Plasma vs LED: TV Power Consumption and Electricity Cost

Updated Dec 09, 2013 By Cedric Demers

TV Electricity Cost Calculator

Use the following calculator to know how much will cost you a television in electricity over a year and compare it to an LED or Plasma TV.

Time watched:
Electricity cost:
Power Consumption:
Yearly Electricity Cost:
Plasma TV
Power Consumption:
Yearly Electricity Cost:

Power Consumption

plasma vs led tv power consumption

As shown in the chart, the power consumption of a plasma television is higher than an LED television. The difference is more noticeable for big televisions.

The chart displays the average typical power consumption for 2013 models as advertised. This isn't the maximum power consumption.

A plasma TV consume significantly more power than an LED TV because each gas cell needs to be excited enough to produce a bright color. In an LED display, the light is independent and shared across all the pixels so a more efficient way to produce the light can be used.

You can learn more about how they work here.

The data displayed is the average case scenario; the power consumption varies depending on the content viewed and the settings of the television. The TV consumes a lot more power when displaying a very bright white screen compared to a dark one, especially for plasma televisions.

Electricity Cost

plasma vs led tv electricity cost
Yes, the chart is exactly the same except for an axis change. This is normal because the electricity cost is directly proportional to the power consumption.

The next chart shows the yearly cost if the television is watched 5 hours per day for 365 days, at a cost of electricity of 0.11$ per kWh.

As you can see in the chart, a plasma television does cost more electricity than an LED TV. However, the resulting cost at the end of the year is not very big, about 10$ more for a 50" plasma. On a 5 years period, the total amount saved would be 50$.

As mentioned here, a plasma TV cost on average 350$ less than an LED TV for the same size. Based on this, it will take 35 years for the total cost of ownership (initial cost + electricity cost) of a plasma television to surpass its LED counterpart.

