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Best cheap TVs 2021: Which budget TV you should buy?

There are plenty of cheap TVs that can do a job if all you need is a set to watch your favourite shows and movies on.

Here though, we not only have just best cheap TVs, but the best value sets if you can push your budget a bit further. From 43-inch sets to 65-inch TVs, everything on this list is under £1000, with the cheapest around £300. If you’re after the best cheap TV, these are the best.

Scroll down the page for summaries of each TV. If you need more help, then have a look out our in-depth reviews in the links below. We’ve also included prices for the best deals available so you can get the best cheap TVs around.

Learn more about how we test televisions

Every TV we review is put through the same set of tests to gauge its picture performance, usability, and smart features.

Tests are carried out over several days and are done by eye but supported with technical measurements. Testing by eye involves an expert watching a wide range of material to understand and determine a TV’s performance in fields such as brightness, contrast, motion processing, colour handling and screen uniformity.

We’ll consider the design of the TV in terms of build quality, study the spec sheets and see if the TV’s connections are up to spec, as well as playing video and audio content to ensure that the set handles playback as it claims. We also take note whether a product’s compatible formats and features are in line with industry trends or not to gauge whether it’s relevant for you.

Comparison to other related and similarly priced products is also important, to see if it’s missing any vital features and whether it impresses as a whole. After all this, we’ll come to a judgement on how the TV performs as a whole.

If you want to learn more, please visit our detailed page about how we test televisions.

The cheapest 2020 OLED from LG
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Pros

  • Superior gaming connectivity
  • Brilliant value

Cons

  • No Freeview Play
  • Presets favour dark-room viewing

As we move further in 2021, LG’s 2020 BX OLED has dipped below the £1000 mark. Like the mid-range CX it’s primed to work with PS5 and Xbox Series X with its HFR and VRR features. WebOS has plenty of apps in its library too – and while Freeview Play isn’t supported, LG has updated the interface to include a selection of UK catch-up apps.

We found picture quality to be terrific. Though the picture processor isn’t as refined as the one in the CX, we doubt anyone will be short-changed with the performance: detail is excellent, images are colourful and well-balanced and its HDR performance is good, especially as ever with an OLED TV with a good HDR performance when it comes highlights. It’s very solid in terms of sound too, good enough for casual viewing of TV and films.

Reviewer: Steve May
Full Review: LG OLED55BX

Great for movie nights
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Pros

  • Multi-HDR support with Dolby Vision and HLG
  • Versatile Panasonic smart TV platform
  • Low input lag

Cons

  • Limited deep black performance
  • No Disney+

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced set that can add a bit of flair to movie nights, the HX800 is a prime candidate. Following on from 2019’s highly rated GX800, this edge-lit LED TV produces a performance full of fine detail and excellent colours.

Upscaling is solid, bringing sub-4K sources up to par. Motion is respectful provided the IFC (Intelligent Frame Creation) setting is kept on a tight leash. When done so, there’s little in the way of overt artefacts and that makes this a solid set for fast-paced films and sports. HDR support is wide with Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ under its umbrella, and though brightness is around average, it’s enough to give a good impression of HDR. Gaming performance is excellent, but you won’t find any VRR or 120Hz support for the next-gen consoles.

What holds this set back is its limited black level performance, a result of the edge-lit panel. Sound is passable too, so you’ll want to marry this TV with a soundbar that can improve its sonic capabilities. There’s no Apple TV+ or Disney+, so you’ll need to consider a streaming stick to get those apps.

Reviewer: Steve May
Full Review: Panasonic TX-58HX800

The Hisense/Roku partnership delivers another fine TV
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Pros

  • Good-quality, colourful picture performance
  • Wide streaming capabilities
  • Easy to set-up and use
  • Speedy gaming performance

Cons

  • Iffy sound
  • Inconsistent upscaling of SD sources
  • Limited HDR performance

In the budget TV field, the Hisense R50B7120UK Roku TV was one of the leading contenders, and with its latest effort, Hisense and Roku have served up another set that packs in even more value.

The number of smarts the Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV packs is only behind the likes of Samsung and LG. You have Freeview Play, which brings the catch-up apps into play, there’s a wide range of streaming apps (including Disney+, Apple TV+ among others) and new features in AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit and Alexa and Google assistant compatibility. That’s a tremendous amount of value available in an affordable package.

