The best cheap TV for gaming, now in 4K!
Sure, we’d all love to play our console games on a massive $4,000 OLED 4K TV, but for most of us, that’s just beyond our budget. In fact, many consumers balk at spending even $1,000 on a new TV. Thankfully, the best budget gaming TVs offer a surprising number of features with 4K resolutions, high-dynamic range, and even preloaded apps.
And if you already have a high-end 4K TV in the living room for watching Netflix, movies, and sports, then you can spend a lot less for a second TV for the basement or a kid’s room that will pull double duty as big gaming screen next to a gaming PC or console. Sure, you can get better color reproduction, viewing angles, brightness, and contrast if you spend more, but a cheap TV might surprise you with its features and image quality.
Whether you need a budget gaming TV for your new pad or a second TV for playing games, let us help you find one that delivers gaming greatness without breaking the bank.
TL;DR – These are the Best Cheap TVs for Gaming:
1. TCL 55R617
Best Budget 4K TV for Gaming
This is the priciest TV on this list, but those extra bucks make a big difference. The TCL 55R617 is the best low-cost TV around right now, period. Make sure to check out our TCL 55R617 (read our review) to really understand what makes this the best cheap TV out there. It’s Roku-enabled, which is basically standard for TCL sets right now.
Unlike some of the other best cheap TVs, this one is 4K and HDR, making it an enormously good value. Throw in the fact it’s a 55-inch TV set, has a great picture, and costs much less than comparable 4K HDR sets, and the TCL 55R617 is the best cheap TV for gaming, without a doubt.
2. TCL 40S325
Best Budget 1080p TV for Gaming
A quick glance at the list shows quite a few entries from TCL, but it’s because the company makes excellent TVs at even better prices. This 40-inch, 1080p set is no exception. If you don’t have an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, you can do without the 4K HDR, and 40-inches is a great size for bedrooms, dorm rooms, or anywhere else you want to stick one. It has Roku’s streaming software built in, just like its bigger siblings. If you want cheap but don’t need 4K, this one is perfect for gaming and streaming media.
3. Vizio E43-F1
Local Dimming on the Cheap
Vizio’s E Series line has garnered constant praise over the years as having one of the best pictures of any budget TV. The 43-inch Vizio E43-F1 is the smallest member of the E Series and features a 4K picture with HDR and a 60Hz refresh rate. The secret to its budget excellence is full-array local dimming for better contrast and deeper black levels.
4. Vizio E55-F1
Get a Bigger Screen for Less
The 55-inch model in Vizio’s excellent E-series serves up 4K, HDR, 60Hz refresh rate and local dimming. Vizio E Series features 10 dimming zones on this 55-inch, and smaller, models. (You get 12 zones on the 65- and 70-inch models and 16 on the largest 75-inch size.)
Having any number of dimming zones is more important than the actual number because it allows for a more dynamic picture with greater contrast and deeper blacks. Contrast is an important aspect of a TV particularly for gamers because you need to see details hiding in dark scenes in order to stay one step ahead of your enemies.
3. Toshiba 43LF621U19
Another Great Cheap 4K TV for Gaming
This Toshiba set has a lot of features for not a lot of money. You can also find it on sale on Amazon frequently, making it an even cheaper option for your gaming needs. Built-in Fire TV functionality is a nice feature, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber. But the real draw of the Toshiba is its 4K and HDR capabilities. If you have a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, this is a great choice for your 4K gaming needs on the cheap.
5. TCL 50S425
Best Cheap 55-inch TV for Gaming
As we mentioned in our best 4K TVs guide, this model has an absurdly low price for a giant 55-inch, 4K TV set. There’s one catch: its peak brightness isn’t really high enough to make HDR content really shine. So, while HDR is technically supported and will work with your HDR-enabled consoles, it won’t look all that much better than SDR.
