Best budget TVs of 2024: Tested and rated

The best budget TVs offer a surprisingly good picture for their price. Yes, they may be lacking in some of the advanced features of more expensive OLED or QD-OLED TVs, but the budget TVs listed below absolutely nail the basics.

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. 

With that said, while we'd strongly recommend checking out some of the top-tier models like the Hisense U6K (easily the best TV under $500) or the Roku Plus Series QLED TV. Other companies like TCL, Vizio and Amazon all make decent budget TVs that are worth considering, but you should probably stay away from the Amazon Fire TV 2-Series and LG UR9000 that only scored two-and-a-half stars in our review and the Samsung CU8000 that barely hit three stars.

Also, if you can, we'd advise you to stick with the former brands rather than the super budget-friendly Element or Insignia TVs, as brands like TCL, Hisense and Vizio offer a better picture for just a few dollars more. 

Written by
Nick Pino is the Managing Editor, TV and AV at Tom's Guide
Written by
Nick Pino

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 budget 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. 

The full list: Best budget TVs in detail

Hisense U6K Mini-LED TV in living room

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
One of the best budget TVs I’ve seen in years

Specifications

Screen size: 55, 65, 75 inches
Screen Type: LED-LCD
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 HDMI 2.0
Size: 57.1 x 33.1 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 43.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Mini-LED display
+
Excellent color and contrast
+
65-inch under $500

Reasons to avoid

-
Laggy smart platform
-
Slight upscaling issues

You can't have a list of the best budget TVs without mentioning the Hisense U6K. It might not have the peak levels of brightness that the Hisense U8K has, but it sports a Mini-LED backlight that enables enables better contrast with above-par black levels and a quantum dot for color saturation. Tack on Google TV and VRR support for consoles, and you’re getting a lot of the best features at a much lower price point. 

Why we think it's better than all the rest is that, thanks to its Mini-LED backlight system, the U6K has much better brightness and contrast and a lower likelihood of the dreaded Dirty Screen Effect from non-uniform lighting elements compared to the competition. It also uses Google TV which, although a bit temperamental, is one of the slickest smart TV platforms available. 

If you want the best bang for your buck, the Hisense U6K can’t be beat.

Read our full Hisense U6K Mini-LED TV review

2nd best budget TV

Roku Plus series TV 2023Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Roku)
Roku’s first QLED TV is a great bargain

Specifications

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 75 inches
Screen Type: QLED
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 HDMI 2.0
Size: 33.1 x 57 x 4 inches
Weight: 36.7 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value
+
First-rate HDR color
+
Good sound
+
Solid Roku TV smart interface

Reasons to avoid

-
So-so brightness
-
Only 60Hz refresh rate
-
No HDMI 2.1 ports

The Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV marks the streaming giant’s first foray into sets after long focusing on software and set-top and plug-in devices — and the move is a successful one. In addition to delivering a ton of screen for its starting price of $499, these TVs also give you surprisingly good picture quality and sound, two things that are usually the first to go with budget sets.

So what makes this such a great budget TV? First off, despite its lower price and plastic build quality, it's actually a nice-looking screen. Secondly, though, Roku uses a QLED screen in the Plus series, which means it's able to produce more vivid colors and reach a higher peak brightness. You can't shift too far off-axis or else that color begins to fade, however, it looks great when you're facing front-on.

If you don't mind making a few compromises on refresh rate (unlike the LG B3 OLED further down on this list) this one's limited to 60Hz, it's a rock-solid budget pick.

Read our full Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV review.

The best OLED TV

LG B3 OLED on table in living room

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
An affordable alternative to the C3 and G3 OLED

Specifications

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 77 inches
Screen Type: OLED
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
HDMI ports: 2 HDMI 2.0, 2 HDMI 2.1
Size: 57x32.8x1.8 inches
Weight: 52.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent color performance
+
Low input lag
+
Top-notch smart interface

Reasons to avoid

-
So-so brightness
-
Sound could be better

It's the most expensive TV you're going to find on this list, but the LG B3 OLED is truly a force to be reckoned with in the budget TV space. Instead of spending upwards of two grand on an OLED, the B3 OLED offers all the benefits of the panel technology (and more) for right around $1,000. 

For folks looking for the barest of bones OLED, the A2 OLED is great too, but the B3 goes well-above its little brother by adding a 120Hz native panel, two HDMI 2.1 ports and a better processor to the mix. 

In terms of performance, it hits a peak brightness of 635 nits (about the same as the Hisense and TCL) but has the ability to cover 99.9724% of the Rec709 color space and a color accuracy (measured by a Delta E value) of 1.8943. For gamers, cinephiles and really anyone who wants an amazing TV experience, these are some of the best numbers you're going to find at this price point.

Read our full LG B3 OLED review.

