After the best 40-inch TVs? If you have a tight budget or don’t have the space for an enormous 65-inch TV then you might want to consider a 40-inch screen instead. They might not sound as impressive as larger options, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate them – especially if you’re looking at the best 40-inch TVs you can buy in 2021.
For one, you’ll still be dazzled by 4K resolution and HDR compatibility to give you impressive picture quality, and smart TV integration will ensure you can access a wide range of content options to enjoy. You’ll also be able to hook up all your game consoles, Blu-ray players, and streaming boxes to get even more out of the 40-inch TV.
All of that will not only come at a more budget-friendly price compared with larger screens, but you also won’t have to worry about the display dominating your living room space. 40-inch TVs are the perfect size for secondary TVs in bedrooms or the kitchen where getting the best home cinema experience might not be your primary concern.
Unfortunately, you might have to miss out on a few stand-out features. Right now you won’t be able to snag a 40-inch TV that uses OLED, and most brands’ flagship models with the latest and greatest tech won’t come in a size this small.
We have heard rumors that might change though, with 42-inch OLED screens potentially on their way soon, but for now, your options may be a little limited. That said, you can still find some great 40-inch displays out there.
We’ve rounded up the best 40-inch TVs that we’ve reviewed on our site – including 42-inch and 43-inch models. You’ll also find some additional tips about what to look for and how important picking the right TV size really is.
- Need to go smaller? Check out the best 32-inch TVs out there
What's the best 40-inch TV?
This UK exclusive Samsung AU7100 UHD Smart TV is possibly the best 40-inch TV we’ve reviewed thanks to its perfect pairing of great features and bargain price. For just £449 for the 43-inch variant of the TV, you’ll get a 4K screen that delivers great color differentiation with little to no noise.
You won’t just get a great picture quality, but a brilliant OS too with Tizen – Samsung’s own Smart TV OS and one of the best around, thanks to an easy-to-navigate design and customization.
The contrast between lights and darks can suffer thanks to the screen not being quite bright enough to push highlights, and audio performance is a bit of an afterthought (though it offers Q Symphony Lite for improved soundbar support).
You’ll also lose out on some multi-HDR support, so while you will get HLG, HDR10, and HDR10+ dynamic metadata you’ll miss out on Dolby Vision (though this is true of all Samsung TVs). None of the issues are significant enough to be a deal-breaker at this price (and the TV still performs incredibly well) but you might notice a steep picture improvement on larger and more expensive models.
Read our full Samsung AU7100 review
Looking for the best 40-inch TV? Look no further than the Q60T.
The main draw here is the price, with the Q60T starting at just $529 / £599 for the smallest 43-inch size (or AU$1,495 for a 55-inch model – you’ll find a full breakdown of the screen size/price options below). That’s a fraction of the cost of Samsung’s Q95T 4K QLED or flagship Q950TS 8K, and will no doubt ensure that the Q60T finds its way into more homes than its premium siblings.
You’re getting a drop in processing power compared to the Q60R, with a Quantum Processor Lite chip instead of the Quantum Processor 4K used in most QLED models. Edge lighting, too – a lighting system that illuminates the picture from the sides rather than behind the panel – is a cheap way to light up a set’s images, but means there are issues with consistency of brightness, off-axis viewing, and the strength of HDR objects.
This isn’t a true HDR set, then, and you’re also going to have to swallow some mild motion blur in exchange for the Q60T’s low price. Upscaling HD pictures to 4K is a strength of Samsung’s, though, and for the price you're still getting a capable mid-spec set.
Just keep an eye out for our review of this year's Samsung Q60A, too.
Read the full review: Samsung Q60T QLED
The best 40-inch TV? That accolade should really go to the Panasonic HX800. You won't get it in the US, which means it drops a little in this guide – though for anyone in the UK, Europe, Australia or Canada it should be your first port of call.
As the successor to the GX800 – which topped this list the year before – the HX800 continues everything that made us fall in love with Panasonic's mid-range LCD offering in the first place, with a sweet spot of price, performance, and functionality all in one.
Panasonic gets a lot of goodwill by offering multi-HDR support – throwing in HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG in a single set – and is also unique in how this support is implemented across so much of its TV range. As a mid-range LCD, it's incredible that Panasonic ensures it has the same format support as higher-end OLED TVs like the new HZ1000 and HZ1500.
Add to that Panasonic's HCX processor, with filmic images and smooth action far beyond what we'd hope for at this price point, and you have a clear winner for the best 40-inch TV. Despite a bare-bones operating system, there's really very little to complain about.
You'll find the 40-inch model retailing at £799 at the time of writing, with a larger 58-inch model costing just £999 too.
Read our full Panasonic HX800 TV review
If you're after a Samsung TV that won't cost the earth, look no further than the TU8000 series. This mid-range LCD comes in a compact 43-inch size for just £429 / $350 / AU$949.
It's a solid performer, with Samsung's characteristically good upscaling, and solid motion handling too. You'll find a crisp 4K picture here, as well as support for HDR10+ dynamic HDR.
It's a great choice for gamers, too, with just 9.7 ms input lag – which is pretty astonishing for the price. You're not getting all of the gaming technologies of some other sets in this list, as HDMI 2.1, VRR (variable refresh rate), or a 120Hz panel – but for the everyday gamer, this is a set that gets the basics very right.
This is an edge-lit set, meaning brightness isn't as consistent (or high) as on some higher-end QLED TVs. The lack of wide color gamut too, combined with middling brightness, means this isn't the best TV for HDR either – and those after a real step up in performance should look at the Q80T QLED instead. But for a solid mid-range LCD set, you could do a lot worse than the TU8000.
