While flagship TVs are unmatched for their features, not everyone is willing to shell out over $1,000 for a television. If you’re on a budget, $500 is usually a reasonable cap to work with. Of course, this goes without saying that budget-friendly sets cut corners. But you’d be surprised that the compromises aren’t always out of bounds. Below, we’ve narrowed down the best TVs under $500 that balance cost and performance excellently.
Best TVs Under $500 Comparison Chart
|LG 50-Inch UQ9000|
|Samsung QLED Q60A|
Best 55 inch TV under $500
Hisense is no stranger to budget-friendly TVs. Over the years, the brand has built a reputation for sets that cost half of what competitors offer for similar-sized models. And on the 55-inch front, the Hisense U6H is one of these winners.
While you can get the U6H in larger 65 and 75-inch models, the 55-inch option, along with the 50-inch variant, are the two options available under $500. But in terms of quality in features, few things separate these units. Like its bigger siblings, the 55-inch U6H is a ULED TV that offers vibrant image quality.
The U6H also delivers 600 nits of brightness at peak level. Of course, there are some downsides to an affordable TV. The U6H works excellent with native 4K content but struggles upscaling to UHD some non-4K sources. It also has a narrow viewing angle, which leads to washed-out images from the sides.
But these are minor issues considering what else you get for the price. Hisense’s U6H enjoys a solid Google TV platform and comes with HDR and Dolby Atmos compatibility. Google Assistant and Alexa are also supported for a complete smart TV performance.
Best 50 inch TV under $500
If you have a smaller viewing distance to work with, a 50-inch TV is probably as big as you’d want for your living room. Here, our pick is another Hisense model — the Hisense H8. Like the UH6, the H8 is available in other sizes, 55 and 65 inches, to be specific. But if you’re gunning for an under $500 model, you’d be limited to the 50-inch variant.
For most uses, the Hisense H8 delivers. It comes with Android TV combined with ultra 4K detail. The model also supports Dolby Vision HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Atmos. You can even control the TV using a voice-enabled remote that works with the built-in Google Assistant or any Alexa-enabled device.
Thanks to a VA panel with a full-array local dimming feature, the H8 makes for fantastic viewing in dark rooms. Plus, it handles reflections well enough to make it enjoyable in brighter environments. If you’re watching HDR content, expect to get rich and saturated colors, too.
Unlike the UH6, Hisense’s H8 lacks a variable refresh rate. For casual gamers, this may come as a disappointment. Still, you get a good response time from the TV. Its input lag is also minimal. But given all its features, we find this under $500 model more suited for watching TV or sports.
LG 50-Inch UQ9000
Best smart TV under $500
Almost every TV is Internet-enabled, providing homeowners access to richer content, web browsing features, and voice assistant support. However, few have voice assistant compatibility across the board like the LG UQ9000.
This 4K LD UQ9000 works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple AirPlay 2, and Apple Homekit. For homeowners deep into the smart home ecosystem, this means several options for controlling other devices, searching for shows, and adjusting TV settings.
Despite its price, the TV also looks premium and performs like a flagship. Thin bezels frame the TV, lending it a sleek and minimal appearance. Under the hood, you also get the α5 Gen 5 AI Processor that powers the 4K picture. The UQ9000 also runs on LG’s WebOS system that allows for multiple user profiles and access to several content streaming platforms.
The model’s 55, 50, and 43-inch options are available in several sizes and are the units selling under $500. All three come with HDMI inputs, USB ports, and a one-year limited warranty.
Best TV for gaming under $500
If you want a budget TV for gaming, consider the Vizio V-Series. The 43-inch model, in particular, sells for less than $300 in most retailers. For its price, you get a decent-sized screen with a 4K 60fps variable refresh rate. It also boasts a dedicated game mode that minimizes input lag for a more responsive gaming experience.
In terms of design, the V-Series looks premium because of the extra thin bezels. However, the build quality — a mix of plastic and metal — is just okay. Placed on a table, the TV doesn’t wobble. But if you want to make the most of its aesthetic, mounting the unit on the wall is the way to go.
