The 8 Best Cheap TVs of 2020

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

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Samsung UN58RU7100FXZA Flat 58-Inch 4K UHD 7 Series at Amazon

"With a 60Hz refresh rate, you get silky smooth motion while watching sports and blockbuster action movies."

Best 50-Inch: Samsung 50" Q60T QLED 4K UHD Smart TV with Alexa at Amazon

"This model is built around Samsung's Quantum Processor Lite which gives you faster rendering and response speeds."

Best 4K: LG 55SM8600PUA Nano 8 Series 55" at Amazon

"The nanocell particles are thinner than a human hair and are packed together to produce over one billion different colors."

Best Budget: TCL 32S305 32" Smart TV at Amazon

"Offers 720p HD video, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and a Roku TV streaming platform."

Best for Gaming: TCL 55S517 55" 4K Ultra HD Roku TV at Amazon

"Gamers will especially appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate for almost no motion blur."

Best Smart Tech: Toshiba 43LF711U20 43" 4K HDR Fire TV at Amazon

"Control Alexa-compatible smart home devices, or use the voice assistant to help with tasks like managing your calendar."

Best Value: TCL 50S425 50" 4K Smart TV at Amazon

"Over 500,000 movies and TV episodes available through the built-in Roku interface."

Best Small TV: LG Electronics 24LH4830-PU 24-Inch Smart LED TV at Amazon

"While it's a small unit, it still delivers quality picture with 720p resolution and over 16.7million colors."

Shopping for a cheap TV doesn't mean you have to give up awesome features. Top brands like Samsung, TCL, and Vizio have plenty of budget-friendly models with smart functionality, voice controls, and even dedicated gaming modes. There are even 4K UHD televisions with low price points so you can get great resolution on the cheap.

Different media rooms, home theaters, and living rooms require different features to get the most out of your viewing experience. Whether you want native virtual surround sound audio, local dimming for better contrast, or the largest screen that will fit in your space, there's a TV that will suit your needs. We've rounded up our top picks to help you choose the right TV for your home or dorm.

Best Overall: Samsung UN58RU7100FXZA Flat 58-Inch 4K UHD 7 Series

What We Like
  • Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible

  • Integrated cable management

  • Bluetooth connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Bluetooth only supports sound bars and headsets

The Samsung UN58 is the best affordable TV on the market. With a price tag that's just over $500, it'll fit just about any budget. Even with the lower price, this TV still offers plenty of premium features. You can connect your Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices to it for hands-free voice controls while browsing and searching. The universal guide keeps all your favorite apps, shows, and movies all in one place for fast and easy access. 

The LED panel delivers great 4K UHD resolution with HDR support for enhanced contrast and color volume. With a 60Hz refresh rate, you get silky smooth motion while watching sports and blockbuster action movies so you never miss a single detail. Like all newer Samsung TVs, this model features integrated cable management to keep your home theater setup looking neat and organized. With three HDMI inputs, two USB ports, component video, and Bluetooth connectivity, setting up the ultimate home theater is quick and easy.

Best 50-Inch: Samsung 50" Q60T QLED 4K UHD Smart TV with Alexa

What We Like
  • Dual LED panel

  • Bixby/Alexa built in

  • Updated processor

What We Don't Like
  • No AMD FreeSync

The Samsung Q60T is an excellent option for an affordable, 50-inch television. It features a dual-LED panel that uses both warm and cool lighting to create more accurate colors and better saturation. With 4K UHD resolution and HDR10+ support, you get excellent contrast, deep blacks, and exceptional image sharpness. This model is built around Samsung's Quantum Processor Lite which gives you faster rendering and response speeds for optimizing contrast, color, and HDR settings for the perfect picture. It also has the Tizen smart features platform for a more streamlined experience when downloading and using apps or streaming your favorite shows, movies, and music. 

With Bixby and Alexa voice controls built in, you get hands-free commands right out of the box; it is also compatible with Google Assistant devices for expanded smart speaker controls. The multi-view feature allows you to watch shows and videos while simultaneously mirroring your phone or tablet screen. This is great for anyone who wants to check their fantasy football rankings while watching the big game or keep up to date with stock tickers while listening to the news.

Best 4K: LG 55SM8600PUA Nano 8 Series 55"

What We Like
  • Dolby Atmos

  • AirPlay 2 built in

  • Voice controls

What We Don't Like
  • No Chromecast support

Televisions with 4K UHD resolution may be the new gold-standard in home entertainment, but the LG Nano Series 8 55-inch TV takes it to the next level. This model features a direct-lit LED panel with local dimming zones for enhanced contrast and deeper blacks. The nanocell particles are thinner than a human hair and are packed together to produce over one billion different colors for better volume and saturation. 

This TV is built around LG's second generation a7 processor chip with their proprietary ThinQ AI at the core of its power. The AI intelligently recommends optimal sound and picture settings as well as new movies and shows to watch. With Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, you get hands-free control over your TV and can integrate it into your smart home network. The 20 watt speakers use Dolby Atmos technology to produce virtual 5.1 channel surround sound for a more immersive and cinematic listening experience. AirPlay 2 connectivity is built into this TV so you can share your macOS and iOS device screens for more viewing options.

