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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Netflix, Amazon 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
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