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The best smart TVs to buy in 2022
Once almost the definition of luxury, smart TVs have been around long enough that they’re now firmly entrenched in the market — it’s difficult to find one without smart technology, even when you’re shopping budget models. But which products are the best smart TVs to buy in 2022?
Buying the best smart TVs for your needs
People tend to gravitate towards the largest TV they can afford, but size isn’t the only thing you should consider. A smart TV’s operating system (OS) is an important consideration. Sets made by Samsung, LG, and Vizio use proprietary software, whereas others use a third-party OS, usually Android TV, Roku OS, or Amazon’s Fire TV.
Unless you're getting a smaller set for your kitchen, gym, or home office, you should insist on a 4K resolution screen.
Most TVs have an LCD/LED display, but if you want the absolute best picture you should consider going with OLED, which offers better color representation and deeper blacks. Also, unless you’re getting a smaller set for your kitchen, gym, or home office, you should insist on 4K resolution. 4K is relatively cheap now, and there are already TVs with 8K. The latter should be avoided by most people, though, just because they’re expensive with very little native content available. More often, they’re upscaling 4K.
Owners of recent game consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X should check to see if TVs support high refresh rates like 120Hz, as well as special “game modes” that reduce latency. Lag may not matter much when you’re watching Apocalypse Now, but in games, minimizing the gap between input and output can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Should I get a streaming stick or set-top box to go with my smart TV?
Not all platforms are created equally. As we’ve mentioned, Samsung, LG, and Vizio use proprietary operating systems, which tend to drag behind Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV when it comes to getting new apps and features. If you do buy a TV from those companies, we recommend buying a separate streaming stick or set-top to plug into one of your spare HDMI ports. You may want one regardless of your TV’s platform, as we explain in a link below.
Make sure any OS supports the apps you want to use. Roku lacks a sanctioned Twitch client, for example, but you can find one on Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV. Conversely, Roku and Apple TV have a Spectrum TV app, which Fire TV and Android TV are missing. You may want a secondary streaming device just as a fallback.
If you’re still not sure which smart TV might be best for you, below are our picks of the best smart TVs in 2022 across multiple categories and price points.
Read further: Why you need a separate streaming device for your TV
The best smart TVs to buy in 2022
- The Samsung QN900B Neo QLED is the best 8K TV you can get, thanks to some impressive brightness and picture quality.
- The Sony A90J OLED is the best 4K TV, with a powerful processor and Google TV.
- The TCL 5 Series Roku TV is the best budget smart TV, offering high-quality features for the money.
- The Vizio D-Series is the best small (under 40 inches) smart TV, offering 1080p resolution and solid picture quality for smaller rooms.
- The LG G2 is a great overall OLED smart TV, with excellent contrast and color, and support for Dolby Vision IQ.
- The Sony A80K is another great Android TV, featuring Google TV like the A90J.
- The Amazon Fire TV Omni is the best Fire TV, with hands-free voice control and a slick design.
- The TCL 6 Series is the best Roku smart TV, with Mini-LED tech and gaming features.
- The Samsung QN90B is the best gaming smart TV, with variable refresh rates and other enhancements.
Samsung QN900B Neo QLED: The best 8K smart TV
If you’d like to future-proof your TV for the next decade, that means something with 8K resolution. There’s a small but growing number of such TVs, and the best ones come from Samsung. The QN900B comes in 65-, 75-, and 85-inch sizes, and uses proprietary technologies like Quantum Mini LEDs and the Neural Quantum Processor 8K for a bright and accurate picture.
With so little native 8K video out there, it’s good that the TV uses AI upscaling for content mastered at lower resolutions. Its design is pretty slick as well, with a thin and nearly bezel-free screen, and a stand that holds ports and power connections out of sight. We’re now recommending the QN900B over the QN900A because while you can save money with the latter, it’s being phased out, and the brightness and picture quality on the 900B are noticeably better.
- 8K resolution
- Impressive brightness and quality
- Powerful AI processor
- Sleek and thin design
- Alexa, Bixby, or Google Assistant voice control via remote
- Eye-wateringly expensive
- Very little 8K content to stream
- Samsung Tizen TV OS is good, but not perfect
Sony Bravia A90J: The best 4K smart TV
The Bravia A90J comes in 55-, 65-, and 83-inch versions, and is definitely on the pricey side for something without 8K, but you still get what you pay for. That includes the Cognitive Processor XR, which is one of the most powerful chips inside a TV right now and enhances the colors and blacks on its OLED panel.
