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. Over time, the options available to you at this price point have gotten better and better. While you won't get the best TVs with perfect picture quality, budget options are an affordable solution for a secondary viewing location or if you have limited space and resources.
We've tested more than 70 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 is the TCL 5 Series/43S525 2019. It's a decent model that has user-friendly smart features and good picture quality. It sports a VA panel that can produce deep and inky blacks, making it a good option for dark room viewing.
For a budget TV, the motion handling is good, the response time is reasonably fast, it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 60fps to make motion look smoother, and it can remove judder from all sources. However, its backlight flickering can result in some image duplication. Input lag is exceptionally low for gaming or PC use, and it can display proper chroma 4:4:4. As for advanced gaming features, it doesn't have variable refresh rate support, but it does have an 'Auto Low Latency Mode,' so you can jump into the game faster without the hassle of changing the picture mode each time. It's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room, as its peak brightness and reflection handling are just okay.
Unfortunately, it can't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR, which is a bit disappointing. However, it has great color accuracy out-of-the-box, impressive gradient handling to minimize banding, and a wide color gamut to produce vivid colors in HDR content. Like most VA panel TVs, it has fairly narrow viewing angles, so it isn't ideal for wide seating areas. On the bright side, it runs on Roku, a user-friendly platform with tons of apps. It isn't the most feature-packed model, but its the price, it's well worth a look.
If you have a large room or a wide seating arrangement, you should go with the LG 43UN7300PUF. Unlike the TCL 5 Series/S525 2019, this TV has an IPS panel that has much wider viewing angles, so images remain accurate even if you're viewing from the side. However, this comes at the cost of a lower contrast ratio, so blacks look more like gray in dark rooms. It gets brighter than the TCL in HDR, but it still isn't enough to make highlights pop. The response time is decent, input lag is low, and it runs on LG's WebOS, which is also easy to use, albeit not as smooth as Roku. If you want to use it in a well-lit environment, it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, but it has excellent reflection handling.
Overall, the TCL is a better choice for most people, especially if you normally watch in a dark room. However, if viewing angles are important to you, then go with the LG.
The best 4k TV under $300 for gaming that we've tested is the Samsung UN43TU7000FXZA. This is an entry-level option in Samsung's 2020 lineup and offers a good gaming performance.
Despite not having many extra gaming features, which you expect from a cheap TV, most gamers should be happy. The input lag is incredibly low, and it has an alright response time, but you may notice image duplication due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker. There's a Black Frame Insertion feature to help clear up motion blur, but timing is off, and motion looks worse. Picture quality is good with its excellent contrast ratio that displays deep blacks, outstanding black uniformity, and decent out-of-the-box color accuracy. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, and it displays proper chroma 4:4:4 if you want to use it as a computer monitor.
Unfortunately, even though it supports HDR10 and HDR10+, it doesn't display a wide color gamut and doesn't get bright in HDR, so HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR content. Its reflection handling is just okay, and it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, so it's best to avoid well-lit environments. Despite not having HDMI 2.1 support, it has eARC support, allowing you to send high-quality audio over an HDMI connection. Overall, it's a simple TV with good gaming performance and one of the best TVs under $300 that we've tested.
The best smart TV under $300 that provides good value for its size is the Toshiba 50LF621U21. It's a simple and cheap TV that you can find the 50 inch variant for under $300, but if you don't mind spending a bit more, the 55 inch variant isn't much more expensive either. It has built-in Fire TV that's easy to use and has a great selection of apps available to download.
It offers performance typical of most cheap TVs, but people should be fairly happy with it. Its VA panel provides an impressive contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity. Its peak brightness isn't bad and has good reflection handling, so it performs well in dim or moderately-lit environments. Fast-moving content looks smooth thanks to its great response time, and it has a low input lag for gaming. It does a good job of upscaling lower-resolution content, such as from DVDs or cable boxes, and even though there are some artifacts with native 4k content, most people won't notice it.
Unfortunately, our unit has bad out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this may vary between units. It has narrow viewing angles and fails to display a wide color gamut for HDR content. It doesn't display chroma 4:4:4 either, so it's not a good choice to use as a PC monitor. Regardless of these issues, this is one of the best TVs under $300.
If it's hard to find the Toshiba Fire TV 2020 for under $300, the Hisense 50H6570G is a decent alternative, and you can find it for cheaper. It has a slower response time and higher input lag than the Toshiba, so it's not ideal for gaming. However, the Hisense has much better out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it displays chroma 4:4:4 if you want to use it as a PC monitor. It upscales lower-resolution content well, and like the Toshiba, there are some artifacts with native 4k content, but it's hard to notice. Its VA panel provides an excellent contrast ratio, but that comes at the cost of narrow viewing angles. Unfortunately, HDR content doesn't look very different from SDR content because it can't display a wide color gamut and doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop.
The Toshiba is the better TV overall, offering good value for the size, but if you want to save just a bit of money, then the Hisense is a good choice too.
10/19/2020: Replaced the TCL 4 Series 2019 with the Toshiba Fire TV 2020 and added the Hisense H6570G as an alternative; added the Samsung TU7000 as best gaming; removed the TCL 3 Series 2019 and Hisense H4F.
08/20/2020: Replaced LG UM7300 with LG UN7300.
06/19/2020: Replaced the Samsung N5300 with the Hisense H4F.
04/22/2020: Changed the Samsung N5300 to 'Smaller Alternative' instead of 'Better Viewing Angle Alternative.'
03/03/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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 available under $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.