We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

News.

When you click on a retailer link on our site, we may earn affiliate commission to help fund our not-for-profit mission.Find out more.

23 Mar 2022

How to save money on a new TV

When to buy, where to buy and what to buy: it's everything you need to know
Someone shopping for a TV on a tablet

If you want a new TV, now is typically the best time to bag a bargain. You'll need to act fast, though - it won't be long before cheap TVs from 2021 are replaced by expensive 2022 models.

The TV market is a tricky one, with several big players (particularly LG, Samsung and Sony) releasing scores of TVs with comparable features and a fair share of tantalising unique ones. Then there's price, size and complicated names to contend with.

By the end of this article, you'll have the tools to navigate the enormous selection of TVs. You'll be an expert, with the knowledge to buy the right set, at the right time, from the right place and at the right price.


Want to see everything that's on offer? Check our TV reviews to see which we recommend from the hundreds we test every year


Don't buy a TV in the summer

If you're ever applying sunscreen, planning a picnic and also thinking of buying a TV, don't. Early summer is when manufacturers release new ranges and pull their old ones off sale. If you can, wait until Black Friday in November or, even better, early the following year when the cost of many TVs is cut in half - we're in this sweet spot right now.

Some TVs stick around after their successors have launched, but many don't. That window between New Year and early spring is small, and it won't be long before they've sold out.

Two men delivering a TV carrying it up some stairs

Choose a retailer that gives you the best warranty

As soon as a TV is on offer in one store, other stores usually respond and match the price. So why not buy from one that gives you a long warranty? TVs from Richer Sounds have a six-year warranty, while John Lewis offers five years.

Having such a long warranty is worth it. Two years is the longest we've seen from a manufacturer, and market leaders LG and Samsung offer only one year.


Our annual survey reveals the best retailers for delivery, returns, value for money and more. See which retailers come out on top


How much should you spend on a TV?

How much you spend on a TV depends on the features you want (more on that later on)as well as the size.

Our tests show that you can get a good 43-inch TV for around £400. For a Best Buy 48 to 50-incher, the average is £960, while the cheapest is £799. For 55-inch TVs, the average Best Buy costs more than £1,000, but you can get one for around £800, or, for a set scoring just under the Best Buy threshold of 71%, less than £500.

Unsurprisingly, 65-inch Best Buys are the most expensive: the cheapest is £1,199, while the average is £1,698. These prices are assuming you buy a TV at the right time, which as mentioned earlier is around February and March.

Use our TV screen size calculator to work out the best size of TV for you.


Tech tips you can trust - get our free Tech newsletter for advice, news, deals and stuff the manuals don't tell you


What features are worth paying for?

Barring the occasional budget supermarket model, any new TV you buy today will be 4K, support basic HDR formats to improve picture quality and have a streaming app store. But when you can spend upwards of £3,000 on one, you know that manufacturers are adding features by the truckload to justify the price.

There are other, harder-to-quantify factors, such as development and tuning, but a £1,500 TV will have more features than a £500 one. Do you really need them, though? Here's a rundown of the ones to look out for:

  • OLED display - there's no backlight here, just millions of self-emitting pixels, and no backlit TV can match an OLED for contrast. While you don't need to buy an OLED to get a Best Buy, they are our highest-rated TVs. Our guide explains OLED TVs in more detail.
  • QLED display - mostly made by Samsung, these are the same as LCD TVs, but with quantum dots, which produce more vivid colour. They have struggled recently, with very few Best Buys. In short, it's not a feature you need. Find out more about QLED TVs.
  • Neo QLED - the same as QLED, but smaller LEDs in the backlight improve the picture enormously. We've tested some terrific Neo QLEDs but, as with OLEDs, they aren't necessary if you just want a good TV.
  • Dolby Vision - one of the advanced HDR formats that adjusts contrast to suit each scene. However, it doesn't guarantee that the HDR picture will be good. Not essential, but there's no harm in having it.
  • HDR10+ - Samsung TVs have this instead of Dolby Vision. It's another advanced format that doesn't guarantee a good picture. Nice to have, but not a must-have.
  • 120Hz display - arguably essential for gamers, 120Hz displays work with consoles to refresh the screen up to 120 times per second, making motion in video games look smooth.
  • HDMI eARC - almost all the TVs we tested in 2021 had this input, which makes it easier to connect sound bars and home cinema systems. It's not essential, but you're not paying extra for it.
  • Dolby Atmos - this ubiquitous feature is designed to send audio overhead to create a surround sound effect. It's not very effective on TVs, however, so don't seek it out.

The chart below reveals the average price of TVs with some of the most popular features, along with the price of the cheapest Best Buy TV for each.

Table showing the average cost of a TV with specif