Other features include AI upscaling and XR-Motion Clarity, essentially Sony’s version of a 120Hz refresh rate. Finally it’s also equipped with Google TV, an enhanced version of Android TV that first debuted on the most recent Chromecast.
- Powerful processor
- Excellent OLED display
- Google TV version of Android TV
- Very expensive
- Not as good of a gaming TV as it should be
TCL 5 Series Roku TV: The best budget smart TV
Would you like a smart TV with great hardware and software that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars? TCL has been making a name for itself by offering a solid balance between price and premium features. The TCL 5 Series Roku TV comes in 50,- 55-, 65-, and 75-inch formats.
Despite its pricing, the TV uses quantum dot technology, which provides richer colors and better HDR than conventional LED. Console gamers will appreciate Auto Game Mode, which activates when the TV senses a game being played and provides smoother video and lower latency. Roku OS, meanwhile, is both simple to use and loaded with thousands of apps to choose from.
TCL TVs don’t have the slickest design, but if you can ignore that, the Series 5 promises to give you a high-end experience at a low cost.
- Excellent display for a lot less money
- Auto Game Mode
- Roku OS installed
- Design is not that stylish
- Other, more expensive TVs have better features
Vizio D-Series: The best small smart TVs
If you want a TV that fits on your kitchen counter, in your home office, or any place that’s smaller than your living room, you’ll want a model that’s 40 inches or less. The Vizio D-Series is the best of these options, in part because it maintains 1080p resolution at 24-, 32-, and 40-inch sizes. Below the 40-inch mark, some other small TVs max out at 720p, which barely counts as HD.
Naturally, prices are even lower than the TCL 5 Series. You can get the 24-inch D-Series for $160 or less. Since Vizio uses its own OS, though, we’d recommend buying a cheap streaming add-on from Roku or Google to improve your app experience.
The newest D-Series models are virtually bezel-free, and equipped with refresh rate enhancements like AMD FreeSync and VRR (variable refresh rate). Just don’t expect any high-end features like Dolby Vision.
- 1080p resolution on a small panel
- Can be placed nearly anywhere
- Refresh rate enhancements that are rare for budget sets
- Lacks HDR features beyond gaming
- Vizio’s OS is just not good
LG G2: A great OLED smart TV
LG has an advantage when it comes to OLED technology, since its LG Display spinoff makes some of the world’s best panels for both its parent company and others — picture quality is immaculate. The G2 ships in 55-, 65-, 77-, and 83-inch sizes, and includes features like a Game Optimizer, support for cloud gaming, and LG’s signature Filmmaker Mode that promises movies “the way directors intended.” Tech like Dolby Vision IQ (light-adjusted HDR) makes things even better.
Both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are built-in, so while LG is sticking to its proprietary webOS, you can use voice commands for your TV and connected smart home services. You can keep the price under $2,000 if you choose the 55-inch model.
- One of the best displays on any TV
- Very thin design
- Filmmaker Mode, Game Optimizer, Dolby Vision IQ
- LG’s webOS is functional but not the best
Sony Bravia A80K: A great Android TV
While we’ve lately seen more vendors embrace Google TV and Android TV, such as TCL and Hisense, the best TVs with those platforms continue to be made by Sony. That includes the Bravia A80K, which comes in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch models. While the A90J model mentioned earlier is nominally a higher-end model, the A80K is nearly as good at a better price point, which is why we’re including it here. In fact, most people should probably consider this set first if they’re interested in Sony’s OLED lineup.
Both products share Google TV, the Cognitive Processor XR, and a terrific OLED screen, so you’re not really missing out on much. The A80K even offers some exclusive features for PlayStation 5 owners, namely Auto HDR Tone Mapping and Auto Genre Picture Switch.
- Sharp display
- Google TV UI
- High-end performance
- Enhancements for PS5 owners
- Still a bit on the expensive side
- Slightly less stylish than A90J
Amazon Fire TV Omni series: The best Fire TVs
Amazon’s Fire TV OS comes installed on sets sold by Toshiba, Pioneer, and Insignia (Best Buy’s in-house label). In 2021, Amazon finally started selling Fire TV sets under its own brand, if still manufactured by third parties. The best of these are in the Omni series, available in 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch sizes. They all have a very nice design with minimal bezels.
