Best cheap TVs 2020: Which budget TV you should buy

Trusted Reviews ranks the best cheap TVs and the best value TVs – featuring smaller sets as well as bigger UHD ones.

Which is the best budget TV for most people?

If you’re after bargains, there are plenty to be had with this selection of affordable TVs. Most of the models listed were launched within the last year, but there are also some models from 2018 that offer excellent value for money if you’re not fussed about having the latest features.

For less than £600, the Panasonic TX-50GX800B is a good shout. With HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR, it’s a mid-range TV that produces a very cinematic-looking image and supports Dolby Atmos sound all at an affordable price.

For those who have their eye on a set that’s smaller and cheaper, but is still capable of excellent 4K quality, Samsung’s UE43RU7020 fits the bill.

It’s not often that OLED TVs aren’t often cheap, but there are a few affordable sets to be found from Hisense’s O8B to LG’s OLED55C8 from 2018. £1000 mark remains the price for these types of sets, but with these two sets they offer great picture quality.

Below is a list of the best cheap TVs we’ve tested. For more details, scroll down for brief summary and a link to the full review.

  • Best value 4K TV: Panasonic TX-50GX800B
  • Great value: Panasonic TX-50GX700B
  • Great smart TV: Hisense O8B
  • Best small TV: Samsung UE43RU7020
  • Best budget QLED: Samsung QE49Q60R
  • Best affordable OLED: LG OLED55C8
  • Best budget big screen: Hisense U8B
  • Best all-round budget 4K TV: Hisense A6200
  • Best budget Dolby Vision TV: Toshiba 55UL7A63DB

Related: Best TV


Panasonic TX-50GX800

1. Panasonic TX-50GX800B

Sets a new benchmark for price and performance

Pros

  • Cinematic picture performance
  • Multi HDR support – HDR10, HLG, HLG Photo, Dolby Vision and HDR10+
  • Classic good looks

Cons

  • Limited black level performance
  • Brightest HDR performance requires Dynamic image preset

If you’ve yet to wade into 4K, Panasonic’s TX-50GX800B represents as safe and sure a bet as we’ve seen.

Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are supported, so the GX800B will be able to drum up the best possible picture quality from 4K content. Picture performance is impressive with crisp detail, lush colours and a presentation that’s cinematic in its feel. Sound quality is respectable, and there’s Atmos compatibility for sound systems with the means to take advantage of it.

With an accessible smart service, good features and great price, the TX-50GX800B is the benchmark every other affordable TV needs to match.

2. Panasonic TX-50GX700B

Great value for its size and price

Pros

  • Composed, believable images from any source
  • Good upscaling
  • Fine OS
  • Not bad sound

Cons

  • Some backlight niggles
  • Not the most dynamic pictures

A rung below the GX800B is the GX700B. It’s here where the features begin the fall off, but you still get a mightily impressive TV for the price.

Dolby Vision is dropped, as is Atmos and voice control, but if you aren’t fussed about those features then the GX700B is an example that focuses on doing what it does best with an impressive picture with a strong sense of contrast, convincing colour balance and good motion stability.

Even the audio performance is decent for a TV of this size and price. While there are some backlighting issues, and the picture suffers from an overall lack of dynamism, the GX700B is a great value TV for those not looking to push the boat out on their next TV purchase.

Hisense O8B

3. Hisense H55O8BUK

A very affordable OLED TV

Pros

  • Impressive picture quality
  • Great blacks and contrast
  • Simple but effective smart platform
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Limited HDR brightness
  • No HDR10+ support

The H55O8BUK is Hisense’s first OLED and it’s a strong effort.

It offers all the benefits that you get with a brand spanking new 4K OLED TV but for a considerably lower price. The O8B sports an ultra-slim and attractive design, excellent level of build quality and with the VIDAA U smart platform is relatively simple, but has all the catch-up and on-demand services you’d expect.

There’s no space for AI picture enhancements or Alexa/Google assistants, but the 4K HDR performance is impressive and the presence of Atmos offers better sound.

Samsung UE43RU7020

4. Samsung UE43RU7020

Samsung’s cheapest 4K TV is an impressive one

Pros

  • Good spec
  • Brilliant OS
  • Impressive upscaling
  • Rapid response time
  • Great overall picture performance

Cons

  • Eco mode should be avoided
  • Nasty sound
  • Poor remote control

Tucked right at the bottom of Samsung’s 4K TV range, the RU7020 is the smallest and most affordable set the South Korean manufacturer sells. And it’s a pretty good one, too.

It avoids the cheap plasticky build that afflicts cheaper sets and boasts some decent features for its size and status. HDR10+ is available, and gaming performance is a speedy 10ms, making this a very viable gaming monitor for a smaller room.

It proves great with native 4K content with a convincing, natural look, and isn’t shabby at upscaling sub-4K content either. The Eco mode is one that’s best left unused due to some iffy HDR implementation, and you will need to supplement this TV with an external sound system as the sound is weak.

