What’s the best cheap TV to buy in 2021?
Great TVs don’t necessarily have to cost the earth. 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, 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 we’ve reviewed.
Head below for summaries of each TV. If you need more help, check out our in-depth reviews in the links below. We’ve also included prices for the best deals available for the best cheap TVs around.
1. Panasonic TX-58HX800
Great for films
- Multi-HDR support with Dolby Vision and HLG
- Versatile Panasonic smart TV platform
- Low input lag
- 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+, 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 here 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. It also doesn’t feature Apple TV+ or Disney+, so if you’re a subscriber to those apps, you’ll need to consider a streaming stick.
- read our Panasonic TX-50HX800 review
2. Samsung UE50TU8500
- Intuitive, easy to use UI
- Decent gaming performance
- Simple setup process
- Wealth of smart features
- HDR performance could be better
- Underpowered speakers
The UE50TU8500 sits plum in the middle of Samsung’s 2020 range, offering an excellent performance at an affordable price.
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.
- read our Samsung UE50TU8500 review
3. Hisense Roku TV B7120
An accessible budget TV
- Satisfying 4K and HD picture
- Decent sound
- Speedy Game Mode
- Lots of apps/channels
- Limited HDR performance
- SD performance not great
- Limited viewing angles
This Hisense Roku TV is still going strong since its December 2019 release. In terms of value, it’s one of the best options under £400.
This is a TV that’s solid rather than spectacular but ticks off the necessary boxes for a cheap TV. The native 4K picture is satisfyingly pleasing, with good detail and a colourful image. HDR lacks pop and contrast isn’t particularly well described, but that’s expected at this price. Viewing angles are limited (best to watch head on) though upscaling is solid with HD content; less so with SD, which is undeniably soft.
Really, the value is in the Roku OS. Offering access to a huge number of apps and channels, the Hisense Roku TV is a festival of streaming options. It’s ease of use makes it accessible to many, and assembly is as simple as slotting in the feet and tightening the screws. Sound quality is better than expected, with a big, breezy presentation. The Hisense Roku TV is an enjoyable set, perfect for those after a fuss free TV experience.
- read our Hisense Roku B7120 TV review
4. Samsung UE43TU7100
An excellent 43-inch TV
- Easy setup
- Solid picture quality
- Amazing value for money
- 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.
- read our Samsung UE43TU7100 review
5. Samsung UE50TU7020
Impressive features and performance
- Detailed, natural-looking image
- Easy to set up
- eARC support
- Fast gaming performance
- 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.
- read our Samsung UE50TU7020 review
6. Hisense 55U8QFTUK
Mostly good, but not without issues
- Enjoyable 4K HDR performance
- Solid upscaling
- Good build quality
- Decent sound
- Multi-HDR support
- 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.
We do like the audio from the integrated speaker system that’s fine with standard content, and more expansive with Atmos. This Hisense is an enjoyable set, with a few rough edges.
- read our Hisense 55U8QFTUK review
7. Philips 50PUS8545
An affordable Ambilight TV
- Bright, colourful picture
- Multi-HDR support
- Surprisingly decent Vivid mode
- Solid motion handling
- 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.
- read our Philips 50PUS8545 ‘The One’ review
8. Panasonic TX-50HX600
Solid smarts, solid picture, solid price
- Natural-looking presentation
- Dolby Vision HDR
- Easy assembly
- Freeview Play
- 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.
- read our Panasonic TX-50HX600 review
9. Hisense 65U7QFTUK
Good value 65-inch TV
- Improved motion performance
- Dolby Vision HDR
- Colourful images
- Affordable for a 65-inch telly
- Excellent gaming performance
- 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.
- read our Hisense 65U7QFTUK review
10. Toshiba 43UL2063DB
A budget set for smaller rooms
- Good size for second room/bedroom
- Dolby Vision
- Easy to set-up
- Good sound
- 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.
- read our Toshiba 43UL2063DB review
How we test best cheap TVs
Every TV that passes through our doors gets put through a series of tests and naked eye checks to gauge its overall picture quality and optimal settings. Key things we look out for are screen uniformity, black level, maximum brightness and colour vibrancy/accuracy. We also check input lag to make sure gamers won’t lose their edge when playing online.
A variety of test footage is used to cover every type of scene, so we can assess a 4K TV’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it performs against the competition.
Sound quality isn’t forgotten, either – we give the built-in speakers a thorough listen to determine whether you’ll need to invest in a soundbar or speaker system to beef things up.
If you’re interested in checking out sets other than the best cheap TVs, have a look through our main best ofs below models for everything from cheap 4K HDR TVs, to the latest from LG, Samsung and Panasonic.