The 8 Best 48-Inch TVs to Buy in 2018

When it comes to TV size, 48 inches in your sweet spot

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The Rundown

  • Best Affordable 4K: TCL 49S405 at Amazon, “If you’re not one to quibble over aspect ratios and don’t typically make big color and contrast adjustments, you’ll love this TV.”
  • Best Smart Functionality: Sony KDL48W650D at Amazon, “The best TV with smart functionality straight out of the box.”
  • Best Budget: JVC 48 at Walmart, “Don’t let that under-the-radar name fool you — this model offers a ton of features.”
  • Best for Gaming: Sony XBR49X900F at Best Buy, “The TRILUMINOS Display results in vivid colors for the most realistic and dynamic game-playing experience."
  • Best Picture: VIZIO D48-D0 D-Series at Amazon, “Its powerful image processing gives a sharp detail display that captures every second of the action.”
  • Best Curved: Samsung UN48JS9000 at Amazon, “Its 4K Ultra HD resolution and design will have you mesmerized into believing you bought a window to the world.”
  • Best 1080p: TCL 49D100 at Amazon, “You have a massive amount of screen real estate without a whole lot of thickness.”
  • Best for Durability: Mirage Vision Outdoor TV at Amazon, “It’s resistant to rain, dust, insects and whatever else Mother Nature throws at it.”

Our Top Picks

Best Affordable 4K: TCL 49S405 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV

While the new TCL 49S405 4K TV is not 48 inches, it is 49 inches, which in our book is close enough. Oh, and it’s a great affordable smart 4K TV, which should matter more than anything else.

Outside of its great price, the TCL 49S405 offers lots of other features. The picture quality is a step up from 1080p HD and offers 4K UHD picture performance with high dynamic range (HDR) that will make your movies and TV shows pop. It also has smart functionality via a pre-installed Roku TV, which will let you install more than 4,000 streaming channels, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video and Vudu. For ports, it has three HDMI 2.0, one USB, RF, composite, headphone jack, optical audio out and Ethernet.

Before you buy, keep in mind this unit is one of the most budget-friendly 4K TVs on the market and as such, it won’t offer the highest-quality picture. But if you’re not one to quibble over aspect ratios and don’t typically make big color and contrast adjustments, you’ll love this TV.

Best Smart Functionality: Sony KDL48W650D

Looking for the best TV with smart functionality straight out of the box? The Sony KDL48W650D features all the best a smart TV has to offer, thanks to its built-in Wi-Fi, streaming capabilities and two USB ports that allow you to play your own digital content from a hard drive or memory stick.

The Sony KDL48W650D is a Full 1080p Smart LED HDTV equipped with two HDMI ports. It has a native refresh rate of 60Hz and an effective Motionflow XR 240. This means you’ll be able to capture quick movements and visuals smoothly without interruption. The Wi-Fi will connect with your Internet, so you can go online and browse multiple streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Best of all, you can also stream your favorite media from your wireless home network computer and a Web browser, so you don’t have to worry about any setbacks or paid subscriptions in order to access the content you want. If you have guests over, up to ten of them can send their photos and video clips wirelessly from their mobile devices to the TV with their choice of optional background music.

Amazon users who own the TV love it for its versatile connectivity to their mobile devices and that it acts as its own Wi-Fi spot. Other reviews note that the sound quality is lacking that buying external speakers for TV would be a good investment. It comes with 60-day tech support.

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

Best Budget: JVC 48

JVC 48

Courtesy of Walmart 

The beauty of a TV like this JVC 48 is that you get a huge screen at an extremely wallet-friendly price, just because JVC doesn’t command the same caché as a Samsung or an LG. But don’t let that under-the-radar name fool you — this model offers a ton of features. First, the full-HD LED screen gives you the pixels to fit the real estate, delivering a super crisp, 1080p picture. JVC promises vibrant, striking visuals with its decent color gamut spread. There are three HDMI inputs, a component set, a digital audio output, VGA capabilities, and more, meaning that you won’t be held back by the I/Os on this and there will be a port there for you no matter the application. There aren’t any smart features on this unit, so make sure you’re planning to pair it with an Apple TV or a Roku if you want to stream. But, all things considered, it’s a great TV at a great price.

