The 9 Best TVs to Buy in 2018 For Under $500

It's easy to buy a new TV without breaking the bank

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For many, buying a new TV means saving up and choosing wisely. And shopping for a new TV can be an overwhelming experience with all the new technologies, extra features and available add-ons to consider. You’ll need to look at screen size, screen resolution, refresh rate, available connectors and screen types (LCD, LED LCD and OLED). To help, we have put together the top nine TVs under $500, and all are packed full of great features, so continue reading to see which is best for you.

Best Overall: TCL 55S405 55-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV

As one of the rising stars in television manufacturing, TCL continues to raise its profile with the 55S405 55-inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV. The combination of 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) results in excellent picture quality that offers lifelike clarity and color. Past picture quality, the real highlight of TCL’s television line is its integration with Roku’s streaming services. The Roku interface offers a natural way to navigate over 4,000 streaming channels, cable TV, gaming consoles and any other devices that might be connected via HDMI. Searching for your favorite title, actor or director can be done easily from the downloadable Roku app (there's even voice search, which allows for an even faster way to find your next binge-worthy show). The included remote offers another integrated method for navigating the Roku interface, and with just 20 buttons in total, menu routing continues to be a breeze.

Check out our guide to the best 4K Ultra HD TVs you can buy today.

Best Budget: Toshiba 49” Class

This Best Buy-exclusive is an excellent value if you are looking for a big screen Full HD TV at an entry-level price. The Toshiba sports 1080p resolution, bringing HD gaming, Blu-ray movies and television to life with bright, crisp images. The 48.5” screen is perfect to fill up a large living room or medium sized-theater space, giving you the opportunity to have a theatrical experience without spending too much. It also includes two 10W speakers with DTS TruSurround audio enhancement, bringing exhilarating audio to your house. Part of reason the TV is such a value is because it lacks smart functionality, but with three HDMI inputs it is easy to attach an Amazon Fire stick or Roku for streaming functionality. With over 150 reviews, the TV hits a 97% recommend rate, with most reviewers pointing towards their satisfaction of value for price.

Best Picture: Sharp 2160p Smart 4K Ultra HD TV

Prepare yourself to experience sports, video games, and action movies in full 4K glory without any lag or blur with the Sharp 4K UHD TV. This TV has a 60” screen with 2160p streaming in bright plasma-like LED picture. This excellent quality is combined with a 120 motion rate, which is critical for fast-paced entertainment like hockey or FPS shooters. The TV packages this great viewing experience with advanced DBX sound, including two 15W speakers that work just fine in place of a soundbar. The TV  also comes smart-enabled with built-in WiFi and access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. You can also connect your theater equipment through the two HDMI 2.0 ports which deliver high speed HDMI for 4K picture and digital surround sound, which provide a critical leg up over previous versions of HDMI. This is the best picture and frame rate you will get at this price range, so if you are looking for quality at a budget price, this is the TV for you.

Best Smart TV: Element 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED Fire TV

A relatively new entry into the television market, Element’s 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED Fire TV edition is quickly becoming a crowd pleaser. With true-to-life 4K picture quality, there are over eight million pixels allowing for terrific colors, contrast and clarity. Fortunately, the outstanding picture quality only glosses over the surface of what this TV is capable of and that’s where Amazon’s Fire TV comes into play.

With the Fire TV experience built directly into the Element televisions, buyers will get over 15,000 channels right out of the box, Alexa Skills and over 140 channels and apps, including Prime Video, HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu and more. An included voice remote app with Alexa combines with an easy-to-use and navigation-friendly interface. The remote also allows for live TV playback, app launching, music, controlling smart home devices, input switching and more. Setup is just as simple as the remote and interface. Plug it in, connect to Wi-Fi and enjoy the shows even as automatic software updates download in the background for an uninterrupted experience.

Take a peek at some of the other best smart TVs you can buy.