While picture quality is virtually the same as the B7120UK, that’s no bad thing given how good that set was. It lacks the contrast and brightness to produce a true HDR performance, but its native 4K performance is full of detail, with colours naturally portrayed. we don’t think many will be disappointed by what it serves up. Sound quality is a disappointment, and we’d recommend a soundbar to give it a boost.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense R50A7200GTUK Roku TV

A affordable 50-inch set with a wealth of smart features
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Pros

  • Intuitive, easy to use UI
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Simple setup process
  • Wealth of smart features

Cons

  • HDR performance could be better
  • Underpowered speakers

Like the Panasonic HX800, it’s an edge-lit panel, but it offers surprisingly good black levels that are free from backlight bleed. Once in the right picture mode (Standard and Natural are your best options), the Samsung offers fairly accurate colours for a presentation that’s more natural than most at this price. For HDR it’s not a set that goes particularly bright, and with no support for Dolby Vision (it does have HDR10+), you won’t benefit from a more refined performance on popular streaming services other than Prime Video.

Overall, this is one of the best cheap TVs we’ve seen in recent times. The Tizen UI is easy to use and features an abundance of streaming apps. Build quality is unsophisticated and the set is easy to assemble. Gaming performance is just as strong here as it is on other Samsung sets. Consider a soundbar as while the TU8500 is adequate, adequate won’t cut it for films or streaming.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Samsung UE50TU8500 review

An excellent 43-inch 4K TV
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Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Solid picture quality
  • Amazing value for money

Cons

  • UI can be a little slow
  • Limited connectivity

The UE43TU7100 is a small TV and it offers terrific value for its size and price. If you’re after a solid small TV, this would get our vote.

Like every Samsung set it snubs Dolby Vision support and considering its size and price the HDR performance is no barnstormer either. However, picture quality is better than you’d expect, offering good black levels, good colours and a neutral presentation that makes it good for a range of content. Sound quality is fine with broadcast TV but timid – unsurprisingly so – with more dynamic content. Factor in a soundbar to go with this TV.

Samsung’s Tizen OS offers a legion of apps and assembly is as simple as slotting the feet in. The Tizen OS isn’t the fastest though on this set, making for a less than snappy user experience at times.

Reviewer: Alastair Stevenson
Full review: Samsung UE43TU7100 review

Impressive features and performance for an affordable set
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Pros

  • Detailed, natural-looking image
  • Easy to set up
  • eARC support
  • Affordable
  • Fast gaming performance

Cons

  • Slightly sluggish UI
  • Only two HDMI inputs
  • Limited brightness for HDR

Another Samsung makes this list, showing the strength in depth of its TV line-up. The most impressive aspect is how consistent its features are compared to the premium sets. Performance is of course downgraded, but the core feature set is intact.

You still get class-leading gaming input with just 9.7ms of lag (no VRR or 120Hz though). eARC allows for the passthrough of high-quality soundtracks such as Dolby Atmos from the TV to a compatible soundbar for a better performance. The Tizen UI has all the apps you’ll ever need, including the UK catch-up apps; helpful considering there’s no Freeview Play.

Picture quality is strong, boasting an upscaling performance better than some TVs at nearly twice the price. Pictures are relatively free from artefacts; colour tones are natural, and detail is good. This is also the case with native 4K content, with black levels holding up well, though we find this set lacks detail in the darker parts of an image, so you’re not seeing everything you ought to be.

HDR performance is limited, as are viewing angles, but that’s to be expected. In terms of audio, it’s a good effort, but a soundbar would improve upon it.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Samsung UE50TU7020

Budget QLED = good performer
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Pros

  • Enjoyable picture quality
  • Comprehensive smart platform
  • Thin design
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Limited black levels
  • Ordinary sound
  • No Dolby Vision
  • Omits VRR for gaming

Considering its features, performance and price, the Q65T is one of the better affordable TVs still available. Despite its status as the bottom tier QLED in Samsung’s 2020 TV range, there’s a confidence about its performance that puts its rivals.

The 4K image is a pleasing one, with natural colours that are also expressively conveyed, there’s a punchiness to the Q65T’s performance that makes for attractive viewing. It’s an edge-lit display and not one with a particularly high brightness for HDR content, but it can deliver better black levels than the TCL TV that’s on this list and that helps produce images of decent contrast.

