Shopping for a new TV can be challenging; with so many different models out there, it can be hard to know where to start. To further complicate things, new brands have dramatically increased in popularity in recent years and are a few of the best TV brands to choose from. Some of these new brands have started releasing models that match or even outperform far more expensive models from the best TV brands.
From smart features to design, each brand has its own way of doing things. So how do they stack up? Keep reading to see our take on the best TV brands in the U.S. Also, see our recommendations for the best smart TVs, the best budget TVs, and the best 4k TVs.
LG is a South Korean company and one of the biggest producers of consumer electronics worldwide. They make a variety of products, including home appliances, phones, tablets, watches, and of course, televisions. They've been making large flat screen TVs since the start of the 21st century and revolutionized the market with the launch of OLED TVs in 2013. What sets OLEDs apart from typical LED displays is that they can individually turn off pixels, which results in perfect blacks, and there's no blooming around bright objects that you may notice on LEDs. Additionally, OLEDs have very wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the side, and these TVs are a great choice if you have a wide seating arrangement.
LG has a few different models in their OLED lineup, but since most OLEDs offer a very similar picture quality, the differences between each model usually have to do with their features and the TV's physical design. The entry-level LG BX OLED is extremely similar in terms of performance and features with the higher-end CX and LG GX OLED; the only differences are that the CX has a premium-looking center-mounted stand, while the GX doesn't come with one and is designed to sit flat against the wall. The major downside to OLEDs is the risk of permanent burn-in, which could be problematic if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like the news, but we don't expect this to be an issue if you watch varied content. If that worries you, LG also has an LED lineup, but they don't perform as well as the competition because they mainly use IPS panels with a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray when viewed in the dark.
See the best LG TVs here.
For years, Samsung has been the biggest TV manufacturer in the world, selling the lion's share of TVs in the global market, alongside other consumer electronics like phones, monitors, and appliances. In recent years, however, its stranglehold has loosened with the rise of budget-friendly brands like TCL and Hisense, and with LG's dominance in OLED TVs, Samsung had to find a way to compete. Enter the QLED. QLED TVs are Samsung's answer to the OLED, and they use quantum dot technology to deliver a wider color gamut and come without the risk of burn-in. In 2021, Samsung came out with Neo QLED TVs, which add Mini LED backlighting for greater control over local dimming zones. The flagship Samsung QN90A QLED is one of the brightest TVs we've ever tested and also has an 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer to improve viewing angles at the expense of contrast. That's where the local dimming comes in to significantly improve the contrast ratio.
Samsung TVs aren't perfect, though. In 2021, Samsung began varying its panels more, introducing high-end models like the Samsung QN85A QLED and the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED with ADS panels, similar to IPS. Their performance is improved by local dimming, but these TVs still have low native contrast ratios that make blacks look more like gray in the dark. They also tend to suffer from noticeable blooming around bright objects, although it's more visible when viewing off-angle. Samsung TVs also don't support Dolby Vision, which may not be a dealbreaker but could be disappointing if you watch a lot of HDR content on platforms like Netflix, where Dolby Vision is the primary HDR format along with HDR10. On the plus side, Samsung does a great job with gaming features, as their models usually have quick response times, low input lag, and VRR support, and newer models come equipped with HDMI 2.1 for next-gen gaming.
See the best Samsung TVs here.
Sony used to be the largest manufacturer of TVs until Samsung overtook it in 2006, but it's still one of the most recognizable brands and still holds a large share of the market for premium TVs. It's also known as a prominent media company, maker of video game consoles, cameras, headphones, and other electronics. Sony's TV lineup tends to feature fewer models than competitors like LG and Samsung, and its focus is typically on high-end TVs, but it still offers several LED and OLED options. Sony's flagship OLED in 2021 is the Sony A90J, which boasts a new EVO OLED panel that allows it to hit an exceptionally high peak brightness for an OLED TV. That said, it can't sustain that level of brightness for long, and it can really only achieve it in certain picture modes that come at the expense of image accuracy and quality. Still, it's a step in the right direction for improving OLED brightness.
We've yet to test all of Sony's 2021 models, but all except for the entry-level Sony X80J should come with HDMI 2.1 ports, and advanced features like VRR and ALLM are expected to come in an upcoming firmware update. The mid-range Sony X900H from 2020 is still expected to receive those updates as well, and it features an excellent contrast ratio thanks to its VA panel, as well as good local dimming and great peak brightness. While it's a bit disappointing that the maker of the PS5 has yet to implement key gaming features for next-gen consoles, Sony is still quite reliable when it comes to picture quality and processing, as well as motion smoothing. Sony TVs are generally known to have good color accuracy too, so if you don't want to calibrate your TV, you might be happy with a Sony. Also new in 2021 is the Google TV smart platform, which replaces Android TV but operates very similarly, albeit with a redesigned home page and a bit smoother performance overall.
