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When it comes to televisions I say bigger is better, but not everyone has the space for an amazing 75-inch TV. A 55-inch TV is a great option for small or medium rooms, with a good balance of size and affordability. The best 55-inch TV for you comes down to cost per inch, as larger sets tend to be in a significantly higher price bracket.
Most modern 55-inch televisions come with plenty of features and are smart TVs, so you can enjoy streaming your favorite shows and films on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus and more. And higher-end examples offer all the bells and whistles we've come to expect, including full-array local dimming, OLED screens, 120Hz refresh rate, 4K UHD resolution, high dynamic range, a plethora of HDMI ports and even high-end gaming features -- including variable refresh rate -- to go with a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. The list below represents some of our favorite 55-inch TVs right now.
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For the last five years, the TCL 6-Series has been our favorite TV for the money, and the latest version -- also known as the R655 series -- is no exception. This TV has an excellent image thanks to mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming that helps it run circles around just about any other TV at this price. It improves upon the previous R635 series with improved gaming extras and a new center-mount stand that you can elevate to make room for a soundbar. And finally, the Roku TV operating system is our hands-down favorite.
Note that in addition to the R635, which this TV replaces, other versions of the 6-Series were released a couple years ago and remain on sale. The R646 series uses the Google TV operating system but otherwise has similar specifications to the R655 models reviewed here. The R648 series has 8K resolution and is significantly more expensive.
The C2 represents the pinnacle of picture quality at a price that's admittedly high, but not too crazy. It beats any non-OLED TV on this list, including the Samsung QN90B below, with its perfect black levels, unbeatable contrast and superb off-angle viewing. It also has superb gaming features, making it the perfect companion to an Xbox Series X or S, PlayStation 5 or both. The C2 comes in a variety of sizes as well, although the bigger models are expensive.
Improvements over the C1 from the previous year include carbon-fiber construction for up to 47% lighter weight -- the 65-inch version we reviewed weighs just 37 pounds with its stand, compared to 72 pounds for the 65-inch C1 -- as well as some additional tweaks to game mode and a new "always ready" feature.
Looking for a high-end TV with spectacular image quality, but don't want an OLED? The Samsung QN90B is your best bet. This TV uses QLED TV tech augmented by mini-LED for a brighter image than any OLED TV. The spectacular contrast of OLED still won out in our side-by-side tests, but the QN90B QLED screen comes closer than ever.
The picture quality of the TCL 4-Series Roku TV was a step behind the Vizio V-Series (see below) in our budget TV test, but the differences between the two are slight enough that you'd really have to have them set up side by side to notice anything at all. The 4-Series lacks the Dolby Vision, Bluetooth connectivity and AMD FreeSync with a variable refresh rate, all of which the Vizio offers.
The 4-Series' advantage over the Vizio is that it comes with the excellent Roku Smart TV system built in. That makes it a great choice for those looking for a one-stop smart TV solution, without having to add an external streaming device.
Among midpriced models we liked the TCL 6-Series just a little better in our side-by-side comparison, but this Hisense is a strong contender. Its excellent image quality is anchored by best-in-class brightness that improves its bright-room picture quality and makes HDR TV movies, shows and games really pop. It's actually brighter than the TCL with better contrast, but the TCL's slightly more accurate image gave it the edge overall. The Hisense uses Google TV instead of Roku, and unlike the TCL, the U8H includes an ATSC 3.0 tuner. Frankly, you can't go wrong with either one.
43-, 50-, 55-, 60-, 65-, 70-, 75-, 85-inch
Samsung is the brand that sells more TVs than anyone, and one of its most popular is the Q60 series. Its sleek QLED screen design stands out compared with the other TVs on this list -- even though the ultrathin OLED models are sleeker -- and it offers better features, image quality and more sizes than models like the TCL 4-Series and Sony X80K. The TVs listed in this article are all superior values, but if you want a Samsung TV and can't afford the QN90B, this is a great choice.
