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Best 55-inch TVs 2021: smart, 4K, HDR and OLED models for every budget

Best 55-inch TVs Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s guide to the best 55-inch 4K TVs you can buy in 2021.

Whether you want to step up your home theater experience or simply boost your binge-watching, a 55-inch TV could be just the job. That's because, for many, 55 inches hits the sweet spot between size and price. Ready to pick your next TV? We've cut down our extensive list of the best TVs to bring you a tight edit of the very best 55-inch TVs we've tested.

In fact, there are a number of good reasons why you should buy a 55-inch TV. Firstly, the very best 55-inch TVs deliver an exceptional blend of high-quality performance and affordable price, which is not always what you get from 50-inch TVs and 65-inch TVs. Secondly, 55 inches is often just the right size to fit into most living spaces, helping you maximising screen real estate without dominating the room. Thirdly, 55 inches is an increasingly popular size now that more and more of us are enjoying 4K and HDR content.

Choose wisely. Make sure the TV has the features and connections you need, as well as support for your favorite streaming services, and you'll be rewarded with the perfect 55-inch TV set.

All the below models deliver great picture quality, but even the best TVs rarely sound great so you may want to consider adding  soundbar to enhance the sound for a truly immersive effect.  

Ready to invest in some premium tech? Time to shop for the best 55-inch 4K TVs for your home.

How do we choose the best 55-inch TVs?

Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year. So how do we come to our review verdicts? And why can you trust them? The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics.

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all of our testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency. All products are tested in comparison with rival products in the same price category, and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than an individual reviewer.

From all of our reviews, we choose the best products to feature in our Best Buys. That's why if you buy one of the products recommended below, or on any other Best Buy page, you can be assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi? approved product.

Best 55-inch TVs: Sony XR-55A90J

(Image credit: Future / Leonardo, Amazon Prime)

1. Sony XR-55A90J

Simply the best TV you can buy right now

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55" (also available in 65", 83") | Type: OLED | Backlight: not applicable | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Operating system: Google TV | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: eARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 28" x 48" x 1.6"

Reasons to Buy

Outstanding picture quality
Superb motion handling
Impressive sound

Reasons to Avoid

No VRR (yet), buggy 4K@120Hz
Expensive

While Sony’s OLEDs are highly regarded, it’s typically hard to justify buying one over a rival LG. Historically, the Sony has a more authentic picture and better sound but is also a step behind on features and usability – and at least a level or two more expensive.

But what if Sony could produce a TV with most of those previously missing features, a more satisfying user experience, and a unique high-quality movie streaming app, all while raising the picture and sound quality to even greater heights? That's exactly what the company's done with the A90J.

In performance terms, the Sony A90J is an absolute stunner. It takes OLED picture performance to new, thrilling levels while maintaining the authenticity for which Sony is justifiably renowned. It also sounds significantly better than all of the other TVs you might be considering. The new Google TV operating system means the user experience is better than that of any pre-2021 Sony TV, too, and the exclusive Bravia Core streaming service is a genuine value-added feature.

Hardcore gamers might want to take a wait-and-see approach, as the set doesn't yet support VRR (an update has been promised but not dated) and we found the 4K@120Hz support a little buggy. However, if movies and TV shows are your priority and you have a big budget, we haven’t tested a better television than the Sony A90J. It’s pricey, but it’s also a clear cut above the competition.

Read the full Sony XR-55A90J review

Best 55-inch TVs: Samsung UN55TU8000

(Image credit: Future / How to build a girl, Amazon Prime)

2. Samsung UN55TU8000

This 2020 mid-range model is stunning value for a 55-inch TV.

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55in (also available in 43in, 50in, 65in, 75in and 82in) | Type: LCD | Backlight: edge LED | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ | Operating system: Tizen | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: eARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 71 x 123 x 6cm

Reasons to Buy

Brilliant HDR picture
Bags of tonal detail
Punchy colours

Reasons to Avoid

Not particularly bright
Uninspiring sound

The TU8000 punches well above its weight, performing brilliantly across 4K, HD and standard definition. It's a budget mid-range model, but it arguably represents the best balance of price and picture quality in the company's 2020 lineup. 

Its solid build quality impresses and the superb Tizen operating system provides all your favorite streaming apps including the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Showtime, Google Play Movies & TV and YouTube TV. 

HDR content looks great on the 55-inch LED panel, with a level of shading and punch that's not a million miles away from that of the company's pricier QLED panels. It does a fine job of upscaling SD content, too.

Sound is decent enough but we'd recommend upgrading to a soundbar. It's also worth noting that you'll need a unit or AV rack that's least 103cm wide to support this set's stand.

Overall, we can't praise the TU8000 enough. This app-laden set is a great value buy that delivers a premium picture at a remarkably-low price. One of the best 55-inch TVs you can buy right now.

