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What size TV should you buy?

What size TV do I need?

If you’ve been asking yourself “what size TV do I need?”, then you’ve found yourself in the right place. With big-screen TVs coming down in price all the time, and 65- and 75-inch TVs becoming all the more popular, you might be wondering if your room is suitable for the size screen you’re looking at.

The likelihood is yes. For a long time, recommended minimum distances from a TV were based on standard definition TV, and then later, 1080p. With these TVs you really needed to be a decent amount of space away from the TV so you weren’t able to make out the individual pixels while watching.

Now, with higher resolutions like 4K pretty much the standard for most TVs bought in 2022, that is less of a concern. We still have some recommendations from comfort and performance perspectives, but ultimately you can sit a lot closer to a large screen TV these days. 

We’ve pulled together all our top tips for choosing the right size TV for you, your room, your needs, and your budget. This guide is intended to help you with your primary, family room television, but the same principles will work for your bedroom, den and office.

What size TV do I need? Quick Tips

Understand screen size. TV screens are measured diagonally from corner to corner, so a 65-inch TV is closer to 55 inches wide. Bigger is better, in most respects — it's more immersive and easier to see, not to mention more impressive when showing off to the neighbors. But if the screen's too big, it won't fit in the space you have.

Know your resolution. TVs today offer three resolution options – 1080p, 4K and 8K. We recommend 4K for pretty much everyone, but the resolution will change how close you can sit to a set and how expensive it will be.

Figure out room size and position. Rooms don't get bigger to accommodate larger TVs, so find the right size for your space. 

Screen size and resolution

First, remember that TV screens are measured diagonally. So a 55-inch screen measures 55 inches from one upper corner to the opposite lower corner. But the actual dimensions will be different, measuring roughly 49 inches wide and 29 inches tall.

Screen size has a direct relationship with the optimal viewing distance. Larger screens are best watched from farther back; otherwise, you can find yourself unable to see the whole picture, or experience unwanted distortions and color issues from sitting too close.

Next, you have to consider the resolution of the TV. TVs today offer three resolution options — 1080p, 4K and 8K. The higher the resolution, the closer you can sit before you'll notice pixelation in an image. That means you can sit closer to a 4K TV (3840 x 2160) than you could a 1080p TV. 

We recommend 4K for pretty much everyone, but the resolution will change how close you can sit to a set and how expensive it will be. Here's how the main resolution options break down:

1080 or Full HD: Display resolution measuring 1920 x 1080 pixels, used in modern television broadcasts, cable and satellite TV, Blu-ray media and available broadly in free and paid streaming services. You'll still see these, especially when you go looking for the cheapest TVs on sale. Full HD is a good choice if you're getting a TV with an extra-small screen, but for anything larger than 40 inches, you should be getting 4K.

4K (Ultra HD): Display resolution measuring 3840 x 2160 pixels, commonly referred to as Ultra HD or UHD. The current standard in smart TVs, offering 4x the resolution of full HD. We strongly recommend 4K for everybody, in most situations.

8K (Ultra HD): The next step in resolution is 8K, or 7680 x 4320 pixels. It's also called Ultra HD (just like 4K), so don't be confused. There's also a severe lack of 8K content, so we recommend skipping 8K this year. Even on sale, it's more expensive than an equivalent 4K TV.

Check out the top TV models in either resolution:

The best 4K TVs | The best 8K TVs

LG C1 OLED TV sizes

(Image credit: LG)

Room size and TV position

Rooms don't get bigger to accommodate larger TVs, so find the right size for your space. Screen size has a direct relationship with the optimal viewing distance. Larger screens are best watched from farther back; otherwise, you can find yourself unable to see the whole picture, or experience unwanted distortions and color issues from sitting too close.

Consider the room in which the TV will sit. As long as the furniture in that room is not permanently attached to the floor — and you're willing to move it — then you have some flexibility in the size of the TV you can get.

There’s also the question of whether you plan to set up the TV using the included stand or use a wall-mount to hang it. Using the included stand to set the TV on a table or entertainment unit will place the set closer to the viewer, shortening the viewing distance. Be sure to account for both the depth of the TV stand and whatever furniture you plan to set it on. Some sets have relatively narrow stands, but others, like the 65-inch model seen in our Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review, extend back nearly 9 inches with the stand attached. Similarly, the 65-inch model from our TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review is 13.7 inches deep, despite the TV having a 2.8-inch thick chassis.