Best Budget: TCL 32S305 32" Smart TV

TCL 32S305 32-Inch Smart TV
Courtesy of Amazon.com
5
What We Like
  • 60Hz refresh rate

  • Roku TV built in

  • Larger sizes available

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of vertical banding on screens

  • Reports of firmware issues

  • Reports of WiFi connectivity issues

Chinese electronics company TCL is one of 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, Vudu, 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, 43-inch, and 49-inch 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 for Gaming: TCL 55S517 55" 4K Ultra HD Roku TV

What We Like
  • Minimalist desing

  • Intuitive interface for streaming apps

  • 120Hz refresh rate

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of bad screens

  • Reports of units failing within first three months of use

  • Reports of backlight bloom

Gamers looking to stay on a budget with a television need to take a hard look at the TCL 55S517 55-inch 4K Roku TV. Not to be overlooked, the TCL is an ideal entry TV for 4K gaming while leaving enough money for actual games. Dolby Vision HDR gives you great 4K picture quality for the price. Colors are accurate and lifelike with deep blacks. Gamers will especially appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate for almost no motion blur, a critical requirement for a good gaming television.

The minimalist look of the hardware is welcoming. TCL creates a thin look that’s a stark contrast from other budget-priced options that often have larger, distracting bezels. That makes it even more attractive as the focal point of an entertainment or gaming center.

As with all TCL televisions today, there are thousands of streaming channels. The intuitive interface makes it easy to find anything on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other popular channels.

Best Smart Tech: Toshiba 43LF711U20 43" 4K HDR Fire TV

What We Like
  • Built-in Fire TV

  • Amazon Alexa compatible

  • Sleek design

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of bad screens

  • Reports of WiFi connectivity issues

  • Reports of DOA units

Amazon has fully immersed itself in the entertainment game with the Toshiba 4K HDR Fire TV, delivering high-quality visuals and access to a wide range of content at an accessible price. Over eight million pixels make contrasts more dramatic and enrich clarity for vivid, lifelike images. Stream instantly from services like Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, and Netflix, or connect an HD antenna to the device to watch shows live over-the-air.

The accompanying remote is minimalist and sleek, with a few buttons to control the basics, including app-specific buttons for its main streaming services, along with Alexa voice control capabilities, making the search for apps and shows even easier. You can also control Alexa-compatible smart home devices, or use the voice assistant to help with tasks like managing your calendar. Given its budget pricing, the TV has a fair number of ports, including three HDMI ports, one USB port, and a LAN connection. 

Best Value: TCL 50S425 50" 4K Smart TV

4.5
What We Like
  • Built-in Roku

  • Connect game controllers

  • HDR compatible

What We Don't Like
  • May not be compatible with all wall mounting kits

  • Reports of bad screens

  • Reports of WiFi connectivity issues

Sleek and unobtrusive, the TCL 50S425 TV gives you a lot of great features at an affordable price. With over 500,000 movies and TV episodes available through the built-in Roku interface, fans of all genres will find something they like. Pictures are vivid and dynamic thanks to 4K Ultra HD and HDR, along with direct-lit LED. Though it comes with an intuitive remote, you can also download the companion app onto your phone or tablet and use that to voice control your TV, or plug in headphones and listen to whatever's on TV without bothering others in the room. Game controllers can also be connected, and the image quality is decent for gamers, especially at this price point. The TCL 50S425 also benefits from Roku continuously adding new features. It's available in 43-inch and 65-inch models as well. 

Our product tester was quick to note that this was easy to set-up and the quality is top-notch for the price point.

Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

The colors pop in a vivid but not artificial way and yield realistic, even pristine, image quality.

Best Small TV: LG Electronics 24LH4830-PU 24-Inch Smart LED TV

TCL 28S305 28-Inch Roku Smart TV
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Miracast and WiDi compatible

  • Low latency

  • One year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • May not support all streaming apps

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

  • No USB ports

The LG 24LH4830-PU is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a TV to have in their dorm, bedroom, or who has a smaller apartment. This TV measures just 24 inches diagonally, making it great for rooms where placement may be limited or space is at a premium. While it's a small unit, it still delivers a quality picture with 720p resolution and over 16.7 million colors. 

With the built-in WiFi receiver, you can download your favorite streaming apps and even stream directly from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop with Miracast and WiDi connectivity. If you're looking for a dedicated TV for a gaming space, this model has a super low input latency of 14ms. This means that you'll spend less time fighting lag and more time enjoying your games. LG backs this TV with a one year warranty that covers manufacturing defects and DOA units.

About Our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.

Yoona Wagener has been with Lifewire since April 2019. With a background in content and technical writing, she has written for BigTime Software and Idealist Careers. She also has experience in tech support and help documentation as well as website building.

What to look for in a cheap TV

Picture quality - 4K is a buzzword when it comes to TVs, but how much does it really matter? If you’re buying a TV smaller than 55 inches — or if you know you’ll be sitting a good distance from the set — you probably don’t need to splurge on 4K unless you’re incredibly particular about sharpness.

Inputs - Many people use a receiver with their TV rather than hooking up their components to the set itself. But if you’re only going to use your TV’s internal speakers — or a wireless sound system like Sonos — you need to make sure that the television has enough HDMI and audio inputs for all your components. On the other hand, if you do use a receiver, ensure that the set has the outputs you need.

Streaming - Do you use an external streaming box like an Apple TV, a Roku, or an Amazon Fire Stick? If so, the streaming features and capabilities of the TV you purchase may not matter. But if you’ll be relying on the TV itself for all your streaming, looks into its ease of navigation, as well as whether it has your favorite apps built in.

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 35 hours testing one of our readers' favorite cheap TVs. To get the most comprehensive results possible, they set it up at home and watched movies and TV shows for hours on end. We asked them to consider the most important features when using this TV, from its picture quality to its streaming features and capabilities. We've outlined the can’t-miss points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.