If you wanted to buy a decent LCD TV a few years ago, chances were that you wouldn't be able to find any good models for under $500. Although the best models are still priced higher, you can find cheap models that can serve you well in this price category, depending on your use. Keep in mind that most models are available in a wide range of sizes as well, so if you want a TV under $500 but aren't willing to compromise on quality, you can always go for a smaller-sized set, but not all TVs are available in smaller sizes.
We've tested over 110 TVs under the latest test bench, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs under $500 you can buy. You may also want to check out our picks for the best budget TVs, the best 48-49-50 inch TVs, or even the best 4k TVs under $1,000.
The best TV you can get for under $500 is the Hisense 55U6G. It's a great overall TV that's versatile for a variety of uses and environments. It displays deep blacks and has a decent local dimming feature that further deepens any blacks in the dark, making it an impressive choice for watching movies in dark rooms. If you prefer watching content in a bright room, visibility won't be an issue as it has great peak brightness to combat glare and decent reflection handling.
The built-in Android TV platform makes it easy to stream your favorite content. Sadly, it has a narrow viewing angle, and it isn't ideal for wide seating areas because the image looks inaccurate from the sides. You can get it in a variety of sizes, including a 50 inch model, if you want the best 50 inch TV under $500.
If you prefer something smaller, then the Samsung UN43AU8000FXZA is the best small TV under $500. The 43 inch model performs like the 65 inch model we tested, which is decent overall, but it's not as versatile or as good as the Hisense U6G. It doesn't have any trouble upscaling lower-resolution content, which is important for watching DVDs and cable channels. It has good out-of-the-box accuracy that makes colors look accurate without even calibrating it.
Like the Hisense, it displays deep blacks in dark rooms, but it doesn't have a local dimming feature to improve the contrast, and it doesn't get bright enough to fight glare, so it isn't the best choice for well-lit rooms. Also, because highlights don't pop in HDR, its overall HDR performance is limited, and you won't get a satisfying HDR experience from it.
If you have a wide seating area, then the LG 55UP8000PUA is the best TV in this price range for your needs. It has a different panel type than the Hisense U6G and Samsung AU8000 and has a wider viewing angle, meaning the image remains accurate as you move off to the sides. This makes it a good choice for watching sports or TV shows in wide seating areas.
The included LG webOS platform has a ton of apps you can download, and the Magic Remote has a point-and-press feature that makes it easy to navigate through the interface so you can stream your favorite content quicker. Although it has good reflection handling if you want to use it in a room with a few lights around, it has low SDR peak brightness. Also, it has a low native contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray in the dark.
May 26, 2022: Updated structure to reflect user needs; moved the TCL 5 Series/S546 to Notable Mentions, replaced the Vizio V5 Series with the Samsung AU8000 as the Best Small TV, and replaced the LG UP7000 with the better overall LG UP8000; moved the TCL 4 Series/S446 to Notable Mentions.
Mar 11, 2022: Replaced the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 with the TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 because it's cheaper and renamed to 'Alternative With Variable Refresh Rate Support'; replaced the Samsung AU8000 with the Vizio V5 Series 2021 for consistency; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Jan 10, 2022: Replaced the Hisense A6G with the TCL 4 Series/S446 2021 because it has more features; added the Vizio M7 Series 2021 and the Sony X80J to Notable Mentions.
Nov 10, 2021: Added the TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED as 'Alternative With VRR Support' to the Hisense U6G; added the Vizio M6 Series Quantum 2021 and the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED to Notable Mentions.
Sep 14, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the newer Hisense U6G; removed the Vizio M7 Series 2020 and the TCL 5 Series 2020 because they're over $500 and made the Samsung AU8000 a main pick; added the Hisense A6G as an alternate; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs for 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 TV reviews, sorted by price from 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.