The best cheap phone to buy in the US is constantly shifting, and picking out the top-performing models is getting more and more important as smartphone prices keep climbing. Nobody wants to pay $1,000 for a nice phone.

But here’s the good news: finding an affordable model below $400, $300 or even $200 is definitely possible in 2019, whether you want an iPhone or an Android. It’s not easy to find quality devices at such low prices with hundreds of duds out there.

But not all low-priced smartphones can or should be automatically dismissed. There are cheap phones at almost every price level, as OnePlus, Huawei, Alcatel, and ZTE have all shown over the last few years.

We’ve assembled a ranked list of the best phones under $500, $400, $300, $200 and $100. No matter your budget, we’re recommending a smartphone for you based on these price categories. These value phones are frequently unlocked, contract-free, and SIM-free, making them even easier to pick up and try out. 

Just know that mobile devices on this list definitely won’t be the very best phones in the US. Don’t expect the high-end iPhone XS or Samsung Galaxy Note 9 here. A lot of these are a step below in performance and quality, but in line with their low prices.

In fact, every cheap phone here should be just fine for anyone looking to save several hundred dollars on a discounted iOS 12 or Android Pie device. Here are our top recommendations. 

Best phones under $500

OnePlus 6

1. OnePlus 6T

The best flagship smartphone that doesn’t cost anywhere near $1,000

Weight: 185g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm | OS: Android Pie | Screen size: 6.28-inch | Resolution: 1080p | Chipset: Snapdragon 845 | RAM: 6GB/8GB | Storage: 128/256GB | Battery: 3,700mAh | Rear camera: 16MP +20MP lenses | Front camera: 16MP | Supported Networks: GSM networks


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