'Power Savers' - save electricity with $5 gadget?

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There are countless examples of these electricity 'power savers', and almost without exception, they don't work.  Any gadget you can just plug into a power outlet will not save you a cent.  Larger (and more expensive) versions that wire into your switchboard will save you twice as much.  The typical cost is from $5 or so up to several $hundred for those designed to be wired into a switchboard.
Note that this guide does not apply to switches that disconnect appliances from the mains, nor to other products that are designed to turn off appliances that are not in use.  This guide it to warn you about simple 'plug-in' devices that have no power outlet (socket), only the plug.  Most have one or more indicators to "show you it's saving power". In reality, it's actually costing you a small amount to operate!
There have been several cases in Australia where Fair Trading has prosecuted vendors of 'power savers' because the items they sell are fraudulent.  ebay has countless vendors selling these devices, despite the fact that they have been proven not to work.
The way these devices claim to work is by improving the power factor of motors, but they either do nothing useful or make things worse with most other household appliances.  It's outside the scope of a buying guide to try to explain power factor, but household electricity meters only register power, and these silly boxes don't change the power at all.
Beware the pseudo-technical claims that are usually made, such as these 'power savers' will make motors run cooler and last longer.  They do nothing of the sort - these claims are completely false and defy the laws of physics.
If you need to know more, see the web page I created on the topic ...
It can be found at  sound.westhost.com/lamps/power-savers.html
I'm not trying to sell anyone anything here, just trying to make sure that people know the truth and aren't being ripped off by unscrupulous sellers with fraudulent products.  I also ran tests on a 'power saver' I bought on ebay and the results are linked in the above page.  I included photos of both inside and outside.  Other might look different, but they have the same stuff inside.
Note that these devices don't work anywhere - not just in Australia.  I was taken to task (and threatened with legal action) by a seller in the US because I explained how such 'power savers' fail to save power, but I will not be silenced by scoundrels or fools who only want to separate you from your money.
Some of these sellers might actually believe they work, but this does not make it so.  They rely on poor (or no) science and a generous helping of 'feel good' words, but that changes nothing.  Some of these scams are surprisingly sophisticated, and may use psycho-babble to try to convince you that the detractors (like me for instance) are just "negative people with nothing to offer".  The problem is that their products don't work any better than the cheap stuff you find on ebay or other sites, they just cost more.
Hope this helps.
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