The V-Series offers tons of brightness, local dimming, and a wide color gamut. You also get staple streaming services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, and Vudu. And compared to TCL, Vizio offers more extensive picture settings in a user-friendly interface.
Like most TVs with LCD panels, the viewing angle is where the V-series struggles. But if you’re adding the unit to a small space, maybe even your own room, decent off-axis performance shouldn’t be an issue.
Samsung QLED Q60A
Best 4K TV under $500
Samsung has always made waves in the picture quality of their TVs. The 43-inch QLED Q60A is no different. While it sells for under $500, the model is unmatched in this list talking about true-to-life image quality. This is especially true when watching 4K content. Samsung’s dynamic tone mapping creates deep blacks and vibrant colors without compromising detail.
The Q60A also comes with what Samsung calls Motion Xcelerator. With this optional feature, you can get rid of blurry pictures for a clearer viewing experience. And even if you aren’t watching anything native 4K, the Quantum Processor 4K Lite technology upscales content to look its best.
While it’s more expensive than the Vizio V-Series, the Q60A brings more for gamers. The TV offers multiple aspect ratios, quick access to game settings, and an auto-latency mode. Samsung’s Q60A also has the best audio out of the TVs on this list. Although it’s not one to please audiophiles, the 3D surround sound and expansive Q-Symphony tech are steals for the price.
Finally, Samsung’s Q60A has Google Assistant, Alexa, and Bixby as its built-in voice assistants. If you have other Samsung smart devices, you can control them via the TV using the SmartThings platform, too.
Best 65 inch TV under $500
Few brands have a value-for-money recall like TCL. And if you’re going big on a small budget, it’s hard to overlook the 65-inch TCL 65R635. Aside from its immersive screen estate, the 65R635 is known for its excellent overall image quality.
Although first released in 2020, the TV still excels in its 4K HDR delivery, thanks largely to a mini-LED. The technology is behind the Contrast Control Zone feature of the unit, allowing contrast to be optimized across local zones. Combined with the AiPQ engine and Quantum Dot technology, you get a wide color gamut and impressive picture clarity from the TV.
On the 65R635, the full-array local dimming is well implemented, as is Dolby Vision HDR. But the viewing experience owes itself to the TV’s design. The TV’s edge-to-edge glass display and brushed metal finish frame the content here. The 65-inch model also sports adjustable feet and an integrated cable management system for clutter-free setups.
It’s also hard to argue against TCL’s Roku TV, the country’s number-one streaming platform. While it’s known for its intuitiveness, Roku TV also performs fast and enjoys automatic updates. Moreover, Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video, among others, are built-in.
A TV doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Brands like Hisense, LG, Vizio, Samsung, and TCL offer budget-friendly options that deliver excellent picture quality.
Buying a 4K smart TV doesn’t have to be daunting, especially if you’re on a budget. Brands like Hisense, LG, Vizio, Samsung, and TCL all offer TV models under $500. And while they won’t match a flagship, our picks deliver impressive performance given their price tags.
With that settled, two models in our list stand out. In terms of picture quality, the Samsung QLED Q60A is hard to beat. Dynamic tone mapping and Samsung’s Quantum Processor 4K Lite all lend a hand in the Q60A’s impressive performance. Its sound quality is also above average compared to the other TVs reviewed.
When it comes to large TVs with a budget-friendly price, the TCL 65R635 is our recommendation. The 65-inch model, in particular, combines a sleek design with excellent implementation of 4K HDR settings. Moreover, it runs on arguably the best smart TV platform, Roku TV.
The Hisense U6H 55-inch TV comes with a two-year warranty.
Yes. The Hisense H8 uses artificial intelligence to automatically adjust picture and sound settings based on the genre of the content you’re watching.
Yes. The 50-inch LG UQ9000 comes with one rear HDMI input and two side HDMI inputs.
The Vizio V-Series comes with AMD FreeSync, Auto-Game Mode, and VRR. All three contribute to the low 10ms input lag of the TV.