Best 40-Inch TVs

Updated June 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
365 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best 40-inch TVs

Last Updated June 2019

A 40-inch television is a great centerpiece for a living room or home theater without taking over a large wall. With a medium-to-large screen size, the screen space on the television is good enough to create a large image without sacrificing the resolution or quality. Even though 40-inch televisions have the same size, however, they aren’t all the same.

To find the right 40-inch television, you need to think about specifications like screen resolution, refresh rate, panel type, etc. These specs are the best way to compare different television options. Key features like voice control and internet connectivity can also make a difference in the overall viewing experience.

To help you with your search, we have created this guide that’s filled with important information and considerations you need to know. Our top recommendations will also give you a good starting point to see what is available in the 40-inch television market.

The 40 inches on a 40-inch screen is the distance between the diagonal screens. Televisions can still be different sizes depending on the bulk of the exterior.

Key considerations


LED or OLED

Television screen technology has come a long way since the days of vacuum tubes. These days, most 40-inch televisions fall into one of two screen categories: LED and OLED. Both terms refer to the pixels a TV uses to create the colors that form the images on the screen. Much like plasma and LCD screens, these two technologies use thousands of little colored lights to create the image.

LED TVs are a more basic type of TV screen. Light shines through a crystal panel, meaning the TV has a backlight to produce the illumination required to see the picture. Compared to OLED TVs, LED technology is less expensive but has some limitations in terms of color creation and image contrast.

OLED TVs are more expensive but have some distinct advantages over LED technology. Each pixel on an OLED display emits its own light, eliminating the need for a backlight and decreasing the thickness of the TV. Since individual pixels can turn on and off, OLED TVs are also better at creating true dark colors for better image contrast.


Screen quality

Beyond the screen panel technology, one major factor to any TV is the image quality it can produce. Image quality will influence how crisp and detailed the screen looks. A higher quality is usually preferable, but the gains can come with a higher price tag depending on the resolution and refresh rate of the screen.


Resolution

A screen's resolution is a simple measurement of the number of pixels it has to create the details of an image. More pixels equal finer details, especially when you view a TV up close. In the 40-inch range, most TVs have at least a true HD resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

Televisions with 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) have become more popular and affordable since they quadruple the number of pixels the television has available. In most cases, this amount is enough for a great viewing experience.


Refresh rate

The refresh rate is another important specification on televisions if you want a smooth-looking image. This measures how quickly the screen can refresh the image and is usually expressed in hertz (Hz). Lower refresh rates can struggle with faster movements like action sequences. A refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher, however, should be more than enough to offer a smooth view.


Sound quality

While external sound systems are a popular preference with many home viewers, you shouldn't ignore the quality of a television's sound. The built-in speakers can help supplement a larger sound system or drive the audio by themselves. Either way, the sound quality is just as important as the image itself.

All televisions come with some built-in speakers around the sides or front of the screen. While these aren't as good in quality as dedicated speakers, some televisions do have higher-end speakers. Beyond speaker quality, the number of speakers is also important. Having several speakers spaced around different edges or corners of the television will create a fuller sonic experience to complement the image.

If you want to buy a sound upgrade and acoustic accessories, the quality of the built-in speakers is less important. It's easy to find a good soundbar, main speakers, and subwoofers to create a surround-sound setup that rivals many home theaters.

High-end HD TV

This Vizio television does a good job of offering high-end features without venturing into the 4K territory and costs of more advanced models. Despite its HD resolution limit, the TV offers many of the same connectivity features that allow other televisions to stream high-quality content through a home network connection.

Features


Connectivity

The days of plugging in a separate DVD player (or VCR) and cable box are long gone if you want. Many 40-inch TVs come with smart features that hook up to the internet for streaming videos, surfing the web, watching YouTube, and more, without any extra equipment required.

Television connectivity requires a consistent internet connection from a wireless network or dedicated cord. Each television manufacturer offers its own smart feature setup that differs from competitors in terms of the menu layout, streaming services, available movies, etc. Some smart features also work with other devices like a cable box or gaming console to simplify the control over the entire setup.

