You don’t have to spend a lot of money to acquire a good television. Even low-cost TVs can now provide a good viewing experience for most purposes, and many of them have excellent smart features, obviating the need for an additional streaming device. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a little TV for a guest room or a giant TV on a budget.
In the last two years, we’ve evaluated over 50 TVs, and we’ve compiled a list of the best affordable TVs to buy. Also check out our picks for the best TVs under $500, best TVs under $1,000, and best smart TVs.
Our Editor's Choice
10 Best Cheap 4k TV For Gaming – Reviews In 2021
Do you need a new television but aren’t sure if you can obtain a good one on your tight budget? The good news is that a superb 4K HDR TV does not have to cost thousands of dollars. In fact, if you stick to screen sizes of 55 inches or smaller, you can obtain a fantastic model for roughly $500, give or take a few dollars.
Hundreds of hours have been spent by our experts testing televisions ranging from low-cost 4K TVs to high-end OLED displays costing more than $5,000. While luxury televisions have jaw-dropping image quality, even the most basic models have superb technology.
Anyone upgrading from a 1080p television will be impressed with our favorite 4K TVs under $500. The 50-inch TCL 5-Series, our top pick, comes with a slew of features including the excellent Roku smart TV software.
We’re having the year’s newest models in our offices for complete reviews, and depending on what we find, some of these new models may end up on our list, so keep checking back.
Do you want a bigger screen or a TV that makes gaming more fun? Take a look at our other budget-friendly selections below.
LG Electronics 43UJ6300 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
Resolution and image capacity
As with the rest of the 4K TVs on the market, this product is capable of reproducing images under the modern Ultra HD format with 3840 x 2160 pixels, so that the pictures reach levels of definition never seen before.
Also, its 43-inch IPS panel has been optimized to reproduce this type of content, so that, among other advantages, each area of the screen maintains the lighting that corresponds to it without leaking light to the darkest areas as it happens with other models.
To complete the proposal, this model incorporates an HDR converter so that it converts and interpolates any content to this image quality so that even in more secondary sources, you have the highest possible image quality.
To break the market also on the rational side, highlighting, therefore, in any comparison of 4K TVs, this model has an improved sound output system, based on the current Ultra Surround standard, which improves quality, sensations and surrounds sound compared to the conventional standard.
To reinforce this system, the product is equipped with a two-speaker system in a 2.0 system with a total of 20 watts of power, which is an extra compared to other models that do not exceed ten conventional watts. A sound system that, thanks to the settings available on the TV itself, can have the necessary quality and settings depending on the type of content you are watching (cinema, sports, concerts, etc.)
Among the additional functions that this model incorporates, it certainly highlights its Smart TV function. In this case, the TV set version 3.5 of WebOS launched, especially for its 4K equipment, which improves the speed and performance of the system, being also the first system of this type with a UL Cybersecurity security certificate. Therefore, you will not only see what you want, but you will also do it safely.
The model also maintains the usual connectivity options, so that you can play content from numerous external devices through the connections included in it. A complete product with recorder function and that keeps everything functional that this equipment offered, but duly improved.
- Its exclusive IPS panel further improves the quality of the 4K standard, with, among other advantages, a 178-degree viewing angle system and a recommended format to reduce light leakage and improve overall contrast.
Hisense 50-Inch Class H8 Quantum Series Android 4K ULED Smart TV
The Hisense U6G is the greatest cheap TV we’ve tested. Because it has outstanding contrast to give deep blacks and becomes bright enough to prevent glare, this simple yet adaptable TV is well-suited for both bright and dark settings. It doesn’t have the best viewing angles, which is typical with VA panels, thus it’s not suitable for large seating areas because the image appears washed out from the side.
It has excellent image quality. It supports a wide color gamut and upscales lower resolution content well, with near-full coverage of the DCI P3 color space utilized in most HDR content. Although it has a fast response time, it is confined to a 60Hz refresh rate and does not enable any variable refresh rate technologies to decrease screen tearing, which may disappoint certain gamers.
For a TV in this price range, the HDR brightness is quite good. It doesn’t reach 1000 cd/m2, but it’s more than enough to provide you a wonderful HDR experience, especially in low-light situations. It runs on Android TV, which is quite simple to use and has a big number of apps. Overall, it’s a fantastic television that most people should like.
