When you need a good and reliable screen in a clutch, a TV under $500 should do the trick. Sure, you may have to compromise when it comes to screen size, resolution, and glitzy features, but sometimes simply good is good enough. Plus, with televisions this cheap, you’ll be able to put one in every room of the house, including some rooms that will inspire equal parts envy and revulsion. Studies, garages, and even hallways could all pop with a gorgeous and affordable screen. We’ve compiled some of the best TVs under $500 across a range of categories. 

Best Overall: Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV
Best for Gaming: VIZIO 55-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV
Best 4K: TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV
Best 43-Inch: Amazon Fire 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV
Best Budget: Insignia 24-Inch Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV

How We Picked the Best TVs Under $500

We live in a golden age of affordable televisions. Sure, the massive, cinematic screens with flashy features and lightning-quick refresh rates will still run you up to several thousand dollars, but you can nab a pretty solid television for $500 or less, and in many cases, with lots of room to spare budget-wise. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best TVs under $500.

Screen Size and Tradeoffs: You’d be surprised just how big a screen you can buy for not too much money. Just keep expectations realistic. Bigger, in most cases, is better, but opting for a smaller screen means you can expect a bump in features like faster response times and better picture quality. 

Features: Any screen worth buying should come with obvious and less than the obvious quality of life functionality that makes basking in its glow something you look forward to. When using the remote, is a television responsive? Is adjusting everything from the contrast to screen brightness done quickly and easily? If it’s not, the TV simply isn’t worth buying, even if it’s cheap.

Price: When talking about the best TVs under $500, price is paramount. Naturally, the best of the best are going to be as close to the price cutoff as possible, but truly inexpensive models will be given serious consideration, especially if they come packed with strong features. 

Smart TV Capabilities: Smart TVs, in many cases, simply aren’t very smart. Luckily, fixing this is done easily, by using a secondary device like an Xbox One S or Roku for your streaming and media playback needs. A good backend is great though, and the better models will be able to be used right out of the box without the need for extra tech.

Best TVs Under $500: Reviews and Recommendations 

Best Overall: Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV

Worth the Splurge. Samsung

Why It Made The Cut: Fantastic picture quality complete with a QLED screen makes the Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV an easy favorite in its price range.

Specs:
Dimensions: 22 inches L x 38 inches W x 1 inch D, without stand
Screen Size: 43 inches
Weight: 18.5 pounds, without stand
Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate: Up to 120Hz (hertz)

Pros:
— Glorious 4K picture quality
— Multiple, adjustable aspect ratios
— Sleek and slim build

Cons:
— Lacks in audio quality
— Barely under $500

A QLED screen is powerful enough to display more than a billion colors, and the one on the Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV is unmatched in any television under $500.

No matter what you’re watching on it, picture quality looks true to life, especially in 4K. Dynamic tone mapping creates deeper blacks and brighter whites, and the most vibrant colors imaginable. Quantum Processor Lite 4K upscales lesser resolutions to look their best, even if you’re watching live television or content that isn’t natively 4K. The build quality is just like every other Samsung product: incredibly high. Its slim design makes it blend into any wall you mount it on. Its refresh rate is even game-ready, and quick enough to use this as both television or a monitor for your PC. While it comes with serious sound enhancements, like its room-filling Q-Symphony tech, audiophiles may be a little less enthused by the capabilities here. But for most, the audio will be more than perfect right out of the box without any necessary secondary equipment. Technically, this television is under $500, but just barely. 

Best for Gaming: VIZIO 55-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV 

Next-Gen Ready. VIZIO

Why It Made The Cut: For an inexpensive television to plug your Xbox or Nintendo Switch into, bet on the VIZIO 55-Inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV.

Specs:
Dimensions: 28.47 inches L x 49.06 inches W x 3.4 inches D, without stand
Screen Size: 55 inches
Weight: 30.14 pounds, without stand
Display: LED
Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Pros:
— V-Gaming Engine great for gaming
— Great 4K upscaling
— Built-in Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast

Cons:
— Clunkier than other TVs
— Runs a little dimmer than average

When it comes to picture quality, in general, the higher the pixel count, the crisper the image. The VIZIO 55-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV packs over eight million on its screen, making it four times higher in resolution than your average 1080p screen.

