The 55 inch category remains the most popular choice for TVs, even though larger options are slowly but steadily gaining market share. 2019 was a good year for TVs, as the models we have tested were better than their 2018 counterparts. New technologies are maturing and are becoming available in more mainstream models.
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 that we've tested is the LG OLED55CXPUA. With OLED's emissive technology, this TV doesn't have a backlight, which means that the pixels can turn off completely to produce perfect blacks. Since it doesn't rely on local dimming, there aren't any issues with blooming around bright objects or subtitles. It gets decently bright, enough for a moderately-lit room, and it handles reflections exceptionally well. Viewing angles are great, so the image doesn't degrade if you're seated off to the side.
The response time on OLED TVs is near-instantaneous, which results in clear motion in fast-moving scenes. It also has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve motion clarity, and it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps for fans of the soap opera effect. However, its fast response time does come at a cost, as lower frame rate content can appear to stutter. Gamers will surely appreciate the high refresh rate, low input lag, and variable refresh rate (VRR) support, including FreeSync, HDMI Forum's VRR, and NVIDIA's G-SYNC.
Unfortunately, like all OLEDs, there's the possibility of permanent burn-in, which is the result of cumulative exposure to static content, such as a channel logo or the user interface of a game. That said, it shouldn't be an issue if you watch varied content, and there are features built in to mitigate the risks. It runs on LG's WebOS, which is a user-friendly platform with tons of streaming services available. All in all, this is the best 55 inch TV we've tested.
If you're worried about the risks of permanent burn-in, then check out the Samsung QN55Q80TAFXZC. Unlike the LG CX OLED, this is an LED-backlit TV that uses a VA panel, with a Quantum Dot layer added to improve its color gamut. It has full-array local dimming, decent viewing angles, and it performs extremely well in bright rooms thanks to its great peak brightness and exceptional reflection handling. Motion handling is outstanding, input lag is low, and it supports variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing when gaming as well. It delivers a good HDR experience with vibrant colors and bright highlights, especially if you're watching in a dark to moderately-lit room. Unfortunately, it has uniformity issues, but this may vary between units.
Overall, if you want the best picture quality, go with the LG; however, if you're concerned about permanent burn-in, the Samsung is an excellent alternative.
The best 55 inch smart TV with accurate colors is the Sony XBR55X950H. Like most of Sony's TVs, it has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, and although it's not as good as its predecessor, the Sony X950G, you likely won't need to get your TV calibrated to enjoy accurate colors.
This is a high-end 4k model with excellent picture quality and great overall performance. Its VA panel and full-array local dimming feature help it display deep blacks. It has 'X-Wide Angle' technology added to the panel, which slightly improves the viewing angles at the cost of its contrast. However, the viewing angles are still mediocre, and it isn't suggested for a wide seating arrangement. It's a great choice for viewing in bright rooms because it gets bright enough to combat glare and has outstanding reflection handling. HDR content looks great because the TV makes small highlights pop the way they should, and it displays a wide color gamut.
Unfortunately, competitive gamers may be disappointed. Even though it has a 120Hz panel, it doesn't support HDMI 2.1 or any VRR technologies. It has a quick response time and low input lag, but the input lag may be too high for competitive gaming. It also has a Black Frame Insertion to reduce motion blur, but it only flickers at 120Hz, which could create image duplication with 60fps content. Regardless of these minor issues, if you're looking for a great 55 inch TV for watching movies or streaming shows, you can't go wrong with this.
The best 55 inch TV we've tested in the budget category is the Hisense 55H8G. It uses a VA panel capable of producing deep and inky blacks, which is further improved by its full-array local dimming, making it a fantastic choice for dark room viewing. It's also well-suited for bright rooms as it has great peak brightness and decent reflection handling.
It has good motion handling thanks to its fast response time, and it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. It supports most HDR formats, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+; however, its peak brightness isn't quite high enough to make highlights stand out in HDR content. Input lag is exceptionally low if you want to game on this TV, but the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and there's no VRR support of any kind.
Unfortunately, images look washed out from the sides due to its VA panel's narrow viewing angles, so it isn't ideal for large rooms or wide seating areas. The Android TV platform is fairly easy-to-use, and there are plenty of apps available through the Google Play Store. If you're planning on using it as a PC monitor, it supports most common resolutions and can display proper chroma 4:4:4. All in all, this is a well-rounded TV that has near-flagship performance for a wallet-friendly price.
If you prefer something with built-in Roku TV, look into the TCL 5 Series/55S535 2020 QLED. It doesn't get nearly as bright as the Hisense H8G, and even though it displays a wider color gamut for HDR content, it doesn't make small highlights pop the way they should. However, the TCL has a much better contrast ratio and black uniformity. Combined with its full-array local dimming feature, it displays extremely deep blacks when viewed in the dark. Despite being limited to a 60Hz panel, it provides a quick response time, low input lag, and it also has a Black Frame Insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles, which is expected from a VA panel, and it has dirty screen effect in the center, although this may vary between units. Fortunately, it removes judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz panel.
If you're on a budget and want the best 55 inch 4k TV available, look into the Hisense, but if you prefer the easy-to-use Roku TV over Android TV, then look into the TCL.
09/22/2020: Replaced the Sony X900H with the X950H; replaced the TCL 6 Series 2019 with the 5 Series 2020.
08/13/2020: Replaced Sony XBR55X950G with Sony XBR55X900H, replaced Hisense H9F with Hisense H8G, removed Samsung Q70/Q70R QLED.
07/14/2020: Replaced Samsung Q80R with Samsung Q80T, replaced LG B9 OLED with LG CX OLED.
06/04/2020: Minor changes to text for clarity; no change in recommendations.
05/08/2020: Removed the LG B8 as an alternative to the B9. Removed the Hisense H8F as an alternative to the H9F, replaced by the TCL 6 Series 2019.
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.