Read the full review: Samsung TU8000
The 4-Series is available in two different variations based on its smart platform – either Roku TV or Android TV – however, we strongly recommend opting for the Roku model for its smoother performance, usability and security.
Disappointingly, the 4-Series doesn't have all the latest specs (no HDMI 2.1, VRR, ALLM, etc...) but it does support HDR10 and HLG forms of HDR, has a built in 802.11ac wireless antenna and has one HDMI port with ARC, which is great for folks who want to cut down on the number of remotes in their house.
It's not the best TCL TV on the planet, but if you're limited to a 40-inch TV and want to have hundreds of streaming channels at your fingertips, the TCL 4-Series Roku TV is a smart bet and a very good value.
Read more: TCL TV guide
The V- in the Vizio V-Series TVs has always stood for ‘value’, but you could easily argue that it should stand for ‘versatile’ instead, as it’s one of the most feature-rich TVs in the budget category. With support for HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision and HLG) plus Chromecast built-in and AirPlay, the V-Series is a veritable swiss army knife of budget TVs.
Unfortunately, despite all these technologies, the V-Series is still a pretty budget-oriented set and its picture is only fair – contrast isn’t off-the-charts and its color saturation could use some work, too. Its biggest issue is that of awful off-axis viewing (more than 45 degrees) that turns what is a fine and acceptable picture to a really desaturated mess.
If you can stay perfectly in front of it, don’t mind less-than-stellar image quality and can deal with a few issues in speed and performance, however, it’s an affordable TV series that packs in a lot of the technology that makes the top TVs from LG and Samsung the best in the world.
Read the full review: Vizio V-Series (2020)
This low-price Hisense TV may be the best way to save some pennies on a new 43-inch TV, though you will have to settle for some compromises.
This is a great value television, and the Roku TV platform elevates what it might have been, with a sleek interface and well-organised tile icons, alongside broad app support.
As a 4K HDR TV, though, it generally fares best with high-resolution sources, and SD or HD can struggle to look nearly as good on its Ultra HD screen. Motion issues as well as some very poor audio keep this from being higher up in the list, and these problems need to be kept in mind.
If you want a cheap TV, though, and aren't put off by some scratchy audio or bungled upscaling, this could be a smart way to watch 4K content on a budget.
Read our full review: Hisense A7200G Roku TV
Best 40-inch TV FAQ
Is a 40-inch TV big enough?
It's worth remembering that 40-inch screens, while once the pinnacle of high-end TV tech, is now a pretty small size compared to what's out there.
These days, 55-inch 4K TVs are standard, with 65-inch 4K TVs quickly growing in popularity. Manufacturers can make bigger screens than ever before, and shoppers are cottoning on to how big TVs can actually get.
A 40-inch TV should come with 4K resolution, but you'll be able to see the benefits more clearly on a larger size. A 40-inch TV is a pretty decent size for a single viewer not sitting too far away, too, but for a family or group of flatmates it's less than ideal.
So don't sell yourself short: definitely do the work of measuring how big a TV you can fit into your intended space, and think over how big a TV you're willing to bring into your home. (To get the best of both worlds, with a small product that offers a massive picture, you might want to consider one of the best projectors too.)
What about 42-inch TVs?
For ease, we've included 40-inch TVs as well as the best 42-inch TVs in this guide. You'll occasionally even get screens listed as 43-inch TVs, but they all sit around roughly the same measurements.
Of course, many things affect the size and scale of a TV screen beyond simply the diagonal length of the panel, including the width of the bezel (the black strip around the screen's edges), built-in speakers, HDMI inputs and connections, as well as the depth of the casing (which often varies in different places).
We could well be seeing in a resurgence in 42-inch TVs, though, with panel-maker LG Display confirming that 42-inch OLEDs are in development. We're yet to hear about any specific timelines, models, or price points, but this compact panel size could result in the lowest OLED TV launch price we've ever seen – and the smart money says we could see these screens start to emerge as soon as 2022.
How to choose
How do I pick out a 40-inch TV?
Unsure of how to choose? It may be worth going over what we look for when we're reviewing and recommending TVs here on TechRadar.
Ultra HD vs Full HD: That you can’t see a difference between Full HD and Ultra HD on a screen smaller than 55 inches is a common misconception. If you take your time and really look at a picture – especially if that picture is using High Dynamic Range – you will see a difference.
We recommend picking a TV with 4K Ultra-HD and HDR if you can find one. They’re not the standard at this screen size, as the cost can outweigh the benefits for someone shopping for an ultra-cheap TV, but if you're serious about video, 4K is vital.
Operating system: 40-inch TVs didn't always come with a smart TV operating system in the past. These dumb TVs were incredibly cheap to make, and therefore cheap to buy, too. But there was a problem: as Netflix and YouTube became more and more popular, people wanted to stream those services on their TV without resorting to a streaming video device like a Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick or Chromecast.
These days, it's fairly easy to find good a good interface on a 40-inch TV. All but the most bare-bones of screens will have them. What you're looking for, ideally, is a well-maintained operating system like Roku TV, LG's webOS or Samsung's Tizen operating system. If you go with a TV that uses a proprietary operating system (basically an operating system exclusive to that one TV) you might have some serious issues down the road.
Inputs and outputs: Connections seem boring, but trust us – this is something most folks don't think about until they bring the TV home and get it all connected, only to realize their great new TV only has one HDMI port.
Having multiple HDMI ports (along with options for optical audio out and RCA connectors) allow you to connect most – if not all – of your devices. This will save you time in the long run as you won't have to get up and switch the cables around any time you want to change the input.