The best 50-inch TVs give you a full featured smart TV and 4K resolution, but just a smidge smaller than the more popular 55-inch models out there. Which means that when you want a 4K smart TV, but find that a 55-incher might be too big or a little too expensive, you can get the right size without compromising on quality or features. From smart home compatibility and streaming services to high-dynamic range (HDR) and 4K resolution, you can get big quality in a 50-inch TV.
Our guide, What size TV should you buy? shows that a 50-inch TV is best for viewing when you’re sitting about four feet from the unit. That makes them a great match for a bedroom or small apartment.
Going with a 50-inch TV means you may miss out on some higher-end features, which are generally found in 55-inch and bigger TVs. But you will be able to save a few dollars versus the bigger sets that you’ll find.
What are the best 50-inch TVs?
We don’t usually test 50-inch TVs specifically, but more often focus on the 55- and 65-inch versions that have the same features and performance. When a manufacturer makes a great 55- or 65-inch TV, we expect the smaller model will be just as good, so we've based our picks for 50-inch TVs on our experience with the larger versions.
Our top 50-inch TV pick is the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV, which features an impressive set of features and performance to match. With its crisp and vivid Neo QLED screen that combines quantum dot color with mini-LED backlighting, there’s no other 50-inch TV that comes close. And the premium smart functions and gaming features are some of the best in the business. But you’ll pay for the privilege of the experience, with this set costing twice as much as many other 50-inch TVs.
If you’re on a stricter budget, check out the TCL 5-Series Roku TV (50S535). It offers QLED quality for less, and pairs it with the reliable Roku TV interface for a wealth of apps and content options. Gamers will love it, too, thanks to it's speed 13.1-millisecond lag time and HDMI 2.1 support to handle the latest game consoles.
The best 50-inch TVs in 2021
The Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV combines Samsung's highly refined quantum dot technology with the tight control of mini-LED backlighting, resulting in one of the best TV displays you'll ever see. Brilliant color and unmatched brightness make for superb performance, and Samsung pairs that with a bounty of smart TV functions and genuinely intelligent features, like a solar-powered remote control that eliminates the need to swap out batteries – delivering eco-friendly design and unbeaten convenience at the same time.
The whole thing is packed into a gorgeous 1-inch-thick design that contains a huge array of smart features, potent Dolby Atmos sound and some of the best performance we've ever seen. HDMI 2.1 connectivity comes standard, along with gamer-friendly features and impressive 12.6-millisecond lag time for an unparalleled gaming experience. It's the best 50-inch TV we've seen this year, and the winner of the 2021 Tom's Guide Award for Best TV, and a second award as the best gaming TV of the year.
Read our full Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review.
The TCL 5 Series Roku TV does what TCL does best, delivering a surprisingly great mix of features and performance at an excellent affordable price. With the 50-inch model selling for less than $500, you get the superb color and brightness of QLED, as well as Roku's user-friendly smart TV interface, which puts thousands of apps right at your fingertips.
In addition to the excellent color accuracy and full color gamut offered by the QLED display, it offers top-of-the-line HDR support, with Dolby Vision in addition to basic HDR10 and HLG formats. With input lag clocking in at 13.1 milliseconds, it's also one of the best affordable gaming TVs you can buy. And it's roughly half the price of Samsung's equivalent QLED TV, making it one of the best values in smart TVs.
Read our full TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535) review.
The Hisense H8G Quantum Series is neck-and-neck with Vizio’s M-Series Quantum when it comes to the best value in a 50-inch TV. Like the M-Series, the H8G employs quantum dot technology to boost color performance. This slick-looking set benefits from a full-array local dimming backlight, which helps it contrast.
The H8G is bright and sharp overall, and it’s low lag time could make it a better affordable choice for gamers than the M-Series. We did see some issues with blurring during fast motion scenes, likely a result of the 60Hz refresh rate. While it’s color reproduction wasn’t as good as the M-Series, it was still respectable. Its implementation of Android TV is one of the best we’ve used and almost any app you could want is available. You can also send content from your mobile device to the TV via Chromecast. Whether you pick the Vizio M-Series or the Hisense H8G, you’ll get a lot for your money.
Read our full Hisense H8G Quantum Series review.
