The 8 Best 42-inch TVs of 2020

Opt for a smaller screen without sacrificing great features

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TCL 43S517 at Amazon

"You’re getting the crisp imagery offered by a TV panel with a 4K resolution."

Runner-up, Best Overall: Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA at Amazon

"Comes with an elegant design that doesn’t have chunky bezels around the edge of the screen."

Best Value: LG 43UK6300PUE at Amazon

"Has the smarts offered by LG’s ThinQ AI and works with the LG Magic Remote."

Best Full HD Pick: TCL 43S305 at Amazon

"Gives you easy access to all the of most popular streaming channels, like Netflix, HBO, and more."

Best for Cheap 4K: Toshiba 43LF621U19 at Amazon

"If you see this TV going for under $200, consider it an incredible steal."

Best Premium: LG 43UK6500AUA at LG

"It runs on LG’s webOS platform, which is one of the best around."

Best Monitor Alternative: Acer ET430K at Amazon

"Has support for over a billion colors and 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space."

Most Elegant: Samsung The Frame at Samsung

"A specialty TV that’s made to look great in your living room."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: TCL 43S517

TCL 43S517

 Courtesy of Amazon

For a great balance of features and a price that doesn’t put it at the high end of the pack, the TCL 43S517 stands out as a truly excellent option. We’ve already ranked it as one of the 4K TVs under $1000, and with all that it offers, it wins a high spot on this list as well.

The TCL 43S517 is a 4K smart TV that uses the Roku TV platform. When it comes to finding streaming content, Roku is already one of the best options there is, so to have the functionality baked right into the TV is a plus. You also get voice control, so there’s less fussing around in TV menus.

Of course, you’re also getting the crisp imagery offered by a TV panel with a 4K resolution. But, that picture quality is further enhanced by a wide color gamut that offers over one billion colors, and support for both HDR10 and the premium Dolby Vision formats of high dynamic range video. The whole package is rounded out with dual eight-watt speakers, three HDMI 2.0 ports, dual-band Wi-Fi, and an Ethernet port.

Runner-up, Best Overall: Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA

A list of great TVs is rarely going to lack an entrant from Samsung. The company has a strong reputation for making excellent TVs, and it hasn’t missed the opportunity to nail it with a 43-inch class model. The Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA may be a bit pricey, but it comes with an elegant design that doesn’t have chunky bezels around the edge of the screen.

This is a 4K Ultra HD TV, so you’re going to get incredible clarity for all of your content. And, even if you’re source is only Full HD, the Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA can upscale content to 4K. The picture you get is further enhanced by Samsung’s support for HDR10+, which can adjust the dynamic range on a per-scene basis. And, there’s UHD Dimming, which is Samsung’s version of local dimming, improving the contrast ratio of the screen by letting certain areas turn the backlight off.

The Samsung UN43NU7100FXZA is also a smart TV, with wireless and wired connectivity. PC gamers can even enjoy gaming on it by installing the Steam Link app, which lets them stream their PCs output over their home network to display on the TV.

Check out our other reviews of the best Samsung TVs available on the market today.

Best Value: LG 43UK6300PUE

LG is another name that you’re not likely to miss when it comes to a TV round-up. The company has a wide variety of great TVs, especially with its series of high-end OLED TVs and its powerful webOS smart TV platform. It doesn’t offer any 42-inch OLEDs, but the LG 43UK6300PUE is a capable option at a great price.

The LG 43UK6300PUE regularly comes in below $300, but it’s 4K Ultra HD smart TV with support for HDR. It also has the smarts offered by LG’s ThinQ AI and works with the LG Magic Remote, which offers access to even more smarts with Google Assistant. And, if you have an Alexa device in your home, you can even control it with that.

The high dynamic range profiles supported are HDR10 and HLG, so you should have no trouble finding content to enjoy amazing quality. LG’s own 4K Active HDR tech can perform scene-by-scene optimization. The TV offers Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, as well as Bluetooth for easy connections to wireless soundbars or headphones.

Best Full HD Pick: TCL 43S305

If you want to go toward the truly affordable end of the spectrum for 42-inch TVs, then you have the option of foregoing 4K Ultra HD in favor of Full HD. TCL’s 43S305 is a budget-friendly pick, that costs a lot less than most of the competition. However, there are some 4K HDR TVs that are occasionally even cheaper with discounts, so you may want to consider this option only when those other models aren’t on sale.