See the best Sony TVs here.
Compared to other TV manufacturers, Vizio is still in its baby steps; they started making TVs in 2002 and have a fairly limited lineup of other electronics as their main focus is on televisions. Vizio's options are best for those on a budget looking for top picture quality, especially if you watch a lot of movies or other native 4k content. Their LED lineup has a few models, ranging from the entry-level Vizio V Series 2020 to the flagship Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020, and they released their first OLED in 2020. The Vizio OLED is cheaper than rival options from LG and Sony, but it doesn't have as many gaming features. It's supposed to support VRR, but it doesn't work properly, the input lag is higher than LG TVs, and it doesn't properly display 4k @ 120Hz content. However, these shouldn't be an issue if you just want an OLED for watching your favorite movies.
Their LED models are made with VA panels, and they all have an outstanding native contrast ratio; the higher-end models have local dimming that further improve the black level even more, making them a great choice for dark room viewing. However, that also means they have narrow viewing angles, so they're not suggested for wide seating arrangements. Like the OLED, their higher-end LEDs also have trouble with VRR and 4k @ 120Hz, so they're not ideal for competitive gaming. They also have difficulty upscaling lower-resolution content properly, like from cable boxes, so you should avoid these if you tend to watch a lot of cable TV. Also, the Vizio SmartCast system allows you to cast anything you want from your phone, but you can't download any extra apps on it, and it feels laggy at times.
See the best Vizio TVs here.
TCL is a young but quickly growing electronics company that was founded in China in 1981. Besides TVs, they also produce soundbars, phones, and headphones. Their TVs are known for their budget-friendly cost, and their flagship models usually compete with the other major manufacturers in terms of picture quality. Their main competitor is Hisense as they each make low-cost options; most of TCL's TVs use Roku TV as its smart platform while Hisense uses Android TV, but TCL has started to use Android as well. Roku TV is easy-to-us, has a ton of apps you can download through the app store, and you can cast content from your mobile device. Unlike other companies, they also make small and lower-resolution models, like the TCL 3 Series, and they're one of the last to do so.
They were one of the first manufacturers to produce QLED TVs back in 2014. Since then, they continue using quantum dot technology on their high-end models, like the TCL 6 Series and the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. This allows the TVs to display a wide color gamut for HDR content, and they usually have decent local dimming as well. Sadly, most of their models aren't known to get bright, so they're not the best to use in well-lit rooms, and they don't make highlights stand out in HDR. Also, they've only started to include gaming features like VRR support on their flagship 6 Series, but it lacked on the 5 Series in 2020, but they still generally have a low input lag and quick response time. On the plus side, TCL tends to use VA panels with a high contrast ratio, allowing the TVs to display deep blacks when viewed in the dark.
See the best TCL TVs here.
Hisense is the major competitor of TCL when it comes to making budget and low-cost TVs. This Chinese company started by making radios in 1969 and soon began producing TVs a few years after. Now, they make a variety of electronics, including home appliances and air purifiers, and they're relatively new in the North American TV market. They acquired the rights to sell TVs in North America from Sharp in 2015, and since then, they've produced some really good 4k TVs, especially for their price. Their higher-end models, like the Hisense H8G and H9G, compete with some other premium models from other brands, and they don't cost much. Most of their TVs use Android TV as their smart operating system, but they also have a few models with built-in Roku to compete with TCL.
Their TVs are known to perform well in both bright and dark environments. They mainly use VA panels that have a high contrast ratio and full-array local dimming, allowing them to produce deep and inky blacks when viewed in the dark. The H9G and H8G both get bright and have at least decent reflection handling, so visibility shouldn't be an issue even in well-lit rooms. Unfortunately, their models don't have any viewing angle technology like Samsung or Sony, so it's best to avoid using them in wide seating arrangements. Also, Hisense lacks extra gaming features, and they have yet to include any VRR support in their TVs. Fans of HDR content should also enjoy Hisense TVs because both the H8G and H9G display a wide color gamut. Their entry-level models like the Hisense H6510G don't have these same features and performance, but that's expected for low-end models. If you need a good all-around TV without any gaming features, you'll likely find it with Hisense.
Apr 23, 2021: Replaced the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED with the Samsung QN90A QLED. Replaced the Sony A8H OLED with the Sony A90J OLED.
Mar 25, 2021: Verified picks for accuracy, updated text for clarity.
Feb 24, 2021: Updated text for clarity; no changes to recommendations.
Feb 05, 2021: Verified picks for accuracy, updated text for clarity.
Dec 11, 2020: Replaced the Vizio Quantum X 2020 with the Vizio OLED.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best brands for smart TVs and the best TVs available for most people in each price range, from the 6 biggest TV brands to buy in the U.S.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our TV reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.