The best 55 inch TV 2019: 4K screens for every budget

Our pick of the best 55 inch TVs represent the very top sets on the market for every price. From OLEDs to LEDS, all 4K with HDR – every one of these is a belter

the best 55 inch TV in contemporary living room

Looking for the best 55 inch TV for your budget? You've already made an excellent choice. The 55 inch size is a wonderful sweet spot for price and performance. These are generally the smallest panel sizes in which you'll find the flagship TVs from all the very best brands. That means you're getting the latest TV tech at the lowest possible price.

But you don't have to go for flagships. That's the beauty of the 55. You'll also find plenty of the mid-range and budget sets available at this screen size too which makes it something of an all-rounder.

So, whether it's an OLED, QLED or just an LED set you're after, you'll find them all here. Provided you've got the space, then this really is the size to go for, unless, of course, you want something bigger!

For more tips on how to choose the best TV, browse our specialist guide. Once you know what you want, take a look at the best TV deals page and see if you can find it at a bargain price too.

What is the best 55 inch TV?

Want the TLDR version? Buy the LG OLED55C9PLA. It's a cracker. There was a lot of talk in 2018 about how OLED TV technology had come as far as it could. And then LG introduced its 2019 range of OLED TVs.

The LG C9 is the top of that particular OLED tree. There are fancier LG models in terms of styling but none with a better panel than this set. It has all those very deep blacks that you'd expect from an OLED TV but superb detail in those dark areas too. That means you'll get plenty out of the picture even when you're watching those moody thrillers and dramas.

On top of that, of course, it has wonderfully vivid but natural colours and tight control over contrast handling. The end result is an inviting and realistic looking picture that's hard to tear yourself away from, and somehow it manages to deliver all of this at a very competitive price.

Still considering your options, when it comes to screen size? Browse more of our TV buying guides:

How to buy the best 55 inch TV

When it comes to choosing the best 55 inch TV, there are a few factors and features worth understanding.

Panel type

This is a slightly moveable feast from year to year but, at the time of writing, the better panel technologies to look out for are the OLED and QLED TVs. Sony, LG and Panasonic have opted for OLED for their flagship sets. What OLEDs will offer are very punchy pictures with vivid colour production and the deepest of black levels.

Where they tend to suffer, though, is in the subtlety of detail in light and dark areas of the picture. Less able OLEDs can look unnatural and lack nuance but most of the more expensive OLED sets have mastered this in 2019.

If you're set on investing in an OLED TV specifically, you'll find our pick of the best OLED TVs a handy read.

Samsung has instead opted for QLED panels and while they don't quite reach that same inky depth on the blacks, their detail levels in dark areas are excellent and the colour palette beautifully balanced. Their viewing angles are also far better than on plain LED TVs which, although very good, don't quite reach the same heights as either OLED or QLED.

Edge-lit or direct-lit LED

While we're on the subject of LED TVs, it's important to note the difference between direct or edge-lit LED. In broad terms, edge lighting allows for a thinner panel but direct lighting makes for better picture control. That said, it's not always the case that an edge-lit model is worse than a direct-lit one. It depends on the panel and processing technologies used alongside it, and you'll find that reflected in the price.

HDR

HDR is a technology which tells your TV how to reproduce all the light and dark areas of the picture for the best overall image. While most HDR TVs support the HDR10 and HLG standards used in 4K TV broadcasts, streams and Blu-ray discs, there are two others to look out for which not every TV can decode. These are Dolby Vision and HDR10+.

In an ideal world, your TV will support both but it's not a disaster if they don't. It's more important to make sure that, if you buy a 4K Blu-ray player, you get one that supports the same standards as your TV set. Look out for the HDR logos on your programme information.

Smart TV platforms

Not every TV has every app. In fact, it's only really Samsung that has you completely covered in 2019. Most other manufacturers will be missing one or two of the catch-up or streaming services on their smart TV platform. Just be aware of what's missing on the one that you buy. You can always add it another way using external kit such as a Chromecast, Apple TV or Amazon Fire device. See the best streaming devices in our guide.

HDMI ports

If you're looking to connect Blu-ray players, games consoles, set-top boxes and more to your TV, you'll want to ensure you opt for a model with enough HDMI ports. This is unless you're happy to spend your time round the back of the TV plugging and unplugging devices. Four HDMI sockets will have you covered. Three is ok. Any less and we'd be concerned.

