Best 40 inch TV: the best smaller TVs for your home

In the market for a new entertainment centerpiece? Here's our pick of the best 40 inch TVs from top brands available right now

Included in this guide:

best 40 inch TV: Samsung 43" Class Serif Series LED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV
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(Image credit: Samsung)

We've learned from being stuck in our homes watching TV for so long that if we can't go out as much as we want to, we should at least have the best viewing experience possible.

That's just not the case for those still settling for their old or sub-par television, and if that frustration sounds familiar, then it may be time to bite the bullet and invest in a brand new set.

For most of us, the dream would be to get the largest screen possible to enjoy our next Netflix binge. However, a 40 inch TV can be the perfect combination of function and appearance - not overwhelming your space but still capable of offering a theatre-worthy experience. Usually measuring in at between 40-43in, it's a solid option if you want to upgrade.

The other features you need to consider will depend on your priorities. For example, image quality needs to be measured by color intensity, blacks' depths, and whether your set has 4K resolution, among other things.

Then there's design, with Samsung recently winning our vote with The Frame Art Print that literally fades into the rest of your décor. Scroll down to see what we thought.

And if you're not totally sure about which size to go for, then check out our ranking of the best TVs for a guide on the best screen, size, and features.  

 The best 40 inch TVs 2021

Samsung The Frame 43" Smart 4K QLED TVReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Samsung)

Best 40 inch TV overall

Specifications
Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: Tizen
Release: 2021
Reasons to buy
+Looks gorgeous in any space+Great viewing angles+Hangs flush to wall+Alexa and Bixby built in
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

A TV for true design enthusiasts, The Frame from Samsung hides your set in plain sight with its Art Mode displaying photos and artwork that fit in seamlessly with the rest of the room. Basically, it’s a smart picture frame that you can use as a 4K television whenever you want!

Another of The Frame’s key selling points is its no-gap wall mounting, which basically means that the TV sits absolutely flush to your wall with only enough space for a tiny near-invisible cable to run discreetly down to the One Connect box.

This box is where you’ll plug in all of your other devices - like a set-top box, Blu-ray player, or external speakers - and can easily be tucked away in a cupboard.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Samsung The Frame TV 

Samsung The Serif 43" Smart 4K QLED TVReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Samsung)

Best 40 inch lifestyle TV (runner up)

Specifications
Display: QLED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: Tizen
Release: 2020
Reasons to buy
+Great looks+Flexible form factor+Higher-end Samsung technology+Google Assistant built in
Reasons to avoid
-Low specced QLED TV-Alexa not included-Older (2020) model

The Serif and the Frame, which you'll find above, are going to offer very similar performance to each other.

Representing the lower end of Samsung’s excellent QLED range, Samsung scores them very similarly on its PQI (Picture Quality Index) rating. The major differences instead are aesthetic and that’s really down to what you’re looking for in your home.

What you get with the Serif is a set designed to sit on tall, freestanding legs anywhere in a room, independent of any other furniture. The other approach is to balance it on its frame on any flat surface — such as a sideboard — without its legs. 

The Serif looks great but you definitely pay for the privilege. It comes in a 43in size and features an Ambient mode to turn the panel into a series of attractive images instead of just a black rectangle and you can connect your phone to it using NFC by resting your device on its top edge.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Samsung The Serif

Sony 43" X800H LED 4K Smart TV

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony 43" X800H LED 4K Smart TV

Best LED TV

Specifications
Display: LED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: Android TV
Release: 2020
Reasons to buy
+Punchy picture+Brilliant colours+Superior motion handling+Google Assistant built in
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively pricey-Older (2020) model

This Sony TV gets our vote for the best LED TV, although they sit about midway through the company’s TV range.

It’s an edge-lit model but one of the better performing sets of this type you’ll find. There are no patchy backlight issues and the picture is nice and strong thanks to Sony’s X1 processor which runs the show.

Ever noticed any judder when you’re watching TV and the camera pans across a scene? Well, one of the things Sony does particularly well is motion processing. So, you can guarantee that the action on this 4K HDR set will be the smoothest you’ll find on this list.