No, it’s not an OLED or QLED screen, which means it will run a little dimmer than average, but there are still plenty of impressive picture enhancements within this affordable entry. For one, it contains 2,000 zones packed with Active Pixel Tuning, so brightness and contrast settings are optimized no matter what you’re watching. The V-Gaming Engine makes this television perfect for most next-gen gaming, with input lag times as low as 10 milliseconds, so you’ll never be caught off guard when playing “Fortnite” or “Forza Horizons.” When you’re not owning noobs on Xbox Live, this television makes a great streaming companion, with full Google Chromecast and Apple Air-Play capabilities. The built-in SmartCast backend is lightning fast, reliable, and stocked with all your favorite streaming destinations like Netflix and Disney Plus. And with three easy-access HDMI ports, you’ll be able to plug in all your consoles at once. Despite it being a flat screen, it is a tad thicker than the average screen, which isn’t a dealbreaker considering its versatility. 

Best 4K: TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV

Rapid and Reliable. TCL

Why It Made The Cut: Great picture quality and a fantastic, responsive Roku backend make this entry one of the best 4K televisions.

Specs:
Dimensions: 25.2 inches L x 43.9 inches W x 3.4 inches D, without stand
Screen Size: 50 inches
Weight: 26 pounds, without stand
Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate: Up to 240Hz

Pros:
— Fast and reliable Roku Smart TV
— Natural Motion 240 great for gaming
— QLED makes for bright, high-quality picture

Cons:
— Sound runs a little quieter than usual

4K is great, but 4K with a QLED screen and one of the best streaming backends is even better, which makes the TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV one of the best in its class.

The Quantum Dot LED screen is reliable if immersive brightness and the most vivid colors and picture quality are your aim. This 5-Series television comes with AiPQ Engine, which uses machine learning algorithms to optimize this display so it always looks its best. Natural Motion 240 delivers clarity whether you’re watching the big game, a live event, or gaming on a next-generation console, so you won’t miss a single millisecond of action. Smart TVs live and die by the way they stream content, but the Roku Smart TV backend is one of the most reliable offerings in this space. Using it, you can access thousands of channels and apps on one of the most popular streaming platforms out there. Full voice control can even be accessed through the Roku app, or by syncing this television to your smart home powered by Siri, Alexa, or Hey Google. Of course, the one obvious weak point is the television’s audio, which isn’t poor quality but it is a little on the quieter side. 

Best 43-Inch: Amazon Fire 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV

Streaming Powerhouse. Amazon

Why It Made The Cut: Sometimes, all you need and want is a streaming screen, and the Amazon Fire 43-Inch 4K UHD Smart TV is user-friendly right out of the box.

Specs:
Dimensions: 22.3 inches L x 38.1 inches W x 3.5 inches D, without stand
Screen Size: 43 inches
Weight: 26 pounds, without stand
Display: LED
Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh Rate: Up to 60Hz

Pros:
— Excellent for streaming
— Alexa voice remote
— Relatively inexpensive

Cons:
— Bright standby light that doesn’t shut off

For small living rooms and bedrooms in need of a dedicated screen, a mid-sized offering like the Amazon Fire 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV is more than big enough to stand out.

Amazon Fire is a great place to consolidate all your favorite streaming channels like Apple TV, Hulu, and of course, Prime Video, as well as a great place to catch live sporting events. It’s also one of the easiest ways to access on-demand content, so you can break up with your neighborhood Redbox. No matter what you’re watching, expect everything from nature documentaries to Bond films to display in brilliant 4K Ultra HD, with vivid color, screen brightness, and picture clarity. Like any Amazon device worth its salt, it comes with voice controls, so Alexa can do everything from change channels, check the weather, or even tell you a rye joke. It also has plenty of compatibility with other Fire devices so you can mirror a small screen onto a large one. All of these premium features come at a surprisingly affordable price point. If you do end up placing it in a bedroom, you should know that the standby light runs a little bright, enough to keep light sleepers awake. Covering up this light renders the remote useless, so there’s just no working around it. 

Best Budget: Insignia 24-Inch Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV

Incredible Value. Insignia

Why It Made The Cut: It’s got a small screen and lags behind in screen quality, but its price point is truly unbeatable.

