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 last year's counterparts. New technologies are maturing and are becoming available in more mainstream models.
We’ve tested more than 70 TVs available in this size in the past 2 years, and below are our recommendations for the best 55 inch TVs to buy. See our recommendations for the best 65 inch TVs and the best smart TVs.
The LG OLED55B9 is the best 55 inch TV we've tested so far. OLED TVs have gained popularity in recent years, largely due to OLED's capacity to turn each pixel on and off individually, resulting in pure blacks and an infinite contrast ratio. This TV is no exception and it delivers outstanding picture quality. It doesn't get any better if you like to watch TV in the dark, where black is black, period.
Unfortunately, like all OLED TVs, there's the possibility of temporary image retention and permanent burn-in, though this is the result of cumulative exposure to static content and we don't expect it to occur with normal varied content. That said, it may not be as good a choice to use as a monitor or for long gaming sessions, as those usage scenarios often involve a lot of static user interface elements that are displayed for an extended period. LG has implemented some measures to prevent burn-in, such as screen savers and ABL (Auto Brightness Limiter), but some may find the latter a little too aggressive.
On the bright side, this TV performs great in a bright room thanks to its excellent reflection handling and decent peak brightness. Motion handling is also outstanding thanks to the nearly instantaneous response time, which, coupled with low input lag and support for variable refresh rate, makes it an excellent TV for gamers. Overall, this is an excellent TV for a wide variety of uses, and it should satisfy anyone looking for the best 55" TV.
If you find the LG B9 OLED a little outside of your budget, you may want to consider the LG OLED55B8. It’s a step down only in terms of features; otherwise, this TV performs admirably. A few advanced features are missing, such as support for variable refresh rate, eARC, and HDMI 2.1, though currently nothing supports 2.1 and it remains simply a future-proof feature. That being said, these are features that a lot of people likely won't miss, and the picture quality and overall performance are just as remarkable as with the other LG.
If you don't mind spending a bit more to get the latest and greatest features, go with the B9, but if you want a TV that will perform equally as amazing for most uses but costs a bit less, get the B8.
If you're too concerned about the risk of burn-in that the LG B9 OLED and the rest of the OLEDs have, then check out the Samsung QN55Q80R QLED. You won't get the same perfect blacks as you'll get with the OLEDs, but this TV can get quite a bit brighter, especially for HDR content, and its colors are significantly more accurate out-of-the-box. It's a great TV for gaming thanks to its very low input lag and outstanding motion handling, and its wide color gamut and bright screen make it excellent for watching HDR content as well.
Overall, if you want the best picture quality you can get, with perfect blacks, go with the LG, but if you're concerned about the possibility of burn-in, the Samsung offers great overall performance for an LED TV.
The best 55 inch TV for color accuracy that we've tested so far is the Sony XBR55X950G. This is a great TV for anyone who cares about color accuracy but won't necessarily pay extra for a professional calibration. With its wide color gamut and excellent peak brightness combined, this TV delivers HDR content with vibrant and saturated colors that are faithful to the creators' intent. It also performs well in dark environments, as it has an outstanding contrast ratio and impressive black uniformity to make blacks look deep and inky.
The main downside with this TV is its poor viewing angles, though they're expected of most VA panels. Images look washed out even when you're slightly off-center, so it's not the best choice if you have a seating arrangement that requires you to view from the side. For gamers, this TV has an incredibly low input lag and it has a 120Hz refresh rate, but it lacks support for any variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing.
If you get most of your content through streaming services, the good news is that you can find practically anything you need from the Google Play Store. In addition, you can control the TV using your voice, either through the integrated Google Assistant or through a Google Home smart speaker if you already have one. Overall, if color accuracy is important to you, then go with this TV.
If you need a TV with more advanced gaming features, consider the Samsung QN55Q70R QLED. It has very similar overall performance to the Sony X950G; however, it has a slightly lower input lag and it supports variable refresh rate technology for a nearly tear-free gaming experience. There's also an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' which will save you the trouble of having to change picture mode every time that you want to game, though it only works with compatible gaming consoles like the Xbox One. If you like gaming in the dark, its contrast ratio and black uniformity are significantly better, but it can't reproduce colors as accurately as the Sony.
If color accuracy is more important, then the Sony is still a better choice; otherwise, the Samsung provides a better gaming experience as long as you're okay with a less accurate picture.
The best budget 55 inch TV that we've tested so far is the Hisense 55H9F. Although it's significantly cheaper than our other recommendations, this TV still brings a whole lot to the table. It performs well in both bright and dark rooms, thanks to its outstanding contrast ratio and excellent peak brightness, and combined with the TV's impressive color gamut, HDR content truly stands out with vibrant colors and highlights that pop.
Unfortunately, like most VA panels, viewing angles are rather poor, which isn't ideal for wide seating arrangements or for watching a big game with friends. On the bright side, this TV runs on Android TV, which means that you have access to a very wide variety of apps, and the TV can be voice-controlled via the Google Assistant from your smart speaker.
While input lag and response time of this TV are superb, it doesn't support variable refresh rate technology and the panel is limited to 60Hz, though this is common with budget TVs. Overall, this TV is a great choice for a wide range of uses, and it far outperforms its relatively low price point. If you're looking for a great budget TV, this is one of the best TVs that we've tested and is highly recommended.
If you're shopping with a very limited budget, then consider the Hisense 55H8F. It may not be as decked out as its big brother, the Hisense H9F, but it performs remarkably well nonetheless. You still get the outstanding contrast ratio, excellent color gamut, and low input lag; however, response time is slightly slower and the TV can't get as bright, especially for HDR content. Surprisingly, this TV has a better black uniformity than its sibling, making it a great choice for dark room viewing. The full array local dimming is passable, but viewing angles are disappointing, as it uses a VA panel as well.
Overall, if you watch a lot of HDR content or want something with a faster response time, the H9F is a better choice, but if you want an even cheaper TV that still performs great for most uses, go for the H8F.
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.
03/13/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.