Online footprint calculators have become a thing. I mean: the more educated people become about greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, the more curious they become to measure their own carbon footprint.
But there are so many carbon footprint calculators out there – and many of them request you to register with your e-mail or Facebook. I did the dirty job for you. This is a review of five footprint calculators that measure your ecological impact.
PS! If you want to read a deep review of every single one, please scroll down. If you just want to see the ones that I rate as the best (and worst), please have a look at the box below:
|Test||Estimated Time||Rating (1-5)||Link|
|IslandWood||N/A||N/A||No longer available|
|WWF Footprint Calculator||10 minutes||4 Stars|
|CarbonFootprint||25 minutes||3.5 Stars|
|FootPrintCalculator||10 minutes||3.5 Stars|
|EcologicalFootprint||2 minutes||1 Star|
Still not happy with our rating?
Please have a look at the description of each Carbon Footprint Calculator below.
Table of Contents
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF) UK Footprint Calculator
- Islandwood.org (No longer available!)
This 13-step calculator is actually quite decent. They ask the right questions (about your diet, travel schedule, where you buy your groceries/products, etc.) and you don’t have to think much about the answers you give. The whole test did not take me more than a couple of minutes.
However, some questions might be a bit difficult to know. E.g.: “How much of the food you eat is unprocessed, packaged or locally grown?”.
Well…I simply don’t know.
And when you have to specify that answer on a scale between 0 % and 100 %, it becomes very difficult to make it accurate.
Another question that I simply don’t know the answer to is how much of my home that is currently powered with renewable energy. Quite frankly, I believe most people don’t know the answer to that question. And the last question I want to complain about is: “Compared to your neighbors, how much trash do you produce?”. That answer doesn’t really tell anything about your carbon footprint though, does it?
The more inaccurate answers you get, the less accurate will the result be. In other words: I think FootPrintCalculator.org got a quite decent calculator, but there is definitely room for improvement.
– Easy to use
– Relevant questions
– Quick to get through (as I said, it barely took me two minutes)
– It requires sign-up, but you can use a fake e-mail address if you want
– The test ends with your results. It also gives you a “pop-up” that begs you to donate a lot of money because we “really need to keep the calculator fresh and updated”. So they simply ask people to donate 20 USD after they took their e-mail and/or Facebook details? To keep a 13-step calculator online?
Give me a break.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) UK Footprint Calculator
This is a great footprint calculator. Easy to use, no sign-up required and you can easily finalize it with your mobile phone, tablet or computer. User interface = 10/10.
However, some of the questions are not very specific. When someone says that they “travel frequently”, what does frequently really mean?
One of the great things I saw in Footprintcalculator.org is that they asked the airplane question in this way: “How many hours do you fly an airplane every year?”. Because, for some reason, people do very often tend to measure their airplane flights in ‘hours’. I know exactly how many hours I need to sit on an airplane between China and Denmark, but I have no idea how many kilometers that is.
Anyway: back to the WWF footprint calculator.
– No registration required
– Four different topics: Food, Travel, Home & Stuff.
– Number of questions: 4 x Food + 6 x Travel + 8 x Home + 6 x Stuff = 24 in total.
– On the result page, you will get an estimation of how much your carbon footprint is measured up towards the goal for the UK Government. In other words: this test might be best suited for people that know a thing or two about British climate change goals?
The first thing that springs to mind is that this carbon footprint calculator got a bit of an old-school design? (see screenshots below)
It might not necessarily mean that it is worse or outdated. Simply that the webmaster prefers his or her website to look like it was developed in early 2000`s. But we are here to measure our carbon footprint, not to look at nice images…right?
This calculator from Carbonfootprint.com is, by far, the most advanced one. Where most of the other calculators have questions that are quite easy to find, this is a bit worse.
“How many liters of LPG did you consume last year?”
“How many kilos of coal have you burned over the last period of time?
Anyway, all-in-all I would argue that this is the most accurate test you can take. Some of the other tests can be “fun” and made by everyone. However, you really have to sit down and spend at least 20-25 minutes if you want to finalize this specific calculator with accurate results. I would recommend it, but only to those who are willing to spend half an hour to know their carbon footprint.
Quick, easy, and boring. Nothing much to tell.
Very easy one-page footprint calculator where you are asked to fill in information about your house (small, medium, big), how many that lives in your house (1-10 people) and about six questions more.
Simple “drag and drop” menu. This is definitely the easiest, least accurate test that I tried.
Perfect for people who don’t really care about their carbon footprint.
Screenshot (only one because the whole test is on one single page):
Islandwood.org (No longer available!)
PS! For some reason, Islandwood decided to take down the best eco-calculator that was available online. I have sent them an e-mail to ask whether or not they can activate it again, but don’t get your hopes up.
Probably the best footprint calculator in the test. Not too complicated, no sign-ups required and just a very pleasant and beautiful design.
Great questions. And to spice it up a bit, they actually provided one “fun fact” to every question they ask.
The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the lack of alternatives for some of the questions. For instance: “How long is your average shower?”. The three alternatives were: 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes. My roommate usually takes about 20 minutes showers – just for the record! ☺
– 10 questions in total
– On the “result page”, they will compare your ecological footprint towards the average of all U.S. Citizens.
– On the same result page, you will be given tips on how you can decrease your footprint. This can be very helpful for people that are not aware of small “wins” that can help them make the world a better place.
– Islandwood was the only test that did not, at any point of the process, ask for your donation or contact information. My feeling is that they simply made an excellent platform as a public service initiative.
– This is a very, very good carbon footprint calculator. Thumbs up!
6 thoughts on “Eco-Footprint calculators: the 5 Best and Most Accurate”
Thanks for the list. I’ve tried to find similar lists online, but didn’t get them.
It’s a shame that every time a new calculator comes up and becomes a bit popular, they either shut it down or take it behind some “paid wall”.. I am not going to pay up to some random website in order to figure out what my carbon footprint is. NOT GONNA HAPPEN
I tend to agree. In some way, I understand that people want to get paid when they produce high quality content online.
On the other side, I think that the best way to monetize such content would be to either ask kindly for donations and/or use some type of advertisement on the site. It’s unnecessary to first have something for free, but then change it once it becomes a useful asset for people.
If I had the time, resources and knowledge, I would create my own carbon footprint calculator…but I don’t. 😉
Hello, just as Rick stated above, Islandwood have now removed their eco-footprint calculator. I guess they made this brilliant service just to know that some day they would remove it and ask for money instead. Sad.
The internet can be cynical sometimes 😉
Hi Mawabi. I am not sure why Islandwood chose to remove their eco-calculator from their website (maybe we sent them too much traffic? 😉 ).
However, the article is now updated.
Unfortunately, as of 1/21/2020 the Islandwood.org footprint calculator is no longer available. The organization does, however, ask you to look at their site, sign up for their newsletter – and to make a donation.
Hi Rick, thanks a lot for your comment. Super nice of you to let me know.
Will update the article by next week.