The TCL 43S305 is a smart TV, using the Roku TV platform found on all of TCL’s best TVs. It gives you easy access to all the of most popular streaming channels, like Netflix, HBO, and more. This TV also offers a 120Hz refresh rate, which can be useful when watching sports and content with a lot of fast movements (though it’s not ideal for TV shows and movies).

Though this is a budget TV, it has a simple, low-profile stand that doesn’t call out its budget nature. It also offers a dual-band wireless connection for fast connectivity.

Best for Cheap 4K: Toshiba 43LF621U19

If you want to get a 4K Ultra HD TV without breaking the band, Toshiba has the solution for you. The Toshiba 43LF621U19 is incredibly affordable and the good news is that you’re not losing out on features.

This is a fully smart TV, as its powered by Amazon’s Fire TV platform. You’ll get easy access to Netflix, HBO, Prime Video, and more popular streaming channels. Plus, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is built right into the remote, so you can easily control the TV with just your voice. You can even control other smart home devices through Alexa on the remote.

The Toshiba 43LF621U19 offers support for HDR10, which may not be the newest or most exciting high dynamic range profile, but it is easy to find content that uses HDR10. With dual-band Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, this TV is ready to quickly stream 4K HDR content as well.

Best Premium: LG 43UK6500AUA

LG 43UK6500AUA

 Courtesy of LG

If you're up for splurging a little bit on a tube and want one that you can count on lasting and looking great in your living room or den for years to come, take a hard look at the LG 43UK6500AUA. It has a metal frame that will give it a more stylish footprint in your home, even when it’s turned off. And, the bezels around the screen are thin.

When the TV is turned on, you’re also going to get great visuals. The LG 43UK6500AUA is a 4K Ultra HD smart TV, and it runs on LG’s webOS platform, which is one of the best around. With LG’s ThinQ AI and optional support for Google Assistant, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa, you can get the content you want to watch quickly and easily.

Beyond resolution, the content is further enhanced by the LG 43UK6500AUA’s support for HDR10 and HLG, as well as its use of local dimming. The TV also offers a wide color gamut. And, LG’s 4K Active HDR can further improve dynamic range in your content.

Best Monitor Alternative: Acer ET430K

If you’re looking for a 42-inch TV, you might not have thought to see if there wasn’t a monitor that could also do the job. We found a few, but the Acer ET430K stood out for offering a decent price along with some extra perks.

The Acer ET430K is a massive 4K monitor, but it’s not priced much more than a lot of its competition in the TV department. It even has built-in speakers. It may lack HDR, but it makes up for that with support for over a billion colors and 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space, so you can use it effectively for web design. If you plan to use your TV for gaming or to connect a TV with it, the visual clarity of text will likely be best on this monitor.

Further improving the gaming experience, the ET430K offers a 5ms response time, ensuring your gaming inputs aren’t significantly delayed. The ET430K supports HDMI and DisplayPort connections. And, since this monitor used an IPS panel, you’ll get wide viewing angles.

Read more reviews of the best 4K monitors available to purchase online.

Most Elegant: Samsung The Frame

Samsung The Frame

Courtesy of Samsung

If having a great TV is just on consideration for you, and having a great looking living room is another consideration, then a lot of affordable TVs aren’t going to fit the bill. Even more expensive TVs tend to stand out, and they don’t always lens to the look of a room. But, Samsung has the solution for that. The Frame is a specialty TV that’s made to look great in your living room without always calling attention to the fact that it’s a TV.

The first step in that process is offering a great image, with a 4K Ultra HD panel and support for HDR, it has that covered. The second step is by getting rid of some of the clutter. The Frame uses a unique cable called the One Invisible Connection, which runs to a special box where all your other devices can connect. This way, all your TVs connections can be hidden way, leaving your with just the TV and a single cable. An Art Mode, a motion sensor, an ambient light sensor, and customizable frames can turn the TV into living wall art.

While those features are great for the aesthetics of your home, The Frame can also serve as a perfectly good TV as well. It has a smart TV platform built in, so when it’s not showing you art, you can easily access all your favorite streaming channels. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular 42-inch TVs on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 60 different 42-inch TVs overall, screened options from 14 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 16 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.