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The 5 Best TVs under $300 - Fall 2018
Reviews

Best TVs under $300
206 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 a limited space and budget.

We've reviewed 77 TVs and below you'll find our picks for the best TVs under $300 that are available for purchase in 2018. If your budget is a bit more flexible, see our recommendations for the best cheap TVs for options under $500.

  1. Best TV under $300: Samsung UN43NU6900

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.4
    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:
    6.7
    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:
    7.2
    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.
    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.
    6.8
    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:
    7.6
    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.
    7.8
    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 Samsung UN43NU6900 is the best TV under $300 that we've reviewed so far. It is a decent 4k TV that delivers decent picture quality and excellent low input lag, but unfortunately, it has mediocre motion handling that may disappoint movie fans or gamers.

    It has great dark scene performance, thanks to an excellent native contrast ratio that delivers excellent blacks, and excellent black uniformity. With SDR content, it can get bright enough for an average room, but it struggles to overcome glare if you've got a lot of windows or bright lights. It also has excellent out of the box accuracy, great even for enthusiasts that want an accurate picture.

    The NU6900 has a similar smart interface to the 7 and 8 series Samsung TVs, but with a slightly reduced feature-set. It is just as easy to use, although the interface is slightly slower, and it comes with a basic remote. Overall, it is a surprisingly good TV for the price range, and it should please most people.

    See our review

  2. Best Value for Size under $300: Toshiba 50LF621U19

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    7.0
    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:
    6.3
    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:
    7.2
    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:
    7.0
    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.
    7.5
    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.
    6.5
    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:
    7.2
    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.
    7.4
    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 Toshiba Fire TV 2018 50LF621U19 offers the best value for size under $300. It is a decent, but basic, 4k TV. It delivers decent overall picture quality, with deep and uniform dark scenes, and it has the powerful Alexa voice assistant, which is great.

    The Fire TV delivers decent overall picture quality. It has a great native contrast ratio, and excellent black uniformity, excellent for dark scenes in a dark room. It also has very good peak brightness with SDR content, and decent reflection handling, great if you have a bright room. It has a great response time, and it has a decent motion interpolation feature.

    Overall, although the Toshiba Fire TV doesn't offer the best HDR experience, it does offer excellent value for size, as it is one of the cheapest 50" TVs on the market.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget TV under $300: TCL 32S305

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2015
    • 0.9: Winter 2014
    • 0.8: Winter 2013
    6.2
    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:
    5.8
    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:
    7.0
    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.
    7.0
    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.
    4.6
    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:
    4.1
    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.
    6.6
    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 28", 32")

    The TCL S305 is the best budget TV under $300 that we've tested so far. The S305 is a passable budget TV that delivers great deep blacks, good for dark scene performance. It also has excellent smart features, with thousands of available streaming channels and apps. Under $300, you can find the 28" and 32" models, which are limited to 720p. The S305 is also available in 40", 43", and 49", but these are all over $300.

    The S305 has a decent response time, good for gaming or for movie lovers. It can also remove judder from most sources and it has excellent low input lag, great for gaming, or for use as a PC monitor. It has a good selection of inputs, including a dedicated composite input, and a headphone jack.

    Overall, this is a passable budget LED TV that is a great secondary TV, or if you have limited space and budget. The S305 is gradually being replaced by the S325. This is a gradual rollout, so depending on where you live, one or the other (or both) may be available. While we haven't tested the S325, TCL has confirmed they are identical, with only minor cosmetic changes.

    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. The UN32N5300 is a 32" 1080p IPS TV, with wider viewing angles than the TCL S305, and a much brighter display. Unlike the S305, the N5300 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, as the N5300 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 S305, 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. The D Series 2017 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

  • Insignia Fire TV. 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
  • TCL D100. Mediocre TV, and the 32" model is only 720p. Cheap, but not very good. See our review
  • Samsung M4500. Very basic 720p TV with poor picture quality. 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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