Picture quality has historically been the most important characteristic of a TV. It doesn't matter if you're a movie enthusiast or a sports fan; image quality is usually your priority. However, no home entertainment system can deliver an extraordinary experience without proper sound quality. Just like in a movie theater or a stadium, sound plays an important role in immersing the audience. Although TVs don't have the most complete sound systems, modern TVs can get loud, have decent bass, and deliver clear and understandable dialogue. If, however, you want the TV with best sound, we suggest you check our recommendations for the best soundbars.
We've tested more than 70 TVs under the latest test bench, and below are our recommendations for the TVs with the best sound you can buy. Make sure to check out recommendations for the best TVs, the best outdoor TVs, and the best smart TVs.
The TV with the best sound that we've tested is the LG GX OLED. It's a high-end OLED TV designed to sit flat against a wall and comes with a dedicated wall mount instead of a stand. There's also an LG GX soundbar that's meant to be combined with this TV and sits flush against the wall. The TV delivers excellent picture quality and good sound quality that most people should be happy with.
Its built-in speakers have a good frequency response. It has a well-balanced sound profile that makes dialogue clear, and its bass has some punch to it. It gets loud enough for noisy environments, but there's a good amount of compression and distortion artifacts at its max volume. In terms of picture quality, the LG provides an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity thanks to its OLED panel. It has wide viewing angles, a near-instant response time, and it upscales lower-resolution content without any issues. There's variable refresh rate (VRR) support and has low input lag for gaming.
Sadly, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in. This is only a real problem if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like the news or if you use it as a computer monitor. However, we don't expect most people who watch varied content to experience this issue. It doesn't get very bright, but if you want to use it in a well-lit room, it has outstanding reflection handling. All in all, this is the TV with the best sound that we've tested with an OLED panel.
If you want to spend a bit less money, then look into the LG C1 OLED. It's designed differently than the LG GX OLED and won't sit flush against the wall when mounted, but it still has about the same picture quality. Like the GX, the C1 has a bunch of gaming features like HDMI 2.1 and VRR support with a near-instant response time and low input lag. It's fantastic for dark room viewing thanks to its near-infinite contrast, and it has fantastic reflection handling if you want to use it in a bright room. The speakers are decent and get loud, but like any TV, the best sound quality will come from a soundbar. It has an upgraded version of webOS that features a full home page and is easy to use.
If you want the TV with best sound, you should be happy with the GX, but if you want to spend a bit less money, check out the C1.
If you prefer LED TVs, the best TV for sound quality is the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED. The built-in speakers have a well-balanced sound profile with clear dialogue, and they get nice and loud. While the bass is just okay, and the speakers don't really get low enough to produce a booming bass sound, the TV still has one of the best frequency responses we've tested. There's very little compression at higher volumes and almost no distortion, which is great.
Aside from having good-sounding speakers, the TV has a lot to offer at a price that won't break the bank. It has a fantastic contrast ratio, so it can produce deep blacks, and it also gets bright enough to combat glare in most lighting conditions. It has an impressively wide color gamut for HDR content and high peak brightness that should make HDR content pop. Its response time is great as well, resulting in smooth motion during fast-moving content. It supports VRR, but without any HDMI 2.1 inputs, it only works up to 60Hz with a 4k image.
It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's expected of a VA panel. The local dimming feature also leaves a lot to be desired, as it results in noticeable blooming around bright objects. Despite its flaws, this is a very good flagship TV from TCL with features and specs you'd expect to find on much more expensive models. If you're looking to go without a dedicated sound system, this is the TV with the best sound that we've tested.
If you have a wide seating arrangement, then check out the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED. It uses a different panel type than the TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED so it has a lower native contrast ratio, but the wide viewing angles mean the image remains accurate when viewing from the side. It uses Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to get very bright, and combined with its good reflection handling, visibility shouldn't be a problem in well-lit rooms. It's packed with gaming features like HDMI 2.1 and VRR support, so you can easily play 4k games at 120fps, and it has a quick response time. The sound is decent and produces a lower bass than most TVs. Unfortunately, even though it has a full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast, there's still too much blooming around bright objects.
If you want the best TV for sound quality in the LED category, you should be happy with the TCL. Otherwise, the Samsung is a good alternative with wider viewing angles.
The TV with best sound in the budget category that we've tested is the Samsung TU7000. It's an entry-level 4k TV that surprisingly has decent built-in speakers, and it won't cost you too much either. In terms of its speakers, it has a decent frequency response with a well-balanced sound profile, and there isn't much distortion, even at loud listening levels.
It's a simple TV with decent picture quality and performs best in dark rooms. It has a VA panel with an excellent native contrast ratio that displays deep blacks, and the black uniformity is outstanding. However, it lacks a local dimming feature to further deepen any blacks. It upscales lower-resolution content, so it's a good choice for watching DVDs or cable TV. If you want to connect a receiver, it has eARC support, and it can accept Dolby Atmos via TrueHD signals, which is a great addition to a budget-friendly option. Lastly, the built-in Tizen OS is easy to use, with a ton of apps available.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get bright, so it's not an ideal choice for use in well-lit rooms. It also fails to display a wide color gamut and doesn't get bright enough in HDR to make highlights stand out, so HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR. It also has narrow viewing angles, so you lose image accuracy when viewed from the side. Regardless of these small issues, the Samsung is the TV with best sound that you can get at a low cost.
Jun 15, 2021: Replaced the LG CX and the Samsung Q80T with the newer LG C1 and Samsung Q80A; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Apr 16, 2021: Added Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED to Notable Mentions.
Feb 16, 2021: Updated text for clarity; updated Notable Mentions to reflect market availability.
Dec 18, 2020: Replaced the Samsung TU8000 with the Samsung TU8000.
Oct 20, 2020: Replaced the LG E9 OLED with the LG GX; replaced the Hisense H9G with the TCL 6 Series 2020 and placed it as the 'Best LED' with the Q80T as an alternative; replaced the Hisense H8G with the Samsung TU8000.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best sounding TVs to buy for most people with different tastes. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), 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, sorted by their sound quality. 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. Keep in mind that no TV can deliver the sound quality of a dedicated sound system or a soundbar.