In the context of phone apps, is there a difference between these words? How about in other contexts?

  • bkrs: 费电 1) v.o. consume a lot of electricity 2) n. power-consuming 耗电(Ru)electricity consumption,consumption of electric energy, consuming electricity.#52807 from which it appears that the former implies negative judgment
    – user6065
    Jun 26, 2018 at 11:40
  • naturally 耗 consume, use up; waste, squander also can have negative connotation, but it seems with 耗电 it prevalently has a neutral meaning, cf. iciba: 一些极为节能的冰箱比传统型号耗电减少70%。晶体管式高频发生器, 加热速度快, 效率高, 耗电少
    – user6065
    Jun 26, 2018 at 12:06
  • cf. 費力 to waste one's efforts. Otherwise 費 is simply expenditure. Jun 26, 2018 at 17:19
  • 費力 doesn't mean 'waste one's efforts' , '浪費氣力/ 白費氣力' does. 費力 just mean "laborious" tw.dictionary.search.yahoo.com/search?p=laborious
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 27, 2018 at 5:11

4 Answers 4


Simply, 费电 means waste the electricity, 耗电 means consume the electricity.

  • seems to confirm comments #1,2
    – user6065
    Jun 26, 2018 at 15:48

费 in 费电 means "spend/ cost"

耗 in 耗电 means "consume/ use up"

cost $24 worth of electricity a year = 每年花()24美元的電力

consume 5000kw of electricity a year = 每年消()5000千瓦的電力

'费电' doesn't mean 'waste electricity'; '浪費電力' does

费 = spend

浪費 = wastefully spend = waste

  • Ok thanks, so if I say 这个app很费电/耗电 ... is there any difference between these two? Which way is more commonly used? Jun 27, 2018 at 8:14
  • You can say 费电 focus on the amount of electricity that's being spent ; 耗电 focus on the amount of electricity that is being consumed' ( sounds similar enough) . 耗电 is more common in the region I live,
    – Tang Ho
    Jun 27, 2018 at 8:29

It depends on the context you're using these words. If you say something is "费电", take it as adj., then it mainly means the device consumed a lot of electricity. Sometimes, if you take it as a verb, then it means the device is consuming (usually, a lot of) electricity. So from these, you may see "费电" is commonly derogatory. While "耗电" is just a neutral word, which is used to describe the power consumption. For example, this device "耗电" 1kw. This is a just neutral description. However, if you use an adjective word, like "很(pretty much)", before "耗电", then it also become a derogatory word which means it consumes a lot of power. So if you're try to pick a word in phone app, in most of case, I suggest "耗电". For example, tap the button of "耗电排行(Power Ranking)", to show a list of apps with their power consumption statistics.


In the context of phone apps, 这个app很费电 vs 这个app很耗电: there is a subtle difference.

这个app很费电 sounds that the App consumes more power than you think it's necessary. It can be a way of complaining.

这个app很耗电 is neutral. It sounds that the App consume lots of power, which is necessary by its nature. For example, a camera App is generally considered as more power-consuming App. You will accept its consumption because it's the common sense.

In practice, people might not really care about the nuance and sometimes they use them interchangeably.

I think that nuance applies to other contexts as well. For example, we say: 空调很耗电的, it's the common sense that AC consumes more power than other household appliances, so you wouldn't complain about it. On the other hand, 这空调很费电的 sounds like this AC consumes more power than any other ACs(consume more than it's necessary). The latter sentence can be a complaining.

Hope this would help you.

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