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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best cheap TVs

Finding information about cheap TVs can be a challenge in today’s market. The top manufacturers want to focus on their largest and priciest products. Your neighbor isn’t showing off the inexpensive TV in the bedroom, just the 90-inch behemoth in the game room. But cheap TVs definitely have their place.

Generally, value-priced TVs are smaller and have fewer high-end features than their more expensive counterparts. The inexpensive unit probably won’t come from a premier manufacturer either.  But you don’t always need the most expensive television. Even as your primary TV, an inexpensive one can be more than adequate for your needs and budget.

A good shopping guide outlining the most important features to look for in a cheap TV and some product recommendations can help you find a television with a below-average cost. You can make the right choice while keeping more money in your pocket.

cheap tv
In the past, you could only find the best deals on cheap TVs around the holidays. Now, great inexpensive TVs are available at good prices all year.

How to buy the best cheap TV

What size TV do you want?

When shopping for a low-priced TV, you’re probably going to end up with a smaller unit. You can find some TVs of 50 or 55 inches (measured diagonally) for less than $500, but you won’t find many larger televisions for that price. But a smaller TV isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on the size of the room.

You don’t want to strain your eyes, but you do want to see the image clearly. Optimal viewing distances vary widely. For example, the best viewing distance from a 40-inch TV can range from 5 to about 16 feet. Some recommendations are based on the height of the screen, others on the width. You might have to experiment a bit, but if you have a smaller room, you’re going to need a smaller TV.

4K vs. HDTV

4K TVs are the most common resolution in the current market. The maximum 4K resolution measurement is 3840 x 2160, equal to that of Ultra HD televisions. An HD TV has a maximum 1920 x 1080 resolution. Some very inexpensive HD TVs may have a maximum 1280 x 720 resolution.

More pixels means a sharper picture. A 4K TV has about four times as many pixels as a 1080p HD TV, resulting in a very sharp image. Even if you’re watching HD programming, many 4K TVs can upscale the resolution to take full advantage of the 4K screen.

Don’t forget to take into account the cost of shipping and any accessories. Your low-cost TV could be pretty pricey by the time you figure in the add-ons.

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What features should I look for in a cheap TV?

HDMI ports

Connecting cable boxes and gaming consoles to a television nearly always requires HDMI cables. Cheap TVs may only have one or two HDMI ports rather than the three or four ports found on pricier TVs. If you want to connect multiple devices to your value-priced TV, make sure the model you pick has enough HDMI ports to meet your needs.

HDR

High dynamic range (HDR) is a technology that greatly enhances the screen’s visual quality. Because it’s a newer technology, you may not find HDR on cheap televisions. If you want a TV with this technology, expect to pay a bit more.

Smart interface

A smart TV interface is one that simplifies the process of connecting to the internet for streaming video, movies, and television shows. Nearly all TVs, even cheap ones, have smart TV technology built in.

cheap tv
DID YOU KNOW?
Pay close attention to the screen size versus the viewing distance. A small TV might be cheap, but it could be too small for your needs.
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How to accessorize a cheap TV

Legs

Your cheap TV may come with tiny legs to hold the television upright, and these legs can feel flimsy. You might want to purchase sturdier legs for an extra $5 to $20.

Wall mount

Regardless of the cost of the television, any flat-screen TV can be mounted on the wall to save space. However, you need to purchase a TV mounting bracket separate from the TV itself. Look for a wall mount that fits your brand and size TV. Expect to pay $25 to $100 for a basic one.

Antenna

If you’re buying a low-priced television, you might not want to spend $100 or more per month for a cable or satellite subscription. A TV antenna can pull in local, over-the-air signals for free. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 for one.

HDMI cables

You need HDMI cables to connect your devices to your TV. These cables vary quite a bit in price, but more expensive cables are usually longer. You can expect to pay $5 to $50 per cable.

How much do cheap TVs cost?

Inexpensive

Everyone has their own definition of what makes a “cheap” television. Generally, the least expensive TVs, typically small, HD models, cost $100 to $200.

Mid-range

These televisions cost $200 to $300. You should be able to find small 4K TVs in this price range, but they will probably come from lesser-known manufacturers.

Expensive

The priciest budget TVs are in the $300 to $500 range, although $500 might not be what you consider “cheap” in a television. In today’s market, $500 is a below-average cost for a TV.

For the fastest, most reliable connection when streaming content, try to connect the TV to your router via an Ethernet cable rather than relying on WiFi.

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Tips

  • Check the contrast ratio. If you enjoy movies, find a cheap TV that has a large contrast ratio to give you the blackest blacks and improve the picture quality.
  • Check the refresh rate. TV manufacturers measure the refresh rate in hertz (Hz). A refresh rate of at least 120 Hz is good for gaming, sports, or any type of programming that involves fast-moving objects.
  • Check the streaming capabilities. Any smart TV can connect to the internet to gain access to streamed programming. Nearly all televisions in today's market, even inexpensive TVs, have smart capabilities.
  • Check the audio. Cheap TVs have less than optimal sound quality, so you might want to pay extra for a soundbar. However, first test the sound quality of the TV for a few days. You might find that it’s adequate for your needs, especially if the room is small.
cheap tv
Mounting your cheap TV on the wall can save quite a bit of space in a small room.

FAQ

Q. How do I choose the best cheap TV?

A. When shopping for an inexpensive TV, start by focusing on the feature that’s most important for your needs. If you need four HDMI ports, but the cheap TV you select only has two, this television isn’t going to meet your needs. Once you settle on the features you must have, you can shop for an inexpensive TV in your price range that has those features.

Q. Can I save money by avoiding 4K TVs?

A. You might save a little, but the vast majority of new cheap TVs offer 4K resolution. If you’re looking for a really small TV, you might find a model that has HD resolution and save $20 to $40 versus a 4K TV of the same size. If the 4K TV fits in your budget, however, it would be the better choice.

Q. Are cheap TVs worth it?

A. Absolutely! These TVs offer good quality and longevity. In the early days of flat-screen TVs, inexpensive TVs from lesser-known manufacturers were iffy in terms of performance and durability, but today’s inexpensive TVs offer far better quality.

Q. How much should I spend on a TV?

A. Choosing how much to spend on a television really depends on your budget. The best advice is to set a price range for your purchase and then try to find the best TV that fits in that budget. If you can’t find one that has the features you want right now, you can save up for a few more months rather than settle for a model that doesn’t meet your needs.

 

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