What are the best 4K TVs to buy in 2021? While this year's new televisions are largely yet to release or be reviewed, this guide will be able to take you through the best 4K TVs currently on the market, and which each one is worth consideration.
Most new TVs these days are 4K TVs, and for good reason: 4K resolution is now a mass-market technology, thanks to a proliferation of 4K TV shows and films, 4K support on streaming services, and improved upscaling technologies to make low-res content look just as good as Ultra HD on a pixel-dense screen.
With over eight million pixels packed into the best 4K TVs, that's a lot of detail – four times the amount than on the Full HD panels you'll find in today's small TVs. (For our favorite televisions with any resolution, check out this guide to the best TVs overall.)
It isn't just the resolution that matters, though, and some of the best reasons to buy a 4K TV are all the other bells and whistles that are thrown in on mid-spec or high-end sets: HDR support, Dolby Vision and Atmos, OLED panels, and the like.
- Check out our roundup of the best soundbars too
We know what you’re thinking: the best 4K TVs must cost a small fortune. But although they are, obviously, pricier than a budget set or HD screen, you don’t have to have a dizzying budget to afford them – not like the premium 8K TVs currently gaining momentum in the TV market.
We’ve selected a mix of 55 inch, 65 inch and 75 inch 4K TV options that we hope will please everyone in the market for a new TV – even those with a more restrictive budget. (If you're looking for a good deal rather than top-notch visuals, though, you can head to our cheap TV sales guide for the best deals on offer.)
We'll be testing out their successors in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned to see which sets are knocked off their perch too – though keep in mind that the older models still in this list will likely be a decent amount cheaper than just-launched 4K TVs.
Check out our video below for an introduction to the world of 4K:
Best 4K TVs
The LG CX OLED is a no-brainer 4K TV. With the best smart TV platform (webOS) out there, an incredible contrast-rich and detailed OLED panel, with a host of premium formats and features, it's an excellent replacement to any older 4K TV.
The LG C9 from last year is now a lot cheaper, but the new 48-inch size for the CX – which comes in at just £1,499 – means there's little reason not to opt for the newer model.
There aren't huge differences with last year's model, but the addition of the 3nd Gen a9 processor means the picture processing is truly top-notch, with a vibrant picture full able to reach the deep blacks and rich colors that OLED panels are known for.
You also get Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support (premium video and audio technologies) though not the competing HDR10+ video standard. There's a slight misstep with the lack of Freeview Play catchup services, though, which has prevented CX from taking the top spot in this UK guide, but overall you're getting one of the very best 4K TVs out there.
Read the full review: LG CX OLED
Leading the pack of new Samsung TVs last year – the 4K models at least – is the Q90T/Q95T QLED.
You're getting premium picture quality and the characteristic QLED brightness that makes Samsung's quantum sets so dazzling. There's no Dolby Vision here, but Samsung's new Object Tracking Sound feature – an array of drivers around the screen for location-specific audio – helps to give the set a premium home cinema feel.
Samsung dropped to the second spot in this list for 2020, largely because it isn't as focused on 4K TVs as it used to be. The TV brand's top-range models are 8K TVs these days, and that means that 4K sets don't get the latest processing smarts anymore.
Last year's Q90R is technically higher-specified than the Q90T/Q95T, though it's worth noting that its successor retails for £800 less than the Q90R did. While the new model ditches the Wide Viewing Angle technology that helped to make the Q90R such a standout set, too it does feature far sharper 4K images, and its still an exemplary model for QLED contrast and color.
The Q95T is essentially the same as the Q90T, except that it comes with the Samsung OneConnect box for a small surcharge, but that's the only difference you need to note.
Read the full review: Samsung Q95T QLED TV review
The Panasonic HZ1500's OLED panel and HCX Pro Intelligent processor work together beautifully, with deep and immense blacks that stop just shy of crushing dark areas of the screen. HDR images are truly vibrant too – all the better for Panasonic's universal HDR support, opting to include both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision (as well as HLG and HLG Photo Mode) instead of picking sides.
There are a couple of notable omissions that stop the HZ1500 climbing higher in the list – mainly the lack of the Disney Plus streaming service, as well as the absence of HDMI 2.1 ports.
That last point, combined with unremarkable input lag, means this isn't a gamer's dream – but the crowd Panasonic is really out to please is cinephiles. You won't be disappointed with the picture, and the 80W Dolby Atmos speakers will ensure that the sound doesn't slack, either – even if it doesn't match the 140W output of the HZ2000.
