The 55 inch category remains the most popular choice for TVs, even though larger options are slowly but steadily gaining market share. 2019 was a good year for TVs, as the models we have tested were better than their last year's counterparts. New technologies are maturing and are becoming available in more mainstream models.
The LG OLED55B9 is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. OLED TVs have gained popularity in recent years, largely due to OLED's capacity to turn each pixel on and off individually, resulting in pure blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. This TV is no exception and it delivers outstanding picture quality. It doesn't get any better if you like to watch TV in the dark, where black is black, period.
That’s not all. With excellent reflection handling and decent peak brightness, this TV performs just as well in a bright room. Motion handling is also outstanding thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time; coupled with low input lag and support for variable refresh rate, it’s every gamer’s dream come true.
Not all is good, though, as we need to address OLED's most common concern: temporary image retention and permanent burn-in. This is the result of cumulative exposure to static content, but we don't expect it to occur with normal varied content. That said, it may not be as good a choice to use it as a monitor or for long gaming sessions, as those usage scenarios often involve a lot of static user interface elements that are displayed for an extended period. LG has implemented some measures to prevent burn-in, such as screen savers and ABL (Auto Brightness Limiter), but some may find the latter a little too aggressive.
Overall, this is an excellent TV and it gets our top recommendation for the best 55 inch TVs.
If you find the LG B9 OLED a little outside of your budget, you may want to consider the LG OLED55B8. It’s a step down only in terms of features; otherwise, this TV performs admirably. A few advanced features are missing, such as HDMI 2.1, support for variable refresh rate, and eARC, omitted to keep the price down. The picture quality remains just as good and the overall performance is outstanding.
The LG B9 remains our top recommendation, but if it’s too pricey for you, the LG B8 is an excellent choice.
If you're too concerned about the risk of burn-in that the LG B9 OLED and the rest of the OLEDs have, then check out the Samsung QN55Q80R. You won't get the same perfect blacks as you'll get with the OLEDs, but on the upside, this TV delivers an impressive picture quality and blacks look deep in a dark room. It can get very bright, suitable for any room, and when in HDR it displays vivid colors and bright highlights thanks. Motion looks crisp and the TV delivers an excellent gaming experience thanks to the low input lag and the advanced gaming features.
For the best 55 inch TV, get the LG, but if you prefer an LED TV that doesn't have the burn-in risk, the Samsung is the best choice.
Deep saturated colors are aesthetically pleasing but not always the most accurate; if you care about color accuracy but don’t plan on calibrating your TV, the Sony XBR55X950G is the best 55 inch TV for color accuracy. This TV has the most accurate color reproduction out of the box that we’ve tested so far. This TV can get seriously bright, which is great for HDR, as it brings out the highlights. Motion handling is excellent, and although the input lag is a little bit high for competitive gaming, it’s perfectly fine for casual gaming. With a high contrast ratio and good black uniformity, this TV is suitable for viewing in dark rooms. Unfortunately, there are some downsides: this TV has mediocre viewing angles, which isn't ideal for a wide seating arrangement, and it doesn’t support any variable refresh rate technology.
Overall, if color accuracy is important to you, this TV is the best you can get, and it's one of the best 55 inch TVs for the money.
If the Sony X950G lacks the gaming features that you're looking for, the best gaming alternative is the Samsung QN55Q70R. Besides the outstanding motion handling, this TV has extremely low input lag and supports AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate. The picture quality is just as impressive, with excellent contrast ratio and black uniformity. Although it doesn’t get as bright as the Sony, it’s still enough to make highlights pop in HDR content.
If you want the most accurate color reproduction, go with the Sony, but if you need a TV with advanced gaming features, the Samsung is a better choice.
The best budget 55 inch TV that we've tested so far is the Hisense 55H9F. Although it's significantly cheaper than our other recommendations, this TV still brings a whole lot to the table. It performs well in both bright and dark rooms, thanks to its outstanding contrast ratio and excellent peak brightness, and combined with the TV's impressive color gamut, HDR content truly stands out with vibrant colors and highlights that pop. As for gaming, it's a bit of a mixed bag. While input lag and response time are superb, this TV doesn't support variable refresh rate technology and the panel is limited to 60Hz.
Unfortunately, like most VA panels, viewing angles are rather poor, which is not ideal for wide seating arrangements or for watching a big game with friends, but on the bright side, this TV runs on Android, which means that you have access to the incredible amount of apps available on the Google Play Store, and the TV can be voice-controlled via the Google Assistant.
If you're looking for a great budget TV, the Hisense 55H9F is highly recommended.
If you're shopping with a very limited budget, then consider the Hisense 55H8F. It may not be as decked out as its big brother, the H9F, but it performs remarkably well nonetheless. You still get the outstanding contrast ratio, excellent color gamut, and low input lag; however, response time is slightly slower and the TV can't get as bright, especially for HDR content. Surprisingly, this TV has a better black uniformity than its sibling, making it a great choice for dark room viewing. The full array local dimming is passable, but viewing angles are disappointing, as it uses a VA panel as well.
Overall, the Hisense H9F performs better, but if your budget doesn't allow, the Hisense H8F is a great alternative as long as you're okay with a few minor compromises.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best 55 inch 4k TVs currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors.
If you would prefer the make your own decision, here is the list of all of our TV reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most TVs are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault TVs on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.
01/17/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
12/19/2019: Same picks; just minor text changes for clarity.
11/20/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.