The feature list is lengthy with class-leading gaming skills, extensive smart app selection and with Multi View it has a split-screen feature that no other TV brand offers. It’s not perfect , but it’s a pretty classy all-rounder.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Samsung QE55Q65T

Perfectly suited for gamers
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Pros

  • Looks good with native 4K content
  • As future-proofed, games-wise, as they come
  • Half-decent sound
  • Good OS

Cons

  • Some backlighting issues
  • Not the most capable upscaler
  • Lacks UK catch-up TV services (for now)
  • Looks deep if wall-mounted

The NANO 90 is another feature-packed TV on this list, and at 65-inches it’s a relatively affordable set, considering the specs it has.

We were impressed with its detail levels, alongside a wide-ranging colour palette that offers an assortment of colours to assault the eyes with. And if you’re looking forward to next-gen gaming, this TV has you sorted with 4K/120Hz compatibility and a sub-13ms latency.

One thing to take into account is that LG’s 2020 TVs don’t feature Freeview Play and there are still a few UK catch-up apps missing.

Reviewer: Simon Lucas
Full review: LG 65NANO906

Mostly good, but not without a few flaws
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Pros

  • Enjoyable 4K HDR performance
  • Solid upscaling
  • Good build quality
  • Decent sound
  • Multi-HDR support

Cons

  • Iffy motion
  • Some backlight bleed off-axis
  • No native Disney+/Apple TV apps

There’s a lot to like and there’s a bit we’re not fond of with this Hisense, but the positives just about outweigh the negatives.

Hisense’s flagship TV can be had for less than £1000, placing this within our best value options. You get wide HDR support (Dolby Vision, HLG, HDR10 and HDR10+), and Hisense says this set can hit 1000 nits of peak brightness. HDR performance isn’t quite as searing as that, but the Hisense delivers an impressive array of colours in a film like Pacific Rim. Detail levels help contribute to the performance, and upscaling is good.

Less agreeable is the TV’s motion skills, which for anything other than SD SDR is best avoided due to its jerky implementation. Backlight bleed and blooming are an issue, especially at wider viewing angles, which also suffer from weakened black levels.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense 55U8QFTUK

Is this affordable TV from Philips the One?
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Pros

  • Bright, colourful picture
  • Multi-HDR support
  • Ambilight
  • Surprisingly decent Vivid mode
  • Solid motion processing

Cons

  • Aggressive HDR10+ performance
  • No HDR for Disney+/Prime Video app
  • Out-of-box settings need adjustment

It’s not often we come across one of Philips more affordable sets, but this Performance Series TV – dubbed “The One” to watch – offers a pretty good performance. Though there are caveats.

Picture quality is enjoyable once the TV has been calibrated. The settings out of the box lean to an overly saturated image more concerned with boldness than accuracy. Once (slightly) tamed, it’s a colourful and bright image, but work is needed to get to this point – try the Vivid Mode, which is surprisingly good. The TV’s motion skills are slick though, and black levels are strong (although this can vary with picture modes). It’s a TV at its best with (most) HDR content, looking great with HLG content on iPlayer or Dolby Vision.

It’s a little awry with HDR10+, overdoing black levels, and its HDR gaming performance is a little inconsistent too. Still, when it comes to aesthetics, it’s a nice-looking TV (although a little less grey would be nice), and Android TV brings plenty of smarts in Google Assistant and Chromecast. There is, of course, Ambilight and once you’ve sampled it, it’s hard to go back to a TV that doesn’t have it.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Philips 50PUS8545

TCL’s QLED has Samsung in its sights
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Pros

  • Vibrant image
  • Spacious sound
  • Super-fast gaming latency
  • Tidy design

Cons

  • Out-of-box settings need calibrating
  • Not bright enough for HDR
  • Inconsistent black levels, especially in dark rooms

TCL has been plugging away with its affordable Android TVs in the UK, and it has Samsung in its sights with the C71 QLED.

The C71 is armed with a Quantum Dot display to achieve a wider range of colours, however where it differs from Samsung is that it supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for extracting as much out of HDR content as it can.

There are aspects of its performance that engage such as its colourful image quality (once calibrated), neat and tidy design, fast gaming response and sound quality that’s better than we’d expected. It’s not bright enough for full-screen HDR but can deal with highlights in a competent manner. Black levels are something of a disappointment: sometimes good and other times not so, especially in darker rooms with clouding appearing in the corners of the screen.

