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TV Wattage: How Many Watts and Amps Does a TV Use

TV and other similar multimedia devices are a very important part of our lives and many people wonder about the energy requirements of their TV sets, not just for off-the-grid situations, but also in order to more easily estimate their electric bills.

TV wattage depends on the screen technology, used brightness, contrasts, how loud is the sound and similar. Also, some TV units are connected to external sound systems that often require more power than the TVs...

Published: February 23, 2021.

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The most common TV screen technologies today are LCD, LED, OLED, QLED, etc. with plasma screens and especially CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) screens being phased out.

In order to determine the EXACT power requirement of any TV unit, the best thing to do is to check the label at the back of the TV and/or to check the documentation that came with the unit.

Similarly, if an external sound system is used, be sure to check its power requirements.

If You intend to use your TV during a power outage, and your TV uses external decoder/receiver/router or whatever piece of external equipment these days TV cable companies use, be sure to check its power requirement as well - in this case, also check with the cable company if they send a signal to the users during power outages and if they do, for how long.

Depending on the TV technology and TV screen size, average TV power consumption is given in the following comparison chart:

Screen Size (Inches)
15 15 - 18 65 -
17 18 - 20 75 -
19 20 - 22 80 -
20 24 - 26 90 -
21 26 - 30 100 -
22 30 - 40 110 -
24 35 - 50 120 -
30 38 52 60 140 150
32 41 57 70 150 160
37 44 66 80 - 180
40 50 72 100 - 200
42 57 75 120 - 220
50 72 89 150 - 300
55 80 98 180 - 370
60 88 107 200 - 500

Again, these are just 'average' values - it is not the same to lower the volume and slightly decrease the brightness, and to 'burn' subwoofers and to use the TV screen as an additional source of light.

How Many Watts Does a 32-Inch TV Use?

32-inch TVs are very popular and commonly used as the main TV in smaller homes and apartments, as TV for kids' rooms, as camping or RV TV and similar.

Depending on the technology, 32-inch TV requires:

- 32-inch LED TV: 40-45 watts,

- 32-inch OLED TV: 55-60 watts,

- 32-inch LCD TV: 65-75 watts.

We must emphasize that these are just some average values - your TV perhaps uses very energy-efficient technology and perhaps requires even less power. Or, you are using some external device that perhaps requires much more power than the TV itself.

Note: If You have an older plasma TV and especially CRT TV, do yourself a favor and get a good, mid-range, 32-inch LCD TV.

How to Power TV in the Off-The-Grid Situations?

There are several power sources that are used for powering TVs in various off-the-grid situations, like power outage and other emergencies, but also when camping, fishing, hunting, or simply being far away from the nearest wall power socket.

These power sources include power generators, power inverters combined with deep cycle batteries, and power stations.

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Actual power requirements do vary significantly between TV sizes and technologies, but in order to keep things as simple as possible and to cover as many situations are possible, we will assume that our hypothetical TV set requires 100 watts @120 volts.

Portable Inverter Generators are commonly used to power not only TVs, but many other household appliances.

Small, portable inverter generators feature Running Watts in the 1000 - 2000 watts range and Starting Watts in the 1300 - 2500 (or more) watts range.

100 watts TV is a small load for practically all of these units - since most small power generators are able to operate at least 6-7 hours @25% load, 100 watts (less than 1 Amp @120 volts) load may be powered 10-12, perhaps even more hours.

Exact runtime can be found in the generator's Owner' Manual or by testing.

Note: when picking up a suitable power generator, be sure that noise levels are as low as possible, that THD (Total Harmonic Distortions) are below 3% (preferably under 1.5%) and that the unit is used only outside due to the fumes being released!

Power Inverter combined with the Deep Cycle Battery: while power generators use fuel to produce the energy, power inverters use chemical energy stored in the battery (or batteries) and convert it into suitable AC 120V power.

Runtime of such system is usually shorter than the runtime of the power generators on a single full fuel tank, but the battery may be recharged even using solar panels and wind turbines.

Hypothetical 100W TV may be easily powered using 300-500 watts pure sine wave inverter.

Assuming 85% inverter efficiency, the battery must be able to provide at least ~120 watts of power - for the battery with the nominal voltage of 12 volts, that is ~10 Amps of power.

Runtime of such system depends on the battery size (capacity), its condition, and its chemistry.

For example:

- Mighty Max ML75-12 75Ah 12V SLA AGM Battery: it can provide 150 watts for 5 hours, with the voltage not dropping below 10.8 volts,

Note: Power Inverters may be used indoors, but if you are using lead-acid batteries, keep the batteries in a well-ventilated area.

Portable Power Stations feature internal lithium-ion batteries combined with inverter electronics to provide power for different appliances.

Most portable power stations may easily provide 100 watts of power, but runtime depends on the size of the internal battery and the efficiency of the built-in inverter.

Just like 'ordinary' deep cycle batteries, the power stations may be recharged using solar panels or wind turbines, with no dependency on fossil fuels.

For example, Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station (Amazon link, opens in the new window) is able to store ~1000 Wh of energy and with the 85% efficiency, it is able to power 100W TV for ~8.5 hours.

Such power stations feature batteries with very low self-discharge rate and are commonly used for camping and in emergencies - and they can be easily recharged using solar panels during the day.

Long Story Short: TV Amps and Watts vary depending on the TV size, type, and the way TV is being used. Out hypothetical 32-inch TV is actually very inefficient when combined with 32-inch LED TV, but since there are other TV sizes and types out there, it is necessary to use a somewhat larger value.

If you have the need to operate a TV in off-the-grid situations, feel free to choose between using power generators, power inverters combined with deep cycle batteries, and/or power stations - and choose according to your own needs and requirements.

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