What’s the difference between a smart meter and an energy monitor?

image of a smart meter (L) and an energy monitor (R)

Hmm, it seems to us that there’s a bit of confusion when it comes to smart energy-monitoring tech. It’s time to set the record straight and explore exactly what a smart meter is – and find out what makes it so different from an energy monitor…

Chances are, you’ve already heard – courtesy of those loveable rogues, Gaz and Leccy – about the smart meter rollout? Yes, this is the UK government’s plan to make sure each and every existing gas and electricity meter, across the country, is replaced with a shiny, new, super-efficient meter – by 2020.

What is a smart meter?

You know your gas and electricity meters that live alone, tucked away in the dark, dusty cupboard under the stairs? The ones you only ever think about when someone comes round to read them every now and then?

an image showing what different types of smart meter look like

Photo credits (clockwise L-R): Christopher Corneschi, Portland General Electric and Dwight Burdette

Well, soon (if not already) these will be replaced by smart meters. These smart meters will still look a bit like your old gas and electricity meters – unlike your previous meters though, they will be able to send your energy use data, in real time, directly to your energy supplier.

This means, not only will your gas and electricity suppliers know exactly how much energy you’ve used, they’ll also be able to give you an accurate bill at the end of each month – meaning no more incorrect, estimated bills and no more having to take the day off work for someone to stop by and take your meter reading.

So, how do energy monitors fit into all this?

What is an energy monitor?

When you get your smart meter installed, you’ll also get your very own energy monitor. If you’re really lucky, you might even be given one that’s made by us here at geo HQ – like this one in the image below.

geo trio ii smart energy monitor

An energy monitor – or an in-home-display (IHD) as it’s sometimes called – is a handy, little device that shows you (in either £££s, kWh or both) exactly how much energy you’re using in your home.

Essentially, your energy monitor takes the info that your smart meter collects – and displays it for you in an easy-to-read way. This means, even if your smart meter is tucked out of sight under the stairs, you’ll still have your energy monitor to hand to help you keep track of your energy use. To get the most out of your energy monitor, we recommend placing it somewhere visible (think your kitchen worktop or mantelpiece) so that you can’t help but glance at it each time you walk past.

Most energy monitors will let you see your current and past energy use figures, some even let you set yourself a monthly energy budget. Once configured, you’ll be able to see, day-by-day, whether you’re on track to come in under, or over, budget for that month. That way you won’t end up with any nasty surprises when your monthly bill arrives. Phew!

Got any more questions?

We hope that’s helped explain how smart meters and energy monitors work. For more info on smart meters, take a look at the Smart Energy GB website. And, if you’re interested in being among the first to get a smart meter installed in your home, please get in touch with your energy supplier for more information.


  • David Cutter says:

    I am looking for a meter that will record the history of heating a room. I want to see all the on periods and all the off periods and the accumulated energy spent. Do you have a meter that will do this?

    • Michelle Harrison says:

      Thanks for the question, David. No, we don’t currently have a product like this. The closest we have is our Cosy smart thermostat which controls your home heating. The app includes a screen with temperature graphs which give you an overview of your home temperature and heating settings for the past 30 days. You can find out more info about Cosy by clicking here. Thanks 🙂 Michelle

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