5. Samsung QE49Q60R

An enjoyable all-round package

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Pros

  • AI upscaling
  • Expressive colours
  • Robust build quality
  • Super-fast Game mode

Cons

  • Limited HDR performance
  • No Dolby Vision

Samsung’s Q60R pitches the QLED TVs at a more affordable price (and audience), and it succeeds in most respects with an fairly accomplished outing

It doesn’t possess the same picture quality as the step-up models, partly as the panel is edge-lit, but it still has the Quantum processor 4K and with that comes very good upscaling performance and 100% colour volume for vibrant, expressive images.

Game mode is exceptionally quick, with a response of 10ms, and the SmartThings interface has all the apps you’ll ever need, including BT Sport and Apple TV, both of which you can’t find elsewhere.

LG OLED55C8PLA

6. LG OLED55C8PLA

A gorgeous OLED set from LG

Pros

  • Sharp, colourful picture
  • Excellent upscaling
  • WebOS still rocks
  • Low input lag

Cons

  • Motion could be better
  • Better suited to darker rooms

The LG OLED55C8 is a 2018 model and comes armed with the Alpha 9 processor, allowing for a brighter picture plus better sharpness, noise reduction and colour management.

Black levels are perfect and there’s more detail to be found in the shadows, too. Brightness levels are high enough to make for a properly dynamic picture. Unless you’re viewing in sunlight or a very bright room, it’s hard to suggest that OLED isn’t bright enough – LG has torpedoed that argument.

If that weren’t impressive enough, it’s low latency makes it an excellent choice for gamers.

Best TV

7. Sony KD-65XF9005

A mid-range TV that should worry pricier TVs

Pros

  • Excellent contrast for a mid-range TV
  • Impressive colours and sharpness
  • Class-leading motion processing

Cons

  • Android TV is still a clumsy smart TV system
  • Occasional backlight blooming around bright objects
  • Limited viewing angles

The XF90 is a direct-lit model, which is a rare treat these days, with direct backlighting and local dimming that are far superior to the common edge-lit/zonal dimming configuration.

If you are seeking good contrast and finding that the top OLED models are just out of your price range, the XF90 is well worth checking out.

Hisense U8B

8. Hisense U8B

An inexpensive big-screen for TV lovers and sports fans

Pros

  • 65 big inches at a reasonable price 
  • HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR
  • Vibrant presentation

Cons

  • Limited black level performance 
  • Blooming and halo backlight issues

If you want to get a big screen without having to splash too much cash, Hisense’s U8B would make a decent option.

Images pop on the U8B with is vibrant picture presentation. Black performance is limited and, as is the expectation for TVs around this price, screen brightness isn’t at the level to do HDR images justice. However, this telly does support Dolby Vision, so it’ll be able to extract a better picture performance from some HDR content.

Factor in its smart TV platform, along with its range of features, and the U8B puts in a solid overall performance.

9. Toshiba 55UL7A63DB

Limited by its budget aspirations, but decent value

Pros

  • Very cheap for what’s on offer
  • Impressively slim design
  • Dolby Vision support

Cons

  • Backlight clouding, especially with HDR
  • Not bright enough to do HDR much justice
  • Limited viewing angles

As a cheap Dolby Vision enabled set, the Toshiba 55UL7A63DB, is certainly worth considering.

The inclusion of Dolby Vision is a plus, and it arrives with a decent selection of streaming apps – not something that’s a given at this price . And the best thing about it is its price. Dolby Vision for less than £500 is not to be sniffed at.

You will need to factor in its standard HDR performance isn’t bright enough, and you’ll need partner it with an external audio system to give the sound more weight and articulation, but this TV nonetheless offers decent value.


How we test 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.

What should I look for in a cheap TV?

Gone are the days when spending less than £1000 got you a chunky, 32-inch box with a disappointing screen. TVs have improved no end; they are slimmer, more attractive and boast a wide range of features. Most important of all, though, they offer a far better viewing experience.

If you’ve had an ear to the ground in the world of TV tech, you’ll probably have heard the terms 4K and UHD bandied about. We explain both technologies in more detail in our article What is 4K TV and Ultra HD? Put simply, however, 4K is a picture technology that quadruples the pixel count of Full HD, creating sharper, more lifelike images.

Related: Smart TVs explained

Some brands choose to interchange 4K with the term UHD. Technically, however, there’s a difference. Used correctly, 4K describes the 4096 x 2160 resolution first introduced in digital cinemas. UHD refers to the 3840 x 2160 resolution you’ll find in 16:9 ratio TVs, which is what you actually take home.

Full HD isn’t dead, however. While not quite as new or exciting, Full HD TVs remain excellent options. This is largely because the core technology at the heart of the best screens – such as black levels, contrast ratio and colour accuracy – is consistently higher than ever before.

Those who yearn for a more complete home cinema set-up may also want to consider investing in a soundbar, as excellent audio can make a huge difference to your viewing experience.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor