While 65-inch TVs tend to be the average size most buyers go with, that doesn’t mean that opting for something slightly smaller will be detrimental in terms of features, picture quality and price. Most TV makers have 55-inch options that are just as good, with the only loss being reduced screen size. And for anyone shopping for a TV on a budget, there’s often a significant price reduction when you go from 65 to 55 inches.
The best 55-inch TVs under $500 still have great features for gamers, streamers and movie lovers, and there are plenty of great sets in this category. These aren’t total budget buys either, as brands like Samsung, LG, TCL and Hisense all produce excellent TVs on the more affordable end of the price spectrum. On top of that, virtually all new TVs released in 2022 come with built-in smart features, so you won’t need to spend extra on a streaming device.
So what’s the very best 55-inch TV under $500? If we were pressed to make a decision, we would point you toward the Hisense 55-inch U6H ULED TV, which we recently featured in the SPY Smart Home Awards 2022. We think this is the best 55-inch TV under $500 in 2022, and there are plenty of reasons. Read on to learn more.
Why You Should Buy the Hisense 55-inch U6H ULED
- Incredibly bright
- Excellent colors and contrast
- Google TV streaming platform
- Only 60Hz refresh rate
- Light blooming around objects during dark scenes
Hisense continues to rise through the ranks of TV stardom, producing budget-friendly models that score big in the most important categories: quality, features and how much it costs.
The 55-inch U6H is billed as a ULED TV, which is Hisense’s internal jargon for LED lighting bolstered by an array of quantum dots. The result is a vibrant image packed with color and fine-tuned details, with 4K upscaling driving home the final picture. While motion clarity isn’t the top accolade here (only a 60Hz refresh rate), the phenomenal Google TV platform, HDR and Dolby Atmos capabilities and compatibility with both Google Assistant and Alexa make the Hisense U6H an easy choice for the best TV in the 55-inch range.
Full Review: The Hisense U6H ULED TV
Is There a Catch?
For such a phenomenal deal, it would seem that the Hisense 55-inch U6H is almost too good to be true regarding a 55-inch TV. And while there is plenty to love about this set, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with a small list of detriments. But fear not: Even the best 55-inch TVs that cost upwards of $2,000 still have bugs, glitches and other cons to contend with.
Regarding the 55-inch U6H, the TV’s biggest sore spot is its UHD upscaling. While this con doesn’t apply to viewing native 4K content, most viewers are watching non-4K sources when tuning in for a night of Netflix or basic cable (content that is 1080p HD or lower). And while the U6H will do its best to make that lower-resolution movie or show look closer to 4K, it doesn’t do much in that regard.
There are also some issues with light blooming around certain subjects. Gamers may want to look elsewhere for a TV that is better optimized to handle heavy action sequences (the U6H only delivers a 60Hz refresh rate). However, if these minor troubles don’t bother you, the Hisense 55-inch U6H is still a fantastic TV, and our favorite option for under $500.
Also Consider: TCL 55-inch 5-Series Roku TV
Though not our top pick for the best 55-inch TV under $500, this one is not to be overlooked. Roku-based TV sets are super simple to use, and TCL makes some of the best Roku-enabled TVs. Priced right at $500, its QLED screen provides a vibrant and stunning picture full of color thanks to quantum dot technology. Included are HDR support and Dolby Vision compatibility, making it pretty future-proof. The TV works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control if you can’t find your remote or don’t want the hassle of flipping through multiple inputs. Plus, the auto-game mode will magically optimize the unit to provide the best gaming experience around.
A Second Alternative: Amazon 55-inch Omni Series
Amazon entered the TV game a few years ago, first partnering with noteworthy brands to build the Fire TV smart platform into sets from Insignia, Toshiba, and a handful of others. Now Amazon has dipped both feet into the 4K TV marketplace with the formidable 55-inch Omni Series. On top of great picture, solid web performance and plenty of inputs, the Omni Series is built with Alexa households in mind. You can think of this TV as a giant Echo Show in many ways. The best part? You can even use the voice assistant when the set is turned off.
One of the best TVs released in 2021, the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series is still a very smart buy in 2022, especially for budget shoppers looking for the best TVs under $500.
Full Review: The Amazon Fire TV Omni Series
Another Option: Samsung 55-inch TU-7000 Series
Samsung is to TVs as Mickey Mouse is to the monolithic Disney company. Wherever you look, be it online or in stores, you will find Samsung TVs in all shapes, sizes and prices. For the budget-minded, there’s the 55-inch TU-7000. Featuring a 4K panel with excellent upscaling capabilities and HDR support, the Samsung Smart Hub is one of the best ways to unlock streaming content from big streamers like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. It’s not exactly a flagship set, but at its core, the TU-7000 looks and feels like a Samsung should.