You know you want the best TV, but finding the right model for your home and budget isn’t always easy. Checking all the right boxes is tough, especially as features like 8K resolution, OLED and QLED displays, mini-LED, HDR, smart home connectivity, voice control and more make it increasingly complex to find the TV you want. It’s not as simple as buying the most expensive model you can afford, you want the whole package – you want great picture quality, rich sound, and all of the smart features available today, and it would be nice to save a buck or two while you’re at it.
We’ve tested and reviewed the latest TVs from all the best TV brands including LG, Sony, and Samsung to help you choose the right TV for your home. Every TV goes through hours of testing and eyes-on viewing, so that we can find the best TV for your budget and needs.
People like to throw around a lot of acronyms and numbers when they’re talking about the best TVs, but we’ve made it our mission to offer you real-world advice that cuts through all the jargon and explains exactly what these TVs can do for you. We’ll let you know about the specs, of course, but we’ll also explain what this will mean for your viewing experience, whether that’s the improved picture quality that 4K resolution brings, or the vibrant colors that HDR TVs offer. Tom’s Guide has your back when it comes to finding the best TVs.
What are the best TVs?
For our standout favorite, the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED is the best TV we’ve reviewed, delivering superb picture quality with its combination of QLED color and mini-LED backlight (the ingredients that make up Neo QLED). Pair that performance with fantastic sound, rich smart features and a stylish design, and you’ve got the best TV we’ve reviewed this year. Just be aware that this premium 4K smart TV doesn’t come cheap.
The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) is the ultimate in affordable TVs, giving you the best 4K smart TV we’ve seen for less than $1,000. In fact, ignoring the budget-friendly price, it’s still one of the best TVs on the market, thanks to a quantum-dot enhanced LCD and mini-LED-backed display and feature-rich Roku TV interface. Combine this with superior gaming features and a refined design, and it’s got plenty to love. (And if you’re looking to get similar quality on a more expensive 8K TV, the new TCL 6-Series 8K Roku TV R648 does it at a surprisingly reasonable price.)
The best TVs you can buy in September 2021
The Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV combines Samsung’s highly refined quantum dot technology with the tight control of mini-LED backlighting, resulting in one of the best TV displays you’ll ever see. Brilliant color and unmatched brightness make for superb performance, and Samsung pairs that with a bounty of smart TV functions and genuinely intelligent features, like a solar-powered remote control that eliminates the need to swap out batteries – delivering eco-friendly design and unbeaten convenience at the same time.
The whole thing is packed into a gorgeous 1-inch-thick design that contains a huge array of smart features, potent Dolby Atmos sound and some of the best performance we’ve ever seen. HDMI 2.1 connectivity comes standard, along with gamer-friendly features and impressive 12.6-millisecond lag time for an unparalleled gaming experience. It’s the best TV we’ve seen this year, and the winner of the 2021 Tom’s Guide Award for Best TV, and a second award as the best gaming TV of the year.
Read our full Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review.
The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) offers enormous value for it’s affordable price, offering premium picture quality and a great smart TV experience for much less than the competition. As TCL’s best mainstream smart TV the R635 ups the ante with mini-LED backlighting in addition to QLED. The result is impressive color and brightness, with some of the best HDR performance we’ve seen on anything this side of an OLED display. It’s enough to win a 2021 Tom’s Guide Award for best innovation in TVs.
But TCL keeps delivering more, like THX Certified Game Mode, which makes the 6-Series one of the best gaming TVs available, even for yet-to-be-released consoles like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. From the design’s smart touches, like cable management in the stand, to the always-solid Roku TV platform, the TCL 6-Series R635 is the best TV value, and it’s not even close.
Read our full TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review.
The LG G1 OLED TV is the updated version of LG’s superb Gallery OLED, boasting a premium 20 millimeter-thick design and sleek flush-to-the-wall mounting setup. The design is impeccable – enough to win best TV design in the 2021 Tom’s Guide Awards. It’s still the best 4K OLED TV made by LG, but as the first TV with LG’s second-gen OLED evo technology, it falls short of some claimed performance improvements we were pretty excited for.
