The 55" category remains the most popular choice even though larger TVs are slowly, but steadily, gaining market share (see our recommendations for the best 65 inch TVs). 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 61 TVs available in this size and below are our recommendations for the best 55 inch TVs to buy in 2018.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the end of the year and especially after Black Friday.
The best 55 inch TV we've tested is the LG OLED55B8. Just like the equally performing, but more expensive, models LG C8 and LG E8, the B8 has an excellent picture quality. It can display perfect, uniform blacks due to the self-emissive OLED technology that allows it to turn off each pixel individually. Thus, when viewed in a dark room, the picture looks outstanding full of rich and saturated colors thanks to the TVs wide color gamut and good brightness levels. It is also suitable for large rooms as it has good viewing angles, can fight glare and can handle reflections remarkably. The B8 like most OLEDs has an almost instantaneous response time which makes moving objects look crisp with very little motion blur.
However, like all OLED TVs, the B8 run the risk of temporary image retention or even permanent burn-in when displaying static content over prolonged periods. Under normal varied usage though, we don't expect this to happen.
Overall the LG OLED55B8 will perform well at any usage you throw at it.
If you do not want to be concerned about the risk of burn-in of the LG B8, then get the Samsung QN55Q8FN. Blacks are deep on the Samsung, but not perfect as on the LG OLED and unfortunately, the viewing angles are bad. On the upside, the Samsung Q8FN can get very bright, which is great if you have a bright room. It has very low input lag and supports auto low latency mode and the FreeSync variable refresh rate which are great features if you are a gamer. Overall, it is a great TV and will please you in a variety of uses.
If you find the LG B8 too expensive, the best 55" TV in the mid-range category is the Sony XBR55X900F. It doesn't have the perfect dark room performance or wide viewing angles 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 find that the Sony X900F is not very responsive and you are looking for a TV with lower input lag, then get the Vizio P55-F1 P Series 2018. It cannot get as bright as the Sony nor does it have the great reflection handling found on the X900F. It is very responsive as it has very low input lag and it is a great option for gaming or for use as a PC Monitor. Overall, it has a very good picture quality and excellent motion handling with a remarkable black frame insertion feature that helps make the image crisper.
If you are looking for a 55 inch 4k TV to use for gaming either on a PC or on a console, then get the Samsung UN55NU8000. You will not have the dark scene performance of the Sony XBR55X900F, but the Samsung NU8000 is a TV with good picture quality and a very low input lag. It has some advanced gaming features, including automatic low latency mode which detects when a game is being played and adjusts the settings so that you get the lowest possible input lag. The NU8000, just like the rest of the higher-end Samsungs, also supports for the Freesync technology, which offers a tear-free gaming experience when connected to a PC with an AMD graphics card, or an Xbox One S or X.
If the Sony X900F is too expensive, the best 55 inch TV we've tested in the budget category is the TCL 6 Series 55R617. 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 good, and motion isn't as fluid due to the slower response time.
On the upside, the R617 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 an excellent brightness and 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 and this is great for gamers.
Overall, the TCL 6 Series is the best 55 inch TV for the money and it offers a very good performance for most uses.
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the TCL R617, get the TCL S series 55S405/S425. It is a basic 4k TV with very good smart features. It lacks the more advanced functions found on the higher-end models including local dimming and motion interpolation, and while it technically supports HDR, there is no real benefit to using it. Despite that, the overall picture quality is decent and it has excellent low input lag that will please gamers.
The S405 is starting to become difficult to find and is being gradually replaced by the S425. They are the exact same internally, but there are some slight cosmetic changes. If you can't find it but still want a cheaper alternative to the TCL 55R617, get the TCL 55S517.
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.