The best 55-inch TVs are hugely popular, because they often represent the smallest screen size and most affordable price point for the higher-end TV technology that defines the sets worthy of being in our list of the best TVs overall.
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For example, for years 55-inch TVs offered consumers their first opportunity to buy one of the best OLED TVs, due to it having been the smallest screen size in which the technology was produced for years – though now the first 48-inch OLED TVs have arrived, which are likely to go straight into our list of the best 48- to 50-inch TVs).
However it isn’t all about 55-inch OLED TVs, with some fantastic 55-inch LCD QLED TVs also available, and whichever display technology you choose, both are dominated by high-end models offering state-of-the-art HDR and smart features.
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Best 55-inch TV: Is this the right size for you?
A 55-inch TV may initially sound too big, but once you consider recent tech and design trends, you might change your mind. For a start modern TVs are much thinner, and not just the OLEDs.
A 55-inch HDR TV will only be 2 or 3cm deep, and minimalist designs, shrinking bezels and hidden speakers mean both OLED and LCD TVs are primarily a screen with no extraneous design features, and less thick edges. As a result you may be able to fit a 55-inch 4K TV into a space previously occupied by a smaller but older model.
For small living rooms, 55 inches will likely be the upper limit of what will fit, and it is worth taking some measurements to be sure. But it can give you an epic cinema screen feel if you're sitting around 10 feet away.
In larger living rooms, where you may be sitting further away, it's basically the standard size you should be aiming for if you're sitting around 14 feet from the screen. Any more than that, and you should take a look at the best 65-inch TVs, though these do come with a price hike (and, of course, are notably bigger).
Best 55-inch TV: What to look for
The top-quality 55-inch 4K TV market is dominated by OLEDs and high-end QLED TVs (or equivalent LCD technology). As a result, you can expect the LCD screens to use a direct LED backlight with local dimming, which help them get closer to the deep black range that OLED offers.
If you go down the price ladder, you'll lose the OLED panels, and the LCD panels will become simpler, with fewer dimming zones in the backlight, before moving to edge-lit LED panels as you go more budget. These will still offer strong brightness and colours, but won't be as capable when it comes to dark scenes.
Both TV techs will offer extensive HDR support and AI-enhanced image processing. You should also be looking for higher-end sound systems (including Dolby Atmos support if you're considering a high-end soundbar or a surround system), comprehensive smart systems, and plenty of cool gaming features – many of the best gaming TVs come in this size.
Best 55-inch TV: the list
• Read our full Panasonic HZ2000 review
The Panasonic HZ2000 isn't like other OLED TVs: it has a unique panel design that means it can go bright than another OLED TV on the market, in exchange for being a bit thicker (but only the same size as your average LCD TV), but quite a lot more expensive.
The results speak for themselves, though – this offers the most refined, cinematic pictures we've ever seen, thanks to a combination of OLED's incredible handling of contrast and HDR, with Panasonic's tuning of the sets pictures in conjunction with professional Hollywood colourists, so it's as close to what they use when making the movies as possible.
For movie fans, there's no better TV, in our opinion. It's a smash for TV too, thanks to excellent upscaling and processing, so everything you watch makes the most of its panel. It's only really a disappointment for gaming: input lag is pleasingly low, but there's no support for new PS5 features such as 4K at 120Hz or variable refresh rate.
As an added bonus, there's a built-in Dolby Atmos sound system, including forward-firing speakers under the screen, and upfiring speakers on top for real height. Of course, most people spending this money on a TV will probably get a dedicated sound system, but this does give you the option of saving your money.
• Read our full LG CX review
The LG CX is the best 55-inch OLED TV for most people, coming in at nearly half the price of the Panasonic HZ2000, but still delivering superb image quality. It delivers the gorgeous colours and perfect blacks that are the hallmarks of OLED, but also boasts just about every conceivable smart feature, including brilliant gaming support..
It also uses LG’s AI-enhanced α9 Gen 3 processor to deliver remarkably clean and detailed upscaled images. This impressive 55-inch 4K TV can produce stunning images with both SDR and HDR content. In the case of the latter it also supports HLG and Dolby Vision, with only a lack of HDR10+ to disappoint.
The CX includes four HDMI inputs that include support for eARC, 4K at 120fps, variable refresh rates and auto low-latency mode, which is incredibly rare at this point. The latter three are also features supported by the PS5 and Xbox Series X, as an incredibly low input lag time is great for gaming too, while the option to add souped-up sound system with Dolby Atmos immersive audio over eARC is really welcome, since the built-in speaker are pretty pedestrian.
However it’s the webOS smart system that’s the cherry on top: it’s responsive and intuitive, with built-in Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Throw in a comprehensive set of video streamers, and the LG CX is hard to fault – it's one of the best TVs in the world.
• Read our full Samsung Q90T review
The Samsung Q90T is the company’s flagship 4K QLED model, and as such this 55-inch LCD TV combines an impressive performance with cutting-edge features. A direct backlight with local dimming, wider viewing angles and quantum dot tech ensures a picture with 100% colour volume, deep blacks, added shadow detail and reference-setting levels of brightness.
As a QLED TV, it's capable of going much brighter than OLED TVs, which gives stunningly vibrant HDR images (and is useful in brighter rooms, since it means sunlight won't wash out the image as much), but it doesn't handle deep blacks as well as OLED does.
