Affordable Energy-Efficient TVs | The Light Lab

Affordable Energy-Efficient TVs

Modern television technology makes finding an affordable energy-efficient TV a pretty easy task. Most electricity savings on TVs come from habits than from selecting one model over another. Children may not love to be nagged about turning off the TV when no one is watching, but making it a lifelong habit may be the best way to save energy while watching television — especially in this age of energy-efficient TVs.

Affordable Energy-Efficient TVs | The Light Lab

New TVs are Energy-Efficient TVs

If you’re in the market for a new TV and you’re worried about how much it will cost you in electricity, don’t be. Virtually all new TVs now use LED or OLED technology, both of which are extremely energy-efficient. Even at screen sizes exceeding 70 inches, the most power-hungry models tend to draw well under 250 watts, and most come in under 150 watts. If you only watch TV a few hours a day and pay around the national average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour, your TV power bill could easily be less than $20 for the entire year.

With such affordable energy needs, there is often not much to be gained by opting for a marginally more energy-efficient model of television. So if your objective is to save money, you may be better off scouting out a big discount on a new TV than paying more for the most energy efficient model available.

But if you are prioritizing energy efficiency, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • OLED TVs are more advanced than LED TVs, and they can consume up to twice as much energy. For typical TV watchers, though, the difference in annual energy costs should only amount to between $10 and $20 per year.
  • Ultra-high definition TVs consume slightly more energy than ordinary high definition TVs.
  • Look for the black and yellow EnergyGuide label for information on energy consumption and estimated annual energy costs. These labels make it easy to compare the energy efficiency of different models. Estimates are based on five hours of use per day and an electricity rate of 12 cents per kWh, so you can get a more accurate estimate by substituting your average daily use and current kWh rate.

Affordable Energy-Efficient TVs | The Light Lab

Saving Electricity with Cheap, Energy-Efficient TVs

Just because new TVs are inherently energy efficient doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them thoughtfully. In fact, they’re only especially energy efficient if you’re mindful about your TV settings and habits.

Here are the keys to keeping the TV electric bill low:

  • Turn off the TV whenever it’s not in use. It’s simple and obvious, but it’s the most important thing you can do. If you have a tendency to leave the TV on by accident, scroll through the settings menu to see if you can activate a timer that turns the TV off after a certain number of hours.
  • Turn off “always on” or “quick start” features if you don’t make use of them. These features may include voice activation, in which the TV is always “listening,” as well as standby modes that help the TV turn on faster but consume more energy.
  • Reduce your screen brightness to the lowest level that still gives you a quality viewing experience. On many TVs, brightness is the setting that has the greatest effect on energy consumption.
  • Turn the screen brightness all the way down if and when you’re using your TV strictly as an audio streaming device.
  • Connect entertainment center devices to a power strip so you can conveniently disconnect power to everything at once.

As long as you’re using your TV wisely, you can enjoy it for hours per day while paying only pocket change per month!


Josh Crank is a freelance writer with a background in legal journalism, travel writing and marketing. He's found his perfect fit in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, smart home technology and other topics to help readers make home life green and comfortable. Josh lives with his wife, two sons and endlessly howling beagle-basset hound mix in New Orleans.