Getting the best 4K TV can get expensive, but TVs with ultra HD resolution are more affordable than ever, with TVs dropping in price even as larger screens and smarter features become the norm. In fact, some of the best cheap 4K TVs offer great features for under $500.
And it's not just that higher resolution that's getting more affordable: Smart TV features such as video streaming, connected apps, and voice control are also putting once-premium features in reach of the price-conscious shopper. Whether it's getting features like high-dynamic range (HDR) support for watching shows and movies, or kicking back with one of the best 4K TVs for gaming, you can get great TVs for less if you know what to look for.
We tested several 4K models, ranging from 40 inches to 55 inches, putting them through a battery of lab tests and then comparing them side by side. Read on to see the best cheap 4K TVs.
Black Friday 4K TV deals
Getting a great bargain on a 4K TV might be a little easier in the coming weeks, as this year's Black Friday deals will bring the lowest prices of the year for select TVs. We're keeping a close eye on sales across the internet, but if you want to watch specific retailers, we'll be rounding up the best Black Friday Amazon deals, Black Friday Walmart deals, and sales on TVs and other products. But if it's a TV you're after, we expect to see big discounts from every major TV brand, including LG, Samsung, TCL, Vizio and Sony.
And these deals won't be limited to the cheap 4K TVs and lower resolution units that offer bargain pricing year-round. We expect to Black Friday TV deals to bring steep discounts on some of the best smart TVs and 4K sets. One deal that's already got us excited: LG's 55-inch OLED TVs have dropped to $999 or less, and we expect similar deals from other major brands. And be sure to follow our Cyber Monday deals coverage for the best post-Thanksgiving day deals.
The best cheap 4K TVs
1. TCL 5-Series Roku Smart 4K TV (43S517)
Screen Size: 43 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10, Dolby Vision | Dimensions (without stand): 37.8 x 22.1 x 2.9 inches
The TCL 5-Series Roku Smart 4K TV (43S517) offers not only the great price and solid quality seen on many TCL sets, but also adds unexpectedly premium features like Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos sound, and a better-than-average version of Roku TV. The 43-inch TV is small, but benefits from a sleek-looking narrow-bezel design, and TCL throws in unexpected features like a remote with an integrated mic for voice interaction.
The TCL 5-Series also boasts great color reproduction, with a wide color gamut (99.8 percent) and excellent accuracy (Delta-E of 1.7). It handled subtle color transitions better than sets that cost twice as much, but expected issues like haloing and inconsistent backlighting were still noticeable. The built in sound begs for a subwoofer, and with Dolby Atmos support, there's no good reason not to pair this set with an Atmos-capable soundbar.
If you want a TV that delivers premium features while still fitting into your apartment and budget, the TCL 43S517 Roku TV is hard to beat.
Read our full TCL 43S517 Roku TV review.
2. Vizio V-Series 50-inch (V505-G9)
Screen Size: 50 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Dimensions (without stand): 44.1 x 25.6 x 2.4 inches
The Vizio 50-inch V-Series (V505-G9) manages to be a pretty great smart TV for its low price, delivering good color and decent HDR support, with capable built-in audio. It's also a full-featured smart TV, with Vizio's SmartCast software, which includes apps, free content, built-in Chromecast and compatibility with Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers.
The LCD panel offers a full-array LED backlight and support for HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats, along with solid picture quality. Color reproduction was a little disappointing at 96.7 percent, but color accuracy was among the best in this price range, with a DeltaE rating of 2.2. (0 is perfect on this test.)
We just wish the V505-G9 had the voice search we've seen on other smart TVs.
Read our full Vizio V-Series 50-inch (V505-G9) review.
3. LG UK6300 43-Inch 4K TV
Screen Size: 43 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10, HLG | Dimensions (without stand): 38.5 x 22.6 x 3.2 inches
The LG UK6300 43-Inch 4K TV is a solid 4K TV for less, with good picture quality thanks to a wide color gamut and solid HDR support, and decent audio with strong volume and clarity. The 43-inch TV may not have premium features, but the compact set manages to be a solid option for value shoppers.
The LG impressed us in lab tests, with a color gamut of 99.8 percent, which is better than most competitors at this price range. The overall accuracy was less impressive, with a Delta-E rating of 3.6, but it's still better than some of the inexpensive TVs we've tested. Basic edge-lit backlighting hampers the HDR performance without local dimming, but no more than most competing sets. At the end of the day, the LG UK6300 is still a great choice for getting a full-featured smart 4K TV for under $400.
Read our full LG UK6300 43-Inch 4K TV review.
4. Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition
Screen Size: 43 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10 | Dimensions (without stand): 38.2 x 22.5 x 3.2 inches
Just when we were about to write off all Amazon-powered TVs, the Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition came along and forced us to rethink things. With strong picture quality and sound, and built-in Alexa voice support, it's the best Fire Edition TV we've seen, and the first Amazon TV to get our recommendation.
When we tested it in the lab, the Insignia Fire Edition TV easily surpassed other Amazon-infused smart TVs, in both performance and features. With a color accuracy rating of 3.9, it's far from perfect, but it's the most accurate Amazon TV we've seen. The set's color gamut of 99.4 percent easily topped other Fire Edition models we've seen, making it not only the best Amazon TV, but also a strong performer compared to other sets in the sub-$500 price range.
