Best 48, 49, 50-inch TVs 2022: smaller screens for every budget

Samsung TV in living room as family watches
(Image credit: Samsung)
Editor's Note: December 2022

The LG C1 remains at the top of our list of the best 48- to 50-inch TVs owing to its excellent picture quality, solid features, and affordable price. The C1 is a 2021 model, but its combination of features and performance make it as relevant today as many other top TVs.

A recent addition to this list is LG’s A2 series OLED TV, a budget-priced 2022 model that also has impressive picture performance. Now that we’re into December, winter sales will make both the C1 and A2 series more affordable than ever, so now is  a great time to look for a deal on these TVs.

Matt Bolton, Senior Editor – TV & Audio

The best 48, 49, and 50-inch TVs are actually the best TVs for the majority of people. If you don’t fancy the investment in a huge screen or perhaps just want something that won’t take up the whole room, a 48, 49, or 45-inch TV is the perfect option. At these sizes, you can still make the most of 4K resolution, luxuriate in the colourful delights of HDR - or High Dynamic Range - and really appreciate the technological wizardry at work in modern screens. And even better, you’re not going to have to sell a kidney to pay for it. 

The other piece of good news is that you have a wealth of choice when it comes to this size of screen. Manufacturers thankfully now understand that we don’t all need to fill a wall with a screen. Plus, it used to be rare that OLED TVs would drop below 55-inches but improvements in screen manufacturing processes mean now you can find the best OLED TVs at the right size for you. In fact many of the best TVs with the latest innovations in screen tech are available at this 50-inch sweet spot so there’s no need to worry about having to find the space or cash for a 65-inch OLED behemoth to have the ultimate home cinema experience. 

There’s even good news if you’re playing on console or PC. You’ll find some of the TVs below are also some of the best gaming TVs too so you can truly have it all at this size of screen. OK, we say all but none of these are the best 8K TVs but that’s only because you wouldn’t appreciate that resolution at this size. Everything else is here for the taking.  

So with all of that in mind, let’s dive into the best 48, 49, and 50-inch TVs. If you want to go smaller for a bedroom or kitchen, we’ve also got a guide to the best 40-inch TVs and if you want to go up a little, check out our breakdown of the best 55-inch TVs.  

Best 48- to 50-inch TVs: the list

LG C1 OLED TV in modern living room

(Image credit: LG)
The best 48-inch TV for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful 4K HDR picture
+
Four HDMI 2.1 ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Reflective glass surface
-
No HDR10+

The LG C1 launched in 2021, and is now available for an incredible cheap price – and when you balance that with its future-proofed connectivity feature and tremendous image quality, it's an incredible-value buy today. 

You can expect breathtaking 4K HDR images, with Dolby Vision (but not HDR10+), along with OLED's trademark deep blacks, rich colors and infinite contrast ratio. LG's image processor features 'AI' smarts to between distinguish between objects and their backgrounds, and help make sure that any upscaled HD videos look very nearly as good as natively 4K movies. 

This stellar OLED TV packs in four dedicated HDMI 2.1 ports all with 4K 120Hz and VRR support (ideal for next-gen gaming), and it even comes with a new Game Optimizer menu that gives you the option to quickly adjust brightness, contrast and latency levels on the fly.

The LG C1 isn’t flawless, as we did encounter issues around how the new a9 Gen 4 processor upscales faces, and how reflective the all-glass screen is during daylight hours, but the issues are few and far between. Overall you're getting a knockout OLED TV, and it's a great investment at this price – depite being slightly older, it'll last for years and years.

Read more: LG C1 review


The Samsung BU8500 tv against a blue background

(Image credit: samsung)
The best affordable 50-inch 4K TV

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: LED
Smart TV: Tizen
HDR: HDR, HDR10, HLG,

Reasons to buy

+
Accomplished 4K picture performance
+
Very acceptable specification at the price
+
Slim and (relatively speaking) quite elegant

Reasons to avoid

-
Has its limits when upscaling
-
Sound is quite hard and thin

The Samsung BU8500 is one of our top picks because it's a great all-rounder TV, delivering up-to-the-minute functionality, discreet looks, and rock-solid build quality at an affordable price. In our review we wrote that it's fantastic value for money: "For the price, it's very hard for anything to beat the assured consistency of quality that Samsung delivers here."

There's a 4K HDR specification—although it's without Dolby Vision—as well as a trio of HDMI inputs, voice-control, two (count ‘em!) remote controls and a Tizen smart TV interface featuring all the apps you want at this sort of money. It looks great too, it's slimmer and more understated than flagship TVs from a few years ago. 

