In recent days, I’ve informed you of the latest discounts on TVs from retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. Sometimes, the set has been a well-known brand while other times perhaps not. This prompts an obvious question: Should you buy a TV from a company you may not have heard of even if the price seems irresistible?

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Brands such as onn, Westinghouse, Sceptre, Insignia and Element often advertise TVs at prices far lower than comparably-sized sets from name-brand manufacturers such as Samsung, Vizio, Sony and LG.

The prices can indeed be irresistible, particularly if you are shopping on a budget, which most of us are. But before buying, you wonder if a company is relatively unknown, could it truly produce a TV that’s less expensive but still be of top-quality?

Here’s my rule of thumb:

If you are buying a larger-screen TV, say one 40 inches or larger, I would recommend that you stay with a name-brand company. The tried-and-true TV manufacturers have devoted years developing a reputation for reliability and quality and, consequently, are more likely to invest the extra time and money to ensure that the set is top-shelf.

That’s not to say that a lesser-known brand can’t manufacture a very good TV; many do. But, generally speaking, I think you’ll find a name-brand TV manufacturer will produce a larger-screen set that offers a better picture than a no-name brand. And if you’re spending hundreds of dollars, or more, on a TV, you want to be sure that you go with a brand that’s stood the test of time.

(I will add a caveat here: If the price is relatively little, such as when Walmart’s onn brand last week was selling a 42-inch HDTV for $88, your risk is little as well and you might want to pull the trigger.)

Now that said, there are times when buying a less expensive TV from a no-name brand makes a lot of sense.

For instance, if you’re buying a smaller-screen TV — 32 inches or less — it might be wise to take a chance on a set that’s less expensive than a comparably-sized TV from a big brand. With a set 32 inches or less, you really don’t see much difference in picture quality in a name-brand TV compared to a no-name brand TV. The screen is so small (relatively) that the picture is going to be about the same.

So if a no-name brand TV is selling a 32-inch set for, let’s say, $88, and a comparably-sized (and featured) TV from a big brand is $149 or more, well, give the less expensive TV a try. You might save a lot of money and get the same picture quality that you would from a name-brand TV.

Of course, before buying, read what customers and reviewers are saying about the no-name brand set. But if it appears that people are mostly positive about it, then go ahead and buy it. You’ll save some money.

To see the best-selling TVs at Amazon, click here. 

(The Amazon link is an affiliate links: this site receives a small percentage of sales from Amazon affiliate links.)