay? By measuring the energy use of an appliance, like an arcade machine, you can compare it to your energy bill. Multiply the energy consumption by the cost per kWh set by your energy provider.

If you have a
smart electricity meter, that's one way you can measure how much energy an appliance uses. Turn off other appliances and check on your meter how much power is being consumed by the one you left on.

Do Arcade Machines Use a Lot of Electricity?

So you know how energy use is measured. But do arcade machines use much electricity or are they fairly low-energy? Arcade machines are made up of a number of different parts, all requiring energy to keep them working in sync.

That means that the type of arcade machine and the components it has can affect how much energy it uses.

On average, a traditional arcade game will require about 500-1,000 watts. The exact amount of energy used will depend on a variety of factors. The components in the machine, how often you play it, whether you leave it turned on and more can all affect the electricity required by your arcade machine.

Newer electronic gaming machines, like those you might see in pubs and clubs, have an average power consumption of
100-250 watts. These are required to have a power save mode when used in businesses in some locations. This makes modern reproduction arcade units a little more affordable to run.

When compared to more modern gaming options, arcade games consume a fair amount more energy. For example, a Nintendo Switch needs 10-18 watts, while an Xbox One X uses about 65-180 watts.

Arcade Machines in a row

How Much Does It Cost to Run an Arcade Machine?

It's useful to know how much energy an arcade machine uses, but it's even more handy to have a good idea of how much it will cost to run. Knowing the energy consumption in theory isn't that useful if you don't know what that will mean for your electricity bill.

Obviously, not everyone pays the same for electricity. But you can easily check what your energy provider charges you so that you can work out how much an arcade machine could cost to run.

Let's say your arcade game uses 200 watts, which means it would take 5 hours to use up one kilowatt. The
average cost of energy in many states is somewhere around 26-28 cents per kWh. So that's how much it would cost to run your arcade game for 5 hours. Of course, if you have an older arcade game that uses more energy, it's going to cost you more. A unit that requires 1kWh of energy will cost between $1.30 and $1.40 for each hour.

It's important to know how much you're paying for electricity if you want to work out how much an arcade game will cost you to run. The maths is simple but you have to know what numbers you're working with first.

Other Costs to Consider

The cost of electricity isn't the only thing to think about if you want to get an arcade machine. Remember that you'll also have to think about the cost of buying and maintaining the machine.

Depending on what you're looking for, a new machine could cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or even more. But lots of things will make a difference to the price, including the size and functionality. You'll also need to think about associated costs like shipping and installation.

How to Save Energy When You Own an Arcade Machine

Arcade machines aren't too expensive to run. But if you want to save energy, either to save money or be eco-friendly, there are things you can do.

  • Check the energy consumption before buying – Make sure you know what to expect from your new machine and how much energy it will use

  • Power off your machine – Not using your machine? Turn it off to save energy.

  • Take care of your arcade machine – Good maintenance keeps your machine running smoothly

  • Create the right environment – Good ventilation helps to keep arcade games in good condition. It's also a good idea to maintain temperature control to prevent any problems with your machine.

Realise Your Arcade Dream

Don't let worries about energy consumption stop you from adding an arcade machine to your home.

Many are low-energy appliances and there are multiple ways to save energy too. Spend some time thinking about your budget before you buy so you have a good grasp of the costs when you're choosing the right machine for you.