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Best Overall: TCL 50S425 50" 4K Roku TV at Amazon
"With a crisp and clear picture thanks to 4K Ultra HD, HDR, and direct-lit LED, you can watch movies and TV in brilliant quality."
Best Value: Insignia NS-43DF710NA at Amazon
"Available in 43-, 50-, and 55-inch flavors, the Insignia Fire is a TV that fits your home, your life, and your budget."
Best Smart TV: Samsung UN55RU7100FXZA 55-Inch 4K UHD at Amazon
"This model is built around a UHD processor to deliver superior native 4K resolution and better upscaling."
Best Small Screen: Toshiba 43LF711U20 43" Fire TV at Amazon
"Fitting both your space and your budget, it has all the features you'd want or need with the impressive Amazon Fire platform."
Best Budget: TCL 32S325 32-Inch Roku TV at Amazon
"Like the other TCL models on our list, this one is built around the Roku streaming platform."
Best Alternative Brand: Hisense 50R7E 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV at Amazon
"The Hisense 50R7E proves a new name can deliver the same, if not, better quality of leading brands."
Best Built-In Features: LG 55UM7300PUA Smart TV with Built-In Alexa at Amazon
"With Alexa, you can do everything with your voice—control your media, access apps, make lists, set alerts, and browse the web."
Best for Gaming: TCL 55-Inch Class 5-Series 4K UHD Dolby Vision HDR Roku Smart TV at Amazon
"If you need a TV that can keep up with the latest games while providing the best picture, the TCL has everything you need."
Working with a limited budget doesn't mean you can't have a top quality television. Top brands like Samsung and LG have great options for budget-friendly televisions; newcomers like Insignia and TCL also have excellent choices for the more budget-conscious shoppers.
Each model has something different to offer; from smart functionality to voice controls, different screen sizes, 4K UHD resolution, and even a TV that's perfect for serious console gamers. So whether you're looking to buy your first TV for your home or apartment or just need a secondary TV for your bedroom or a playroom for the kids, we've gathered our top picks to help you choose the right model for your needs.
Courtesy of Amazon
Roku built in
No native voice controls
When it comes to finding the right TV, there’s a lot to take into consideration, like quality, size, and the most important detail, price. Thankfully, the TCL 4K Roku TV checks every box.
With a crisp and clear picture thanks to 4K Ultra HD, high dynamic range (HDR), and direct-lit LED, you can watch movies and TV in brilliant quality. Plus, the built-in Roku provides access to over 500,000 movies and shows. And with multiple inputs, you can plug in your devices, thumb drives, headphones, and more to watch the way you want.
The possibilities are endless with the TCL; you can download the mobile Roku app and control the set from your phone, any new apps you add from Roku upload quickly, and it even comes with an easy-to-use remote.
Available in various sizes, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit at a price that won’t hurt your wallet.
The colors pop in a vivid but not artificial way and yield realistic, even pristine, image quality. - Yoona Wagener
Amazon Alexa/Echo compatible
Fire TV operating system
No Bluetooth connectivity
Staying in budget is crucial when it comes to buying electronics, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality to save a buck. With the Insignia Fire TV, you can get everything you want for a price you won’t regret. Delivering sharp, true-to-life picture quality with 4K Ultra HD, this is the first Fire device to support HDR, offering brighter colors and deep contrast.
The Fire TV gives you access to hundreds of streaming apps and thousands of movies and shows, and you can control your TV with ease by connecting your Alexa or Echo; use your voice to change the channel, switch apps, or play games. And with three HDMI ports, you can connect other devices like your game consoles, speakers, and so much more to enhance your experience.
Available in 43-, 50-, and 55-inch flavors, the Insignia Fire is a TV that fits your home, your life, and your budget.
The Insignia NS-43DF710NA19 is a 4K UHD television with HDR support, and the picture quality is a massive improvement over lower resolution (1080p, 720p) televisions, especially if you have hardware or media that’s capable of taking advantage of the increased resolution. Game consoles like the 4K-capable Xbox One X and PS4 Pro look great, as do UHD Blu-rays. - Jeremy Laukkonen
Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible
Smart TVs have become an essential part of home entertainment, and this model has the most to offer for family movie night or binge watch parties with friends. This TV uses Samsung's Universal Guide to put all your favorite streaming apps in one convenient location for easier browsing. It even suggests new things for you to watch based on your browsing history so you can keep up to date with the latest shows and movies.
This model is built around a UHD processor to deliver superior native 4K resolution and better upscaling of standard and full HD media without sacrificing picture quality. With the built-in Bluetooth connectivity, you can hook up soundbars for a home theater or headphones for private listening without disturbing others. You can also connect your Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices for hands-free voice controls.