The Fire TV interface is a little hard to get used to, but doesn’t take too long. Each Omni model offers 4K resolution, as well as hands-free Alexa, meaning you don’t need a remote to send voice commands. They won’t stack up against Sony, Samsung, or LG in terms of picture quality, but they’re still decent for a fraction of the price.
Note that you’ll have to choose a 65- or 75-inch set if you want Dolby Vision.
- Great design
- Hands-free Alexa voice support
- No OLED or Mini-LED options
- Fire TV OS has a bit of a learning curve
- Dolby Vision restricted to biggest sizes
TCL 6 Series: The best Roku OS smart TVs
Roku OS is used by many manufacturers, including Hisense, Philips, and Walmart’s Onn brand. The best Roku TVs, however, are still made by TCL. The 6 Series includes 55-, 65-, and 75-inch models, and offers the best mix of high-end features and affordability.
Distinguishing the 6 Series from the 5 is the combination of quantum dots with Mini-LED technology, offering even better contrast, if still short of OLED. It also comes with features like a Game Mode, and support for Alexa and Google Assistant. Be aware that TCL sells a version with Google TV, so don’t get models confused.
- Roku OS is easy to use
- Affordable with high-end Mini-LED hardware
- Game mode included
- Design is fairly basic
- Other smart TVs do things better at a higher cost
Samsung QN90B: The best gaming smart TV
Sony, LG, and Samsung all make excellent smart TVs for next-generation console (and PC) gaming. We’re going to give the edge to the Samsung QN90B, available in 43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, 75-, and 85-inch models. It uses Mini-LED tech in a QLED 4K display, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When you connect a console like the PS5 or Xbox Series X, the TV snaps into Game Mode. That includes a customizable interface called the Game Bar, which shows information about HDR, frame rate, and more. You can also hook the QN90B up to your PC, and if the game you’re playing supports ultrawide monitors, Game Mode lets you switch the aspect ratio to 21:9 or even 32:9 to simulate playing those games on a desktop monitor. Motion-related tech includes a variable refresh rate and support for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync Premium Pro.
The pricing below is for a 65-inch model, but you can already find discounts, and you can save hundreds more by choosing smaller sizes.
- Excellent game-specific features
- Solid Mini-LED display
- Great design
- Expensive in larger sizes
Picking the best smart TV accessories
The best smart TVs can still be enhanced with some accessories. One popular upgrade is a soundbar, which improves audio substantially versus built-in speakers while remaining compact. Many models can simulate surround sound using standards like Dolby Atmos. If you want to go all-out, of course, there’s the option of an authentic multi-speaker surround setup.
If you’re ever watching solo, we’d suggest looking into wireless headphones to avoid disturbing neighbors or fellow house guests.
While streaming is how many people watch movies and TV shows, there are those who demand physical media for the best picture and audio quality. If you want that, it’s best to get a solid 4K Blu-Ray player.
Gamers may demand a new console to take advantage of the latest TV tech. Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are ideal ways to play — if you can find them in stock. Pick one that supports the titles you’re looking to play.
For a fully immersive experience you might try adding smart backlights, which dynamically mirror onscreen colors. The best options are the probably the Philips Hue Gradient Lightstrip and/or a pair of Hue Play Bars, but those require a Hue Smart Hub (a.k.a. Bridge) and a Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, the latter of which is surprisingly expensive. A cheaper alternative is the Govee DreamView T1 Pro bundle, which costs less than the Hue Sync Box by itself, but uses a camera instead of direct sync.
Frequently asked questions
As you might expect, smart TVs range in price from just over $100 to many thousands of dollars. At the extreme, some can cost as much as a car. Usually, higher prices mean bigger screens with more advanced display and processor technologies.
Year-end holiday sales are usually the best time to buy a smart TV. Prices also tend to go down in late January, however, as vendors try to push upgrades in anticipation of the Super Bowl.
Sony, Samsung, and LG’s OLED or Mini-LED TVs are typically considered the cream of the crop, but you’ll also be paying a hefty sum for them. If you just want a quality picture, not perfection, mid- to high-tier TCL, Hisense, and Vizio sets will do.
For the most part there are none, and you almost have to go out of your way to buy a “dumb” TV in the 2020s. That said, smart TVs do cost more, and may force you to use an unnecessarily complicated interface if all you care about is basic settings and live TV.