A TV is one of the biggest purchases you're likely to make – but it doesn't have to be. Because while most big-screen TVs will set you back hundreds of bucks, or even thousands if you really want the best on offer, you can find some pretty decent TVs for less than $500. And they're not all small – our list includes a 55-inch model which, while not quite as impactful as a 65- or 75-inch TV, will suit many households just fine.
They're surprisingly well-equipped for their price tags, too. The TVs below include 4K resolutions, Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos sound, and even 120Hz gaming. All that for less than 500 bucks? Where do we sign?
Let's see what's available.
How to choose the best TV under $500 for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.
So what should you look for from the best TVs under $500? Screen size is a key consideration. At this price level, the 32-inch size is most common, but 43- and even 55-inch sets do creep into this price bracket.
Picture quality isn't going to blow you away for less than $500, but there are some surprisingly impressive results, especially around black levels and color brightness.
Finally, TVs at this level don't pack great sonics, so you'd be better off investing in one of the best soundbars on the market – it will mean more outlay, but trust us, it will be worth it.
Now for our pick of the best TVs under $500.
- What size TV should you buy? How to choose the right TV
One of Samsung's cheapest 4K TVs is also one of the best TVs under $500. Admittedly it only has two HDMI ports, but that's enough for a games console and a soundbar. You won't need a streamer thanks to the Tizen operating system, which has all the usual streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+. The 4K set supports HDR too, making for better contrast.
The picture is very good for the money. The black levels have surprising depth, while there's plenty of pop and punch. It's a sharp and detailed performer, equally at home with 4K content as it is upscaling HD video. Add in the perfectly passable sonics, and you have a pretty compelling TV for under $500.
Read the full Samsung UE43TU7100 review
By today's standards, 32 inches is tiny for a TV. But if you're looking for a set for a bedroom, study or kitchen, it might well be the perfect size.
This is one of the best small TVs around. Its screen resolution is only 720p HD, but at this size, you probably won't notice the difference. Your outlay gets you three HDMI sockets (one of which is eARC) and Apple AirPlay wireless tech, but no Bluetooth.
It runs the Roku operating system, which supports all the usual streaming apps and has a customisable home page. Plus that means you can use the Roku app on your smartphone as a remote control.
The Roku universal search engine is also one of the best around – it makes finding something to watch a cinch.
And the picture quality? For the money it's very impressive, with even backlighting and decent black levels. It won't challenge bigger, pricier sets, but we wouldn't expect it to at this level. A superb second set, and one of the best TVs under $500.
Read the full TCL 32S335 review
Xbox Series X owners will also be delighted to hear that the 43A6GTUK’s support for Dolby Vision HDR extends to the console’s new Dolby Vision gaming support.
Android TV is onboard, giving you easy access to the major streaming services plus the Google Play Store for renting and purchasing movies. And the set serves up a pretty decent picture, with even backlighting and impressive black levels for the money. There's practically no evidence of clouding even when viewing the TV in near darkness, and shadowy areas retain a decent level of detail. For the money, you really couldn't ask for more.
Read the full Hisense 43A6GTUK review
TCL is known for its budget TVs, and this 55-inch set is one of its finest. The Roku operating system powers everything while putting all the usual apps and services at your fingertips.
The TCL 55S425 offers three HDMI ports, one with ARC, for hooking up your home cinema kit, as well as a single USB 2.0, an RF connector for an antenna, a composite video input, an optical digital output and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also an ethernet port for hardwiring the TV to your router, as well as 802.11ac wi-fi.
It can also be voice controlled through the Roku app or a compatible smart speaker.
The 4K display offers direct backlighting and HDR10 support. The picture is sharp and, for casual viewing will do the job just fine. Color accuracy is a bit off in areas, with orange hues often skewing a little more towards pink than we’d like, but it’s not bad for the money and overall fares better than other budget sets in this area. Highly recommended.
Read the full TCL 55S425 review
The 32-inch TCL 32S327 is the smallest model in the company’s 3 Series range, and is Full HD, rather than 4K. That said, it's got a price tag to match.
Connectivity is decent for the price, with three HDMI ports (one supporting ARC), one each of USB, coaxial and composite video inputs and an optical out. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack as well.
The Roku OS brings you over 4000 apps and services, including Netflix, HBO Now, Disney+ and Google Play. Voice assistance is included here too, but requires that you link the TV to a Google- or Alexa-powered speaker.
Colors look pretty good, with reds, blues and greens reproduced accurately and with vibrancy. Move too much past a 45-degree viewing angle and you will start to see some fade, but many LCD sets at this price suffer far more in this regard.
Pictures look sharp and detail levels are pretty good, too, with some level of insight to textures in clothing and landscapes. You will notice some blurring around fast action scenes, though, and we weren’t able to rectify that with the motion processing options.
As for gaming, we measured a lag time of 12.3ms, making the 32S327 a viable gaming TV too. It obviously won’t support 4K or HDR gaming, but at a full HD level we found it to be precise and responsive. A great TV at this price level.
Read the full TCL 32S327 review
How we test TVs
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year – and that includes a ton of TVs. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Bath and Reading, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency.
All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer, again helping to ensure consistency and avoid any personal preference.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.
From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended above, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?approved product.
These are the best TVs for all budgets
Find a bargain with the best TV deals