Shopping for a new TV can be challenging; with so many different models out there, it can be hard to know where to start. Some TV brand names are well-known, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're any good, because a TV's performance changes with every model. Some budget-friendly TV brands are starting to make waves in the market and often release models that are better than more expensive options, so finding the best TV for your needs can get complicated. You can see a full list of models released in 2021 here.
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 multinational electronics company that manufactures all kinds of different products, from home appliances, vacuums, monitors, and TVs, to name a few. Originally named Lucky GoldStar, they shortened it to LG in 1995 and eventually became pioneers of large screen TVs in the early 2000s. They revolutionized the TV market with the first consumer OLED TV in 2013. OLEDs are different from LED-backlit LCD TVs because they use self-emissive pixels that can each turn on and off without the need for a backlight. This means that OLEDs have a near-infinite contrast ratio with no blooming around bright objects, so they're fantastic for dark room viewing.
LG's OLED lineup includes a few different TVs, like the no-frills LG A1 OLED, the popular LG C1 OLED, and the high-end LG G1 OLED, which uses the new evo panel that allows it to get brighter than other OLEDs. However, because OLEDs tend to deliver the same exceptional picture quality, the C1 is our top recommended OLED because of its value. Also, LG TVs are usually cheaper than other OLEDs because LG supplies the panels, meaning that companies like Sony and Vizio have to charge a premium. However, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in if exposed to static elements over a long period. If that worries you, they have an LED lineup that's immune to burn-in, including the new QNED series that features Mini LED backlighting. Sadly, their LED options aren't anything special compared to the competition since they usually use IPS-like panels, which have a low contrast ratio. If you're a gamer, though, you should appreciate LG's offering of HDMI 2.1 inputs and variable refresh rate (VRR) support on most of their high-end models.
See the best LG TVs here.
Like LG, Samsung is another international electronics company based out of South Korea, and alongside TVs, they also make cellphones, home appliances, and monitors. They were pioneers when 4k TVs became available at the consumer level in the 2010s, but other companies have caught up. Even though Samsung is one of the world leaders for making TVs, they're no longer the clear-cut number one anymore. Samsung is one of LG's main competitors, but they make different types of TVs. Samsung focuses only on LED TVs, with their flagship QLED lineup at the forefront. QLED TVs use quantum dot technology to produce a wide color gamut needed for HDR content, meaning they display a wider range of colors than non-QLED TVs.
Samsung makes both 4k and 8k models, and in 2021, they came out with their new Mini LED technology, which enhances the QLED experience even further, and they market those TVs as Neo QLED. The Samsung QN90A QLED features this type of backlighting, allowing it to get extremely bright. Even though it should have better control over its local dimming feature, local dimming in Game Mode on Samsung TVs is generally worse than outside of Game Mode. Samsung is known for its gaming features as its higher-end models tend to include variable refresh rate (VRR) support and HDMI 2.1 inputs for 4k @ 120Hz gaming. Unfortunately, some of Samsung's high-end TVs like the Samsung QN85A QLED or Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED, use IPS-like panels, which have a low contrast ratio, causing blacks to look gray, so if you want the best dark room experience, you'll have to go for the high-end QN90A.
See the best Samsung TVs here.
Sony is another TV manufacturer that features a wide range of products and services, as they produce anything from displays to headphones to cameras to gaming consoles, and they even have entertainment services. Their TV lineup is almost a perfect mix between Samsung and LG since they have both LED and OLEDs. However, their gaming features are lacking compared to the other big companies. Sony TVs are best known for their fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy. Even though this can vary between individual units, Sony models we've tested tend to have excellent accuracy, so you may not need to get them calibrated to enjoy the picture quality to the fullest. The Sony A90J OLED is the flagship 4k OLED from 2021, and it delivers even better picture quality than the LG C1 OLED.
If you're worried about the burn-in risk associated with OLEDs, Sony has a few good LED options, like the Sony X90J and Sony X95J. Their higher-end LED options usually have VA panels, so they produce deep blacks, and if you want to use them in a bright room, they also get bright enough to combat glare. Unfortunately, Sony TVs are usually more expensive than the competition, and because their lineup is small every year, they don't have budget options. Even though Sony makes PlayStation, their TVs lack gaming features like VRR support, but they've said that could come in a future firmware update. Even with that, Sony TVs usually have higher input lag than others, so if you want the best gaming TVs available, it's probably better to look elsewhere. If you just want great picture quality, a Sony TV should do it.
