As larger sizes have become popular, manufacturers aren't making many smaller models. While most manufacturers have neglected the 48-49-50 inch market segment in recent years, there's still a market for some good TVs in this size range. They're available in various price ranges, from premium models to more basic cheap models, so choosing the right one depends on your budget and if you want the best performance or are fine with making a few sacrifices.
We've bought and tested more than 425 TVs. Below are our recommendations for the best 48-50-inch TVs. Also, see our picks for the best smart TVs, the best 55-inch TVs for something bigger, or the best 40-42-43-inch TVs for something smaller. 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 TV we've tested with a 48-inch screen size is the LG OLED48C3PUA. Premium OLEDs like this one aren't available in 50-inch sizes, and instead, you have to get something a bit smaller. It's an excellent TV with stunning picture quality, especially if you use it in a dark room. HDR content looks incredible thanks to its wide color gamut and nearly infinite contrast ratio, resulting in deep blacks and bright highlights, with no distracting blooming around bright areas of the screen. Its wide viewing angle makes it a good choice for a wide seating area, as the image remains consistent from the sides. It has a great selection of extra features, and the built-in webOS smart interface is easy to use. It has a great selection of streaming apps, so you can easily find your favorite shows.
It's great for watching movies as it supports Dolby Vision HDR and advanced DTS audio formats. Plus, its image processing is very good overall. It's also fantastic for gaming as it supports 4k @ 120Hz gaming on all four HDMI inputs, so you can take full advantage of the PS5, Xbox Series X, or a PC with a recent graphics card. It can play Dolby Vision-enabled games at 120Hz and supports every variable refresh rate technology. Its refresh rate is extremely low for almost no blur from even super fast-moving objects on the screen, and its input lag is among the lowest of any TV.
If you want the best 50-inch TV and don't want anything smaller, consider the Samsung QN50QN90CAFXZA. Unlike the LG C3 OLED, the Samsung TV uses Mini LED backlighting, so it doesn't display the same perfect blacks and isn't as good in a dark room. However, it gets much brighter in both HDR and SDR, which is ideal if you want to use it in a bright room with glare, especially as its reflection handling is fantastic. It displays a wide range of colors and has excellent color volume, making colors look vivid and life-like. It's fantastic for watching movies due to its bright and colorful panel, although, unlike the C3, it doesn't support Dolby Vision or passthrough any DTS audio formats.
The 50-inch model uses a VA panel, giving it a better native contrast ratio than the ADS panel found in the bigger sizes, but at the cost of a worse viewing angle. The 50-inch model also has other advantages, like up to 4k @ 144Hz support on all four HDMI 2.1 bandwidth ports, unlike the bigger sizes, which can only do 4k @ 120Hz. It also supports every variable refresh rate (VRR) technology, making the TV a fantastic choice for console and PC gamers. Finally, it uses Samsung's popular Tizen OS platform, which is fast, reliable, and has a ton of apps available.
If you're looking for the best 50-inch smart TV in the mid-range price category, consider the Sony KD-55X85K. It doesn't feature Mini LED backlighting like on the Samsung QN90C/QN90CD QLED, meaning it doesn't get as bright in HDR, and it doesn't display perfect blacks like the LG C3 OLED either, but that's the trade-off for going with a cheaper model. Regardless, it's still a great TV overall with a good contrast ratio, but it doesn't have a local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes further. If that's important to you, the Sony X90L/X90CL is another option with local dimming, but it has more blooming around bright objects and costs more.
While it's a good TV for watching movies due to its amazing native contrast ratio and decent HDR brightness, its image processing is disappointing, which is surprising for a Sony TV. Still, besides the differences in picture quality, the X85K has many of the same features as the LG and Samsung, with HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, eARC audio passthrough that works with all common audio formats, and a 120Hz refresh rate that helps make it an excellent choice for gaming. It also comes with Google TV, an easy-to-use smart platform with many apps to download.
If you want a basic TV with otherwise good image quality, consider the Roku 50R4A5R, the best 50-inch smart TV in the budget 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 still a great gaming TV if you don't care about advanced features. It's not the brightest 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, which results in a pleasant viewing experience in SDR content. Unfortunately, its image processing is inadequate, so it's not the best choice for watching low-resolution or low-bitrate content.
It's one of two TVs made by Roku in 2023, their first-ever TVs. 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 at this 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.
Nov 28, 2023: The Samsung Q60C QLED and TCL S4/S450G were both replaced by the Roku Select Series, which is better than both while being sold for a similar price to the cheap TCL. The article's text was also expanded to give more information on each pick.
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.