Sony 48" A9 Smart 4K OLED TV

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony 48" A9 Smart 4K OLED TV

Best 40 inch OLED TV

Specifications
Display: OLED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: Android TV
Release: 2021
Reasons to buy
+Acoustic Surface Audio and Dolby Atmos+Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The most expensive TV on our list, the Sony Bravia A9 offers superior OLED visuals and sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS Digital Surround. Audio is boosted further by Acoustic Surface Audio - creating the illusion that sound is coming from a particular place on the screen.

This makes it a great choice for gamers, with X-Motion Clarity tech also helping things to run smoothly. Switch to the HDR game mode and get playing!

The OLED screen is the star here, offering those tell-tale deep blacks and bright colors. There are cheaper models out there (like the LG CX below), but this may be the superior choice if optimum immersion is something you want from your TV.

Vizio 43" V-Series LED 4K TV

(Image credit: Vizio)

5. Vizio 43" V-Series LED 4K TV

Best 40 inch TV on a budget

Specifications
Display: LED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: SmartCast
Release: 2020
Reasons to buy
+Supports Amazon Alexa and Google assistant+Full array backlighting+Great value+Access to Vizio Watch Free
Reasons to avoid
-Blacks could be better-No smart assistants built in-Older (2020) release

This may be a value-priced TV but this set still boasts some savory tech and plenty of great features. It offers full HDR support including HLG and Dolby Vision and is compatible with every type of smart home whether you use Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit.

The Vizio V-Series also incorporates a number of features typically reserved for higher-end models, like Dolby Vision, hands-free voice control, Ultra-Bright 400, an Octa-core processor, and Clear Action 180 which supports fast-moving scenes.

Samsung 43" AU8000 Smart 4K LED TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

6. Samsung 43" AU8000 Smart 4K LED TV

Best LED TV (runner up)

Specifications
Display: LED
Resolution: 4K
Smart TV: Tizen
Release: 2021
Reasons to buy
+Good upscaling and targeted sound+Built-in voice assistants+Affordable+Google Assistant and Bixby built in
Reasons to avoid
-Cheaper design-Lack of HDMI inputs

A great TV with a smaller price tag, the Samsung AU8000 benefits from its top image and sound quality that wouldn’t be out of place in a higher-end model. The 2021 model has rectified one of the biggest complaints about the set, adjusting the stand so that it doesn't lift the TV too far off its surface.

Samsung's Tizen platform has a great reputation for ease-of-use and navigation, and the AU8000 makes it super-easy to find your favorite content across services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and countless others.

The TV is also one of the lightest on our list, so it’s perfect if you want a set that can be moved around with ease. While some may still complain about the bulkiness of the stand, it can easily be wall-mounted if you’re short on space.

How to choose the best 40 inch TV for your home

SAMSUNG The Frame Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR QLED TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

How can I get the best possible image quality?

Make sure whatever you choose has a 4K resolution for the best possible image. Look out for 40-inch TVs which are HDR-compatible to get the best from dark and light areas of the image on your screen. If possible, those which support HDR10+ and/or Dolby Vision are also preferable to just HDR10.

OLED or LED?

Even though you’re not likely to find an OLED panel at this size, LCD TVs still come in enough different flavors to make it worth knowing what you’ve got on your wish list. Those that are edge-lit by LEDs can be much thinner and often more esthetically pleasing, but their direct or back-lit LED counterparts can produce a more subtle and nuanced picture even if their frames aren’t quite as easy on the eye.

Does my TV need to be smart?

Anything you buy these days should be a Wi-Fi-enabled smart TV with at least three HDMI sockets around the back. You should also be sure that your favorite streaming services are available on its app platform. Very few TVs cover all of the bases but remember that you can always add an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, or NOW TV Smart Stick, etc. To plug those missing gaps.

How much should I spend on a 40 inch TV?

Even though all of the televisions on our list are of a similar size, you’ll notice that the prices vary wildly. This could be for a number of reasons including image quality, extra features, or even just the brand, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting all the features you want for the best price. In general, you probably won’t be able to go any cheaper than $400-ish, but our top-rated choice will set you back close to $1,500.

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.

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