10 Best Budget TVs

Wally Nowinski
editor

In our pursuit of the best budget TVs under $500, we concentrated on finding models that strike an optimal balance between affordability and superior picture quality. This careful selection process aimed to ensure that a limited budget does not necessitate a compromise on the clarity, color accuracy, and contrast that define a great viewing experience. By prioritizing TVs that deliver excellent picture quality within this price range, we identified options that offer consumers the best of both worlds: financial accessibility and the ability to enjoy vivid, lifelike images. Our focused approach proves that it is entirely feasible to find budget-friendly TVs that do not cut corners on delivering visually stunning content, making high-quality viewing experiences accessible to more people.

Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our TV database and find the Best Budget TVs available in 2024. Here are the top 10 picks.

Our criteria for Best Budget TVs:

  • Budget We focused on TVs under $500
  • Picture Quality We prioritized TVs with great picture quality
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized TV recommendation
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10 Best Budget TVs

1
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.4
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Fair




Expert Summary
The Hisense U6K is an LCD TV that comes at a lower midrange price, offering good overall picture quality and very good performance for cartoons and animation. Its contrast is rated as high, which is great for dark room viewing, but it has a fair bright room score, indicating it might not be the best option for very well-lit environments. The TV handles upscaling well, making lower-resolution content look good. However, its gaming performance is only fair, meaning it may not be ideal for serious gamers. Its sound quality is rated as good, but it doesn't have particularly great speakers, so an external sound system might be desired for an immersive experience. Additionally, the U6K supports mini LED with FALD VA screen sub-type and various HDR formats including HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG, but its motion processing is just average and has a low refresh rate of 60Hz. With its 4 HDMI ports, it's versatile for connecting multiple devices, and it's also suitable for use as a monitor.
Pros
  • High contrast for deep blacks
  • Good overall picture quality
  • Solid upscaling of low-resolution content
  • Supports major HDR formats
  • Very good color accuracy out of the box
Cons
  • Limited viewing angles
  • Average brightness in bright rooms
  • Poor quality control and assurance
  • Fair motion processing
2
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Good




Expert Summary
The TCL S555 is a lower midrange LCD TV that performs well in general picture quality, dark rooms, and bright conditions, making it suitable for varied lighting environments. It's a good choice for watching movies, series, and cartoons, while its capability for gaming and sports content is fair, and its performance as a monitor is also fair. The S555 doesn't excel at reflections, which may be a concern in very bright, sunlit rooms. It supports HDR including Dolby Vision and has a decent color output straight from the box. However, for those with a keen interest in gaming, there are TVs with better gaming features and response times. The sound quality is fair, so external speakers or a soundbar might be considered for a better audio experience.
Pros
  • Overall picture quality is good
  • Performs well in dark rooms
  • Bright room performance is good
  • Strong contrast ratio
  • Very good for cartoons and animation
Cons
  • Gaming performance is only fair
  • Sports content performance is fair
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Mediocre sound quality
3
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Fair




Expert Summary
The Amazon Omni QLED TV is priced in the lower midrange segment and offers a good overall picture quality. For gaming, its performance is fair but not exceptional, and the same can be said for watching sports content. This TV is competent in dark rooms and delivers a good movie and series watching experience, with very good performance for cartoons and animation. However, its bright room performance is only fair, which may be a concern if the TV is to be used in well-lit spaces. Contrast is excellent, and the color representation out of the box is very good, alongside a good color gamut. The response time and input lag are excellent, making this TV suitable for responsive gaming and use as a monitor. The sound quality is excellent, but note that it does not have great speakers built-in, so for the best audio experience, external solutions are advisable. The TV supports popular HDR formats including HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG, but its local dimming, gray and black uniformity are fair, which could affect the depth of blacks and evenness of the screen during viewing. With 4 HDMI ports, it's well-equipped for connecting multiple devices. Keep in mind that while it functions fairly well as a monitor, its bright room performance and reflection handling might not be ideal for daytime use in a bright office environment.
Pros
  • Overall picture quality is good
  • Good performance in dark rooms
  • Very good for cartoons and animation
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Very good HDR color performance
Cons
  • Fair performance in bright rooms
  • Gaming and sports content only fair
  • Local dimming and HDR brightness just fair
  • Quality control and assurance scored poorly
4
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Fair




Expert Summary
The Amazon Omni QLED TV is priced in the lower midrange segment and offers a good overall picture quality. For gaming, its performance is fair but not exceptional, and the same can be said for watching sports content. This TV is competent in dark rooms and delivers a good movie and series watching experience, with very good performance for cartoons and animation. However, its bright room performance is only fair, which may be a concern if the TV is to be used in well-lit spaces. Contrast is excellent, and the color representation out of the box is very good, alongside a good color gamut. The response time and input lag are excellent, making this TV suitable for responsive gaming and use as a monitor. The sound quality is excellent, but note that it does not have great speakers built-in, so for the best audio experience, external solutions are advisable. The TV supports popular HDR formats including HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG, but its local dimming, gray and black uniformity are fair, which could affect the depth of blacks and evenness of the screen during viewing. With 4 HDMI ports, it's well-equipped for connecting multiple devices. Keep in mind that while it functions fairly well as a monitor, its bright room performance and reflection handling might not be ideal for daytime use in a bright office environment.
Pros
  • Overall picture quality is good
  • Good performance in dark rooms
  • Very good for cartoons and animation
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Very good HDR color performance
Cons
  • Fair performance in bright rooms
  • Gaming and sports content only fair
  • Local dimming and HDR brightness just fair
  • Quality control and assurance scored poorly
5
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.6
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B, Gaming: B+, Sports: B+
Bright Room: Good




