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If you haven’t purchased a television for a few years, you may be surprised to learn that a 55-inch TV is currently considered medium or even small. In the last few years people have been paying ever-lower prices for ever larger screens — we’re talking $300 for a perfectly decent budget 55-inch TV — and half that during Black Friday. At the high end of this market, just about every nice TV series has a 55-inch size, and it’s often the smallest in the line.
Many of these TVs come with all the bells and whistles, including full-array local dimming, OLED screens, 120Hz refresh rates, , HDMI ports, and even high-end gaming features to go with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Oh, and most of them are smart, which gives you access to all of your beloved streaming content without using a second device.
TL; DR: The 55-inch size offers more choice than any other. As such 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 (for 2020, that’s my basement), 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 , , and .
- 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 , with more coming soon.
No TV I’ve ever tested offers this much picture quality for this little cash. The 2020 TCL 6-Series has even better image quality than its predecessor, thanks to and well-implemented that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It’s also a solid choice for gamers with a new THX mode that combines and high contrast. As if that’s not enough, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.
What’s that you say? You just want the best TV, money no object? Here you go. In my side-by-side tests, the 2020 LG CX is the best TV I’ve ever reviewed, with world-beating contrast, perfect off-angle viewing and excellent uniformity. If you can afford it, this is the 55-inch TV to get.
Aside from the TCL 6-Series above, this is the runner-up for best TV for the money. The TCL has a better picture and better smart HDTV system so it’s a superior TV overall, but it’s also a couple hundred dollars more expensive. If you can’t afford the 6-Series, this Vizio is a very good runner-up.
With overall image quality on par with the TCL 6-Series above and a price that’s not that much more expensive, the X900H’s suite of connections is actually better than the TCL. It’s the most affordable TV with full 4K/120Hz HDMI input capability.
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.
- 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 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 Mandalorian yet?!) Streamers are cheap and easy to use, and they 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. .
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 buying a new TV in 2020.
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- Best 65-inch TVs for 2020
- Best 32-inch TV for 2020
- Best TVs for gaming with low input lag
- HDR formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10, Technicolor and HLG explained
- Best HDMI cables for your new 4K and HDR TV
- How Samsung QLED and LG OLED, the two best TV technologies, compare in 2020