If you're planning on buying a new TV soon, chances are it's a flat screen. Modern flat screens have gotten thinner and bigger, and many are designed to look like pieces of art when wall-mounted. There are still some curved TVs available, but they are slowly disappearing from the market. Finding the best flat screen TVs for you all depends on your needs and what you're going to be watching; watching a ton of sports with friends requires a different type of TV than if you watch movies alone. Also, choosing one TV over another may simply come down to personal preference.
We've tested more than 70 TVs on our latest test bench, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best flat screen TVs available. Make sure to check out our recommendations for the best TVs, best TVs for Xbox Series X, and best TVs for PS5.
The LG C1 OLED is the best flat screen TV with an OLED panel that we've tested. It's a premium model from LG's 2021 lineup and offers excellent all-around performance. It's well-built, and the TV itself isn't very thick, so it won't stick out if wall-mounted. It doesn't sit flat against the wall like the LG GX OLED, but it offers the same picture quality for a lower cost.
OLED TVs like this one are unique in that they can turn off individual pixels and don't require a backlight. This means that the C1 has a near-infinite contrast ratio with perfect black uniformity and no blooming around bright objects. Since each pixel emits light in all directions, they have wide viewing angles which is great if you have wide seating arrangements as each person will see an accurate image wherever they sit. If you're a fan of HDR content, the TV supports Dolby Vision and displays a wide color gamut. It's not the brightest TV in HDR, so some highlights may not pop as they should, but HDR content still looks excellent thanks to the high contrast.
Sadly, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in. This can happen with constant exposure to static elements, like if you're using it as a PC monitor. However, we don't expect this to be an issue if you watch varied content. Gamers should appreciate the 120Hz panel, HDMI 2.1 inputs, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and low input lag. All things considered, it's the best TV in the OLED category.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is the best flat screen TV in the LED category that we've tested. Unlike OLEDs, LED panels don't have the risk of permanent burn-in, so you won't have to worry about damaging the screen if you leave it on your favorite news channel all day. It features Mini LED backlighting which allows it to get extremely bright, one of the brightest we've tested, so glare shouldn't be an issue.
Thanks to the high peak brightness, this TV gets very bright in HDR, so highlights really stand out how the creator intended. The TV uses quantum dot technology to produce a very wide color gamut, and it has great gradient handling. It has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio that, combined with its great local dimming feature, produces very deep blacks. However, its native contrast is lower than most VA panel TVs because of Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' that improves the viewing angles, so it's a good choice for a fairly wide seating arrangement. For gaming, it has an HDMI 2.1 input, so you can play 4k games up to 120fps from either the Xbox Series X and PS5.
Sadly, the local dimming feature performs worse in 'Game Mode' because it raises the black levels, meaning blacks look closer to gray. It also has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center and some blooming around bright objects, but these can vary between units. Regardless, this is one of the best flat screen TVs we've tested.
If you want to spend less money, then look into the Hisense U8G. It has worse viewing angles than the Samsung QN90A QLED and doesn't feature Mini LED backlighting, but it still gets extremely bright. Combined with its excellent reflection handling, visibility shouldn't be an issue in well-lit rooms. Without any viewing angle technology, the U8G has a fantastic native contrast ratio, amazing black uniformity, and great local dimming, making it an excellent choice for dark room viewing. The built-in Android TV has a ton of apps available to download, and it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for HDR content, so you won't have to worry about what format your HDR movies are in. Unfortunately, it also has some uniformity issues like the Samsung, but this can vary between units.
If you want the best flat screen TV with an LED panel, you can't go wrong with the Samsung, but if you prefer something that costs less, then check out the Hisense.
The best flat screen TV for watching HDR content that we've tested is the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020. It's an impressive model that delivers stunning picture quality for nearly every type of content and one of the brightest TVs we've tested. It has excellent reflection handling and fights glare easily, so you shouldn't have any visibility issues. It's a better choice for HDR content than the Samsung QN90A QLED because it has higher native contrast.
It has an exceptional DCI P3 coverage, the color space used in most HDR content, allowing it to produce rich and vibrant colors. As mentioned, it makes highlights stand out the way the creator intended. Fast-moving scenes look clear thanks to quick response times and a Black Frame Insertion feature. It can also interpolate low frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion appear more fluid, also known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. Also, it has an outstanding contrast ratio that's enhanced by full-array local dimming, producing deep blacks for a great dark room viewing experience.
The main downside is its poor viewing angles, which isn't ideal for wide seating areas as the image looks washed out when viewed from the side. Vizio's SmartCast platform is fairly easy to use, but it has a limited number of apps since there's no app store. For gaming, it has a very low input lag as well as FreeSync support, but it has a narrow VRR range. Nonetheless, if you're looking for the best HDR experience, this one is worth checking out.
The best flat-screen TV in the budget category that we've tested is the Hisense H8G. It's a higher-end model in Hisense's lineup and offers very good performance for a low price. It competes with some higher-end TVs in terms of picture quality, but it has a somewhat limited HDR experience. It's also fairly well-built with a design that should look nice in any environment.
With a VA panel, it displays deep blacks, and it has decent black uniformity. If you watch movies in dark rooms, you should be happy to know it has a decent-performing full-array dimming feature that helps deepen any blacks. If you watch TV in bright rooms, it gets bright enough to combat glare, and it has decent reflection handling. It's also a great choice for gaming as even though it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, it has a quick response time and a very low input lag, ideal for any type of gamer.
Unfortunately, even though it displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, it doesn't get bright enough to bring out all highlights, so HDR content doesn't look as good as some higher-end TVs. On the upside, it uses Android TV as its smart OS, which has a ton of apps available, but it isn't the easiest to use at times. It upscales lower-resolution content well, and it removes judder from 24p sources like native apps or Blu-ray players. Overall, this is the best flat-screen TV in the budget category we've tested.
If you prefer a TV with built-in Roku TV, which is easier to use and has smoother navigation than Android TV, then the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED is a good alternative. It doesn't get as bright as the Hisense H8G, so highlights in HDR don't pop how they should. However, the TCL has a much better contrast ratio and displays a much wider color gamut for HDR content. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy, and it upscales lower-resolution content well. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles and a noticeable dirty screen in the center, but this may vary between units. Despite being limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and no VRR support, it's great for gaming because it has incredibly low input lag and quick response time. Lastly, it removes 24p judder from any source, which is rare for a 60Hz TV.
The Hisense gets brighter, and it's the best flat-screen TV we've tested in the budget category, but if you prefer a Roku option, then the TCL is a good choice.
Jun 11, 2021: Replaced the LG CX, Samsung Q80T, and the Hisense H9G with the newer LG C1, Samsung QN90A, and Hisense U8G; moved the U8G from the 'Best HDR' alternative to the 'Best LED' alternative; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Apr 13, 2021: Added the LG GX OLED, Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED, and Samsung QN90A QLED to Notable Mentions.
Feb 12, 2021: Renamed the LG CX to 'Best OLED' and moved the Samsung Q80T to its main pick as 'Best LED' to maintain consistency with other recommendations.
Dec 15, 2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
Oct 16, 2020: Removed the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and moved the Samsung Q80T in its place; replaced the Sony X950H with the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 and added the Hisense H9G; replaced the TCL 6 Series 2019 with the 5 Series 2020.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best flat screen TVs available to buy for most people in each price range.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of flat screen 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.