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 80 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 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, the TV has 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.
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. 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. Gamers should appreciate the 120Hz panel, HDMI 2.1 inputs, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and low input lag. Overall, it's the best TV in the OLED category.
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, the Sony 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 versatile TV that performs above its price range as it competes with higher-end models in terms of picture quality. It may lack a bit on some extra features, but that's expected for a budget-friendly TV. It has a simple but nice-looking style that should look good in any setup.
The U6G is impressive for watching movies in dark environments because it displays deep blacks thanks to its excellent native contrast ratio. It has fantastic black uniformity, and the decent full-array local dimming feature helps it improve the picture quality in dark scenes. It doesn't have any issues upscaling lower-resolution content, like DVDs or Blu-rays, and if you want to watch HDR movies, it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats. Speaking of HDR, it displays a wide color gamut and has okay HDR peak brightness, which may be enough to make some highlights stand out, but not all.
Unfortunately, it's limited to a 60Hz panel and doesn't have VRR support to reduce screen tearing. Still, if you want to use it for gaming, it has low input lag and a great response time for smooth motion, and there aren't any issues with red ghosting like on the Hisense U8G. It has Android TV built-in as its smart OS, which has many apps available to download through the Google Play Store and is easy to use. Overall, if you're on a budget, this is the best flat screen TV.
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.
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.
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.