Expert Summary
The Sony X85K is an LCD TV released in 2022 with a 65-inch screen size. It has good overall picture quality, gaming performance, and sports content viewing experience, making it versatile for different uses. Its performance in bright rooms is good, whereas it's only fair in dark rooms, potentially making it less ideal for movie watching in dimly lit environments. Additionally, its good ratings for reflections and SDR brightness mean it can handle some ambient light well. The TV has 4 HDMI ports and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats. However, it does not have great built-in speakers, so you might consider additional sound equipment. Also noteworthy is that it doesn't support HDR10+ and the viewing angles are somewhat limited, making it less optimal for wide seating arrangements..
Pros
  • Good overall picture quality
  • Effective for gaming
  • Performs well in bright rooms
  • Strong quality control
  • Excellent colors out of the box
Cons
  • Subpar for dark room viewing
  • Local dimming not supported
  • Average sound quality
  • Narrow viewing angles
6
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.4
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Fair




Expert Summary
The Hisense U6K is an LCD TV that comes at a lower midrange price, offering good overall picture quality and very good performance for cartoons and animation. Its contrast is rated as high, which is great for dark room viewing, but it has a fair bright room score, indicating it might not be the best option for very well-lit environments. The TV handles upscaling well, making lower-resolution content look good. However, its gaming performance is only fair, meaning it may not be ideal for serious gamers. Its sound quality is rated as good, but it doesn't have particularly great speakers, so an external sound system might be desired for an immersive experience. Additionally, the U6K supports mini LED with FALD VA screen sub-type and various HDR formats including HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG, but its motion processing is just average and has a low refresh rate of 60Hz. With its 4 HDMI ports, it's versatile for connecting multiple devices, and it's also suitable for use as a monitor.
Pros
  • High contrast for deep blacks
  • Good overall picture quality
  • Solid upscaling of low-resolution content
  • Supports major HDR formats
  • Very good color accuracy out of the box
Cons
  • Limited viewing angles
  • Average brightness in bright rooms
  • Poor quality control and assurance
  • Fair motion processing
7
BEST RATING
News, Talk & Reality TV:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Good




Expert Summary
The Hisense U6H is a budget-friendly LCD TV that offers good overall picture quality, sports and movie viewing experiences, and performs well in both dark and bright rooms. However, its gaming performance is only fair, and there may be some concerns with quality control and quality assurance. If you plan to use the TV mainly for gaming, you might notice slower response times. The TV supports various HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG. It has a decent number of HDMI ports, offering flexibility for connecting devices. Its speakers are not a standout feature, so for superior sound, consider adding an external sound system.
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Good picture quality
  • Good HDR performance
  • 4k at 60Hz support
  • Excellent app selection
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Fair motion handling
  • No advanced gaming features
  • Limited brightness capabilities
8
BEST RATING
Cartoons & Animaton:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B, Gaming: C, Sports: B
Bright Room: Good




Expert Summary
The Samsung Q60B is a midrange LCD TV that offers a good overall picture quality, particularly in bright rooms, making it suitable for well-lit environments. However, its performance in gaming is poor, and it might not be the best choice if you are an avid gamer. Sports content looks fair on the screen, but there might be better options available for watching fast-paced sports. The TV performs fairly well in dark rooms but again, there are other models that could perform better in this aspect. It has excellent colors right out of the box, which is great for watching cartoons and animations that can look very good on this TV. The sound quality is poor, so you might consider a separate sound system for better audio. The Samsung Q60B has three HDMI ports and supports HDR content, but lacks features like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos which could enhance the viewing experience for movies and series. It also has a VA panel type which is known for good contrast, and it's a decent choice if you plan to use the TV as a monitor.
Pros
  • Good overall picture quality
  • Very good SDR brightness
  • Excellent colors out of the box
  • Best input lag performance
Cons
  • Poor gaming performance
  • Fair dark room performance
  • Poor viewing angle
  • No Dolby Vision support
9
BEST RATING
News, Talk & Reality TV:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: B, Sports: B
Bright Room: Good




Expert Summary
The Hisense U6H is a budget-friendly LCD TV that offers good overall picture quality, sports and movie viewing experiences, and performs well in both dark and bright rooms. However, its gaming performance is only fair, and there may be some concerns with quality control and quality assurance. If you plan to use the TV mainly for gaming, you might notice slower response times. The TV supports various HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HLG. It has a decent number of HDMI ports, offering flexibility for connecting devices. Its speakers are not a standout feature, so for superior sound, consider adding an external sound system.
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Good picture quality
  • Good HDR performance
  • 4k at 60Hz support
  • Excellent app selection
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Fair motion handling
  • No advanced gaming features
  • Limited brightness capabilities
10
BEST RATING
Gaming:
4.5
Picture Quality: Good
Movies & TV: B+, Gaming: A-, Sports: B
Bright Room: Good




Pros
  • Good overall picture quality
  • Very good for gaming
  • Very good color gamut
  • Good HDR brightness
  • Supports HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Cons
  • Fair sports content quality
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Mediocre sound quality
  • Limited bright room performance