See the best Sony TVs here.
Vizio is an American electronics company that specializes in home theatre products. Unlike other brands, they only make TVs and soundbars and don't make other types of electronics, meaning that they can focus their efforts on them. Being a North American brand, their TVs were only available in the United States and Canada for the longest time, but it seems like their products won't be available in Canada anymore. Like Samsung and Sony, they offer both OLED and LED options, although they only released one OLED in 2020. They have more LED models, with options from their P Series, M Series, V Series, and entry-level D Series, and each series usually includes two models. Their high-end LED models, like the Vizio P Series Quantum 2021, are usually among the best TVs for HDR since they have high brightness, fantastic contrast, and great local dimming.
Vizio's TVs usually deliver good picture quality, sometimes better than the competition, but their smart system lags behind other operating systems, both figuratively and literally. Their TVs have many bugs associated with them, from shutting off at random times to issues with the variable refresh rate support. Even the flagship Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 drops frames when in Game Mode with 4k @ 120Hz games, which is disappointing for those who want to buy a Vizio for their next-gen consoles. Vizio doesn't have an app store because all their built-in apps are web-based, so they're not installed on the TV, and it takes all content directly from the Internet. You can still cast anything you want from your phone because they have built-in Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay.
See the best Vizio TVs here.
TCL is a Chinese electronics company that makes budget-friendly and low-cost TVs. They started in the 1980s by manufacturing audio cassettes and quickly expanded into other electronics, and today they make things like cellphones and home appliances. They're a direct competitor of Hisense as they each make inexpensive TVs that provide great value and even compete with better-known companies like Samsung and Sony. Although their TV lineup is small, they make high-end TVs like the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED to the entry-level TCL 3 Series, which has either a 720p or 1080p resolution, depending on which size you get. They recently released their 2021 lineup, so we haven't tested many models yet, but they came out with a new XL Collection with 85 inch TVs like the TCL R745, and they even have new 8k TVs.
Their TVs generally perform well in dark rooms because they usually have high contrast and at least decent local dimming for deep blacks. Their higher-end TVs get bright if you want to use them in a well-lit room, but the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED and lower models usually aren't as bright as similar Hisense TVs, so they might not be worth it if you're going to watch TV during the day. TCL has historically used Roku TV as their smart platform, which is user-friendly, but they're starting to release models with Google TV too. TCL hasn't usually included as many gaming features like VRR support on most of their models like other companies, but it seems that the 2021 6 Series model should have HDMI 2.1 inputs and VRR support.
See the best TCL TVs here.
Hisense is another relatively young TV company that hasn't been selling TVs in the United States for many years. They're more of a budget-friendly brand, so they make high-end TVs that cost less than other flagship TVs. They make a few other electronics like air conditioners and mobile phones, and their TVs often provide the best value compared to other companies. Their high-end ULED lineup, which features the Hisense U9DG, Hisense U8G, Hisense U7G, and Hisense U6G, delivers better picture quality than similarly priced TVs, and they're often our top recommended TVs. Their TVs usually have VA panels with a high contrast and at least decent local dimming, so you know they perform well in dark rooms. Even in bright rooms, they generally have good reflection handling and high brightness.
As Hisense is cheaper than some other companies, there are a few issues with quality control. We noticed problems with HDMI 2.1 TVs like the U8G and U7G, where there are motion artifacts and red ghosting, particularly in Game Mode. This can be distracting if there's a lot of fast-moving content on the screen, but otherwise, you won't notice it. They also have narrow viewing angles, but that's normal for VA panels. As mentioned before, they compete with TCL, and their Android TV smart platforms offers an alternative to the Roku platform on TCLs. Android TV may take some time to learn, but the app store has an excellent selection of apps available to download. Unlike LG, Samsung, or Sony, Hisense TVs also support HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so you won't have to worry about which format your HDR content is in.
See the best Hisense TVs here.
Oct 01, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
Sep 08, 2021: Updated text for accuracy.
Aug 12, 2021: Verified availability of picks; updated text for clarity.
Jul 14, 2021: Updated text for clarity and confirmed top recommendations for each brand. No changes were made to our current picks.
Jun 14, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H9G with the Hisense U8G; updated text for clarity.
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 six 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.