Does Wifi Consume More Battery than 3G or 4G LTE? [2022]

Written By FarhanMax

You have bought a new phone and have used both wifi and mobile internet. Suddenly you have noticed a different battery-draining level. Which made you come here on the web to look for the answer which consumes more battery.

As a tech enthusiast, I have used many different mobile phones and solved many issues in my life. Battery draining is one of the commons among them. I have all the information you are looking for.


Read the full article thoroughly to get all the information regarding battery life.

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Wifi vs. 4G/3G: What Consumes More Battery Power?

From my research and personal experience, cellular internet such as 4G/LTE or 3G consumes significantly more battery than wifi. A cellular module requires more robust strength than a wifi module. And that costs as a battery drain. That’s why 4G/3G consumes more battery than wifi.

In some cases, wifi consumes more power when the phone sits idle. This power consumption is dependent on the distance between the network and the mobile phone. If the wifi router is situated far from the mobile phone, then the mobile phone will consume more power to stay connected to the wifi.

However, this is not a general case. In a general scenario, a mobile network will draw more power and consume more battery than wifi.

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Why does 4G LTE or 3G Consume More Battery than Wifi?

Any cellular network, whether it is 4G or 3G, consumes more battery because the cellular connection requires a more robust signal than the wifi. So the phone needs to work harder to find a stable cellular connection constantly. This is basically the main reason for the 3G or 4G LTE to consume more battery.

If you ask anyone, most people will say mobile network consumes more battery than wifi. It is true. But the explanations behind the statement are not satisfactory to me. Other than the previous reason, I have researched and found some other reasons for battery draining.

4g-3g-consumes more-battery-power-than-wifi

Here is why 4G/3G consumes more battery power than wifi:

  • The mobile operators or network providers currently have the support of using both 4G and 3G on the same device simultaneously. As a result, your phone needs to work harder to maintain the connection, and it consumes more battery to stay connected.
  • When you make or receive calls and text messages, the 3G radio remains paused. Which results in a battery drain. Because the radios need to stay active always to maintain good connectivity. Any changes in the radio states require more power.
  • Your cellular connection on the phone draws more battery when you travel from one place to another. It has to switch the network tower every now and then to maintain the connection. This method is called handover. This feature significantly draws battery power.
  • Your phone needs a few milliwatts of power to stay connected with a wifi signal. But it requires much more power to stay connected with a mobile network tower that is far from you.
  • Unlike wifi routers, mobile network towers are placed at quite a far distance. So, mobile phones need to work harder to stay in connection. That’s why the mobile network, whether it is 4G or 3G, will consume more battery power.

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How Much does 4G LTE or 3G Consume Battery Power?

The smartphone’s most significant power consumers are the 3G and 4G/LTE modules. The screen, of course, uses significantly more power, but it is only used while you use the phone, whereas the 3G and 4G/LTE modules are active all the time.

As 4G/LTE runs at a higher frequency than the 3G modules, the LTE module’s power consumption is greater than that of the 3G module. However, the difference isn’t significant. Both modules consume similar battery power.

However, the 4G/LTE module severely affects the mobile device’s battery life. The actuality is that when mobile network coverage is poor, the mobile device consumes far more energy to sustain the radio signal than when coverage is good. And, because 4G/LTE coverage is still far behind that of 3G, the LTE module quickly consumes your smartphone’s battery.

Furthermore, cellular carriers set up their 4G/LTE-enabled handsets to connect to both 3G and 4G networks simultaneously. This means that your phone has to work twice as hard to maintain the connection. As a result, it uses twice as much power. The 3G module is forced to halt whenever you make calls or send and receive text messages. For the radio module modification, the battery is put under more strain.

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How Much a Wifi Consumes Battery Power?

If your WiFi module is turned on all the time, it will search for all accessible wireless networks and attempt to connect to them in the future. Of course, this uses a lot of battery on your smartphone.

When you are not connected to a wireless network, it is advised that you turn off the WiFi module on your smartphone. After all, along with the wi-fi module, you have a cellular network module working. As a result, the phone drains heavily.


Wifi often drains the battery when the phone is sitting on idle mode. The wifi module constantly tries to stay connected while the phone remains idle.

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How to Extend Battery Life of a Smartphone?

The battery in your phone will dry out at some point, whether you use it or not. But it is pretty annoying to see battery drains while you are not using the phone. I have some valuable tips to get some extra hours from your mobile battery.

Here is how you can extend your smartphone’s battery life:

  • Turn off the wifi module: If you are in a place where wifi is not available, turn off the wifi module. Wifi module continuously searches for wifi networks. Turning off the module can extend the battery life.
  • Turn off 4G LTE: Many smartphones have the feature of manually selecting the radio signal of the mobile network. If you don’t need 4G connectivity, you can set the network to 3G mode.
  • Turn on the airplane mode: If you don’t have any access to any network, turn on the airplane mode. It will cut off all the connections from your mobile phone.
  • Use wifi instead of cellular data: As cellular data consumes more battery power, use wifi to extend the battery life of your smartphone.
  • Remove background apps: Try removing the background apps that are consuming a huge chunk of battery to extend the battery life of your phone.
  • Dim the screen: The brighter the screen, the lower the battery life. So by lowering the brightness, you can get better battery life.
  • Use power-saving mode: All smartphones have this built-in feature. If you enable this feature, your phone will limit it’s functionalities. As a result, your phone’s battery life will be enhanced.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does wifi use more battery than ethernet?

Yes, wifi will use more battery than ethernet. Because wifi uses radio signals. Where ethernet doesn’t require any radio signals. And radio signals require power to emit. That’s why wifi uses more battery than ethernet.

Does wifi consume more battery than 5G?

In a general sense, wifi will use less power to run compared to a 5G network. However, the power consumption is dependent on the signal strength. It will consume more battery if any of the cellular or wifi module struggles to stay in connection.

Does 5G consume more battery than 4G?

5G will consume more battery than 4G as it is way faster than the predecessor. Your phone will use more battery when it faces a hard time finding a persistent signal. It can be 5G or 4G. However, in an ideal condition, 5G will always consume more battery than 4G.

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Final Thoughts

To sum up the topic, yes, wifi consumes less battery power than 3G or 4G/LTE. If there isn’t any signal issue from the wifi router, then this is the actual fact. Try to use wifi if possible to avoid unnecessary battery draining issues.

Thanks for reading this article. Hopefully, this article solved your queries. Contact me if you need any further assistance. I am always here to help those who seek any kind of technical help.

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