No built-in TV tuner
If you’re looking for a smaller screen to fit a more narrow space, or perhaps to put in the kid’s playroom, Toshiba has one of the best offers out there. Fitting both your space and your budget, it has all the features you'd want or need with the impressive Amazon Fire platform.
Access the latest streaming apps and programs right on your TV so you can watch all the hit shows and movies available. You can also access it using Alexa thanks to the built-in AI program. Plus, there’s a decent number of ports that will allow you to easily connect all your devices.
Just because you’ve got a smaller screen doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the brilliant picture quality your favorite shows were meant to be seen in.
1080p full HD
Not 4K UHD
If you're working with a tight budget when shopping for a new TV, check out the TCL 32S325 32-inch model. This TV has a price point under $150, so even the most money-conscious shoppers can fit it into their budget. Like the other TCL models on our list, this one is built around the Roku streaming platform for easy access to your favorites apps for movies, shows, and music. The direct-lit LED panel gives you great 1080p full HD resolution and contrast for tons of detail and color saturation.
You can connect your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices for expanded, hands-free voice controls. This TV has three HDMI inputs, a USB port, RF, and composite video connections that will allow you to connect all of your media devices, game consoles, and sound equipment quickly and easily. It also has a headphone jack for private listening so you don't disturb others.
Built-in dual-band WiFi
Getting a great quality TV with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean sticking with the sometimes over-priced mainstream brands. The Hisense 50R7E proves a new name can bring about the same, if not better quality at a reasonable price.
With a brilliant 4K Ultra HD picture, you can enjoy your movies and shows in the best definition out there—over eight million pixels fill the screen to provide a crisp, clear picture in the high quality they deserve.
Plus, with the built-in Roku, you’ve got access to thousands of TV shows and hit movies, all accessible with the included remote or on your phone when you download the Roku app.
You’ll have no trouble streaming with the dual-band wireless network, which will make the most of modern routers and give you lightning-fast connection speeds without the mess of cables.
WiFi connectivity issues
Features are a big draw when it comes to buying a brand new TV, but so many come with unnecessary add-ins that the process of finding what you want can be frustrating. Thankfully, the LG 55UM7300PUA Smart TV has all that you’ll need.
While Smart TVs are widely available, not all of them come with the added bonus of a built-in assistant, but this particular LG TV does. Including Amazon’s Alexa, you can do everything with your voice—control your media, access apps, make lists, set alerts, and browse the web. Don’t have Alexa? The ThinQ AI can work with Google Assistant too.
Including the Smart TV guide, a brilliant picture with 4K resolution, and easy setup, the LG Smart TV is exactly what you need to add the best possible viewing experience to your home.
Dolby Vision HDR
Four HDMI inputs
Automatic Game Mode
No Bluetooth Connectivity
Getting the perfect TV for gaming all comes down to two important features: picture quality and connectivity. Every gamer knows getting the sharpest and clearest picture is crucial to keeping up with the latest games and consoles, but if you don’t have the appropriate ports, then you can't even get started.
With this TCL TV, you're getting everything you need. With brilliant 4K UHD paired with Dolby Vision high dynamic range, you’ll play today’s hit games in the highest picture quality available. Plus, four HDMI inputs allow you to hook up your consoles with ease, alongside one USB and one headphone jack.
If you need a TV that can keep up with the latest games while providing the best picture, the TCL delivers everything you need without breaking your budget.
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.
Jeremy Laukkonen is a former automotive mechanic turned tech writer. Working on cars taught him to break down complex technical ideas into understandable sections. This knowledge and skill set allows him to provide the best reviews for customers at all levels of tech savviness.
Yoona Wagener has a background in content and technical writing along with experience in providing tech support and help documentation. These skills let her provide detailed reviews for consumers who may or may not be familiar with the latest home entertainment technologies.
What to look for in a TV under $500
Ultra high-definition - We’ve surpassed the world of standard high-definition movies and videos. Newer 4K Ultra-HD televisions are now on the market at more affordable prices and offer four times the resolution of a TV with a traditional 1080p screen. If your budget can make it happen, seek out a 4k television for the best viewing experience.
Smart features - Who still has a cable subscription? If you don’t, then be sure to find a television that offers built-in smart services for connecting to services such as Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Now. Alternatively, you can purchase a separate streaming box such as Apple TV or Roku.
Screen quality - A beautiful image goes beyond the resolution of your television. Try to avoid anything that doesn’t offer an LED (light-emitting diode) or OLED (organic LED) screen, as anything else may result in a more washed out image. Additionally, if you can find a good deal, televisions with HDR (high dynamic range) can provide a more vibrant color experience.