Skip to main content

Best cheap TVs 2021: cheap smart and 4K TVs

Best cheap TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best cheap TVs you can buy in 2021.

Good news: you can get a great TV for a cheap price. The latest technology does trickle down, meaning the best cheap TVs can still deliver good picture quality and have the latest streaming TV apps, specs and features. 

The models below combine impressive pictures and all the features needed for an outstanding home entertainment experience. This includes 4K HDR picture processing, and streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Netflix and Hulu.

The TV industry moves faster than most, with big brands such as Hisense, LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony launching new TV technology every year. The good news is this technology trickles down, meaning the best cheap TVs can still deliver great picture quality and have the latest apps, specs and features. 

Read on for our pick of the best cheap TVs to make your buying decision simple.

How we choose the best cheap TVs

Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, including a lot of TVs of all shapes, sizes and types. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them?

The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years' experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. 

All the TVs we review are tested in comparison with rival products in the same category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity.

From all of our TV reviews, we choose the top products to feature in our Best Buys, such as this one. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.

Best cheap TVs 2021

(Image credit: Samsung / Fear The Walking Dead, Amazon Prime )

1. Samsung UE43TU7100

An awesome performance-per-pound TV.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 43in | Type: LCD | Backlight: edge LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG | Operating system: Samsung Tizen | HDMI inputs: 2 | ARC/eARC: eARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 56 x 96 x 5.9cm

Reasons to Buy

Impressive sharpness and detail
Tonally balanced
Intuitive, app-packed interface

Reasons to Avoid

Slightly sluggish operation
Only two HDMI inputs

This 43-inch model is one of Samsung's cheapest 4K TVs but it boasts the company's core performance technology and impressive smart features. In fact, this set outperforms expectations to the extent that it's just about the best cheap TV on sale right now.

Whereas most TVs of this size skimp on features, this model has the same (brilliant) Tizen operating system found on Samsung's pricier TVs, complete with a well-stocked app selection. 

Picture-wise, it supports HDR formats (though not Dolby Vision, which no Samsung sets support) and Auto Low Latency Mode, which makes this set a great option for PS5 and Xbox Series X owners on a budget. The contrast ratio isn't as impressive as a (much pricier) OLED or QLED panel, but the blacks are actually surprisingly deep for such as cheap TV. 

With excellent picture performance for a TV of this size, and smart features galore, this model is our current pound-for-pound champion.

Read the full Samsung UE43TU7100 review

Best cheap TVs 2021

(Image credit: Future / Future Man, Amazon Prime Video)

2. Hisense 50R7E

A good quality 4K HDR set enhanced by Roku TV.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions: 72 x 112.7 x 25.6cm

Reasons to Buy

Strong upscaling
Clean, dynamic image
Intuitive, app-packed Roku platform

Reasons to Avoid

Not terribly sharp
Lacks some dark detail

It might look fairly ordinary, but this 4K HDR smart TV is extraordinary value for money thanks to a laundry list of features that includes the excellent Roku TV platform. 

From Amazon Prime Video to Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max and Spotify, this TV provides access to pretty much every major streaming service you can think of. Connectivity is good, too, with HDMI, optical, USB and headphone connections in the mix.

As for the picture, it's good out of the box but manually tweaking the contrast, brightness and colour settings will improve this set's performance still further. Motion is handled confidently, colours are bright but not artificial and detail can only be bettered by pricier sets. 

At under $500 for a 50-inch 4K HDR TV, this is a real bargain. It's been around for a while now, so snap one up before stocks run dry.

Read the full Hisense R50B7120UK review

Best cheap TVs 2021

(Image credit: Future / How to build a girl, Amazon Prime)

3. Samsung UE55TU8000

This awesome cheap TV delivers an impressive performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 78.3 x 123 x 25cm (with stand)

Reasons to Buy

Brilliant HDR picture
Bags of tonal detail
Punchy colours

Reasons to Avoid

Not particularly bright
Uninspiring sound

If you can stretch your budget a bit further, you'll be rewarded with one of the best TV bargains in the States right now – the Samsung 8 Series. It sat just below the company’s flagship QLED panels when it originally launched, and continues to deliver impressive picture quality at an affordable price.

You get a lot for your money, including all the smart TV streaming apps you'd expect (Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu, YouTube, ESPN and plenty more), so there's no need to add a streaming stick. You also get three HDMI inputs, a decent interface for browsing all that content and voice control if you want to get smart.

Crucially, the picture is better than most rivals at the $600 price point. Colours are punchy, black levels are solid and performance is solid across 4K, HD and even SD pictures. Sound is basic but a soundbar would soon fix that. For the money, this is one of the best cheap TVs you can buy right now.

