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 70 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 OLED55B9PUA is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. OLED TVs have gained popularity in recent years, largely due to OLED's capacity to turn each pixel on and off individually, resulting in pure blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. This TV is no exception and it delivers outstanding picture quality. It doesn't get any better if you like to watch TV in the dark, where black is black, period.
Unfortunately, like all OLED TVs, there's the possibility of permanent burn-in, though this is the result of cumulative exposure to static content and we don't expect it to occur with normal varied content. That said, it may not be as good a choice to use as a monitor or for long gaming sessions, as those usage scenarios often involve a lot of static user interface elements that are displayed for an extended period. LG has implemented some measures to prevent burn-in, such as screen savers and ABL (Auto Brightness Limiter), but some may find the latter a little too aggressive.
On the bright side, this TV performs great in a bright room thanks to its excellent reflection handling and decent peak brightness. Motion handling is also outstanding thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time, which, coupled with low input lag and support for variable refresh rate, makes it an excellent TV for gamers. Overall, this is an excellent TV for a wide variety of uses, making it the best 55 inch smart TV we've tested so far.
If the risk of burn-in worries you, then look into an LED TV like the Samsung QN55Q80RAFXZA. It doesn't have the LG B9 OLED's infinite contrast ratio, but it still performs remarkably well in dark environments. It has a full-array local dimming feature and it can get extremely bright to make highlights pop in HDR content. It has decent viewing angles for a VA panel due to its 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer and its reflection handling is outstanding, making it a good choice for bright rooms. It has amazing gaming features as well, such as its low input lag, its 120Hz refresh rate, and its FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing. Lastly, Samsung's Tizen OS is very user-friendly and there are a ton of apps available through the app store.
We've seen that the European and UK variants have fewer dimming zones, but we haven't tested that version. Overall, the LG offers a better viewing experience for a 55 inch 4k TV, but if you want to avoid any risk of burn-in, then the Samsung is a better choice.
The best 55 inch TV for color accuracy that we've tested so far is the Sony XBR55X950G. This TV stands out not only for its outstanding out-of-the-box color accuracy, but also for its exceptional peak brightness, especially in HDR mode. Combined with its wide color gamut, it delivers HDR content with vibrant colors and bright highlights. It's able to display dark, saturated colors well due to its high contrast ratio, and it has a full-array local dimming that performs decently well.
This TV has a fast response time that results in clear images and very little motion blur. Most gamers should be satisfied with its 120Hz refresh rate and low input lag, but there's no support for FreeSync. If you want to use the TV as a monitor, it can display most common resolutions as well as chroma 4:4:4, which is great for text clarity. The main downside of this TV is its sub-par viewing angles, though this is expected of most VA panels, and while it has a decent gray uniformity, there's a bit of vignetting at all corners of the screen.
When it comes to streaming services, you should be able to find nearly anything you want from the Google Play Store. Since this TV runs on Android, you can also interact with it through the Google Assistant, allowing you to control the TV. If you don't plan on having the TV calibrated, then this is the best 55 inch TV for color accuracy.
If you need a TV with more advanced gaming features, consider the Samsung QN55Q70RAFXZA. Although its out-of-box color accuracy isn't as good as the Sony X950G, it has a slightly lower input lag and it supports variable refresh rate technology for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. There's also an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' which will save you the trouble of having to change picture mode every time that you want to game, though it only works with compatible gaming consoles like the Xbox One. If you like gaming in the dark, its contrast ratio and black uniformity are significantly better, but it can't reproduce colors as accurately as the Sony.
If color accuracy is more important, then the Sony is still a better choice as a 55 inch smart TV; otherwise, the Samsung provides a better gaming experience as long as you're okay with a less accurate picture.
The best budget 55 inch TV we've tested so far is the Hisense 55H9F. For its price, it offers great value with great picture quality and impressive gaming features, competing with some higher-end TVs.
This TV should please most people. It has a VA panel, so the contrast ratio is outstanding, producing deep blacks when viewed in the dark, and there's a local dimming feature to further deepen any blacks. It performs equally as well in bright rooms thanks to its excellent peak brightness and superb reflection handling, so you can place it even in rooms with direct sunlight. It also displays a very wide color gamut for HDR and it can get bright enough to make highlights pop. Additionally, gamers will appreciate the 120Hz refresh rate, resulting in outstanding response time and clear motion, and there's also a black frame insertion feature to help reduce any motion blur. It can also remove judder from any source, like Blu-Ray players, and can interpolate motion from lower frame rate content like cable boxes.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most VA panels, the viewing angles are poor, so you quickly lose image accuracy when viewing from the side. It also has some uniformity issues with mediocre gray uniformity as the edges of the screen are darker, and only decent black uniformity that may be distracting in dark scenes. Overall, you can't go wrong with this TV for its price, making it the best budget 55 inch TV we've tested so far.
If you're looking for a TV with better smart features, the TCL 55R625 has a Roku built-in as its smart OS, which is one of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market. Although the TCL doesn't have the same outstanding reflection handling as the Hisense H9F, it has much better black uniformity, resulting in better dark room performance. It displays a very wide color gamut and can get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR or to combat glare in most rooms. The input lag is one of the best we've seen so far, and although the response time is slower than most TVs, resulting in some motion blur, there's a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. Unfortunately, its out-of-box color accuracy is disappointing, so you might need to get the TV calibrated for the best color accuracy.
If you want the best budget 55 in TV we've seen, the Hisense is a great choice, but if you're a fan of the Roku operating system, then the TCL is also a great choice.
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.
04/10/2020: Small changes to the text; no change in recommendations.
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.