Specs:
Dimensions: 13.3 inches L x 21.7 inches W x 3.4 inches D, without stand
Screen Size: 24 inches
Weight: 6.2 pounds, without stand
Display: LED
Resolution: 720p (1280 x 720)
Refresh Rate: Up to 60Hz

Pros:
— Plenty of easy access streaming apps
— Built-in V-Chip for parental controls
— Cheap as hell

Cons:
— Resolution is outdated
— Slow start

Televisions are getting more and more affordable, but they simply do not come cheaper than the Insignia 24-Inch Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV.

Despite its tiny size, it’s a fully-fledged smart TV with Fire TV no less. This TV will connect to your go-to apps, be they Netflix or Crunchyroll, Hulu, or Prime Video. It’s lightweight and tucks into any closet in case you need a spare. If you’re a cool parent who lets your kid have their own television, 24-inches is fairly sensible, especially since it comes with a built-in V-Chip for the best in parental controls. There are also three HDMI and old-timey composite cable inputs. Remember those? How many televisions do you own that you can still plug into a VCR? Granted, anyone older than 10 may complain that the resolution leaves much to be desired since it tops out at 720p. Talk about primitive. It’s also one of the slower televisions in this compilation, especially when starting it up. However, it is a screen, and it is widely inexpensive. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a TV Under $500

Screen Size and Picture Quality Tradeoffs

When it comes to purchasing a new television in the under $500 category, you can get the most bang for your buck by figuring out what features matter most to you. For example, our overall best pick, Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV has a smaller screen than the VIZIO 55-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV, our best for gaming pick. However, the smaller Samsung has amazing picture quality compared to the VIZIO, and that’s not even taking into account the bright and shiny QLED screen. Size isn’t always everything, and finding a balance between screen size, picture quality, and other technical features is paramount before deciding to buy. 

Optional Add-Ons

Like a bespoke suit, an inexpensive television really pops with a few lovely accessories. The obvious upgrade you can provide for any television in this compilation is a good soundbar. Our best 4K pick, the TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV lacks in the audio department, but that’s nothing a room-filling soundbar can’t fix. The Samsung 2.1ch A550 A Series Soundbar with Dolby 5.1 provides any television with crisp, room-filling sound that makes even smaller screens hit like a movie theater screen.

Another add-on to consider is a wall mount. Every single television in this compilation can be mounted, and some of them look their best when they are. The Amazon Basics Full Motion Articulating TV Mount works with every television listed here, from 22- to 55-inches, and a weight of up to 80 pounds.

FAQs

Q: Which TV brand is most reliable?

Samsung TVs like the Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV are well-known for their reliability and longevity, despite their bigger-than-average price tags.

Q: How often should you replace your TV?

A TV has an average lifespan of anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 hours, which averages out to about four to 10 years. A television should be replaced in as little as four years, especially if you are getting diminishing returns on picture quality. 

Q: Are there disadvantages to owning a Smart TV?

One of the clear disadvantages of a Smart TV is that some of the OS used to run them are less than reliable compared to Roku and Android streaming devices. For a reliable smart TV backend, we recommend the Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV or the TCL 50-inch 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR QLED Roku Smart TV.

Q: Is QLED better than OLED?

It depends on what you’re after. QLED delivers better brightness, longer lifespans, bigger screens, and zero burn-in, compared with OLED’s better viewing angles, deeper black levels, energy efficiency, and less eye strain. 

Q: Which smart TV is best on a budget?

For a fairly priced Smart TV, the Amazon Fire 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV is reliable and 4K ready. The Insignia 24-Inch Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV is even more affordable, but the picture quality will require some compromises. 

Final Thoughts on TVs Under $500

You don’t have to break the bank to get a great television. If you’ve got $500 (and in some cases, substantially less) you can nab some seriously great televisions. The Samsung 43-inch QLED Q60A Series Smart TV provides some surprisingly stellar picture quality on a mid-sized screen, which makes it our overall favorite. For an even bigger screen, the VIZIO 55-inch 4K UHD LED Smart TV comes at an even more affordable price. The Amazon Fire 43-inch 4K UHD Smart TV is another excellent value, with fantastic streaming potential to boot.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


Share This Article