How Long Do Cheap TVs Last? (We Checked)

Cheap TVs are all over the market right now, providing consumers with more budget-friendly options for their entertainment system. But are these cheap TVs just as reliable when compared with more expensive brands? We’ve looked at how much smart TVs cost – now let’s turn to the cheap models.

Would you save more money in the long run by buying a high-quality TV? 

How long do cheap TVs last? 

Here’s What You Need to Know about the Lifespan of Cheap TVs.

With proper care and maintenance, the lifespan of a cheap TV can match those of TVs from more expensive brands. They will often last 5- 7 years when not in use 24/7. Expect the lifespan to be closer to 3-5 years if the screen is on most of they day and night.

What’s the Average Lifespan of a Cheap TV?

The lifespan of cheap TVs depends on the quality of components used and the TV’s condition when sold. 

  • A brand new and affordable TV can last up to 45,000 hours of use, on average, which roughly translates to a little over five years. 
  • With proper care and maintenance, a cheap TV can last even longer.
  • Refurbished TVs, meanwhile, might not last as long, given their history of repair and potential hidden defects. For more information, check out our article Are Refurbished TVs Reliable? (Explained For Beginners).

What’s the First Thing that Breaks on Cheap TVs?

The weakest point on any modern TV, regardless of price, is the backlight, which provides screen brightness. 

Backlights usually malfunction first, as they burn out over time. That is why it is important to keep the brightness levels high enough to deflect glare and reflections, but low enough that you don’t quickly burn out your backlights. 

The backlight need not be set at the highest level, as they will burn out faster. 

Do Cheap TVs Last Longer than Average TVs?

Cheap TVs can last as long as the average TV if they are properly cared for. 

While the quality of the components contributes significantly to the longevity, all TVs can enjoy a longer lifespan when maintained correctly. 

How Long Do New Smart TVs Typically Last?

The typical TV has a lifespan that may range anywhere from four to seven years. 

This projection is based on heavy usage, so your TV’s lifespan may be shorter or longer, depending on usage and the quality of components. 

But you can get more mileage with lighter usage and lower brightness settings. 

How Long is the Warranty on Cheap TVs?

Warranties of TVs, including the budget-friendly models, are generally set for 12 months. This is also a good sign that cheap TVs such as Sceptre aren’t reliable.

Refurbished TVs usually have a 90-day warranty, given the risks of breakage involved with these units. 

Can Video Games Destroy Cheap TVs?

Budget-friendly TVs are fine to use with video games, but the performance will vary. 

Not all affordable TVs have specs that can provide top-notch performance for graphic-intensive video games. 

Often, cheap TVs will only have a refresh rate of 60 Hz, which can be an issue for games like first-person shooters or racing games. 

There’s no problem with using cheap TVs for gaming, but you should manage your expectations, as many won’t have gameplay-improving features, such as Variable Refresh Rates and HDMI 2.1 ports. 

For more information on budget-friendly TVs and video games, check out our articles Are TCL TVs Good For Gaming?, Are Hisense TVs Good For Gaming?, and Are Vizio TVs Good For Gaming?.

What Are the Most Popular Cheap TV Models?

If you don’t have the budget for a high-end TV, there are still great options with a lower tag price. Here are some options to consider.

Vizio M7 Series Quantum 2020 

Vizio is one of the more popular brands that is synonymous with being budget-friendly.

Many of their offerings can go head-to-head with mid- to higher-tier models from the dominant brands in the market. The M7 Series Quantum 2020 is Vizio’s budget model. You can think of this series as the budget brand’s budget model. 

  • The M7 Quantum 2020 uses a VA panel with an excellent contrast ratio for dim rooms.
  • The full-array local dimming is average and could use some improvement in the future.
  • Reflection and glare are not an issue with the M7 Quantum 2020.
  • It can handle HDR remarkably, thanks to the excellent color gamut, although highlights are average.
  • When it comes to the response time, the M7 Quantum 2020 is near-instantaneous and comes with Black Frame Insertion to enhance clarity.
  • The input lag of the M7 Quantum Series is low and comes with Variable Refresh Rate. This makes this budget offering a powerful gaming TV, for its price.
  • Unfortunately, the M7 Quantum 2020 has narrow viewing angles, a common flaw with VA panels. The refresh rate is only 60 Hz and cannot upscale low-resolution content decently.

For more information on Vizio TVs, check out our article Are Vizio TVs Reliable?.

TCL 5 Series 

TCL is another prominent brand in the budget-TV market.

TCL offers consumers affordable options with decent features, and one of their best offerings is the TCL 5 Series.

  • It comes with a VA panel and a high contrast ratio that makes it excellent for nighttime watching.
  • The 5 Series handles low resolution quite well, upscaling to match the resolution.
  • Color accuracy is exceptional right out of the box.
  • The response time is almost instantaneous, and it uses Black Frame Insertion to improve clarity in fast-paced scenes.
  • Input lag is low, although it does not have a Variable Refresh Rate.
  • Unfortunately, its backlight isn’t as powerful to handle glare and reflections.
  • HDR is on the average side, and it has an excellent color gamut, but highlights are not emphasized well.
  • Viewing angles are also narrow, which is common with VA panels.