That said the C715K is a competent 4K TV that provides decent competition to Samsung’s range. A few tweaks and improvements and TCL could be a genuine challenger with its 2021 TVs.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: TCL 55C715K

Solid smarts, solid picture, solid price
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Pros

  • Natural-looking presentation
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Easy assembly
  • Freeview Play

Cons

  • Average black levels
  • Limited brightness
  • Picture can suffer from noise
  • Imprecise motion

The HX600 from Panasonic is the definition of a solid smart 4K HDR TV. It won’t blow your socks off, but it is a consistent performer.

Its closest competitor is the Philips above, and comparatively it’s short on features to that TV. Video app support is slim with only the obvious ones, plus the UK catch-up apps present. The design is reassuringly solid (if bland) and gaming is good at 17.1ms input lag.

The picture quality is natural and colourful, more so than the Philips, and upscaling of HD content is solid enough. Where it comes a cropper to the Philips is in its black levels (average), imprecise motion and limited brightness for HDR. Feed it as much Dolby Vision content, as like the Philips, it’s a better experience than vanilla HDR10. Still, the asking price isn’t huge and this is a TV that’s easy to use. A solid performer and a reliable one.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Panasonic TX-50HX600

Good value for a 65-inch TV
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Pros

  • Improved motion performance
  • Colourful images
  • Dolby Vision HDR
  • Affordable for a 65-inch telly
  • Excellent gaming performance

Cons

  • Average black levels
  • Some blooming, especially off-axis
  • Flat audio delivery

Another Hisense, this time a 65-inch TV that offers good value for its £850 RRP.

Like the U8Q, there are aspects that spoil the show a little. Despite a Full-Array backlight panel, black levels are average and blooming (halos around bright objects) are an issue. Motion is improved though over the flagship U8Q, smoother, and less prone to jerkiness (though its grip is not always the strongest). The strengths of the flagship TV are present in its solid upscaling and colourful performance, further improved by Dolby Vision.

It could use a soundbar, as its flat delivery lacks dynamism. The VIDAA U OS is a bit dull but gets and job done. If you’re a gamer, there’s no HDMI 2.1 features more premium sets from other manufacturers have, but the performance is slick at 10.5ms. It’s not a spectacular set, but there’s enough value here to enjoy.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Hisense 65U7QFTUK Review

A budget set for smaller rooms
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Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good size for second room/bedroom
  • Dolby Vision
  • Easy to set-up
  • Good sound

Cons

  • Middling black levels
  • Not bright enough
  • So-so gaming performance
  • Issues with motion

Another 43-inch TV and the cheapest on this list. After a rather rushed re-emergence a few years ago, Toshiba’s TVs have gradually grown in confidence and the UL20 is another solid effort.

It won’t tear up any trees with its performance, but the UL20 is all about value for money. Picture quality is natural-looking; colours subtle and refined rather than overly punchy. Upscaling of HD content is fine (though less adequate with SD), but on the other hand black levels can look grey with HDR content. Dolby Vision improves matters, but it also highlights how artificial the TV’s motion handling can look at times.

Think of this as a TV for a smaller room and it hits more right notes than wrong ones. With Freeview Play, a decent app selection and Alexa/Google compatibility, there’s enough smarts for the casual user. We wouldn’t recommend this set for gaming, though. HDR performance is weak and the Game Mode is ineffectual in improving latency.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Toshiba UL20 Review

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FAQs

What’s the best TV under £500?

If you’re after a decent-sized set then the 50-inch Samsung TU7020 would suit the bill. Picture quality is very good, The Tizen Eden interface has the widest range of streaming apps on the TV market and its gaming performance is class-leading. It only has two HDMI ports and its HDR performance is limited.

What’s the best cheap TV for Xbox Series X?

That would be LG’s Nano90 TV. It launched in 2020 but is still available May 2021 for less than £1000, and it features Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) that the Xbox supports for smoother, tear-free gaming.

What’s the best value TV under £1000?

The LG BX packs in plenty of value for its price. For one, it’s an OLED and one of the cheapest we’ve seen so far. It boasts a huge number of streaming apps (though it does not have Freeview Play) and in supports the new gaming features for the PS5 and Xbox series X.

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