The picture performance isn't a match for some of the best TVs on the market at the moment, but it's a fantastic option if you're after a smaller TV or one that's under $1000/£1000. During our testing, we found that in every significant area of picture-making, the Samsung’s never less than competitive—and its backlighting is beautifully implemented, which helps the impression of quality no end.

We're recommending the 50-inch version here, as it's a perfect size for many homes. But it's available in a range of different sizes from 43 inches up to 75 inches, depending on what you're looking for. 

Read more: Samsung BU8500 (55BU8500) review


the Samsung 50Q80B tv pictured in a brightly lit living room

(Image credit: samsung)

3. Samsung 50Q80B

The best mid-range 50-inch TV

Specifications

Screen size: 49.5 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: LED
Smart TV: Tizen
HDR: HDR, HDR10+, HLG

Reasons to buy

+
Wide viewing angle 
+
Great 4K upscaling 

Reasons to avoid

-
Blacks not as deep as they could be

We're working on our full review of the Samsung 50Q80B. But until then, this TV enters our list because it's a fantastic mid-range choice if you're looking for a reliable, mid-range TV that comes in at 50-inches.

It's a TV we'd recommend for a number of different uses. First up, it has a wide viewing angle, so should fare well in awkward-shaped rooms. It's also a good option for gamers because it supports HDMI 2.1 across all four of its HDMI 2.1 ports, including the 4K 120Hz compatibility, ALLM, HGiG and VRR (including Freesync Premium Pro) aspects of next-gen console specification too. 

But if you just want it as a multi-purpose TV for shows and movies. Its built-in AI Quantum Processor 4K also allows for a degree of intelligence, meaning it can detect the type of content you’re watching and adjust its picture settings accordingly. It’s also accomplished where upscaling of sub-4K content is concerned, and uses some machine learning to attempt to bring greater three-dimensionality to on-screen images. 

Although this panel tech does mean blacks aren't always as deep and dark as they should be and you might notice some blooming due to local dimming.


the lg c2 oled tv on white background

(Image credit: LG)
The best 48-inch OLED

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful 4K/HDR picture
+
Four HDMI 2.1 ports
+
WebOS is fantastic

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of cable management
-
No HDR10+ support

The LG C2 is the best TV you can buy right now, so what's it doing so far down our list here? The short answer is that the smallest C2 doesn't have the same brightness booster as its larger siblings, so it's very good rather than absolutely amazing, and the very similar C1 is still available and much cheaper. The rest of the spec is identical to the larger C2 models, however, and that means full HDMI 2.1 support for PS5 and Xbox Series X, incredibly low lag (with game optimiser turned on), astonishing colour accuracy and LG's fantastic WebOS smart TV platform.

As you'd expect from an LG OLED the colour reproduction is excellent, and improved over the C1: where it tended to be a little warm sometimes this model is much more accurate. The blacks are wonderfully deep and contrast is excellent, with superb HDR that really makes movies and nature documentaries sing. 

We like this TV a lot. It delivers all the benefits of OLED without requiring a huge amount of room or an equally huge investment, and while the bigger C2s are even brighter this model is still very impressive. If you want a relatively small OLED, this is the one to buy.

Read more: LG C2 OLED review


Couple on sofa watches couple on park bench on Samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best high-end 50-inch TV for dazzling HDR

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel Type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+

Reasons to buy

+
Full array backlight
+
4K Quantum image processor
+
High peak brightness

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision
-
Not the prettiest QLED

The Samsung QN90A is one of the first 4K screens in 2021 to use the company’s hyped-up Neo QLED panels that sport a higher count of light emitting diodes per square inch than previous generations. The result is a brighter TV than before, if that’s even possible with Samsung, and one that can display a deeply satisfying array of colors. 

All Neo QLED TVs sport the higher-end Neo Quantum Processor 4K that uses a neural network to analyze images for better HD upscaling and Motion Xcelerator Turbo+ for better motion handling – all of which has really paid off for Samsung’s flagship screen. 

That said, there are a few looming issues this year that we can’t ignore, like the slight wobble of the pedestal stand, or the surprisingly lackluster sound quality that doesn’t befit a flagship 4K TV. There’s also no support for Dolby Vision still, which means you’re stuck with HDR10 on Netflix and HDR10+ elsewhere.