LG LED Smart TV 43" Slim Real 4k UHD
Editor’s note: We used to recommend the 65-inch LG UN7000 for this category, but recent price rises have pushed it over $500, so we’ve gone with the 55-inch model instead. Except for the size and price, it is identical in every manner.
The LG UN7000 55-inch 4K TV has what we consider to be the finest viewing angle of any 4K TV under $500, guaranteeing that everyone in the room is involved in the on-screen action, even if they aren’t seated directly in front of it – with no noticeable color or contrast deterioration. How? Because it’s an IPS display rather than a traditional LCD.
The UN7000 is the best value on this list for its size, but it lacks some of the capabilities found in some of our other recommendations.
The UN7000, for example, supports both HDR10 and HLG HDR codecs, but not Dolby Vision.
Because it runs on WebOS, you’ll have near-instant access to a seemingly limitless selection of on-demand and live video from Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. Sling TV, Vudu, and YouTube TV are just a few of the niche offerings that can be accessed with a few clicks.
With AirPlay 2, you can stream any unsupported material directly from your phone or tablet if you have an Apple device – HBO Max is an excellent example.
Although the UN7000 lacks built-in voice control, it is compatible with Google Assistant, Siri (due to Apple HomeKit), and Amazon Alexa devices.
While the LG UN7000 isn’t quite as good for gaming as the Vizio, it does have Auto Low Latency Mode, which helps gamers get the most out of the TV by automatically turning off any picture processing that could cause lag.
LG 43NANO75UPA Alexa Built Smart UHD NanoCell TV
If you frequently watch TV at an angle, an IPS panel TV, such as the LG UP8000, is a good choice. It has a much broader viewing angle than the Hisense U6G, thus the image is accurate even when viewed from the side. This is ideal if you want to watch TV while exercising on a machine in the corner or if you want to watch a soccer match with a large group of people. Regrettably, there are some drawbacks. Because this is an IPS TV, it has a low contrast ratio, making blacks appear yellowish, making it unsuitable for viewing in dim light. It also doesn’t get as bright, which means it may struggle to overcome glare, and the whole HDR experience isn’t as excellent because highlights don’t stand out as much as they should. Finally, it has a substantially smaller color spectrum and does not support local dimming.
Overall, the Hisense is a far superior television for the vast majority of applications. The LG, on the other hand, is a good option if you need wide viewing angles and are willing to compromise.
VIZIO 55" Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) HDR Smart LED TV
To be honest, the Vizio M-Series Quantum is an excellent all-around TV, but we’ve chosen to spotlight it because of its exceptional support for console and PC gaming.
When it comes to gaming, variable refresh rate (VRR) is one of the most significant characteristics a TV can offer. The M-Series Quantum includes VRR, but it’s not just regular VRR; it also has AMD’s FreeSync, which is found on Xbox consoles and many PC gaming systems. VRR ensures that the TV is always in sync with the shifting frame rates of a game. TVs that are unable to do so produce a “tearing” effect, which can be distracting and have a detrimental influence on overall gaming performance.
Add in Vizio’s ProGaming Engine, which adjusts numerous other parameters automatically to eliminate input lag and response times, as well as support for 60Hz 4K signals, and you’ve got a fantastic gaming TV for a fantastic price.
When connected to a compatible soundbar or A/V receiver, the M-Series Quantum offers extensive HDR support, including HDR 10, HDR 10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG compatibility, as well as HDMI ARC/eARC for lossless sound quality.
Vizio’s smart TVs have lately received a slew of new capabilities, including Apple’s AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit, and Chromecast. If you have a smart speaker for one of these assistants, it will also operate with Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
All of this adds up to a very competent smart TV with the Vizio M-Series Quantum 55-inch.
TCL 55-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV
If you prefer a Roku TV, we recommend the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED, which is the best low-cost 4K TV we’ve tested with a Roku interface. The TCL 5 Series is a mid-range TV from TCL’s 2020 collection that offers a superb viewing experience at a reasonable price. It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 50 to 75 inches. The Roku interface is simple to use, operates well, and includes a large number of apps.
It boasts a VA panel and one of the greatest contrast ratios of any LED TV we’ve tested, resulting in deep blacks that look great in low light. Because it doesn’t become very bright and its reflection handling is just average, it’s not ideal for really well-lit spaces. It upscales lower-resolution content well and boasts good color accuracy right out of the box. It also boasts a quick response time for smooth movements and a black frame insertion feature to reduce persistence blur even further.
