Buying a budget television doesn’t mean you have to end up with a “cheap TV” that ends up being a clunker. These days, you can get a truly great TV for $500 or less.
The best budget TVs strike a balance between price, performance, and features. We test tons of TVs—from the most basic to the best TVs on the market—to make sure you’re getting a great value, no matter the price.
Based on our testing, the best TV under $500 is the 55-inch Hisense U6K
(available at Amazon for $448.00)
It offers terrific out-of-the-box performance, mini-LEDs, quantum-dot color, and is great for casual gaming. There are several other options on this list, however, so make a pick that works for you.
Other TVs Under $500 We Tested
How We Test TVs Under $500
Reviewed has been testing TVs for more than a decade. Michael Desjardin, our Home Theater expert, is a Senior Staff Writer who has been a member of the Reviewed tech team since 2014. A film enthusiast and TV expert, Michael takes picture quality seriously, but understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.
John Higgins, who is an Imaging Science Foundation Level III-certified calibrator, is Reviewed’s A/V and Electronics Senior Editor. Over his A/V career of more than two decades, he has written about TVs, speakers, headphones, AVRs, gaming, and all manner of technology.
Our testing process has been honed over many years to gather data that is marginal enough to satisfy curious video engineers, but also relevant to the average person’s viewing experience. Outside of the technical tests, we also spend a lot of time watching and using each TV, getting a feel for the at-home experience.
What to Consider Before Buying A Budget TV
People on a budget should be able to find a quality TV without having to make too many sacrifices on performance, screen size, and features. For us, the sweet spot for budget TVs is about $500. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a TV at that price point.
While you won’t find quality 83-inch TVs in this price range, you can still get excellent 50- and 55-inch screens. While some larger screens in the TV series we recommend price out of the $500 range, there are some 65-inch models that are available for about $500.
All of the televisions under $500 that we recommend are 4K TVs. At this price range, people should not have to settle for 1080p or 720p resolution. The 3,840 x 2,160 pixels you get in a 4K TV is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most televisions.
Almost every 4K TV will also feature HDR), or High Dynamic Range. This means the TV can show images that are brighter and more colorful than older model televisions that did not come equipped with this technology.
HDR TVs can be a bit more expensive, but all of the TVs in this guide feature HDR support. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
Related: HDR10 vs Dolby Vision
Smart TV platform
What sets a smart TV apart from regular televisions is its capability to connect to the internet. Most smart TVs also come equipped with built-in streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Our favorite operating system is Roku for its simplicity, ease of use, and functionality. Other TVs under $500 that we recommend have Google TV or Fire TV as their operating systems.
For people who don’t want to rely on their TV for their streaming needs, there are lots of quality streaming devices on the market that will allow them to watch movies and shows on their favorite streaming apps.