Finding the best TV for your needs depending on how you're going to use it and where you're going to place it as well. There are two different types of panels in the TV market, OLED and LED, and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. There's no perfect TV and choosing the right option for you also comes down to personal preference. Generally, even the lowest-end 4k TVs offer decent picture quality, and the higher-end models are only good if you're going to use them to their full ability, like for watching native 4k content. Although companies are starting to come out with their 2021, you can still easily find 2020 models available for purchase.
We've tested more than 80 TVs in the last two years, and below are our picks for the best televisions. Also, make sure to check out our picks for the best TVs for PS5, best TVs for Xbox Series X, and the best budget TVs.
The LG CX is the best TV on the market that we've tested with an OLED panel. It's one of three 4k OLEDs from LG's 2020 lineup, alongside the LG BX OLED and the LG GX OLED. Considering the BX is only available in 55 and 65 inch sizes, and the GX costs more, the CX offers the best performance for its price. It's an excellent overall TV that's packed with features that should please most people. We also tested the 48 inch model as a monitor, which you can read here.
The main advantage of OLED panels is how they can individually turn off pixels, resulting in perfect blacks, so they're an amazing choice for dark room viewing. There's no blooming around bright objects because of this, and they also have wide viewing angles, which is great for wide seating arrangements. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but its HDR peak brightness is just decent, so some highlights may not pop how they should. If you're a gamer, you should appreciate its variable refresh rate (VRR) and HDMI 2.1 support, extremely low input lag, and near-instant response time that results in smooth motion.
Sadly, like any OLED, the CX may suffer from permanent burn-in if you constantly watch content with static elements, like leaving the news on all day. However, we don't expect this to be a problem for people who watch varied content. If you want to use it in a well-lit room, it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, but luckily, it has outstanding reflection handling. Overall, this is one of the best TVs we've tested.
The best TV we've tested with an LED panel is the Samsung Q80/Q80T. It's a premium 4k TV from 2020 that you can still easily find in 2021. It offers impressive overall performance, and unlike OLEDs, it doesn't suffer from potential burn-in. This means that you can easily leave your favorite news channel on all day without worrying about damaging the screen. It's a well-built model with a sleek design that should fit nicely into any setup.
It performs equally as well in both bright and dark rooms. It gets bright enough to combat glare and has remarkable reflection handling, so you can even place it in a room with a lot of windows. It has a great contrast ratio, but it's lower than most VA panel TVs because of Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' layer, which improves the viewing angles at the cost of contrast. However, it has a decent local dimming feature that helps to improve the picture quality in dark scenes even more.
Even though it provides a good cinematic HDR experience, those looking to use it for HDR gaming may be a bit disappointed. Its local dimming and HDR brightness in 'Game Mode' are both worse than in the 'Movie' picture mode, so highlights may not pop how they should. However, it still has other gaming features like VRR support and a quick response time. Note that the 49 and 50 inch sizes don't support VRR and don't have the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology, so we expect them to perform differently. All in all, if you're getting one of the larger models, it's one of the best TVs we've tested.
If you tend to watch a lot of HDR content, then the best TV for your use is the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020. It's a premium TV that offers excellent picture quality and great performance for any use. It supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, so you won't have to worry about which format your favorite HDR content is in.
The VA panel helps deliver extremely deep blacks thanks to its fantastic contrast ratio and great local dimming feature. Black uniformity is incredible as there's minimal blooming around bright objects. It gets extremely bright, one of the brightest TVs we've tested, and it makes highlights stand out the way the creator intended in HDR. It displays a very wide color gamut and gradient handling is excellent, so you shouldn't notice any banding in real content. If you want to enhance your movie viewing experience with a soundbar or speakers, it supports eARC, allowing you to pass high-quality audio to a compatible receiver over an HDMI connection.
Sadly, our unit has a reddish tint that stays even after calibration, and we don't know if this is an issue with our unit alone or a common problem. It also has narrow viewing angles, which is expected for a VA panel, so the image loses accuracy when viewing from the side. If you want to use it for HDR gaming, it has low input lag and a quick response time, but it doesn't properly support 4k @ 120Hz games in HDR with the PS5, but it does with the Xbox Series X. All in all, this is one of the best TVs we've tested.
If you don't want to spend a ton of money and prefer something that costs less, then check out the Hisense H9G. It's very similar to the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020 in terms of HDR performance, but despite being a 120Hz panel, it doesn't support any 120fps signals. This shouldn't be a problem for watching HDR movies but may be a bit disappointing if you want to use it for gaming. Like the Vizio, the Hisense has an outstanding native contrast, great local dimming, and great HDR peak brightness to make highlights stand out. It supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, and it displays a wide color gamut. Its out-of-the-box accuracy is mediocre, and even though this can vary between units, you may need to calibrate it to enjoy it to the fullest.
If you want the best TV to buy for watching HDR content, you can't go wrong with the Vizio, but if you want something cheaper, check out the Hisense.
The best TV on the market in the budget category that we've tested is the Hisense H8G. It's a step-down in price from the Hisense H9G, but it still offers good overall performance that most people should be happy with. It's a well-rounded model that has decent build quality, and it's a good choice whether you're using it in a bright or dark room. It comes with built-in Android TV, which has a ton of apps available to download but may not be the easiest to use at times.
Its VA panel provides an excellent native contrast ratio and decent black uniformity, and it also has a full-array local dimming feature that does a decent job at improving the contrast ratio. It has decent reflection handling and great SDR peak brightness, so visibility shouldn't be an issue in well-lit rooms. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content and has okay HDR peak brightness, but it may not be enough to deliver a true HDR experience. It doesn't have gaming features like VRR support, which is expected in this price range, but it still has a quick response time and low input lag.
Unfortunately, our unit has uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, and the out-of-the-box accuracy is just okay; however, both of these vary between units, so your experience may be different. It also has narrow viewing angles, but that's normal for a VA panel, so it's not suggested for a wide seating arrangement. Regardless of these small issues, it's one of the best TVs that we've tested if you're on a budget.
If you're not a fan of Android TV and prefer something easier to use, like Roku TV, then check out the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. It has lower peak brightness than the Hisense H8G, so it's not ideal for well-lit environments. However, the TCL displays a much wider color gamut for HDR content, but like the Hisense, it doesn't get bright enough to truly make highlights stand out. It has what you expect in a budget TV; it has an exceptional contrast, good black uniformity, and decent local dimming, but the reflection handling is just decent, and it has narrow viewing angles. It's also limited on extra gaming features, but most casual gamers should still enjoy the quick response time and very low input lag, making for a responsive gaming experience.
If you're on a budget and want the best TV to buy, then check out the Hisense, but if you prefer something with built-in Roku, look into the TCL.
Apr 02, 2021: Verified picks for availability and updated text; replaced the Samsung Q90T with the Samsung QN90A in Notable Mentions.
Mar 04, 2021: Verified picks and updated text for clarity.
Feb 17, 2021: No changes to picks; updated text for clarity.
Jan 21, 2021: Verified picks and updated text for clarity.
Nov 27, 2020: Updated Notable Mentions to reflect current market and availability.
Oct 02, 2020: Removed the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2019 and moved the Samsung Q80T in its spot; 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 05, 2020: Replaced the LG B9 OLED with the CX OLED; replaced the Sony X950G with the Sony X950H; removed the Samsung Q80R.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best televisions for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, 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. 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.