Best 55-Inch TVs for 2023: Samsung, Hisense, LG and More
TV price drops are coming this holiday season. Check out our picks for the best 55-inch TVs to give or receive.
Updated Nov. 29, 2023 8:21 a.m. PT
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David KatzmaierEditorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
ExpertiseA 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.Credentials
Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Savvy TV shoppers know that, like most technology, televisions go on sale during the holiday season. So if you're looking for a new TV in the popular 55-inch size, this is the right time to buy. A 55-inch screen tends to be the sweet spot for smaller rooms, so to help you find the best model for your smaller living room or bedroom, we've rounded up the best 55-inch TVs of 2023 below.
At CNET, I review TVs side by side in a state-of-the-art testing lab, taking hundreds of measurements with specialized equipment, comparing gaming, home theater and bright-room image quality. My 20 years of experience as a TV reviewer helps me determine not just the best 55-inch TV overall, but also the best 55-inch TV in your price range.
What is the best 55-inch TV right now?
Among the models that I have tested this year, the Hisense 55U8K stands out as the best 55-inch TV for most people. It offers superb picture quality, an affordable price and a capable Google TV smart TV system. It also includes gaming features like 4K/120Hz input and variable refresh rate that can get the most out of consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X. When friends ask me what mid-priced 55-inch TV to buy, I tell them to get the Hisense U8K.
In that conversation with a friend, however, I might have some follow-up questions about what they want. If they're looking for a higher-end model and can spend more, for example, or if they just want the cheapest 55-inch TV that doesn't suck, I might have a different recommendation. I might even ask them if they would consider a larger size, because my answer for the best 65-inch TV is different this year. So even though the Hisense 55U8K is my current favorite 55-inch TV for most people, it might not be right for your preferences or budget.
Note that in my reviews I have typically tested the 65-inch versions of the TVs featured below, but I expect the 55-inch models here to perform basically the same.
If you're looking for the best 55-inch TV for the money, the Hisense U8K should be your go-to. It offers excellent image quality and an affordable price thanks to its mini-LED tech and well-implemented full-array local dimming, as well as great gaming features and the solid Google TV operating system. And it costs hundreds less than you'd have to pay to get similar image quality from a better-known brand.
The C3 represents better picture quality than any non-OLED TV on this list at a price that's definitely higher, but still not stratospheric. Its perfect black levels, unbeatable contrast and superb off-angle viewing kept it a notch above the mini-LED models in my comparison tests, and while its overall brightness isn't quite as impressive, it's still an incredible performer in all kinds of room lighting. The C3 is also one of the lightest TVs we've ever reviewed thanks to carbon-fiber construction; the 55-inch version weighs just 35 pounds with its stand.
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.
Note that TCL has been selling the 4-Series for the last few years with little to no change in image quality or features in our tests, although it has recently added some larger screen sizes, including an 85-inch option. We reviewed the S55 series S455 series, but other variants, including the S451 and S452, should be basically the same according to their specifications.
If you don't want a TV as nice as the Hisense U8K but something better than the 4-Series, this Roku Model is a solid happy medium. It adds a couple of step-up extras, including QLED and full-array local dimming, which help deliver a better picture than the TCL 4-Series, for example. It's not as impressive as the Hisense U8K, though, since it lacks 120Hz for gaming and worse picture quality overall. If you value those extras, the Hisense is worth saving for, but if not, the Roku Plus Series is a very good value. It also gets points for that excellent Roku TV system.
This is the first TV Roku has produced under its own brand, as opposed to partnering with a brand like TCL, Sharp, Pioneer or Hisense. The company also released a version with fewer features and no local dimming, called the Roku Select Series.
Don't look now, but there's a new picture quality champ in town for 2023. The LG OLED G3 delivers the best image quality I've ever tested in my 20-plus years of doing TV reviews. It's brighter than any other OLED TV and has a superior antireflective screen, for incredible performance in both bright and dark rooms. Compared directly to the Samsung S95C, those traits helped it overcome a slight color deficit to the Samsung and propel it into best-ever territory. Of course, both it and the S95C cost hundreds more than less-expensive OLED TVs like the LG C3, and for most people the difference isn't worth it.
The G3 replaces the G2 from last year and has an improved screen technology called MLA (for Micro Lens Array) that LG says is responsible for the G3's superior brightness.
I compared this TV side by side with the LG G3 above, and while I liked the G3 better overall, the Samsung S95C looked nearly as impressive. Its biggest advantage was color, thanks to Samsung's quantum dot-infused take on OLED technology, aka QD-OLED. The S95C's flowers, sunsets and other colorful objects looked a bit more natural and impressive than on the G3 or, frankly, any other OLED TV I've tested. The G3 also showed excellent color and looked brighter and better overall, but it was very close.
I also preferred Samsung's design, with its unique external One Connect input box, if that's a factor for you. Instead of inputs on the back panel, this TV houses them in a separate box that connects to the TV via a single cable, easing installation. The panel itself is also thinner than that of the G3.
The S95C replaces the S95B from last year and is one of two QD-OLED series Samsung is making in 2023. The other, the S90C, isn't as bright, according to Samsung, and costs less and has standard inputs on the back panel.
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.
Samsung produces a number of QLED TVs, but the QN90B is among the highest-end, aside from versions with 8K resolution. This is a 2022 model, but the 2023 version, the QN90C, looks very similar in terms of features and while we haven't reviewed it, we expect it to deliver similar image quality. It's also significantly more expensive.
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Other TVs we've tested
LG C2 OLED TV: The C2 from 2022 and C3 from 2023 were basically identical in our tests. That means that if you see a better price on the older C2, there's no reason you shouldn't get it. Read our LG C2 OLED TV review.
Sony KD-X80K series: Sony is a prominent brand and its higher-end TVs like the X90J did well in our earlier reviews, but the entry-level TV in its 2022 lineup, the X80K, didn't make the list because it has lighter black levels and worse contrast than others that cost less. 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 each TV we review. In every CNET TV review, three or more similar TVs are compared side by side in various lighting conditions playing different media, 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 other factors.
One important aspect of image quality we test is overall brightness. Here's how it compares in nits across select TVs we've tested. Note that the figures below apply to the 65-inch sizes we tested, but they should largely track for 55-inch models as well.
With all the TVs available today, and all the technical terms and jargon associated with television technology, it can be tough to figure out what's important. Here's a quick guide to help you cut through the confusion.
Price: TVs range in price from $100 to more than $2,000. Smaller screens are cheaper, well-known brands are more expensive and spending more money can also get you better image quality. Most entry-level TVs have a good enough picture for most people, but TVs last a long time, so it might be worth spending more to get a better picture. It's also best to shop for a TV in the fall, when prices are lower.
Screen size: Bigger is better in our book. We recommend a size of at least 43 inches for a bedroom TV and at least 55 inches for a living room or main TV -- and 65 inches or larger is best. More than any other "feature," stepping up in TV screen size is the best use of your money. One of the most common post-TV-purchase complaints we've heard is from people who didn't go big enough. And we almost never hear people complain that their TV is too large.
Capability: Among entry-level TVs the most important feature is what kind of smart TV system the TV uses. Among midrange models, look for a feature including full-array local dimming, mini-LED and 120Hz refresh rate, which (unlike some other extras) do help improve the picture, in our experience. And among high-end TVs, OLED technology is your best bet.
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 C3 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.