The 55" category remains the most popular choice for TVs, even though larger options are slowly but steadily gaining market share. 2018 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.
We’ve tested more than 70 TVs available in this size, and below are our recommendations for the best 55 inch TVs to buy in 2019. See our recommendations for the best 65 inch TVs and the best smart TVs.
The LG OLED55C9 is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. It has an excellent picture quality thanks to its emissive technology that allows it to turn off or dim individual pixels, resulting in perfect blacks. It's a great TV for rooms with wide seating arrangements, thanks to its outstanding wide viewing angles. It can handle reflections very well and you can easily place it in a bright room. Fast-moving objects have only a small blur trail thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time.
Just like all OLED TVs, it has a risk of temporary image retention or even permanent burn-in. This can occur with cumulative long exposure to static content, and we don't expect it to occur with normal varied content. Some people might also be bothered by the brightness changes due to its aggressive Automatic Bright Limiter (ABL) function.
Overall, this is an excellent TV with a few future-proof options like HDMI 2.1 and eArc support that will keep its owners happy.
If the possibility of burn-in with the LG C9 OLED concerns you, the Samsung QN55Q80R is the best LED alternative. This TV has outstanding motion handling, great picture quality, and incredible low input lag. It has great smart features and great additional gaming features, including support for AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. It isn't perfect, though, as it has worse gray uniformity than the LG, and although it looks great in a dark room, it can't produce the outstanding blacks of the OLED panel.
If you want perfect blacks, get the LG C9, but if burn-in worries you, then get the Samsung Q80R.
If color accuracy is important to you, then the Sony XBR55X950G has the best pre-calibration color accuracy. The Sony doesn't have the excellent wide viewing angles found on the LG C9 OLED, but it can handle the glare of a very bright room well. It has a great picture quality and excellent pre-calibration accuracy. It has a fast response time, and fast-moving content looks crisp with minimal motion blur trail. It delivers great dark room performance thanks to its high native contrast ratio and good local dimming support. HDR content is great, full of rich colors and highlights that pop. Gamers will appreciate the low input lag.
Unfortunately, the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side, so the TV might not be the best choice for those with a wide seating arrangement.
Overall, this is a great TV that will keep everyone who chooses it happy.
If you find that the input lag on the Sony X950G isn't low enough and you're looking for a TV with more gaming features, the get the Samsung QN55Q70R QLED. It doesn't have the excellent reflection handling of the Sony, but it's equipped with some nice gaming features. Apart from the slightly lower input lag, this TV supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology for nearly tear-free gaming. It also supports low input lag with motion interpolation and will keep you happy with its overall performance, which is very similar to the Sony.
If advanced gaming features are important, then get the Samsung; otherwise, the Sony is a slightly better choice.
The best budget TV available in a 55 inch size that we've tested so far is the Hisense 55H9F. It has outstanding peak brightness, an excellent contrast ratio, and a decent local dimming feature. It has great reflection handling, and glare shouldn't be much of an issue in a brighter room.
This TV is also a great TV for gaming, as it has an excellent response time and outstanding low input lag. There is also an optional black frame insertion feature, but it can only flicker at 120Hz, so there are some noticeable duplications in motion. This TV runs the Android TV smart interface, which works very well and has a huge selection of smart apps.
Unfortunately, there are some noticeable uniformity issues, including some dirty screen effect, which isn't great for watching sports. Overall, though, it's a great TV for almost any use and should please most people.
If the Hisense H9F is too expensive for you, check out the TCL 5 Series/55S517 2018. It doesn't have more advanced features like local dimming, and can only interpolate up to 60fps. On the upside, it costs less and runs an equally good smart platform. Unfortunately, HDR performance is just decent as it can't get very bright in this mode. Gamers will appreciate the excellent low input lag, which is also great for those who will use it as a PC monitor.
Overall, although the Hisense is a much better TV, if you want to save some money, the TCL is a good alternative.
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.