A television can use up to 10% of a household's total electricity, depending on its technology, size and usage patterns. TVs have had energy labels and been subject to ecodesign standards since 2009, having the effect of pushing inefficient technologies off the market and encouraging innovation in efficiency.
The energy label for TVs
For the most efficient model, look for the darkest green label band. Our Topten ranking is based on the official Energy Efficiency Index which shows the differentiation within the top label class(es).
The energy class is based on energy consumption per inch of the display screen, making the label class relative to the size of the TV, rather than the absolute energy consumption. This can be misleading as it makes it difficult to cross-compare between different screen sizes.
Generally the larger the screen size, the more energy the appliance will consume. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Which? tests found highly-efficient large TV screens that consume less energy than models half their size. So it pays to check the annual energy consumption stated on the label – this is based on a daily use of four hours. Actual energy consumption will vary according to individual usage.
The label also shows the wattage used by the appliance in on-mode – this is denoted by the wattage listed next to the switch logo.
Comparing energy use of old and new, energy-efficient appliances
To replace or not to replace? Knowing exactly when to replace an appliance, especially one that is still working, can be difficult. For TVs, it is particularly complex as there are several different types of technology available.
A general rule of thumb is that the bigger the screen, the more energy the TV will require to run. But this can vary, so it is worth checking the manufaturer’s declaration or, better still, to monitor the actual energy consumption of your current working appliance before making a purchasing decision.
Another consideration is the amount of energy the TV uses in standby. Older models that were available before standards came in limiting standby power to 1W might be using more in standby than some of today's efficient models use in on-mode.
Monitoring the energy usage of your current appliance
You can monitor the actual energy usage of your appliance by using a plug-in energy meter. This is plugged into the socket and the appliance is plugged into the meter. Monitoring electricity usage for a month, or even a week, allows you to gain an idea of the annual consumption.
How to get your appliance to perform most efficiently
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that UK households spend between £50 and £86 a year on appliances and electronics on standby. That amounts to something like 16% of our domestic electricity. TVs are one of those appliances often left on standby, consuming energy when not even in use.
Switch it off. Not leaving your TV on standby could save the average multiple-TV owning household up to £86 per year on electricity bills. So make sure you switch your TV off at its power switch or at the socket.
Disable energy-hungry modes. Idle modes such as ‘fast play’ or ‘quick start’ can contribute about 25W on average to standby power consumption as a user-selected option.
Check your TV’s brightness settings. The factory settings on TVs are often brighter than necessary for home use. Make sure the brightness setting on your TV is suitable for your room – reducing brightness levels significantly lowers power consumption.
Use ambient light sensors if your TV has this feature. The sensor adjusts the backlight of the TV according to how dark or light the room is. Watching the TV with the lights off, can reduce energy use by 30 to 50% if this feature is enabled.
Don't listen to digital radio through your TV. Using the radio itself is much more efficient!