Whether you're on a strict budget or looking for the best cheap 4k TV, you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a decent display that's good enough for watching your favorite shows and movies. Today, even cheap and budget-friendly TVs can deliver a decent viewing experience for most uses, and many of them have great smart features, eliminating the need to spend more on an external streaming device if you want to look for the best cheap smart TV. You can also find these models in a wide range of sizes, so you aren't limited to just small sizes.
We've bought and tested more than 400 TVs, and below, you'll find the best budget TVs to buy. See our recommendations for the best TVs under $500, the best TVs under $1,000, and the best smart TVs. Most brands have started releasing their 2023 lineups, so vote on which ones you want us to buy and test. To learn more about the 2023 models, check out our 2023 TV lineup page.
The best budget TV we've tested is the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED. It delivers surprisingly great performance for the price. It looks amazing in a dark room thanks to its superb contrast ratio, and it has a full-array local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes, but there's blooming around bright objects. If you want to use it in a bright room, it also has great peak brightness in SDR and decent reflection handling, so glare isn't an issue if you have some lights around.
It runs the Roku OS smart interface, which has a great selection of streaming channels, including many free streaming services. It's a great TV for gaming, as it has superb low input lag and variable refresh rate (VRR) support for a responsive, nearly tear-free gaming experience. However, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning you can't take full advantage of current-gen gaming consoles, but it's hard to find low-cost TVs with a 120Hz refresh rate, and you'll have to spend more for that.
This TV was unofficially succeeded in 2023 by the TCL Q7/Q750G QLED; the Q7 isn't the S555's direct successor, but they both have the same market positioning in TCL's lineup, although the Q7 is a bit too expensive to be called a 'budget' TV. Still, if your budget allows it, the newer TCL is a better TV overall than the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED.
If you want something cheap that gets the job done, the Hisense A6H is a decent option. It's an okay entry-level TV, and as expected for a cheap TV, it delivers just basic picture quality, so if that's important for you, it's better to stick with the more expensive TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED. The biggest difference is that it doesn't look as good in dark rooms because it has a low contrast ratio, and it doesn't have a local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. Regardless, it's still an okay overall TV that provides decent value for a cheap price.
It runs the Google TV smart interface, with many streaming apps available. It makes it a great choice for an office or guest bedroom, as your guests can watch their favorite shows without you having to worry about buying an extra streaming stick. It also has a wide viewing angle, which is great if you watch TV while walking around, as the image remains consistent when viewed from the sides.
If you want a cheap TV like the Hisense A6H but plan on using it in a dark room, consider the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series. It's a bit more expensive than the Hisense A6H, but it has much better contrast, making it a better choice for a dark room, as blacks look decent in the dark, and there's no blooming around bright objects. It's also a bit brighter than the A6H, so glare isn't as distracting in a dark room. However, it also has a worse viewing angle than the Hisense, meaning images look washed out from the sides.
The Amazon TV runs the Fire TV smart interface, visually similar to the Google TV smart interface. It offers a great selection of additional apps, so you can easily find your favorite streaming channels. Unfortunately, by going with a cheap TV, there are a few sacrifices, as it isn't accurate before calibration, so if you care about colors that look the way the content creator intended, you might need to get it calibrated.
As the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series is only available in limited sizes, if you want a large TV for a low cost, the TCL 75S455 is a good alternative. Even on a budget, you can get a large 75-inch or 85-inch model, and although it isn't as feature-rich or as premium as more expensive TVs, it still delivers decent overall performance for most uses. It looks great in a dark room thanks to its great contrast ratio, delivering deep blacks with no blooming around bright objects, as it lacks a local dimming feature. It gets bright enough to overcome glare in a moderately-lit room and has decent reflection handling.
Even if you want to use it for gaming, it has a decent response time, so there's a bit of motion blur behind fast-moving objects. Still, it has incredibly low input lag, so you don't have to worry about delays between your button presses and the action on-screen. It runs the Roku OS smart interface, which has a great selection of streaming channels, and the interface is very simple but incredibly easy to use.
Feb 14, 2023: Replaced the Hisense U6H with the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED, as it's a bit better for the same price. Also replaced the Insignia F50 QLED with the Hisense A6H, as the Insignia is no longer available. Finally, we removed the TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED, and added the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series as the 'Best Cheap TV For A Dark Room'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap TVs 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 TV reviews, with a price limit of $600. 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.