Should you put your computer to sleep, shut it down or put it into hibernation?

When it comes to saving power on your computer, you have three main options with most models: sleep, shutdown or hibernate. While all of these options may appear to do the same thing, which is to turn off your computer, they actually have different roles and they take up different amounts of energy.

What it means when your computer is asleep.

In Sleep Mode, your computer is in a low-energy state, which means that power is cut off to every component except for the RAM. With Sleep Mode, you can access your work again quickly without having to start your computer again. Sleep Mode is ideal when you are just stepping away from your computer for a few minutes, and you don’t want to wait for it to start up again when you return.

What it means when your computer is in hibernation. 

Hibernation Mode is a lot like Sleep Mode, except that it cuts power to the RAM, as well as the other components, but before it cuts power to the RAM, it stores all of your data. In this mode, your computer is essentially turned off, except that it restores your work when you start your computer again.  Hibernation is ideal for those times during the day when you have to step away for a couple of hours, like for a meeting.

What it means to shut down your computer. 

When you shut down your computer, you are effectively turning it off. Although your computer isn’t actively drawing power like it would when it’s turned on, if it is left plugged in, it can still draw a small amount of power after it has been shut down. When you leave for the day, shut down and unplug your computer to save the most energy.