Update July 17: Amazon Prime Day may be over, but that doesn't mean the deals are gone. Be sure to check our Best TV deals roundup for the latest savings.
TCL 43" 4K Roku TV: was $499.99 now just $249.99 @ Amazon
The TCL 43S517 is our favorite 4K TV under $500. It offers a great picture, great sound quality, and a slew of premium features like HDR support. The entire series is now on sale. View Deal
Samsung UN55RU7100FXZA Flat 55-Inch 4K: was $599 now $497.99 @ Amazon
The Samsung UN55RU7100FXZA dropped by $102 for Prime Day, but the price cut seems to have stuck. With this 2019 model, you get a sharp 4K picture with HDR support, as well as smart TV features for streaming content and 3 HDMI ports.View Deal
We're pretty picky about our TVs, which is why we've spent more than 500 hours testing and reviewing more than 40 sets in the last 12 months. In doing so, we evaluated the smart features, lab-tested the displays and ran the apps to find the best TVs out there.
Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV
The Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV is Samsung's best 4K TV, and it shows, with best-in-class LCD performance, excellent sound and plenty of smarts.
Vizio M-Series Quantum
The Vizio M-Series Quantum 65-inch (M658-G1) remixes Vizio's affordable M-Series with an impressive display and a new, improved version of SmartCast.
Sony Master Series A9F OLED
The Sony Master Series A9F OLED TV is one of the best OLED TVs on the market, and blows away the competition with its great picture quality, an innovative sound system and an improved version of Android TV. It's the best Sony TV we've seen and one of the best TVs on the market period.
After testing dozens of smart TVs, our favorite 4K model overall is the Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV, which delivers outstanding picture quality and surprisingly robust audio for less money than comparable OLED systems.
Looking to spend less? The Vizio M-Series Quantum is the best value-priced 4K TV around, delivering a premium smart TV experience and quantum-dot enhanced picture quality for under $1,000. If you want to save the most money, the TCL 43S517 Roku Smart 4K TV is the best cheap TV, selling for under $400, but you'll need to settle for a smaller screen size. You'll also find plenty of discounts heading into Amazon Prime Day 2019 on big screens from all the major TV makers.
There's a lot more out there, from entry-level OLED TVs to giant, 70-inch big screens. You'll even find a great outdoor TV on our list. And if you want to learn more about the latest changes in the TV world, we've got a sneak peek at new models, like the the Vizio P-Series Quantum X and the Hisense H9F Android TV. We also have news, like the announcement of Samsung's 292-inch wall-sized 8K TV, called The Wall. And be sure to check out the latest 4K TV deals.
The best 4K TV overall
Samsung's 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV is packed with premium touches, from the quantum-dot display to the polished smart-TV experience. The excellent display boasts the superior brightness of LCD and black levels that give OLED displays a run for their money, and Samsung backs it up with the Bixby voice assistant and superb built-in sound.
The Q9FN QLED TV offers strong HDR performance and support for most major formats (well, everything but Dolby Vision), along with killer backlight with full-array local-dimming and proprietary anti-blooming technology. And while this set looks good on the included stand, it's even better up on the wall, where the included One Connect Box and nearly invisible single-cable connection virtually eliminate the tangle of cables that come with most TVs.
Read our full Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV review.
Our favorite smart TV value
The Vizio M-Series Quantum delivers a premium quantum-dot display for a reasonable price, and adds SmartCast 3.0 – Vizio's evolving smart TV platform – to make it the best you'll get for under $1,000.
With local dimming and color boosting technology, the M-Series Quantum has impressive picture quality and great HDR performance, complete with Dolby Vision support. A built in Google Chromecast opens up a vast landscape of apps and services, and the updated SmartCast software includes support for Apple AirPlay2 and HomeKit, making it just as good for iOS users.
Read our full Vizio M-Series Quantum 65-inch (M658-G1) review.
Top-notch premium OLED
The Sony Master Series A9F OLED represents the pick of the litter from Sony's 2018 lineup, and it shows. The A9F combines Sony's sophisticated video-processing hardware with a beautiful OLED panel to offer one of the best viewing experiences we've seen on a 4K TV. The superb OLED panel offers rich color and deep black levels without sacrificing detail or brightness.
The A9F also boasts some great high dynamic range support, with basic formats like HDR10 and HLG supported, along with Dolby Vision and the brand-new IMAX Enhanced format, which has its own standards for color, contrast and picture clarity. And thanks to OLED's per-pixel illumination, it has none of the haloing that plagues even the best LCD systems.
The A9F has excellent sound quality and robust volume, making it one of the best audio experiences you'll get from a TV; no soundbar required. The A9F is also one of the first Sony sets to ship with Android TV 8.0, which keeps everything we liked about Android TV while fixing a lot of the things we didn't.
Between the stunning picture quality, the impressive sound and the refinements offered by the latest version of Android TV, the Sony Master Series A9F OLED offers one of the best TV experiences ever.
Read our full Sony Master Series A9F OLED review.
Our favorite for cord cutters
Vizio TVs are popular with the cost- and cord-cutting crowd, thanks to inexpensive prices and a good number of free content options that come built in to the company's smart TVs. The Vizio P-Series 65-inch P65-F1 is the best of the bunch. The 4K panel offers 120-Hz refresh rates, excellent backlighting with local dimming and an impressive number of HDMI ports for hooking up your other devices. This set also has great picture quality and HDR support, including Dolby Vision.