Best cheap TVs 2021

(Image credit: TCL)

4. TCL 55S425 Roku TV

A superb 55-inch 4K Roku TV for the value shopper.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 78.3 x 123 x 25cm (with stand)

Reasons to Buy

Affordable 4K TV with HDR
Solid Roku TV experience
Good for gaming

Reasons to Avoid

No local dimming
Unimpressive motion handling
Limited HDR support

Finding a cheap 55-inch 4K HDR TV is relatively easy these days. Finding one that has decent colour handling, a sharp picture and a top-notch smart TV platform included is a lot harder – but somehow the TCL 55S425 pulls it off.

The main attraction for the casual buyer will be the presence of the tried-and-tested Roku TV interface, which provides easy access to a host of major streaming services (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max and more). You also get a basic Roku remote control with one-touch access to the likes of Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV.  

Of course, compromises are often made at this end of the market; the lack of local dimming means that HDR content won't look terribly dynamic and other cheap TVs handle motion better. That said, the picture is sharp and gamers will appreciate the super-speedy 14ms response time. 

Overall,  TCL 4 Series 55S425 Roku TV is a strong option for those seeking the best cheap TV.

Read the full TCL 55S425 Roku TV review

Best cheap TVs 2021

(Image credit: Vizio)

5. Vizio V505-G9

One of the better affordable TVs you can buy right now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 3 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 112cm x 7.1cm x 25.6cm

Reasons to Buy

Decent picture quality
Good HDR format support
Built-in Google Chromecast

Reasons to Avoid

Basic port selection
Middling HDR performance
Quiet audio

The Vizio V505-G9 offers a surprising amount of bang for your buck, including support for Dolby Vision HDR and good color handling. The inclusion of Vizio's SmartCast software only adds to its appeal, along with built-in Chromecast and compatibility with Amazon and Google smart speakers.

You won't be spoilt for connectivity options – there's no Bluetooth, for example – but you also won't be short of good quality streaming apps. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV are joined by Vizio’s own dedicated channel, called WatchFree, which streams more than 100 TV channels over the internet.

The picture on the V505-G9 won't blow you away, but it's more than acceptable given the low price. Gamers might want to skip this TV, though, as 4K gaming is limited to 24Hz.

Read the full Vizio V505-G9 review

6. Sony XBR-49X950H

One of the best sub-$1000 TVs available right now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: LCD with direct LED backlight | Resolution: 4K | HDR support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 4 | Dimensions (hwd, with stand): 109.3cm x 62.9cm x 7cm

Reasons to Buy

Punchy, rich picture performance
Vastly improved sound
Snappy user experience

Reasons to Avoid

Same design as last year
Some backlight bloom

On the hunt for an affordable Android TV with a lifelike picture? This Sony will tick all your boxes and more. Launched in 2020, the 49-inch X950H LCD TV impresses with its sleek design, snappy interface, generous HDR support and sharp picture.

NetflixAmazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are all on board to scratch that 4K Dolby Vision streaming itch, while Google Play Movies & TV deliver pay-as-you-go 4K content with HDR10. Sony has even thrown in AirPlay 2, which lets you can stream Apple TV content from iOS devices to the X950H.

Of course, this set's main draw is its rich but natural colors and excellent dark detail. Motion has long been Sony's forte so it's no surprise that the X950H is a truly insightful performer in that regard. And gamers will be pleased to hear that input lag is just 21.1ms. 

All told, this is a relatively affordable TV that doesn't cut corners when it comes to performance.

Read the full Sony XBR-49X950H review

MORE:

Bargain or bust: Should you buy a refurbished TV?

Fancy splashing out? Browse today's best TV deals

Or feast your eyes on the best 4K movies and TV shows 

  • Robwhr
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    The best cheap 4K TVs combine great picture performance with the latest smart TV features, without breaking the bank.

    Best cheap 4K TVs 2020: the best budget TVs : Read more

    just bought 50pus8402 from Currys, Android, Freeview Play, 3 sided Ambilight, absolutely superb, much better spec than the sapphy Os of the one you listed in your top 10

    only £399 down from £799
    Reply
  • R6ex
    TCL has cheaper and better stuff than those listed.
    I especially like their C715 or C716 and S535 or even S635
    QLED budget TV.
    Reply
  • robos
    R6ex said:
    TCL has cheaper and better stuff than those listed.
    I especially like their C715 or C716 and S535 or even S635
    QLED budget TV.

    Only someone without personal experience with TCL can recommend it. I own 55C715 QLED, its a complete disaster. While the screen might be OK, the UI is terrible, slow, laggy. It requires frequent restarts. It lacks some basic settings, like audio output/mute built in speakers. I thought that I can solve that by adding xiaomi tv box, but it was a failure, since TCL has problems with CEC, so I had to have 3 remote controls on table, 1st to start up and switch off TV, second for TV box and 3rd for volume on DAC. Unacceptable.

    I will sell that TCL TV and buy Samsung UE55TU8000. Because I had opportunity to try that and it was much better than TCL
    Reply