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. 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 60 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 LG OLED55CXPUA is the best 55 inch TV with an OLED panel we've tested. Its panel can individually turn off its pixels, resulting in an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity, making it an ideal choice for watching movies in dark rooms. It's very well-built and comes with a unique center-mounted stand. It also has wide viewing angles if you have a wide seating arrangement.
It's packed with features that are geared towards gamers. It has a 120Hz refresh rate with variable refresh rate (VRR) support to reduce screen tearing. It has low input lag and a near-instant response time that results in smooth motion. Even if you notice some motion blur, there's a Black Frame Insertion feature to help reduce it. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, such as from cable boxes or Blu-rays. It has outstanding reflection handling and has decent brightness, but it's best to avoid placing it in a room with direct sunlight. Lastly, it has impressive out-of-the-box color accuracy, so you may not need to get it calibrated to enjoy it to the fullest.
Sadly, it has the risk of permanent burn-in, which is common among OLED TVs. We expect this should only be an issue if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like the news, but it shouldn't be a problem if you watch varied content. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it may not get bright enough to make some highlights pop the way they're supposed to. Overall, it delivers an excellent picture quality, making it the best 55 inch smart TV we've tested.
The best 55 inch TV with an LED panel that we've tested is the Samsung QN55Q80TAFXZA. It's premium 4k TV in Samsung's QLED lineup, and even though it sits below the Samsung Q90/Q90T QLED, it offers impressive performance for its price, and most people should be happy with it. One advantage with this over the LG CX OLED is that LEDs don't have the risk of permanent burn-in, so you can easily leave it on your favorite news channel without worrying about damaging it.
It delivers excellent picture quality, and it's packed with gaming features. It has a VA panel with Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer. This means its contrast is lower than most VA panels, but it has decent viewing angles, and it's suitable for fairly wide seating arrangements. The decent full-array local dimming feature helps further deepen any blacks, so it's a great choice for watching movies in dark rooms. In bright rooms, it has outstanding reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare. It's also amazing for gaming thanks to its excellent response time, VRR support, and incredibly low input lag.
Unfortunately, it has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this may vary between units. It also has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this also may vary between units. If you also watch lower-resolution content, such as from DVDs and cable boxes, it doesn't display any upscaling artifacts and removes 24p judder from any source. Lastly, it displays a wide color gamut and has good HDR peak brightness. All things considered, this is the best 55 inch smart TV we've tested if you're in the market for an LED TV.
If you prefer something that gets significantly brighter, then check out the Sony XBR55X950H. It doesn't have any gaming features and has worse viewing angles than the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED, but it has excellent HDR peak brightness to make highlights pop how the creator intended. Like the Samsung, the X950H has an 'X-Wide Angle' layer that aims to improve the viewing angles at the cost of its contrast, but the viewing angles are still arrow, so it's not suggested for a wide seating arrangement. It has great contrast, amazing black uniformity, and a good local dimming feature for dark room viewing. Gradient handling is amazing, and it displays a great wide color gamut for HDR content. Unfortunately, serious gamers may be disappointed with the lack of VRR support and the higher input lag than most 4k TVs in 2020. Still, it has a 120Hz panel and a great response time that results in clear motion.
If you simply want the best 55 inch 4k TV in the LED category and you also want to use it for gaming, you can't go wrong with the Samsung. However, if you want to use it in a well-lit room, then consider the Sony.
The best 55 inch TV for watching HDR content that we've tested is the Hisense 55H9G. It won't cost you much and offers impressive all-around performance. It supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, so you can enjoy your favorite movies in HDR. It's well-built and has a nice design that fits into any setting.
It has a VA panel that provides an outstanding contrast, delivering extremely deep blacks, and it has remarkable black uniformity. The full-array local dimming features perform great and help reduce deepen any blacks. It displays a great wide color gamut for HDR content and gets bright enough to make highlights stand out the way the creator intended. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues and removes 24p judder from any source, such as Blu-ray players or native apps. If you also want to use it for HDR gaming, it has an amazing response time and low input lag, but there's no VRR support.
Sadly, our unit has mediocre out-of-the-box accuracy, but this may vary between units, so your experience may be different. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's expected from a VA panel. The built-in Android TV isn't the easiest to use, but it has a ton of apps available to download, and you get HDR in both Netflix and YouTube. Overall, the picture quality is excellent, making the Hisense the best 55 inch 4k TV we've tested.
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, 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 55S535. 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 over Android TV, look into the TCL.
12/17/2020: Moved the Samsung Q80T to 'Best LED' and moved the Sony X950H to 'Brighter Alternative'.
11/20/2020: Minor changes to text for clarity; no change in recommendations.
10/22/2020: Added the Hisense H9G as 'Best for HDR'.
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.
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.