Best for Gaming: Sony XBR49X900F

Sony XBR49X900F

Courtesy of Best Buy 

The Sony XBR49X900F might be a little bigger than 48 inches — it's technically 49 — but what you’re getting in extra size, you’re also getting in quality. This versatile smart TV, while well-rounded enough to be suitable for either casual or binge watchers, is also ideal for gaming. The combination of 4K resolution and HDR technology means clear images with sharp contrast, six times the contrast of a conventional LED-edge lit TV thanks to X-tended Dynamic Range PRO 6x. The TRILUMINOS Display results in vivid colors for the most realistic and dynamic game-playing experience, enhanced by low input lag and rapid response time. Audio is optimized with two Bass Reflex 10W down-firing speakers, whether the source is a show, music, PCs, tablets or smartphones.

Thousands of apps, including Android games, are available along with favorites like Google Play, Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora. The device is compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa and can be controlled with your voice. Built-in Google Assistant is on-hand when you’re taking a break from gaming to check the weather or put on a movie.  

Best Picture: VIZIO D48-D0 D-Series

The VIZIO D48-D0 D-Series has 240-enhanced motion clarity and a 120Hz effective refresh rate, as well as five active LED zones that dynamically adjust their backlight to create deeper, purer black levels and higher contrasts. Its powerful image processing gives a sharp detail display that captures every second of action in sports, movies and video games.

The TV comes preloaded with VIZIO Internet Apps Plus, which means once you turn the TV on, you’ll have access to multiple video and streaming apps, including YouTube, Vudu, Netflix, Hulu and more. The TV’s built in Wi-Fi connects to your router and automatically updates apps to stay current for a seamless experience.

Amazon users who own the TV love it for its vibrant display, solid backlight and crisp picture. More critical reviewers mention its smart features are sometimes slow in loading time. It comes with free 60-day tech support. 

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best Vizio TVs

Best Curved: Samsung UN48JS9000

Curved TVs may seem like a gimmick, but they’re designed to keep you absorbed in the picture. The best 48-inch curved TV is Samsung’s UN48JS9000. Its 4K Ultra HD resolution and design will have you mesmerized into believing you bought a window to the world, not a TV.

The UN48JS9000 is equipped with a 240CMR effective refresh rate with a backlight LED. You’ll be able to see every split second of movement with its high-powered display output and Auto Depth Enhancer. The included Nano Crystal technology means you’ll get millions of colors with its PurColor feature and outstanding brightness with its Peak Illuminator Ultimate. Anyone serious about experiencing the next step in television will be pleased with what Samsung brings to the table.

Like other high-end TVs on the list, it comes with smart functionality and built in Wi-Fi. With just two clicks of a button, you’ll be able to jump immediately into streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Users on Amazon who own the TV love it for its sheer power and display. It comes with 60-day tech support.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Samsung TVs

Best 1080p: TCL 49D100

TCL’s take on the 48-inch market gives you 1080p of resolution for a really great price. While the TV measures 49 inches diagonally, the sans-stand measurements sit at 43.7 x 25.4 x 3 inches, meaning you have a massive amount of screen real estate without a whole lot of thickness. The direct-lit LED offers you a truly lifelike image which, when paired with that 1080p resolution, will give you a great entertainment experience. And if that weren’t enough, this TV is great for gaming or watching sports because it works at a perfectly adequate 120Hz refresh rate, giving you quick, lifelike movements and minimizing blur. Now let’s talk inputs: There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but with three HDMI ports, 1 USB, one component set, and an optical digital out, you’ll be able to dovetail this set with whatever devices you already have, from full surround audio systems to the latest Blu-ray and streaming devices.

Best Durability: Mirage Vision Outdoor TV

Mirage Vision claims to make the thinnest 48-inch outdoor LED HD TV in existence. Though it weighs 40 pounds, the Mirage Vision has a depth of only 1.5 inches – making it the thinnest TV on the list. It’s also tough and built to take in direct sunlight; it's also resistant to rain, dust, insects and whatever else Mother Nature throws at it. Since it’s a Smart TV with built in Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to stream your favorite shows – even in temperatures from -25 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The Mirage Vision Outdoor TV is also the brightest outdoor TV on the market. It includes 16.7 million colors with an enhanced brightness LED backlight modulation, matching the brightness of a summer’s day. It comes with a one-year replacement warranty.