The AI-enhanced Quantum Processor also delivers a superior picture with SDR and HDR sources, with the latter looking particularly impressive. There’s support for HDR10+, and about the only complaint regarding this TV is the lack of Dolby Vision.
The Q90T doesn’t support Dolby Atmos either, but it can send the immersive audio format from its built-in apps via eARC. And there’s a lot of apps, with video streaming from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Apple TV+, Disney+, and the UK catch-up services. There’s also a handy Universal Guide to help you make sense of all this choice.
Other useful features include easy setup using the SmartThings app, and the ability to work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The Q90T is also a great 55-inch 4K TV for gamers, with a very low input lag and support for 4K at 120Hz, variable refresh rate, and auto low latency mode.
• Read our full Panasonic HX800 review
The Panasonic HX800 bring all of Panasonic's obsession with rich, accurate, cinematic images at a much cheaper price than its high-end TVs, and with this set giving you an extra three inches of size over the other sets here, it's a double bargain.
Panasonic hasn't made things flashy here; it's just focused on delivering really crisp, well-defined images that make the most of its universal HDR support. Contrast is impressive for the price, colours are realistic, and detail is excellent. As with the HZ2000 above, it's basically the best option for movie lovers in its price bracket, but is a little weaker for games, in that it doesn't include next-gen features (though if you don't care about the cutting edge gaming tech, it's a great option thanks to low input lag).
The My Home Screen smart system isn't as slick as what you get from LG and Samsung, but it's more than good enough, and certainly doesn't get in your way. The only issue is that it lacks Disney+ currently, but you can fix that with a media streamer.
• Read our full Sony XH95/X950H review
The Sony XH95 (UK)/X950H(US) represents the company’s flagship 55-inch LCD TV, and boasts a host of image enhancing features designed to deliver a superior picture performance. There a direct full-array LED backlight and local dimming, which results in more colours, wider viewing angles, deeper blacks, improved shadows, and increased brightness.
There’s also Sony’s X1 Ultimate image processor for the best-possible upscaling and noise reduction, combined with X-Motion Clarity for smoother and clearer motion – it makes less-than-4K video look pristine, and adds detail into fast-moving sport.
The XH95 supports Dolby Vision, although there’s no HDR10+, and it produces bright, detailed and colourful images with SDR and HDR. The exceptional motion handling is sure to please sports fans and gamers alike, while a low input lag is good news for the latter.
The Android TV operating system includes Google Assistant built-in, but also works with Amazon Alexa, and while the choice of streaming services isn’t as comprehensive as LG or Samsung, the XH95 is an excellent 55-inch Smart TV for watching sport and gaming.
• Read our full Philips OLED754 review
This is the cheapest OLED TV we recommend, if you want the nuanced detail in dark areas and lush colours that the technology can provide for the best possible price. To get the price under £1000, the processing and panel technology isn't quite the latest and greatest, and the smart platform is more basic than the other TVs here (though still has key streaming services), but the difference isn't huge, and the important thing is that the all the money here is going into the visuals.
Philips is known for the vibrant colours of its sets, and there's nothing different here – it's punchy while still being realistic, and when coupled with OLED's ability to have bright areas right next to dark areas, the impact is huge.
When it comes to the latest features, you're better off looking at similarly-priced TVs such as the Sony LCD TV below; but for getting that stunning OLED cinematic quality, this is unbeatable value.
(This TV is UK and Europe only – sorry US readers. The cheapest OLED TV we'd recommend for you is the LG BX).
• Read our full Sony XH90/X900H review
Sony's mid-range LCD model is likely to be one of 2020's most popular TVs, thanks to a great launch price (that we're sure will see some discounts before the holidays) and load of top TV tech inside.
A direct backlight with local dimming produces excellent HDR images and good contrast – though not quite as strong as the more expensive XH95/X950H mentioned above, it's still one of the best performers for the money.
That's aided by Sony's supreme processing powers, which make this probably the best TV at this price for upscaling from HD to 4K, making SDR images look more like HDR, and for making motion look smoother and clearer without turning it artificial.
On top of that, Sony has promised to upgrade this TV with every major gaming feature support by PS5 and the new Xboxes, including 4K at 120fps, variable refresh rate and auto low latency mode… however, it doesn't have these features right now, so you're taking a chance that Sony will deliver on them as promised, if they're important to you.
Even if they're not, this is still an excellent TV that's future-proofed for the coming years.
• Read our full Hisense R55B7120UK review
This Hisense TV offers truly impressive image quality for its price, but what really puts it over the competition is having Roku's excellent and user-friendly smart platform built in, giving you a fantastic range of streaming services.
Obviously, a budget TV isn't going to compete with the high-end models here for overall image quality, but it gets all the important things right, including strong upscaling from HD to 4K, which is great given how much of what we watch isn't natively Ultra HD yet.
The picture is well-balanced overall, giving you natural and pleasing images – they're just not as bright as more expensive sets, or quite as convincing with black levels. But as we said, for this price, we're more than happy with what it delivers.
For those looking for a nice big screen, easily understood software for finding things to watch, and a low price, this is just about unbeatable.