Review: Standby Saver

Browsing around Tesco on my lunch break today, I picked up a Standby Saver for £20. I’d seen it pitched on Dragons’ Den, and the box boasts of an average electricity saving of £37 per year, which seemed like a decent enough saving given the price of the unit.

At first glance, the Standby Saver looks much like any other 6-way power adaptor. Closer inspection reveals a small headphone-like socket (into which connects the supplied infrared receiver), an LED and a recessed push switch.

Standby Saver

The first thing to do is unplug your devices (for me, the TV, Freesat box, PS3, Wii, CD player and amplifier) from the mains and plug them into the Standby Saver. At this point I should mention that two of the six plugs are switched, so you can use them either as “mains” (e.g. for a Sky+ box or DVD recorder which obviously must remain on to record programs) or “standby” which means that, like the other four sockets, they will be powered down when the Standby Saver is in “standby” mode.

The next step is to plug the unit into the mains, switch it on at the wall, wait a few seconds, then and then push down the recessed “mode” button (the setup guide advises against using anything metallic, which is probably good advice as you’re fairly close to mains electricity – I went for a matchstick) until the LED turns red. Then point the remote at the supplied IR receiver, press the button on your remote (I chose the standby button on my TV remote) twice to set the “on” command, and then press the “off” button (I again went for the TV “standby” button, although you can use different commands for on and off if you wish). And that’s it… theoretically!

Unfortunately I had some problems getting started, which required a visit to the Troubleshooting section of the Standby Saver website. The instructions don’t mention this, but the LED was green when I first switched the unit on (it shouldn’t be illuminated at all) meaning that I had to follow the eight-step guide from the website before I was able to perform the above setup process successfully.

Once the setup is complete, the devices plugged into the four main switches (and either of the two switched ones, if the switches are in “Standby” position) should be completely powered off (as if they were unplugged from the mains). I pressed the Standby button on my TV remote and my devices sprung to life. Pressing Standby again powered everything off. Simples!

I found that “power off” can be a bit finicky – my TV (a Samsung 32″ LCD) reacts to the “standby” button before the Standby Saver, so if I don’t hold down the standby button for long enough to power everything off, the TV goes into standby and everything else stays on. A second push of the button remedies this though.

So, for those reasons, I’m out… no wait, I’m in… and I give the Standby Saver 9 out of 10. Despite the initial frustration in setting it up, it does what it says on the tin, although only time will tell whether it has made the advertised difference to my electricity bills. The two switchable sockets are a nice feature, and the Standby Saver’s clever way of “piggybacking” onto the signal from the chosen remote means that you don’t have to leave a “master” device (e.g. a TV) in standby at all times. A friend has a similar device that instead monitors the power draw of his LCD TV and when the the device believes the TV is in standby, it drops power to his connected devices. Unfortunately this means that if the screen goes dark for a few seconds due to whatever video source he is using, it drops the power!

I should point out that there’s also a USB version of the Standby Saver available, which I haven’t tried but appears to work in a similar way: instead of the IR receiver, it has a USB lead, which is plugged into your PC or laptop. When machine is powered off, the Standby Saver detects this and drops power to connected peripherals.

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    10 comments on “Review: Standby Saver

    1. Thugee says:

      My experience is that a high proportion of these units are supplied faulty. In addition the use of a rather small mechanical relay will result in a short life, particularly for heavy loads.

    2. Chris Barnes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Thugee – that’s interesting to know. I haven’t had any problems with my unit as yet, so fingers crossed!

    3. Jun Kerr says:

      I’ve seen another product which does the same as this called a Savasocket. It looks a lot slicker too.

    4. Chris Barnes says:

      Thanks Jun – I checked out the Savasocket website ( and it looks like it’s based on the same technology but has a more modern-looking design as you say. I still think I prefer the more compact Standby Saver but it’s good to have alternatives, although I noticed that the Savasocket isn’t available yet and there’s no pricing information currently available.

    5. SavaSocket says:

      The SavaSocket is now available to buy online at – The most energy efficient standby saver in the world at 0.19watt.

    6. Andy says:

      Hi, thanks for the review. I’m interested to know how this operates with the PS3. Surely you have to power-down the PS3 (or put it into standby) before you power-down the Standby Saver? I can forsee incidents where members of my family will put the Standby Saver into standby mode before powering down the PS3 gracefully – which it doesn’t like. Any thoughts?

    7. Chris Barnes says:

      Hi Andy, thanks for your comment.

      The Standby Saver simply cuts the power to all sockets (apart from two switchable sockets if they are in “always on” mode) – it has no way of asking any device to power down gracefully. So if you can’t guarantee that everyone will remember to shut down the PS3 properly before putting the Standby Saver in standby mode, I’d recommend that you plug the PS3 into one of the “always on” sockets.

    8. Andy says:

      Ah, as I thought. Many thanks Chris.

    9. Otto says:

      On my unit here is no ‘mode ‘ button. Where is it on your image? And all sockets are always on altho the led lights seem to work on remote control action. My unit does not work at all.

    10. Chris Barnes says:

      Hi Otto, I think I was referring to the two green toggle switches that aren’t specifically labelled “mode” but allow you to select between “mains” (always on) and “standby” (on and off with the remote, like the other sockets). The fact that the sockets aren’t switching on and off with the remote suggests that the unit isn’t programmed correctly to your remote, unless you have a faulty unit. Good luck!

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