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 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 best 55 inch TV we've tested so far 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. And 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. Unfortunately, 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 VRR support, which includes 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 a full-featured TV that should satisfy most people.
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 impressive 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.
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 4k TV for color accuracy is the Sony XBR55X950G. Its out-of-the-box color accuracy is one of the best we've seen on a TV so far, and most people won't need to pay extra to get it calibrated. It's a high-end TV in Sony's LED lineup, so it has all the features and great performance you expect.
It should please most people for any type of use. It has a VA panel, so naturally, it has an excellent contrast ratio, producing deep blacks. Black uniformity is great and it has a local dimming feature to further deepen any blacks. In bright rooms, it gets really bright, enough to combat glare, and it has impressive reflection handling. If you want to watch HDR content, it supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, it displays a wide color gamut, and it gets bright enough to make highlights pop. Gamers should also appreciate the fast response time and low input lag, but it doesn't support any VRR to reduce screen tearing.
Unfortunately, it has poor viewing angles and you quickly lose image accuracy when viewing from the side. It also has some uniformity issues as the edges of the screen appear darker, but this could vary from unit to unit. On the upside, it uses Android TV as its OS, and the Google Play Store has a ton of apps available. Overall, this is the best 55 inch TV for color accuracy we've seen so far.
If you prefer a TV with better gaming features, check out the Samsung QN55Q70RAFXZA. It can't get as bright as the Sony X950G, but it still has good out-of-the-box color accuracy and it supports FreeSync VRR to match the frame rate of your game and reduce screen tearing. Its input lag is low, it has a great response time, and it has a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. Its contrast ratio and black uniformity are even better than the Sony, but it has poor viewing angles and it's not ideal for a wide seating arrangement. It can also remove judder from any source and it's able to interpolate motion up to 120Hz. Lower resolution content, such as from DVDs or cable boxes, is upscaled with no visible artifacts.
Overall, if you want the best 55 inch TV for color accuracy, you won't find many with better out-of-the-box color accuracy than the Sony. If you prefer a gaming TV that comes with VRR, look into the Samsung.
The best budget 55 inch TV we've tested so far is the Hisense 55H9F. For its price, it delivers great picture quality and impressive gaming performance, enough to compete with some higher-end TVs. It has a VA panel with an outstanding contrast ratio, and it has a full-array local dimming feature, allowing it to produce deep and inky blacks. It performs equally well in bright rooms thanks to its excellent peak brightness and superb reflection handling so that you can place it even in rooms with direct sunlight. 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.
This TV can display a wide color gamut and it can get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR content. It has a 120Hz refresh rate to make motion look buttery smooth, and its fast response time keeps the image looking clear in fast-moving scenes. For gamers, it has a very low input lag, but sadly, it doesn't support any VRR technologies to reduce screen tearing. It can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, which is great if you want to use it as a PC monitor.
The screen has some uniformity issues, as the edges are darker, and there's some dirty screen effect, which can be distracting when watching sports. That said, uniformity issues can vary per unit, so your experience may vary. It runs on Android TV, which gives you access to the immense Google Play Store and voice control through the Google Assistant. Overall, this is an impressive TV for its price, and a great option regardless of the content that you watch.
If you're looking for a TV with better smart features, the TCL 55R625 has Roku built-in as its smart OS, which is one of the most user-friendly interfaces on the market. Although it 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-the-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 inch 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.
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.