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 one of the most known electronic brands worldwide. After having started in South Korea in 1947, they've since expanded to a massive international conglomerate corporation specializing in a variety of consumer electronics. They're known as an industry leader with TVs because one of their subset companies, LG Display - which is a different company than LG Electronics - is one of the biggest manufacturer for displays. LG Display is the only supplier for OLED panels in TVs, and because of that, LG Electronics has a great selection of OLED displays, and they often cost less than the competition. OLEDs are unique because they don't require a backlight and instead have self-lit pixels that can turn off individually, resulting in perfect black levels without any blooming, meaning they perform best in dark rooms.
LG's 2021 lineup includes a few OLEDs, from the LG G1 OLED, which has a unique design meant to sit flush against the wall, to the basic LG A1 OLED, which doesn't have any of the same gaming features the higher-end versions have. The LG C1 OLED offers the best value in terms of price and features because it has all the gaming features people are looking for like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth, a 120Hz panel, and VRR support. The main downside of OLEDs is their risk of permanent burn-in with prolonged exposure to the same static elements, but we don't expect that to be an issue for people who watch varied content. If you're worried about that, LG has an LED lineup, but their picture quality isn't special because they have IPS panels with a low contrast ratio.
See the best LG TVs here.
Samsung is a South Korean electronics company that makes products for consumers worldwide. Besides their TVs, you've likely seen or even owned one of their fridges, phones, or monitors. Founded in 1938, Samsung originally was a trading company for food and grocery products, and they started making electronics only in the 1960s. Since then, they've grown into a world leader with consumer electronics, and their TVs are often pioneers when it comes to new technology. Samsung's TVs are mainly known for the quantum dot technology, labeled as QLED, which they came up with to compete with LG's OLED lineup. However, QLEDs are very different than OLEDs because they use a traditional LCD panel backlit by LED lighting, and there's a filter in between to help improve the array of colors the TV can display.
Samsung has a fairly diversified lineup in 2021 with entry-level to 8k models. It's the first year with their new Mini LED technology, which they label as Neo QLED. These TVs, like the Samsung QN90A QLED, are meant to get brighter than past QLEDs and offer better control over their local dimming feature. Unfortunately, the main downside to their 2021 lineup of TVs is that some models like the Samsung QN85A QLED and the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED have IPS-like panels with low contrast, so blacks look gray if you don't enable the local dimming feature. Even if you do, there's blooming around bright objects on these models. Samsung uses their own smart system with their TVs, called Tizen OS, which has a user-friendly interface, feels smooth, and has a ton of apps you can download.
See the best Samsung TVs here.
Along with LG and Samsung, Sony is part of the big three TV brands in sales. They started in Japan in 1946, first making audio recorders, before changing their name to Sony in 1958 and entering the TV market not long after. Sony came out with the first LED-backlit LCD TVs at the start of the 21st century, and they continue making high-end LED TVs in 2021, but they also make OLEDs. Their LED models are better than LG's because they mostly use VA panels with high contrast, and they tend to get bright, so they perform well both in bright and dark rooms. Unlike LG and Samsung, Sony doesn't have a proprietary smart platform, but instead, they use Google TV, which is great if you already have a Google ecosystem at home, and you can connect your smart TV with your smart speaker.
Sadly, Sony is a bit behind other companies with gaming. They've said they'll add variable refresh rate support to their 2020 and 2021 TVs through firmware updates, and even though the Sony X900H has VRR support after a firmware update, it's disappointing to know that the makers of the PS5 don't have as many gaming features on their TVs. Also, their models tend to have higher input lag, so if you're a competitive gamer, you should probably stay away from Sony. Instead, what Sony excels in is their image processing, as the Sony A90J OLED is one of the best TVs for watching movies that we've tested, and Sony TVs also usually have fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy, so you won't have to worry about getting it calibrated.
See the best Sony TVs here.