That's not a deal-breaker, but it does lower Samsung's 2021 flagship QLED TV to the number four spot on our best TV list.

Read more: Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review


Samsung The Frame smart TV hanging on wall while displaying painting, near orange chair

(Image credit: Samsung)
The most stylish 50-inch TV out there

Specifications

Screen size: 50 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully made
+
Customizable bezels

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Low brightness

You might be surprised to see a designer television in this small TV guide, but this art-minded Samsung TV is a shoo-in by bringing QLED picture quality and a chic design aesthetic to a reasonably sized screen.

The Frame's main feature is to blend in with your decor, with an Art Mode that displays classic artworks and an Ambient Mode for moody screensavers. Customizable bezels mean you'll be able to fully control the appearance and color of your set, too, whether you're wall-mounting among some real picture frames or placing it on a bedroom shelf for some late-night watching.

The Frame is more expensive than most on this list, but if you're after something that feels like a TV and more like an aesthetic adornment to a room, it's ideal.

You get a QLED screen so it's rich in colors, and offers good contrast overall – though it uses an edge-lit panel, so for the price you can find better image quality. But The Frame range has been a hit for a reason – people are happy to balance pure image quality with something that's more pleasing to the eye, and this achieves that.

Read more: Samsung The Frame (2021) review


LG A2 OLED TV angled left showing smart interface

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget OLED you can buy

Specifications

Screen size: 48 inches
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 Pro, Dolby Vision

Reasons to buy

+
Deep blacks and detailed shadows
+
Accurate out-of-box color (Filmmaker mode)
+
Affordable for an OLED TV

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks higher-level gaming features
-
Limited brightness compared with top OLED TVs
-
Unimpressive audio performance

Smaller OLED TVs are still fairly rare, but with the A2 LG shows the competition how it's done. The A series is LG's most affordable range, and while that means the A2 lacks some of the specifications of its more expensive siblings it still delivers an awful lot of TV for an impressively low price tag. It's not the best choice for hardcore gamers – while it delivers very low lag, you'll need to move up the range for 120Hz refresh rates – but it's a great TV for TV and movie watching, casual gaming and streaming from your phone or tablet too.

The main difference between the A2 and its more expensive stablemates is that its panel isn't as bright, so if you have a room that's very brightly lit this might not be the best option for you. But its OLED panel delivers incredibly deep blacks and great contrast in typical night-time viewing, and there's a Filmmaker mode to deliver movies as the director and cinematographer intended. HDR performance is particularly good; that's something OLED TVs excel at.

It's also worth highlighting LG's webOS operating system, now in its 22nd version: it's far and away the best smart TV interface, and using it is a pleasure compared to the frustrating slog that some other firms' interfaces put you through. It's easy to customize the picture presets to get everything just-so, too.

Read more: LG A2 review

BEST 50-INCH TV FAQ

What is the best 50-inch smart TV?

In our opinion, that's the Panasonic HX800... but only if you live in the UK, Europe, Australia or Canada. If you live in the US, we recommend the Sony X90J. It's a bit newer and has HDMI 2.1 ports for the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

How much should you pay for a 50-inch TV?

It all depends. If you want the TVs with the most amount of features, expect to pay close to $800 / £700 / AU$1,000. That said, you can easily find 50-inch TVs at half that price if you don't mind skimping out on performance. If you consider yourself a cinephile and love to watch movies at their best, it's better to spend a bit more for a more premium model.

What should you look for in a 50-inch TV?

Like shopping for any other TV, there are a few important specs to pay attention to: resolution, contrast, native refresh rate and HDR support all matter here. Ideally, you're looking for a 4K 120Hz TV with a peak brightness of around 1,000 nits and support for Dolby Vision and/or HDR10+. That's hard to find outside of our top pick – but that's what you're looking for in an ideal world.

For gamers, you definitely want to find HDMI 2.1 ports like the ones you'll find in our second pick while sports watchers should pay extra attention to a TV's motion handling. The latter is tough to suss out through specs, but definitely something you can spot in-person if you go to the store.

What makes shopping for 50-inch TVs tricky is that manufacturers typically don't make their flagship TVs in that size. That means you're basically stuck shopping between all the B-list TVs and lower.

If you can stretch your budget – and wall – a bit further, we'd really implore you to consider a 55-inch TV instead. There's a much wider selection of models available and many of them are the brand's flagship TVs. If, however, a 50-inch is all you fit, then hopefully you've found at least a few options above.

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviews to watch the latest TVs and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.

With contributions from