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Black Friday TV deals: Should you buy OLED or QLED?

OLED vs QLED Black Friday deals
(Image credit: Future)

With Black Friday TV deals well underway, you might find yourself stuck between several different shopping decisions. For example, should you buy an OLED TV or a QLED TV? What's the difference between the two? And what type of panel is a better deal?

These questions don't only apply to Black Friday deals. And as we approach the holiday season, the best OLED TVs and best QLED TVs from most major manufacturers are seeing major discounts. Right now, retailers like Best Buy and Amazon are taking hundreds of dollars off top-tier sets.

In one of our favorite Amazon Black Friday deals so far, Amazon has the 65-inch LG C1 OLED TV on sale for $1,796. That's more than $700 off regular price of an impressive LG OLED TV. 

LG 65" C1 OLED: was $2,499 now $1,796 @ Amazon

LG 65" C1 OLED: was $2,499 now $1,796 @ Amazon
LG's C1 OLED packs in everything we love from the best TVs, like Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Atmos sound, HDMI 2.1 and Nvidia G-Sync. It all adds up to a great TV, and a killer gaming display, and it's selling for the lowest price we've seen.

There's a bit more variety when it comes to QLED TVs. While LG and Sony dominate the OLED market, there are multiple QLED makers in the ring. Samsung is perhaps best known for touting QLED technology, Quantum Dot sets from TCL, Hisense and Vizio perform well, too. 

That said, the best TV we've tested this year is at its lowest price ever. Amazon has the 55-inch Samsung Neo QLED QN90A TV on sale for $1,297. This configuration normally costs $1,799, so you'll save over $500. 

Samsung 55" QN90A Neo QLED TV: was $1,799 now $1,297 @ Amazon

Samsung 55" QN90A Neo QLED TV: was $1,799 now $1,297 @ Amazon
This 2021 TV uses mini-LED backlighting for unmatched picture brightness. With its 1-inch thin profile, it's also one of the best-looking sets you can buy. It features HDR10/HDR10+/HLG support, 120Hz refresh rate, Samsung's Tizen OS, and a voice remote.

Just because you see a stellar deal on an OLED TV or a QLED TV doesn't mean it's the right TV for you. Our TV buying guide covers everything you'll want to consider before purchasing a new centerpiece for your entertainment set up. But when it comes to QLED vs. OLED TVs, and which you should buy during this Black Friday deals season, here's what you'll want to know.

OLED vs. QLED TV: What's the difference?

OLED and QLED are both names for specific kinds of TV panel technology. Neither is necessarily "better" than the other; instead, each have advantages and disadvantages.

OLED stands for organic light-emitting diode, a very precise way of creating a picture. Unlike traditional LED or LCD TVs, organic pixels emit their own light when activated, meaning each pixel can be completely turned on or off separately. The result is sharp details, wide viewing angles and deep blacks. In fact, OLED TVs are the only TVs that can deliver true blacks. 

By contrast, QLED panels require LED backlighting, which means black areas of the screen will still exhibit some degree of light. QLED is an abbreviated form of "quantum-dot LED," and while the term is most closely associated with the best Samsung TVs (like the Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV) the technology is by no means proprietary. 

So no, QLED doesn't get the same inky blacks as OLED, but it has its benefits. For one, QLED almost always beats OLED in terms of brightness and contrast. QLED isn't as susceptible to burn-in, either.

OLED vs. QLED TV Black Friday deals

Perhaps Black Friday OLED TV deals get more attention than QLED TV deals because OLED TVs are generally more expensive. It's rare to find an OLED under $1,000 outside of the Vizio OLED TV. But right now Amazon has the 48-inch LG A1 OLED TV on sale for $896. At more than $300 off regular price, that's one of the cheapest OLED offerings (if not the cheapest overall) we've ever seen.

LG 48" OLED A1: was $1,199 now $896 @ Amazon

LG 48" OLED A1: was $1,199 now $896 @ Amazon
LG's most affordable OLED TV gets even better, with the 48-inch LG A1 OLED selling for an incredible $896. With webOS and LG's impressive Game Optimizer settings, the smallest OLED is a huge deal for gamers and anyone that wants a great 4K smart TV for a smaller space. 

But LG might not be your brand of choice. Luckily, Sony has some attractive Black Friday OLED TV deals, too. Best Buy has the Sony 55-inch A80J OLED TV on sale for $1,399, or $400 off its normal price. In our Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED review, we found it's one of the most well-rounded TVs we've ever tested.

Sony 55" A80J OLED: was $1,699 now $1,399 @ Best Buy

Sony 55" A80J OLED: was $1,699 now $1,399 @ Best Buy
You can get one of the best OLED TVs on the market for a steal. The 55-inch Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED TV is more than just a great OLED TV, it's also one of the smartest TVs you can buy, with Google TV software, amazing sound-from-screen technology and cutting edge features like HDMI 2.1 and an integrated ATSC 3.0 tuner.

You'll find more flexibility with QLED TV deals. There are typically discounts dropping QLED TVs well under $100. Best Buy has the TCL 55" Class 5-Series QLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV on sale for $549, for example. The TCL 5-Series Google TV was already killer OLED value, but it's even better for Black Friday.

TCL 65" 5-Series 4K QLED Google TV: was $649 now $549 @ Best Buy

TCL 65" 5-Series 4K QLED Google TV: was $649 now $549 @ Best Buy
This killer deal saves you $100 on one of the best 55-inch 4K TVs on the market. The TCL 5-Series Google TV (S546) features a stunning 4K LED UHD QLED display, Dolby Vision/HDR10 support and compatibility with AI home assistants. 

And if you were looking for something even cheaper, Amazon has the Insignia 50" QLED 4K Fire TV on sale for $379. It's normally $600, so you'll save big thanks to Black Friday TV deals.

Insignia 50" QLED 4K Fire TV: was $599 now $379 @ Amazon

Insignia 50" QLED 4K Fire TV: was $599 now $379 @ Amazon
This 50-inch Insignia QLED TV offers impressive image quality no matter what you're watching. With Fire TV features you can also stream all your favorite shows and movies and control them all with your voice thanks to full Alexa support. This 2021 TV is now at its lowest price and one of the most affordable Black Friday TV deals we've seen for a QLED. 

Should you buy OLED or QLED?

If you're looking for the most affordable TV options, you'll want to shop QLED. There are a number of options for budgets big and small. You can usually find a good variety of QLED sizes, too.

Another reason to buy QLED is for brightness. If you plan on setting up your new TV in a room with lots of natural light, and would like to watch it during the day time, QLED won't be washed out as easily as OLED.

But if you want the most cinematic viewing experience, complete with perfect blacks and an ultra-precise picture, OLED is the ultimate treat. And with Black Friday deals, you can buy one at the lowest prices of the year. So if you've had your eye on an OLED — especially one released this year — know that you won't find it for less than you will now. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.