If you haven’t purchased a television in eons, you may be surprised to learn that a 55-inch TV is currently considered a medium or even a small screen size. LCD TVs are now so popular and numerous that consumers have been paying ever-lower prices for ever larger screens — we’re talking $300 for awith the latest technology in picture quality and streaming. At the high end of this market, just about has a 55-inch size, and it’s often the smallest in the line.
TL; DR: The 55-inch size offers more choice than any other. As such, upscaling is now a necessity, and there are a lot of quality options. Let me help you decide by listing my favorites.
The list below represents the best TVs I’ve reviewed in CNET’s test lab, where I compare the pros and cons side-by-side to see which are most worth buying. Here are my latest recommendations for the best 55-inch TVs, periodically updated. Keep these points in mind as you look over my choices:
- Looking for a different size? Check out our comparisons of 32-inch TVs, 43-inch TVs, 65-inch TVs and 75-inch TVs.
- The images below are generally of 65-inch TVs since that’s the size we review at CNET. But the review still applies to the 55-inch version.
- Don’t see what you’re looking for below? Here are all the TVs I’ve reviewed, with more coming soon.
OLED TVs are the picture quality kings, but they’re not cheap. The TVs’ OLED displays use organic light-emitting diode technology to deliver a contrast ratio, viewing angles, and a wide color gamut that no LCD TV (or QLED TV) can match. As the least expensive OLED TV, the B9 55-inch TV is our favorite overall for high-end shoppers even though it’s a 2019 model. It fell just a bit short of the 2020 CX (below) in image quality in our tests, but the differences in picture quality are minuscule — and since it’s less expensive than the CX, it’s a better value.
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The latest version of the TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to improved color technology, and its well-implemented full-array local dimming helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. As if that’s not enough, the Roku smart TV operating system — which really accommodates all of the top streaming services well — is our hands-down favorite for a seamless viewing experience. Yeah, this is one of, if not the best 55-inch TV.
What’s that you say? You just want the highest-end TV with the best picture quality, and money is no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the 2020 CX is the best quality TV I’ve ever reviewed, barely beating the 2019 B9 (above), which is a superior value — almost as good and much less expensive. That said, if you want the best and newest OLED we’ve reviewed, money no object, this is it.
Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, no TV offers this much picture for this little cash. In my comparisons, the TCL won slightly in a couple of important areas, in particular HDR brightness and black levels, which are integral to the viewing experience. I’d also recommend the TCL to streaming services centric viewers because of its superior Roku smart TV system with voice control features. All of that said, the Vizio is still an excellent choice and sometimes available for less than the TCL — just make sure you’re getting the M8, not the M7.
Roku is our favorite platform for streaming apps and apps like Netflix, and it’s even better baked into the TV. This TCL 4-Series can’t beat any of the models above on image quality — its 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) compatibility don’t do anything to help the picture or color– but it offers a fine viewing experience for most people, especially at this price.
Other stuff to know
I’m sure you’d be happy with any one of the TVs above, but a new 55-inch TV set can be a big investment, so maybe you’re looking for a bit more information. Here’s a quick and dirty list.
- New 2020 TVs are available now but since TVs are generally a mature technology, a less-expensive 2019 version is usually just as good of a choice.
- In my opinion, bigger is better. Big TVs are cheaper than ever, and your money is best spent on large screen sizes rather than a slight upgrade in image quality or resolution.
- If you don’t like the the way the built-in smart TV system interacts with your streaming apps, you can always add a media streamer. After all, there are more streaming services with more amazing content than ever before (have you started the best media streamers. yet?!) Streamers are cheap and easy to use, and receive updates more frequently than most smart TVs. See our picks of
- Most built-in speakers sound terrible, so it’s worthwhile to pair your new set with a soundbar or other speaker system. Good ones start at around $100. See the best soundbars.
Got all that? Great! Now grab your remote control and settle in for some high-end TV viewing.
Looking for even more info? Here’s everything to know about.