Although most manufacturers and buyers focus on larger TVs, there's still a lot of interest in smaller models for people looking for the best 43-inch 4k TV. There aren't as many options in this size as in the larger ones, but some premium models and cheaper TVs are still available. It's easier to look for a 42 or 43-inch TV than a 40-inch one, as the formers are much more common, so you'll have more choice if you can fit a 42 or 43-inch model in your entertainment center. There are also some 42-inch OLEDs coming out, which will further expand the selection in that size category.
We've bought and tested more than 395 TVs, and below are our recommendations for the best TVs available in 42 and 43-inch sizes and the best 40-inch TVs available to buy. See our picks for the best small TVs, the best smart TVs, and, if you want something bigger, the best 55-inch TVs. Brands have been releasing their 2023 lineups, so vote on which ones you want us to buy and test. To learn more about the 2023 models, check out our 2023 TV lineup page.
The best 42-inch TV we've tested is the LG OLED42C3PUA. It's a fantastic TV that looks amazing in a dark room but is also capable enough in a brighter environment. It delivers superb picture quality thanks to its near-infinite contrast ratio and has an excellent selection of additional features. Its built-in LG webOS interface has a massive selection of streaming apps, making it a great choice for a dorm or other small space. It's also great for watching movies with good image processing features, like Dolby Vision and DTS advanced video and audio format support.
HDR content looks excellent on this TV thanks to the near-infinite contrast of its OLED panel, and its color gamut displays a wide range of colors, so content looks vibrant. Its nearly instantaneous response time makes it great for gaming, resulting in crystal-clear motion with no distracting blur or ghosting behind fast-moving objects. It supports HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on all four of its HDMI ports, allowing for 4k @ 120Hz gaming, and it also supports all Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technologies, meaning you can take full advantage of the PS5, Xbox Series X|S, or a PC with a recent graphics card.
You can still find the LG C2 OLED in a 42-inch size, which tends to be much cheaper than its successor. It's a great value pick, but remember that the C3 is incrementally brighter, has better image processing than its predecessor, and has DTS audio format support. We also tested the 42-inch LG C2 OLED as a monitor if that's your preferred use case.
The best upper mid-range 43-inch TV we've tested is the Samsung QN43QN90CAFXZA. It's an impressive TV overall, and the smaller 43-inch size offers a few extra features for PC gamers, including a higher 144Hz refresh rate on all four of its HDMI 2.1 bandwidth ports. This allows for smoother motion handling than comparable 120Hz displays. It delivers an impressive gaming experience but has a noticeably slower response time than the LG C3 OLED, so you'll see more blur and ghosting around fast-moving objects if you plan on playing fast-paced games.
One advantage over the LG is that it gets much brighter, so it's a better choice for a bright dorm or living area. Bright highlights stand out incredibly well, so it delivers impressive visuals when watching HDR content; anything from HDR games to HDR movies looks bright and vibrant on this TV. It doesn't have the LG's near-infinite contrast ratio, but instead, its Mini LED backlight dims small areas of the screen to achieve a similar effect. There's more blooming around bright objects than on the LG, but it's still very impressive.
Its predecessor, the Samsung QN90B QLED, is getting harder to find, but a few places still carry it in this size. As it's very similar to the QN90C overall, it's the value pick if you find one on clearance.
If you want something cheaper than the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED without sacrificing too much, the Sony KD-43X85K is the best 43-inch TV in the mid-range category. While its picture quality isn't nearly as good as the Samsung or the LG C3 OLED, it has many of the same gaming features, like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth on two of its ports. This is great if you want to take full advantage of the PS5, Xbox Series X, or a beefy PC gaming rig, as it supports 4k @ 120Hz. Sony TVs are also known to have good processing features, and this one is no exception, as the accuracy before calibration is fantastic and upscaled content looks great.
Regarding image quality, the Sony X85K performs well in dark and bright rooms. It has a high native contrast ratio, so blacks look great in a dark room, even when bright highlights are displayed. It doesn't have a local dimming feature, so dark scenes don't look as good as on the LG or the Samsung. Its reflection handling is very good and has impressive peak brightness, so visibility isn't a problem in well-lit rooms as it can easily overcome glare.