Hanging the TV on the wall, on the other hand, can add a foot or more to the viewable distance, which can be the difference between a 60-inch TV and a 72-inch model. (Check out the best TV mounts for our favorite mounting hardware.) Depending on what sort of mount you use and the thickness of the TV, your screen will still sit a few inches from the wall, but the specifics will vary from one model to the next. Some, like the LG G1 OLED TV are designed to mount flush against the wall, but most will still need some space to accommodate mounting hardware.

MORE: Best Viewing Angle and Height to Mount Your TV

Best TVs by size

We review TVs of all sizes, and while the majority of our TV reviews center on 55- and 65-inch models, some of the best TVs we've reviewed are also available in smaller and larger screen sizes. 

You can also see our favorites for a wide range of sizes by checking out our size-specific guides to the best TVs.

Smallest smart TVs | Best 43-inch TVs | Best 50-inch TVs | Best 55-inch TVs | Best 65-inch TVs | Best 70-inch TVs | Best 85-inch TVs

Here are some of our favorites, hand-picked to give you the best performance at some of the common screen sizes, from small to extra large.

More: How to buy the best outdoor TV

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL 6-Series Roku TV (55R635)

The best 55-inch TV

Specifications

Screen Size: 55 inches
Screen Type: QLED
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 HDMI, 1 USB
Size: 48.3 x 28.1 x 2.8 inches
Weight: 41.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent QLED and mini-LED display
+
Great gaming performance
+
Roku TV offers a huge app selection and easy interface
+
Improved Roku remote

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound is a little weak
-
Roku is missing some of the latest apps

The 55-inch 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. The current version of TCL's value champ 6-Series, 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.

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 on the market, and it's not even close.

Read our full TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review. 

Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV

The best 65-inch TV

Specifications

Available Screen Sizes: 55, 65, 75, 85 inches
Screen Type: QLED
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
HDMI ports: 4 HDMI (1 HDMI 2.1)
Size: 56.9 x 32.6 x 1 inches
Weight: 53.8 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful, thin design
+
Neo QLED delivers incredible brightness
+
Impressive anti-glare abilities
+
New solar-chargeable remote

Reasons to avoid

-
Visible blooming at times
-
Just one HDMI 2.1 port
-
No Dolby Vision support

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 65-inch TV we saw last year, and was the winner of the 2021 Tom's Guide Award for Best TV, as well as a second award as the best gaming TV of the year.

Read our full Samsung QN90A Neo QLED TV review.

LG G1 OLED review

(Image credit: LG)

3. LG G1 OLED TV (OLED77GXPUA)

The best 77-inch OLED TV

Specifications

Screen Type: OLED
Refresh Rate: 120 Hz
Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1, 2 USB
Size: 67.8 x 39 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 86.9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Exclusive OLED evo panel delivers brighter picture
+
More affordable than previous model
+
Stunningly thin design
+
Great gamer-friendly upgrades

Reasons to avoid

-
OLED evo offers minimal improvement
-
WebOS 6.0 is disappointing

The 77-inch LG G1 OLED TV is easily the best 4K OLED TV made by LG, as the first TV with LG's second-gen OLED evo technology. It's the updated version of LG's superb Gallery OLED, boasting a premium 20 millimeter-thick design and sleek flush-to-the-wall mounting setup. We just wish it went further to solve OLED's very minor flaws; as it is, 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 it. 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 77-inch LG G1 OLED TV offers fantastic quality in a size that is bound to impress.

Read our full LG G1 OLED TV review.

TCL 4-Series Roku TV 85S435

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL 4-Series Roku TV (85S435)

A favorite 85-inch TV

Specifications

Screen size: 85 inches
Screen Type: LED
Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
HDMI ports: 3 HDMI 2.1 (1 ARC)
Size: 74.9 x 43.1 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 101.4 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value-priced 4K
+
Good color fidelity
+
Solid Roku skills

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Vision support
-
Minimal sound adjustments
-
Picture adjustments are difficult to find

The 85-inch TCL 4 Series Roku TV 85S435 is one of the best TV values you'll find in any size. It has good color accuracy and supports HDR10 — but not Dolby Vision — for improved contrast. It uses Roku’s system software, which provides one of the best smart TV experiences available and has plenty of apps to choose from. With a low lag time of 14 milliseconds, this set also will handle fast-paced gaming well. And with a price of $1,599 it's one of the most affordable 85-inch TVs we've seen.

