The best 40, 42 and 43-inch TVs remain massively popular, though you might not realize that when looking at the latest elite-level models, which tend to only come in larger sizes. Giant TVs sell well, no question, but for so many people, a 43-inch TV is all they want – or need, depending on the size of your room! The average TV size remains around 48.5 inches, placing the 40- to 43-inch options just shy of standard.
Happily, while the best 40-inch TVs might not include the absolute peak of TV tech, they do come in some excellent mid-range models that make for excellent value when balancing image quality with price. And even better, when it comes to smart TV features, they tend to be exactly the same as even the highest-end models, so for ease of use, these are top-notch.
You'll find that the best 48-to-50-inch TVs start to really add some options for higher picture quality at a higher price. That only builds if you step up to the best 55-inch TVs, but you'll also see that there's a huge amount of crossover between the TVs we have here and larger sizes. For most people, the quality of these TVs is right at the sweet spot.
So don't expect the same ultra-high-end panel tech as the very best TVs (in particular, there are zero OLED TVs available in this size so far), but you will find advanced image processing and streaming features here, and those are some of the most important things. Some will include great gaming features too, but at the moment none has the HDMI 2.1 features that the best gaming TVs offer (though perhaps that isn't a problem for you).
There's no lack of support for HDR formats for truly modern viewing, either – that, and they're all 4K, naturally! You can get some really impressive stuff, especially when you consider that all of these models are well-priced enough to be on our list best TVs under $1,000. If you're keen on HDR, make sure you keep an eye out for brightness levels. If you can get 600 nits or higher, you're likely to have a very good experience.
Best 40, 42 and 43-inch TVs: the list
Samsung's QLED displays have dazzled ever since their release, and the Neo QLED variation is the best yet. It delivers truly exceptional image quality that similarly sized and priced LED rivals really struggle to match, thanks to the use of Mini-LED tech. This means many more tiny lights are used behind the pixels, providing brighter highlights, and allowing for the brightness in individual sections to be dimmed more easily, making for deeper black levels. Combined, you get astonishing HDR performance, beyond what other TVs at this size can offer.
It sounds good, too. Samsung's Object Tracking Sound Lite adjusts the speakers to make audio sound like it's coming from specific parts of the display, and it's compatible with the best Samsung soundbars that can use the TV speakers as part of a surround sound setup.
It's the best gaming TV at this size too, thanks to Motion Xcelerator Turbo Plus and its 120Hz refresh rate with FreeSync Premium Pro. This TV supports ultra-wide 21:9 and 32:9 ratios for truly widescreen gaming, and there are four HDMI ports with support for several HDMI 2.1 features: Auto Low Latency Mode and Variable Refresh Rate on all four ports, eARC on one port and 4K 120Hz and VRR on another – ready for PS5 or Xbox Series X. There are also two USB connections and an Ethernet connection, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2.
The image quality here is effectively on the same level as the Samsung QN95A, but this TV doesn't include tech for better wide-angle viewing (though it does well in that area anyway) or the One Connect external box. Here's our full Samsung QN95A review.
This isn't the cheapest 43-inch 4K TV, but if you're serious about image quality and/or gaming it's one you should definitely consider: its relatively future-proof specification means it'll be delighting you for many years to come. It's worth checking our Samsung discount codes to see if you can snap up a bargain.
In other regions, Samsung's AU lineup includes three models but here in North America we just have the AU8000. This is Samsung's highest-end TV from 2021 that doesn't include its QLED panel technology. This brings the price down nicely compared to its 2021 QLED sets, but you won't feel like you're getting budget image quality.
When it comes to detail especially, this really takes advantage of being a 4K set – everything is beautifully sharp and crisp. It's also really strong at upscaling from HD, so the majority of stuff on streaming services still looks great on all those pixels. Unlike the Samsung AU9000, this model has the standard Motion Xcelerator, rather than the Motion Xcelerator Turbo and lacks the VRR or AMD Freesync for gamers. However, colors and contrast are handled better than you might expect for the price, and the motion control is also impressive.
Samsung Tizen smart TV platform is one of the best around, combining comprehensive app support with being really easy to use and navigate. Connectivity here is solid, and the extremely low response time in the gaming mode will be really welcome to gamers. It's just a really impressive package overall, with the one exception being the sound, which is average at best.
The Sony X85J is a very impressive 4K TV, with some features that'll appeal to gamers, including twin HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K 120Hz and VRR support, plus impressively low input lag. It's an LED TV with strong contrast and impressive blacks, but the absence of localized dimming means you may notice some grey haloing in darker scenes.
