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 70 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 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. 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 to go along with it.
While the picture quality of this TV 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 makes 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, though, like the other options on this list, the picture quality isn't nearly as good as most budget 4k TV options, even with 1080p content.
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 watch your TV from the side and need something with better viewing angles, get 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, go for the TCL. However, if you often watch your TV with a larger group of people or while you're walking around the room, the better viewing angles on the LG will ensure an accurate image even from the side.
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. 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.
Unfortunately, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms, as it has a rather sub-par contrast ratio and only okay black uniformity, resulting in blacks that look more like gray, though this is to be expected from an IPS TV. Overall, this is an alright choice if you're looking for a basic TV for a spare room.
If you're shopping on a limited budget, consider the Vizio D Series 1080p 2017 D32f-E1. While it uses an IPS panel like the Samsung N5300, its viewing angles aren't as good, and it has much worse black uniformity, making it a bad choice for watching movies in a dark room. On the bright side, it's cheaper and has better overall motion 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, if you watch a lot of movies in a dark room, or need better viewing angles, go with the Samsung. However, if you want to save a few bucks and are planning on mainly using the TV for gaming, get the Vizio.
05/12/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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.