Who drains more battery? WireGuard vs OpenVPN

Who drains more battery? WireGuard vs OpenVPN


Our customers ask us how much VPN will consume their smartphone battery. That's why we decided to make a proper test to show real usage across different devices. So, who is going to win this battle?

How we did it?

It took us a good amount of time to optimize testing rules. Early tests failed due to instability and difference in the results. Here is our final list with requirements and rules.

1. Factory reset each device and update everything  
2. Uninstall unnecessary apps
3. Disable auto-updates and notifications
4. Turn on airplane mode
5. Use the same versions of WireGuard and OpenVPN across all devices
6. Use default browser to download a dump file

1. Setup WiFi and limit the speed to 2,5 MBps
2. Only one device is connected to WiFi during test  
3. Upload 1 GB dump file to the dedicated server (Frankfurt)
4. Deploy servers for WireGuard and OpenVPN (Luxembourg)

1. Each test duration is 1 hour
2. Perform 15 tests in total per device (no VPN, WireGuard, OpenVPN)  
3. With speed limitations, it will take around 1 hour to download a dump file
4. Reboot device before each test
5. Charge device up to 100% each time


Full size

It's a draw! Both protocols will consume on average 1% more of your battery. It's worth mentioning what WireGuard is still under development and it's not optimized.

Versions used:

Android OpenVPN 3.0.7 (3565)
Android WireGuard 0.0.20191018
iOS OpenVPN 3.0.3 (2104)
iOS WireGuard v.0.0.20191015

Update 29/12/19

There is a plan to test out Android 9 and 10. Also, we want to test usage during sleep.  

WireGuard has a mode where you don't send keepalives when the device sleeps, it will not initiate network connections at all. While OpenVPN needs keepalives so it will wake up the device from time to time and consume more battery.

WireGuard® is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld

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