The best 50-inch TVs offer many of the features and much of the picture quality of the more popular 55- and 65-inch variants, just in a smaller frame. While there aren't as many 50-inch TVs as there are larger-sized models, Samsung, Sony, TCL and Hisense have stuck with 50-inch TVs with more coming soon.
So which one is right for you? Every model in this list has been through Tom's Guide TV testing process, which sees a set evaluated for color accuracy and reproduction, brightness and lag time. And of course we also spend plenty of hands-on time with it, so that we can give you our real-world impressions.
Our top 50-inch TV isn't technically a 50-inch TV, but at 48 inches, the LG C2 OLED is the best match. With an OLED panel it has the best contrast of any TV on the list, and although it's not as bright as a QLED, it's every bit as colorful. If you want something even newer, the LG C3 OLED also comes in a 48-inch screen size, however we feel that the LG C2 OLED has nearly the same performance and comes in at a lower price.
Looking for a budget option? Go with the TCL 5-Series Google TV (50S546). It offers a QLED screen and pairs it with the latest Google TV interface for a wealth of apps and content options. Gamers will love it, too, thanks to its speed 13.1-millisecond lag time and HDMI 2.1 support to handle the latest game consoles.
My name's Nick and I look after our guides to the best TVs, best OLED TVs and best 4K TVs. Most of my day is spent watching and evaluating new screens from LG, Samsung, Sony, Hisense, TCL and Vizio. I have 10 years of experience in AV, and before I joined Tom's Guide I was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar. I love helping people find the perfect TV, so please feel free to reach out over email or tag me on Twitter and I can help you out.
The quick list
Here's a quick overview of the best 50-inch TVs you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. And keep up on scrolling if you want to see our in-depth analysis of all the top TVs for every budget.
Best overall TV
The best 50-inch TV
The LG C2 OLED TV is this year’s best LG display. Not only is it the best OLED TV thanks to an impressive display panel, but its premium design, great gaming features and smart TV platform hit all the high marks, too.
Best QLED TV
The best QLED TV
Bigger TVs aren’t always better. The Samsung QN90B Neo QLED TV is one of the best examples we’ve seen of a set that nukes those expectations from orbit just to be sure. It’s not that it’s good for a small TV, it’s good for a TV, period.
Best OLED TV
The best OLED TV
The Sony A90K OLED incorporates all of Sony’s industry-leading picture technologies resulting in a set that does just as well in technical benchmark tests as it does in everyday movie and television viewing.
Best value TV
The best value TV
The TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546) wowed us with its solid performance and great value for your dollar. The move to Google TV gives the affordable 4K smart TV a more premium smart TV platform.
Best Cheap TV
The best cheap TV
For a TV that costs less than $400, the Hisense U6H has a surprising amount of power and picture potential. It delivers good brightness in our testing, low input lag for gaming and the intuitive Google TV interface.
Best entry-level TV
Best entry-level TV
Sony’s entry-level line of TVs might not have the looks of an OLED TV, but the Sony Bravia X80K punches well above its price. With fine picture quality and backed by Sony’s technological innovations, it's better than you might expect.
The full list: Best TVs in detail
If you don't mind something a bit smaller than 50 inches, the 48-inch LG C2 OLED TV is this year’s set to beat. Not only is it the best OLED TV thanks to an impressive display panel, but a premium design, maximum versatility and great smart TV platform hit all the high marks, too.
What’s more, this C series lineup is LG’s largest in terms of size options — the configurations span from 42- to 83-inches, all of which sport full arrays of HDMI 2.1 ports. Most also feature LG’s evo OLED panel, which was first introduced on the LG G1 OLED TV and now looks to upgrade the C2’s performance.
We can’t say our test results for this LG C2 OLED TV review showed significant improvement, but to be fair, there wasn’t much room to improve. Instead, what makes this one of the best TVs of the year is that it offers fantastic picture quality for the price — exactly what you’d expect from LG’s best-selling OLED TV series.
Read our full LG C2 OLED review.
