Happy Holidays! This article is part of our Holiday 2021 Gift Guide where you can find the best-of-the-best recommendations from How-To Geek, LifeSavvy, and Review Geek to help you pick the perfect gift for everyone on your list!
What to Look for in a 55-inch TV in 2021
While picking a suitable 55-inch TV for your home, there are several things to consider to make sure you get the right set. The first is the screen size, as it’s important to consider the space you’re putting the set in. 55-inch TVs are one of the more common sizes for living rooms, so all of our picks below will offer what you need.
Next, you have to decide whether you want to opt for an OLED TV or an LED-backlit LCD TV (also referred to as an LED TV). These are the two dominant display panel technologies available in modern TVs, and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
While OLED TVs can offer perfect black levels and a near-infinite contrast ratio, they are typically better suited for dark rooms because of their relatively lower brightness. On the other hand, LED TVs have high brightness, allowing them to overcome glare even in a brightly lit room.
However, LED TVs cannot produce perfect blacks and have to rely on other technologies like full-array local dimming (FALD) to compensate. And, even with FALD, the LED TVs can’t match the contrast ratio or black levels of an OLED TV.
Secondly, you have to consider what you are primarily going to do on your new TV. For example, if you plan to use it for gaming, you may want next-generation gaming features like HDMI 2.1 ports, support for 4K@120fps, and variable refresh rate (VRR). On the other hand, if you like to watch a lot of movies, a TV with good picture quality, HDR support, and better image processing would be better suited to your needs.
You might also have an affinity to a particular smart TV platform. But even if your TV pick has a different smart TV operating system, a streaming device with your favorite platform can help.
This is only the tip of the television-buying iceberg, though. We recommend going through our complete guide on buying a new TV for more help. Now, let’s get into our 55-inch television recommendations.
Best 55-inch TV Overall: LG C1
- ✓ Outstanding picture quality with a near-infinite contrast ratio
- ✓ Dolby Vision and HDR10 support
- ✓ Support for 4K@120fps gaming
- ✓ Four HDMI 2.1 ports and eARC
- ✗ OLED burn-in concerns
- ✗ Not bright enough for sunny rooms
LG produces some of the most amazing OLED TVs on the market, and the C1 is among the absolute best. It has pretty much everything you need for a fantastic viewing experience. Thanks to the OLED panel, the LG C1 provides a near-infinite contrast ratio and deep black levels. This helps in making colors pop and feel vibrant on the screen.
Although OLED panels aren’t the brightest, the LG C1 gets bright enough to justify the HDR content. And as the company has added support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG, you’ll be able to enjoy HDR content from a wide variety of sources.
The C1 also looks fantastic whether you hang it on a wall or put it in an entertainment center. The build quality is excellent, and the television feels sturdy.
LG is one of the few TV manufacturers to go all-in on HDMI 2.1. Like most of the company’s newer premium TVs, all four HDMI ports on the C1 are HDMI 2.1. This, coupled with the panel’s 120Hz refresh rate, gives you access to 4K gaming at 120fps, one of the highlights of the latest gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
You also get support for variable refresh rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) in other gaming features. Additionally, the LG television has a great response time and very low input lag.
Unfortunately, the LG C1 is not perfect. While the television is excellent for dark-room viewing, its relatively lower brightness may hamper the viewing experience in bright and sunny rooms. Also, its OLED panel is susceptible to burn-in, which requires proper care to ensure the set lasts.
Best 55-inch TV Overall
LG C1 is a 4K OLED TV that offers a fantastic picture quality with perfect blacks. In addition, it runs on webOS and includes apps for all popular streaming services.
- ✓ Fantastic contrast ratio and deep black levels
- ✓ Amazing value for money
- ✓ Support for HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision
- ✓ 4K@120fps gaming support
- ✗ Poor viewing angles
- ✗ Stutter in slow panning shots
Hisense has emerged as a significant player in the budget television segment by producing some of the best value-for-money and 4K TVs. The U7G, which is a part of the company’s ULED lineup, is our pick for the best 55-inch budget TV to buy right now. Whether you like to watch movies, sports, or play games, the U7G excels in everything despite costing around $700.
