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 80 TVs in the last two years, 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 best flat-screen TV we've tested with an OLED panel is the LG CX OLED. It's an amazing 4k TV that delivers stunning picture quality in a sleek, well-designed package. Its thin screen should look great in any living room, although if you really want to make an impression, check out the LG GX OLED, which has a razor-thin design that's meant to resemble a gallery frame.
Thanks to its OLED panel, the LG has a practically infinite contrast ratio and is capable of producing perfectly uniform blacks. This is especially noticeable when watching dark content in a dark room, so it's a great choice if you prioritize movies and TV shows. On top of that, LG's webOS is one of the smoothest and most easy-to-use smart platforms out there, so you can quickly access all your favorite content. Gamers should also appreciate its near-instantaneous response time for smooth motion, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, HDMI 2.1 ports, and low input lag.
Unfortunately, since OLED TVs don't typically get as bright as LED TVs, it's not necessarily recommended for very bright lighting conditions, as glare can be an issue. OLED TVs are also susceptible to permanent burn-in, but that likely won't be a problem if you watch varied content. Taking everything into consideration, this is among the best flat-screen TVs we've tested.
If you're looking for an LED TV, the Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED is the best flat-screen TV we've tested with an LED-backlit LCD panel. It's an impressive model from Samsung's 2020 lineup that offers great picture quality and performance, as well as a ton of extra features. It looks fairly sleek and shouldn't stick out when wall-mounted.
Its VA panel produces rich blacks thanks to its high native contrast ratio and local dimming feature. That said, it's lower than typical for a VA panel. That's because of Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which improves viewing angles at the expense of contrast. On the upside, its viewing angles are wider than most VA panels, meaning you can watch from the side without losing too much image accuracy. Glare also shouldn't be an issue due to its remarkable reflection handling and high peak brightness.
It has a ton of gaming features, including an excellent response time, extremely low input lag, and VRR support. However, its local dimming feature performs significantly worse when the TV is in 'Game Mode,' and so does its brightness in HDR with 'Game Mode' enabled. We also received reports from users that they experienced stuttering when watching cable sports. Despite these issues, however, this is still among the best flat-screen TVs we've tested, and most people should be happy with it.
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, even in the brightest environments.
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 gets extremely bright, enough to make 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.
If you want something cheaper, look into the Hisense. It doesn't display as wide of a color gamut as the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020, but HDR content still looks great. The Hisense gets bright enough to make highlights pop, it has remarkable black uniformity, the contrast ratio is outstanding, and the full-array local dimming feature significantly deepens any blacks. It upscales lower-resolution content without any issues and interpolates motion up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect.' It doesn't have VRR support for gaming, but it has low input lag and excellent response time, and because its backlight flickers at such a high frequency, you likely won't notice image duplication. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's expected from a VA panel. The built-in Android TV isn't the most user-friendly, but it has a ton of apps available to download.
If you watch a lot of HDR content, you can't go wrong with the Vizio, but if you prefer something cheaper to save some money, look into the Hisense.
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.
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.
Aug 19, 2020: Replaced the LG B9 OLED with the LG CX OLED and replaced the Sony X950G with the Sony X950H.
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.