Top 5 Energy-efficient Computer Monitors

Dell G2210t
A computer monitor upgrade to n Energy Star-rated model can save a lot of power.
A computer monitor upgrade to n Energy Star-rated model can save a lot of power.
Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories

Topping our list is the 22-inch (56-centimeter) Dell G2210t, a monitor with a very good active-mode value but practically unbeatable sleep- and off-mode values. After all, unless you're pretty hardcore, your monitor spends more time resting than it does working. And as far as cutting back on energy waste, drawing less power when a device isn't even in use is about as good as it gets.

Energy Star rates the Dell G2210t at a nice 22 watts in active and a phenomenal 0.12 watts in both sleep and off modes. The latter numbers are a huge efficiency jump over most other monitors -- even much smaller ones. For comparison, the similar and Energy Star-compliant Hyundai W220D draws 49.3 watts in active, 1 watt in sleep, and 0.9 watts in off.

More Dell G2210t specs:

  • Size: 22-inch diagonal
  • Type: TFT LCD
  • Resolution: 1680x1050
  • Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m2
  • Response time: 5 ms
  • List price: $240*
  • *source: PCWorld

As efficient as these monitors are, we could be looking at a huge jump in energy efficiency in the future. OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, promise displays that make huge cuts in power consumption. While in current displays, each pixel needs to be backlit, OLEDs emit light on their own -- they don't need any external light source. OLED monitors exist now, but developers have yet to implement the technology successfully in a mass-marketable display.

For more information on energy-efficient displays and related topics, look over the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Criswell, Chad. "What is OLED Display Technology?" Suite101. Nov. 3, 2007.
  • "EPA Issues New Requirements for Energy Star Computer Monitors, Picture Frames." EPA. March 30, 2009.!OpenDocument
  • "How to Buy an Energy-Efficient Computer Monitor." Federal Energy Management Program. U.S. Department of Energy.
  • "Monitors/Displays." Energy Star.


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