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 54 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 a versatile OLED TV with perfect dark room performance, as the self-emissive technology can turn off or dim individual pixels. This technology allows the B8 to deliver an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. It also has excellent wide viewing angles, making it an excellent choice for a variety of room layouts.
However, the B8, like all OLED TVs, suffers from the risk of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in. We don't expect most people to experience this, but it should be taken into consideration, especially if you watch a lot of content with static areas on the screen like a network logo.
Overall, the LG B8 is the best 55" TV we've reviewed so far. The LG C8 delivers nearly identical performance but is a little bit more expensive.
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 with some more advanced gaming features, look no further than the Samsung UN55NU8000. While the NU8000 has worse picture quality overall than the Sony X900F and doesn't perform as well in some situations, Samsung has added some features targetting gamers, especially console gamers.
When connected to a PC with a supported video card, or to an Xbox One, the Samsung NU8000 can adjust the frame rate of the display to match the computer's output. This eliminates the annoying screen tearing that can occur. It also supports auto low latency mode. When connected to a PS4 or Xbox One S/X, it will automatically disable additional image processing when it detects that a game is being played, making sure you always have the lowest input lag possible.
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.