How many watts does a tv use

How Many Watts Does a TV Use?

If you’ve been considering upgrading your TV or cutting back on spending, you may have found yourself asking, “How many watts does a TV use?”

Whether you’re working to reduce your carbon footprint, cut down on bills, or weighing the pros and cons of a new TV, knowing how many watts a TV uses can be both interesting and useful

If your budget is your main concern, it may comfort you to know that the yearly bills accrued on a TV—no matter the model—are relatively low in cost. According to Spark Energy, the true culprits of a high energy bill are most likely your needy central air conditioner and water heater. In fact, they rank a television as No. 8 of 10 big-spenders, coming in just above a microwave. 

The New York Times also goes as far as to recommend streaming movies through a smart TV rather than a gaming console, as TV’s energy use is comparatively low. Check out the article for a more extensive list of recommendations to reduce your personal impact on global warming. 

How to Stay Financially Responsible With Your TV

Though your TV isn’t the big spender in your household’s monthly bills, needlessly wasting energy is never ideal. If you’re factoring in your TV into your overall carbon footprint, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  1. Size matters: The larger the television, the more watts it requires to function. See below for a breakdown by size and type.  
  2. How you use it: Leaving the TV on while you sleep or to drown out the sound of your own thoughts during the day is—though at times very necessary—wasteful nonetheless. Remember to always shut off your TV when it’s not in use. 
  3. Check credentials: Keep an eye out for an Energy Star symbol when considering a new television (or appliance in general). It’s an easy way to ensure that your TV complies with U.S. energy efficiency standards and save you money in the long run. 
  4. Dim the lights: Try turning down the TV’s brightness to save energy, especially if you’re able to watch in a darker room. 
  5. No one likes to be “always on”: Make sure to disable features like voice control that run even when your TV is turned off (unless, of course, you actually use them). 
  6. Upgrade: If you still have an old TV that’s been passed down to you through the generations, it’s time for a change. Though reuse and recycle is generally a good rule of thumb, older TVs are incredibly inefficient, often using four times the amount of energy as their newer counterparts.  

TV Energy Use By Type: Plasma, LCD and LED

Though size is an obvious indication of energy use, the type of TV you have also determines the amount of watts required for use. Plasma televisions are known for their high-quality display, but they typically rank the lowest in energy efficiency. LCDs sacrifice some contrast in their picture quality but are comparatively more environmentally friendly. What really wins the prize in the green contest, however, are LED televisions.

LED televisions utilize the energy-efficient LCD screen with the added bonus of using LED light bulbs, which are well-regarded for both their quality and efficiency. To get a better idea of how many watts we’re actually comparing, see Payless Power’s helpful breakdown by size and type:

30”60 watts150 watts50 watts
42”120 watts220 watts80 watts
50”150 watts300 watts100 watts 

Though this is an average estimate, you can verify how many watts your television uses by checking the label on the back for a number, followed by an uppercase “W.” If you’re considering a new model, most manufacturers will outline the wattage of each model online under “specs” or “power consumption.”

If you’d like to compare the annual cost of models with varying efficiency, simply multiply the watts by the number of hours you watch TV each day. Divide this number by 1,000 to find the kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day. From there, multiply that number by your energy provider’s kWh rate. This will give you the daily cost of a specific television, which you can multiply by 365 to find the yearly cost. 

For example, if I use my 30” plasma TV for 5 hours per day, and my provider charges 10 cents per kWh:

  • 150 X 5 = 750
  • 750/1000 = .75 kWh/day
  • .75 X .1 = $.075/day 
  • .075 X 365 = $27.58/year

By contrast, using my 30” LED TV for 5 hours per day, with my provider charges 10 cents per kWh:

  • 50 X 5 = 250
  • 250/1000 = .25kWh/day
  • .25 X .1 = $.025/day
  • .025 X 365 = $9.13/year


In the end, the yearly cost of an energy-efficient model will be negligible for the average consumer. If you’re looking for any way to reduce your carbon footprint, however, we recommend you start by turning down the heat and turning off the TV when you sleep, but opting for a LED television helps too. 

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Devin Fuller

Devin Fuller formerly traveled the world as a fashion model, and now resides in San Francisco, CA. She loves being active outside, mostly climbing, sometimes surfing, and always eating and drinking well.