The 48-49-50 inch market segment has been somewhat neglected by most manufacturers in recent years. As larger sizes have grown in popularity, smaller models have become more difficult to find, and many brands have even started reducing the features available on the smaller models. The trend has started to change, though, with 48 and 50 inch models, in particular, increasing in popularity, mainly as better TVs have become available in those sizes. They've also gained popularity for gaming and PC monitor use, with many gamers switching to high-performance TVs instead of traditional monitors.
We've tested over 90 TVs under the latest test bench, but not all are available in these sizes. Below are our recommendations for the best 48-49-50 inch TVs. Unfortunately, none of them are available in a 49 inch size, as there are very few recent TVs available in that size. If you're looking for the best 49 inch TV, take a look at the list of available models here. See our picks for the best smart TVs, the best TVs for PS5, and the best TVs for Xbox Series X.
In the OLED category, the best 48 inch TV is the LG OLED48C1PUB. It delivers stunning picture quality, especially in dark rooms, and comes with a few extra gaming-oriented features too. It comes with a sleek center-mounted stand that doesn't take up too much space, so you can easily place it on a table. The OLED panel delivers a near-infinite contrast ratio with perfect black uniformity, with no blooming around bright objects in dark scenes.
We tested the 55 inch model as a TV, and our results should be valid for all sizes, but we also tested the 48 inch version as a monitor. Gamers should enjoy the four HDMI 2.1 inputs, allowing you to play 4k games up to 120fps from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. It natively supports FreeSync and HDMI Forum variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies, as well as G-SYNC Compatible for PC gamers. Motion looks very smooth thanks to the near-instantaneous response time, and it has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
Unfortunately, our unit has bad out-of-the-box accuracy, so you may need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest, but this can also vary between units. Sadly, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in, which can pose a problem if you watch the same news channel all day or if you want to use it as a PC monitor, but we don't expect this to be an issue for most people. Overall, it's the best 48 inch TV with an OLED panel.
The best 50 inch TV in the LED category that we've tested is the Samsung QN50QN90AAFXZA. It's an impressive 4k TV packed with the same features as the larger models, including some impressive gaming features. Unlike the LG C1 OLED, there's no risk of burn-in, which is great if you like to play the same game for long hours and are concerned about the possibility of burn-in. It features a new Mini LED backlight, which delivers outstanding peak brightness and finer control of the backlight local dimming zones.
It's one of the brightest TVs we've ever tested and, combined with its fantastic reflection handling, you don't have to worry about glare, even in a bright room. It has decent viewing angles despite the VA panel, making it a great choice for a wide seating arrangement. It also looks excellent in a dark room, with an excellent contrast ratio and fantastic black uniformity.
Unfortunately, its local dimming performs worse in Game Mode than outside of it because it raises the black levels, causing the screen to look more gray than black. Speaking about gaming, it has a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 inputs, meaning you can play 4k games up to 120fps. Input lag is low, and it has a quick response time for a smooth gaming experience. All things considered, if you want the best 50 inch 4k TV with an LED panel, then check out the Samsung.
If you don't want to spend too much money on an LED TV, check out the Sony KD-50X85J. It doesn't have a local dimming feature like the Samsung QN90A QLED and currently doesn't have VRR support, but that's expected to be added in a firmware update later this year. The Sony has a higher native contrast ratio, so blacks are deep and even in a dark room, but it lacks a local dimming feature to improve them. It has fantastic out-of-the-box color accuracy, which is typical of Sony TVs, so it's unlikely you'll have to calibrate it to enjoy it to the fullest. It also has a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 inputs, and even though it has low input lag at 120Hz, it's a bit higher than most TVs at 60Hz, but it's still good enough for gaming.
If you want an LED TV and want the best picture quality possible, check out the Samsung. If you want to save some money, look into the Sony. Keep in mind that we tested the 55 inch model of the Sony, but the 50 inch model should perform the same.
The best 50 inch smart TV that we've tested in the budget category is the Hisense 50U6G. It's great overall and provides good value for its price, even more than other more expensive options. It comes with Android TV, which is fairly user-friendly and has a ton of apps available to download, but it may take some time to get used to. We expect the 50 inch model to perform the same as the 65 inch we tested.
It's great for watching movies, especially in dark environments. It has a high native contrast ratio thanks to its VA panel, allowing it to display deep and uniform blacks. It has a full-array local dimming feature that performs decently well and improves the picture quality in dark scenes. The TV removes judder from native 24p sources, which helps with the appearance of motion in movies, but it lacks a motion interpolation feature. If you prefer using it in a well-lit room, it gets bright enough to combat glare and has excellent reflection handling.
Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel, so the image looks inaccurate from the side. Also, while it has a quick response time and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, it lacks any HDMI 2.1 inputs or VRR support, meaning you won't get a nearly tear-free gaming experience. If you're not a gamer or that isn't an issue to you, and you're on a budget, it's the best 50 inch TV we've tested.
If you prefer a few more gaming features, then check out the Vizio M50Q7-J01. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense U6G, so it's not a good choice for gaming in bright rooms. However, it has VRR support in the form of native FreeSync, and it's supposed to support HDMI Forum VRR, but we can't confirm its support yet. It has low input lag as long as you're in Game Mode, and it has a quick response time. However, you may notice some black smearing due to slow response times in dark transitions, typical of VA panels. Speaking of which, it has high native contrast, and the local dimming improves it a bit, but it's unremarkable overall. It also doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR games.
If you're on a budget and want the best 50 inch TV we've tested, the Hisense performs well both in dark and well-lit rooms. However, if you prefer something with VRR support, then check out the Vizio. We tested the 55 inch variant, but the 50 inch model should be the same.
Oct 08, 2021: Verified our picks for accuracy and refreshed the text throughout.
Sep 15, 2021: Replaced the TCL 5 Series with the Vizio M7 Series 2021 for consistency and renamed it to 'Gaming Alternative', and moved the TCL to Notable Mentions.
Aug 16, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Sony A9S and Vizio V5 Series 2021 to Notable Mentions.
Jul 21, 2021: Replaced the Sony X90J with the Samsung QN90A because it's better; removed the LG NANO85 because it's unavailable, and added the Sony X85J as 'Cheaper Alternative'; updated Notable Mentions.
Jun 25, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the newer Hisense U6G; moved the LG NANO85 to alternative pick; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best 48-50 inch televisions 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 48-49-50 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.