While it has a large color gamut for HDR, it doesn’t get bright enough to make highlights jump, making the HDR experience pretty disappointing. It also has low viewing angles, which cause the image to appear washed out from the sides, making it unsuitable for large seating configurations. Despite the lack of VRR functionality, gamers will appreciate the low input lag. Overall, we found this to be the greatest bargain Roku TV we’ve tried.
Hisense 65-Inch Class R8 Series Dolby Vision Smart TV
Editor’s note: Hisense’s recent pricing increases have pushed this model above the $500 mark, but only somewhat. If you’re on a budget, search for the 50-inch model, which is nearly similar but for size and price.
Hisense is another brand that is gradually gaining a reputation for producing high-quality, low-cost televisions. The H8G combines a quantum dot LED display, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos compatibility, and full-array local dimming to create a powerful package. We’re used to seeing features like these on far more expensive phones.
The H8brightness G’s is unquestionably its best feature. The display can go significantly brighter than most of the other TVs on this list, whether it’s displaying regular or high dynamic range video, which not only helps with brightly lit rooms but also makes HDR material shine more gloriously.
The H8G has a VA LCD panel, which means the viewing angles aren’t as good as the LG UN7000 below, but the contrast is great, and the blacks are deep and rich. You’d have to spend more than twice as much on an OLED TV to have significantly higher contrast ratios than this Hisense model.
You also get some nice extra features with Android TV. Chromecast is pre-installed, as is Google Assistant, which can be accessed via the voice-activated remote. You can use voice commands to control the TV and volume, activate apps, and manage playback just like you can with a Roku TV. However, because it’s a Google Assistant device, you can ask it to do whatever a Google smart speaker does, such as deliver weather forecasts or answer niggling questions about who directed that movie you just saw.
With 240Hz motion control and various auto game mode upgrades, the Hisense H8G is also a good choice for gaming and sports.
VIZIO 70-Inch V-Series 4K UHD LED HDR Smart TV
The Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 is the greatest budget TV we’ve tested for gaming. It’s a well-rounded, low-cost device with excellent gaming capabilities. It works best in low-light environments, although it also works well in bright environments. Despite the 60Hz panel, it still has FreeSync VRR to avoid screen tearing, which is a nice feature for a budget TV.
It’s ideal for gaming because it offers a fast response time and less motion blur in fast-paced scenarios. The backlight isn’t flicker-free until you set it to maximum brightness, but it flickers at 480Hz, which shouldn’t disturb most people. There’s also a Black Frame Insertion option to eliminate motion blur. Input lag is really low, and it remains so even with VRR turned on, although it unfortunately worsens when playing 1440p games. When a game from a compatible device is launched, an Auto Low Latency Mode automatically changes the TV into ‘Game’ mode.
Unfortunately, it’s not the best display for HDR gaming because, although having a wide color gamut, it doesn’t go bright enough to bring out highlights, and the local dimming feature isn’t the best because it reduces contrast. Fortunately, because to its VA panel, its inherent contrast ratio is still superb, resulting in deep blacks. All things considered, if you’re searching for the greatest budget gaming TV, this one should suffice.
TCL 50-inch Class 4-Series 4K UHD Smart Roku LED TV
Editor’s note: We used to recommend the 50-inch 5-Series, but recent price increases at TCL have made that model more expensive, so we’ve replaced it with the 50-inch variant. Except for the size and price, it is identical in every manner.
The addition of quantum dots and full-array local dimming (FALD) for enhanced color accuracy and black levels was added to TCL’s TVs for 2021, giving the 5-Series a considerable jump in picture quality. It effectively has all of the features of the 2019 6-Series but at the cheaper costs of the 5-Series, making it our current top recommendation for a 4K TV under $500.
TCL has risen to the top of the television industry. What is the formula for success? Roku’s adaptable Roku OS smart software is bundled on all of the company’s current televisions, giving customers quick access to a never-ending library of on-demand video from prominent providers like Amazon Prime Video and Hulu right out of the box.
The TCL 5-Series is priced to appeal to budget customers, yet it holds its own against more expensive choices from LG and Samsung. This isn’t a 4K Ultra HD watching experience for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s the polar opposite. There’s Dolby Vision HDR, which adds more detail to supported material, as well as voice control for hands-free navigation.
Here are some of the commands you can murmur in its direction:
“Watch The Mandalorian on Disney+,” says the narrator.
“Change to HDMI 2.”