If you're looking for something cheaper and aren't going to take advantage of the gaming features of the Sony X85K, then a lower mid-range model like the Samsung QN43Q60CAFXZA is a good alternative. Its picture quality is similar to the Sony model, with fantastic contrast and remarkable black uniformity, but it lacks a local dimming feature. Although it has worse reflection handling, it still gets bright enough to fight glare in rooms with a few lights.
Its built-in Tizen OS interface is very easy to use and has many streaming apps, so you can easily find your favorite content. The mic in the remote gives you access to Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa, so you can choose the voice assistant you prefer. One of the downsides of this TV is that while it displays a wide range of colors in HDR, its HDR peak brightness is just okay, so it doesn't deliver the best HDR experience, but that's what you have to expect for a TV in this price range.
Note that the Q60C is basically the same as its predecessor, the Samsung Q60/Q60B QLED, so get the cheapest one when shopping.
For those on a budget, the Amazon 4K43M600A is a good choice as the best 43-inch TV at a low cost. It's a rather basic TV that doesn't have the bells and whistles of some higher-end models like the Samsung Q60C QLED, but it's good for an entry-level 4k TV. It comes with the Fire TV platform, which is easy to use and makes navigating through the menus feel smooth. There are tons of apps to download, and the built-in mic on the remote gives you access to Alexa voice assistant, making it easy to open apps and search for content.
Although its overall picture quality isn't the best, it still performs well in dark rooms as it displays deep blacks, and it has decent reflection handling and peak brightness if you want to use it in a bright room. A few drawbacks are expected from a budget-friendly model, as it doesn't upscale 480p and 720p content as well as other TVs, which isn't ideal if you watch DVDs or cable TV. If that's important to you, the Samsung CU7000/CU7000D is a good alternative, but it doesn't get as bright.
If you want something even cheaper, look into the TCL 43S455. It's similar to the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series and performs better in a few areas, like its upscaling and color accuracy, but as it's a cheaper TV, there are a few drawbacks. It doesn't get as bright, so it's better to use this TV in a dim room, and its remote doesn't have a built-in mic, so the only way you can access the voice assistant feature is with the Roku app on your phone. The Roku platform is user-friendly and easy to learn, which is great if you don't want to spend extra on a streaming device.
In terms of its picture quality, it's much like the other 43-inch TVs in this recommendation, as it has high contrast for deep blacks in dark rooms. If you like to watch movies, it's decent TV for that use, and it removes judder from 24p sources, which helps with the appearance of motion in movies. If you want to connect a soundbar, it supports Dolby Atmos passthrough but not DTS:X, which is disappointing as most UHD Blu-Rays use DTS:X for the main audio track.
The best 40-inch TV we've tested is the Vizio D3 Series 2021. There aren't many 40-inch TVs available, and the few around aren't very good, so if you can fit a larger TV, the other models on this list perform much better overall. It's a mediocre TV, with just okay picture quality and few additional features. It looks good in a dark room, with fantastic contrast and deep blacks with decent black uniformity. It can't get very bright, so glare is distracting in a bright room.
It has an okay built-in smart platform. Most of the common streaming apps are available, but there's no app store or a way to add additional streaming apps, so you'll likely need to consider adding an external streaming stick. It has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience and supports a variable refresh rate feature to help reduce tearing in games. Still, since it's limited to a 1080p resolution, it can't take full advantage of the newest gaming consoles.
Jun 27, 2023: Mentioned the LG C3 OLED in the 'Best 42-Inch TV' pick, the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED in the 'Best Upper Mid-Range 43-Inch TV', and the Samsung CU7000/CU7000D in the 'Best Budget 43-Inch TV'. Refreshed the text for clarity and accuracy.
May 29, 2023: Replaced the Samsung Q60/Q60B QLED with the Samsung Q60C QLED as our lower mid-range recommendation, added the LG OLED Flex as a Notable Mention, and refreshed the text for accuracy and consistency.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 40-inch smart TV, the best 42-inch TVs, and 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 to 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.