Although 65 inch and larger TVs are more and more popular, 55 inch TVs remain one of the most popular sizes. 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 brighter. 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 under the latest test bench, 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 OLED55C1PUB is the best 55 inch TV we've tested in the 55 inch category. It delivers excellent all-around performance and offers stunning picture quality, especially in dark rooms. It has wide viewing angles in case you want to use it in a wide seating area for watching shows or sports with a big group of people, and it has a premium style that should look nice in any setup.
OLEDs can turn each pixel off, resulting in perfect blacks and a near-infinite contrast ratio, and there's no blooming around bright objects either. The built-in LG webOS is user-friendly, with a huge selection of streaming apps, and the TV comes with the Magic Remote, which you can use as a point-and-press remote, like the Wii. Gamers should appreciate its extra gaming features like the four HDMI 2.1 inputs, support for FreeSync, HDMI Forum VRR, and G-SYNC, and the low input lag. It also has a near-instantaneous response time for a smooth gaming experience.
It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but unfortunately, its HDR brightness is just okay and some highlights may not pop the way they should. Its gradient handling is great, but you may still see some banding. It still delivers an excellent HDR experience. Like all OLEDs though, the C1 has a small risk of permanent burn-in, but we don't expect this to be an issue for most people. Overall, it's the best 55 inch TV we've tested with an OLED panel.
If you want the absolute best movie-watching experience, then check out the Sony XR-55A90J instead. Like the LG C1 OLED, its OLED panel delivers inky blacks with perfect uniformity, and it also has impressive wide viewing angles, great if you have a wide seating area. It's a bit brighter in HDR, but the biggest difference is in the Sony's processing. It has better gradient handling, so there's less banding in areas of similar color, and most people prefer Sony's upscaling and image processing in general. The A90J we bought is also more accurate out of the box, so you don't have to worry about having it professionally calibrated, but this can vary between individual units.
If you're in the market for a 55 inch OLED TV, you can't go wrong with the LG, but if you're willing to spend more for a better movie-watching experience, then check out the Sony.
The best 55 inch smart TV with an LED backlight that we've tested is the Samsung QN55QN90AAFXZA. It's an excellent all-around TV that performs well in both dark and bright settings, and like the LG C1 OLED, it's packed with gaming features like VRR support and HDMI 2.1 inputs. It's very well-built and comes with a sleek center-mounted stand that should look good in any setup. Unlike most TVs with VA panels, it even has decent viewing angles, which is great if you have a wide seating area.
The main advantage of LEDs over OLEDs is that there's no risk of permanent burn-in, so you can easily leave it on your favorite news channel all day without worrying about damaging your TV. It has a new Mini LED backlight which allows it to get extremely bright and offers better control over the local dimming zones. Combined with its fantastic reflection handling, it easily fights glare even in the brightest of settings. If you're a fan of HDR content, it also gets bright enough to make highlights stand out.
Unfortunately, the local dimming is worse in Game Mode because it raises the black levels, causing the screen to look more gray than black. There are also some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this can vary between units. It has a VA panel with an excellent native contrast ratio; but it's lower than most VA panel TVs due to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, but it still has a great local dimming feature to greatly improve the black levels. All in all, this is one of the best TVs we've tested available in this size range.
If you're looking for something a bit cheaper, then look into the Hisense 55U8G. It's a bit more versatile than the Samsung QN90A QLED when it comes to watching HDR content because it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Like the Samsung, it displays a wide color gamut and gets very bright in HDR, but the Samsung is brighter and delivers brighter highlights. It has a few gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) and HDMI 2.1 support too, which is great for PS5 or Xbox Series X gamers. It has a quick response time, but some motion artifacts in Game Mode can get distracting. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a wide-angle filter, so it's not as good as the Samsung for a wide seating arrangement.
If you prefer something with a ton of features and wider viewing angles or want a better HDR experience, then look into the Samsung, but if you want to save a bit of money, check out the Hisense.
The best 55 inch 4k TV that we've tested in the budget category is the Hisense 55U6G. It has an excellent contrast ratio that's further improved by its full-array local dimming, which means it can display deep blacks, making it a fantastic choice for dark room viewing. It's also suitable for well-lit rooms because it has amazing reflection handling and gets bright enough to combat glare.
The response time is great, which results in clear motion with only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects, but it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, and there's no VRR support to reduce screen tearing when gaming. Its input lag is incredibly low, though, and it supports most common resolutions and chroma 4:4:4 if you want to use it as a PC monitor. It runs on Android TV, and like all 2021 Hisense TVs, it won't switch to Google TV. That said, it's still a relatively user-friendly platform with tons of apps available through the Google Play Store.
As is expected of most VA panels, its viewing angles are pretty narrow, so it's not the best option if you have a wide seating arrangement. The built-in speakers lack bass extension, so you're better off with a dedicated soundbar or home theater system if you want the best audio experience. Nonetheless, it's a simple but great TV that's easy on the wallet. Keep in mind that we tested the 65 inch model, but our results should be valid for the 55 inch model too.
Sep 24, 2021: Validated our picks for accuracy and availability and refreshed the text.
Aug 26, 2021: Moved the TCL 5 Series 2020 to Notable Mentions and added the Sony A90J as 'HDR Alternative' to the LG C1 for consistency; added the Hisense U7G and Sony X85J to Notable Mentions.
Jul 29, 2021: Moved the Hisense U8G to an alternative to the Samsung QN90A for consistency; added the LG A1, Vizio M7 Series 2021, Samsung AU8000, and LG G1 to Notable Mentions.
Jul 01, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced Hisense H8G with Hisense U6G.
Jun 03, 2021: Replaced the LG CX and Hisense H9G with the newer LG C1 and Hisense U8G. Removed the Sony X90J and Sony X950H and replaced them with the Samsung QN90A because it's better overall; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
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.