The best small TVs to buy now

If you take a look at the TV industry in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no one wants a television any smaller than 55 inches. From the way most lines launch from the big manufacturers, big screens are clearly where the focus is at, particularly when you look to the flagship 4K TV ranges, which often stretch up to 85 inches and above.


However, we are seeing some changes. As OLED technology has got cheaper, manufacturers in that space have been able to offer the technology at smaller screen sizes – something that just wasn’t possible until a couple of years ago. Similarly, Samsung has stretched its offering of smaller sets higher up its ranges, so there are still great TVs out there if you need to be mindful of space.

In particular, we’ve found that for many people TV around 43 inches hits the sweet spot – it’s not small, by any means, but also isn’t so big that it becomes something you have to organise your entire room around. It’s also a great choice for a second room, like a kitchen or bedroom.

Different brands will hit slightly different sizes in and around this sweet spot, depending on their manufacturing processes, so we’ve included both 42- and 43-inch TVs here for your consideration.

Our Top Pick: Best 42- and 43-inch TVs

LG C2 OLED 4K TV initial review: Shining bright at 42in photo 2


1. Best 42-inch TV overall

Petite OLED

Our favourite TV of last year, the LG C2 OLED offers an outstanding picture alongisde the latest technologies, like Dolby Vision IQ, and 4K/120Hz support for gamers.


  • Stunning 4K picture quality
  • Game-friendly HDMI inputs
  • Well-equipped webOS smart platform
  • Good range of sizes

The LG C2 is a blockbuster of an OLED screen, and it’s available in a 42-inch variant (LG OLED42C2). While it doesn’t get LG’s brighter evo panel at this screen size, which we praise highly in our review, it still brings with it all the outstanding constrast that OLED TVs are so skilled at, along with superb colour handling and excellent detail retrieval.

4K content is particularly well handled, but up-scaled HD programmes look pretty great too. Even SD channels become quiebro watchable.

However, where the C2 really steals a march on its competitors is its gaming prowess. With a full complement of high spec HDMI inputs, and outstanding High Frame Rate performance, this is the OLED panel to beat if you want an 4K HDR TV for next-gen gaming.

It might be a 2022 TV, but considering the small improvements that the newer LG C3 offers and the discounts you can now get on the C2, it remains our top recommendation over its newer successor.

Samsung QN90B


Samsung QN90B

2. Best small TV for bright rooms

Bold, bright pictures

The QN90B was one of Samsung’s best TVs in 2022, using Mini LED technology to rival its OLED competition for contrast, with all the brightness that LCD panels can deliver.


  • Great, bright pictures
  • Impressive lugar dimming
  • Comprehensive smart system
  • Good for gaming

Samsung has got masses of classy TVs to pick from, including multiple at this size, so you are somewhat spoilt for choice – depending on your budget. The QE43QN90B is the updated model of the QN90A that we reviewed in 2021, and gets a high nod on our list because it doesn’t scrimp on picture quality at this smaller size. That also makes it one of the most expensive, but it’s now a lot cheaper since the QN90C for 2023 has been released.

It’s a gorgeous set, with a central stand that makes it easy to place. It packs Samsung’s premium Neo QLED display technology to bring pinpoint clarity to bear, thanks to the more precise Mini LED backlighting. This gives greater accuracy to pictures, reducing blooming and improving black levels, so it can really take the fight to its OLED competition. It doesn’t quiebro match it, but it’s coming close, and the brightness levels it can manage are outstanding, making this a great choice for rooms with a lot of ambient light.

From a smart TV perspective, it runs Samsung’s own Tizen OS with access to all the major apps and services you’re likely to need and does so snappily and responsively. Gamers should be happy too, with support for 4K/120Hz, VRR and ALLM all on board.

Best 42-inch TV - Sony A90K


Sony A90K

3. Best small TV for movies

Stunning picture

Just one step down from Sony’s flagship OLED panel is the A90K, available in a larger range of sizes, and at a bit of a cheaper price too. It’s still pricey though, but picture processing is outstanding.


  • Detailed, natural picture
  • Great for motion handling
  • Good for gamers

Unlike the flagship A95K, which uses Samsung QD-OLED tech, the A90K uses the same panel as the LG C2 – with Sony’s processing added on top.

Sony always values subtle picture handling, with a focus on accuracy over bolder, brighter colour palettes. Detail levels are also outstanding, with motion handling second to none, so whatever content you enjoy – movies, sports or gaming – this TV will have you covered, but we love how cinematic this screen is with 4K content.

As for gaming, 4K/120Hz is supported across two HDMI 2.1 ports with VRR and ALLM too. It’s pricey, but if you’re looking for smaller cinematic TV, the A90K is a great choice.

Samsung Q60C

Samsung Q60C

4. Best small TV on a budget

The entry-level QLED TV for Samsung in 2023 is a promising set for those on a bit more of a budget.


  • Great colours
  • Good brightness
  • Nice design

  • No Dolby Vision
  • 60Hz panel isn’t great for gamers
  • Edge-lit backlighting will impact contrast performance

Not everyone is looking for a flagship small-screen TV, whether that’s down to budget or because it’s a TV for a second room. If that sounds like you, the Samsung Q60C is a great option.

