The best 50-inch TVs are the perfect way to get 4K quality and full smart TV features when you have a space that’s too small for a 55-inch or 65-inch TV. But you can still get a great TV without compromising to get the right size! Our guide, What size TV should you buy? shows that a 50-inch TV is best for viewing when you’re sitting about four feet from the unit. That makes them a great match for a bedroom or small apartment.
Today’s best 50-inch TVs come with many of the same features you’ll find in their 55-inch counterparts, such as 4K resolution for a sharp image and high-dynamic range (HDR) for great contrast. They all include smart platforms, which include apps for your favorite streaming services so you don’t need a separate streaming device.
Going with a 50-inch TV means you may miss out on some higher-end features, which are generally found in 55-inch and bigger TVs. But you will be able to save a few dollars versus the bigger sets that you’ll find.
What are the best 50-inch TVs?
We don’t usually test 50-inch TVs specifically, but more often focus on the 55- and 65-inch versions that have the same features and performance. When a manufacturer makes a great 55- or 65-inch TV, we expect the smaller model will be just as good, so we’ve based our picks for 50-inch TVs on our experience with the larger versions.
Our top 50-inch TV pick is the Samsung Q80T QLED TV, which features an impressive set of features and performance to match. With its crisp and vivid QLED screen, there’s no other 50-inch TV that comes close to the colors and contrast the Q80T delivers. It produces deeper blacks than a traditional LCD TV, similar to what an OLED can do. It handles fast action scenes and fast-paced games well. It has an easy to use and powerful smart operating system, and several voice assistants to choose from. But you’ll pay for the privilege of the experience, with this set costing twice as much as many other 50-inch TVs.
If you’re on a stricter budget, check out the Vizio M-Series Quantum M50Q7-H1, one of our favorite value TVs. It uses quantum dot technology to make colors pop more than a regular LCD and local dimming helps HDR appear all the more powerful. While its SmartCast operating system doesn’t offer as many apps as Samsung’s, it has improved with its latest version. If apps matter and you’re sticking to your budget, you may prefer the Hisense H8G, which runs Android TV and taps into all the goodness that comes with the Android universe.
The best 50-inch TVs in 2021
When you want the best 50-inch TV you can buy, the Samsung Q80T QLED is it. No other 50-inch TV can match its combination of performance and features. Its QLED screen delivers beautiful colors, deep blacks, and excellent brightness — all the things you want in a picture. It features a full array local dimming backlight to help it achieve its excellent contrast. Gamers will love its low lag time and fast 120Hz refresh rate.
The Q80T is packed with smarts, too. It uses Samsung’s Tizen platform, which includes most apps you could want. You have a choice of voice assistants: Samung’s Bixby, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Like other Samsung TVs, it doesn’t support Dolby Vision but it can do HDR10+. The best will cost you, however, as the Q80T runs more than twice as much as the more affordable units on this list.
The Vizio M-Series Quantum is considered a value 50-inch TV, but the low price doesn’t mean you have to compromise on picture quality. The M-Series Quantum delivers an impressive overall watching experience, thanks to its quantum-dot tech. The quantum dots boost the color and its full-array local dimming backlight translates to excellent HDR performance, including Dolby Vision support. It’s bright, sharp and even produces better-than-average sound.
The M-Series Quantum runs Vizio’s SmartCast 3.0, which has most, but not all, the apps you’ll want. With Chromecast and AirPlay 2 built in, you can stream content from your mobile device easily to overcome any gaps in the app selection. It’s lag time is decent for casual gaming, but hard-core players may notice a delay. Given its price for the performance you get, this is the TV we’d recommend for most people.
Read our full Vizio M-Series Quantum review.
The Hisense H8G Quantum Series is neck-and-neck with Vizio’s M-Series Quantum when it comes to the best value in a 50-inch TV. Like the M-Series, the H8G employs quantum dot technology to boost color performance. This slick-looking set benefits from a full-array local dimming backlight, which helps it contrast.
The H8G is bright and sharp overall, and it’s low lag time could make it a better affordable choice for gamers than the M-Series. We did see some issues with blurring during fast motion scenes, likely a result of the 60Hz refresh rate. While it’s color reproduction wasn’t as good as the M-Series, it was still respectable. Its implementation of Android TV is one of the best we’ve used and almost any app you could want is available. You can also send content from your mobile device to the TV via Chromecast. Whether you pick the Vizio M-Series or the Hisense H8G, you’ll get a lot for your money.
Read our full Hisense H8G Quantum Series review.
Further proving that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot from a 50-inch TV, the TCL 5-Series brings tremendous colors and contrast to your room for under $500. The TCL 6-Series is one of our favorite 55-inch TVs, but isn’t available in 50 inches. The 5-Series offers many of the same features as the 6-Series, including a QLED screen as well as very low lag time and auto low latency mode, which gamers will appreciate. It also uses Roku’s operating system, which offers tons of apps and is easy to navigate.
However, the 5-Series comes up a little short of the 6-Series in brightness and HDR performance, and it also only has a refresh rate of 60Hz. But if you can’t squeeze a 6-Series into your space and you’re looking for a Roku TV, the 5-Series is definitely worth consideration.
The Insignia 4K Fire Edition is a perfect fit for you if you’re enmeshed in Amazon’s ecosystem (or Echo system). Another great value TV in the 50-inch size that exceeds expectations, the Insignia Fire TV delivers good color range and support for HDR. The unit also produces better sound than many 50-inch TVs. The Fire TV operating system brings all the benefits of Amazon’s familiar interface and, of course, it has Alexa built in so you can use your voice to navigate and play content — as well as control other smart devices in your home.
While the color was rich, it wasn’t as accurate as we would have liked and the unit has limited viewing angles — it looks best when you’re right in front of it. And unfortunately, the TV interface is full of ads. While this TV can’t beat the Vizio M-Series for overall performance, it’s a worthy choice if you like the Amazon experience.
Read our full Insignia 4K Fire TV Edition review.
How to choose the best 50-inch TVs for you
When looking for a 50-inch TV, follow our TV Buying Guide tips. If you put some thought into what you need from a TV, you’ll be able to enjoy your purchase for years to come.
First, decide if you’re locked into a 50-inch model. If your space will allow for a larger unit, we recommend you go bigger — even if you think you’ll be happy with a smaller screen, a bigger one helps make the experience of watching more engaging. And moving up to a 55-inch TV will bring more options and features.
Expect to pay around $300 for most 50-inch TVs, although those with better features or an established brand name can cost $500 or more.
Consider which ports you need and how many. The number of HDMI ports you need depends on how many devices you plan to plug in — a streaming stick, game console or cable box, for example. Most of these TVs have four HDMI inputs, but some have three. If you plan to use a sound bar, you may need an optical digital audio or a 3.5 mm auxiliary output. You may also want a TV that supports Bluetooth so you can listen on your headphones without disturbing people around you.
How we test 50-inch TVs
Testing the best 50-inch TVs is a thorough process. We put every TV through our custom set of lab tests, measuring color gamut, color accuracy and brightness to objectively see which sets are the best for these key indicators. We also test for lag time, measuring to the millisecond how long it takes for content to travel from the original video source to the screen. We use these results to make numbers-based comparisons about color and display quality.
We spend hours with each set to see how our lab results translate into anecdotal performance. We also compare competing sets using a range of content across several sources. With that information, we can tell you which TVs look best, sound best and offer the best viewing experience.
Of course, we also consider the smart TV functions and apps for each TV, looking at everything from the remote control design to the voice interaction.