Combine all of this with a fairly sleek-looking design, built-in voice assistant and decent audio, and the Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition is the only Amazon-powered smart TV we recommend.
Read our full Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition review.
5. Vizio 55-inch D-Series (D55x-G1)
Screen Size: 55 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10, HLG | Dimensions (without stand): 48.9 x 28.4 x 3.4 inches
The Vizio D-Series is among the most affordable you'll find for 4K resolution and smart TV functions, but Vizio manages to offer a lot of capability with its SmartCast platform. You'll have a wealth of free content options right out of the box, and a built-in Google Chromecast makes sharing apps and content from your phone dead simple. With support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, you'll get the same performance for pretty much any HDR content you have.
We were disappointed to see that while the display offered vibrant brights and decent black levels, the midtones and shadowed details that make HDR so impressive are not as well represented, but it's not out of line with other inexpensive TVs. We also noticed a bit of a buzz when the speakers were dialed up past 50 percent, caused by reverberation in the TV's plastic housing.
The set offers middling brightness (227 nits) and a slightly more limited color gamut (98.5 percent) than we'd like, but color accuracy was decent (DeltaE rating of 3.4) and overall performance was perfectly enjoyable without any of its flaws being distractions during normal viewing.
6. Toshiba 55-Inch 4K Fire TV Edition
Screen size: 55 inches | HDMI ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60 Hz | HDR Support: HDR10 | Dimensions (without stand): 28.7 x 49.1 x 3.7 inches
The Toshiba 55-inch 4K Fire TV Edition (55LF621U19) is Amazon's second crack at selling its own smart TVs, which have one big selling point: Amazon’s Prime Video and Alexa voice controls are baked right in. In addition to Prime Video’s extensive catalogue of movies and shows, you’ve got one of the best voice assistants on the market as close as your remote. And it’s not some half-measure – the Alexa on your TV can do everything Alexa can do on the Amazon Echo, with skills for smart home control, looking up weather and restaurants and much more. All of this is built into the 55-inch Toshiba 4K TV, which sells for an affordable sub-$500 price.
The switch from last year’s Westinghouse models to Toshiba bring all sorts of improvements, like improved display quality, HDR support and a more refined user experience, but it’s held back by mediocre picture quality and middling audio. Edge-lit backlighting and limited HDR support just drive home the most frustrating thing about most of Amazon’s TV’s – no matter how good Amazon’s Fire TV is as a smart TV platform, the TV also has to stand on its own merits.
In our tests, the Toshiba Fire TV had problems with unwanted haloing, due to the backlighting, but did well with detail and clarity. Color accuracy wasn’t fantastic, with a Delta-E rating of 5.05 (closer to 0 is better), and there were frequent issues with banding when smooth color gradients should be seen. Brightness isn’t bad for a budget-friendly TV, measuring 358 nits, but it’s not fantastic.
Read our full Toshiba 55-Inch 4K Fire TV Edition review.
7. Polaroid 55-inch (55T7U)
Screen Size: 55 inches | HDMI Ports: 3 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | HDR Support: HDR10 | Dimensions (without stand): 49 x 31.4 x 2.3 inches
The Polaroid 55T7U may not be from the best known TV makers – you probably did a double take when you saw the name Polaroid – but it offers 4K picture and basic smart TV functions at prices you might feel compelled to consider. Unfortunately, we weren't thrilled with every aspect of this affordable TV.
While technically a smart TV, the Polaroid's app selection is limited to a handful of pre-installed apps (only 7) and there is no app store for finding new content or services. Tested performance wasn't fantastic either, with severe color issues (DeltaE rating 9.4) and the most limited color gamut we've seen in this price range (94.8 percent).
It also suffers from most of the problems you might see on an LCD display, with glowing greys instead of blacks, inconsistent backlighting with shadowy corners, bright halos around objects and narrow viewing angles. Fast action smears and blurs, and dense detail positively shimmers when it's on screen. HDR content had good midtones, but muted specular highlights, which dampens the HDR effect overall. The Polaroid 55T7U is fine for the viewer who isn't picky about things like oversaturated color, but there are better options in this price range.
4K TVs Under $500: What to expect
You will have to sacrifice a few premium features if you want to keep the price of your 4K TV under five Benjamins. For one, you won't find many sets larger than 55 inches, and most are smaller than that – the majority of TVs on our list are 43-inch models.
Premium features are scarce, too; OLED and QLED display technologies and 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound aren't offered in this price range. Nor will you get cutting edge technologies, like HDMI 2.1. You may even have to accept fewer HDMI ports all together, and less extensive support for HDR formats – Dolby Vision support, for example, is only supported by a handful of affordable sets. Still, you can get a solid 4K TV with decent picture quality for less than $500.
For more ways to score a great TV for less, check out our guide to buying a cheap TV.
How we test TVs
In our benchmark testing for each TV, we look closely at three specific elements that combine to make a great display. Maximum brightness gives us a good sense of how the brightness level measures up from one TV to the next. The Delta-E rating is a measure of color accuracy, with higher numbers indicating a greater deviation from the actual color that should be displayed. The smaller the Delta-E score, the more accurate the color is.
Finally, we look at color gamut, measured in the Rec. 709 color space. This score is presented as a percentage, which indicates how close to 100 percent of the color spectrum the display can produce. The higher the percentage, the better the color reproduction.