TVs under $300 cover a wide range of needs. From basic 720p and 1080p TVs to more advanced 4k TVs, there's something for almost any use. TVs in this price range are getting better and better each year. While you won't get the best TVs with perfect picture quality, budget TVs are an affordable solution for a secondary viewing location, or if you have limited space and budget.
We've reviewed more than 90 TVs in the last two years and below you'll find our picks for the best TVs under $300 that are available for purchase. If your budget is a bit more flexible, see our recommendations for the best TVs, the best cheap TVs, and the best TVs under $500.
The best TV under $300 that we've tested so far is the TCL 5 Series/55S525 2019. It's a decent overall TV, offering great value for its price thanks to its good picture quality and user-friendly features.
It has impressive out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you won't need to get your TV calibrated if you don't want to. It displays a wide color gamut, which is important for HDR content, although it doesn't get very bright in HDR and fails to make highlights pop. As is the case with most VA panel TVs, the contrast ratio is outstanding and the black uniformity is also great, making this TV an excellent choice for dark room viewing. Like any other TCL TV, this one has built-in Roku as its operating system, which is easy to use and has a huge selection of apps available, so you'll likely be able to find what you need.
Unfortunately, that comes at the cost of its viewing angles, which are poor, and you lose image accuracy when watching from the side. However, gamers should be happy with the extremely low input lag and good responsive time, resulting in clear motion. For its price, it's a great choice, making it the best TV under $300 that we've tested so far.
If you have a large room and you need a TV with better viewing angles, take a look at the LG 43UM7300PUA. It doesn't have the same dark room performance as the TCL 5 Series/S525 2019, but it has decent viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel. It's suitable for use in bright rooms, as it has impressive reflection handling and decent peak brightness. Its color accuracy is acceptable, and it has a quick response time to keep motion blur to a minimum. Unfortunately, its contrast ratio is mediocre, so blacks tend to look more like gray when viewed in the dark, but that's expected of most IPS TVs. And while input lag is low enough for a responsive gaming experience, this TV doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology.
If viewing angles aren't an issue, the TCL has better overall performance, but if you tend to watch from the side, then consider the LG.
The best TV for its value and size for under $300 is the TCL 50S425 2019. Like the TCL 5 Series/S525 2019, it's a decent overall budget TV with great smart features as it has built-in Roku.
This TV uses a VA panel, so it's able to produce deep blacks and it has decent black uniformity, which is great if you're planning to watch movies in the dark with it. It upscales lower resolution content, such as from cable boxes and DVDs, without any issues, and it's able to remove judder from 24p movies from sources like Blu-rays. It's also a good gaming TV as it has a great response time, resulting in clear motion, the input lag is very low, and it has an Auto Low Latency Mode, so you don't have to switch it to 'Game' mode every time you play.
Unfortunately, it has a few issues you normally see on a budget TV. It can't display a wide color gamut, it doesn't get bright, and it has some uniformity issues. On the upside, the built-in speakers are good for dialogue and the Roku interface is easy to use with a ton of apps available to download. Overall, it's the best smart TV for its value that we've tested so far.
The TCL 40S325 2019 is the best budget TV under $300 that we've tested so far. It's a passable entry-level TV with a great contrast ratio, good response time, and excellent low input lag, all of which make it great for gaming. Note that the 40 inch model has a 1080p resolution, while the 32 inch model is 720p, except for the 32S327.
This TV has a good selection of inputs, with three HDMI ports and a dedicated composite input (with the use of the included adapter). It has great smart features with hundreds of available streaming channels. This makes it an excellent choice for a secondary viewing location since you don't have to worry about having a separate streaming box. It also has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, which is great since this TV can't actually be calibrated.
Unfortunately, this TV can't get very bright, and the image degrades when viewed at an angle, which limits its versatility a bit. On the upside, it has good reflection handling if you place it in a bright room. Overall, though, this is a great budget TV and the best smart TV under $300 in the budget category we've seen so far.
If you prefer an even smaller TV, check out the Hisense 32H4F. The 32 inch variant has a 720p resolution compared to the 1080p resolution on the 40 inch TCL 3 Series 2019, but it's still a good TV if you're going to use it as a secondary TV, like in a kitchen. It has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, decent reflection handling, and since it has an IPS panel, the viewing angle is extremely wide, which is ideal if you walk around while watching TV. Unfortunately, it doesn't support HDR, the contrast ratio is low, and it has poor peak brightness. However, it has a fairly quick response time and low input lag if you also want to use it for gaming.
Overall, the TCL is the best budget TV under $300 we've tested so far, but if you want an even smaller TV, consider the Hisense.
06/19/2020: Replaced the Samsung N5300 with the Hisense H4F.
04/22/2020: Changed the Samsung N5300 to the 'Smaller Alternative' instead of the 'Better Viewing Angle Alternative.'
03/03/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
01/07/2020: Replaced TCL 49S517 with TCL 55S525, minor text and structure changes.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best TVs under $300 to buy for most people. 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 reviews of TVs that are less than $300. 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.