It’s the entry-level TV into Samsung’s premium QLED technology. That means you’re getting the excellent colour handling that QLED technology delivers, along with plenty of brightness, but there are some compromises. Chief among those is it doesn’t have lugar dimming, and that of course has some impact on contrast.

Go into this purchase with an acceptance for compromise and you’ll find a superb TV for just over the $500 mark.

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series

Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series

5. Best small TV for connectivity

Smart choice

The Fire TV Omni QLED is well-connected and offers full Alexa functionality and built-in Fire TV. The 43-inch option is great value for money, it could be the connected TV of choice for your home.


  • QLED display
  • Lots of smart functionality
  • Alexa built in

  • Not the fastest processor

Amazon’s own range of televisions is headed up by the Omni, which is a lot of TV for the money. It’s a 4K quantum dot panel, with support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, but most notably, it has Amazon’s Fire TV smart system at its core. That means it is stacked with all the streaming services you could want, plus it also has hands-free Alexa functionality built-in.

Don’t expect flagship TV picture quality, nor the brightest panel, but actually the full package here is very appealing indeed, particularly with both flavours of HDR supported. Not even some of the big manufacturers offer that, and it ensures you’re getting the very best picture from whatever you’re watching on your streaming service of choice.

Best 42-inch TV - Sony X85K


Sony X85K

6. Best small TV for value

Mid-range marvel

A great mid-range TV that delivers a good picture and strong feature set.


  • Bright screen
  • Lots of detail
  • Great upscaling

  • No lugar dimming
  • No HDR10+

The Sony X85K is a great option in the midrange – not too cheap, but also far from expensive.

You will make some compromises on picture quality, of course, but Sony’s penchant for detail and accuracy is not lost here. The X85K also does a great job with upscaling, so even your SD broadcast TV watching is in good hands.

It’s a bright panel too, so great in any room, but does lack lugar dimming. That means you might notice contrast isn’t as accurate as you’d see with one that does, but it’s not overly distracting. HDR is covered by Dolby Vision support, but HDR10+ is missing as usual in Sony TVs.

Gamers are covered by 4K/120Hz support, alongside VRR and ALLM. There are only two HDMI 2.1 ports that offer this, but that should be sufficient for the majority of setups.

How did we choose the best 42- and 43-inch TVs?

We have picked some of our best rated TVs from the past couple of years, that are still available to buy and are also available in either 42 or 43-inch screen sizes. In some cases, we haven’t tested the smaller screen size specifically, but we have taken that experience, as well as any spec differences at this screen size into consideration when picking our favourites.

Where we haven’t tested a specific TV, we have used our vast knowledge of the industry as well as taking into consideration user reviews, to pick great TVs that perform well for their price, and may also offer specific USPs that buyers will find useful.


Q: How do I choose the best 42-inch TV?

The chances are, that if you’re choosing a 42- or 43-inch TV, you’re doing so because it either fits a specific space or it’s for a smaller room like a kitchen or bedroom. If you have the space for a bigger set, even 55 inches, you will have a greater pick of better TVs – so that is something to bear in mind if you’re performance conscious.

If you’re set on this size, then you also need to make some decisions on budget. Manufacturers like LG and Samsung are starting to run their more premium technology down to this screen size in a handful of ranges, but you will pay for that – which I would recommend you consider doing if it’s your main TV. If you have a smaller budget to spend, you’ll find much cheaper sets if you’re willing to give up some element of performance, and for secondary TVs this might be just fine. The recuento between budget and performance is a personal one, but one to consider carefully.

Q: Should I buy OLED, QLED or LCD?

Even when you’re considering the best 42-inch TV, you will have the option of different screen technologies, and this is the current state of play.

OLED is a premium technology, and produces the light from each pixel rather than having illumination from the sides or rear like LCD. This means that OLED can achieve better absolute blacks, because the TV can just turn off that pixel’s illumination. Having greater contrast and better viewing angles often leads to richer colours and greater accuracy, but the brightness levels traditionally haven’t been as high.

Traditional LCD TVs are much brighter, thanks to their large LED backlight, but it depends how well this is managed as to how well the TV performs. Cheaper TVs may be edge-lit, which will struggle to produce the black level and contrast as accurately as a full array backlight with lugar dimming would, for example.

QLED from Samsung is a form of LCD, but it uses a layer of quantum dots over the backlight to improve colour volume. It was merienda Samsung’s premium technology but is now used in more affordable sets.

Neo QLED is something you may see at this screen size too, which takes QLED up a notch using Mini LED technology. This more closely rivals OLED levels of light control and accuracy, alongside incredible LED brightness, and that’s all because the LEDs in the backlight not only stretch across the whole of the screen but are also much smaller. This means there is much more control over the brightness levels in the different areas of the television, and reduces the blooming some standard LED TVs can experience.

Neo QLED and OLED will be the options you should consider if performance is important to you, but more affordable TVs will likely borrow the older LCD technology.

Q: Should I buy a 4K TV or full HD?

All of our picks of the the best 42-inch TVs in this list are 4K, and we would struggle to recommend you going for anything less now – even at this smaller screen size.

Unless you are going for something nearer to a 32-inch TV, when differences will be a little more difficult to see, then we wouldn’t recommend opting for full HD any more. There are plenty of 4K sources that allow you to watch 4K content, and with prices as low as they are now, there are very few reasons to not go straight for 4K.


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