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The 3 Best Budget TVs - Spring 2024 Reviews

Best Budget TVs

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 425 TVs, and below, you'll find the best budget TVs to buy. You can see our recommendations for the best TVs under $500, the best TVs under $1,000, and, if you need a soundbar but don't want to spend too much, the best budget soundbars. You can also vote on which ones you want us to buy and test. To learn more about the 2024 models, check out our 2024 TV lineup page.

  1. Best Budget TV

    The best budget TV we've tested is the Hisense U6/U6K, which delivers surprisingly decent performance for the price. It looks amazing in a dark room thanks to its excellent contrast ratio, and it has a full-array local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes, although there's blooming around bright objects. If you want to use it in a bright room, it has good peak brightness in SDR with decent reflection handling, so glare isn't an issue even if you have some lights around. It has okay HDR peak brightness, so some highlights stand out, but brighter highlights don't pop the way they should. It's also a very accurate TV, so content looks like the creator intended. Unfortunately, its image processing isn't great. Its sharpness processing when upscaling is decent, but its low-quality content smoothing is poor, with visible digital artifacts in low-bitrate content. Like many TVs in this price range, the viewing angle is inadequate, so it's best when viewed directly from the center of the screen since the image is degraded when watched from the sides.

    Still, this TV has plenty of features. It supports Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, so content looks its best regardless of source. It can passthrough advanced Dolby audio formats through eARC and basic DTS 5.1 through ARC, but unfortunately, it can't passthrough advanced DTS audio formats, so it's not a great option if you're into physical media. 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. Finally, it runs the Google TV smart interface, which has a great selection of streaming channels, including many free streaming services.

    See our review

  2. Best Premium Budget TV

    What if you want a budget TV but are willing to invest slightly more money to get something truly impressive? You can get the Hisense U7K, the best premium budget TV we've tested. It's an upgrade over the Hisense U6/U6K in every way. It has a great Mini LED backlight and a more effective local dimming feature, which allows it to simultaneously provide incredibly bright highlights and deep blacks, with little blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. HDR content looks great, and the TV supports Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+ for the best HDR experience possible. It also supports advanced audio formats, like DTS:X over eARC, for the best sound when watching content on physical media. Unlike the cheaper TV above, this Hisense has very good image processing overall, making it a standout for a home entertainment setup. Unfortunately, it still has an inadequate viewing angle, so viewing it directly in front is best.

    It's also better for gamers as it has a faster response time, leading to less blur in fast action. It supports every VRR technology for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. It has two HDMI 2.1 bandwidth ports, each capable of up to 4k @ 144Hz, so it can take full advantage of recent PC graphics cards or gaming consoles. It runs the Google TV interface, which is fast and easy to use, and it has a great selection of streaming features, so you're sure to find your favorite shows. The U7K is a fully-featured TV and is worth the money if your budget can stretch that far.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap TV

    The Roku Select Series is the best cheap TV we've tested if you want something affordable that gets the job done. It isn't as good as the Hisense U6/U6K in a dark room due to its lack of local dimming, although its contrast and black uniformity are certainly good enough for a pleasant dark room viewing experience. It doesn't get very bright in HDR, so highlights don't stand out, but it has good SDR brightness with decent reflection handling, so it can handle a few lights in a moderately lit room. The TV is at its best when watching high-quality 4k content, as its image processing is disappointing overall. It's available in a wide variety of sizes, although its 24- and 32-inch models have a 720p resolution, and its 40-inch model is limited to 1080p. The bigger sizes are all 4k TVs.

    It comes with the great Roku TV smart platform, which is extremely fast, simple, and easy to use. It's a bit light on features as it doesn't have any motion smoothing, and it can only remove 24p judder from external 24Hz devices, like DVD and Blu-ray players. It doesn't have VRR support, although it has a great response time and very low input lag for responsive inputs with minimal blur behind fast movements on screen. It has a good remote with an integrated microphone for voice commands, or you can also give commands through the Roku companion app on your phone. You can also plug headphones into the remote, which is a great feature at this price point. Overall, the TV is decent and provides a good user experience, especially at this price. Still, if you're a Costco member, you can get the slightly better Hisense A65K for a similar price.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • TCL Q5/Q550G QLED: The Best Buy exclusive TCL Q5/Q550G QLED is a good budget TV from TCL and directly competes with the Hisense U6/U6K. The Hisense is a bit better overall for most people, although the TCL is the more interesting product for gamers due to its ability to do 1080p @ 120Hz and 1440p @ 120Hz on the 55-inch and 65-inch models, with a wide VRR range through resolution halving. See our review
  • TCL Q7/Q750G QLED: The TCL Q7/Q750G QLED is the Hisense U7K's primary competitor but isn't as good overall as the Hisense. The TCL does have better contrast, so it looks better in dark rooms, but the Hisense has the edge in most other metrics. See our review
  • Roku Plus Series QLED: The Roku Plus Series QLED is an alternative to the Hisense U6/U6K and has slightly better image quality. Still, the Hisense has a slight edge due to being much more accurate after changing only a few settings, and it has a few more features, like VRR support and the ability to remove 24p judder from more sources. It also has better image processing than the Roku TV. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 04, 2024: Confirmed the availability of our picks and refreshed the text in the introduction to make it more relevant to the article.

  2. Feb 29, 2024: Added information about how the features on the Hisense U6/U6K impact the viewer.

  3. Feb 07, 2024: Updated text for clarity, confirmed that all picks are accurate and available, and clarified that the TCL Q5/Q550G QLED is a Best Buy exclusive.

  4. Jan 11, 2024: Replaced the TCL Q6/Q650G QLED with the TCL Q5/Q550G QLED in the Notable Mentions due to the Q5's better value and added a link to our 2024 TV lineup page in the introduction.

  5. Nov 30, 2023: The TCL S4/S450G was replaced with the newer and better Roku Select Series as the 'Best Cheap TV'. The text was expanded, and we added the Roku Plus Series QLED to the Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

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.