How many GB does the average home use per month?

With the rise of streaming services, video calling, and smart home devices, internet data usage in households is increasing exponentially every year. Understanding how much data the average home consumes per month can help families better manage their internet plans and budgets.

What is Considered Normal Internet Usage?

There is no definitive answer for what’s considered “normal” home internet usage, as many factors come into play:

  • Number of people in the household
  • Number and type of connected devices
  • Online activities of household members
  • Use of data-heavy applications like video streaming

However, recent surveys and studies show that the average US household now uses somewhere between 150 to 350+ GB per month.

Average Usage Based on Household Size

Larger households with more people and devices connected will naturally use more data than smaller households. Here’s a breakdown of average usage based on household size:

Household Size Average Monthly Usage
1 person 75 GB
2 people 150 GB
3 people 200 GB
4 people 275 GB
5+ people 350+ GB

Of course, these numbers may vary widely depending on individual internet activities. A single person household with heavy online gaming and 4K streaming may use 250+ GB, while a large household with limited streaming may use less.

Data Usage by Internet Activity

Certain online activities consume much more data than others. Here’s an estimate of how much data common internet activities use per hour:

  • SD video streaming: 1 GB per hour
  • HD video streaming: 3 GB per hour
  • 4K video streaming: 7 GB per hour
  • Video calling: 1.5 GB per hour
  • Online gaming: 1 – 5 GB per hour
  • General web browsing and email: Less than 1 GB per hour

Video streaming at HD and 4K resolutions are by far the biggest data hogs. Just one hour of Netflix at 4K resolution consumes as much data as almost 7 hours of standard web browsing.

Data Usage of Popular Online Services

Here’s how much data some popular streaming, social media, and gaming services typically use per hour of usage:

Service Data Usage Per Hour
YouTube at 480p 500 MB
YouTube at 1080p HD 2 GB
Netflix at SD quality 1 GB
Netflix at 4K quality 7 GB
Facebook browsing 100 – 300 MB
Online gaming (MMORPG) 1 – 5 GB

From this table, we can see that streaming high quality video consumes data extremely fast. YouTube and Netflix combined could easily use over 1 TB of data per month in a household with frequent viewing.

Average Usage by Device Type

Certain internet-connected devices tend to use more data than others. Here’s a look at how much data some common smart home and internet devices consume:

  • Smartphones: 1 – 5 GB per month
  • Tablets: 2 – 8 GB per month
  • Smart TVs: 10 – 60 GB per month
  • Desktop computers: 20 – 100 GB per month
  • Laptops: 5 – 50 GB per month
  • Gaming consoles: 15 – 100 GB per month
  • Smart home devices: 1 – 4 GB per month

From this breakdown, we can see that internet-connected TVs and computers use the most data in a household by far. A home with multiple smart TVs, computers, and gaming consoles can easily incur hundreds of gigabytes per month.

Data Usage Breakdown in a Typical 4 Person Household

Here is an estimated monthly data usage breakdown for a typical 4 person household with the following devices and services:

  • 2 smartphones
  • 2 laptops
  • 1 desktop computer
  • 1 tablet
  • 1 smart TV
  • 1 gaming console
  • Multiple smart home devices (thermostat, speakers etc)
  • Streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify
  • Social media usage
  • General web browsing
Device/Activity Monthly Data Usage
Smartphones 15 GB
Laptops 60 GB
Desktop computer 60 GB
Tablet 5 GB
Smart TV 40 GB
Gaming console 50 GB
Smart home devices 5 GB
Video streaming 125 GB
Social media 10 GB
General browsing 20 GB
Total 390 GB

Based on typical usage levels, this household of 4 can expect to use around 390 GB of data per month. Of course, actual usage depends on browsing and viewing habits.

Typical Data Caps from Internet Providers

Most major broadband providers now implement data caps that limit how much data you can use each month before overage charges apply. Here are some common data cap tiers:

  • 150 – 200 GB per month
  • 250 – 400 GB per month
  • 500 GB – 1 TB per month
  • Unlimited data (no cap)

The average home that uses 150 – 350 GB per month can get by with a 400 GB cap. But heavy streaming households need an unlimited plan or at least 1 TB. Some providers charge up to $10 per 50 GB of overage, which can add up fast.

How to Reduce Data Usage

For households that frequently exceed their data caps, there are a few ways to reduce internet data usage:

  • Stream at lower resolutions like 720p instead of 1080p or 4K HD
  • Download movies and shows instead of streaming
  • Limit streaming services and subscriptions
  • Disable auto-play of videos on social media and YouTube
  • Use mobile apps less or disable autoplay and background data
  • Turn off background data usage on devices
  • Disable cloud backups or use only when on WiFi
  • Disable software and game autoupdates or schedule for off-peak hours

Using these tricks, a household can easily reduce data consumption by 50 GB per month or more. But the simplest option may be upgrading to an unlimited data plan, if available.


The average household today uses between 150 and 350+ GB of internet data per month. Streaming videos, gaming, and multiple devices drive usage up, especially in bigger households. While basic web browsing consumes little data, streaming HD video leverages massive bandwidth – with 4K video eating up gigabytes in mere minutes.

To avoid costly overages, households need to carefully manage data usage through streaming quality control, downloading content, and limiting background data. Upgrading to an unlimited data plan is the best long-term solution. With internet usage growing every year, unlimited data provides peace of mind against surprise overage charges.

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