Best 55 inch TV 2020: 6 top-rated OLED and 4K TVs for every budget

Compare the best 55 inch TVs – from OLEDs to LEDS, and all 4K with HDR – in our expert guide

best 55 inch TV - LG C9 - Real Homes
(Image credit: LG)

Looking for the best 55 inch TV for your budget? Fair enough, they are one of the best TV screen sizes around which are readily available for impressive prices and a performance to give the even bigger screen sizes a run for their money.

These are generally the smallest panel sizes in which you'll find the flagship TVs from all the very best brands. 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 in our expert guide. Provided you've got the space, then this really is the size to go for, unless, of course, you want something bigger!

The best 55 inch TV for 2020

best TV 2020: Samsung QE55Q90R

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

1. Samsung QE55Q90R QLED TV (2019)

The best 55inch TV 2020: our pick of the best 4K TV, ever....

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Yes (Samsung Smart Hub)
HDR: Yes(HDR 2000)
Reasons to buy
+Superb picture quality+Attractive design+Voice assistant+Wider viewing angles+Well built
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision support-No Dolby Atmos speakers

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.

  • Buy the Samsung QE55Q90R QLED TV (2019)

Best 55 inch TV: LG GX

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG OLED55GX6LA (2020) OLED Series

Best 55 inch TV with an OLED screen: if you want the latest tech showcased on a beautiful screen

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: WebOS
HDR: Dolby Vision IQ / HDR10 / Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)
Reasons to buy
+Minimalist aesthetic+Gallery design+Decent audio
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey (could be worth it, though!)

New for 2020, the LG OLED55GX6LA television is a piece of artwork which will display your fave entertainment with beautiful detail and clarity. It's in our third spot, rather than second, just because of the heavy price tag but if you want the latest screen then this is an excellent option.

The OLED screen offers a uniquely minimalist aesthetic with perfect blacks, intense colour, and infinite contrast when it's switched on with your entertainment. This one is stunning; on or off. It's a winner of the iF Design Award and Red Dot Design Award 2020 best of the best, so you don't just need to take our word for it.

LG OLED TVs now all feature the all-new Filmmaker Mode. This disables special effects such as motion smoothing and image sharpening to preserve the original, just as the director intended. This can be easily activated through the TV menu, or by using the LG smart remote in-built voice control.  Add this to the LG webOS smart suite and movie marathons, and box-set binging, will never be the same.

  • Buy the LG OLED55GX6LA OLED Series (2020)

the best 55 inch TVs: Panasonic TX-58GX800B

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic 58 Inch TX-58GX700B Smart 4K HDR TV

Best 55 inch TV for value: 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.

  • Buy the Panasonic 58 Inch TX-58GX700B Smart 4K HDR TV

the best 55 inch TV: Samsung QE55Q70R

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung QE55Q70R 55in QLED 4K HDR Smart TV

Best 55 inch TV for a touch of magic: Samsung's QLED magic at an affordable price

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: QLED
Smart TV: Tizen OS
HDR: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Brilliant viewing angles+Fab upscaling+Natural colour palette
Reasons to avoid
-No Dolby Vision support

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.

  • Buy the Samsung QE55Q70R 55in QLED 4K HDR Smart TV

the best 55 inch TVs: LG OLED55E9PLA

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG OLED55E9PLA (2019) OLED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart TV

Best 55 inch TV for audio: LG OLED brilliance with a bigger, better sound quality

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 last years' C9 but, 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.

  • Buy the LG OLED55E9PLA (2019) OLED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart TV

best 55 inch tv: Sony XE90

6. Sony Bravia KD55XH9005 (2020) LED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart Android TV

Best 55 inch TV with an LED screen: if you're not quiet onboard with OLED then this is a good tele to opt for

Specifications
Resolution: Ultra HD
Panel type: LED
Smart TV: Yes
HDR: HDR10, HLG
Reasons to buy
+Accomplished backlight is great for HDR+Decent audio abilities
Reasons to avoid
-HDR could be brighter

If you're not on board with the amount of money you'd have to spend on an OLED, then there are still a good number of LED TVs worth considering. 

Unlike an OLED it's unable to turn its light off on a pixel-by-pixel basis, so in order to create contrast between light and dark parts of an image it instead uses an LED backlight. This backlight is able to turn off behind certain parts of the image to allow for variation in brightness levels. The resulting HDR images speak for themselves, and mean that you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of LED over OLEDs, namely much higher peak brightness levels.

Sony’s smart TV offering is one that imports Google’s Android TV, which has joined forces with YouView In the UK) for a catch-up TV platform. Both Netflix and Amazon apps support 4K and industry standard high dynamic range streams and, since the XE90 uses Sony’s X1 chip rather than the more powerful X1 Extreme chip, there’s no support for the premium Dolby Vision HDR platform.

  • Buy the Sony Bravia KD55XH9005 (2020) LED HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart Android TV

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.

What is the best 55 inch TV?

To recap...if you want the best 55 inch TV then you'll want to buy the Samsung QE55Q90R QLED TV (2019). The Q90 secures it's top spot in this guide AND our overall best TV guide because it incorporates comprehensive features and cutting-edge picture innovation with the best viewing angles around. In fact, it delivers a performance which competes with and often surpasses the best OLED TVs so you get an idea of the experience you're in for.

You don't need to just take our word for it either. It's a winner with TechRadar, T3, What HiFi, Trusted Reviews and Apple TV, so we're pretty confident that it'll be a winner in your eyes too.

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