By auto-detection you mean for instant-on access? I remember some study from a couple of years ago that said (for example) video game consoles use quite a bit of power even when off because of that.
Not exactly. I mean anything where there's a circuit running that detects some action that is electronic rather than physical in nature. So if you can turn your TV on with your remote, something has to be actively operating to do that. I'm not sure about video game consoles, but it's certainly possible that some of them might be running stuff in the background even while turned off.
Phone chargers and such use a bit, as well. Basically if it's warm to the touch when it's off, it's using wattage.
Yup. And that's honestly because of simplicity of design. It's cheaper for them to have an active inductive charging coil running which then starts a flow of power when a sink comes in close proximity (or contact) with the circuit than to construct some sort of simple physical switch that's activated when you plug in your phone. It's funny because this subject came up in a conversation at work just a week or two ago, which sparked a huge amount of diagram drawing on nearby whiteboards and arguments about the how's and whys of different charging designs. Then it spun into relative costs of wireless versus direct wire charging systems, and basically went into the weeds.
Short of it is that it's possible to design a direct wire charger that consumes no additional energy except when your device is plugged in, but no one does. And while one might think it's some plot to help pad profits for the power companies, the reality is that the cost in energy is still very very very small, and the cost to design chargers with a manual (but automated when plugged in) switch and the increased likelihood of failure (and returns) because of said mechanical system, simply doesn't justify it.
There's nothing preventing you from unplugging those sorts of devices, or installing manual switches to cut power from them if you want. The more direct point though if your toaster is the standard manually operated toaster, it's not drawing any extra power by being plugged in all the time. Same with your blender, your food processor, and whatever else. *Not* the same with your microwave, or your coffee machine with the timer function (and clock). Also not the same for your TV, your cable box, your wireless router, and a dozen other things you have on pretty much all the time in your house.
Obviously I'm not unplugging my refrigerator.
Yup. And your fridge probably consumes more power in an average hour than every one of those smaller "standing by" devices in your house does in a month.