You don't have to spend a small fortune to get a decent TV. Today, even cheap 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. Whether you're looking for a small TV for a guest room or a large TV on a budget, there's something for everyone.
We've tested more than 80 TVs in the last two years, and below you'll find the best cheap TVs to purchase. See also our recommendations for the best TVs under $500, the best TVs under $1,000, and the best smart TVs.
The best budget TV we've tested is the Hisense H8G. This is a good VA panel model that performs well in nearly every type of content. It has a high contrast ratio that's further enhanced by full-array local dimming, resulting in deep blacks and a better dark room viewing experience. Visibility in bright rooms is good as it has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough to fight glare. It doesn't have the best viewing angles, though, so it isn't ideal for wide seating areas because images look washed out when viewed from the side.
It delivers fast-moving scenes with minimal motion blur as it has a quick response time and a Black Frame Insertion feature. Low frame rate content, such as movies, doesn't stutter much, and it can remove judder from 24p sources and native apps. Input lag is outstandingly low, but it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing, nor does it have any HDMI 2.1 ports. It has a good wide color gamut to produce rich and vibrant colors in HDR, but it doesn't get quite bright enough for a true HDR experience.
Android TV is fairly user-friendly and operates smoothly for the most part. There are tons of apps available through the Google Play Store, and you also get voice control through the Google Assistant. The internal speakers sound okay, but you should get a soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer if you want a more robust bass. Overall, although some gamers might be disappointed by the lack of advanced gaming features like VRR, it's a versatile TV that most people should be happy with.
If you often watch TV at an angle, then you should consider the LG UN7300. Unlike the Hisense H8G, it has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, so you don't lose as much image accuracy when viewing from the side. However, it does come at the cost of a lower contrast ratio that results in blacks looking grayish in dark rooms. It also doesn't get as bright, which means that glare may be an issue in very well-lit environments. The response time is decent, but it doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature.
Overall, go with the Hisense if you want better picture quality. However, if viewing angles are important for your particular setup and you don't mind compromising a bit, then go with LG.
The best budget TV in terms of size and value that we've tested is the TCL 65S535. It offers similar performance to the Hisense H8G, but the 65 inch model of this TV is cheaper, so it's a better choice if you want an option in a larger size while saving some money. It uses quantum dot technology to provide a very wide color gamut for HDR content and has outstanding coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space.
It has good out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it upscales lower-resolution content, such as from Blu-rays, without any issues. With its VA panel, it has a remarkable contrast ratio, good black uniformity, and the full-array local dimming feature performs fairly well. Even though it doesn't have any VRR support and it has a 60Hz panel, casual gamers should still enjoy the quick response time, incredibly low input lag, and Black Frame Insertion feature.
Sadly, it doesn't get very bright, and its reflection handling is just decent, so it's best to avoid placing it in a well-lit environment. On top of that, its HDR peak brightness is disappointing, and some highlights may not pop how they should. On the upside, the built-in Roku TV is very easy-to-use and has a great selection of apps available to download, so you won't need to buy an external box. If you want a bigger TV and save some money, this is the best budget TV available in a 65 inch size.
If you want an even bigger option, then check out the Samsung UN75TU8000FXZA. It doesn't display a wide color gamut like the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED, but it offers good picture quality that most people should be happy with. It also has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio and exceptional black uniformity. Even though it doesn't have a local dimming feature, it still offers excellent dark room performance. Similar to the TCL, the TU8000 doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, but it has a bit better reflection handling, so it's a better choice for well-lit rooms. It also upscales lower-resolution content well, removes judder from native 24p sources, and interpolates motion up to 60fps. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, and its slower response time may result in some motion blur, but it has incredibly low input lag for gamers.
The TCL is a better performing TV overall and displays a wide color gamut, but if you want an even bigger option, the 75 inch Samsung is a good choice, and it's also available in an 85 inch size.
The Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 is the best budget TV for gaming that we've tested. Despite its low cost, it's packed with gaming features usually found in higher-end models, which is a nice addition. Picture quality is great, and it performs best in dark rooms. Also, It's a fairly well-built TV that'll look nice in any setup.
It has a 60Hz panel with FreeSync variable refresh rate support to match the frame rate of your game. This is great if you have an Xbox One X or Xbox Series X as they both support FreeSync. Input lag is incredibly low and stays low with VRR enabled, but it increases significantly with 1440p games. It has a good response time and a Black Frame Insertion feature to help improve the appearance of motion. It's great for dark room gaming thanks to the VA panel's excellent contrast ratio and decent black uniformity. It also has a full-array local dimming feature, but it doesn't perform well overall.
It displays an incredibly wide color gamut for HDR content, but sadly, it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop. If that's important to you, the Vizio M8 Series Quantum 2020 is similar and gets brighter. The M7 has decent peak brightness in SDR and good reflection handling, but it may be best to avoid using it in a well-lit room. It also has trouble upscaling lower-resolution content, so it's best to use it for 1080p or 4k gaming. Regardless of these issues, it's still the best budget TV that we've tested for gaming.
The TCL 4 Series is the best cheap TV that we've tested. An entry-level 4k TV in TCL's 2020 lineup, it offers okay overall performance. It has built-in Roku TV, which is easy-to-use and the menu navigation is very smooth. There's a great selection of apps available to download, so you won't have to worry about buying an external streaming box if you don't want to.
Like most TVs in this recommendation, it has a VA panel with an outstanding native contrast ratio and alright black uniformity, but this may vary between units. This means it displays deep blacks, which is great for viewing movies in dark rooms. Our unit has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you may not need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, so it displays content from DVDs and cable boxes well. Its built-in speakers are okay and get loud, but they don't produce much bass.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get bright and fails to make highlights stand out the way the creator intended. It also can't display the wide color gamut needed for HDR content and doesn't have a local dimming feature, so HDR content doesn't look good on it, but that's somewhat expected for a cheap TV. It's okay for casual gaming, but it has a slow response time that results in some motion blur. That said, most people should at least be pleased with it if you're looking for a cheap option.
01/18/2021: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
12/18/2020: Removed the Samsung TU7000 and Vizio V Series 2020; added the TCL 4 Series and Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 as 'Best Gaming'.
10/27/2020: Removed the Vizio M Series, TCL 6 Series 2019, TCL 3 Series 2019, and TCL 4 Series 2019; added the TCL 5 Series 2020, Samsung TU8000 as 'Bigger Alternative', Vizio V Series 2020, and the Samsung TU7000 as 'Gaming Alternative'.
08/28/2020: Replaced the LG UM7300 with the LG UN7300.
06/30/2020: Replaced the Hisense H9F with the H8G, replaced the TCL 5 Series with the Vizio M Series, and added the TCL 6 Series as smart features alternative. Moved the 4 Series to replace the TCL 1 Series as a larger alternative to the best cheap TV.
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, sorted by price low to high. 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.