Many of us can’t imagine life without our televisions. We gather around them to watch movies, sports, play games, and be entertained. Television can transport us to new locations, engross us in storylines and plots, and leave us on the edge of our seats.
In modern times, many TV sets come with an abundance of bells and whistles. Smart TVs allow us to connect to apps such as Netflix or Disney+ with the push of a button. And while these feature-rich TV sets are certainly convenient and fun, they come with their drawbacks, too. In order to connect to apps and devices, smart TVs rely on either a WiFi connection or Bluetooth signal. And those are both forms of RF-EMF radiation.
Recognized by the World Health Organization’s International Association for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans, RF-EMF radiation has been tied to a number of serious health concerns. It has been linked to glioma, for example, as well as male infertility. And for sufferers of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), being near any source of RF-EMF radiation can cause an array of uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms.
If you’re EMF-conscious or are looking to reduce your exposure for health reasons, you are better off avoiding smart TVs altogether. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of missing out on your favorite TV shows. There are television sets out there that may not be as feature-rich as your average smart TV, but that also produce much less EMF radiation as they do not make use of WiFi or Bluetooth.
That isn’t to say you want to go completely old school. The older style cathode ray TV sets are problematic for other reasons — namely, they generate x-ray radiation, which can be just as harmful as EMFs. We won’t go over that in too much detail here because we cover it pretty in-depth over at TV Sets and Radiation: What You Should Know. But suffice it to say, the radiation sweet spot seems to be modern flat screens without internet connectivity.
To find out what options are out there, read on.
Best lower EMF TVs
5. Pyle LED TV. This 18.5-inch LED TV from Pyle can double as a TV or computer monitor. It features integrated speakers, a 1080p widescreen display, and has a removable base stand for easy wall mounting. And while it isn’t a smart TV, it does have some added perks, including a V-chip that allows parents to control what their children watch, closed captioning, and a sleep timer. It also has an HDMI and RCA input so you can easily hook up a gaming console or other device. The screen size may be a little small for a typical-sized living room, but for smaller areas, it works quite well. Like any TV, it does produce some EMF radiation, but without a WiFi or Bluetooth connection, it’s about as minimal as it can get.
4. LG 24-Inch HDTV. Featuring HDMI input, a Triple XD Engine for advanced image processing and a superior display, and a 24-inch screen, LG’s HDTV works great in just about any room. The built-in screw holes in the rear panel of the unit are designed to make wall mounting a quick and painless process, while the stand assembly provides symmetrical stability when the TV is placed on a flat surface. The 720p resolution is not exactly cutting edge, but certainly adequate for most purposes. And the manufacturer includes a one year extended protection plan as well as a full warranty, in case anything should happen to your TV in the first year.
3. Supersonic SC-1311 LED Widescreen TV. Available in sizes ranging from 13-inches to 40-inches, Supersonic’s TV can be made to fit in just about any space. This unit produces a crisp and clear image with 1080p resolution and even features digital noise reduction and several different picture modes. It is not a smart TV but does include HDMI, USB, and AC ports so you can use it with your favorite devices, including a Firestick or gaming console. If you want to use your TV as a computer monitor, you can do so using the HDMI connection. Supersonic may not be a highly recognized brand, but they’ve actually been around for over 30 years, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about televisions.
2. Samsung 670 LED-LCD 4K UHDTV. Sometimes TV sets are a trade-off: the larger and more feature-rich the device, the more EMF radiation it’s going to produce. This TV from Samsung strikes a good balance, however, delivering 4K picture quality without the added WiFi or Bluetooth of a smart TV. At 55-inches, this is a great choice for a home movie theater or a large living room– just be sure you are able to be seated far enough away to lower any potential EMF exposure. Samsung has a reputation in the market for quality, whether it’s with their TVs, cell phones, or computers, and this product is no exception. This TV delivers just what you need– crystal clear visuals — and nothing you don’t. Whether you’re a gamer and need to see fine details or you just appreciate a TV with good image quality, Samsung’s is an excellent choice.
1. Westinghouse 60Hz LED HD TV. Westinghouse is another well-respected brand, having been around since 1886. Their 60Hz HDTV is available in several sizes, including 19-inch and 32-inch, which is adequate in size for many rooms. With impressive picture quality for a 720p resolution TV set, this unit offers VGA, USB, and HDMI connections. It also has digital tuner connectivity and features a built-in V-chip to help parents restrict questionable channels or shows from their children. The unit itself is lightweight, as well, weighing in at under five pounds. And can easily be either wall-mounted or stood on a flat surface with the accompanying base stand. You can also hook up external speakers for improved audio using integrated audio outputs, as well.
Tips for purchasing a low EMF television
There are a few things to keep in mind if you are trying to find a low EMF television set.
- Lower wattage TVs may not produce as much radiation as higher wattage models. Even so, however, it’s still wise to install a dirty electricity filter on the circuit that your television set is on, as these appliances are often energy-efficient and therefore more prone to generating dirty electricity.
- Go with the smallest screen you can manage for your space, but make sure it’s large enough that you can see it from a distance. Ideally, you want to create a good ten or so feet between you and the television set, and if it’s too small you may be tempted to sit closer in order to see better.
- The more basic, the better. Stay away from smart TVs, if at all possible. If not, try and find a smart TV model that allows you to disable Bluetooth and WiFi. This is not always possible and sometimes involves making changes to the physical hardware on the set itself, so it’s generally easier to just steer away from smart models.
Testing your television
As most TV manufacturers aren’t exactly transparent about the amount of EMF radiation their devices produce, it’s really on the consumer to test their own television set. Fortunately, this can be done with your standard EMF meter.
If you don’t already have one, we love the TriField TF2 for both its simplicity and accuracy. Easy-to-use and capable of detecting all three forms of EMF radiation, this is an excellent entry-level meter. If you’d like to explore other options, however, you can do so over at The Best EMF Meters For Any Budget.
To measure your TV set’s EMF radiation levels, first, unplug the television. Turn your EMF meter on and take a reading directly in front of the device. You also may want to take a measurement on your couch or wherever you normally sit when watching TV, as well.
Next, plug the TV back in, but don’t turn it on. Repeat the measurement process again and note your results. Finally, turn the TV on, and once again take your measurements.
This process gives you an idea of how much radiation your television produces while on standby as well as powered on. Taking your reading on your couch gives you some idea of how much EMF radiation you are exposed to while watching the device. If the levels are too high, it may be time to push your couch back or find another way to create more distance between you and the unit. Using your EMF meter, you can figure out what a safe distance would be and try to arrange your room in a way that accommodates that.
You don’t have to sacrifice your health in order to enjoy TV — or sacrifice TV in order to protect your health. You can have the best of both worlds by purchasing a standard, non-connected flat screen and following basic safety tips such as not sitting too close to the unit.