You won't get this set in the US – despite Panasonic's cosy relationship with Hollywood colorists – but those of you in the UK, Europe, Australia and Canada can get it now. Starting at £2,499 for the 55-inch model, and going up to £3,499 for the 65-inch.
Read our full review: Panasonic HZ1500 TV review
The Sony A8 OLED does the impossible – knocking the A9G OLED off its perch.
Sony's 2019 A9G model was everything we wanted in an OLED set, aside from its exceedingly high price. Well, Sony has finally given us what we wanted with a mid-price OLED model that offers a largely equivalent television at a more reasonable price point.
You're getting premium OLED picture performance, with Sony’s top-line X1 Ultimate processor, Sony’s Pixel Contrast Booster (for more intense image highlights), and a new OLED version of the X-Motion Clarity feature Sony initially developed for its FALD LCD TVs.
The impressive sound system, too, combines a two-subwoofer bass system with screen-shaking Acoustic Surface Audio tech, making for a real treat as a TV to watch movies and TV shows. If you can deal with the slightly low brightness, you'll get to experience some of the most refined pictures of any OLED to date.
You'll be paying £1,799 for the 55-inch model, or £2,799 for the larger 65-inch. Keep an eye out for the A85 variant, which switches out the feet below the set for what Sony calls a "premium stand".
Read the full review: Sony A8 OLED TV
There are a lot of good 4K TVs out there – which you'll know from this list! But if you're after something a little different, the Philips OLED 805 may be the way to go.
Philips TVs have a unique ambient light technology called 'Ambilight', which throws colorful light onto the wall around your television, upping the atmosphere and immersion. It's possible to overdo things, but you can calibrate it to exactly the amount of pomp you like – and there's no denying it helps to set the mood for movies in or long gaming sessions.
That said, you're still getting a brilliant 4K TV alongside this accessory feature. Philips' fourth-gen P5 processor is capable of vivid and lifelike images, with a renewed emphasis on making hues look bright and punchy – to ensure the picture isn't outdone by the light show surrounding it. Build quality is outstanding too – though the Android TV smart platform isn't as accomplished as the Tizen or webOS platforms used by Samsung and LG respectively.
In terms of price, it's a bit of a steal. You're paying £1,499 for the 55-inch, or £2,199 for the 65-inch.
Read our full review: Philips OLED 805
The Samsung Q70T QLED isn't as accomplished as the Q95T higher up this list, but it is cheaper – which is as good a reason to buy a TV as any.
Samsung has shuffled its product names around a bit, meaning the Q70T is technically the direct successor to last year's Q60R. It's an edge-lit set, too, meaning you won't get as consistent brightness as on higher-end QLEDs.
What you do get, though, is crisp, razor-sharp images, with the terrific upscaling from HD that Samsung is known for. Motion is aptly handled, too, with intense action flicks managing to avoid screen judder or blur (unlike, say, the Hisense U7QF).
HDR performance is limited by the edge lighting – a 600 nit peak brightness – and black levels only get so dark on this mid-range LCD set. But you're still getting a lot for the price, as well as incredibly low input lag (9.1ms with Game Mode).
Keep in mind Samsung support HDR10+ (the dynamic HDR format used by Amazon Prime Video), rather than Dolby Vision (the one favored by Netflix) too when making your purchase. There's no Freeview Play either, which is a shame for UK buyers.
But when it comes to an affordable set that manages to perform beyond its price, the Q70T is a great choice.
Read the full review: Samsung Q70T QLED TV
Why a 4K TV?
Why should you buy a 4K TV? For starters, not only do 4K UHD screens have four times the amount of pixels as their 1080p predecessors, these 4K TVs also usually pack in screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) that really make the most of those extra pixels.
The other reason 4K TVs have taken off is that game consoles, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, have totally embraced the 4K future, as have the Blu-ray industry and streaming video player market. The incoming PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles are also expected to make even more of the latest display technology for enhanced gaming visuals.
If you want to know more about the even-more-detailed 8K resolution, or the models really showing it off at its best, check out our 8K TV guide – but keep in mind that it's not really an essential technology just yet. You will usually find the best processors and specs coupled with companies' 8K screens, though, so they might still be worth a look.
- Want something to watch? Check out our best movies on Netflix and best movies on Amazon Prime guides
- Need to give your TV's sound a boost? Check out our guide to the best soundbars available
- Ultra HD Blu-rays are a fantastic way of watching 4K content without worrying about buffering. Check out our guide to the best Ultra HD Blu-ray players for some suggestions.
- Check out the best cheap 4K TV deals going right now