1080p TVs are no longer the norm and are becoming hard to find. Almost every new model that comes to the market is a 4k one, even for budget models (see our 4k vs. 1080p TV comparison). So, unless there's a very specific reason you're looking for a 1080p model, upgrading to a 4k model will allow you to choose from a wider selection of TVs.
We've tested more than 70 TVs in the last two years and below are our recommendations for the best 1080p TVs you can buy in 2020. See also our recommendations for the best cheap TVs and the best TVs under $300.
The best 1080p TV we've tested is the TCL 3 Series 2019 40S325, which is available in 40, 43, and 49 inch sizes. There's also a 32" variant that's limited to a 720p resolution. This TV is the replacement of the TCL S Series/S305 2018 in the TCL lineup and has a few improvements, although it remains very similar. It has a mediocre picture quality but can display deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its high native contrast ratio. It has an excellent low input lag, making it the best 1080p TV for gaming on older 1080p consoles. It runs the full Roku TV smart platform, which gives you access to a large number of streaming channels and apps that you can download.
Unfortunately, this TV can't get very bright, so it's not great for a bright room, and due to its VA panel the image deteriorates quickly when you watch from the side.
Overall, if you need a secondary TV and don't care about picture quality or having current features and capabilities, this is an adequate choice that offers a decent price-to-performance ratio.
If you want a TV for watching Free-to-Air channels and don't care about smart features, then the TCL 1 Series/40D100 is a good choice. Unlike the TCL 3 Series 2019, it's a simple TV with no smart features and just a plain TV tuner. It can play the role of a simple display if you already have an Android TV box or Apple TV. It displays deep blacks in a dark room, thanks to the high contrast ratio, but the overall picture quality is mediocre. As expected, this TV has no advanced motion processing features, and the low input lag isn't enough to make it attractive to gamers. Note that the 32" model is a 720p TV.
If you use your TV to stream content from services like Netflix and don't want to purchase an additional box like a Roku or Chromecast, go with the 3 Series, but if you just need a screen and don't care about having smart features, get the D100.
If you need a TV with wider viewing angles than the ones found on the TCL 3 Series 2019, then get the LG LJ5500, if you can still find it. It doesn't have the deep blacks of the TCL, and the picture quality is worse. On the upside, the IPS panel on the LG makes it more suitable for wide seating arrangements, as the image remains accurate when viewed from the side.
Overall, the TCL is a better TV, but if wide angles are important and you don't need as good picture quality, then the LG is the way to go.
The best 32 inch 1080p TV we've tested so far is the Samsung UN32N5300. This is a great TV for small rooms or to use as a secondary TV in the kitchen. It delivers a decent picture quality for most content, and its IPS panel provides great viewing angles, so images remain accurate even if you're watching from the side. Unfortunately, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms, as it has a rather sub-par contrast ratio and an okay black uniformity, resulting in blacks that look more like gray. If you're in a bright room, this TV has decent reflection handling and peak brightness to combat glare, but it may struggle a bit if there's direct sunlight on the screen.
Although this TV can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, it isn't recommended for use as a monitor, as its input lag is a little high. The latter also impacts gaming performance, and this TV doesn't support any advanced gaming features such as variable refresh rate. On the upside, motion handling is good and there's only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. Gray uniformity is good as well, but there's some dirty screen effect that can be distracting when watching sports.
If you're looking for a basic TV that can get the job done, go with this one.
If you're shopping on a limited budget, consider the Vizio D Series 1080p 2017 D32f-E1. Like the Samsung N5300, it also uses an IPS panel, though its viewing angles aren't as good. It has a sub-par contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, so it's not ideal for dark room viewing. Also, its peak brightness can be an issue in bright rooms, but on the upside, it has good reflection handling. Motion blur is minimal due to the TV's good response time, and input lag is also low, but it may not be enough for competitive gaming.
Overall, the Samsung performs better, but if you don't mind a few compromises, the Vizio is a good budget-friendly alternative.
Our recommendation above is what we think is currently the best 1080p TVs to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't really worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs that have a 1080p screen. 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.
03/03/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.