It is a 4K LED TV and packs quantum dot technology to provide lifelike colors and a wide color gamut. It also uses a Vertical Alignment (VA) display panel, so the television’s native contrast ratio is excellent, but it suffers from poor viewing angles. There is full-array local dimming (FALD) present as well that improves the contrast and black levels.
Among other features, the television includes support for HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG, so you’ll be able to enjoy pretty much all HDR content.
As for the smart TV platform, Hisense is using Android TV on the U7G. It offers access to numerous streaming services, games, and other applications. It is also fairly easy to use.
The U7G also packs two HDMI 2.1 ports and next-generation gaming features like 4K@120fps gaming, ALLM, and AMD FreeSync VRR. In addition, the smart TV provides a good response time and low input lag for a fantastic gaming experience.
If you find the U7G out of your budget and are looking for an even cheaper option, you can consider Hisense’s 55U6G model. It’s a step down from the U7G, but is still a great television. However, the U6G doesn’t include any HDMI 2.1 ports, has fewer local dimming zones, and lower overall brightness.
Best Budget 55-inch TV
Hisense produces some impressive affordable 4K TVs, and the U7G is an excellent example of this. It runs on the Android TV platform and provides a fantastic experience.
Best 55-inch Gaming TV: LG G1
- ✓ Support for 4K@120fps gaming, VRR, ALLM
- ✓ Native 120Hz panel
- ✓ Brighter OLED panel with 5-year limited warranty
- ✓ Great viewing angles
- ✗ Burn-in concerns
- ✗ Expensive than LG C1 that is also great for gaming
While our best overall TV pick—the LG C1—is an excellent TV for gaming. If you want the absolute best gaming experience, the G1 is a better option, primarily because of its new OLED evo panel. It is said to be 20% brighter than the regular OLED panels, including the one present in C1.
The increased brightness improves the HDR experience, so whether you are watching HDR movies or playing HDR games, the G1 offers a slightly better visual experience than the C1.
The G1 also sports the new Gallery design that makes the set look great mounted on a wall. It’s super-thin and sits flush to the wall when you hang it. Unfortunately, if you plan to place it in a media center, you’ll have to buy a tabletop stand separately.
In terms of the gaming features, everything you expect from a modern 4K TV is present in the G1. You get support for VRR, including AMD FreeSync, Nvidia G-Sync, and HDMI Forum VRR, ALLM, and 4K gaming at 120fps. The television also provides low input lag with a fantastic response time. In addition, LG has packed a Game Optimizer feature that allows you to adjust different game-related settings quickly and toggle VRR options.
Apart from being an excellent gaming TV, the LG G1 is a great TV in general. Thanks to the OLED evo panel, the television can offer a near-infinite contrast ratio, perfect blacks, and great viewing angles. In addition, the TV can also display a wide color gamut and has support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG.
The TV runs on webOS that includes apps for all popular streaming services and also allows you to control LG’s ThinQ-branded smart appliances via Home Dashboard on the TV.
Unfortunately, like all OLED TV, burn-in is a concern for LG G1. But to assuage these concerns, LG provides a 5-year limited warranty on the G1’s OLED panel.
Best 55-inch Gaming TV
LG G1 is the company’s current flagship 4K OLED TV. It packs a brighter OLED panel and a beautiful design.
Best 55-inch TV for Movies: Sony A90J
- ✓ Superior image processing
- ✓ Beautiful edge-to-edge design
- ✓ Dolby Vision and HDR10 support
- ✓ Fantastic picture quality with perfect blacks
- ✗ Susceptible to burn-in
- ✗ Expensive than competing LG OLED models
If you are a cinephile and are looking for a television for watching movies, the Sony A90J is your best bet for your home theater. Part of Sony’s Master series, the A90J is a 4K OLED TV. And like other OLED TVs, it provides perfect blacks and a near-infinite contrast ratio. So the movies and TV shows look fantastic.
