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: Since new TVs tend to launch at very high prices, it's unlikely that these newer models will become reasonable choices until the latter half of the year. Because of this, some of the 2018 models remain as picks in our recommendations.
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 TV's brightness and the wide color gamut, allows it to display rich, vivid colors offering an unparallel movie watching experience. This TV is also suitable for large rooms due to its good viewing angles and 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 including this one 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, this is an excellent TV that will perform well for any use.
If you're too concerned about the burn-in risk of the LG B8, then check out the Samsung Q80R. You won't get the perfect blacks of the LG, and the viewing angles are a little narrower. On the upside, this is an excellent TV that can get very bright to fight glare. It can also deliver deep blacks in a dark room. The picture quality is great and HDR looks excellent with rich saturated colors and highlights that pop. This TV also has very low input lag, even with motion interpolation, an auto low latency feature, and supports FreeSync variable refresh rate. Overall, this is an excellent TV for any usage.
The best 55 inch smart TV in the mid-range category is the Sony X900F. You won't 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. It will have no issues with glare.
This TV 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, this TV 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. 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's 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 want a great gaming 55 inch 4k TV to use with a PC or with a console, then check out the Samsung RU8000. It does not have the same deep blacks in a dark room or the same great HDR performance as the Sony X900F, but it is a TV with good picture quality and an extremely low input lag. It has some great gaming features including auto low latency mode and low input lag with motion interpolation, and support for FreeSync VRR for nearly tear-free gaming. Overall, it is a very good TV that excels for gaming.
If the Sony X900F is too expensive, the best budget 55 inch TV we've tested is the TCL 6 Series R617. 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, this TV 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 a 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, this is the best 55 inch TV for the money and it offers very good performance for most uses.
If you want to spend less than the cost of the TCL R617 for a budget 55" TV, check out the TCL 4 Series S425 2019. It does not have more advanced features like local dimming or motion interpolation, nor can it get as bright as the R617. On the upside, it costs less and runs the same excellent smart platform as the R617. Unfortunately, it can't deliver a good HDR performance and there is little benefit in using it 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, it's decent and is best as a secondary TV.
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.