While you won't find premium all-metal designs and extensive support of more cutting-edge features like HDR, cheaper TVs can still offer good basic picture quality and features like low input lag. They'll often also share the same smart features with only the remote being slightly more simplistic.
So far, we've tested 9 TVs under $500 in 2017. Black Friday deals for 2017 are on their way and below are our recommendations for the best TVs you can buy this fall.
Best TV under $500
The Vizio E50-E1 4k LED is the best TV under $500 that we've tested this year. It's a decently versatile TV with good picture quality for the money and a nice set of features.
If you've used Google's Chromecast before, You'll be right at home with the E Series's SmartCast platform. It's a bit limited compared to entirely standalone Smart platforms like Roku or Android, but its simplicity keeps it snappier than average. Its picture quality is quite good too thanks to its high contrast which helps give depth to the image.
It's not without its downsides since its picture quality significantly deteriorates when viewed from an angle, and it doesn't get bright enough to handle the reflections of a bright living room, but that's common with most TVs found in this price range.
If you're not a big fan of Vizio's smart cast or don't mind sacrificing some picture quality to spend less money, look for the TCL 49S305 1080p LED TV. It includes the same Roku Smart platform found on the popular set-top boxes while being very cheap.
Best Value for Size under $500
The TCL 55S405 offers great value for money. It's the only 4k TV of this size currently available under 500$ and it does so while still being a decent performer overall.
Like almost all TCL TVs we've reviewed, it features the excellent Roku TV OS that gives an easy and quick access to almost all the internet content one needs. Its picture quality is not bad either. We found it had a decent contrast ratio giving it deep and uniform blacks. It's also a great gaming TV thanks to its exceptionally low input lag.
Because of its relatively low brightness and narrow viewing angle, it's not the best choice for a bright living room with wide sitting arrangements, but it's difficult to find a better deal at this price.
- LeEco Super4. Decent 4k TV, but value isn't great compared to the TCL S405. See our review
- LG 43UJ6300. Bad picture quality for the price. See our review
- Samsung 40MU6300. Decent versatile TV, but a bit too expensive for its size. See our review
- Element Fire TV EL4KAMZ4317. Poor value for money compared to the TCL S405 and Vizio E50-E1. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap TVs under $500 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs that are less than $500. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.