Winner: LED


May 11, 2013
Your data on plasma TV power consumption is incorrect or incomplete. I have a 50" plasma. I measure 59 watts with black screen. Power varies with brightness. At maximum and white, it is 450 watts - but that never happens. Under normal viewing averaged over several hours, power consumption is around 110 watts. Even less than the 40" and 32" LCD TVs I own. Your power consumption should include average viewing when including plasmas. LCD power doesn't vary with program material since it's light is always on. Plasma is only lit when and where it needs to create light.
Yes, this is true. The good way to interpret this data is the worst case scenario. Our data is from the advertised power consumption, not the measured average. Note that some LED will change the brightness of the backlight automatically so this apply to them also. The problem though is the power consumption of a TV varies a lot depending on the content viewed and the settings (especially brightness), so we still prefer to use the advertised numbers. We updated the article to reflect your point, thanks.
Nov 29, 2012
Does a Plasma TV also generates more heat?
Yes, a Plasma TV also generates more heat than an LED or LCD TV. Practically all the electricity consumption is transformed into heat, even the light produced will be transformed into heat eventually. So the heat generated is in the same proportion as the electricity usage, about 3 times more heat for a Plasma TV than an LED TV.
Mar 29, 2013
I am confused about the difference between LCD and LED. So many top range Samsung TVs say LED because they have Edge or back light Led. Yet the reviews say they are LCDs and not LEDs! So therefore what is a real LED television?
Technically, what we refer to as an LED TV is also an LCD TV, but with a different backlight. The screen is the same technology; Liquid Crystal Display (LCD). Old school LCDs used a CCFL backlight to create the light. In an LED TV, instead of the CCFL, it is LEDs. This is why a lot of literature will use LCD and LED interchangeably, even if the real term of an LED TV is an LCD TV with an LED backlight. It is just easier to say LED TV instead.
Aug 11, 2013
With regards to power consumption, you really pay twice, once for the running of the TV, and a second time to cool the house with an air conditioner. However if you live in an area with cold winters, the TV can help heat the house, and the home heating cost would be reduced. So if you live in a hot southern climate, power consumption is a much bigger issue than if you live in the colder north.
Indeed, it really depends on your climate whether power consumption is an issue or not.
May 14, 2014
I was thinking of getting rid of my 50" old Plasma and get an efficient LED. The manual of my existing TV says the power consumption is 480 W. I know nothing about how to estimate consumption and everything else, but I would like to know if you think it's a wise decision to get a new one.
Your manual probably list its maximum power consumption, not the average. The maximum would be when displaying a completely white screen at maximum brightness. You will save a little bit of money in term of electricity with the LED, but not enough to recover from the cost of a completely new TV. Also, an LED would most likely have a worse picture quality than your plasma.
Feb 24, 2013
If plasma generates more heat, does it cause a problem on the TV?
By itself under normal usage, no. However, on a very hot day (110F +), if the TV is turned on for a very long time and if it doesn't have space to breathe (like in a closed furniture), it could start to overheat and possibly damage itself. Otherwise, do not worry about it.
Aug 10, 2013
One thing not mentioned here: the massive amount of heat a plasma generates can mess with your thermostat, especially if they are in the same room. My central air will run constantly when my plasma tv is running, thereby making the rest of the house cold (and increasing the electricity bill).
Yes, thanks for pointing that out.
Nov 28, 2013
Do plasma TVs of today use less energy than those from say 2007? Would having an old plasma change the equation at all?
Yes, 2013 plasma TVs use about 30% less energy than 5 years ago.
Feb 20, 2014
What type of lighting source would be found in a Sony 32 inch LCD from about 2008? And is it possible for the lighting power to decrease over time, thereby reducing the brightness potential?
It is either CCFL or LED, depending on your model, but most likely CCFL for that year and size. It is unlikely that the luminosity decreased over time. Usually, it is the whole/part of the backlight that breaks completely. It could happen though, for example if it is an LED and if one the capacitors in the LED driving circuit couldn't hold completely its charge like before but was still working.
Jun 04, 2014
What is the safe distance for watching plasma vis a vis LED ?
There is not a difference between a plasma and LED for the safe distance. However, some people are bothered by the flickering of a plasma. Sitting closer for them means it is even more disturbing.
Mar 07, 2014
Since the LCD and LED television were around, I have yet to find a good one that show best quality picture more than the old one. I have gone everywhere in search of the best one. Please help. Could it be the settings? Cause to me all these new television shows colours that do not look original. Mostly like they don't have enough ink to produce true colours.
All LED TVs have a lower contrast than the old CRT TVs, which explains your difficulty to find a good TV. You should look for a plasma TV instead if you really care about picture quality.
May 31, 2014
Can an LED TV run on 80 watt electric city?
It depends on the size, the smaller ones can.
Jan 13, 2014
Is it a good thing to do to get rid of a CRT TV and buy an LCD one?
Yes and no. The upside is you can have a bigger screen, better resolution and lower power consumption with an LCD TV. The downside is the contrast of a CRT can't be matched by an LCD as well as the very low amount of motion blur.
Apr 22, 2014
My LED TV goes off as soon as there is a voltage drop, does it mean it requires high voltage?
This is a mechanism to protect the TV from damages caused by voltage fluctuations. If your electricity is unstable, you should definitely protect your TV using a surge protector and ideally one with an UPS.
Nov 09, 2013
How much power is consumed when a lcd/led is turned off?
About 0.5W, so only $0.10 per year. It is really negligible.
Mar 31, 2014
I am actually surprised that picture quality is not given enough priority in this comparison. What is the point in watching a good movie when your tv can't produce high quality picture? Most important factor in a TV is picture quality, not how much it weighs nor the power consumption (the power consumption over period one year it very trivial among all the flat panel tvs) people get carried away with all these useless statistics. I feel your article is biased towards LCD displays.
Thanks for the feedback. Indeed the picture quality should be someone's priority when buying a TV. You are right, putting the picture quality page second last diminish its importance. We will reorganize the pages according to their priority in the buying process. From reading again all pages of our article, I think we made it pretty clear that plasma TVs wins for picture quality (except in a bright room), so we won't touch the text. The update should be up tomorrow. Let us know if you have any more feedback once its updated, thanks!
Jul 02, 2014
Since you mentioned flickering with Plasma, does that mean bad for our eyes? Does the plasma put more strain on our eyes than LCD?
Yes, some people can get uncomfortable when watching a plasma TV for too long. The flickering is similar to old CRT TVs, but because it is bigger, it is a bit more apparent. The majority of people don't get bothered by it though.
Sep 02, 2014
I usually turn my plasma TV off (or in standby mode) but leave my cable box on. I have heard the cable box uses more energy than the TV. Would it use less energy to turn off the cable box and leave the TV on and dark?
A cable box definitely uses less power than a TV. It is better to turn off both if you can, but if you just want one, turn off the TV.
Oct 03, 2014
I would like to use my Samsung smart tv to listen to Pandora throughout the day. I was wondering if that would have a noticeable impact on my electric use. The alternative would be to use my old laptop to stream Pandora. Which would be more cost effective?
The TV will probably consume less than your old laptop, assuming you disable the screen. Most TVs have that feature, but it is sometimes hidden deep in the menus.
May 15, 2014
The picture quality on a plasma tv with 720p will be better than a 1080p LED?
It depends on your viewing distance. A 720p plasma will appear to have a screen door effect if you sit too close to the TV (about 10 feet).
Jul 02, 2014
My friend will sell his plasma TV, which still looks good physically. But, is there any specific life time for this TV? Max running hours (manufacturer's design)?
The first thing to look for in a used plasma TV is image retention. Display a gray picture and look for any residual burn-in. If it has none, you are good to go. There really isn't a specific life time. Manufacturers advertised a crazy one but it practically means nothing.
Oct 10, 2014
I think you need to mention the 'halo' visual issues of LCD/LED TV's. They are less clear looking that 20 year old CRT TVs are. It is a big deal. It is a deal killer, making the picture quality of an LED worse than that of a 1990s CRT. Every time a dark image and a light image are near one another you get a serious loss of contrast - in fact depending on the set (less expensive ones get this a lot) you can have a dark scene with a bright moon and end up with a stripe from the top of your set to the bottom in the area that has the moon. This screws up all space movies, dark scenes in horror movies, outdoor scenes with water and sky.. and a lot of video games look bad. Terrible. Plasma's make their own light for every pixel and LCD's do not. To get bright colors (with any contrast) they need 'regions' (divide your screen into vertical stripes, or blocks) and each region gets some LEDs... and if anything inside of a 'region' is bright the entire region is bright (it makes looking at the stars about as 'crisp' as putting olive oil my glasses). The LED TV makers have spent the last 3 years sitting on their hands, fiddling with gimmicks like 3D and 4K sets (in a world with no 4K content) instead of fixing the native contrast and 'haloing' issues. The 'good' tech to get around this isn't even ready in the LAB yet. The only work around is more LED regions which raises the cost and the power usage.
Yes, but this is only true for local dimming LED TVs. When you turn that feature off, the backlight is constant no matter the picture displayed. The black color is still not as good as a plasma, but there is no halo effect.
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