That said, the LG G1 OLED is still an impressive OLED set, and LG has even knocked the price down a bit, while updating almost everything else about the set. The slim OLED features more comfortable remote control, enhanced gaming features, and the latest version of webOS, all while delivering the same excellent picture quality and impeccable sound that we expect from LG’s best OLED models. The LG G1 OLED TV stands as a reminder of just how far modern TV technology has come — we just hope it hasn’t plateaued.
Read our full LG G1 OLED TV review.
The LG CX OLED is the best 4K smart TV, and the best TV overall, with an amazing display, built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, and a ton of other smart features. From LG’s webOS 5.0 to the addition of smart home control and an intuitive motion-control remote, it’s one of the smartest TVs we’ve ever seen.
LG has improved on its superb OLED with a more powerful processor, the addition of Dolby Vision IQ (which adjusts HDR performance based on the ambient lighting) and beefs up the sound with AI-powered audio tuning. And while the LG CX OLED’s premium price might put off some shoppers, it packs in more premium value than more expensive OLED competitors, while still delivering an unparalleled picture. It’s the TV to beat.
Read our full LG CX OLED review.
The Vizio OLED TV is the most affordable OLED TV on the market, and the first to offer a less-premium alternative to offerings from LG and Sony to shoppers in the United States. Selling for hundreds of dollars less than the competition, the Vizio OLED packs plenty of smart features alongside the 4K OLED display, and delivers the sort of premium picture quality that normally costs much more.
Vizio’s SmartCast smart TV platform has also expanded its app selection significantly, and all of the major apps you might want – from Netflix to Disney+ – are available right on the TV. The few that aren’t offered on the home screen (HBO Max is the most glaring omission) can still be enjoyed through the TV’s built-in Google Cast and AirPlay 2 support. Combine all of this with an improved remote control design and great sound with better-than-average bass, and you’ve got an easy pick for affordable OLED TVs, and the winner of the 2021 Tom’s Guide Award for best value TV.
Read our full Vizio OLED TV review.
The Sony Bravia XR A80J is absolutely packed with futuristic technologies: this 4K OLED TV has HDR, a 120 Hz refresh rate, ATSC 3.0 tuner, Google TV streaming and Sony’s own Bravia Core service, Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology… the list goes on. Sure, not everyone will need everything here, but it’s nice to have the option.
Just as importantly, it also excels at the basics — contrast is superb, colors are rich and varied, viewing angles are impressive and it handles upscaling well. Sound is also excellent and Google TV is a big upgrade on the older Android TV. Against that, the XR A80J requires a little more tweaking in order to look its best; it’s fine out of the box, but to really reach its full potential, you’ll want to play around with various modes. It’s not the cheapest and other sets beat it purely based on picture quality, but as an all-round package the A80J is a great choice.
Read our full Sony Bravia XR A80J review.
The Hisense U8G Android TV is our favorite Hisense model, and one of the best Android TVs around. With a quantum dot color and integrated Chromecast and Google Assistant, it’s a full-featured smart TV that offers great quality for a reasonable price. With support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10+, it also offers the best HDR format support you can find, along with Dolby Atmos sound. It has built-in voice control with room-listening microphones, effectively letting you use the TV as a smart speaker, and offering the sort of smart home integration and control that would normally cost much more.
In our review, we were especially impressed by the U8G’s brightness, which exceeds 700 nits of peak brightness and combines with the better-than-average HDR support for great performance that brings out highlights and shadows. With few complaints and lots of great perks, the Hisense U8G ANdroid TV is easily our new favorite Hisense model.
Read our full Hisense U8G Android TV (65U8G) review.
