Best 4K TVs

Updated July 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
91 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best 4k tvs

It took a little while, but 4K TVs are now mainstream, and you can find models that include cutting-edge on-board tech like video streaming apps and HDR for less than $500. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your TV, there’s never been a better time to do so.

The latest 4K TVs offer huge jumps in picture quality over standard 1080p HDTVs: they have four times as many pixels, and in many cases, they are made with new panel technologies that produce brighter, more vibrant images than we’ve ever seen before. They’re also starting to integrate other technologies — for example, it’s not tough to find a 4K TV that’s compatible with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, or one that includes Google’s Chromecast local streaming technology. Make no mistake: TV technology has evolved by leaps and bounds, and now is the time to reap the rewards.

If you’re ready to make the leap to 4K, we’re ready to help you find the perfect 4K TV.

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Although common wisdom holds that there are “good” times of year to buy a TV, that’s not really true anymore. For example, while you can get good deals around events like Black Friday or the Super Bowl, the models made for sales events are typically sub-par or missing key features. If you’re looking for a good deal on a dependable 4K TV, you don’t have to wait for a shopping holiday — it’s not tough to find good bargains year-round.

Key considerations

Before you start shopping, it helps to spend a little time thinking about some of the basics to help focus your search. Start with these questions.

How big of a TV do you want?

The first decision to make is about screen size. The bigger the screen, the clearer the picture — but you’ll also pay a lot more for it. Consider the area in which you will be placing the TV, and do some quick measuring to determine your ideal size.

Are you willing to pay a little more for a significantly brighter screen?

TV manufacturers are using improved display panels on their best models, resulting in picture quality that is substantially brighter. Each company has its own version (you’ll see OLED, XLED, and QLED, for starters), and those models are more expensive than standard 4K TVs. If you’re a movie fanatic, or you just want the best picture quality available, you’ll need to spend a little more, but it’ll be worth it.

How many devices do you plan on connecting to your new TV?

Count everything you connect to your TV, from your cable TV box to your Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 to your soundbar. Make sure the 4K TV you buy has enough HDMI ports to handle all of your existing devices, and keep an eye out for HDMI 2.1 ports, as they support a higher bandwidth, premium HDR support, and more fluid gaming.

If you’re thinking about buying a 4K TV, you may have heard the debate between 1080p vs. 4K. The primary difference between these two types of television is resolution. 4K televisions offer more pixels and a higher-quality resolution. They tend to cost a bit more than 1080p options, which have fewer pixels but are still good appliances.

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Features

All 4K TVs boast an impressive 3840 x 2160 resolution, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are the 4K TV features that separate the best models from the ones that are just so-so.

OLED, XLED, or QLED panels

Traditional LED panels light up pixels from behind in clusters, so while an LED 4K TV will display a resolution of 3840 x 2160, the light clusters bleed into one another, resulting in a picture that looks good but can at times be fuzzy.

Samsung’s QLED and Vizio’s XLED 4K TVs use new approaches to solving this problem that reduce light bleeding, so you can see every pixel much more quickly. LG’s and Sony’s OLED TVs are in a class of their own: they utilize local dimming to individually light each pixel, and they can turn off individual pixels to display the color black. OLED 4K TVs are the most expensive models, by far, but they offer a visual experience that other TVs can barely compete with.

High dynamic range (HDR)

HDR is one of our favorite features on 4K TVs because it dramatically improves colors and overall picture quality. With an HDR TV, both contrast and color are improved, so roses look redder, violets look bluer, and pitch-blacks are much darker for all-around superior image quality.

You’ll need to find HDR-enabled content to take advantage of the feature, but most 4K Blu-rays and 4K streaming services offer a wide array of HDR content in HDR.

Dolby Vision

Like many ongoing tech debates, the HDR versus Dolby Vision argument polarizes viewers. Our take: because HDR is currently supported by more streaming platforms than Dolby Vision, most viewers will be more than satisfied with an HDR-enabled 4K TV. If you’re a fan of Dolby Vision, or if you want to be prepared for when more Dolby Vision content becomes available, get a 4K TV that supports both standards — just be forewarned you’ll need to pay a little more for the cinematic Dolby experience.

Smart TV

Whether it is powered by Android TV or Google TV,  Roku, WebOS, or its own native platform, the vast majority of 4K TVs support smart functionality. The average smart television has access to a huge library of popular streaming apps, such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, which makes it easy to enjoy a wide range of TV shows and movies.

Premium audio

Historically, TVs have never had great speakers, but that’s starting to change. Some TV manufacturers now include built-in soundbars with their premium models, so you don’t have to buy a separate audio solution — and you can control your entire setup with one convenient remote. Some premium audio systems even support surround sound audio formats like Dolby Atmos.

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Expert Tip
Make sure the TV you’re buying has enough HDMI ports for your devices. Most mid- and high-end models have at least four, but cheaper TVs might only have one or two.
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Essential accessories

Once you’ve got the right 4K TV, you’ll need the right gear to play all of your content. Start with these peripherals.

Streaming box: Apple TV 4K
Chances are, your 4K TV is smart, but if you’re serious about your streaming, we recommend getting a separate streaming box anyway. Streaming boxes have more apps and more frequent updates, and in the case of the Apple TV, they offer key functionality like access to iTunes movie and TV rentals as well as Dolby Atmos. If you’re planning on watching Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, or Vudu on your new 4K TV, get an Apple TV 4K for the best picture and sound quality available.

