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The 5 Best TVs Under $300 - Spring 2019
Reviews

Best TVs Under $300
223 Televisions Tested
  • Store-bought TVs; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

TVs under $300 cover a wide range of needs. From basic 720p and 1080p TVs to more advanced 4k TVs, there is something for almost any usage. TVs in this price range are getting better and better each year. While you won't get the brightest 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 222 TVs and below you'll find our picks for the best TVs under $300 that are available for purchase in 2019. If your budget is a bit more flexible, see our recommendations for the best cheap TVs and the best TVs under $500.

Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot as last year's models are gradually replaced by newer ones.

  1. Best TV Under $300: TCL 43S517

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3

    Test Benches:

    • 1.3: Spring 2019
    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.5
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Movies
    What it is: Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    7.5
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Sports
    What it is: Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.1
    Video Games
    What it is: Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    7.1
    HDR Movies
    What it is: HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    7.8
    HDR Gaming
    What it is: HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    7.9
    PC Monitor
    What it is: PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    The best TV under $300 that we've tested so far is the TCL 5 Series/S517 2018. This is a 4k TV with decent picture quality and deep blacks thanks to the high native contrast ratio. Unfortunately, it can't improve further the dark room performance due to the lack of a local dimming feature. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision and has a wide color gamut that helps deliver decent HDR performance. It would be even better if the TV could get brighter in HDR. It has a very low input lag that gamers, or those wishing to use it as a PC monitor, will appreciate.

    The TV runs the Roku smart TV platform, which is very intuitive and gives you access to an abundance of streaming channels. Unfortunately, like most VA panel TVs, it has poor viewing angles and the image deteriorates when viewed from the side.

    Overall, the TCL S517 is a good TV for the money and a great choice for a guest room or kitchen.

    See our review

  2. Best Value for Size Under $300: TCL 50S425

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3

    Test Benches:

    • 1.3: Spring 2019
    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    6.4
    Movies
    What it is: Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    7.0
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.1
    Sports
    What it is: Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    8.4
    Video Games
    What it is: Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    6.6
    HDR Movies
    What it is: HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    7.9
    HDR Gaming
    What it is: HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    8.1
    PC Monitor
    What it is: PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 4k

    The TCL 4 Series/S425 2019 offers the best value for size under $300. This is a decent 50" 4k TV with decent picture quality that is just below $300. It has a high native contrast ratio that delivers deep blacks; this makes it great for a dark room. It can't get very bright and doesn't have a wide color gamut to deliver a good HDR performance. It has a fast response time that makes motion look crisp, and it's a great TV for gaming or for use as a PC monitor. This is mainly thanks to the very low input lag that allows it to react very quickly to your actions. Just like the TCL S517, this TV runs the Roku Smart TV interface that is easy to use and has a large number of apps you can choose from.

    Unfortunately, it is not a good choice for a room with side seating arrangements as the image deteriorates when viewed from the side. It's more suitable for a dim room due to the poor brightness levels.

    Overall, the S425 is a great choice if you are looking for a 50" TV in this price range.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget TV Under $300: TCL 32S325

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3

    Test Benches:

    • 1.3: Spring 2019
    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    6.4
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: General purpose. The TV will be used for a variety of content and usages. Movies at night, TV shows during the day, video games from time to time, etc.
    Score components:
    5.6
    Movies
    What it is: Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
    Score components:
    6.9
    TV Shows
    What it is: TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Sports
    What it is: Sports in a living room. The TV will be used to watch sports during the day, like football or hockey. Usually watched with a group, so from multiple viewing position.
    7.6
    Video Games
    What it is: Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
    4.5
    HDR Movies
    What it is: HDR Movies and TV shows. The TV will be used to watch 4k UHD HDR content, with a wide color gamut and a high peak brightness. Either via UHD Blu-rays or HDR streaming.
    Score components:
    4.3
    HDR Gaming
    What it is: HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
    7.3
    PC Monitor
    What it is: PC Monitor. The TV will be used as a PC monitor, from 2-3 feet away, either for productivity purposes or gaming. Sharp text is important, as well as a high resolution.
    Score components:
    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    VA
    Resolution : 1080p (except 32")

    The TCL 3 Series S325 is the best budget TV under $300 that we've tested so far. It is a passable entry-level TV with a great contrast ratio, decent response time, and excellent low input lag, all of which make it great for gaming. The 32" model is limited to a 720p resolution (except for the 32S327 variant), but the larger models have a 1080p native resolution.

    This TV has a good selection of inputs, with 3 HDMI ports and a dedicated composite input (with the use of the included adapter), and it has great smart features with hundreds of available streaming channels. This makes it an excellent choice for a secondary viewing location, as you don't have to worry about having a separate streaming box.

    Unfortunately, this TV can't get very bright, and the image degrades when viewed at an angle, which limits its versatility a bit. Overall, though, it is a great budget TV.

    See our review

  4. Better Sports Alternative: Samsung UN32N5300

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS
    Resolution : 1080p

    If you want something better for watching sports, check out the Samsung N5300. This is a 32" 1080p IPS TV, with wider viewing angles than the TCL S325 and a much brighter display. Unlike the TCL, this TV also supports HDR, although it can't get bright enough to take full advantage of HDR content and it lacks a wide color gamut. The wide viewing angles make it a better choice for sharing the game with a small group of friends, or if you have a lot of side seating. Unfortunately, those wide viewing angles come at a cost; this TV doesn't perform as well with dark scenes, as blacks tend to appear gray.

    See our review

  5. 1080p Alternative: Vizio D32f-E1

    Type : LED
    Sub-Type
    What it is: Type of display technology used by the TV.
    When it matters: Different technologies have different performance and are suited to different uses
    Good value: IPS maintains good color accuracy at an angle, but has a poor contrast ratio from in front. VA has great picture quality in front, but loses saturation at an angle. OLED maintains good color accuracy at an angle without any of the other issues seen with IPS and VA, as they keep good brightness and contrast at an angle.
    :
    IPS (except 50")
    Resolution : 1080p

    If you like the TCL S325 but would prefer a true 1080p 32" TV, check out the Vizio D Series 2017. It is a mediocre 32", 1080p TV with wide viewing angles. Unfortunately, it can't get very bright, and it has mediocre motion handling. It has an IPS panel, which is great if you have a wide seating area. This TV has been replaced by the D Series 2018, and now the D Series 2019 as well. Unfortunately, we haven't tested them, so we don't know how they perform.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Samsung UN43NU6900: Decent TV, but the TCL 43S517 is better. See our review
  • Vizio D43-F1: Decent TV, but the TCL S517 is better. See our review
  • Toshiba 50LF621U19: A decent TV with great Amazon Alexa integration, but the TCL S425 2019 is slightly better. See our review
  • Insignia Fire TV Edition 4k: Decent 4k TV, but slightly worse overall than the Toshiba Fire TV, and more expensive. See our review
  • Samsung M5300:  Slightly better than the N5300, but difficult to find. See our review

All Reviews

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.

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