You will give up some conveniences, like a voice assistant (Vizio doesn't have one) and a limited selection of local apps. But with built-in Chromecast supporting thousands of apps and easy content sharing from your phone or tablet, there's still a wealth of content for people ditching cable or satellite subscriptions.
Read our full Vizio P-Series 65-Inch P65-F1 review.
The best 4K TV under $500
Great things can come in small (and affordable) packages. In fact, this is our best cheap TV overall. The TCL 43S517 Roku Smart 4K TV is smaller than the 65-inchers we usually recommend, but with an attractive sub-$500 price, great picture and sound quality, and a slew of genuinely exciting features, this 43-inch model is a great deal. (And you can find larger sizes at similarly affordable prices.)
TCL's reputation for better-than-average quality is well-earned, and the TCL 43S517's feature set make this TV one of the best values we've seen. Despite the inexpensive price, you'll get Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio support and integrated Roku voice search, giving you an outsize smart-TV value in a size that's perfect for a second TV or for use in smaller apartments.
Read our full TCL 43S517 Roku Smart 4K TV review.
A great OLED alternative
Samsung's quantum-dot technology just keeps getting better, and the Samsung 65-inch Q6F QLED TV proves it, offering picture quality that narrows the gap with more-expensive OLED TVs. If you want big savings without a huge sacrifice in picture quality, the Samsung Q6F QLED TV is a good choice, boasting strong color and brightness and impressive audio, along with the Bixby voice assistant and super-simple setup for anyone with a Samsung phone.
In addition to being a well-made smart TV, it's also well-designed, with a look that's more sophisticated than that of the average TV. And it has an Ambient Mode that makes the TV both beautiful and functional even when you aren't sitting down for a show.
Read our full Samsung 65-inch Q6F QLED TV review.
The smartest smart TV yet
Part of LG's line of Super UHD LCD TVs, the LG 65SK9500 is the smartest TV we've ever reviewed. LG's ThinQ AI is the best voice assistant around, combining LG's proprietary content search and Google Assistant for broader voice functionality. It's like having a Google Home without ever setting up a smart speaker. Amazon users are also invited to the party, with full compatibility for Amazon Alexa devices.
And there's more to the LG 65SK9500 than just smarts, with features like Dolby Vision support, Dolby Atmos audio and short lag times for excellent gaming performance. The 4K display boasts a 120-Hz refresh rate and uses LG's Nano Cell technology for improved color accuracy and black levels. From smart functions to picture quality, it's one of the best LCD TVs we've seen.
Read our full LG 65SK9500 Super UHD 65-Inch Smart TV review.
A very good big-screen TV
While 65-inch TVs may be the common size today, bigger TVs are more popular than ever. The Sony X690E 70-inch TV steps you up to a larger size without an equally outsize price, making it our favorite bigger TV. Sony outfits the X690E with a smart stand and so-so feature set, but we were impressed by the decent viewing angles and deft handling of darker images. A pair of 10-watt speakers offers strong volume and pretty good sound quality. You will contend with a mediocre smart TV experience, though, as Sony uses Opera TV here instead of the Android TV offered on most Sony sets. But with a screen that's more than 5 feet wide on this TV, what you're really paying for is size.
Check out our full Sony X690E 70-inch TV review.
The best Amazon Fire TV
Amazon keeps trying to make Fire TV work as a competitor to Roku, and that's finally happening with the Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition. After a few disappointing early attempts, the Insignia made us sit up and take notice with respectable performance for an inexpensive TV, offering good picture quality and sound, with color gamut and accuracy that beat that of other Amazon-powered TVs. This Sony Insignia is easily the best Fire Edition TV we've seen, and the only one to get our recommendation.
It's also packed with features for the Amazon faithful, with Alexa voice interaction built in, Amazon's huge selection of Fire TV apps, and a smart TV experience that puts Amazon Prime Video front and center. This is a solid sub-$500 smart TV and the best Amazon-based TV on the market.
Editors' Note: (Updated April 18, 2019) Amazon and Google have made up, and YouTube is coming to Amazon Fire TVs, fixing one of our biggest problems with the Amazon-powered smart TV.
Read our full Insignia 43-inch 4K Fire TV Edition review.
The best outdoor TV
The average TV is no match for rain, snow, dust or heat. But the SunBriteTV Veranda Series 55-inch outdoor TV is made for those conditions, with a rugged design that can withstand the elements. Whether it's in a cold garage or out on an enclosed porch, the weather-sealed chassis fends of weather, dirt and bugs, and the screen is made to be viewed in shady conditions where even ambient sunlight would trip up a normal TV.
With HDR capability and strong overall performance, it's a any great TV for any outdoor setting. And thinks to some excellent built-in speakers, there's no need to get a soundbar. If you want the great outdoor TV, this is the one to get.
Read our full SunBriteTV Veranda Series 55-inch (2019) review.
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 using a Leo Bodnar HDMI input delay tester, which measures 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 spend time with each set to get more-subjective evaluation and see how our lab results translate into real-world performance. We 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.
For details on our testing methodology, please see How Tom's Guide Tests and Reviews TVs.
We also evaluate the smart TV functions and apps for each TV, looking at everything from the remote control design to the voice interaction. Get a more detailed look at each smart TV operating system in our look at Who Makes the Smartest Smart TV?
What 4K TVs Cost
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 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.
Credit: Tom's Guide