The Top Five
TVs Under 500 Dollars
Best Smart TV Reviews 2018
smart-tv
Best value TCL S517 5 Series TV Review

TCL S517 5 Series TV Review

I'm going to say it loudly for the people in the back: The TCL 5 Series is currently the best 4K smart TV right now. It comes at such a low price and offers so much that you cannot ignore it. The contrast ratio is very high and well above the ...

User rating:
7.8
2 Vizio E Series TV Review (E50-E1, E70-E3, E75-E3, E80-E3)

Vizio E Series TV Review (E50-E1, E70-E3, E75-E3, E80-E3)

I always talk about how this has been a great year for cheap smart TVs, and after I was able to finish my Vizio E Series TV review this year only got better. There are some obvious flaws to the E Series from Vizio such as its poor viewing angle, ...

User rating:
7.1
3 2017 Sony X720E 4K Smart TV

2017 Sony X720E 4K Smart TV

The Sony X720E is a solid options for any one not only looking for an entry level smart TV, but also for one as a PC monitor. The Chroma subsampling is very good despite lacking 1080p @ 120 Hz support. With that being said, the contrast ratio is ...

User rating:
7.3
$498.00 $599.99 Check Price
Full Review
4 TCL S405 S Series (43S405, 49S405, 55S405, 65S405)

TCL S405 S Series (43S405, 49S405, 55S405, 65S405)

Forget what you know about cheap TVs for sale because this TV shattered previous notions of what you should expect from a cheaper TV. With a decent contrast ratio, good motion handling and a great input lag you will be able to do almost anything ...

User rating:
7.3
$429.99 $599.99 Check Price
Full Review
5 TCL S305 1080p Series

TCL S305 1080p Series

The year is 2017 and saving money on TVs seems impossible. Cheap TVs for sale are scarce. Then TCL annouced the 2017 S Series 1080p S305 model of TV. Your prayers have been answered. The S305 series pack a punch while not burning a hole in your ...

User rating:
7.3

Best Smart TVs of 2018

Buying Guide and Advice

How I Find The Best TVs

If the above smart TVs didn’t work out, I recommend you read below to help yourself find a good deal. I’ve organized some quick info on how I determine the best televisions for any kind of criteria. I go over features, prices, prices histories, some frequently asked questions and even share the most recent changes to my Top 5 smart TVs under 500 dollars.

Are Cheap TVs for Sale Worth It?

Cheap TVs for sale are absolutely worth it. They have a much smaller price margin when compared to larger TVs. You can see this from the chart below.

price-chart-trt

There are three different things to note when looking at this graph. The three colors.

  • Yellow is for a TV that is often too cheap to be true. You’ll often be lacking features or better performing basics that a normally priced TV would have.
  • Green is for TVs that are often reasonably priced for the features they offer. You’re likely to get a deal when you find a TV size within the green prices.
  • Red is for TVs that are often over priced. They do not offer a considerable amount of advantages for the features they often charge for. This is also when often times you are charged a price premium for a brands name. Such as Sony or Samsung.

When looking at larger TVs for sale it is easy to see that there is lots of competition, but also that there is a large margin of high and low prices. The same cannot be said for smaller TVs. They do not offer a large variety of features and the cost of manufacturing is much lower.

This means that there is less competition is terms of feature diversity and high-end costs. You’ll simply just be saving money on smaller TVs. So expect that when you’re looking for  TV under 500 dollars that it is likely to be a smaller TV.

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What Features Can You Expect?

immersion-versus-features

You can expect a good amount features to be honest. Combining information from the TV size chart and from the price range chart, you can make an expected Immersion versus Features chart to help illustrate what you’re likely to get.

Some common features that many cheap TVs share are:

  • Strong contrast ratios
  • Decent motion handling
  • Average input variety
  • Average input lag
  • Good smart features


A large part of how this works is due to the fact many TV manufacturers produce a model for more than one size. Sometimes even a very small size that can be affordable. This means the same features lay over multiple price points. Remembering this can be huge when trying to hunt down a deal.

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TV Viewing Distance Size Chart

I’ve organized a very common viewing distance chart that will help determine what size of TV you should be looking for to properly fit the space you’re trying to fill. I go more in depth inside another article I’ve written which you can find here.

The biggest things to remember when looking for a TV’s proper size is first the level of immersion a TV will offer. This plays a large role as the greater level of immersion the more ‘lost’ you will feel in whatever you decide to watch. Though the sizes of TVs under 500 dollars are not too large, you can often times haggle for some more immersion than you normally would think.

TV Size Width Height Area
32″ 27.9″ 15.7″ 438 in2
70.9 cm 39.9 cm 0.283 m2
40″ 34.9″ 19.6″ 684 in2
88.6 cm 49.8 cm 0.441 m2
43″ 37.5″ 21.1″ 791 in2
95.3 cm 53.6 cm 0.511 m2
50″ 43.6″ 24.5″ 1068 in2
110.7 cm 62.2 cm 0.689 m2
55″ 47.9″ 27.0″ 1293 in2
121.7 cm 68.6 cm 0.835 m2
60″ 52.3″ 29.4″ 1538 in2
132.8 cm 74.7 cm 0.992 m2
65″ 56.7″ 31.9″ 1809 in2
144.0 cm 81.0 cm 1.166 m2
70″ 61.0″ 34.3″ 2092 in2
154.9 cm 87.1 cm 1.349 m2
75″ 65.4″ 36.8″ 2407 in2
166.1 cm 93.5 cm 1.553 m2

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500 Dollar Candidates

I had a tough time finding the best TV under 500 dollar because there are not a lot of options, but if you’d like to look at them all I’ve organized them below. There’s also some options for big discounts and larger price points if you’re thinking about jumping up a weight class.

  • Discounts
  • Under 500
  • Under 1000
  • Under 2000
  • Over 2000

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FAQ

Do I recommend refurbished TVs?

I actually have a good article over refurbished smart TVs with their pros and cons. In short: I do not recommend these types of televisions too often, but they can potentially save you money depending on the situation.

How do I know if I need a wall-mount?

This is actually quite simple once you know what you’re looking for. You should not be looking down towards your smart TV nor be looking more than 15 degrees up towards it either. I cover this topic more thoroughly inside of my TV Viewing Distance article.

What are the most important features of a smart TV?

You’ll want to look for a good series of native contrast ratios, low response times, 4K support, and the ability to prevent reflections or glare when hunting for a good television. This is especially true when you have a small budget as with the top smart TVs under 500 dollars.

Which TV will be best for video games or sports?

For video games, you will want a low input lag. This helps the TV actually show the changes in the game you make with your controller inputs. As for sports, the best addition to a good picture is a low response time. This helps the action seem smooth and helps prevent eye-tracking.

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Changelog

6/4/18
Added: TCL 55S517, Vizio E50-E3 E Series 2017, Sony 43X720E, TCL 55S405, and TCL 49S305
Removed: N/A

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