The Sony TV also packs support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG, allowing you to experience a variety of HDR content in all its glory. Even when you are not watching native HDR content, the Sony TV uses HDR remastering to make the content look vibrant and lifelike. The TV is also great at upscaling lower-resolution content.
On the design front, the A90J looks beautiful with its edge-to-edge design. Its built quality is also excellent, and the included tabletop stand can be set up in two ways, either almost flush with the table or raised to create space for a soundbar.
You will get the Google TV platform on the Sony A90J, which is fairly easy to use and provides access to all popular streaming services and other apps.
Unfortunately, like all OLED TVs, burn-in is a concern for the A90J as well. Buyers will need to make sure to take care of the OLED set so it lasts.
Best 55-inch TV for Movies
Sony A90J offers an amazing movie-watching experience, thanks to its OLED panel and superior picture processing. It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10.
- ✓ Excellent contrast ratio and high brightness
- ✓ Wide color gamut
- ✓ Support for Dolby Vision and HDR10
- ✗ FALD causes blooming and black crush
- ✗ No 4K@120fps gaming support
- ✗ Poor viewing angles
Although there are several good smart TV platforms on the market, Roku OS has managed to carve a place for itself by being super easy to use. So it’s no surprise that many people want Roku OS on their TVs. If you are one of those people, the TCL 6-Series R635 is the best Roku TV you can buy in the 55-inch size.
The 6-Series is a 4K LED TV that uses Mini-LED backlighting and full-array local dimming to provide an excellent contrast ratio, deep black levels, and high brightness. Unfortunately, while the local dimming successfully improves the contrast, it leads to blooming and black crush on the TV.
TCL has added a quantum dot layer to produce vibrant colors and a wide color gamut, among other features. So the HDR content looks fantastic on the TV, and the support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG will give you access to tons of HDR content.
The R635 also upscales lower resolution content very well, so whether you are catching your favorite shows on cable TV or re-watching your DVD collection, everything will look great.
Unfortunately, if you are into gaming, the R635 lacks next-generation gaming features. Even though the display panel is 120Hz, you won’t be able to play 4K games at 120fps. That said, the TV has a great response time and a relatively low input lag, meaning it will be just fine for an occasional casual gaming session.
Best 55-inch Roku TV
TCL R635 is the best 4K Roku TV in the company lineup. It provides excellent picture quality in both SDR and HDR.
- ✓ Fantastic contrast ratio and vibrant colors
- ✓ Decent viewing angles
- ✓ Great at upscaling 720p and 1080p content
- ✓ HDR10+ and HDR10 support
- ✗ No Dolby Vision
- ✗ Only one HDMI 2.1 port
The QN90A has a lot going for it. It has a premium design that looks fantastic, and the TV is well built. In addition, the quantum dot technology can produce vibrant and lifelike colors, and the Mini-LED backlight helps it reach high brightness levels. As a result, the Samsung TV can be bright enough to counter glare in bright and sunny rooms.
Although the television uses a VA panel, it can provide decent viewing angles because of Samsung’s ‘Ultra Viewing Angle’ technology. This technology impacts the native contrast of the display panel, but the onboard full-array local dimming is able to compensate. So the QN90A has an excellent contrast ratio.
The Samsung TV is also good at upscaling lower-resolution content, so even when you are watching 720p or 1080p content, it looks good on the TV.
Dolby Vision is missing, but there is HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG support. The TV also includes next-generation gaming features, but unfortunately, there is only one HDMI 2.1 port.
Finally, Samsung’s Tizen OS ties everything together, and it’s one of the better smart TV platforms. It has apps for almost all popular streaming services and supports Alexa, Bixby, and Google Assistant.
Best 55-inch LED TV
Samsung QN90A is a perfect 55-inch TV for bright rooms because of its high brightness, excellent contrast ratio, and decent viewing angles.