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 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.
We've tested more than 80 TVs under the latest test bench, and below are our picks for the best televisions. Also, make sure to check out our picks for the best TVs for PS5, the best TVs for Xbox Series X, and the best budget TVs.
The LG C1 OLED is the best TV we've tested in 2021 in the OLED category. It's a high-end TV from LG that sits below the LG G1 OLED, which has the new evo panel, but since all OLEDs deliver the same exceptional picture quality, it's worth getting the C1 instead. We even tested the 48 inch model as a monitor, which you can read about here.
This is a well-built TV that comes with a premium stand and should look nice in any setup. The stand-out feature of OLEDs is how they can turn off each pixel. This means that it has a near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks, and there's no blooming around bright objects. Since each pixel emits light in all directions, it has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate at wide angles. Although it doesn't get extremely bright in SDR, it has fantastic reflection handling and visibility shouldn't be an issue in most well-lit rooms.
Unfortunately, our unit has poor out-of-the-box color accuracy, but this can vary between units. Also, OLEDs have the risk of permanent burn-in that can be problematic if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like if you want to leave it on your favorite news channel all day. On the plus side, it has HDMI 2.1 inputs with variable refresh rate (VRR) support, low input lag, and a quick response time for a fantastic gaming experience. Overall, it's the best TV on the market with an OLED screen.
The best TV we've tested in the LED category is the Samsung QN90A QLED. It's a flagship TV from Samsung's 2021 lineup. It features Mini LED backlighting, allowing it to become extremely bright, and combined with its fantastic reflection handling, visibility shouldn't be an issue even in the brightest of environments.
On top of performing well in bright rooms, it's also an excellent choice for watching movies in dark rooms. Its VA panel has a high native contrast ratio, and the full-array local dimming feature helps further deepen any blacks. If you want to use it for watching HDR content, it displays a wide color gamut and supports HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision. It has a 120Hz panel with an HDMI 2.1 input, so you can easily play 4k games up to 120fps from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. It has native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing, low input lag, and a very quick response time for smooth motion.
Unfortunately, its local dimming feature is worse in Game Mode than outside of it, so blacks aren't as deep when gaming. It also has some uniformity issues with dirty screen effect in the center, but this can vary between units. If you have a wide seating arrangement, you'll be happy to know it has fairly wide viewing angles thanks to Samsung's 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. All in all, if you want the best TV with an LED panel, you should be happy with this one.
If you want something cheaper, then look into the Hisense U8G. It doesn't have viewing angle technology like the Samsung QN90A QLED, so it's not as good for a wide seating arrangement, but that also means it has a higher native contrast ratio. It still offers great value for its price as its VA panel and great local dimming help deliver deep uniform blacks, and it gets bright enough to make highlights stand out in HDR. It displays a wide color gamut in HDR and supports most common formats. It even has gaming features like HDMI 2.1 inputs and VRR support, so even competitive gamers should enjoy it. Sadly, it also has some uniformity issues, and the built-in Android TV can take some time to learn, but it has an excellent selection of apps available to download.
If you want the best TV in the LED category, you should be happy with the high-end Samsung, but if you prefer something cheaper, go for the Hisense.
The best TV for watching HDR content is the Vizio P Series Quantum X 2020. It's Vizio's flagship 4k LED TV from their 2020 lineup that you can still find available in 2021, and it offers great overall performance. It lags behind the competition in terms of smart features because the SmartCast system can feel buggy at times, but if you're after pure excellent picture quality, this one doesn't disappoint.
It's a slightly better choice for watching HDR content because it supports both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats, so you won't have to worry about which format your content is in before streaming it. It also has a high native contrast ratio because it doesn't use any viewing angle technology, and combined with the great local dimming feature, it displays extremely deep blacks with incredible uniformity. In terms of HDR, it displays a wide color gamut and easily gets bright enough to make highlights stand out how the creator intended.
Unfortunately, our unit seems to have a red tint that stays after calibration, and we don't know if this is a common issue or not, so your experience may vary. Also, if you want to game with it, there are some issues in Game Mode, like skipping frames with 4k @ 120Hz content, and its VRR support in 4k only works up to 60Hz. If you don't plan on gaming and just want to watch HDR content, it's one of the best TVs we've tested.
The best TV to buy in the budget category we've tested is the Hisense U6G. Although it's an entry-level 4k TV that doesn't have as many features as the higher-end Hisense U8G, it delivers great value for its price, and it performs very well for most uses. It comes with Android TV built-in, which has many apps you can download through the Google Play Store, but it's not as easy to use as other smart systems.
This TV has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, and it has a decent full-array local dimming feature that helps improve the picture quality in dark scenes. Our unit also has fantastic black uniformity with minimal blooming around bright objects. As for watching HDR movies, it's great because it displays a wide color gamut, and although it doesn't get as bright as more expensive options, it's still alright for making highlights stand out. If you want to use it in a well-lit room, the excellent reflection handling and high peak brightness mean that glare shouldn't be an issue in most bright rooms.
Sadly, as expected from a VA panel, it has narrow viewing angles, so it's not a good choice for wide seating areas. Also, it's limited to a 60Hz panel and doesn't have gaming features like VRR support. Still, if you want to use it for casual gaming, it has a quick response time and low input lag. Overall, if you're on a budget, this is a great choice.
If you prefer a TV that runs on Roku, consider the TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED. Although it has a VA panel like the Hisense U6G, its contrast ratio is significantly higher, which means that blacks look even deeper in the dark. The downside is that it doesn't get as bright, so it isn't ideal for well-lit rooms, and highlights don't pop the way they should in HDR. However, it has a wider color gamut to display more colors in HDR, and it has better gradient handling to minimize banding. Its response time is about the same, and it's also limited to a 60Hz refresh rate with no VRR support. Also, the Roku interface feels smoother than Android TV and is more user-friendly.
Overall, the Hisense and the TCL are very similar. If the Smart interface doesn't matter to you, then go with the Hisense, mainly because the TCL's low brightness is quite disappointing. However, if you want a Roku TV, go with the TCL.
Jul 22, 2021: Added the LG NANO90 2021 and LG G1 OLED to Notable Mentions; updated text for clarity.
Jun 23, 2021: Replaced the Sony X90J with the Samsung QN90A because it's better; replaced the Hisense H9G and Hisense H8G with the newer U8G and U6G; updated Notable Mentions.
May 26, 2021: Replaced the LG CX with the LG C1 and the Samsung Q80T with the Sony X90J; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Apr 26, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Apr 02, 2021: Verified picks for availability and updated text; replaced the Samsung Q90T with the Samsung QN90A in Notable Mentions.
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.