The TCL 5 Series Roku TV does what TCL does best, delivering a surprisingly great mix of features and performance at an excellent affordable price. With even the largest model selling for less than $1000, you get the superb color and brightness of QLED, as well as Roku’s user-friendly smart TV interface, which puts thousands of apps right at your fingertips.
In addition to the excellent color accuracy and full color gamut offered by the QLED display, it offers top-of-the-line HDR support, with Dolby Vision in addition to basic HDR10 and HLG formats. With input lag clocking in at 13.1 milliseconds, it’s also one of the best affordable gaming TVs you can buy. And it’s roughly half the price of Samsung’s equivalent QLED TV, making it one of the best values in smart TVs.
Read our full TCL 5-Series Roku TV (S535) review.
With one of the best prices available for OLED, the entry-level LG BX OLED is a smart TV for anyone that wants the undeniable picture quality of an OLED TV without the premium price tags that accompany top-ranked models. With LG’s webOS software and a whole lot of smart functionality, the LG BX OLED is one of the best 4K smart TV values on the market today. It’s not the cheapest OLED on the market, but it’s the most affordable option that gives you almost everything we love about LG’s smart TVs.
With a price tag of roughly $1,400, the LG BX OLED is a smart 4K TV that supports all the latest high dynamic range standards (Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG for streaming and broadcasts) and boasts convenient features, such as support for Amazon and Google’s voice assistants. You won’t get the same level of video processing seen on the more expensive LG CX OLED, but you’ll still enjoy speedy response times for gaming, HDMI 2.1 connectivity and pretty solid performance overall.
Read our full LG BX OLED review.
The Hisense U7G Android TV is being marketed as a TV built for gaming, and the specs make it easy to see why: The Quantum Dot display boasts good color and sharp images, the panel’s 120Hz refresh rate will handle the most demanding game console output, and a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports offer the best connectivity you can get for high-frame rate gaming.
And any TV that’s good for gamers will usually do pretty well at everything else. Handling both Dolby Vision and HDR10 Plus formats, it’s got some of the best HDR support available, and Dolby Atmos sound means it has the audio to match. It impressed us in our testing, and it’s more affordable than you’d expect given the feature set. Gamer or not, the Hisense U7G Android TV is a solid 4K smart TV.
Read our full Hisense U7G Android TV review.
The bargain priced Insignia F30 Fire TV Edition (2020 model) is a 4K smart TV for people who want the convenience of Alexa and streaming services in a single package. With 4K resolution, HDR support with Dolby Vision and a huge library of apps and content, the real selling point of the Insignia Fire TV isn’t any one feature, but the total package of smart capabilities that are offered in this ultra-affordable TV.
While it’s true that you get what you pay for – the performance isn’t top-of-the-line, the gaming support is middling and the Fire TV platform is a little too Amazon-centric for our liking – it’s still a great option for casual viewers, and it’s priced to sell like crazy. And that’s before the steep discounts offered for every big sales event.
Read our full Insignia F30 Fire TV Edition review.
The average TV isn’t made to handle rain, snow, dust or heat. But the SunBriteTV Pro 2 outdoor TV is built for those conditions, with a rugged design that can withstand the elements. Whether it’s in a cold garage or out on an open porch, the weather-sealed chassis fends off precipitation, dirt and bugs, and even has a sealed compartment for HDMI hookups. The screen is made to be viewed in full sunlight conditions where even other outdoor sets would falter. Be sure to check out our guide on how to buy the best outdoor TV for more tips on how these sets differ from others.
With basic HDR capability and strong overall performance, the SunBrite is a great TV for any outdoor setting. And with optional weatherproof soundbar or speakers you can enjoy sound that’s just as tough. If you want a great set for your yard, this is the best TV to get for outdoor viewing.
Read our full SunBriteTV Pro 2 outdoor TV review.
When it comes to 8K TVs, there are plenty of ultra-premium sets you can choose from, but TCL has stepped things up by bringing the price down. The TCL 6-Series 8K Roku TV (R648) is the most affordable 8K TV on the market, and it’s even more affordable than some of the 4K sets we recommend. Plus, it’s got everything we love about Roku TVs, along with excellent performance and short lag times for gaming.