When we compared the best budget TVs side-by-side, the picture quality of Vizio's V-Series clearly emerged as the leader of the pack. The Vizio offered the most balanced and accurate picture during our comparisons, and it comes with some useful extras such as Dolby Vision support, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth compatibility and variable refresh rate for potentially smoother gaming. The biggest downside of the Vizio is its smart TV platform, Vizio SmartCast. It's crowded, slow and littered with ads for platforms such as Tubi and Kidoodle TV. Even when you factor in the cost of adding a new streaming device, however, the V-Series remains the best overall entry-level TV that we tested.
Other TVs we've tested
Sony KD-X80K series: Sony is a prominent brand and its higher-end TVs like the X90J do well in reviews, but the entry-level TV in its 2022 lineup, the X80K, didn't make the list. It costs around the same as the TCL 6-Series and Samsung Q60 TVs, and had a worse picture than both, with lighter black levels and contrast. It's definitely not a bad TV, and we liked its Google smart TV system, color accuracy and connectivity, but you can definitely do better for the money. Read our Sony KD-X80K series review.
Amazon Fire TV 4-Series: One of many Fire TVs available for sale, this one is typical of the breed: so-so image quality and a smart TV system that lags behind Roku and Google TV. If you're a big fan of Alexa voice or see this TV at a really low price it might be worthwhile, but otherwise go for the TCL 4-Series. Read our best budget TVs roundup.
How does CNET test TVs?
Our TV reviews follow a rigorous, unbiased evaluation process honed over nearly two decades of TV reviews. Our primary TV test lab has specialized equipment for measuring light and color, including a Konica Minolta CS-2000 spectroradiometer, a Murideo Sig-G 4K HDR signal generator and an AVPro Connect 8x8 4K HDR distribution matrix. We use Portrait Displays CalMan Ultimate software to evaluate and calibrate every TV we review. In every CNET TV review, three or more similar TVs are compared side-by-side in various lighting conditions with different content, including movies, TV shows and games, across a variety of test categories, from color to video processing to gaming to HDR. Our reviews also account for design, features, smart TV performance, HDMI input and gaming compatibility and more.
Read more: How We Test TVs
55-inch TV FAQs
Is a 55-inch TV big enough?
It depends on your room size, seating distance and personal taste. For a standard master bedroom or smaller living room, a 55-inch TV is fine, but for bigger rooms, we recommend a larger TV, say a 65- or even 75-inch model, if you can afford it. If you sit closer to the screen, you don't need as large a TV for the best experience. For maximum theatrical impact, according to THX and SMPTE, you should be between 5.5 and 7 feet from a 55-inch screen, which is relatively close. Nearly every 55-inch TV has 4K resolution, and if you have 20/20 vision you can sit as close as about 4 feet and still not discern individual pixels.
How wide is a 55-inch TV?
Most 55-inch TVs measure between 48 and 49 inches wide. Because the frames around newer TV screens are typically quite narrow, 55-inch TV widths don't vary much. Models with very slim frames are on the lower end -- the 55-inch LG C2 measures 48.1 inches wide for example, while the slightly thicker-framed 55-inch TCL 4-Series is 48.7 inches wide. If you're not planning to wall-mount the TV, you generally want the piece of furniture supporting the TV to measure at least as wide as the TV itself, and preferably a few inches wider. Refer to the manufacturer's website for exact dimensions of a particular 55-inch TV.
How much does a 55-inch TV weigh?
A 55-inch TV weighs between 25 and 50 pounds with its stand, but this varies significantly depending on the type of TV. The TCL 4-Series 55-inch TV weighs 24.9 pounds with stand, for example, while the LG C2 weighs 35.3 pounds with stand. Removing the stand -- which often consists of a pair of little legs under the panel -- allows you to wall-mount the TV and reduces its weight slightly (stands weigh between 1 and 8 pounds). Shipping weight (box, accessories, etc.) of 55-inch TVs ranges from 35 to 63 pounds. Refer to the manufacturer's website for exact weights of a particular 55-inch TV.
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