Hisense H8G 

Hisense is another good brand for cheap TVs.

If you’re only after watching your favorite TV program or movies, then check out the H8G. 

  • Out of the box, the H8G features a premium design, with its narrow bezels.
  • As an entry-level TV, the H8G lacks many of the powerful features found in more expensive models, but it’s a great straightforward TV for basic watching.
  • The native contrast ratio of the H8G is quite remarkable and also features local dimming that improves picture quality.
  • In brighter rooms, glare and reflection won’t be a problem for this TV.
  • If you have plans for gaming, the H8G has a quick response time and has Black Frame Insertion to remove motion blur. Input lag is quite low when set to game mode.
  • The Refresh Rate is only 60 Hz, and it does not have Variable Refresh Rate.
  • HDR gaming is only on the average side, as it lacks highlights despite the good color gamut.

Are Cheap TVs Worth it? 

A cheap TV could be worth it depending on your needs.

  • If you are a casual TV user and only use your TV to watch your favorite television programs and movies, then by all means, go for a cheap TV. Why spend tons of money on a device you don’t use that often?
  • Similarly, if you’re not all that picky about picture quality and the latest gadgets and technology, there’s no need to shell out the big bucks for your TV. 
  • And anyway, cheaper TVs aren’t always bad at all, as you can find smaller screen sizes among these budget-friendly offerings. And despite the price, you can find some diamonds in the rough. Just make sure you look at the reviews and ratings. 

But if you use your TV all the time, plan on playing lots of video games, and want super-vivid picture quality, then you should consider buying a TV with more expensive features.

Are Refurbished TVs any good? 

Buying a refurbished TV can be tricky.

  • It can be a hit-or-miss scenario; you won’t know what you get until you buy the TV and take it home. Not to mention, should there be any issue, a refurbished TV only has a 90-day warranty.
  • If you are thinking of getting a refurbished TV, you’ll need to scrutinize the actual product that you are purchasing. Should an actual product inspection not be possible, consider buying from reputable dealers.
  • Just the same, even if you buy from a reputable dealer for refurbished items, there are still risks involved.

For more information on refurbished TVs, Are Refurbished TVs Reliable? (Explained For Beginners).

What Can I Do to Prolong the Lifespan?

While cheap TVs are often associated with lack of quality, the truth is, you can make them last as long as any other brand with the proper care and maintenance.

Here are some tips to care for and maintain your TV. 

Turn the TV off when not in use 

If no one is using the TV, then turn it off, as it adds to your electricity bill and speeds up the degradation of components in your TV. 

Turning off the TV when not in use will slow down your TV’s demise. Components such as the backlight burn out as you use the TV. Instead of wasting its lifespan, you should hit the off button. 

You can take advantage of timers, which come in many TVs, to turn your TV off if you forget. You can even integrate them with a smart home system. 

Secure your TV in a safe place 

You should find your TV a safe place for convenient watching. 

You’ll want to keep it away from windows, as the sun can heat up the TV, damaging it. 

You may also consider using a wall mount, as it also prevents your TV from getting knocked over. 

Provide enough space for ventilation 

Your TV needs to have space for air to circulate.

  • As TVs emit heat, there needs to be space for air to circulate and get rid of heat. 
  • As a rule of thumb, you should have at least two inches of space behind the TV, and four inches of space on the other sides of the TV.
  • If you plan to put your TV in a cabinet, there should be more space around the TV. It will also do wonders to add fans inside the cabinet to improve heat dissipation.

Dust off the TV

Dust can damage your TV. It can clog ventilation slots, and may also damage the LED panel of your TV. 

  • You should wipe your TV regularly with a microfiber cloth to get rid of the dust. 
  • Don’t use any cleaning agent with it, and remember to turn off your TV and let it rest for a few minutes before wiping. 

Don’t set the TV too bright

If you regularly set the brightness too high, the backlights will deteriorate faster. 

And remember, higher brightness does not mean better image quality. You should only set the TV brightness high enough to remove any glare and reflections on the screen.

Blasting the brightness is overkill, and it degrades your TV faster. As backlights are usually the first thing to break in a TV, you need to slow down the deterioration to extend the lifespan of the TV. 

Use an Automatic Voltage Regulator

The last thing you want to happen is for your TV to break because of a power surge!

Damages from power surges can cost a lot and may even destroy your TV.  Devices such as an Automatic Voltage Regulator or Surge Protector adds a layer of protection for your TV. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid of cheap TVs!

There are plenty of quality cheap TVs out there that can last just as long as TVs from the big-name brands.

All it needs is proper care and maintenance, and even the cheapest TVs will be able to last years of use. In the right hands and care, cheap TVs can match the durability of more popular brands. 



Cheap vs. Expensive 4K Televisions: Are Premium TVs Actually Worth the High Price Tags?

Why It Doesn’t Always Pay to Buy a Cheap TV

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