The best QLED TV
The Samsung QN90B 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 TV we saw in 2021, and won the 2021 Tom's Guide Award for Best TV, and a second award as the best gaming TV of the year. Until we see 2022 TVs, this is the best TV you can buy.
Read our full Samsung QN90B Neo QLED TV review.
The best OLED TV
The Sony Bravia XR A90K, only available in either a 42-inch or 48-inch screen size, is a little TV that thinks big. You can’t get it in enormous sizes, but you don’t have to — it’s equipped with an OLED screen and incorporates all of Sony’s industry-leading picture technologies to result in a set that does just as well in technical benchmark tests as it does in everyday movie and television viewing.
The A90K’s remote is also the upgraded version we previously saw with the A95K, upping the set’s swank factor still further. Instead of matte-black plastic, it has a shimmering gunmetal sheen; the buttons are all backlighted; and finding the remote when it’s lost is as easy as activating the TV’s far-field microphone, saying “Hey Google! Find my remote!”, and then following the beeping sound the lost unit produces.
Want terrific picture quality, but you don’t have room for a full-size TV? The A90K will (literally and figuratively) brighten up any room, and is a major offering that should not be dismissed merely because of its minor size.
Read our full Sony Bravia XR A90K review.
The best value TV
Yes, the Samsung QN90A is the top 50-inch TV on our list, but if you don't have close to a grand to spend on a new TV, the TCL 5-Series Google TV delivers exceptional performance for its modest price point. With the 50-inch model selling for less than $500, you get the superb color and brightness of QLED, as well as the Google TV smart TV interface, which offers amazing content recommendations.
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 around 10 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 Google TV (S546) review.
The cheap TV
The Hisense U6H is the entry-level offering in Hisense’s ULED series of TVs, utilizing local dimming on its backlit LCD to boost brightness and quantum dots to kick up the color. Hisense’s gamble is that the combination of these features, plus its suite of ULED picture-enhancement technologies, will allow this set to deliver more than you’d expect to see for less than you’d expect to pay — and it’s one that generally pays off.
The U6H may not get quite as bright as its splashier siblings, the U7H and the Hisense U8H, but for its class, it fares pretty well. Its SDR brightness as measured in Filmmaker Mode (the mode that most closely matches out-of-the-box calibration) lands at 537 nits — decent but not spectacular, but enough to win against competitors such as the Amazon Fire TV Omni, the Samsung Q60B, the TCL Series-6 Roku TV, and the Vizio M-Series Quantum.
Are you likely to be thoroughly wowed by what the Hisense U6H can do? Probably not. But a TV that combines this level of quality with this level of affordability doesn’t come around every day. So, the U6H is well worth your time and attention.
Read our full Hisense U6H review.
Best entry-level TV
Sony’s entry-level line of TVs might not seem to offer a lot to the discriminating shopper, but the Sony Bravia X80K punches above its price. With fine picture quality and backed by Sony’s cagey technological innovations and sharply honed attention to fit and finish, the X80K is, in most ways, better than you might expect.
That’s not to say it’s ideal for everyone. It wouldn’t be the best set to use as the centerpiece of an entertainment center in a larger-than-average living room, for example. But if you want something that’s highly affordable and looks as though it’s in a loftier price tier, the X80K is one smart TV that’s a smart way to go.
For a simple TV at an affordable price, the Sony X80K is an attractive and effective compromise candidate. Just keep the volume down.
Read our full Sony Bravia X80K TV review.
How to choose the best 50-inch TV for you
How to choose the best 50-inch TVs for you
Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
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: Wondering what size room a 50-inch TV is perfect for? Check out our guide What size TV should you buy?. It shows that a 50-inch 4K 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. Then 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.
Gaming: If you're going to be doing a lot of gaming on your new TV, and particularly if you have one of the next-gen consoles, consider TVs with HDMI 2.1 ports. This will support Variable Refresh Rate, for super-smooth 120Hz gaming.
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 the best 50-inch TVs
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.