Best Budget TVs Test Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TVPeak Brightness (tested)Delta-E (tested)BT2020 Color Volume (tested)Input Lag (tested)
LG B3 OLED652.80 nits1.894373.87%10.1ms
Roku Plus Series648.10 nits2.601180.54%11.5ms
Hisense U6K525.14 nits3.578380.98%10.2ms

Other budget TVs we tested

  • LG UR9000: Our reviewers were unimpressed with this TV's poor audio and color saturation. 
  • Samsung CU7000: Low brightness and poor color saturation should keep you away from this ultra-budget set from Samsung.
  • Samsung CU8000: It has an affordable price tag and low latency that gamers will like, but the upscaling, motion processing and overall picture performance leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Amazon 2-Series TV: This HD model has a decent built-in smart platform, but otherwise has poor performance across the board.

How to choose the best budget TV for you

Buying a budget TV definitely means making a few sacrifices (2,000-nit brightness on a budget TV? No way) but hopefully now you know that you can find the essential features at an affordable price. So what should you be on the lookout for when buying a budget TV model?

4K resolution: 4K resolution is so affordable, and the quality so much better than 1080p or 720p, that we always recommend going for 4K. Unless you're on a shoestring budget, getting a proper 4K TV won't even cost you much money, but you will notice the difference.

Screen size: You may not always be able to score a premium 65-inch TV for under $500, but you can still get a decent 55-inch model, so don't settle for some dinky 43-inch set unless it's the right size for the space.

HDR support: If there's one feature we recommend, it's high dynamic range (HDR). Even basic HDR support provides better color, brighter highlights and richer shadows, giving you a better picture in every respect. If you can find a set with Dolby Vision, that's even better, but you may pay more for that feature.

Connectivity: More HDMI ports are always better, so you don't find yourself having to awkwardly swap plugs on the TV every time you want to fire up a Blu-ray or jump into a game.

Gaming: For affordable gaming TVs, we recommend looking for sets with higher refresh rates of 60Hz, but the latest Xbox Series X and PS5 consoles can actually go higher. Lag time is another concern, so check out individual reviews to find sets that have a lag time of shorter than 20 milliseconds for the best performance. 

What features are worth paying more for?

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.

Budget TVs are great. They are. And yet, you might be wondering what you're missing by not spending the big bucks on a flagship model. Unfortunately, there are a few features that you just simply can't find on a budget TV model unless you're willing to flex the budget a bit.

Screen size: This one is a given. Unfortunately, you're not going to get a 75-inch or 85-inch TV for the same price as a 55-inch model. Bigger screens cost more money. It's like the law of gravity. Now, you can find a 75-inch TCL 4-Series for around the cost of a 65-inch 6-Series, but there are trade-offs in other areas to get that bigger size.

Class-leading picture quality: It's a shame, but you can't get class-leading picture quality on a budget. You can get close (see: the TCL 6-Series) but you'll never get an LG OLED or Samsung QLED TV's performance at the same price as, say, the TCL 5-Series. That means missing out on the best contrast, best color saturation, best upscaling and motion handling, and the best speed when navigating the UI.  

Sound quality: Oof, we've all heard awful-sounding TVs and they can ruin the whole experience. While today's budget TVs do a lot of things well, sound quality isn't one of them. If you're going for something that's super cheap, expect weak and tinny sound from 10W speakers. The good news? You can buy a super cheap TV and then add one of the best soundbars later to get better audio. 

How we test the best budget TVs

Evaluating TVs is about more than just kicking back to watch a movie. We lab test every TV, 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 – a key detail for gaming – measuring to the millisecond how long it takes for content to travel from the original source to the screen. We use these results to make numbers-based comparisons about color and display quality.

We also spend time with each set for real-world evaluation and see how our lab results translate into more subjective performance. We also compare sets side by side and view samples from the latest movies, specialized test patterns that highlight strengths and weaknesses of each display, and 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.

Finally, we evaluate the smart TV functions and apps for each TV, looking at everything from the remote control design to the voice interaction. 

We put all of that data together with our real-world testing and stack it against the price of the TV. The result is a score that we feel best represents the totality of that model, and how well it stands up against its contemporary rivals. A TV that scored highly five years ago may not score as highly against a newer model, but we do our best to update reviews when newer models become available.

Interested in a specific TV brand, price range or screen size? Check out our picks for the best TVs in each.

Best TVs | Best 4K TVs | Best smart TVs for streaming | Best TVs for gaming

The best TVs under $1000 | The best TVs under $500

Best TV brands | Best Samsung TVs | Best TCL TVs | Best LG TVs | Best Roku TVs | Best OLED TVs | Best QLED TVs | Best 8K TVs | Best HDMI 2.1 TV | Best TVs with ATSC 3.0 | Best TVs with Chromecast

The smallest smart TVs | Best 43-inch TVs | Best 50-inch TVs | Best 55-inch TVs | Best 65-inch TVs | Best 70-inch TVs | Best 75-inch TVs | Best 85-inch TVs 

Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.

  • AmyInNH
    Absurd assumptions of relevance of particular features. Size, for instance.
    Tom's Guide is becoming so badly tainted by this, it's degrading to "enthusiast" interests.
    Reply