By offering next-gen resolution at current-gen prices, it’s the 8K TV we recommend – or, that we would recommend, if we thought people should be buying 8K TVs (which we don’t). Our only issues with the TV’s performance were the 8K panel’s limited viewing angles and the mediocrity of the audio, which can be solved with a simple soundbar. But the bigger issue is one facing any 8K TV out there – there’s next to nothing you can watch in 8K, and that may not change anytime soon.
Read our full TCL 6-Series 8K Roku TV (R648) review.
How to choose the best TV for you
If you’re trying to find the right TV for you, there are several factors to consider, from the basics of screen size and resolution, to the specific smart features and ports offered on a given model. We recommend most homes opt for a 55- or 65-inch TV with 4K resolution. We’re also big fans of smart TVs, which let you stream all of your favorite shows and use dozens of apps without a second device.
We have extensive shopping advice, like our TV buying guide and figuring out what size TV you should buy. And if you still have questions about smart TV features and capabilities, check out Smart TVs: Everything you need to know.
Performance: Our TV reviews also look at how well each TV performs in key areas, like picture quality and sound, so don’t forget to look up the model you’re interested in to see our TV reviews.
Ports: We generally recommend opting for more ports, so that you never have to manually unplug and re-plug HDMI cables to switch from your Bl-ray player to your game console or other device. Three ports is common, but nicer TVs usually have 4 HDMI ports. You’ll also want make sure at least one is HDMI 2.1; our guide to the best HDMI 2.1 TVs can help here. (Still confused? Check out TV ports explained: What all those HDMI, USB and other connections are for?)
Extra USB ports are also handy for powering antenna amplifiers or streaming sticks, as well as viewing media from USB storage.
HDR: Most TVs offer high dynamic range (HDR) support, with Dolby Vision being the top format and HDR10 the most basic. But more important is the backlight, with OLED TVs and LED sets with local dimming offering the best HDR capabilities.
Smart software: Some of the TVs are among the best Alexa compatible devices and best Google Home compatible devices you can own, so pay attention to which smart home platform the sets offer before choosing.
Price: You can find smaller 4K TVs that sell for less than $500, which will spare you some cash for some of the best soundbars or best streaming devices to go with your set. However, you’ll want to pay more for features like HDR support and a decent number of HDMI ports.
Generally speaking, you’ll pay around $500 for a lower-price, 55-inch, 4K TV and at least $900 for a 65-inch model. Premium 4K TVs can sell for thousands of dollars, but we find that the sweet spot for superior performance and value is right around the $2,000 mark.
8K TVs, on the other hand, run from pricey to mortgage-your-house levels of expense, with new smaller models selling for as little as $3,000, but running up to the tens of thousands.
Get a broader view of everything the best TV brands have to offer by checking out the full roster of 4K and 8K TVs from every major manufacturer.
If you’ve narrowed down your TV shopping by brand, price range or screen size, check out our picks for the best TVs in each.
And don’t forget to watch out for the latest TV reviews.
How we test TVs
Evaluating TVs is about more than just kicking back to watch a movie. We lab test every TV, measuring color gamut, color accuracy and brightness to objectively see which sets are the best for these key indicators. We also test for lag time – a key detail for gaming – measuring to the millisecond how long it takes for content to travel from the original source to the screen. We use these results to make numbers-based comparisons about color and display quality.
We also spend time with each set for real-world evaluation and see how our lab results translate into more subjective performance. We also compare sets side by side and view samples from the latest movies, specialized test patterns that highlight strengths and weaknesses of each display, and a range of content across several sources. With that information, we can tell you which TVs look best, sound best and offer the best viewing experience.
Finally, we evaluate the smart TV functions and apps for each TV, looking at everything from the remote control design to the voice interaction