The big draw here for non-gamers is Sony's image processing, which just goes from strength to strength: the picture quality here is excellent, with vivid, realistic colors and impressive HDR. The processing is handled by the 4K HDR Processor X1, and Sony's Triluminos Pro delivers a wide color gamut and more natural-looking color than many similarly specified rivals. The upscaling from HD to 4K is also superb. And the built-in speakers are much meatier than the timid tweeters you often find in LED TVs – you may not feel the need for a soundbar.
The downsides? One of the HDMI 2.1 ports is also the eARC, so if you do want to add a Dolby Atmos soundbar to your TV, you'll have to give up one of those two precious next-gen connections. Frustrating, but not the end of the world – just something for the more hardcore gamers to know about.
A stunning 43-inch set you should take a look at is the Samsung The Frame (2021) – it's one of the smallest TVs with Samsung's QLED technology.
The benefits of QLED are far-reaching but to sum it up, you get a wider range of colors, higher peak brightness, and support for HDR10+. It also boasts the AI-enhanced Quantum Processor to upscale HD and SD content and get the best out of the 4K panel.
You’re guaranteed to be impressed by the image quality, but that’s not what makes this TV so special. Samsung has put a lot of thought into making this a part of your living room decor and not an addition to it. Samsung The Frame has customizable bezels which you can match to your living room, and when it’s switched off, it transforms into an artwork or digital photo frame. You’ll no longer be plagued by a big unsightly slab of glass hanging on your wall. This is game-changing.
You can choose from 1,400 different pieces of art from the Art Store if you pay a monthly subscription fee. Or upload all of your favorite shots from your phone to the set.
So surely there must be a downside, right? Well, the sound isn’t amazing. In fact, it’s pretty average, so it could be worth investing in a soundbar as well if you choose this set.
Outside of that, though, this is an impressive masterpiece of a TV. You can find out more about it in the Samsung The Frame (2021) review.
If you're looking for a solid 43-inch Smart TV but only have a limited budget, then the TCL 43S435 ticks the key boxes for a remarkable price. This 4K LED TV uses an edge-lit 10-bit panel with micro dimming, AI image enhancement tech, quad-core processing and support for HDR10. There’s also Dolby audio and a solid sound system that uses full-range speakers with decent amplification for a TV.
However, where the 43S435 really impresses at this price is with its smart platform. It uses Roku’s smart TV interface, giving you all the functionality of the streaming player without needing to take up an HDMI port. As a result, it offers all the associated benefits, including built-in support for Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa, and extensive video streaming apps. You can also control the TV from the Roku app on your phone, making its interface more accessible.
Like TCL, Vizio has made a name for itself with budget-friendly TVs. The V-series is no exception, offering some of the best features for your money.
The highlight of those features is the V435’s remote. Bluetooth and infrared support mean you don’t need to point the remote at the TV to operate it, apart from turning it on. It also boasts one of the best voice control systems on the market, letting you search for a show or movie simply by saying its name while holding down a button.
The V435-J01 comes with many built-in streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus. It lacks a dedicated HBO Max app, but you can use the mobile app on your phone and cast it to your TV through Chromecast or Apple AirPlay.
Another handy feature about the V-series is its extensive control over the picture settings. Most budget TVs only have a handful of options to choose from, but you can adjust every factor on a granular level with the V435.
Despite these extensive controls and support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, the V-series doesn’t offer the best picture quality on the market. It’s comparable to the TCL and is sufficient for most viewers, but it probably won’t blow anyone away. The difference between its HDR and standard picture isn’t as noticeable as in other TVs. However, all in all, the V435-J01 offers an excellent deal for the money.
Best 43-inch TV: What to look for
For many people, a 43-inch TV is the perfect size for smaller living rooms. It’s big enough to deliver a detailed picture at a sensible viewing distance, but not so big that you feel you’re in the front row of the cinema.
As a general rule, the best viewing distance is around 1.5 to 2.5 times the diagonal screen distance. So for a 43-inch smart TV, you should ideally be sitting about seven to nine feet away, though these are only rough guidelines.
A 43-inch TV is the first screen size where you can really begin to enjoy the higher resolution benefits of 4K Ultra HD. LCD panel technology still dominates because the smallest OLED TV is 48 inches, but you will start to see manufacturers employing direct LED backlights and local dimming for a superior picture.
The HDR performance will also improve, with wider colors from technologies such as QLED, and increased brightness.
Some manufacturers will also include their full smart TV platforms, which is a bonus, since it gives you access to catch-up TV and streaming services without any additional boxes needed.
The one thing you shouldn't expect from many 43-inch TVs is blockbuster built-in sound. A few have more impressive speaker systems than others, but the small size and lower price mean it just isn't a huge focus for most of them. Their sound will be perfectly adequate, of course, but not cinematic. Our list of the best soundbars has some excellent compact options in a range of budgets, though, if you want to upgrade the audio.