Sound quality

If you're not planning to connect your TV to a soundbar, or home cinema system, you'll also want to carefully consider the audio quality offered by your chosen 55 inch TV model.

If you're planning on putting together a home cinema system, you may consider reading our guides to the best soundbars and the best home theatre speakers, too.

the best 55 inch TV: LG OLED55C9PLA

(Image credit: LG)

1. LG OLED55C9PLA

Great value, great performance; the best picture-for-pound TV right now

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic black levels+Strong dark detail+Punchy colours
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing at this price

It's hard to fault this TV. If you want to pick at it, sure, it's not the last word in audio performance but then no flat screen TV really is. What you get with the C9 is LG's very latest in OLED know-how and, by golly, does this Korean company know a lot.

The C9 has all of the wonderful black depth and punchy, colourful imagery that LG's 2018 sets could manage, but with a wealth of superb dark detail too, making each scene as wonderful to behold as the last no matter whether it's set in the shadows or a blinding white blizzard.

The webOS user-interface is also a dream, especially with the Magic Remote which acts like a voice controller and an on-screen pointer for all your needs. The Apple TV app is probably the only missing piece of software but there are other ways of accessing iTunes content.

If your budget is anywhere up to £2,000, then this is the set for you.

Shop the full range of 55 inch TVs available from Amazon

the best 55 inch TV: Samsung QE55Q90R

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung QE55Q90R

All the apps and just about the best picture you'll find too

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen OS
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Excellent viewing angles+Superb dark detail+The best TV UI
Reasons to avoid
-Audio could be better

Slick. That's the best word to describe the 2019 Samsung QLED series, and the Q90 is the slickest of the lot.

It's hard to know which part of this TV we love the most. Of course, it's got a killer picture – it wouldn't be on this list if it didn't have that – but it's got the best user-interface and smart TV platform in the business too. From Netflix to iPlayer, Tidal to Apple TV, it's has every piece of software you could want and all so easy to navigate too.

The icing on the cake is the inspired Samsung One Connect box which comes with it. It's an external block of kit where you plug in all your HDMI devices, power cables and audio cables. Then it sends one, single, small cable with all of that information to the TV panel itself. That way, you can keep your TV area super tidy and all the junky wires in the cupboard, with the One Connect, out of sight. Glorious.

Shop the full range of 55 inch TVs available from Currys PC World

the best 55 inch TV: Panasonic TX-55GZ2000B

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic TX-55GZ2000

This is the very best performing TV – but it certainly ain't cheap!

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: My Home Screen 4.0
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Class-leading picture+Full HDR support+Excellent sound
Reasons to avoid
-Disproportionately expensive

If it weren't so pricey, this OLED TV would be top of the list but it's hard to justify the extra £1,000 or so over its competitors above. Nonetheless, the Panasonic TX-55GZ2000 is currently the very best performing TV on the market.

Punchy colours, subtle shading, sharp detail in all conditions – this TV has the lot. It's also remarkably good for audio which includes a very convincing soundstage that really kicks the sound out, around and high for something close to a home cinema effect.

Other treats include its full suite of HDR support, meaning that you'll get the very most out of every piece of content you watch.

The user-interface is a bit on the basic side and there's not quite every app present, but these niggles feel churlish in the face of such an amazing AV show. If you can afford it, then this is the way to shop.

Shop more 55 inch TVs available from John Lewis & Partners

the best 55 inch TVs: Panasonic TX-58GX800B

(Image credit: Panasonic)

4. Panasonic TX-58GX800B

The best bang for buck you'll find at the 55 inch size

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: Edge LED
Smart TV: My Home Screen 4.0
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Superb value+Full HDR support+Bold, dramatic picture
Reasons to avoid
-Poor viewing angles-Needs better audio

This mid-range Panasonic LED set shares many of the same features as the flagship above, only with a very different panel and speaker arrangement. That means you still get plenty of apps and all the HDR abilities even if the performance isn't quite so stellar.

That said, the picture is one of the best you'll find on an edge-lit TV. The image is even, relatively subtle and there's enough good contrast handling to provide a realistic render of any film even when upscaled from HD.

The real stand-out plus point, though, is that this is a very, very good price for a 58 inch TV of any quality. The fact that its picture performance is also good is the icing on the cake.

You really need an external sound system to boost the basic audio but even a £100 soundbar would take this set on leaps and bounds.

