Group of friends watching TV with popcorn and pizza.

How Much Electricity Does A TV Use?

Oct 8, 2022

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If you’re thinking about getting solar panels, you might have questions such as, “How many watts does a TV use?” This is a common part of figuring out your electricity consumption – and where you might reduce it. Even if you’re not considering solar, knowing your appliances’ power consumption can be a first step toward managing your electricity use and securing a lower utility bill.

Let’s explore what you should know about TV wattage and where it fits into the money you can save by powering your favorite shows with solar energy.

Types Of TVs: LCD, LED, OLED And Plasma

Most modern TV models fall into one of two main categories: LCD and OLED. An updated form of LCD TVs called LED TVs are known for using less energy. In fact, 94% of ENERGY STAR-rated TVs are LED-based. Then there’s the plasma TV, which has been discontinued. While plasma TVs have picture quality that’s often superior to LCD TVs, they also use considerably more electricity than other types of televisions.

 

 

Pros

Cons

LED LCD TVs

● Most energy-efficient

● Less contrast and saturation than other types

OLED TVs

● Super-thin

● Deeper colors

● Sharper contrast

● Nearly as efficient as LED TVs

● Very expensive

Plasma TVs

● Superior color to LCD TVs

● High refresh rates and faster response times

● Only available in larger screen sizes

● High energy use

 

OLED TVs are a new, super-thin TV that offers deeper colors and sharper contrast than LED TVs while simultaneously being nearly as energy-efficient. The OLED is also one of the most expensive types of televisions.

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Watts For A TV Vary By Screen Size And Type

The wide variety of TV choices makes it hard to know exactly how much power a TV uses. For example, a huge difference will exist between a small LED TV and an older cathode-ray tube (CRT) TV.

Black LED TV on white background.

Black LED TV 

 

Silver CRT TV on white background

CRT TV

However, we can look at common TV types and sizes so you’ll have an idea of how much power your TV might use and determine which type of television is most energy-efficient.

 

Energy Comparison

24-inch TV

50-inch TV

LED

24 – 28 watts per hour

50 – 60 watts per hour

LCD

36 – 44 watts

75 – 90 watts

OLED

Not available in this size

70 – 80 watts

CRT

75 – 95 watts

Not available in this size

Plasma

Not available in this size

150 – 200 watts

Information sourced from Renewablewise.com.

Let’s start on the smaller end of the spectrum. A 24-inch CRT TV consumes 75 – 95 watts of electricity per hour, while an LED TV the same size will consume roughly just a third of that energy amount. Stepping up to a 50-inch TV, a plasma-screen TV consumes 150 – 200 watts. A similarly sized LED TV uses 50 – 60 watts. 

Where And How To Find Your TV’s Wattage

If you look on the back panel of your TV, the wattage should be listed clearly next to the brand, model number and power rating. Since 2011, the U.S. government has mandated EnergyGuide labels for many appliances to give consumers an idea of their operating costs.

If your TV doesn’t have its wattage listed, look for its voltage and maximum amperage – often listed as Amps Max. Multiply volts times amps, and you’ll have your wattage.

How To Determine The Kilowatt-Hours Your TV Uses

Your energy bill will likely tell you the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) you use per day or month. If you want to get a good idea of how much it costs to run your TV, determine its wattage and multiply this number by the average amount of time you use it every day.

For example, consider an LED TV rated for 55 watts. Let’s say you watch it for an average of 3 hours daily. Multiply 55 times 3, and you have 165 watt-hours, or 0.165 kilowatt-hours, daily.

Knowing how many kWh your appliances use can be helpful in determining how many solar panels you might need for your home.

How Much Does A TV Cost To Run Each Year?

You can estimate the cost to run your TV by multiplying your daily TV usage in hours by the wattage and then multiplying that number by the average cost of electricity in your area. The average cost of running a TV for U.S. households is $16.04 per year, according to Eco Cost Savings data.

Considering Standby Mode

The power button of your remote control might not actually turn your TV off, especially if it’s a smart TV. It might just put it in standby or sleep mode. Your TV might also enter standby mode if you don’t use it for a certain amount of time, which you can likely set to your preferences.

The standby mode allows the TV to:

  • Resume its functions faster than turning it on
  • Make automatic updates
  • Record scheduled shows 

In standby mode, your TV will consume 5% or less of the power it uses while on. But that’s just a few dollars saved over the course of a year.

If you’d still rather turn your TV and other entertainment devices off completely at night, consider plugging them into a smart power strip. You won’t save a huge amount of electricity, but the savings can add up over the years.

How Much Power Does A TV Use Compared To Other Appliances?

If you’re looking for ways to save on your energy bill, your TV probably isn’t the place to start even if it’s an older, less-efficient plasma TV. The U.S. Energy Information Administration noted in a 2015 study that HVAC units typically account for 51% of all energy consumed each year per household, on average. Your TV and peripherals don’t use a lot of electricity or cost a lot to run, in comparison.

It’s not easy to reduce heating and cooling costs. Getting a new air conditioner, sealing ducts, updating insulation and investing in other fixes can be expensive and might require professionals.

Washing clothes and heating water are other major sources of power consumption. They’re also a relatively easy and inexpensive way to trim your energy consumption.

If your home doesn’t already have an ENERGY STAR-certified washing machine, dryer and hot water heater, these could make a dent in your power bill. The upfront costs can be high, but the long-term reduction in electricity usage could also be significant. 

The Bottom Line: TV Power Consumption Probably Isn’t Driving Your Electric Bill Up

If you’re thinking about solar panels and evaluating how to cut your energy consumption, don’t expect changing how much you watch TV to have a major impact. That’s because a TV doesn’t use a lot of electricity.

Since heating and cooling costs are the biggest percentage of the electricity bill that most Americans receive, consider starting there. Your washer, dryer and hot water heater also cost far more to run than your TV.

Ready to embark on a journey to greater energy independence and a lower electricity bill? Let’s talk.

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