But in every other way, this is an amazing deal. Huge size, great picture quality, low input lag, and built-in Roku software. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on the TCL 55R617 at the top of our list, this is a great, cheap 4K TV for gaming with a few tradeoffs that warrant its lower price tag.
6. LG 49LJ5100
Another Great Cheap 1080p TV for Gaming
The LG is a solid choice for gaming, thanks to a composite/component input for older consoles and 2 HDMI ports for your newer gear. It also has LG’s Color Master Engine, which renders bright colors whether you’re watching movies or playing games.
7. TCL 32S325
Best Cheap 32-inch TV for Gaming
What’s that? You want something really cheap? Like… really cheap? You give up some screen size (it’s 32 inches), but that’s to be expected. However, you’re also sacrificing resolution, which is cut down to a high-definition only 720p. On TVs 32-inches and smaller, this is pretty common. You can get 1080p in a 32-inch TV, but you have to pay almost twice as much as this TCL set. And unless you sit really close, you won’t notice the difference that much. Not on a screen this small.
Input lag is only so-so and image quality isn’t the greatest. After all, we’re talking about a TV that costs less than the collector’s edition version of some video games. You’re just not going to find super-low input lag and pristine visuals in this price range. As ultra-low cost TVs go, TCL punches way above its weight here, but be aware of its drawbacks. You can also get it at.
What to look for in a Budget Gaming TV
The obvious advantage a TV has over a monitor is panel size. The larger the screen, the more immersive your games will seem. A larger screen also lets you sit a bit further away and not miss any details, an important consideration for console gamers with the freedom a wireless controller affords.
The tradeoff is a TV isn’t as responsive as a gaming monitor. Refresh rates and response times will be slower. You are looking at a 60Hz refresh rate on a TV and not the 144Hz or 240Hz refresh rates offered on speedy gaming monitors. And you can kiss 1ms response times goodbye and will be more in the 16ms to 32ms range with a TV.
Aside from a handful of pricey Samsung models with AMD FreeSync, you must also forgo variable refresh rate technology, which syncs your GPU’s output to your display’s refresh rate.
To 4K or not to 4k
It’s worth taking a moment to discuss whether or not you should buy a 4K TV. Even if you only have a console capable of 1080p gaming (a PS4 Slim or Xbox One S), there are a couple benefits to buying a 4K TV.
First, there’s High-Dynamic Range (HDR), a feature found almost exclusively in 4K TVs. However, that’s not to say all 4K TVs support HDR. Instead, you’ll should look for budget models featuring a peak brightness above 300 nits to get the full HDR effect.
Increasingly, games are starting to support HDR on the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S, and it can make a big difference in image quality. These games will look a lot better on a 4K TV with HDR support than on a 1080p TV without it.
Second, you’re running out of options anyway. If you’ve been shopping for a new TV anytime in the last year, you’ve probably noticed HD sets aren’t the dominant force in TVs they used to be. You’re hard pressed to find a new TV bigger than 49-inches in 1080p.
Manufacturers, and consumers too, have already moved on. If you do a quick search of 55-inch TVs on Amazon, you’re going to find the results are overwhelmingly 4K. That almost sounds concerning, but the prices on 4K TVs have come down much more dramatically, and in a much shorter time, than similarly sized televisions during the HD era.
Bargain brands like Vizio and TCL have definitely helped push the price of 4K sets down across the board. It’s not hard to find a 55-inch 4K TV with tons of features for less than $400, which is pretty amazing if you look at the historical prices of televisions. As little as 20 years ago, 32-inch CRTs were out of reach of most people. Now a 32-inch TV seems almost quaint.
It’s almost surprising how quickly 4K is taking over. You’ve long been able to get 4K computer monitors, but with the new round of the best graphics cards for gaming, you can now actually take advantage of all those pixels. Gaming laptops, too, are starting to squeeze in those new GPUs, making 4K closer to the norm than the exception. So what’s next for display technology? Why, 8K of course.