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. Curved TVs are very rare now anyways as only a handful of companies produce them. 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 90 TVs under 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 G1 OLED, but it offers nearly identical picture quality for a lower cost.
OLED TVs like this one deliver impressive picture quality. Unlike LCD LED TVs, each pixel can be independently turned on or off, resulting in a nearly infinite contrast ratio, with perfect black uniformity and no blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. The C1 also delivers an incredible gaming experience, with a nearly instantaneous response time, resulting in crystal-clear motion behind fast-moving objects. It also has incredibly low input lag, and it supports FreeSync and G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology.
It also has wide viewing angles, excellent gray uniformity, and superb reflection handling. Sadly, OLED TVs risk permanent burn-in with cumulative exposure to static content. We don't expect this to be an issue with varied usage, though. Overall, this is an impressive TV that should please most people.
If you don't mind spending a bit more and want something that delivers a better movie experience, then check out the Sony A90J OLED. It doesn't have any gaming features yet, like the LG C1 OLED, so it doesn't support VRR, but that may come in a future firmware update. However, it has better image processing that allows it to get brighter in HDR, make highlights stand out more, and it has much better gradient handling, so there's a lot less banding. It has fantastic out-of-the-box accuracy, and even though this can vary between units, Sony TVs are known for their excellent color accuracy, so it's unlikely you'll need to calibrate it.
If you want the best flat screen TV with an OLED panel, you can't go wrong with the LG, but if you're a fan of HDR content or simply watching movies and prefer something with better performance, then check out the Sony.
The best flat screen TV we've tested in the LED category is the Samsung QN90A QLED. It's a flagship 4k TV with a sleek design that should sit flush against the wall when wall-mounted. It's excellent overall and has features that should please most people, no matter the content you watch. The built-in Tizen OS is user-friendly, and you get a great selection of apps that you can download through the app store.
There are a few advantages of getting an LED TV over an OLED, like the fact that LEDs appear to be immune to permanent burn-in, so you can use it as a PC monitor or leave it on your favorite news channel and not have to worry about damaging the screen. This TV uses Mini LED backlighting to get extremely bright, and combined with its remarkable reflection handling visibility shouldn't be an issue in most rooms. It displays a wide color gamut and gets bright in HDR, so highlights stand out, but it only supports HDR10+ and not Dolby Vision, meaning some streaming content will be limited to HDR10 instead.
It has a great full-array local dimming feature that helps improve the already-great native contrast, but its local dimming performs worse in Game Mode than outside of it. It raises the black level more so blacks look closer to gray. Speaking of gaming, it has an HDMI 2.1 input and has VRR support to reduce screen tearing. Overall, it's the best flat screen TV with an LED panel.
If you want something cheaper, then look into the Hisense U8G. Although it doesn't feature Mini LED backlighting like the Samsung QN90A QLED, it still gets bright enough to fight glare and deliver an excellent HDR experience. It even supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, so you won't have to worry about which format the HDR content is in before watching it. It also has a VA panel with excellent contrast, and the full-array local dimming is great in and out of Game Mode. It has a few gaming-oriented features, like VRR and HDMI 2.1, but there are a few motion-related issues in Game Mode that could get distracting, like reports of red ghosting.
If you're in the market for the best flat screen TV and are worried about the risk of burn-in with OLEDs, then the Samsung is a great choice. However, if you don't need something big and prefer to spend less money, check out the Hisense.
The best flat screen in the budget category is the Hisense U6G. It's a great TV for most uses, with excellent contrast and outstanding black uniformity, so it looks great in a dark room. It also has excellent reflection handling, and it's plenty bright enough to overcome glare in a bright room. It has impressive upscaling, great gradient handling, and can display a very good wide color gamut.
It's an impressive gaming TV with a great response time, resulting in clear motion with just a bit of blur behind fast-moving objects. It has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, but sadly, it doesn't support any advanced gaming features like variable refresh rates or HDMI 2.1. There's an automatic low latency mode that automatically switches the TV to the low input lag 'Game' mode when you start playing a game.
Unfortunately, it's a bit thicker than the other picks on this list, with a less premium design, so it sticks out a bit more when mounted on a wall. It also has limited viewing angles, so it's not the best choice for a wide seating arrangement. Despite its limitations, it's a great TV overall that should please most people.
Dec 01, 2021: Refreshed the text throughout, and removed some out-of-date Notable Mentions that are no longer available or relevant.
Oct 05, 2021: Moved the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 to Notable Mentions because it's hard to find and updated text for clarity; added the Sony X95J, Vizio P Series Quantum 2021, LG QNED90, and LG A1 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 10, 2021: Replaced the Hisense H8G with the Hisense U6G, removed the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED, and added the Sony A90J for consistency; updated the Notable Mentions based on market availability.
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.
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.