Higher-end televisions are also coming out with convenience features that can eliminate the remote control entirely. Some manufacturers include their own voice control designed to work with the settings and features of the television. Others are compatible with popular voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home to achieve the same effect.


Mounts

No television is complete without a few accessories to expand your setup and viewing experience. Beyond extra media accessories like speakers and streaming devices, there are a few more basic options to consider depending on how you want to set up the television in your home space.

A mount, for example, is one type of accessory that can actually free up space in the room you watch TV in. Nearly all televisions come with a stand you can set up on any flat service, but a dedicated wall mount is a space-saving solution that doesn't require much money or installation outside of a few holes and screws. You will need to consider the TV's compatibility with different mounts to find the right one.

Adjustable wall mounts are the best solution for securing your television to the wall regardless of its size. These mounts have sliding support bars that screw directly into the mounting holes in the back of the television. Some mounts also have an adjustable bracket that pivots, changing the viewing angle for larger spaces or awkward corners.

DID YOU KNOW?

A 40-inch screen size offers a good sweet spot between being too small and too large. It’s a good size for most rooms and even some apartment spaces.

40-inch TV prices

Many 40-inch televisions are quite affordable compared to large-screen TVs several years ago. Prices vary depending on the screen technology/resolution and the feature set the television provides.

Inexpensive

There are a few 40-inch television options under $150. With basic specs like an HD resolution limit, these models are good as a basic or secondary television setup but don’t expect too much for a high-quality viewing experience if you want a clear picture.

Mid-range

Between $150 and $500, the available televisions at this size increase in number. More manufacturers offer televisions in the range that include 4K resolution capabilities and some smart features. Most televisions use LED screens to keep costs down.

Expensive

Above $500, you can find OLED TVs with better colors and image contrast. Certain models also include luxury specs/features like upgraded built-in speakers, voice control, and access to numerous streaming services.

EXPERT TIP

Consider purchasing an energy-friendly television if you watch TV often and want to keep costs low each month. OLED televisions are a good type to check out.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Measure the amount of wall or table space you have available ahead of time before you by a 40-inch television, to ensure it fits in the space the way you like.
  • Televisions with HDR or high dynamic range offer better colors and image contrast for 4K content.
  • Keep an eye out for random image artifacts and distortions on the TV screen. These can be a sign that something is wrong or broken in the display panel.
  • You can save some additional money by purchasing last year’s TV models without losing out on advanced features/screen capabilities.

Some televisions come with a curved display. While the screen size is the same, the screen arc offers better viewing from different angles.

Budget 40-incher

If you are looking for a basic or starter 40-inch television, the Spectre 40" TV is one to check out. While it doesn't win any awards in terms of screen resolution, its large size can present any HD channel, movie, game, or television show in crisp detail. The four HDMI ports on the back make the television a great option for expanding your media setup with gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and more.

Other products we considered

The range of 40-inch televisions is quite expansive in terms of resolution and features. This means it's easy to find something that either has the capabilities you want at a price you can afford. On the lower end, the Sansui TV LED Television is a good introductory model to consider if you are upgrading your TV setup or buying a second unit for another room. Higher up, the Samsung UN40NU7100FXZA Flat is one of the few sub-$500, non-OLED televisions that come with true 4K display capabilities and smart connectivity/control features.

A television with a slot card reader will allow you to upload photos and videos straight from a USB stick.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need a larger television screen?
A.
You don’t need the largest screen you can afford, but the larger screen real estate does improve the viewing experience, especially from greater distances or larger spaces.

Q. Is 4K resolution a must have?
A.
For the best viewing experience, yes. A true 4K television will display greater details that make the viewing experience immersive than an HD TV. With that said, HD televisions are still perfect for enjoying visual content.

Q. When is the best time to buy a new television?
A.
If you want to save money, wait until major holidays. Special events like Black Friday, the weeks before the Super Bowl, and back to school (in the fall) offer the best deals, even on the latest televisions that came out at the start of the year.

The team that worked on this review
  • Austin
    Austin
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer

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