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DIY Kyoto The Wattson review

Boost your green credentials with the Wattson – a household energy meter that also looks rather cool

This is the year of the green gadget. While some are paying plenty of lip service to rake in the eco pound others, however altruistic the intent, are about as attractive as a lentil mobile. Seen the Bayliss eco player? We rest our case.

The guys behind The Wattson, however, have it sussed: take a simple planet-saving concept and make the design gorgeous enough that any self-(and planet-) respecting gadget-lover will include it in their home set-up.

Are friends electric?

The concept is simple – the Wattson (as in what watts are on) measures household energy consumption in real time and displays it via a rather lovely LED display in either pounds sterling or wattage.

If you are dyslexic or just want a simple ready reckoner, the Wattson can be switched to display your power guzzling in glowing lights – pulsating blue for “eco hero” to angry red for “polar bear killer”.

Set-up is incredibly easy, and instructions are friendly (and on recycled paper, natch). Simply clip on the supplied, battery-powered transmitter to either of the two cables coming from your electricity meter to the fusebox, place the undeniably sexy base unit in your house (up to 30m through walls, 100m through air) and watch your wattage rack up.

The numbers game

Obviously, the idea is to reduce your energy consumption, and Wattson provides a slightly horrifying running tally on the amount of power your assembled gadgets and home appliances are sucking from Mother Earth’s teat.

For those whose money-saving instincts are further advanced than any eco sensibility, switching to the pounds display helps to translate the information into real terms.

The real fun, however, come from dashing around your home, switching on and off your various power-suckers and watching your yearly electricity spend rollercoaster. Turn everything from standby to off, for example, and you could save up to £50. Never use your washing machine again, sit in the dark and watch the money roll in.

What’s more, download some simple software from the site and you can monitor your consumption for up to 60 days, and share the information with the Wattson massive.

Grand design

Call us shallow, but the deciding element in Wattson bagging its final star had to be the savvy styling. Not only does it perform its tasks admirably, it does it with a suaveness that many eco gadgets seem almost embarrassed to possess – from the retro-cool LED display to the soft, glowing mood lighting, it’s an exercise in getting design just right.

There’s even a bamboo and acrylic version that could take pride of place in your eco-pad for £350. Suddenly becoming green seems a much more attractive prospect.

Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5