The 55" category remains the most popular choice even though larger TVs 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 to more mainstream models.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the beginning of the year. Most manufacturers have started releasing replacements for their TV lines since the beginning of the year. Usually, these TVs tend to launch at very high prices and it is unlikely that these newer models will become reasonable choices until the latter half of the year, thus keeping the 2018 models in our recommendations for a few more months.
The LG OLED55B8 is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. It performs just as good as the LG C8 and LG E8 models, but it is less expensive. All have an excellent picture quality and can display true blacks due to the self-emissive OLED technology which allows the TV to turn off each pixel individually. The presence of true blacks makes the picture look outstanding, especially in a dark room. The infinite contrast ratio, along with the TVs brightness and the wide color gamut, allows the B8 to display rich, vivid colors offering an unparallel movie watching experience. The B8 is also suitable for large rooms due to its good viewing angles and it can handle reflections remarkably. Motion, just like on most OLEDs, looks crisp and fast content has very little blur due to the almost instantaneous response time.
However, all OLED TVs and the B8 run the risk of temporary image retention or even permanent burn-in. This is more likely to happen when displaying static content over prolonged periods. Under normal varied usage, though, we don't expect this to be an issue.
Overall, the LG OLED55B8 is an excellent TV that will perform well at any usage.
If the burn-in risk of the LG OLED55B8 is too much of a concern, then get the Samsung QN55Q8FN. You will not get the true blacks of the LG B8 and the viewing angles are narrower. On the upside, the Samsung Q8FN is a great TV for a bright room, and the picture quality remains great with good, deep blacks and vivid colors. The Q8FN is equipped with some nice features that gamers will appreciate, like very low input lag, motion interpolation, auto low latency, and FreeSync variable refresh rate support. Overall, the Samsung Q8FN will keep you happy with your choice no matter the usage.
The best 55 inch smart TV in the mid-range category is the Sony XBR55X900F. You will not get the wide viewing angles of the OLEDs, but you will get a TV with excellent brightness that you can easily place in a bright room, and it will have no issues with glare.
The X900F has a great picture quality and can perform very well in a dark room thanks to the deep blacks produced by the high native contrast ratio and full array local dimming support. HDR content is great, full of rich colors and highlights that pop. It has a very fast response time with very little blur and a low input lag to please gamers.
Overall, the Sony X900F will keep most of its future owners happy, as it will deliver a great performance.
If you find that the input lag on the Sony X900F is too high, then check out the Vizio P55-F1 P Series 2018. It does not have the brightness levels or the great reflection handling found on the Sony X900F. If these features are not a priority and you would prefer to save some cash, the Vizio will keep you happy as it will perform very well overall. It is more responsive than the Sony due to its lower input lag, which is great if you are a gamer or often use the TV as a PC monitor. It has a fast response time and can handle fast content well. Finally, if you are a soap opera effect fan, you will enjoy the motion interpolation feature.
If you are looking for a 55 inch 4k TV to use for gaming either on a PC or on a console, then get the Samsung UN55NU8000. You will not have the dark scene performance of the Sony XBR55X900F, but the Samsung NU8000 is a TV with good picture quality and a very low input lag. It has some advanced gaming features, including automatic low latency mode which detects when a game is being played and adjusts the settings so that you get the lowest possible input lag. The NU8000, just like the rest of the higher-end Samsungs, also supports for the FreeSync technology, which offers a tear-free gaming experience when connected to a PC with an AMD graphics card or an Xbox One S/X.
If the Sony X900F is too expensive, the best budget 55 inch TV we've tested is the TCL 6 Series 55R617. It is also known as the 55R613 or 55R615 depending on where you buy it from. It does not have the good gray uniformity of the Sony nor can it handle reflections as well, and motion isn't as fluid due to the slower response time.
On the upside, the R617 has a very good picture quality with deep blacks in a dark room due to the full-array local dimming and the high native contrast ratio. It is also great for HDR, as it has excellent brightness and wide color gamut. It has some very good motion handling features like fast response time, an excellent black frame insertion feature, and a motion interpolation feature. The input lag is very low, which is great for gamers.
Overall, the TCL 6 Series is the best 55 inch TV for the money and it offers very good performance for most uses.
If you find the TCL R617 expensive and want a cheaper alternative, then get the TCL S Series 55S405/S425. You will not get the more advanced features like local dimming or motion interpolation, and the TV cannot get as bright as the TCL R617. Instead, the S425 (which is the same as the S405 with just some cosmetic improvements) is an entry-level 4k TV with the same excellent smart platform as the R617. It has a decent picture quality, and although it supports HDR there is little benefit in using it in this mode. It has an excellent low input lag that will please gamers or those who plan to use it as a PC monitor. If you are having a hard time finding it and still want a cheaper alternative to the TCL 55R617, get the TCL 55S517.
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.