The best TVs under $500

The best TVs under $500 deliver killer picture for less cash

With TV technology constantly evolving, mid-to-entry level HDTVs enjoy continually improved picture quality along with a growing list of advanced features once reserved for the premium tier. As such, we’ve updated our list of the best TVs under $500 to help you squeeze every last dime out of your budget so you can afford the important things in life — like a $1,300 soundbar, for example.

Those looking to save some serious green will find the latest choices in our list are bigger, brighter, and better than ever. This time around, all our selections are 4K UHD televisions, built to bring you unparalleled clarity and stunning detail. They’re also all smart TVs, so you can turn off your brain after a long day and let the screen do all the work. You may never leave your couch again.

Element 43” E43ST4316H ($450)

Element 4K Smart TV best TVs under $500

It’s no longer a surprise to see 4K televisions retailing for less than $500. But it takes more than a slim frame and a pretty face to impress us — and Element’s 43-inch E4S Series Smart LED TV has what it takes. The TV (which, for the record, does render in 4K) comes pre-loaded with Amazon’s awesome Fire TV operating system, which permeates every nook and cranny of its interface. The included voice control has shortcut buttons for Amazon Video, Amazon Music, and Netflix, but that’s not the real draw; the big feature is Alexa, who deftly handles voice commands to bring you your favorite programming and even control smart devices throughout your home.

The LED screen — powered by direct backlighting — refreshes at a rate of 60 Hz (though it does “upscale” to an effective 120 Hz), which is fairly standard for most TVs under $1,000. It has four HDMI inputs (one of which supports ARC), two USB ports, and an SD card slot for boring guests with all those Hawaii vacation photos. Connect an HD antenna and you’ll be able to watch television seamlessly via the Fire TV interface. This TV is extremely bright, so if you plan on using it in low-light settings, you may want to try adjusting the brightness and contrast a bit.

Screen size 43 in
Resolution 4K UHD
Display technology LED
Backlighting Direct
Refresh rate 60 Hz

Buy it now from:

Amazon

TCL 55″ 55S405 ($450)

TCL S-series 55-inch Roku Smart TV

Go ahead, pinch yourself — you’re not dreaming. TCL is really offering a 55-inch, 4K TV for less than $500. The brilliant picture in the TCL 55S405 is bolstered by HDR support for improved contrast and a native 120 Hz refresh rate, meaning colors will be vivid and even the most frenetic action scenes will appear smooth as silk. Three HDMI inputs (one with ARC support) and one USB port populate the back side, while the LED panel features direct backlighting.

The best part? The amazing Roku OS is included, which features an extremely effective cross-platform search tool that will sweep all your apps to find relevant content. It will tell you whether the content you’re hunting for is included with a subscription (to HBO, or Netflix, or whatever), and if not, it will present you with the option to rent or buy. The Roku mobile app acts as a surrogate remote control — actually, an even better remote control, from which you can instantly navigate to any app. If you connect a digital antenna, you can even pause live TV without a DVR! This TV is simply awesome.

Screen size 55 in
Resolution 4K UHD
Display technology LED
Backlighting Direct
Refresh rate 120 Hz

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Samsung 40″ UN40MU6300 ($488)

Samsung UN40MU6300 TV

OK, sure, 40 inches might seem tame in comparison to the above televisions. But we all know that you pay for brand names, and Samsung is one of the world’s premiere TV manufacturers. Besides, this guy is nothing to turn your nose up at — the UN40MU6300 has full-array local dimming, which means improved brightness and better black levels. It’s got HDR, too, so expect beautiful levels of contrast. The 120-Hz refresh rate, combined with Samsung’s Motion Rate technology, means you’ll never have to deal with blurry movement.

Samsung’s Tizen operating system is snappy and useful, automatically detecting devices and labeling inputs accordingly. You can use Tizen to quickly switch between apps and inputs — a unique, cool ability — and control everything at once with a single remote. If you’re just looking at size and price, this TV might turn you off, but dive deeper into its breadth of features and you won’t be disappointed.

Screen size 40 in
Resolution 4K UHD
Display technology LED
Backlighting Full-array
Refresh rate 120 Hz

Buy it now from:

Amazon

LG 43″ 43UJ6300 ($410)

best tvs under 500 lg 43uj6300 tv

Saving money has never been so beautiful! LG’s 43UJ6300 is a direct-backlit 4K thing of beauty, from the handsome slate-gray frame to the wide-angle screen (LG’s IPS panel technology means the picture will stay vibrant, no matter your viewing angle). With scene-by-scene Active HDR optimization for deep, rich colors and a plethora of ports in the rear — three HDMI, two USB — it should serve well for any task you ask of it. It does have a refresh rate of only 60 Hz, but at just above $400, can you really ask any more?

LG’s WebOS operating system boasts the same cross-app search as Roku, making it extremely easy to find anything you’re looking for. Whether you want to get your daily dose of news, or stream a movie through Netflix or Hulu, all your favorite apps are conveniently located on the slick WebOS menu for quick access. You’ll also get LG’s Channel Plus program, which includes lots of new, free content from a variety of sources you may or may not be familiar with.

Screen size 43 in
Resolution 4K UHD
Display technology LED
Backlighting Edge
Refresh rate 60 Hz

Buy it now from:

Amazon