Anyone who’s lived in a dorm room or a 100-square-foot apartment in New York City knows the struggles of decorating when you have limited space. But if you don’t have room for a 55-inch model, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a bad TV. Shopping for TVs can be quite challenging, but the variety of choices for 43-inch TVs make it an overwhelming experience. There are plenty of great 43-inch TVs out there, and they’re definitely a better option than 32- or 40-inch models — you get more screen for just a little more money.
A 43-inch screen will save you $100 or more compared to a 55-inch TV, and while I’d argue that if you have space it’s worth spending that bit extra, 43 inches is still big enough that you’ll have a good viewing experience. Also worth noting is that many 43-inch TVs do have excellent smart TV suites built in, so you don’t need to buy a separate streaming device to enjoy your favorite streaming services. You can even control 43-inch models with a voice command.
Aside from a smaller size, another downside to a 43-inch TV is that they typically don’t have the latest picture-enhancing extras such as full-array local dimming, 120Hz and advanced gaming features. As a result, finding a 43-inch TV set with a high-end, excellent picture is much more difficult than with 55-inch models. The exception is OLED TVs, which are available in 42-inch sizes (see below).
The list below represents the best TVs in the 43-inch screen size I can recommend, with a couple of things to keep in mind going in:
- At this size, where 4K TV image quality isn’t a priority for manufacturers, I prize smart TV functionality first. If all you’re looking to do is watch your TV shows on cable or the streaming service of your choice or for a gaming TV to hook up a console, the best 43-inch TV models definitely fit the bill.
- Looking for another size? Check out: 55-inch TVs, 65-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
- Don’t see what you’re looking for below? Here are all of the TVs I’ve reviewed, with more coming soon.
Best 43-inch TVs of 2023
How CNET tests 43-inch TVs
Our TV reviews follow a rigorous, unbiased evaluation process honed over nearly two decades of TV reviews. Our primary TV test lab has specialized equipment for measuring light and color, including a Konica Minolta CS-2000 spectroradiometer, a Murideo Sig-G 4K HDR signal generator and an AVPro Connect 8×8 4K HDR distribution matrix. We use Portrait Displays CalMan Ultimate software to evaluate every TV we review. In every CNET TV review, three or more similar TVs are compared side by side in various lighting conditions playing different media, including movies, TV shows and games, across a variety of test categories, from color to video processing to gaming to HDR. Our reviews also account for design, features, smart TV performance, HDMI input and gaming compatibility, and other factors.
One important aspect of image quality we test is overall brightness. Here’s how it compares in nits across select TVs listed above.
Testing light output in nits
|TV||Brightest mode (HDR)||Accurate mode (HDR)||Brightest mode (SDR)||Accurate mode (SDR)|
|Roku TV Plus (65-inch)||514||455||579||404|
Check out our page on how we test TVs for more details.
How to choose a 43-inch TV
With all of the TVs available today, and all of the technical terms and jargon associated with television technology, it can be tough to figure out what’s important. Here’s a quick guide to help cut through the confusion.
Price: TVs range in price from $100 to more than $2,000. Smaller screens are cheaper, well-known brands are more expensive and spending more money can also get you better image quality. Most entry-level TVs have a good enough picture for most people, but TVs last a long time, so it might be worth spending more to get a better picture. It’s also best to shop for a TV in the fall, when prices are lower.
Screen size: We know you’re looking for a 43-inch TV, but we have to say that bigger is better in our book. 43 inches is our minimum recommended size for a small bedroom. If you want a TV for a room that’s anything other than tiny, we advise going up to at least 55 inches — and 65 inches or larger is best. More than any other “feature,” stepping up in TV screen size is the best use of your money. One of the most common post-TV-purchase complaints we’ve heard is from people who didn’t go big enough. And we almost never hear people complain that their TV is too large.
Capability: Among entry-level TVs the most important feature is what kind of smart TV system the TV uses. Among midrange models, look for a feature including full-array local dimming, mini-LED and 120Hz refresh rate, which (unlike some other extras) do help improve the picture in our experience. And among high-end TVs, OLED technology is your best bet.
For more TV buying advice check out our guide on how to buy a TV.