You no longer need to sacrifice features for a cheap TV, with 4K HDR models now available for less than £500. But not all cheap TVs are worth your money. Our tests have uncovered poor performers. More positively, we've also discovered some brilliant budget models. Plus we've picked out some top-tier models for under £1,000, if you have a bit more to spend and want some advanced features.
There are some stand-out TVs that prove you don't necessarily have to pay top whack to get a good model, even if you have your heart set on a particular brand. Bear in mind, however, that the less you pay, the more the quality you'll get for your money can vary. So you need to choose carefully.
You don't have to settle for a small TV either. If you like the idea of having a big screen experience in your living room, then you can. We've found top-notch 55-inch sets for less than £500. You won't get a newly-launched TV for this price, but wait a few months and the price of most models will plummet.
Below, we'll show you which models to spend your money on, and the poor performers you should definitely avoid.
You can also see our latest TV deals. Want to save even more money? Find out more about how to buy a second-hand or refurbished TV.
Best budget TVs under £500 and £1,000
Here is our expert pick of the best cheap TVS, as revealed in our tough independent tests.
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If we haven't listed the TV you're interested in here, or if you want more choice, see our expert TV reviews.
Cheap TVs to avoid
Get it wrong with a cheap TV and you could be faced with awful picture quality, tinny sound and a frustrating interface. We rarely find a good TV for less than £350 at any size, so be wary of those.
Don't be sold be on specs alone either. Most TVs are 4K, almost all are smart and support HDR (High Dynamic Range - lets you see more detail). These aren't features that separate a good TV from a bad one, they are ubiquitous.
Unfamiliar brands or ones unique to certain stores don't do as well in our tests as bigger brands, such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony. See our guide on store brand TVs for more information on them.
If you want to know whether a TV is worth your money, make sure you check our television reviews before you buy.
Cheap TVs: what should I look out for?
- Screen size: Typically, the smaller the screen the cheaper the TV, but, as you can see in the table above, you can find bigger screen models that impress in our tests. However, if you see a 50-inch TV or larger that costs less than £300 - it's unlikely to be a winner. Always check our TV reviews to find the best cheap TVs.
- Type: Most manufacturers now favour LCD TVs with LED backlighting (generally referred to as just LED TVs). These sets used to be expensive, but they've come down in price significantly and are now very affordable. Rival plasma technology is now dead and while OLED is emerging, sets with the screen technology are very expensive currently.
- Resolution: The vast majority of TVs released are 4K and most have HDR technology, too. The price of 4K TVs has come down considerably as a result, with many available for less than £400.
- Built-in tuner: Virtually all cheap TVs have a built-in Freeview tuner, allowing you to watch subscription-free digital TV, but try to go for one with Freeview HD. That means you can access HD channels such as BBC One HD and ITV HD without needing a separate set-top box.
"It would cost you £13 a year to run the most energy efficient 55-inch TV we tested in 2019. The least efficient would cost eight times as much."
What you won't get at this price
- OLED displays: OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode and it differs from LCD in that each individual bulb can be turned off, which makes for deeper blacks. OLED TVs are relatively new and still very expensive, the cheapest we've seen was still over £1,000.
- Twin tuners: Many TVs let you record programs onto a USB hard drive, but some with twin-tuners can record two different shows at once or let you watch one while you record another. You'll only find two tuners on premium sets.
- Higher refresh rates: some TVs have screens that can refresh the picture up to 120 times per second, but cheaper TVs usually top out at 60.
Need more help? See our expert guide on how to buy the best TV.