The 55 inch category remains the most popular choice for TVs, even though larger options are slowly but steadily gaining market share. There are many things you can look for when searching for the best 55 inch TV. It all depends on your usage and viewing conditions. If you tend to watch movies in dark rooms, OLEDs may be the way to go; however, if you want to place in a well-lit environment, LED TVs can get significantly bright. There's no perfect TV and most of the time choosing one model over the other comes down to personal preference.
We’ve tested more than 50 TVs available in this size in the past two years, and below are our recommendations for the best 55 inch TVs to buy. See our recommendations for the best TVs, the best 65 inch TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The best 55 inch TV with an OLED panel that we've tested is the LG OLED55C1PUB. It's a premium TV that's packed with features and should please most people for most uses. It performs best in dark rooms because OLEDs can individually turn off pixels, resulting in a near-infinite contrast, so blacks look deep and inky.
Thanks to the ability to turn off each pixel, OLEDs also have no blooming around bright objects, making them a fantastic choice for watching movies. If you want to use it for HDR content, the C1 supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. It displays a wide color gamut and has okay HDR brightness, so although it may not be enough to truly bring out all highlights, it still delivers an excellent HDR experience thanks to its high contrast. It's packed with gaming features like HDMI 2.1 and variable refresh rate (VRR) support, allowing you to play tear-free gaming up to 4k @ 120Hz. It also has really low input lag and a near-instant response time.
Unfortunately, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in, which can happen with constant exposure to static elements like if you're going to use it as a PC monitor. However, we don't expect this to be an issue for those who watch varied content. On the plus side, it has wide viewing angles in case you want to use it in a wide seating arrangement. All things considered, this is the best 55 inch smart TV if you want an OLED panel.
The best 55 inch smart TV with an LED panel that we've tested is the Samsung QN55QN90AAFXZA. It's an excellent all-around TV that performs well in both dark and bright settings, and like the LG C1 OLED, it's packed with gaming features like VRR support and HDMI 2.1 inputs. It's very well-built and comes with a sleek center-mounted stand that should look good in any setup.
The main advantage of LEDs over OLEDs is that they don't suffer from permanent burn-in, so you can easily leave it on your favorite news channel all day without worrying about damaging your TV. The QN90A has Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to get extremely bright, and combined with its fantastic reflection handling, it easily fights glare even in the brightest of settings. If you're a fan of HDR content, it also gets bright enough to make highlights really stand out. It has a VA panel with an excellent native contrast ratio; it's lower than most VA panel TVs due to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, but it still has a great local dimming feature to greatly improve the black levels.
Unfortunately, the local dimming is worse in 'Game Mode' because it raises the black levels, causing the screen to look more gray than black. There are also some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this can vary between units. Regardless of these issues, this is one of the best TVs we've tested available in this size range.
The best 55 inch TV for watching HDR content is the Hisense 55U8G. Although it doesn't perform as well overall as the Samsung QN90A QLED, it still delivers an excellent HDR experience thanks to its higher native contrast ratio. The U8G also supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so you won't have to worry about which format your HDR content is in before watching it.
In terms of picture quality, it delivers serious value for its price. It has a VA panel with a fantastic native contrast ratio, excellent black uniformity, and great local dimming to deepen any blacks. It displays a very wide color gamut for HDR content, has good gradient handling, and gets bright enough to make highlights stand out. The unit we tested has amazing out-of-the-box accuracy; although this can vary between units, you might not need to calibrate it to enjoy it to the fullest. If you want to use it in a bright room, it has high peak brightness and fantastic reflection handling.
Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, so the image looks inaccurate when viewing from the side. It also has some uniformity issues, but this can vary between units. If you want to use it for gaming, it has a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 support, which is new compared to the 2020 Hisense H9G. It even has VRR support, but there are issues with enabling the local dimming when VRR is enabled. All in all, this is the best 55 inch 4k TV for watching HDR content that we've tested.
The best 55 inch 4k TV that we've tested in the budget category is the Hisense 55U6G. It has an excellent contrast ratio that's further improved by its full-array local dimming, which means it can display deep blacks, making it a fantastic choice for dark room viewing. It's also suitable for well-lit rooms because it has amazing reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare. As is expected of most VA panels, its viewing angles are pretty narrow, so it's not the best option if you have a wide seating arrangement.
It upscales lower resolution content well and without any artifacts. It has an impressive color gamut with excellent DCI P3 coverage and decent color accuracy out of the box. The response time is great, which results in clear motion with only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects, but it's limited to 60Hz, and there's no VRR support to reduce screen tearing when gaming. Its input lag is incredibly low, though, and it supports most common resolutions and chroma 4:4:4 if you want to use it as a PC monitor.
It runs on Android TV, and like all 2021 Hisense TVs, it won't switch to Google TV. That said, it's still a relatively user-friendly platform with tons of apps available through the Google Play Store. The built-in speakers sound boomy and lack bass extension, so you're better off with a dedicated soundbar or home theater system if you want the best audio experience. Nonetheless, it's a simple but great TV that's easy on the wallet.
If you're already familiar with Roku and want to stick with it, then check out the TCL 55S535. It's very similar to the Hisense U6G, except that it runs on the Roku interface. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very bright, so it might not be able to overcome intense glare, and highlights don't pop the way they should in HDR content. On the upside, it has a much higher contrast ratio to deliver deeper blacks as well as better accuracy out of the box.
Overall, the Hisense is a better choice, especially if glare is a problem or you want a better HDR experience. However, if you prefer the Roku interface and don't mind compromising, then go with the TCL.
Jul 01, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced Hisense H8G with Hisense U6G.
Jun 03, 2021: Replaced the LG CX and Hisense H9G with the newer LG C1 and Hisense U8G. Removed the Sony X90J and Sony X950H and replaced them with the Samsung QN90A because it's better overall; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
May 06, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED with Sony X90J.
Apr 08, 2021: Reviewed accuracy of picks; no change in recommendations.
Mar 09, 2021: Verified picks for availability and updated text for clarity; added the Samsung TU8000 to Notable Mentions.
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 55 inch 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.