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, it 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. It's an entry-level TV that performs reasonably well for most content. Like most Samsung TVs, it has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio, allowing it to produce deep blacks. It has okay reflection handling, but it doesn't get very bright, so it's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room. It has sub-par viewing angles that cause the image to look washed out from the sides, which isn't ideal for large rooms with wide seating areas.
It upscales lower-resolution content well without causing any artifacts. The response time is okay, but it has a 120Hz backlight flicker that causes image duplication. On the upside, its somewhat slower response time results in fewer stutters in low frame rate content like movies. It has an exceptionally low input lag to provide a responsive gaming experience; however, the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and it lacks VRR support to reduce screen tearing.
If you get your content mostly from streaming services, Samsung's Tizen OS is a good platform with plenty of available apps. The interface is user-friendly, and it runs smoothly for the most part. You have to put up with some ads and suggested content on the home screen, though, and there's no mic built into the remote for voice control. Overall, while it lacks advanced gaming features like VRR, it should satisfy most casual gamers on a tight budget.
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's often on sale at around $300 for a 50 inch, and if you don't mind spending a bit more, the 55 inch model 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 you're looking for something even cheaper than the Toshiba Fire TV 2020, check out the TCL 50S435. It also uses a VA panel with a high contrast ratio, so it's well-suited for dark room viewing. It has better gradient handling to minimize banding, and its out-of-the-box accuracy is significantly better. The response time is slower, which results in more motion blur in fast-moving scenes, but it also means that there's less stutter in low frame rate content like movies. Also, it can remove judder from 24p sources and native apps, and it supports more resolutions. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very bright and might not be able to overcome glare. It runs on the Roku platform, which is easy to use and has tons of apps available.
Overall, the Toshiba is a better choice due to its higher peak brightness and faster response time. However, if you're shopping on a small budget, the TCL is an okay alternative.
12/08/2020: Replaced Hisense H6570G with TCL 4 Series 2020.
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'.
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.