Do Holiday Inflatables Use A Lot Of Electricity?

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Christmas decorations for the outside of your home used to be a lot more simple – just string up a few colored lights and you were good to go.

Now, there are a whole host of different options for the outside of your home, including Christmas inflatables that sit in your yard or garden. Whether it’s a plump Santa or a cute reindeer, there are a lot of holiday inflatables that can definitely help you win the best decorated home in your neighborhood.

christmas decor

But how much energy do they use, and how much is it likely going to cost you to add some inflatables to your Christmas scene? Let’s take a look.

Do Inflatables Use a Lot of Electricity?

Holiday inflatables tend to use between 100 and 240 watts, with an average of around 140 watts. The wattage is determined by the motor used to inflate the decoration, including how efficient it is and how large it is.

That’s important to note because it’s not the actual size of the inflatable which matters. If you are provided with an inefficient and unnecessarily large blower for your inflatable, it might use more watts than needed to keep the decoration fully inflated.

Inflatables tend to use a lot of electricity because they need constant inflation. They aren’t designed to be blown up once and then left alone – instead, they work the same as a bounce house, where the motor is constantly running to keep it inflated. 

It doesn’t pop because there are small vents allowing just enough air out, which helps to keep the decoration upright.

Unfortunately, most holiday inflatables don’t publish the information on how many watts they use, so it can be hard to check before you buy. You can check the one that you already own though – often the information is printed on the blower, and if it isn’t then you could use a wattmeter to find out.

A wattmeter is a useful investment for your home since it lets you determine how much power your inflatable decor really is using. And you can quickly recoup the costs of a wattmeter once you realize which devices are costing you the most that you can then switch off when not in use.

Poniie PN2000 Watt Meter

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How Much Do Holiday Inflatables Cost To Run?

At an average cost of $0.14 per kilowatt hour, and assuming an average inflatable running at 140 watt-hours per hour, a typical holiday inflatable will cost you $0.02 per hour to run.

That might not sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up. If you were to leave your inflatable running all night for 12 hours, that becomes $0.24 per night.

And then over the course of the whole month of December, that then becomes $7.44. And that’s if you’re only using one holiday inflatable. Most people have more Christmas decorations than a single inflatable, and so you need to tally the cost of everything together.

snowman family inflatable decor

Inflatables aren’t necessarily the worst offender when it comes to Christmas decorations – if you have a particularly long set of Christmas lights, they might use up to 500 watts – it tends to average at around 1 watt per foot of lights, and some longer strings do run up to 500 feet to cover a whole home and yard.

So if you were to have 500 feet of lights and two inflatables, you’re looking at a total cost of around 11 cents per hour, which then becomes $1.32 per night or over $40 for the month of December.

Therefore it’s important to think carefully about your decoration plans, and how much you’re comfortable spending on holiday decorations not just when you buy them, but when you use them as well. $40 is the cost of a quality gift for a family member, so think about your budget.

santa train inflatable decor

Of course, remember that these figures are all based on averages – your inflatables may use more or less power, and your electricity cost will likely vary. Across the US it tends to run from around $0.09 to $0.28 per kilowatt hour, depending on where you live.

If you want to keep a close eye on your electricity bills, then you can work out the cost of the inflatable yourself. Once you know the wattage, divide that by 1,000 to get the kilowatt hours. So a 140-watt inflatable uses 0.14 kilowatt-hours.

Then multiply this by your electricity rate to get the hourly cost.

Holiday Inflatable Running Cost Calculator

To work out how much your holiday inflatable is costing in just a few seconds, you can use this free calculator tool:

The Most Energy-Efficient Holiday Inflatables To Buy

As I’ve said, it is often hard to find the information on how many watts a particular inflatable uses – it’s information that is rarely published in a product description.

Having said that, you can make some assumptions based on the size of the inflatable – as it is often closely linked to the size of the blower that is provided.

If you do buy the biggest inflatables, then you’ll either be using a lot of electricity, or you’ll be left with something that doesn’t fully inflate and looks a bit sad, really.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations for smaller holiday inflatables that won’t use a lot of electricity. They might not be the most efficient, but they’re a safer bet.

1. Six-Foot Inflatable Penguin

This inflatable penguin is only 6 feet tall, which tends to be the height for most of the smaller inflatables (which can go as high as 20+ feet if you want to be extravagant). It’s a cute and unique option that is reviewed well, although it does inflate slowly initially – which is a sign that the blower is not too powerful, and therefore may use less electricity.

2. Christmas Yoda Inflatable

If you’re looking for something more niche and quirky, then this baby Yoda (or Grogu, to give it the correct name) is just 3.5 feet tall, so it doesn’t require much power at all to keep it fully inflated. It is still holiday themed – it has a candy cane after all.

3. Inflatable Christmas Ball

While I said that all holiday inflatables require constant inflation, this is an exception. These decorations only need inflating once, which can save you a lot of money. They do have LED lights, but they’re rechargeable, so only need plugging into an outlet every 9-12 hours for a quick recharge.

How Many Inflatables On One Outlet?

The number of holiday inflatables you can power from one outlet depends on their wattage. 1200 watts per extension cord is usually a reasonable limit – if your inflatables exceed that, use another outlet. Don’t daisy-chain extension cords either as this can be unsafe.

The Bottom Line

Because a lot of the holiday inflatable decorations you can buy are made cheaply outside the US, there aren’t as many regulations on making it clear how much electricity they use before you buy them, which is a little frustrating.

Having said that, because we know the motors used we can estimate a usage of around 100-240 watts, and while that’s a wide range, it’s between 1.4 and 3.36 cents per hour – so not huge sums. Of course, it does add up over the course of a whole month.

I would recommend a wattmeter if you do want to carefully track your bills. That way, if your inflatables are using a lot of power, you can make sure to switch them off overnight to save money.

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