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 or the best 40 inch smart 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 picks for the best gaming TVs, the best TVs, and the best 55 inch TVs.
The Sony KD-43X85J is the best 43 inch 4k TV. It's a well-rounded mid-range model that performs well for most uses, and although it lacks some of the features you find on more expensive models, most people should be happy with it. We tested the 55 inch version, but the 43 inch model should perform the same.
It has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio for deep blacks and excellent black uniformity, but it lacks a local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. Even in a well-lit room, it easily gets bright enough to fight glare and has decent reflection handling. It delivers a decent HDR performance because it has fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy, displays a wide color gamut, and has decent HDR peak brightness. It's one of the few TVs available in this size that comes with HDMI 2.1 inputs, meaning you can play 4k games up to 120 fps, and even though it currently doesn't have VRR support, that should come in a future firmware update.
Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks washed out from the sides, and it's not a good choice for a wide seating arrangement. It also has some issues displaying proper chroma 4:4:4 with 4k @ 120Hz signals because text looks blurry, so you're going to need to drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz if you want to use it as a PC monitor. Regardless, it's still the best 43 inch TV.
If you prefer something cheaper, then check out the Samsung UN43AU8000FXZA. It doesn't have HDMI 2.1 inputs and doesn't get as bright as the Sony X85J, but that's what you expect from a cheaper, entry-level model. However, it has better reflection handling, and the Tizen OS interface is easier to use than the Google TV platform on the Sony. It doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, making it a good choice for watching cable TV, but it also has narrow viewing angles. The 43 inch model should perform like the 55 inch variant we tested, which has a great native contrast ratio but lacks a local dimming feature.
If you're in the market for the bench 43 inch TV, you can't go wrong with the Sony because it has gaming features and gets bright, but if you prefer something cheaper, check out the Samsung.
If you need a small TV to use as a PC monitor, the best 43 inch 4k TV is the Sony KD-43X80J. It's an entry-level TV that sits below the Sony X85J, but it uses a different panel type that makes it a better choice for a PC monitor. The 43 inch model has the same IPS-like panel as the 55 inch variant we tested, so it should perform the same, and it has wide viewing angles.
When using a TV as a monitor, the TV needs to display proper chroma 4:4:4, which helps with text clarity. In this case, it displays it with 1080p and 4k content at 60Hz, but not 1440p. It has low input lag in Game Mode for a responsive desktop experience, and you shouldn't notice any motion blur when scrolling through long documents. It even has a flicker-free backlight, which is rare for TVs and helps reduce eye strain during long work sessions.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get extremely bright, and its reflection handling is just okay, so although it's fine if you have a few lights around, it's best to avoid placing it in a bright room. Also, highlights don't pop in HDR and, combined with the low contrast and lack of local dimming, it's not suggested for streaming HDR movies. If that isn't an issue for you, it's the best 43 inch TV to use as a PC monitor.
The best 43 inch 4k TV in the budget category is the Vizio V435-J01. It's a simple TV with okay overall performance. The 43 inch model uses the same VA panel type as the 65 inch TV we tested, so our results should be valid for it. It's a basic entry-level TV that doesn't have many extra features, but its overall performance is okay and should be fine for most people.
With a VA panel, this TV has a high contrast ratio to display deep blacks, and it has incredible black uniformity, but there's no local dimming feature to improve the contrast. Our unit has excellent out-of-the-box accuracy, but this can vary between units. It has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, but motion looks blurry because its response time is only decent, and there's visible black smearing. It doesn't get extremely bright if you want to use it in a well-lit room, but it at least has good reflection handling.
Unfortunately, Vizio's SmartCast system isn't the best compared to other operating systems. It feels laggy at times and doesn't have an app store, so you can't download any extra apps besides the ones it comes pre-installed with. It supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, but it doesn't deliver the best HDR experience as it fails to make highlights pop. If that doesn't bother you, it's the best 43 inch TV for a low cost.
If you want something with better smart features, then check out the Hisense 43A6G. Its various models are available in different panel types, but the 43 inch model has an IPS panel like the 65 inch size we bought and tested. This means that it has a lower contrast ratio than the Vizio V5 Series 2021, but it has wider viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing at the sides. The built-in Android TV is great and has a ton of apps available to download. Due to the low contrast, it's not a good choice for dark room viewing and doesn't deliver a satisfying HDR experience.
If you're on a budget and want the best 43 inch TV, you should be happy with the Vizio, but if you prefer something with a better smart interface, then look into the Hisense.
Oct 15, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Vizio M6 Series 2021 and the LG NANO75 2021 to Notable Mentions.
Sep 17, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Samsung QN90A and Toshiba C350 Fire TV 2021 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 20, 2021: Removed the Hisense R6090G and the LG UP8000 because of lack of availability; added the Vizio V5 Series and the Hisense A6G as the 'Better Smart Features Alternative'; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
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.
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.