Can You Leave Powered Speakers On? Pros And Cons

    With the way our homes have been set up, most of our electronics run for 24 hours and only get switched off if there is a power outage. However, can this affect and potentially damage your speakers?


    While leaving the speaker on is the easiest option, this should not be the case. Besides the high electricity bill you are probably accruing, leaving your speakers on throughout will slowly decrease their lifespan. This cuts across both passive and powered speakers, whose differences you can learn at

    Why Leaving Your Speakers on is Bad

    Though your speakers are technically switched off,  they are using electricity by still being plugged in. They, therefore, continue to generate an electrical current. This is the reason why your speaker may still feel warm even though it is not powered on, and why your speaker feels warm when the volume is very loud.


    There are many reasons why leaving your speakers powered on is a huge mistake. Some of them include:

    Increases Power Usage

    As alluded to before, leaving your speakers on throughout the day or night consumes a lot of power.


    Simply put, different speakers come with different efficiencies, and this determines the sound to heat ratio being produced by an amplifier. Speakers with cheaper amplifiers usually use more power when compared to their high-end counterparts.


    You can easily test how much power your speakers using a Kill-A-Watt meter, which is a device that measures how much power a device is using. To use it, plug it into the power outlet and connect your device to it. After it is done reading, it will calculate in kWh how much power your speaker has used.


    For your speaker to not use any electricity, they will need to be completely powered off.


    Heat is your speaker’s public enemy number one as it slowly damages the circuits and components in your speakers, especially in powered speakers. The longer you keep your speakers on, the faster they deteriorate.

    Power surges

    Electric outages in an area can affect the amount of power that comes back when electricity returns. This can cause power surges, which can negatively affect home devices like your speakers.


    Many amplifiers are designed with measures to protect them from the effects of power surges. However, even with these safety features, leaving your speaker powered on, especially in an area with common power outages is unwise. Powering off your speakers instead of just switching them off will protect your devices during power outages.


    In addition, power surges can increase the risk of fire, and having your device powered on increases the risk of malfunctioning and causing a fire. According to the U.S Fire Administration, electric malfunctions contribute to approximately 6.8 % of home fires. This may seem like a small percentage, but no one would like to be part of it.

    Mean Time Between Failures

    Mean Time Between Failures or MBTF refers to the number of times a device or system has failed during normal operating hours. You can find your MBTF in the manual of your speaker or in the manufacturer’s website.


    For example, if you see MBTF:3000, this means that your speakers only have 3000 hours of optimal performance. Once these hours lapse, you are not guaranteed that the speaker will continue to function optimally.


    Speakers still perform even after the MBTF time elapses. Therefore, keeping your speakers on will end up reducing your device’s lifespan.

    Affects the Environment

    In recent years, the focus has intensified on reducing carbon emissions. Electric consumption increases carbon emissions. One way to reduce carbon emissions is to reduce phantom energy, also known as standby power or phantom load.


    Phantom energy refers to the electricity that continues to be consumed when electrical devices are switched off and not unplugged. Unplugging your speakers is beneficial for the environment.


    In addition, phantom energy is a waste of electricity because power is being consumed, but no one is using it.

    Increases Your Energy Costs

    Leaving your devices powered increases your energy costs. If you properly monitor your electric bills, you will notice that unplugging your devices actually reduces your electricity bill.

    Benefits of Leaving Your Speakers on

    The only benefit to leaving your speakers on is based on the myth that keeping electronics powered on will help them ‘burn-in’, which stretches out the speakers’ materials. The belief is that this will help the speakers perform better. However, there is no proof this actually improves the performance of a speaker.

    In Conclusion

    Unplugging your devices is a fantastic habit to form. The benefits of unplugging outweigh the ease of leaving them powered on. It may seem like such a small thing to do, but it makes a huge difference.


    You will be protecting your speakers and other devices, reducing your electricity bill, reducing wastage of energy, ultimately reducing carbon emissions, and protecting the environment.

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