TVs are a fairly predictable commodity. They haven’t suffered from the same problems as smartphones or laptops where the price skyrockets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a better product. TVs don’t have that problem. The higher-end TVs cost more because they have better picture quality, more modern features, and more modern designs. However, those on a budget still have options. There are some above average 4K TVs that don’t cost a ton of money.
We do want to say up front that you won’t get super high-end features on all of these models. If you have a bit more to spend, we recommend scraping up and saving around $1000 to $2000 if you really want all these bells and whistles. However, if the extras aren’t so important to you, a budget 4K TV should do more than good enough for most. Here are the best cheap 4K TVs in 2018!
Related: 1080p vs 4K – do you really need 4K?
We start our list off with the Insignia DR620NA18. It’s not an imaginative name by any stretch. However, it’s a fairly competent sub-$500 4K TV. It ranges from a 43-inch variant for $279.99 to a 65-inch variant for $650.99. There isn’t a whole ton to say about the TV. It’s adequate for most applications, including watching TV or movies and it’s okay for gaming as well. The color accuracy and screen brightness are above average for this price range. It doesn’t get bright enough for HDR content and it doesn’t have a wide color gamut for it either. Thus, we only recommend this for people who don’t have HDR content or aren’t interested in that kind of stuff. This one also features Roku for its smart TV OS. Roku is an outstanding platform second only to Android TV. Otherwise, it’s a perfectly reasonable bedroom TV. However, those going for the 65-inch variant have enough cash for a slightly smaller, but much better TV. We only recommend this if you need something smaller for less than $300.
The Samsung NU7100 is Samsung’s entry-level range of TVs. They also make for decent cheap 4K TVs. The TV has a lot going for it. That includes an above average contrast ratio, decent color accuracy, and above average gray uniformity. That makes it good for gaming, sports, and TV especially. However, that’s about as far as this TV swings. Its HDR capabilities are below average. In this case, not using HDR would be better than actually using HDR. Samsung’s Tizen OS is a decent smart TV platform as well. This TV comes in a bunch of sizes from 40-inches to 75-inches. The 40-inch variant and the 55-inch variant for $599.99 are both excellent deals. However, even at $599.99, you can find better 55-inch TVs.
TCL S405 and R615/R617
TCL is, by far, the best distributor of cheap 4K TVs. Their TVs frequently swing far above their price range and we’re not sure how TCL does it. They have two cheap 4K TVs for consideration. The first is the S405 lineup. It does a fairly decent job for a cheap TV. The 55-inch variant goes for around $379.99 and that’s not on sale. It is, by far, the best 55-inch TV in its price range and the one we would recommend first. You can step up to their R615/R617 lineup for a few hundred more bucks and, honestly, we recommend that if you can. The R615/R617 include modern features like HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support, a full-array local dimming display, better color accuracy, better black levels, and better response times for gamers. The 55-inch variant of that is $599.99 and, frankly, it’s the best value of any TV on this list if you can swing it.
Toshiba Fire TV (2018)
The Toshiba Fire TV is an okay value for the money. This TV is very similar to the Insignia above. It doesn’t have HDR capbilities and its picture quality is just okay. However, you can get a 50-inch one of these for $399.99 and that makes it a decent value. Let’s talk about what this TV does well. The contrast ratio is pretty decent and the brightness is good enough for most content. The black levels are actually pretty good, especially for this price point. The biggest issue seems to be color accuracy. This TV has no picture modes and you can only play with the RGB sliders like old school TVs. In 2018, we expect better control over color and at least some white balance options. If you can get the picture looking decent, you may be happy with this TV. It also uses Amazon’s Fire OS for its smart TV platform. It’s okay, but we’ve seen better. We only recommend this TV if you have less than $400 to spend and absolutely must have a 50-inch TV.
Vizio E-series and M-series 2018
Vizio is right up there with TCL when it comes to cheap 4K TVs. They have two models that fall into the budget category. They are the E-series and M-series TVs. The E-series represents the cheaper of the two. You can get a fairly large TV that does a decent job for not that much money. The 65-inch E-series is $799.99 and that’s really inexpensive for that size. The E-series is a lot like the TCL S405. The picture quality and most specs are just okay. Vizio’s smart TV platform is horrible, but both the E-series and M-series come with Chromecast built-in. We recommend using that. Those that can swing slightly more money should check out the M-series. It has vastly better color accuracy, better black levels, better gray uniformity, and it’s just a better all-around TV. The 55-inch variant of the M-series runs for $699.99, but it’s easily among the top two or three best TVs for under $1000. The E-series is great if you need something very cheap. The M-series is great period, but it’s also fairly inexpensive compared to most of its competitors.
If we missed any great cheap 4K TVs, tell us about them in the comments! You can check out more of our TV stuff by clicking here!