It’s no secret that televisions have become much more energy-efficient in recent years, and this has made it possible to use them in RVs while on camping trips without totally draining fuel and batteries from your power supply.
It also means that using a TV during a power outage isn’t as costly on your generator and load capacity as it once was.
But how much wattage do you need to be able to run a TV, and how long can you run a TV on an inverter?
In this guide, we’re going to look at both of these aspects of using an inverter to give you all the information you need to keep yourself entertained wherever you are and whatever is happening.
What Size Inverter?
Before we get to the estimates, it’s important to note that the demands of different TV’s will have a fair amount of variation depending on an array of factors such as the resolution of the TV, the size of the TV, whether its a smart TV or not as well as if it’s an LED TV or not.
These different factors can all add additional wattage requirements and obviously the bigger the TV and the higher resolution it is, the more power it’s going to need to function.
While we can’t give you exact requirements for the specific model of TV you have or are looking for, we can certainly give good estimates to give you a better idea of how much wattage you’ll need and help you get an idea of what size inverter can accommodate those needs.
As a general rule, a 350W inverter should be able to power an average flatscreen TV for around 10 hours or so depending on some variables.
Naturally, if the TV uses additional features such as a Blu-ray player, DVD player, games console, or any other additional electronics then the wattage requirements will increase and a larger inverter would be required to power the various additional features.
Now, let's turn to the TV itself.
The best option you have is to find out the wattage requirements of the specific TV you have or that you plan to purchase, and use this to make absolutely sure you get the right inverter for your needs.
After all, inverters are quite expensive, even the smaller versions, and they are an investment that only really pays if you can get good usage out of it for a long period.
To maximise your value, use this formula to make sure the generator will work for your TV.
- Find out the wattage requirements of your TV (and additional accessories if you use them)
- Take this number and add an additional 20 to 25% watts to the total
- The number you end up with is the minimum size inverter we’d recommend for use with a TV.
If you’re wondering why you need to add that additional 20% allowance, this will help with things like surge wattage, which is the additional power devices draw when they first turn on and also helps reduce the chance of overloading which can damage both your electronics and the generator itself.
If you have a 40 inch TV that uses roughly 80 watts of power or it’s a high-end LED version of that TV that uses maybe 120 watts, then you’d add 25% to the wattage.
25% of 120 is 30 so your total wattage needs would be 150W.
So you’d need a minimum of a 150W inverter just to power the TV alone. This amount of wattage will be able to handle fairly large TVs up to around 45 inches, and of course any smaller sized TVs, but for larger models, the requirements are higher and would challenge a smaller generator.
If you have a larger TV with additional accessories you need to power, it’s best to avoid trying to use a smaller generator, and instead, aim to buy a generator that has a good surplus of power.
A 75 inch TV will draw around 300 watts, and so an inverter of 500W would be a prudent investment to ensure a good bit of headroom for additional devices.
For absolute peace of mind, an inverter of 1000W can handle almost all current TVs and would be able to handle additional systems capably too.
How Long Can An Inverter Run My TV?
Again, there are a lot of variables that can affect this, however, it's possible to get some good estimations to give you a better idea of whether you can finish that movie or TV series you’re desperate to see.
Generally, a 1500W inverter running a 150W TV can typically keep the lights on for 9 to 10 hours, however, the efficiency of the inverter can play a part in this, and assuming the inverter is at around 80 percent efficiency you can expect a run time closer to 5 or 6 hours.
There are other factors also, such as battery voltages and whether you’re using additional accessories with your TV which could potentially reduce the run time further.
What Inverter Is Best For TV?
There are a few different types of inverter but the best option is the pure sine wave inverter which is both more energy-efficient and provides cleaner power that is safe for use with sensitive electronics such as TVs, as well as computers and other devices that use microprocessors.
This type of power is very stable and is one of the reasons why inverters are more expensive than conventional generators, which can’t be used with this type of electronics safely due to the sporadic power output and ‘dirty’ electricity they produce.