Best Gaming: TCL 43S305 43-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV

Gaming equipment can be expensive, but the 43-inch TCL 49S305 is proof that it doesn’t have to be. At 1080p, the picture quality won’t knock your socks off compared to more expensive options. Still, it’s pretty decent for the price. The refresh rate is 60Hz, which is perfectly suitable for gaming given that console video games are capped at 60fps anyway. Colors appear slightly undersaturated, though you’ll get good shadow detail.

With the stand, the Smart LED TV measures 38.3 x 24.4 x 7.5 inches and weighs 16.8 pounds. On a previous version, its connectivity ports awkwardly faced down on the back of the TV, but this model fixes that, so its three HDMI ports, 3.5mm headphone jack, cable/antenna connector, USB port and optical audio output take less maneuvering to reach. To save precious time, you can personalize the home screen to gain easy access to your favorite channels, streaming services, and of course, gaming consoles.

Best Connectivity: Samsung 40-Inch UN40MU6300

Samsung televisions continue to be a model for the competition to follow and the 40-inch UN40MU6300 is no exception with its 4K Ultra HD LED display. With Samsung’s UHD color management in tow and four times the pixels of regular TVs with a 4K display, colors are vibrant and clear with the result being a lifelike experience that’s sure to please a buyer. Beyond its picture quality, the Samsung shines with its connectivity options, including the OneRemote, which is a single access point for all your connected devices that requires absolutely zero manual programming. A simplified remote with less than 10 buttons on the front whittles down the options to just the necessities.

Samsung’s Smart Hub brings all your favorite TV shows, sports, movies and music to your fingertips with the press of a button along with downloadable apps through Samsung’s App Store. Samsung smartphone owners will also find the televisions SmartView mirroring service quite handy because they can mirror the content from their smartphone directly onto the television.

Best Wireless Connectivity: Insignia 55” 4k Smart TV

Expect fast wireless connection at an affordable price with this 55” Insignia TV. With built-in high speed Wi-Fi and an ethernet connection, you can expect to stream 4K content without a hitch for your viewing pleasure. The smart 4K TV also comes with the award-winning built-in Roku smart platform, which is prized for its easy-to-use interface and instant access to services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and over 4000 other streaming channels.

The TV also comes with great connectivity options, including 3 HDMI inputs that deliver 2160p 4K picture for video game counsels and other media. An LED screen presents crystal clear picture with deep contrast and popping color regardless of lighting conditions, while a 178 degree viewing angle makes the TV visible from anywhere in the house. Enjoy immersive virtual sound with two 10W main channel speakers that deliver a surround type experience. Finally, the TV comes with 1 USB input for hooking up cameras and a V-chip for monitoring access to content. 

Best Small Screen: Sceptre E246BD-SMQK 24”

“Bigger is better” is the rule of thumb for TV screens, but sometimes you need to go small. For example, you might need a small TV in your RV to keep the kids occupied on long drives, or maybe you just moved into a small dorm room, or maybe you just want a small screen in the kitchen to have the game on when you’re cooking. For all of these scenarios, this 24” TV from Sceptre is a great buy.

It is just over $100 and has a sharp LED-backlit screen that displays in radiant 720p resolution at 16:9 ratio. Setup is simple and can be done anywhere with an HDMI input to stream high-definition sound and images. You can play media via a USB port or through the built-in DVD player. The brushed-metal finish makes this TV look nicer than the price tag suggests, but the speakers are on the quiet side. 

Best Big Screen: HiSense 50H6C 50”

New 50-inch TVs are few and far between at the sub $500 price range, but this model from Hisense fits the bill and includes gorgeous 4K resolution to boot. The Hisense 50H6C can confidently fill up a living room or office with its 2160p resolution that displays picture in gorgeous 4K Ultra-HD display. It even upscales current HD to UHD for the best picture available in all media.

It is wall-mountable and looks great in all light conditions. The included speakers even offer rich sound, although it pairs great with a soundbar or home theater system to make your living room come alive. Hisense includes wireless connectivity for streaming via WiFi, as well as smart functionality. While the UI is not quite up to par with the big-name competitors, it feels great to access popular streaming content from the TV menu at such a small cost.

Read more reviews of the best HiSense TVs available to purchase online.