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 70 TVs in the last two years, 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 that we've tested is the Samsung QN43Q60TAFXZA. It's an entry-level 4k QLED that performs decently overall. It's especially well-suited to watching movies in dark rooms thanks to its outstanding contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity. Even though it lacks a local dimming feature, it still produces deep, inky blacks. On top of that, it feels fairly well-built with a sleek design and a user-friendly interface.
Despite being best suited for dark room viewing, the Samsung also has decent reflection handling and still gets bright enough to combat glare in most well-lit rooms. While it doesn't have variable refresh rate (VRR) support like higher-end Samsung QLEDs, it's still a good TV that should please most gamers. It's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, but it has an incredibly low input lag and a passable response time. It also includes a Black Frame Insertion feature to try to reduce motion blur. Lower frame rate content doesn't appear to stutter much, and the TV removes 24p judder from most sources.
Unfortunately, it has poor viewing angles, so the image looks washed out when viewed from the side, but this is typical of VA panels. On the upside, HDR content looks decent thanks to its high contrast ratio and wide color gamut, despite not getting quite bright enough to make highlights in HDR truly pop. Finally, the unit we tested has impressive out-of-the-box accuracy, so picture quality looks good even without having to calibrate it. All things considered, this is still the best 43 inch smart TV that we've tested.
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out the Samsung UN43TU8000FXZA. While it doesn't get nearly as bright as the Samsung Q60/Q60T QLED, and it doesn't have a wide color gamut, it's cheaper and has a faster response time. Like the Q60T, it has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity, so it's great for watching movies in a dark room. Unfortunately, it has mediocre brightness, so it struggles to combat glare in well-lit rooms, and like the Q60T, it has sub-par viewing angles, so the image loses accuracy when viewed at an angle. That said, it has a decent response time that, along with its incredibly low input lag, makes for a responsive gaming experience.
If you want the best 43 inch 4k TV, get the Q60T, but if you're looking to save some money, consider the TU8000.
The best 43 inch TV for use as a PC monitor we've tested is the Sony XBR43X800H. It's an overall decent model and the only IPS option that Sony released in 2020. Its IPS panel is one of the reasons that it's great for use as a monitor, as its wide viewing angles maintain image accuracy when viewed from the side, and colors don't look washed out at the edges if you sit up close. It has decent reflection handling and gets bright enough to overcome glare easily.
It supports most common resolutions at 60Hz, except for 1440p, and it can display proper chroma 4:4:4 for optimal text clarity. It has exceptionally low input lag to deliver a responsive desktop and gaming experience, and its fast response time helps deliver clear images in fast-moving scenes. Unfortunately, it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing, and even though it has a Black Frame Insertion feature, its 120Hz flicker frequency results in image duplication.
As is expected of most IPS panels, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish, making it less ideal for dark rooms. It has a good color gamut with outstanding DCI P3 coverage, but it doesn't get quite bright enough to make highlights stand out in HDR content. On the upside, it has a flicker-free backlight that can help reduce eye strain. All in all, it's a decent TV that most people should be happy with.
The best 43 inch TV in the budget category that we've tested is the Hisense 43R6090G. It's a decent model that's well-suited for dark rooms as it has a VA panel that can produce deep blacks. It has good reflection handling and gets bright enough for most rooms, although it may struggle a bit to overcome intense glare. It upscales lower resolution content well, great for watching cable TV, sports, or Blu-rays. The viewing angles are narrow, though, so it isn't the best choice for wide seating areas.
It has a decent response time that results in only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. Low frame rate content doesn't stutter much, and it can remove judder from 24p sources and native apps. The great thing is that it runs on Roku, which is a user-friendly platform with tons of apps available for download. However, you do have to put up with some ads on the home screen, and there's no built-in microphone for voice control. That said, there's a mobile app that allows you to search for content using your voice.
Unfortunately, it can't deliver a good HDR experience because it can't display a wide color gamut and doesn't get very bright. It has a very low input lag, but it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing. Overall, while it isn't the most feature-rich TV, it's a decent choice for those shopping on a tight budget.
If you need something with wider viewing angles than the Hisense R6090G, then check out the LG 43UN7300PUF. It has an IPS panel with much wider viewing angles, so you don't lose as much image accuracy when viewing from the side. However, that comes at the cost of a lower contrast ratio, resulting in blacks that look gray in the dark. It has better reflection handling, lower input lag, and gets brighter in HDR. It runs on the equally good WebOS platform, and it has a microphone built into the remote for voice control.
Overall, the Hisense is a better choice as it delivers better picture quality due to its higher contrast ratio. However, if you have a seating arrangement that requires you to view the TV at an angle, then go with the LG.
01/15/2021: Confirmed picks are still accurate and updated text for clarity.
12/18/2020: Removed Toshiba Fire TV 2020, added Hisense R6090G.
09/25/2020: Removed the TCL 5 Series and 4 Series 2019 and added the LG UN7300 and Toshiba Fire TV 2020.
07/22/2020: Replaced the LG UM7300 with the Sony X800H as 'Best 40-42-43 Inch TV With Wide Viewing Angles' and removed the 'Android TV Alternative' category.
06/22/2020: Added the LG UM7300 to 'Wide Angle Alternative' and moved the Sony X800H to 'Android TV Alternative' to replace the Sony X800G.
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.