Which TV Uses the Least Energy?

by Catherine Haug, August 8, 2011

Last June, my old 27″ CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV died. So I went shopping for a new flat screen TV that would fit in my custom TV cabinet built to house the old CRT. Although a 26″ flat-screen would have fit, I came home with a 23″ because that was all they had in stock, and because it was an LCD-LED TV.

Why was the LED so important to me? Because of all the flat-screens (except rear-projection TVs), it is the most energy efficient, and because it is not lit by fluorescent lights that bother my eyes.

Average energy consumption, by TV type

Screen size, type of light source and resolution affect power consumption. With some models, you can adjust light levels and resolution to make the TV more efficient.

Current TVs on the market, and their average energy consumption: 

  • LCD: consumes 111 watts, average. Backlit with CCFL fluorescent lights to illuminate the screen; size range: 13″ – 65″. (3,4)
  • LCD-LED: consumes 101 watts, average.Backlit with light-emitting diodes (LED), LED TVs are the most energy efficient of the moderate-size TVs.(4)
  • Plasma: consumes 301 watts average – power hogs for their size, and more energy than that consumed by a large refrigerator. Each pixel has its own discrete light source; plasma TVs continue to draw power to keep these lights warm when the TV is off (2); size range 42″ – 65″. (2,4)
  • Rear projection: consume 150-200 watts for screens 60″ and up (2). These are the most energy efficient for their size but they are rare these days; size range 50″ – 73″. (2,4)
  • CRT: A 28″ TV consumes about 100 watts. CRTs use a cathode-ray picture tube; new ones are hard to find. While these are relatively inefficient, their screen size is limited, so relative energy consumption isn’t that bad compared to a large-screen model (2,3).

References and for More Information

  1. NRDC TV Energy Efficiency Research has lots of data and graphs.
  2. Oregon Live Blog: Energy Efficient TVs (2008 article)
  3. CNET Energy Efficiency Guide
  4. Rural Montana Magazine, August 2011 issue, How Big is that big screen? (page 6 of magazine; page 8 in online view)


2 Responses to “Which TV Uses the Least Energy?”

  1. Hey Essentialstuff,
    I just stumbled across this and Most people are confused about the difference between LED TVS and LCD TVS. Basically an LED Tele is basically an LCD television which has a supplementary technology. LEDs are light emitting diodes are actually an efficient source of light and while prior to now several other methods of lighting up the LCD screen were utilized for instance fluorescent tubes, now the LEDs are employed to light up the LCD monitor.
    Countless new LED TV ranges have been offered in the market lately. Samsung has produced super slimline styles which are under 1 inche in thickness, Sony has brought in an individually controlled LED panel that’s backlit, Toshiba’s has brought out completely new LED backlit system with 240 KHz display panel, LG has dived in with 240 KHz TruMotion LED backlit TV range. Sharp has moreover started an Ultra Bright LED system.

    Dozens of manufacturers also have multiple environmentally friendly and electricity saving techniques to these LED, so this may possibly result in your power bills and carbon footprints getting lowered.


  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks, Maldanado, for your great info. I’m glad to hear that there are so many new LED LCDs on the market.