Buying a new TV? You’ll be amazed at the incredibly low energy cost of today’s TVs – less than 2 cents per viewing hour!
What does this mean for you? First, in terms of energy savings, it is hard to make a bad TV purchase decision. Our experts found that the major brands had low energy use on almost every model. ENERGY STAR certified TVs provide only a few dollars extra in energy savings, so don’t make that a priority when shopping.
To save the most money, stay focused on the purchase price. Over a 7-year life, energy use is now less than 15% of total cost of TV ownership. So dollar savings start with the purchase price. Because the major brands have low energy use, if you follow the low purchase price, you are likely to get good energy savings too.
Check out TVs: A Shopping Guide for more shopping advice, including how to check the EnergyGuide to verify energy use.
Here are our favorite TVs, organized by screen size. Energy costs are calculated using the national average electricity rate of 15 cents per kWh.
32” SCREEN SIZE OR LESS
This screen size is perfect for bedrooms, kitchens, and home offices. The top-selling models are just over $200 and you can expect to pay a mere $10 per year in electricity costs. ENERGY STAR TVs will save you about $3 per year.
With a very clear picture and a lot of happy user reviews, it is hard to go wrong with this Samsung model. It carries the ENERGY STAR label, and uses only 52 kwh per year. That will cost you about $8! Wow!
At 24 inches, this TV will fit into tight quarters. And at $4 per year in energy costs, you can’t go wrong. A great pick for the college dorm room, the guest room, or even the closet (just kidding!)
33 – 49” SCREEN SIZE
This screen size works well for the bedrooms. Make sure you have enough viewing distance — you’ll need about four feet.
As we reviewed the top-selling models in this size range, we noticed that some of the less familiar brands had high energy use, or lacked energy data. So we recommend going with the market-leading brands, such as Samsung, LG or Vizio. Savings from an ENERGY STAR model average $2.50 per year.
In addition to its very low energy use (only 48 kWh, or $7 per year), this TV has a 120Hz refresh rate, creating a very clear and sharp picture — even with fast action scenes.
We loved the low purchase price (only $350 for a 42” screen) and the low energy use, $12 per year or about 3 cents per day. Hard to go wrong.
50 – 59” SCREEN SIZE
A great screen size for average-sized family rooms and living rooms. You’ll need to sit about seven feet from the screen to get the best viewing quality. If you don’t have that much room, drop the screen size a bit. Be sure to leave one inch of air space around the TV for cooling.
In this size range, we saw a lot of competitive pricing. Units run around $800 each, and no price premium for ENERGY STAR models — even though their average savings is $24 per year.
With a great price ($600) and low energy use ($12 per year), this model is our living room favorite. It has a 120Hz refresh rate for sharp picture quality, even with lots of on-screen motion.
Another great TV from Samsung with a strong price (under $700.) But with a screen refresh of 60Hz, the LG model remains our favorite in this size category.
60”+ SCREEN SIZE
Welcome to your home theater! Go for the large screen size if you have a large room to put it in and a viewing distance of more than 8 feet.
TVs in this size category are often near $1300, and our analysis showed only a small $31 premium for ENERGY STAR models. Annual energy use for the standard models are just under $20 per year, a tribute to amazing modern technology. Gone are the days when large screens meant large electricity bills. So indulge your dreams! Check the EnergyGuide to confirm, but WattzOn’s analysis shows that market-leading models all have low energy use.
With a large 65” screen and low annual energy use ($17 per year), most customer reviews agree: “A good TV for the price.” Watch out if you need streaming features, issues have been reported.
The Sharp is a winner. It has a smaller 60” screen and great energy use ($23 per year). Customers rave about its clear picture and sharp images.