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

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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 TVs: Sony XR-55A80J

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony XR-55A80J

Sony’s step-down OLED might just be the TV of the year

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 2.1"
Reasons to buy
+Super-sharp and detailed+Punchy and vibrant but natural+Superb motion handling
Reasons to avoid
-Incomplete HDMI 2.1 feature set-Missing UK catch-up apps

We rate products on a performance-per-pound basis. That’s always been the What Hi-Fi? way. We’re not looking simply for the absolute best product in each category, as that would invariably involve recommending one of the most expensive products in each category; we’re looking for the best bang for your buck. The product that best balances performance, features and price.

That isn’t to say that we’re averse to recommending a premium product when it justifies its high price, and that’s why we were delighted to bestow the full five stars upon Sony’s A90J flagship OLED when we reviewed it a little earlier in the year. Simply put, it’s the best TV we’ve seen so far this year, and we suspect that might well still be the case when 2021 rolls into 2022.

It's not be the best performance-per-pound TV of 2021, though, because this A80J beats it on that metric. This step-down model in Sony’s new OLED range certainly isn’t quite as good as its flagship sibling but, by offering most of what makes the A90J great at a much more competitive price, it’s put itself in the box seat for one of our Awards.

We knew that the A80J had the potential to be a very good TV, thanks to its shared DNA with the awesome A90J, but we had expected the gap in performance to be fairly big, given the huge gap in price.

That isn’t the case. It might not be quite as bright and punchy as its flagship sibling, or as sonically weighty, but in many other ways it’s just as capable. That makes it a remarkably crisp, detailed and dynamic performer for the money, with a superior sound system to those of its price rivals.

Hardcore gamers will still be better served by the LG C1, but if your priorities are movies and TV shows, the A80J is the new benchmark at its price.

We've tested the A80J in its 55-inch size. It's also available as a 65-inch and 77-inch model. We've not yet reviewed it at those bigger sizes but you'll find the latest, lowest prices available for each version below.

Read the full Sony XR-55A80J review

Best TVs: Samsung UN55TU8000

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

2. Samsung UN55TU8000

The TU8000 represents exceptional value for money.

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): 28" x 48" x 2.4"
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant HDR picture+Bags of tonal detail+Punchy colors
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly bright-Uninspiring sound

Samsung's 8-series has traditionally been positioned just below the company’s glamorous range-topping QLEDs. In the past, it has proven to be the sweet spot where picture quality and price intersect to maximum effect. And so it proves once more.

The TU8000 is astonishingly good value. For comparatively very little money you're getting a 55-inch TV that performs brilliantly, particularly with HDR content, and boasts the best, most app-laden operating system available at any price.

It's sound is only so-so and it's lacking the outright brightness and next-gen HDMI features of its premium siblings, but it's still undeniably brilliant for the money.

Read the full Samsung UN55TU8000 review

Best 55-inch TVs: Sony XR-55A90J

(Image credit: Future / Leonardo, Amazon Prime)

3. 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

Read the full Sony XR-65A90J review

Best TVs: Samsung QE55QN90A

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung QN55QN90A

Samsung's top 4K Neo QLED TV is a thriller

Specifications
Screen size: 55" (also available in 50", 65", 75", 85")
Type: QLED
Backlight: Mini LED
Resolution: 4K
HDR formats supported: HLG, HDR10, HDR10+
Operating system: Tizen
HDMI inputs: 4
ARC/eARC: eARC
Optical output: Yes
Dimensions (hwd, without stand): 28" x 48" x 1"
Reasons to buy
+Terrifically bright, punchy picture+Superb detail and sharpness+Excellent TV operating system
Reasons to avoid
-Light control not perfect-Good, not great, sound-No Dolby Vision

Samsung’s first flush of Neo QLED TVs has been nothing short of revolutionary to date. The extra-fine level of lighting control that mini LED brings has put LCD’s high peak brightness to sophisticated use. It’s added a care with contrast that’s led to a more nuanced on-screen image, with a more solid, three-dimensional depth than ever before. We’ve every reason to expect the same from the QN90A.

The QN90A is Samsung’s top 4K TV for the US this year. Typically Samsung, it’s practically bursting with features as well as raw performance power. From next-generation gaming potential to a full suite of apps and services, it’s more than ready to impress.

Last year, Samsung’s cleverly priced second to top QLED, the Q80T sold like hot cakes, and we can imagine the same thing happening this time around regarding the QN90A. Picture quality is compelling and the sound isn’t bad at all. An OLED might look better in some scenes but there’s something quite addictive about the brightness of this set. Its super-contrasty and punchy HDR delivery is ever so more-ish. 

There’s still no Dolby Vision support but you’ll be getting so much from HDR10 alone that it will hardly be on your mind. This is a great TV and a terrific buy at this price.

We tested the QN95A in its 65-inch size. It's also available as a 50-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch model. We've not yet reviewed these versions but you'll see the latest, lowest prices below.

Read the full Samsung QN55QN90A review

Best 55-inch TVs: LG OLED55CX

(Image credit: LG / Stray, Annapurna Interactive)

5. 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)

6. 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.


Read more about how we test

  • 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
  • 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