Read the full Samsung UN55TU8000 review

Best 55-inch TVs: LG OLED55CX

(Image credit: LG / Stray, Annapurna Interactive)

3. LG OLED55CX

LG's stunning OLED TV is a remarkably capable all-rounder

SPECIFICATIONS

Screen size: 55in (also available in 48in, 65in and 77in) | Type: OLED | Backlight: not applicable | Resolution: 4K | HDR formats supported: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Operating system: webOS | HDMI inputs: 4 | ARC/eARC: eARC | Optical output: Yes | Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 28" x 48" x 1.8"

Reasons to Buy

Picture is exciting but natural
Improved motion and dark detail
More future-proofed than most

Reasons to Avoid

Can be beaten for sound

Want breathtaking picture quality at a tempting price? This 2020 LG OLED delivers true flagship performance in a lounge-friendly 55-inch form factor. 

Perfect blacks and near-perfect viewing angles combine with bright, punchy whites and natural colors to stunning effect. It really is a fantastic TV for those who want a serious home theater experience.

On top of that, you get certified HDMI 2.1 sockets that support next-gen features such as eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), HFR (High Frame Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), and all current formats of VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). In other words, this TV will help you make the most of an PS5 or Xbox Series X.

There's also Airplay 2 built-in, so you can cast Apple's impressive library of Dolby Vision content from your iPhone or Pad to the big screen. You won't be short of streaming apps, either, with the likes of Disney+, Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, Google Play Movies & TV, Showtime, Starz, Prime Video, Crackle, Apple TV+ and others at your disposal.

While the 2020 CX has been succeeded by the new C1 in LG's 2021 TV line-up, it's still  up there with the best 55-inch TVs available. What's more, because it's no longer LG's newest model, there are serious savings to be had on this mid-size MVP.

Read the full LG OLED55CX review

Best 55 inch TVs: Sony XBR-55A8H

(Image credit: Sony / Absentia, Amazon Prime)

4. Sony XBR-55A8H

Put simply, this is one of Sony's best ever 55-inch TVs.

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 4K | Screen type: OLED | Operating system: Android TV | HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | HDMI: 4 | USB: 3 | Optical: 1 | Dimensions: 123 x 71 x 5.2 cm (w/out stand)

Reasons to Buy

Natural and authentic picture
Superb motion handling
Crisp, involving sound

Reasons to Avoid

High-contrast images lack punch
Lacking next-gen HDMI features

Sony TVs might have serious competition from the likes of Samsung and LG, but the Japanese tech giant's clever picture processing and innovative TV sound technology make this elegant OLED one of the company's best 55-inch TVs.

The XBR-55A8H gives you the best of both worlds: a top-notch OLED panel made by LG, combined with Sony’s stellar picture and sound technology. The design is a cut above too, with a thin (just over 5cm) profile. That said, it's worth noting that the positioning of the feet means you'll need a large stand to accommodate this TV. 

One thing you might not need is a soundbar. Sony uses actuators that vibrate the screen imperceptibly, essentially turning the display into a big, flat speaker. The A8H combines two of these actuators with two subwoofers to great effect, making it one of the best-sounding 55-inch TVs in the US right now.

You get all the usual connections, streaming apps and tech features as well as support for the crucial HDR picture formats. But the real attraction is the picture quality, which majors on realism and authenticity. Whether you're a movie buff or a sports fan, this 55-inch television will not disappoint.

The newer A90J, above, is an even better TV, but it's also vastly more expensive. If you want a big dollop of that top-end Sony OLED performance at a fraction of the price the A8H is a great buy.

Read the full Sony XBR-55A8H review

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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  • Friesiansam
    What Hi-Fi? said:
    1. Sony KD-55A8This 2020 OLED is the best 55 inch TV we've tested.

    4. Panasonic TX-55GZ2000BThe best performing OLED TV we’ve tested so far.
    One of those must be wrong.
    Reply
  • no-name-123
    Friesiansam said:
    One of those must be wrong.

    Which one 'must be wrong' what do you recomend instead?
    Reply
  • busb
    no-name-123 said:
    Which one 'must be wrong' what do you recomend instead?
    Friesiansam said:
    One of those must be wrong.
    Not necessarily - the Panasonic was reviewed a year earlier than the Sony.
    Reply
  • Ken Robbins
    Hi, can anyone recommend a 55 inch TV that won't break the bank, I have sky q and a boose sound system and a dad player that obviously needs connecting , looking for a really good picture quality
    Reply
  • gel
    Ken Robbins said:
    Hi, can anyone recommend a 55 inch TV that won't break the bank, I have sky q and a boose sound system and a dad player that obviously needs connecting , looking for a really good picture quality
    This one is a great TV at £1000 with discount code:

    https://www.richersounds.com/tv-projectors/qled-tvs/samsung-qe55q95tc.html
    Reply
  • Mr. C Nation
    It bears repeating so I will. No TV should get a 5* rating if it cannot deliver the full range of content from the major content channels. To put 'lacks catch-up apps' and then give 5* is to entirely miss the point of a TV which has only one function - to deliver content.

    TVs have no intrinsic value. They are simply devices to deliver content. No matter how thin, how deep the blacks, how 'engaging' the sound - if it won't deliver BBCiPlayer, for example - at least one * off. Actually, I'd give it no more than 2*.

    "Fantastic technical achievment by XX but ineligable for our recomendations because it lacks major content providers"
    Come on W.H-F. Rattle the lock of the 'lacks apps' mob'.
    Reply