Read our full TCL 4-Series Roku TV (S435) review

How to calculate the best size TV for your room

Measure the distance (in inches) between where you plan to mount the TV and where you plan to sit. For a 1080p TV, many industry experts such as Amazon and Crutchfield give a range of 1.5-2.5 times your screen size, though there are almost as many formulas as there are experts.

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For example, if you have a 42-inch TV with 1080p resolution, you can sit 84 inches (7 feet) away for a comfortable and immersive experience. If you want to be safe and split the difference, you end up with a factor of 2:1, which is easy to remember. Just double the screen size for a comfortable viewing distance range.

Let's say you have a big room, a big couch, and a big coffee table between you and the television, resulting in a comfortable viewing distance of 10 feet (120 inches). You then would take 120 and divide by two, to get 60 inches.

And 4K resolution is even easier to figure out, since the size of the screen matches the recommended distance. For a 42-inch TV with 4K resolution, the optimal viewing distance is 42 inches (3.5 feet). A 65-inch 4K TV would have an optimal distance of 65 inches. You can sit farther away, but may lose the ability to distinguish some of the finer details offered by 4K.

And as larger screen sizes become more affordable, you'll want to take these guidelines to heart. Whether you're trying to fit a 75-inch or 55-inch TV into your home, remember that the goal is to see the picture, not the pixels.

TV sizeRecommended minimum distance for 4K TVRecommended minimum distance for 1080p TV
40 inches40 inches (3.3 feet)80 inches (6.7 feet)
42 inches42 inches (3.5 feet)84 inches (7 feet)
48 inches48 inches (4 feet)96 inches (8 feet)
50 inches50 inches (4.2 feet)100 inches (8.3 feet)
55 inches55 inches (4.6 feet)110 inches (9.2 feet)
60 inches60 inches (5 feet)120 inches (10 feet)
65 inches65 inches (5.4 feet)130 inches (10.8 feet)
75 inches75 inches (6.25 feet)150 inches (12.5 feet)
85 inches85 inches (7.1 feet)170 inches (14.2 feet)

Thanks to the higher pixel density of 8K TVs, you can get closer to an 8K set without seeing the individual pixels, but the larger screen sizes of most 8K models don't lend themselves to closer seating arrangements. As a general rule, the viewing distances for 8K TVs will be similar to the guidelines for 4K TVs.

What's comfortable for you?

The typical TV-watcher sits 9 feet from the screen, which brings us to the comfort factor: Most people like to sit far enough away from a TV that the pixels on the screen can't be distinguished. So, feel free to experiment with the placement of your new TV, and it never hurts to go a little bigger than what you think you'll need.

Whether you're shopping for a TV for your home or a home for your TV, you can now figure out the perfect viewing distance with just a couple of quick calculations.


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.

Best TVs | Best 4K TVs | Best smart TVs for streaming | Best TVs for gaming

The best TVs under $1000 | The best TVs under $500

Best TV brands | Best Samsung TVs | Best TCL TVs | Best LG TVs | Best Roku TVs | Best OLED TVs | Best QLED TVs | Best 8K TVs | Best HDMI 2.1 TV | Best TVs with ATSC 3.0 | Best TVs with Chromecast

The smallest smart TVs | Best 43-inch TVs | Best 50-inch TVs | Best 55-inch TVs | Best 65-inch TVs | Best 70-inch TVs | Best 75-inch TVs | Best 85-inch TVs

And don't forget to watch out for the latest TV reviews.

Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.

  • glenaw
    In this article the distance calculation that is made is for distortion on the pixel lines. That is the only consideration that the article is making. The other consideration should be the peripheral vision. If you are placed so close to the TV yours eyes will be shifting constantly to view the area of view which will make it difficult and unpleasant to your vision. This should be your first consideration. After considering that one can make the other considerations to make your viewing a pleasurable and complete experience.
    Reply
  • Geodude074
    Okay, this entire guide is silly, and I have no idea where you got your numbers from.

    How far away people like to sit away from the TV is entirely subjective. I have a 65 inch 4k TV and I sit 4 feet away from it. According to your guide that's way too close, but to me it's perfect. Why? Because the bigger the screen is to your face, the more immersive it feels. If I'm watching TV and most of my vision is filled with TV screen and I can see everything on screen, to me that's perfect.

    I also use a 41 inch TV as a computer monitor, which I sit 2 1/2 feet away from. I always laugh to myself when people say they have a "big" 27 inch monitor. I don't understand why people like tiny monitors, especially when TVs these days are so cheap. Web browsing, video streaming, and PC gaming is so much more enjoyable on a bigger screen.
    Reply