Although most manufacturers and buyers are focusing on larger TVs, there's still a lot of interest in smaller models. You likely won't find the most advanced, high-end options in these sizes, but there are still some very good TVs to choose from. If you're looking for the best 40 inch TV, it may be easier to look for the best 43 inch TV since it's a more common size, and it's simply hard to find the best 42 inch TV.
We've tested more than 80 TVs on our latest test bench, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs available in 40-42-43 inch sizes available for purchase. See our recommendations for the best 32 inch TVs, the best TVs, and the best 55 inch TVs.
The best 43 inch TV is the Sony KD-43X85J. We tested the 55 inch variant, but we expect the 43 inch model to perform the same. It's a good TV for most uses, with outstanding contrast, amazing peak brightness in SDR, and a huge selection of smart apps. It has great peak brightness, but glare can still be an issue in a brighter room.
It's a very good TV for gaming. It's one of the few 43 inch TVs on the market that supports HDMI 2.1, making it a great choice for dorm room gaming on the latest consoles. It has a great response time and low input lag, resulting in a very responsive gaming experience, and the 120Hz panel is great for those games that support it. It doesn't support any advanced gaming features at the moment, but Sony has promised that support for a variable refresh rate (VRR) is coming with a future firmware update.
Like most Sony TVs, it upscales lower resolution content well, and it has a few options to help improve the appearance of your favorite content, including motion interpolation, and a black frame insertion feature to help reduce persistence blur when watching movies. Unfortunately, it's not the best choice for a wide seating area, as the image degrades at an angle, but it's a good TV for most people.
If you're looking for something a bit cheaper, then check out the Samsung UN43AU8000FXZA. It looks almost as good as the Sony X85J in a dark room, with great contrast and excellent black uniformity. Although it's not as bright as the Sony, it has much better reflection handling, so as long as you don't have too much light coming in, it's also a good choice for a bright dorm or guest bedroom. It runs Samsung's own smart interface, which has a very different design, but an equally impressive selection of smart apps.
Overall, the Sony is the best choice for most people, as it's brighter and has better motion handling, but if you want to save a bit of money, the Samsung is a decent alternative.
The Sony KD-43X80J is the best 43 inch TV for use as a PC monitor. Note that we tested the 55 inch model, but the 43 inch variant should perform the same. It's an ADS panel TV that performs and behaves like IPS panels. This means that it has wide viewing angles but is not the best for dark rooms, as its mediocre contrast ratio makes blacks look grayish. It handles reflections decently well and gets bright enough to overcome some glare.
It has an incredibly low input lag to provide a responsive desktop experience. It supports most common resolutions, except that 1440p requires a forced custom resolution. It also displays proper chroma 4:4:4, which helps with text clarity. It has great response times, but it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, and there's no VRR support to reduce screen tearing when gaming. Like most Sony TVs, color accuracy is excellent out of the box, although this may vary slightly between individual units.
The backlight is flicker-free, which is rare, as most TVs use flicker to dim the backlight. This helps eliminate image duplication in fast-moving content as well as reduce eye strain. If you don't have enough desk space for dedicated speakers, the good news is that the built-in ones sound pretty decent and get very loud. It's immune to permanent burn-in, so you don't have to worry about the desktop interface causing damage over time. So, if you need a large display for use as a PC monitor, this is a great choice.
The best 43 inch budget TV we've tested is the Hisense R6090G. It's an okay entry-level TV with amazing native contrast, outstanding black uniformity, and good accuracy out of the box. Unlike most Hisense TVs, this one runs the Roku smart interface. It has a huge selection of apps, including many free streaming services, and the interface is very smooth and easy to use. It upscales lower resolution content well, great for watching older TV shows or movies on DVD.
It has incredibly low input lag, resulting in a very responsive gaming experience, even outside of Game Mode. It supports most basic formats, including 1440p @ 60Hz, and it has a decent response time. It's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, though, and it doesn't support any advanced gaming features like HDMI 2.1 or variable refresh rate technology (VRR).
Unfortunately, it's not as well-suited for a brighter environment, as despite its good reflection handling, it's not bright enough to overcome glare. Overall, it's a pretty basic TV for the most part, but if you're just looking for a small TV for a bedroom or office, it's an okay choice for most people.
If you prefer something to use in a wide seating arrangement, then check out the LG 43UP8000PUA. We tested the 65 inch version, but we expect our results to be valid for the smaller sizes as well. The IPS panel on the UP8000 remains accurate to a much wider viewing angle, great if you have a wide seating arrangement or just like to move around with the TV on. This comes at a cost, though, as like most IPS panels, this TV has a low contrast ratio, so it's not as good for a dark room. Other than that, these two TVs are pretty similar overall. The LG runs the WebOS platform, which has a different interface, but similar functionality to the Roku smart platform on the Hisense. It has a huge selection of apps, including many free services.
If you want the best 43 inch 4k TV in the budget category, you should be happy with the Hisense, but if you have a wide seating arrangement, the LG is a good alternative.
Jul 23, 2021: Refreshed text for clarity, no changes to our picks. Updated the Notable Mentions to better match our current picks, and added the Vizio V5 2021 as a Notable Mention.
Jun 23, 2021: Replaced the Samsung Q60A with the Sony X85J, and added the Samsung AU8000 as a cheaper alternative.
May 28, 2021: Replaced the LG UN7300 with the LG UP8000; added the Samsung Q60T and Sony X800H to Notable Mentions.
Apr 28, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced the Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED with the Samsung Q60/Q60A QLED. Replaced Sony X800H with Sony X80J.
Mar 31, 2021: Removed Vizio V Series 2020. Added Sony X800H as 'Best For Use As A PC Monitor' because it does work properly in chroma 4:4:4.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the 40-42-43 inch TVs to buy for most people in each price range. 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 40-42-43 inch TV reviews. 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.