The best 55-inch TV is a good screen size to start with if you're looking for a new TV. After all, they are one of the best TV screen sizes around, which deliver an impressive performance for a relatively affordable price tag.
These are generally the smallest panel sizes in which you'll find the flagship TVs from all the best brands. But you don't have to go for flagships. That's the beauty of the 55 inches. But, of course, you'll also find plenty of the mid-range and budget sets available at this screen size, making it something of an all-rounder.
So, you'll find them in our expert guide, whether it's an OLED, QLED, or just an LED set you're after. Provided you've got the space. Then this is the size to go for unless you want something bigger such as the best 65 inch or best 75 inch TVs (they are out there!)
The best 55 inch TVs
The LG OLED55GX6LA television is a piece of artwork that will display your fave entertainment with beautiful detail and clarity.
The OLED screen offers a unique minimalist aesthetic with perfect blacks, intense color, 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 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.
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 HDR abilities even if the performance isn't quite stellar.
That said, the picture is one of the best 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 is that this is a very, very good price for a 58-inch TV of any quality. Then, of course, the fact that its picture performance is also good is the icing on the cake.
You need an external sound system to boost the basic audio, but even a £100 soundbar would take this set on leaps and bounds.
The Q70R is towards the bottom of Samsung's QLED series, but a QLED is, nonetheless, a very affordable one. That means you have that superb, (dare we say it?) perfect smart TV platform and some brilliant picture quality.
Like all Samsung TVs, there's no Dolby Vision support, and you don't get the excellent One Connect box as 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 sharp viewing angles, excellent upscaling, a natural color palette, and an audio performance much more balanced than other manufacturers. But, frankly, it's peerless at this price.
The E9 has the same picture technology as last year's 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 and a bigger amplifier, and the speakers are more carefully arranged to create home cinema effects and maintain as much clarity as possible. It does the trick on both fronts. The sound comes across nice and clear, whether dialogue, soundtrack, or action explosions.
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 kits might be a better idea.
This is it if you're looking for an affordable OLED TV. You can now get your hands on one of these screens for a low price, which is incredible considering that other televisions of this spec are on the market for double or even triple this value.
That said. It doesn't come with everything that the top guys on our list have, but you get universal HDR support. It also offers the thrill that is three-sided Ambilight, which provides a light show of color behind the screen, which consequently lights up your room.
The Saphi smart TV platform offers many blockbusters and dramas on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more. But navigating around can be a bit of a chore and requires a little work to make it more seamless. If you can deal with that, this is a fab TV.
How to choose the best 55 inch TV for your home
When choosing the best 55-inch TV, a few factors and features are worth understanding.
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. OLEDs will offer very punchy pictures with vivid color production and the deepest 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 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 color palette is beautifully balanced. Their viewing angles are also far better than on plain LED TVs which, although very good, don't 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 LEDs. 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 alongside it, and you'll find that reflected in the price.
HDR is a technology that 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+.
Your TV will support both in an ideal world, but it's not a disaster if they don't. It's more important to ensure that, if you buy a 4K Blu-ray player, you get one that supports the same standards as your TV set. Also, look out for the HDR logos on your program information.
Smart TV platforms
Not every TV has an app. It's only really Samsung that has you completely covered. 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 an external kit such as a Chromecast, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire device. See the best streaming devices in our guide.
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 around 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.
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.
What is the best 55 inch TV?
To recap...if you want the best 55-inch TV, you'll want to buy the LG OLED55GX6LA (2020) OLED Series. It has an incredible clarity of pictures and sounds and is just (generally) a piece of artwork. The screen is a winner of the iF Design Award and Red Dot Design Award 2020 best of the best, too, so you don't just need to take our word for it.
And if you want to research bigger TVs, see our guide to the best 75 inch TV options.