Outdoor TVs are becoming more and more popular as a way to keep guests entertained or simply provide the ultimate outdoor relaxation. Most TVs aren't designed to be exposed to the elements. Some TVs have been engineered for the outdoors, but these are typically expensive and their performance isn't very good. The alternative is to buy an indoor TV and install it in an enclosure designed to protect it from the elements and avoid putting yourself at risk. None of the TVs in this article are designed for outdoor use, so extra care must be taken if you decide to use them outside. It's important when choosing a TV like this to make sure that it has excellent reflection handling to minimize glare and that it can get bright enough to be visible in the bright sun. It should also have wide viewing angles, as an outdoor patio is typically larger than a living room.
Not many TVs have a good performance on the above characteristics; below are our recommendations for 2020.
The best outdoor TV we've tested so far is the LG SM9500. While it isn't designed specifically for outdoor use, it can get very bright, allowing it to easily fight glare and outdoor reflections. It has good picture quality and thanks to its IPS panel, it continues to look good even when viewed from the side, making it great for outdoor use where you may not be sitting directly in front of the TV.
Unfortunately, while the IPS panel helps with viewing angles, it also means this TV has poor contrast ratio, so blacks appear gray when watching in a very dark environment. While the TV does have local dimming, it doesn't work as well as some other models, so while it can help with black levels, it tends to be very aggressive and crushes a lot of highlights. On the bright side, this TV is great for gaming thanks to its very fast response time and low input lag, which is great if you want to have a Super Smash Bros. competition outside.
If you're looking for a TV that you can use outside during the day without needing to sit directly in front of it, this is a great choice; just make sure to take the proper precautions to protect it from the elements, as it isn't necessarily intended for this use.
If you usually watch TV in the dark, check out the LG B9, the best OLED outdoor TV for night use we've tested to date. Just like all OLED TVs, its picture quality is excellent and HDR content pops. It's also an excellent TV for watching sports or playing video games thanks to its nearly-instantaneous response time and the very low input lag. It's very similar to its predecessor, the LG C8 OLED, but it's more future-proof as it supports HDMI 2.1, though this doesn't currently add much functionality.
Unfortunately, just like all OLED TVs, it has the chance of temporary image retention and even permanent burn-in, but this is unlikely to be an issue for most people that watch normal, varied content. On the upside, it has perfect uniform blacks thanks to OLED's ability to switch off individual pixels, which results in an exceptional movie-watching experience when in the dark, making it great for outdoor movie nights.
Overall, this TV delivers outstanding performance in most uses. Unfortunately, it can't get very bright to fight glare from the sun, so it's best for nighttime use. Note that OLEDs, like most TVs, can get damaged from exposure to direct sunlight, so make sure to take precautions to protect the TV and yourself from the risks of using an indoor TV outside.
If you live in a very sunny environment and want a TV that can handle even the brightest of days, the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 is the best outdoor TV for bright settings that we've tested so far. It's one of the brightest TVs we've tested, so it can easily fight glare in the sun and will do a good job at minimizing reflections. The picture quality is great and it does an amazing job with HDR content, though this will look better at night.
Unfortunately, the viewing angles aren't as wide as the LG SM9500, so it's better suited for setups where you'll be more or less directly in front of the TV, or else the image quality will degrade. On the upside, it's great for watching sports thanks to its very fast response time, and its low input lag makes it great for gaming as well.
As with all the other TVs on this list, this TV isn't designed for outdoor use and you'll want to make sure to take precautions to protect it from the elements if you're going to use it for this purpose. That being said, if you live in a very sunny climate and want a bright TV that will help fight glare and reflections, this is an outstanding choice.
If you need a large TV for those backyard summer parties, go with the Sony XBR85X900F. This TV has an excellent peak brightness and impressive reflection handling that's suitable for watching outside during the day, and it also performs remarkably well in the dark due to its VA panel's high contrast ratio and good black uniformity. HDR content is delivered with punchy, saturated colors, and best of all, this TV has outstanding color accuracy right out of the box, so you won't have to pay for an expensive calibration.
Response time on this TV is exceptional, resulting in fast-moving scenes that look crisp. There's an optional black frame insertion feature that can further reduce motion blur; however, the backlight's flickering can cause duplication of the image, especially in content delivered at 60Hz. Input lag is great for those who want to game on this TV, but it may be a tad too high for competitive gaming. Additionally, there's no support for variable refresh rate and it doesn't have an 'Auto Low Latency Mode' either. Viewing angles are poor, though that's expected of most VA panels.
As this TV runs on Android, there's a vast amount of apps available through the Google Play Store, and its interface is easy to use. The only downside is that there are some ads and suggested content on the home screen, and the interface can be somewhat laggy at times. Overall, if you plan on watching TV outside with friends and family, you should consider this model.
If you need a TV that performs well outdoors without spending a fortune, take a look at the LG UM7300. Thanks to the wide viewing angles of its IPS panel, this is a great TV for watching a big game with friends or for some co-op gaming. If you tend to watch TV in broad daylight, it can get decently bright and handles reflections very well; however, it may not be as ideal for watching at night, as its contrast ratio is mediocre, making blacks look like gray. Response time is excellent and should result in a clear picture with minimal motion blur, and gray uniformity is good, with very little dirty screen effect that can be distracting when watching sports.
Although this TV supports HDR, its performance is limited by the lack of wide color gamut support and low peak brightness in HDR mode. Gamers will be happy to hear that input lag is exceptionally low; just don't expect any advanced gaming features like variable refresh rate. LG's WebOS has an excellent interface that's easy to navigate, and most of the popular streaming apps come pre-installed. Lastly, it comes with LG's Magic Remote that you can use like a pointer, and it has a built-in microphone for voice control.
If you're shopping for a large TV but your budget is limited, this model is a good choice.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best outdoor TVs to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.
03/09/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.
11/08/2019: Replaced the Vizio P Series Quantum 2018 with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and the LG C8 with the LG B9. Made some changes to the text for clarity.