Browse the full range of 55 inch TVs available from Argos

the best 55 inch TV: Samsung QE55Q70R

(Image credit: Samsung)

5. Samsung QE55Q70R

Samsung's QLED magic at an affordable price

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen OS
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG

The Q70R is towards the bottom end of Samsung's QLED series but a QLED it is, nonetheless, and a very affordable one too. That means you get to have that superb, (dare we say it?) flawless smart TV platform and some brilliant picture quality too.

Like all Samsung TVs, there's no Dolby Vision support and you don't get the wonderful One Connect box like you do with the Q90 above but, at around half the price, that's an absolute bargain. For whatever reason this TV seems to be dropping faster than the others in the range and that's something to take advantage of.

You still get brilliant viewing angles, excellent upscaling, a natural colour palette and an audio performance that's a lot more balanced than that of other manufacturers. Frankly, it's peerless at this price.

For more 55 inch TVs, try AO

the best 55 inch TVs: LG OLED55E9PLA

(Image credit: LG)

6. LG OLED55E9PLA

LG OLED brilliance with just the

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Class-leading sound+Superb black levels+Excellent shading
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The E9 has the same picture technology as the LG C9 at the top of our list. What you get for your extra spend is far better audio production and a classy looking set. Whether it's worth that added cost, though, we're not so sure.

The E9 has more audio channels, a bigger amplifier and the speakers are more carefully arranged to create home cinema effects and to maintain as much clarity as possible. It definitely does the trick on both fronts. Whether it's dialogue, soundtrack or action explosions, the sound comes across nice and clear.

The way the panel comes all the way down to the stand is also an appealing aesthetic, although we suspect that buying a C9 and spending the saving on other home cinema kit might be a better idea.

Panasonic TX-55FZ802 55 inch TV

(Image credit: Panasonic)

7. Panasonic TX-55FZ802

The best cheap OLED TV you'll find

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: My Home Screen 4.0
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Strong picture performance
Reasons to avoid
-A 2018 model-Audio is wanting

This is the only 2018 TV on our list and we've included it for a very good reason. It's just about the cheapest OLED you'll find at the 55 inch size. You can spend about £100 less on other, smaller brands but they'll be nothing like as good as this former upper-end model.

Unlike the Panasonic TVs higher up in this list, you don't get the benefit of full HDR support here. This proposition is more of a picture play, although the solid smart platform and twin tuners of Freesat HD and Freeview Play are a good bonus.

This is more about getting to experience the joy and drama of an OLED TV without having to pay through the nose to get it.

the best 55 inch TVs: Sony BRAVIA KD55XG7003BU

(Image credit: Sony)

8. Sony BRAVIA KD55XG7003BU

Strong on picture, light on features

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: Direct LED
Smart TV: Linux-based
HDR: HDR10, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Strong motion processing+Excellent colours+Good upscaling
Reasons to avoid
-Feature-light

Sony has the secret sauce when it comes to motion processing. The company's Bravia TVs just do it better than any others, right now. So, if a juddery picture bothers you, then this is the way to go. Sony's Motionflow technology somehow smoothes things out without making everything look like a soap opera.

There's not much in the way of features to play with beyond a solid base of apps like YouTube, Netflix and the catch-up services through Freeview HD. All the same, there's still three HDMIs to use and a very able speaker array including a bass reflector which does a decent job of giving the impression of more sonic weight than this set actually commands.

It's not a set that will blow you away but you'll never quibble at its performance.

the best 55 inch TVs: Hisense 55B7100UK

(Image credit: Hisense)

9. Hisense 55B7100UK

The best value entry-level 55 inch TV you can buy

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: Direct LED
Smart TV: VIDAA U 3.0
HDR: HDR10, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Freeview Play platform+Great price+Direct LED
Reasons to avoid
-Little HDR support-Basic motion processing

This is the cheapest TV in the 55 inch category which we’re happy to recommend. An extra £50 spent on the Hisense 55B7500UK would go along way by adding better colour production and Dolby Vision support but if you can't stretch that far, then the 7100 is still very much worth your while.

This set is a direct-lit model which should help maximize both picture quality and make for a more even backlight, and that means a less blotchy image. It has a Freeview Play tuner built in for all your favourite catch-up services and still features Bluetooth for audio streaming. Plenty of panel inches here for very little outlay.

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