“Turn down the volume.”
“At 11 p.m., turn off.”
Gamers will love the 5-Series’ automatic game settings, including as low-latency and improved picture processing, which ensure that on-screen action is as responsive as possible.
These TVs now have even more fantastic capabilities, like Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit integration, automated gaming console identification, new live TV guide updates, and the ability to identify when faster Wi-Fi is available, thanks to Roku’s latest software update, OS 10.
When you add in four HDMI ports for connecting all of your devices, whether it’s a streaming device (though because this model comes with Roku streaming software, you shouldn’t need one), a gaming console, a DVR, or possibly all three, the 50-inch TCL 5-Series emerges as the clear victor.
Hisense 43-Inch Class R6090G Roku 4K UHD Smart TV
The Hisense 43R6090G is the best low-cost TV we’ve evaluated. It’s a straightforward 43-inch display with a VA panel. It’s great for a dark to moderately lit room because it has a high contrast ratio for displaying deep blacks, but it doesn’t get extremely bright, so glare could be an issue. It does a good job of upscaling lower-resolution content and comes pre-calibrated.
It has a good response time, but it’s just 60Hz, and there’s no VRR to prevent screen tearing when gaming, which is to be anticipated for a TV in this price range. Low-frame-rate material, such as movies, is less likely to stutter, and it can help remove judder from 24p sources and native apps. If you wish to use it as a PC monitor, the input lag is relatively low, and it supports most popular resolutions as well as chroma 4:4:4.
The Roku smart interface is user-friendly and, for the most part, performs flawlessly. You should be able to discover what you need among the many apps accessible. The built-in speakers aren’t terrific, but they don’t cause a lot of distortion even at maximum volume. Overall, it’s a straightforward, budget-friendly television that should appeal to the majority of people.
What to look for in a Budget Gaming TV
Expect to make some compromises when buying for a low-cost gaming television. Expect to find few excellent screens larger than 55 inches if you’re on a budget of less than $700 or $500. You can also forget on OLED, as the screen technology requires a $2,000 or higher premium.
You can buy a budget gaming TV in one of two ways: get a big screen with bad image quality or get a decent quality screen that may be smaller than you want. Although your TV may only be 43 inches in size, if it is 4K in resolution and delivers correct colors, you can always sit closer to the screen to compensate for its tiny size.
A large screen is fantastic, but if it has muted blacks and an unappealing color cast, no amount of distance will make it look better. You can’t, for example, fix a bad display panel on your own.
To 4K or not to 4K
It’s worth debating whether or not you should purchase a 4K television. There are a few advantages to purchasing a 4K TV even if you only have a system capable of 1080p gaming (such as a PS4 Slim or Xbox One S).
The first is High-Dynamic Range (HDR), which is virtually exclusively found in 4K TVs. That isn’t to suggest that all 4K TVs support HDR. To achieve the full HDR effect, instead hunt for affordable versions with a peak brightness above 300 nits.
On the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S, games are increasingly supporting HDR, which can make a significant difference in image quality. On a 4K TV with HDR compatibility, these games will look far better than on a 1080p TV without it.
Second, you’re about to run out of options. If you’ve been looking for a new TV in the last year, you’ve certainly noticed that HDTVs aren’t as popular as they once were. It’s difficult to locate a new 1080p TV larger than 49 inches.
Manufacturers and customers appear to have moved on. If you conduct a fast search on Amazon for 55-inch TVs, you’ll notice that the majority of the results are in 4K. That may sound alarming, but 4K TV prices have dropped substantially and in a much shorter period of time than similar-sized screens during the HD era.
Discount brands like Vizio and TCL have aided in lowering the cost of 4K televisions. It’s not difficult to buy a 55-inch 4K TV with a ton of features for less than $400, which is incredible when you consider television prices in the past. 32-inch CRTs were out of reach for most people just 20 years ago. A 32-inch TV now appears almost quaint.
It’s almost unbelievable how quickly 4K is gaining traction. 4K computer monitors have been around for a while, but with the latest wave of best graphics cards for gaming, you can now take advantage of all those pixels. Gaming laptops are also starting to use those latest GPUs, making 4K a more common occurrence than an outlier. So, where does display technology go from here? Of course, 8K is the answer.
With shops like Walmart and Amazon reducing prices to persuade you to buy, Black Friday is one of the greatest, if not THE BEST, times to snag a 4K TV deal.