Vizio is an American TV brand based out of California, and their TVs are only available in the United States. Unlike the other brands in this list, Vizio doesn't have a very diversified product range, as they mainly focus their efforts on entertainment electronics, like TVs and soundbars. Their TVs also tend to cost a bit cheaper than the high-end models from Samsung and Sony. They're known to deliver deep blacks for a great dark room performance as most of them have VA panels, and the higher-end models have at least decent local dimming with minimal blooming around bright objects. Their higher-end models also get bright, so visibility isn't an issue in most well-lit rooms, and highlights pop in HDR.
Sadly, one of the biggest downsides to Vizio TVs is their laggy smart system. While Vizio SmartCast is user-friendly, and you can cast most content from your phone thanks to the Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay support, it doesn't have an app store, and you can't download any extra apps besides the pre-installed ones. Also, 4k Vizio TVs don't do a good job at upscaling lower-resolution like DVDs and cable boxes, which is disappointing. If you only watch lower-resolution content, then Vizio is one of the few brands that still make 720p and 1080p TVs, like the Vizio D3 Series 2021. The rest of their lineup includes the high-end P Series, mid-range M Series, and the 4k entry-level V Series. In addition to their LED models, they also have one OLED model released in 2020, and you can still find it available in 2021.
See the best Vizio TVs here.
TCL originated in China in the 1980s by manufacturing cassettes, and they've since grown into an international electronics company that makes stuff from phones to air conditioners to soundbars. Along with Vizio and Hisense, they mainly make more budget-friendly models, but they do have high-end TVs to compete with the bigger brands. Their TVs often provide good value for their price, and the high-end TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED has features that you find on more expensive options, like variable refresh rate support and HDMI 2.1 inputs, which is great if you're looking for a value-friendly gaming TV. They have a unique lineup in 2021 that features new Google TVs, like the TCL 5 Series/S546 2021 QLED, but the 2020 models like the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED are still available because they have Roku TV, so unlike most other brands, you can choose which smart platform you prefer.
While TCL TVs usually have VA panels with high contrast, the one big area where TCL is behind compared to other brands is with the local dimming. Even on their Mini LED TVs like the TCL R646, the local dimming is just decent, and it improves the contrast with our checkerboard test pattern, but it doesn't do much to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. As TCL is a main competitor of Hisense, this is where TCL loses out, so if you care about local dimming, a Hisense TV might be the better choice for you. The 2021 models also have trouble properly upscaling 480p content, but this isn't a problem if you only watch 1080p or 4k content.
See the best TCL TVs here.
Hisense is a growing company in the TV industry. Originating from China, they've only been selling TVs in North America for a handful of years, and they're known as a budget-friendly company, so their main competition is TCL, although Hisense is starting to pull away from TCL in terms of their TVs' overall performance. Hisense has a relatively small TV lineup, but they all offer great value for their price, and they're better than the competition in terms of value. Their flagship TV in 2021, the Hisense U9DG, uses unique dual cell panel technology with two LCD panels on top of each other, which help provide the best contrast ratio we've seen on any LED TV as blacks look deep and inky with minimal blooming.
Unfortunately, the high-end U9DG has motion artifacts because it has a slow response time that makes motion look blurry. Even the Hisense U8G and the Hisense U7G have motion issues because they've been known to have red ghosting, particularly in Game Mode, but this seems to be an issue with their HDMI 2.1 TVs because the budget-friendly Hisense U6G doesn't have this issue. In terms of picture quality, Hisense TVs generally perform well both in dark and bright rooms as they have VA panels with high contrast, and they usually get bright enough to fight glare, but they also have narrow viewing angles, so they're not a good choice for wide seating areas. Sadly, Hisense is also known for some quality control issues, but if that doesn't bother you, it's one of the best TV brands to buy from.
See the best Hisense TVs here.
Jan 06, 2022: Updated text for clarity and accuracy.
Nov 26, 2021: Updated text for clarity and replaced the Hisense U8G with the Hisense U9DG.
Oct 29, 2021: Updated text for accuracy; replaced the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED with the newer TCL 6 Series/R646 2021 QLED.
Oct 01, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
Sep 08, 2021: Updated text for accuracy.
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.