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The 4 Best Budget TVs - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Budget TVs

Whether you're on a strict budget or you're 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 375 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 will start releasing their 2023 lineups soon, so make sure to vote on which ones you want us to buy and test first. If you want to find out more about the 2023 models, check out our 2023 TV lineup page.

  1. Best Budget TV

    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 decent full array local dimming feature, so there's very little blooming around bright areas of the screen in a dark room. It also has great peak brightness in SDR and decent reflection handling, so glare isn't an issue in a brighter room.

    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 support for a responsive, nearly tear-free gaming experience. Unlike the Hisense U8H, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, which is disappointing for new-gen gamers, but it's still great for visually-intensive games that target 4k @ 60Hz in their 'Graphics' mode.

    See our review

  2. Best Cheap TV

    If you want something cheap that gets the job done, the Hisense A6H is the best cheap TV we've tested. It's an okay entry-level TV, and as expected for a cheap TV, it delivers just basic picture quality. Unfortunately, unlike the other TVs on this list, it's not a good choice for a dark room. It has a low contrast ratio, and by going with a cheap TV, you're losing out on advanced features like local dimming to improve the appearance of dark scenes. It also can't display a wide color gamut, so although it supports Dolby Vision HDR, this adds very little overall.

    It runs the Google TV smart interface, which has a huge selection of streaming apps available and even supports installing apps from unofficial sources. 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 has wide viewing angles, which is great if you watch TV while walking around, as the image remains consistent when viewed from the sides.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap TV For A Dark Room

    If you want a cheap TV like the Hisense A6H but plan on using it in a dark room, the best cheap TV for a dark room we've tested is 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 gray 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.

    It runs the Fire TV smart interface, which is 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's not accurate before calibration, so if you care about colors that look the way the content creator intended, you're better off with the A6H.

    See our review

  4. Best Large Budget TV

    If you want a large TV but are on a limited budget, the TCL 75S455 is the best 75-inch budget TV. Even on a budget, you can get a large 75-inch or 85-inch model, and although it's not 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 fantastic contrast ratio, delivering deep blacks with no blooming around bright objects, as it lacks a local dimming feature. It gets bright enough to overcome a bit of glare in a bright room and has decent reflection handling.

    It has a decent response time, so there's a bit of motion blur behind fast-moving objects, but it has incredibly low input lag, so you don't have to worry about delays between your actions and the action on-screen. It runs the Roku OS smart interface, which has a great selection of streaming channels, many of them free. The interface is very simple but incredibly easy to use.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • TCL 75S446 : The TCL 4 Series/S446 2021 is an older version of the TCL 4 Series/S455 2022 with Google TV. It's also available in larger sizes, but its 75-inch model uses a panel type with worse picture quality than the S455, which offers better overall performance. See our review
  • Hisense U6H: The Hisense U6H is a very good budget TV, but it's not as good as the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED for around the same price. Still, if you can't find the TCL or simply don't like the Roku OS smart interface, the Hisense is a great alternative. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. 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'.

  2. Dec 14, 2022: Added the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED as a Notable Mention. Verified our picks for accuracy and refreshed the text.

  3. Oct 11, 2022: Replaced the Hisense U6G with the newer Hisense U6H; replaced the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series with the Insignia F50 QLED and the TCL 4 Series/S455 in separate 'Best Cheap' and 'Best Large' categories; removed the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED and the LG UP8000 because they don't line up with user needs; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.

  4. Jul 29, 2022: Renamed the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series to 'Best Cheap Large TV' and removed the Samsung AU8000; replaced the TCL 5 Series/S546 with the Vizio M7 Series for consistency; renamed the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 to 'Best For Movies' to reflect user needs; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.

  5. Apr 11, 2022: Moved the LG UP8000 to its own category as the 'Best For Wide Seating Areas' for consistency; replaced the Hisense A6G with the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series because it's better overall; added the Amazon Fire TV 4-Series to 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.