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 40-inch smart 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 the best 42 or best 43-inch 4k TVs than for the best 40-inch TVs, as the formers are much more common, so you'll have more choices if you can fit a 42 or 43-inch model in your space. 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 425 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. Also, see our picks for the best small TVs, the best smart TVs, and, if you want something bigger, the best 55-inch TVs. You can also vote on which ones you want us to buy and test. To learn more about the 2024 models, check out our 2024 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 and has 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.
The best 43-inch TV in the upper mid-range category 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 play 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 not distracting.
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. It's 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 its color 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 is fine in well-lit rooms as it can easily overcome glare. Unfortunately, its image processing is disappointing, which is surprising for a Sony TV.
If you want something in the budget category and want to save money, consider the Roku 40R2A5R/43R4A5R, also known as the Roku Select Series, as this TV is the best 40 and 43-inch in the category. It has fewer gaming features than the Sony X85K, as it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't have HDMI 2.1 bandwidth or VRR. Still, it has a great response time and very low input lag, so it's a good gaming TV if you don't care about advanced features. It's not the brightest TV in HDR, but it's decent for watching movies in a dark room with its adequate contrast, great black uniformity, and excellent color and HDR brightness accuracy. Plus, the TV has very good peak brightness in SDR, resulting in a pleasant viewing experience in a bright room. Unfortunately, its image processing is inadequate, so it's not the best choice to watch low-resolution or low-bitrate content on.
It comes with the great Roku TV smart platform, which is extremely fast, simple, and easy to use, with a great selection of streaming channels. It has a good remote with an integrated microphone for voice commands, or you can also give commands through the Roku companion app on your phone. You can also plug headphones into the remote, a great feature at this price point. Overall, the TV is decent and provides a good user experience, especially for the price. Still, if you're a Costco member, you can get the slightly better Hisense A6/A65K for a similar price. If Costco isn't an option, the Roku is an amazing choice. The 40-inch model of the Roku is limited to a 1080p resolution with three HDMI ports, while the 43-inch model is a 4k TV with four HDMI ports, so choose accordingly.
Nov 28, 2023: The Samsung Q60C QLED, Amazon Fire TV Omni Series, TCL S4/S450G, and Vizio D40f-J09 were all replaced by the Roku Select Series, which is available in both 40 and 43-inch sizes and is better than all of the aforementioned TVs while being sold for a comparable price to the TCL.
Our recommendations above are what we think is currently the best 40-inch smart TV, 42-inch TV, or 43-inch TV 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.