The 55 inch 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 OLED55B9 is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. The LG C9 OLED is just as good, but slightly more expensive. All OLEDs have an excellent picture quality and an outstanding dark room performance thanks to their emissive technology which delivers perfect blacks. The B9 is a great choice for a large room where you'll often watch TV from the side, as the image remains accurate for fairly wide angles. It also handles reflections well, so if your room happens to have a few more light sources, it won't be an issue. If you like watching fast-action sports, this TV will display crisp motion with just minimal blur trail, thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time. If you're a gamer, you'll appreciate the very low input and the support for the HDMI Forum variable refresh rate technology, which is slowly becoming more popular.
All OLED TVs have the risk of temporary image retention or even permanent burn-in. This is the result of cumulative long-exposure to static content, but we don't expect it to occur with normal varied content. Also, some people might find the brightness changes due to its aggressive Automatic Bright Limiter (ABL) function annoying.
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 you find that the LG B9 OLED is great, but you want to save some cash without making big compromises in quality, then get the LG OLED55B8. It's not as future-proof since it lacks the B9's HDMI 2.1 ports and the HDMI Forum variable refresh rate support. On the upside, this is an excellent TV that delivers remarkable overall performance and the same outstanding picture quality and the perfect blacks as the rest of the OLEDs do.
If you want the best 55 inch TV out there, get the LG B9; however, if you want to save some cash without many compromises in picture quality, the B8 will do a great job.
If you're too concerned about the possibility of burn-in of the OLEDs like LG B9 OLED or the LG B8 OLED, then get the Samsung QN55Q80R, the best 55 inch LED TV. This TV has remarkable motion handling, great picture quality, and incredible low input lag. It has great smart features and a set of gaming features, including support for AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, and low input lag with motion interpolation. 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 outstanding blacks like the OLED panel.
If you want perfect blacks in a dark room, get the LG B9; however, if burn-in worries you, then the Samsung Q80R will keep you happy.
If you care for color accuracy but don't plan on calibrating your TV, then the Sony XBR55X950G is the best 55 inch smart TV with the best pre-calibration color accuracy we've tested so far. It's just as good as the Sony X900F. You won't get the excellent wide viewing angles found on the LG B9 OLED or other OLEDs, but it looks great even in a very bright room. It has a very good picture quality, and with just minor setting adjustments you can achieve excellent color accuracy. Fast-moving content looks crisp with minimal motion blur trail, thanks to the fast response time. This TV delivers great dark room performance thanks to its high native contrast ratio and good local dimming support. Finally, HDR content looks full of vivid colors and bright highlights, and gamers will appreciate the low input lag, although it might be slightly high for competitive gaming.
Unfortunately, the image deteriorates when viewed from the side, so it might not be the best choice if you regularly watch TV at an angle.
Overall, this is a great TV, and most people will be happy with it.
If you want a TV that performs better than the Sony X950G for gaming while still offering an equally impressive overall performance, then get the Samsung QN55Q70R. You won't get the Sony's excellent reflection handling, but the picture quality is just as good, if not better. It has a very low input lag to please gamers and supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology for nearly tear-free gaming. For those who enjoy older lower fps games, the TV has an option to keep the input lag low with motion interpolation enabled. Overall, it's an impressive TV that'll satisfy its owners.
If gaming features are essential, then the Q70R is the way to go; otherwise, the X950G has a better color accuracy, which can be important to some people.
The best budget 55 inch TV 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, however, it's a great TV for almost any use and should please most people, making it one of the best 55 inch TVs for the money.
If the Hisense H9F is too expensive for you, check out its younger sibling, the Hisense 55H8F. You won't have the crisp motion found on the H9F as the response time is slower, which might disappoint some gamers. Also, it can't get as bright in HDR. On the upside, it's a great TV for most uses with very good picture quality and great dark room performance. The input lag is very low - slightly better than the other Hisense - which is great for those who will use it as a PC monitor.
Overall, although the H9F is a better overall TV, the H8F will do a great job if you wish to save some cash and don't care much about motion clarity.
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.
10/21/2019: Confirmed picks and changed the text for clarity.