The 7 Best Cheap TVs to Buy in 2018

You don't have to pay an arm and a leg for a great TV

TVs have a very wide price spectrum – you can either spend around a few hundred bucks or a few thousand dollars. But you really don’t have to fork over an entire paycheck to get a great TV that has a lot of the bells and whistles (i.e. WiFi, streaming capabilities, 4K display, etc.) you’d expect from a more expensive TV. Read on to find the best cheap TV for your home that’s guaranteed to be within your budget.

Best Overall: TCL 32S305 32-Inch Smart TV

Chinese electronics company TCL is one the largest TV manufacturers in the world and the fastest growing TV seller in the United States. What to attribute to TCL’s recent success in the U.S.? Cheap and reliable smart TVs that outperform other low-end TV rivals.

The TCL 32S305 follows in the footsteps of previous smart TVs from TCL and delivers a heck of a deal for a 32-inch TV. For less than $200, this set offers 720p HD video, a 60 Hz refresh rate and a Roku TV streaming platform inside the box, so you can watch videos from Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and more. For ports, there are three HDMI, one USB, one RF, one composite, a headphone jack and an optical audio output.

TCL also sells 40-inch (Buy on Amazon), 43-inch (Buy on Amazon), and 49-inch (Buy on Amazon) versions of this model if you feel like going bigger, but still want to stay on a budget. These larger sets offer 1080p HD video quality instead of 720p, so that may factor into your TV purchasing decision.

Best Value: Sony KDL40R510C

Value can sometimes be tough to define, but when it comes to TVs, we like getting a high-quality set for less than many comparable models. The Sony KDL40R510C is a good-size TV, has smart functionality and comes at a great price.

The Sony KDL40R510C is a 40-inch 1080p HD TV with LED backlighting for improved contrast and image quality. This model was engineered by Sony to reduce picture noise and render crisper images. It’s also smart in that it connects with WiFi and lets you stream HD movies and videos from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Crackle and more.

Amazon reviewers have been quite happy with this model, awarding it an average 4.2 out of 5 stars. Most customers have praised the picture quality and overall value of this set. The only downside is that some apps are not available on this set, including Hulu. So be sure to read over which apps it offers because that might be a deal breaker for some.

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

Best Connectivity/Smart Functionality: Sony KDL48W650D 48-Inch 1080p Smart TV

Not all smart TVs are created equal. Each brand uses different software to make its TVs “smart” and sometimes that means a TV will offer a buggy mess of options that doesn’t work well. Not the Sony KDL48W650D.

The Sony KDL48W650D is a 48-inch 1080p TV with direct-lit LED and a 60 Hz refresh rate, which produces some fantastic looking images. On the back, you’ll find two HDMI ports and two USB ports. For smart features, this set connects to your home WiFi and then lets you use video streaming apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Vudu. It also has Miracast functionality, which means some of your smart devices can seamlessly mirror their display on the TV, which is cool.

Amazon reviewers have been satisfied with this model, giving it 4 out of 5 stars on average. One final note: The price might be a little higher than what some people want to pay, but this is an astoundingly good deal for a high-quality 48-inch smart TV.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best smart TVs can help you find what you're looking for.

Best Design: Samsung UN40KU6300

This entry-level 4K TV is slim, feature-rich and an amazing piece of hardware for the sub-$500 price range. The 40-inch Samsung UN40KU6300 brings ultra HD resolution for a picture that is 4x sharper than 1080p models. Samsung prides itself on its ability to create vibrant and detailed displays, and this TV is no different. PurColor technology makes color burst from the screen in life-like detail, while UHD Dimming maximizes color, contrast and sharpness. Even older media benefits from UHD Upscaling, which enhances lower resolution movies and shows with added detail.

Other design features include an intuitive UI for smart TV functionality and a remote that streamlines the whole process. The slim TV can be wall-mounted and optimizes contrast for better viewing anywhere in the room.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best Samsung TVs​ can help you find what you're looking for.

Best 4K: LG Electronics 43UH6100 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Here are Lifewire, we’re bullish on the future of 4K TVs. It’s not quite the standard yet, but in a few years, nearly every TV manufactured will have some sort of 4K capability. Unfortunately, most 4K TVs are still not “cheap” by any normal reading of that word. But by 4K standards (where TVs can cost as much as $2,000 or more), we think the LG Electronics 43UH6100 fits this category.

The LG Electronics 43UH6100 offers up a 43-inch 4K Ultra HD display with four times the resolution of traditional HD TVs and refreshes images at 120Hz. This set also has Color Prime Pro for more accurate color rendering and an antiglare, low-reflection screen. On top of the great display, it offers 4K upscaling, so you make regular HD and SD content look better and pop with more detail. In terms of being “smart,” this model has the webOS operating system, which lets you connect to WiFi and stream content from Netflix, YouTube and other video providers. 

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best 4K TVs under $1,000 can help you find what you're looking for.

Best Budget: TCL 28S305 28-Inch Roku Smart TV

If you need the absolute cheapest TV that will not fill you with regret, then you should take a glance at the TCL 28S305. We outlined our appreciation of TCL TVs in the Best Overall category earlier, and this TCL 28-inch set follows in that vein at an even lower price.

The TCL 28S305 is a 28-inch TV with 720p HD video and a 60 Hz refresh rate. Its best feature, no question, is that is has built-in streaming functionality from Roku. This means you can stream great content via more than 4,000 “channels” such as Netflix, Watch ESPN, HBO Now, Hulu and Vudu. For connectivity, this model has three HDMI ports, a USB port, a headphone jack, RF, composite and optical audio out. This means the TV is ready to go to connect to your cable box, digital antenna or standalone for streaming only. One last thing: this TV also lets you control its main functions via your smartphone, which is great if you’ve lost the remote in the couch again.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best TVs under $500 can help you find what you're looking for.

Runner-Up, Best Value: LG 32LH500B

This 32-inch LED TV from LG delivers crisp 720p visuals in a slim and lightweight frame for under $200. Weighing just eight pounds, this TV can be mounted on the wall or placed on a desk or night table. It doesn’t have smart functionality, but it is dorm-room or bedroom ready with two HDMI inputs for connecting a laptop and a 60Hz refresh rate that can handle gaming. The TV is also Energy Star Qualified, meaning it won’t waste electricity. LG’s Triple XD Engine compensates for the lower resolution, boosting color and contrast while reducing blur. The only downside of this TV for the price range is that it does not have an audio input, so you won’t be able to connect a soundbar or speakers.


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