There’s a bit of an art to choosing the right TV. You’ll want a screen that’s big enough to see clearly, but not so big that it’s going to end up overwhelming the space. A 55-inch screen tends to be the sweet spot for smaller rooms, so to help you find the best model for your bedroom or dorm, we’ve rounded up some of the best 55-inch TVs of 2023 below.
The TCL 6-Series Roku TV sits at the top of our list of best TVs for a number of reasons. It offers superb picture quality, an affordable price and Roku, the best 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 TV to buy from 55 to 85 inches, and money is still an object, I tell them to get the TCL 6-Series.
There are plenty of other excellent choices out there, however, so even though the 6-Series is my current favorite for most people, it might not be right for your preferences or budget.
Sizes 55-, 65-, 75- 85-inchTV Technology QLED with Mini-LEDSmart TV Yes (Roku TV)Resolution 4KHDMI Ports 4
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.
The C2 delivers superior picture quality at a price that’s admittedly high, but not ridiculous. It beats any non-OLED TV on this list with its perfect black levels, unbeatable contrast and superb off-angle viewing. It also has excellent gaming features, making it a great companion to an Xbox Series X or S, PlayStation 5 or both. The C2 comes in a variety of sizes as well, though the bigger models are expensive.
Sizes 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-, 85-inchTV Technology QLED with Mini-LEDSmart TV Yes (Tizen)Resolution 4KHDMI Ports 4
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.
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.
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.
Competition among TVs in the middle pricing band is heating up and the Plus Series is the latest entrant in 2023. 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 Vizio MQX, though, since it lacks 120Hz for gaming and worse picture quality overall. If you value those extras, the Vizio is worth saving for, but if not the Roku Plus Series is a very good value.
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 8×8 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 listed above.
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 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.