The Toshiba C350 Fire TV is the 2021 addition to the small family of Amazon-powered smart TVs, offering good features and decent performance for its extremely affordable price. It's a decent example of the Fire TV template, combining good-enough 4K picture quality, impressively short lag times, and Amazon's great Fire TV smart features, like built-in Alexa voice control, a pretty big app store and (of course) an interface that puts Amazon's Prime Video service front and center. With the 50-inch model selling for under $400 (and likely much less during sales events), it's one of the smartest affordable TVs you can get.
The C350 doesn’t come with the latest bells and whistles, such as HDMI 2.1 or Dolby Atmos support, but it does Dolby Vision and HDR10 — though not very well. But with excellent color accuracy, low lag time and a good looking design, it's still a solid TV for the price, and better than many Fire TV models we've seen in the past.
Read our full Toshiba C350 Fire TV review.
The TCL 4 Series Roku TV 50S435 is one of the best TV values you'll find in any size. It has good color accuracy and supports HDR10 — but not Dolby Vision — for improved contrast. It uses Roku’s system software, which provides one of the best smart TV experiences available and has plenty of apps to choose from. With a low lag time of 14 milliseconds, this set also will handle fast-paced gaming well. The best part? This 4K TV often sells for less than you’ll find bargain 1080p TVs.
In exchange for the great price, the TCL 4 Series is missing a few features that more expensive TVs deliver. It lacks local dimming, so the HDR performance isn’t as good as it could be. It also has weak speakers, with little bass and limited power. If this is going to be your main TV, consider adding a soundbar to overcome the sound issues.
Read our full TCL 4-Series Roku TV (S435) review.
If low prices are what you're after, then the Vizio V-Series V505-H19 might be just the budget-friendly 4K smart TV you're looking for. With exceptional affordability, decent smarts from Vizio's SmartCast software and great gaming capabilities, it's a fantastic bargain, even when it's not on sale – and it frequently is, with steep discounts occurring throughout the year.
A trio of HDMI 2.1 ports deliver gaming-friendly features like auto low latency mode and impressively short lag times of just 13.1 milliseconds. If you want great gaming performance for less, this is definitely the budget gaming TV to get. But keep in mind that this is a 60Hz display, so variable refresh rates and high refresh rates are off the table. And general performance is decent enough, but the brightness isn't great and the audio would benefit from adding a soundbar.
Read our full Vizio V-Series (2020 model) review.
How to choose the best 50-inch TVs for you
When looking for a 50-inch TV, follow our TV Buying Guide tips. If you put some thought into what you need from a TV, you’ll be able to enjoy your purchase for years to come.
Size: First, decide if you’re locked into a 50-inch model. If your space will allow for a larger unit, we recommend you go bigger — even if you think you’ll be happy with a smaller screen, a bigger one helps make the experience of watching more engaging. And moving up to a 55-inch TV will bring more options and features.
Price: Expect to pay around $300 for most 50-inch TVs, although those with better features or an established brand name can cost $500 or more.
Features: Consider which ports you need and how many. The number of HDMI ports you need depends on how many devices you plan to plug in — a streaming stick, game console or cable box, for example. Most of these TVs have four HDMI inputs, but some have three. If you plan to use a sound bar, you may need an optical digital audio or a 3.5 mm auxiliary output. You may also want a TV that supports Bluetooth so you can listen on your headphones without disturbing people around you.
If you've narrowed down your TV shopping by brand, price range or screen size, check out our picks for the best TVs in each.
And don't forget to watch out for the latest TV reviews.
How we test 50-inch TVs
Testing the best 50-inch TVs is a thorough process. We put every TV through our custom set of lab tests, measuring color gamut, color accuracy and brightness to objectively see which sets are the best for these key indicators. We also test for lag time, measuring to the millisecond how long it takes for content to travel from the original video source to the screen. We use these results to make numbers-based comparisons about color and display quality.
We spend hours with each set to see how our lab results translate into anecdotal performance. We also compare competing sets using a range of content across several sources. With that information, we can tell you which TVs look best, sound best and offer the best viewing experience.
Of course, we also consider the smart TV functions and apps for each TV, looking at everything from the remote control design to the voice interaction.