TV Running Cost Calculator: How Much Your TV Costs You


Are you trying to make sure your TV doesn’t cost you a fortune to run every month?

You’re in good company! It’s estimated that there are between 120 and 130 million homes in the US that own one or more TVs, which not only represents a great market for manufacturers but also a wonderful opportunity to make these devices more efficient.

On average, a 55-inch screen TV consumes around 77 watts while on, and about 1.4 watts while on Standby. In an hour, this roughly translates to .077 kWh while in use and .0014 kWh on standby.

That being said, different TV technologies, manufacturers, and designs may have different results and power consumption levels, which is why I’ve prepared the calculator below to help you get an estimate for your specific situation.

Keep reading for energy efficiency!

The Calculator

How I’ve Estimated TV Running Costs

For this particular case, I used EnergyStar data to compare different TV models.

You might find this hard to believe, but as it turns out, the screen resolution doesn’t have a significant impact on power consumption – at least not as much as screen size and lighting technology. That’s where the true power draw lies.

You see, OLED/QLED screens work quite differently from older technologies, such as regular LED/LCD or even plasma. In many cases, while their lighting components are designed more efficiently, they’re also more complex and powerful, as otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to deliver such crisp images.

That being said, running a TV is typically super cheap, regardless of the screen size/technology on it. And Standby modes these days are extremely energy-efficient, so you can expect to pay as little as 50 cents for that every month.

I, personally wouldn’t worry about TV running costs, as they won’t contribute to your monthly bills as much as other elements, such as computers, Air Conditioners, or humidifiers.

How to Lower Your TV’s Running Costs

As stated above, TVs don’t really contribute to skyrocketing your electricity bills each month unless you have 10+ running at the same time. However, I understand how sometimes you might want the most savings, so here are some tips to lower your device’s already cheap monthly running costs.

#1 Lower the Brightness

As you might have guessed, my first recommendation to help you bring down the cost of running your TV every month is to watch your favorite movies and shows on lower brightness settings. This applies not only to this device but also to others, such as your Smartphone.

A person using a remote controller
Oftentimes, you’re using way more brightness than you need

By lowering the screen’s brightness, you can significantly decrease the power drawn, and as a nice bonus, you’ll also be extending the TV’s lifespan.

How so? Glad you asked!

Most modern TV sets are powered by small bulbs behind the screen that show the right colors and keep the screen lit.

If you have the brightness set to the maximum level, you’ll wear them out sooner, and when they die, so will your TV. Either that, or you’ll have to pay for repairs.

#2 Use Eco Modes

This feature isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for over a decade, so you’ve probably come across it more than once on other TVs.

By using Eco Mode, or Power Saver mode, your TV is designed to lower its brightness down to a certain point, as well as use fewer resources and draw less power – all while delivering virtually the same level of performance.

Eco mode

Depending on the make and model of your device, there might be a button to enable this on your remote, or you might have to mess with the TV’s internal settings in the Menu section. Whatever the case may be, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll find this Mode somewhere in there.

#3 Consider EnergyStar

As mentioned earlier, I created the calculator provided in this article by using EnergyStar data. But what exactly is it, and why is it reliable?

Well… to put it simply, it’s one of the most respected energy-efficiency ratings out there. When an appliance/device is EnergyStar-rated, it means that it has been tried and tested several times, and has been found to deliver great results while using as little power as possible considering its running requirements.

An EnergyStar rating sticker
EnergyStar devices are great if you want the ultimate power-saving results

Now, don’t get overly excited. While this rating is useful and can represent some savings in your monthly utilities, it’s not magic. In fact, most modern appliances are already very efficient, so a rating like this is just the cherry on top of the cake – that little extra mile if you will.

#4 Choose LCD

I know, I know. You probably heard LCD and thought, “Isn’t that old tech?”.

The answer is yes and no. While LCD screens have been around for more than a decade, they’re still used today. In fact, Samsung just revealed a 3-TV lineup with LCD technology. Yes, in 2023.

A family watching TV
Carefully picking the right TV technology for your needs can go a long way

There are many differences between LCD and newer technologies like OLED, ULED, and QLED, including the way in which they show color, how accurate the dark and light tones are, and, of course, how much power they draw.

OLED screens tend to use more power than their LCD counterparts at peak brightness. So if you’re not willing to follow the recommendations from point #1 and want to stick to keeping the brightness up, an LCD screen will be cheaper to run.

#5 Buy a Smaller Screen

Lastly, let’s talk about something a lot of people don’t like to talk about – considering buying a smaller device.

I know what you’re thinking. When it comes to TVs, the bigger, the better. And while I’d normally agree with you, sometimes we tend to exaggerate our needs and go overboard.

If the area you normally watch TV in is on the smaller side, you might not need a +65-inch TV screen, especially not if it’s a 4K display, as you can notice a lot of detail with those, even from afar.

Shopping wisely while considering your real needs will not only save you a lot of money when buying a new TV but also while using it at home. If you want to see how much you’d be saving, try the calculator above and experiment with different TV sizes. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to weigh your options.

Who knows? Maybe owning a smaller screen will bother you more than paying a couple of extra dollars in utilities!


That about covers it!

Wondering about your TV’s power consumption is only natural. Modern life is really expensive, so saving by cutting corners wherever we can is key to financial health.

I hope this piece and the calculator I created have helped you estimate how much you’re paying to watch your favorite shows on your device. Remember that there are many things you can do to reduce your TV’s power consumption and pay a little less in utilities each month.

Thank you very much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article proved useful and answered your most burning questions, please check out our other resources below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.

On the site, you’ll always find all sorts of solutions to everyday issues, such as a TV that keeps turning the volume up and down or that simply can’t find channels.

I wish you all the best!

— Craig.

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more