Soundbar: Yamaha YAS-207BL Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
If you want big sound to go with your 4K TV, but you have decided to buy a more affordable model, a soundbar greatly enhances your viewing experience. Some features to look for when shopping if you have a 4K TV include a powerful speaker and deep bass, as well as technologies that enhance the sound, such as THX-certification and Dolby Atmos.

Universal remote: Sideclick Universal Remote Attachment for Apple TV
Not all universal remotes are complicated! If you’ve got an Apple TV, you can pick up a Sideclick remote, which attaches to your existing remote and adds multi-device functionality. If the minimalism of the remote bugs you, the Sideclick is here to turn it into a powerhouse that can control even more devices. (And if you own a FireTV, you can get one for that remote, too.)

Pricing

Low-end: Between $250 and $800, you’ll find a wide range of solid mid-range TVs. The choices in this price range have great picture quality and smooth smart functionality, and they support a fair share of user-friendly features, such as Chromecast and a dedicated game mode. If you’re buying a secondary TV, or a 4K TV for a small apartment, living room, or dorm, you can find a solid value in this price range. If you’re looking for a larger TV (bigger than 55 inches) or one with features that improve picture quality, you’ll need to spend more.

Mid-range: Between $800 and $1,400, you’ll encounter the best values in 4K TVs. It’s not hard to find a massive 4K TV with HDR for this much, or a TV with a XLED QLED TV. If you’re looking for a TV with an incredible picture that will last you until the 8K models arrive without breaking the bank, this price range is a worthwhile long-term investment.

High-end: Between $1,500 and $3,500 are the best and brightest: mammoth 4K TVs that are made with the latest TV technologies, such as 4K OLED panels and high-contrast full array backlighting, or premium audio features. If you’re building a home theater, or if you simply want the best TV money can buy, plan on spending this much or more.

4K has the advantage over 1080p in terms of color and vibrance. However, buyers should know that 1080p has the advantage as far as content goes. In other words, not all content comes in 4K yet. That said, you could get a TV that “upscales” 1080p content.

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Tips

  • Save some money by buying last year's 4K TV. While it may not have the latest TV features and technologies, the best budget-friendly strategy is to compare stock between retailers, as there are some excellent TV deals available if you are willing to buy a slightly older 4K TV.

  • If you’re planning on mounting your 4K TV to the wall, check to see what size VESA mount it requires. All 4K TVs can be wall-mounted, but you’ll need a wall mount that’s the right size. Wall mounting hardware kits are all built to VESA standards, a system for making mounting measurements universal. Before you buy a wall mount, check the 4K TV to see what VESA standard it works with. For example, let’s say you like a TV with mount measurements of 400 x 300. You will want to make sure the mounting kit you buy supports the 400 x 300 standard.

  • Update your 4K TV’s firmware before you do anything else. All 4K TVs are smart. They run their own operating systems with apps you can use to stream video from sources like Hulu, Netflix, or Vudu. Just like the systems on laptops and smartphones, TV OSs need to be updated regularly to deliver improvements and security fixes. When you first turn on your 4K TV, connect it to your local Wi-FI network. Then, use the on-screen settings menus to check for firmware updates. If any updates are available, download and install them. Firmware updates typically take about a half-hour to complete.

Other products we considered

While some enjoy a giant 4K TV, others wish that their TV would disappear into their home’s décor when they are done watching. The LG GX Gallery Design 4K Smart OLED TV features an art gallery-like frame that is mounted flush to your wall like a picture, and its bright and vibrant 4K display showcases your favorite works of art as a PC does with a screensaver. If you are interested in a 4K TV that brings a sense of artistic style to your space, this model may be your best option.

If you’re on the hunt for a smaller 4K TV, consider the Toshiba 43” 4K Smart LED TV with HDR - Fire TV Edition. With this TV, Toshiba has partnered with Amazon to use their Fire TV operating system as their smart platform. The result is an incredible match: you can enjoy all of the benefits of Amazon’s ecosystem, including streaming apps, video games, and a voice-activated remote, without having to buy a Fire TV device. Based on the specifications, this TV should be a lot more expensive than it is, making it an easy recommendation for anyone who doesn’t need a monster-sized 4K TV.

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Cord cutters who need to tune in to over-the-air broadcast HD TV, make sure the 4K TV you buy has a coaxial input for an antenna. Not all 4K TVs do — although in most cases, models that don’t have a tuner on board are referred to as displays, not televisions.

FAQ

Q. Where can I find 4K TV shows and movies?

A. Smart televisions support a huge collection of streaming apps, and many of them, including Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video host plenty of crystal-clear 4K content.

Q. Do I need new HDMI cables for a 4K TV?

A. If you’ve bought an HDMI cable in the last few years, it’s likely you won’t have to replace it to watch 4K. One of the perks of moving your game consoles and smart devices from a HD or Full-HD TV to a 4K model is compatibility, as their HDMI cables will work just as well in 4K.

Q. What should gamers look for in a 4K TV?

A. While you can play on any 4K TV, you will get the most out of your Xbox Series X by seeking out a gaming TV that supports VRR, or Variable Refresh Rate, for smoother and more fluid gameplay, quantum dot technology for a more vibrant color range, low input lag, and a high-end HDR performance for more pronounced levels of contrast between shadows and bright effects.

 

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