If you wanted to buy a decent LCD TV a few years ago, chances were that you couldn't 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. Finding the best 4k TV under $500 depends on your usage and even space limitations, as smaller TVs tend to cost less regardless, so if you want a bigger TV in this price range, you'll have to sacrifice a bit in terms of performance.
We've bought and tested more than 375 TVs, 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 4k TVs under $1,000, or if you want something cheaper, the best TVs under $300.
The best TV under $500 that we've tested is the TCL 55S555. It's a great TV overall, with surprisingly good picture quality for the price. It has superb contrast, making it a great choice for watching movies or shows at night in a dark room. It's one of the only TVs on the market at this price point to offer a full array local dimming feature to improve the appearance of dark scenes, and it helps it deliver a great overall HDR experience, as small bright highlights stand out well.
It runs the Roku OS smart interface, which is simple but very easy to use, and it has a great selection of streaming channels. It also offers a great selection of gaming features, including low input lag, a fast response time, and variable refresh rate support to reduce tearing in games. The 55-inch model of the S555 is the best TV, but if you're looking for the best 50-inch TV under $500, the TCL 50S555 is a great choice.
Most TVs on this list aren't available in smaller sizes, but if you're looking for a small TV for a bedroom or office, the best 43-inch TV under $500 is the Sony KD-43X80K. It's a decent TV with a wide viewing angle, making it a great choice for a room you move around in while watching TV. It runs the Google TV smart interface, with a premium, polished interface that's easy to use and has a great selection of streaming apps.
It delivers decent picture quality, with great upscaling of low-resolution content. It can display a wide color gamut in HDR, which is uncommon for TVs in this price range, but it's not very bright in HDR, so highlights don't stand out the way they should. It has decent peak brightness in HDR and decent reflection handling, meaning it can handle moderate amounts of glare in a bright room.
Although the TCL 5 Series/S555 2022 QLED is available in a 65-inch size, it costs more than $500. If you're on a tight budget of under $500 and want a 65-inch TV, the best option is the TCL 65S455. As you go for larger sizes in this price range, you lose out on some features and performance, which is the case with this TV compared to the S555, but it's still decent overall. It runs the Roku TV smart interface, which is very easy to use and has a good selection of streaming apps.
The TV has a high contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity; however, the difference from the other TVs is that it doesn't have a local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. It also doesn't get bright enough to fight glare, so it's best to use it in a dim or moderately-lit room, but its reflection handling is still decent.
If you want the biggest TV possible on a tight budget and don't care much about gaming features or picture quality, the Hisense 70A6H is the best 70-inch TV you can get for around $500. It delivers worse picture quality overall compared to the smaller, higher-end models on this list, but the 70-inch model uses a VA panel and has much better contrast than the 65-inch model we bought and tested. It makes it a much better choice for use in a dark to moderately-lit room, as dark scenes are displayed well, with very little blooming around bright objects.
The built-in Google TV platform is easy to use, with a nice, polished interface that makes it easy to find your favorite content. It has one of the widest selections of streaming apps available, so you can easily find your favorite streaming services. It doesn't have much to offer gamers, but it has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, and surprisingly, it even supports a variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing.
Jan 17, 2023: Replaced most of our picks for models that are more widely available for around $500.
Nov 11, 2022: Restructured the article, adding the Hisense U7H as the 'Best TV Under $500'.
Sep 12, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs; removed the Hisense U6G, Samsung AU8000, and the LG UP8000 because they aren't the best TVs in this price range; separated the categories by size and added the TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED, Hisense U6H, TCL 4 Series/S455 2022, and the Insignia F50 QLED; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
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.
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.