The 55" category remains the most popular choice even though larger TVs are slowly, but steadily, gaining market share. 2018 is a good year for TVs as the models we have tested are better than their last year's counterparts. New technologies are maturing and are becoming available to more mainstream models.
We've tested 57 TVs available in a 55-inch size and below are our recommendations for the best ones to buy in 2018.
The best 55 inch TV we've tested is the LG OLED55B8PUA. The B8 is an excellent, versatile OLED TV with outstanding dark room performance. The B8 is excellent for movie lovers, as the self-emissive OLED technology creates perfect blacks, eliminating the need for a local dimming system, and has a nearly instantaneous response time, ensuring that moving objects always look sharp, with very little motion blur.
Beyond the dark room performance, it also looks great in a well-lit room. It has excellent wide viewing angles, and the anti-reflective coating has no problem with glare. It has an excellent wide color gamut, but unfortunately only decent color volume, as colors aren't as bright as pure white.
The OLED55B8 and OLED55C8 are very similar TVs with nearly identical performance.
If the risk of burn-in on an OLED TV like the LG OLED55C8PUA or LG OLED55B8PUA concerns you, get the Samsung QN55Q8FN. Although the Q8FN doesn't have the infinite contrast ratio of the OLED TVs, it still performs very well in a dark room and gets much brighter, good for a bright room. It also supports some nice new gaming technologies, including auto low latency mode and a variable refresh rate. The Q8FN is not likely to experience burn-in, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
If you find the LG OLED55C8PUA too expensive, the best mid-range 55" TV we've tested is the Sony XBR55X900F. It doesn't have the perfect dark room performance or wide viewing angle of the OLED TVs, but it is a better choice than our top pick for a bright room, as it can get much brighter.
The X900F produces very good images, with a deep contrast ratio good for dark room viewing and a very good wide color gamut. Motion handling is excellent, slightly better than the C8, as there is less stutter when watching 24p content.
Overall, the Sony X900F is a very good 4k TV that fits a variety of uses and is available in a variety of sizes up to 85".
If you are looking for the best mid-range 55" TV, but you want a better gaming experience than the XBR55X900F, get the Vizio P55-F1 P Series 2018. The P Series delivers similar performance overall but has lower input lag for gaming or for use as a PC Monitor, and it has a better black frame insertion feature that can improve motion clarity while gaming.
If you want a 55" 4k TV for gaming on a PC or console, check out the Samsung UN55NU8000. The NU8000 has extremely low input lag, and supports most common input resolutions and refresh rates. It also supports AMD's FreeSync technology, which delivers a tear-free gaming experience when connected to a PC with an AMD graphics card, or an Xbox One S or X. It also automatically detects when a game is being played, and automatically adjusts the settings to make sure you are getting the lowest possible input lag.
If the Sony XBR55X900F is too expensive for you, the best budget 55" TV we have tested is the TCL 6 Series 55R617, also known as the 55R613 or 55R615 depending on where you buy it from. The R617 is the successor to the extremely popular 2017 P607. The TCL R617 has a slower response time, so motion isn't quite as fluid as the Sony X900F and there is more motion blur. On the other hand, it has an improved black frame insertion feature and has lower input lag than the X900F.
Overall, the TCL 6 Series offers very good performance for most uses and is a good, budget-friendly alternative to our other picks.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the TCL 55R617, get the TCL 55S405. The TCL S405 is a basic 4k TV with very good smart features. It lacks the more advanced functions found on the higher models including local dimming and motion interpolation, and while it technically supports HDR, there is no benefit to using it. Despite that, the overall picture quality is decent and it has excellent low input lag that will please gamers.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best 55" 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.