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). Generally, even when watching 1080p content, most 4k TVs have better overall picture quality, so unless there's a very specific reason you're looking for a 1080p model, upgrading to a 4k model may be more worth it.
That being said, we've tested more than 90 TVs in the last two years, and below are our recommendations for the best 1080p TVs you can buy. See also our recommendations for the best cheap TVs and the best TVs under $300.
The best 1080p TV that 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 inch variant that's limited to a 720p resolution. Given its low price point, this TV has a fairly cheap, plasticky build, and the built-in speakers are disappointing, so you'll probably want to look at a budget soundbar if you want the best sound possible.
While this TV's picture quality is only mediocre overall, it can display deep blacks in a dark room thanks to its high native contrast ratio, and it has very accurate colors out-of-the-box. Unfortunately, it can't get very bright and will likely have a hard time overcoming glare in very well-lit environments, making it best-suited for watching movies in a dark room. It's also a good choice if you game on an older 1080p console, as its excellent low input lag and good response time make it the best 1080p tv for gaming that we've tested.
Unfortunately, it's not a great choice if you watch your TV with a large group of people, or while you're walking around the room, as the image deteriorates quickly when you watch from the side, though this is standard for TVs with a VA panel. On the upside, it runs the Roku TV smart platform, which gives you access to a large number of streaming channels and apps and is easy to use. Overall, if you need a secondary TV, this is an adequate choice.
If you watch your TV from the side and need something with better viewing angles, look into the LG LJ5500, if you can still find it. It doesn't have the deep blacks of the TCL 3 Series 2019, and the picture quality is worse, but it can get quite a bit brighter and has much better viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel. Unfortunately, the colors aren't nearly as accurate out-of-the-box as the TCL, and it isn't as good for gaming as its input lag is quite a bit higher. On the upside, it runs LG's WebOS smart interface, which feels a bit smoother than the Roku TV interface.
Overall, if you care more about picture quality and having deeper, more consistent blacks, check out the TCL. However, if you often watch your TV with a larger group of people, the LG's better viewing angles will ensure an accurate image even from the side.
The best 1080p TV available in a 32 inch size that we've tested is the Samsung UN32N5300. It's a simple and decent TV for watching TV shows or the news while you go about your day. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, so images remain accurate even when you're watching from the sides. It handles reflections relatively well, but it doesn't get very bright, so it's best to place it in a room where there's less ambient light. It's equipped with two HDMI ports, as well as some legacy ports such as coaxial and component, which is great for those still hanging on to older devices like VHS or DVD players.
This TV has decent picture quality, but not for watching movies or HDR content. It has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish, it lacks local dimming, and it can't display a wide color gamut. Its response time is okay and results in only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects; however, its 120Hz backlight flicker causes image duplication in some scenes. On the upside, its slower response time means that lower frame rate content doesn't stutter as much.
Unfortunately, this TV isn't ideal for gaming, as it has high input lag and doesn't have any advanced gaming features like variable refresh rate to help reduce screen tearing. If you get your content from streaming services, the good news is that it has WiFi built-in, and it runs on Samsung's Tizen OS, which is an easy-to-use platform with tons of apps. All in all, it's a pretty basic TV that's better suited for a secondary room, so you can catch up on some shows while doing chores.
If you often watch in a dark room, you should get a TV with a higher contrast ratio, like the Samsung QN32LS03TBFXZA. Unlike the Samsung N5300, it has a VA panel that can produce deep and inky blacks to deliver significantly better picture quality in dark rooms. It's incredibly well-built, and it's designed to blend into your decor by showcasing pieces of art when the TV isn't in use. It gets bright enough to overcome glare and has decent reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any visibility issues even in a well-lit environment. Sadly, its VA panel's poor viewing angles cause images to appear washed out when viewed from the side, which isn't ideal if you like walking around while watching. It's worth noting that only the 32 inch model of this TV has a 1080p resolution, as the other sizes are 4k and are a lot more expensive.
Overall, the N5300 is a better choice for most people because it has wider viewing angles and is much cheaper. However, if dark room performance is important to you, you should go with the Frame.
09/14/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
07/14/2020: Replaced the Vizio D Series with The Frame 2020; removed the TCL D100.
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 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.