The 8 Best Smart TVs That Will Elevate Your Everyday Viewing Experience
Which is the best smart TV for you? These top-quality options will take your streaming to the next level—no matter what your budget is.
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Choosing the best smart TV for you
Smart technology and smart home devices are everywhere we turn—and smart TVs are no exception. In fact, smart TVs now make up a vast majority of all TVs for sale, according to a study published last year. With so many choices out there, it’s important to understand what each of the best smart TVs on the market offers so you don’t wind up with buyer’s remorse.
Why consider getting a smart TV in the first place? “Most people like the simplicity that smart TVs provide,” according to Adam Babcock, a tech expert and TV reviewer for RTINGs. Not only can you just “plug and play,” he says, but “in many cases, you can get directly to your favorite content with the push of a button or even by asking for it” using voice control.
Buying the best smart TV for your needs might feel like a daunting task, but we can make your search a lot easier. We’ve rounded up the best smart TVs of 2022, along with important things to consider before making a purchase. Pro tip: Knowing the best time to buy a TV and how to score free streaming services can also help you get more bang for your buck.
What is a smart TV?
A smart TV is the modern-day alternative to cable TV. Rather than using an antenna, a cable or any external streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, smart TVs are built with computers, which allows them to stream video from apps like Netflix and Hulu, play games and more, directly from the internet.
From Samsung to Sony, most legacy tech companies are now making their own smart TVs to fit every budget and preference. “Today’s [smart TV] market is dominated by ecosystem giants and platform owners” like Samsung, Roku, Amazon, LG, Vizio and Google, says Sarah Lee, a research analyst at Parks Associates. These brands “are the main players controlling the point of consumption and are expected to only become more powerful within the streaming industry over time.”
What to consider when buying a smart TV
Experts recommend keeping the following factors in mind when shopping for the best smart TV for your needs and personal preferences.
- Viewing conditions: Believe it or not, experts say your viewing conditions are more important than smart features. Think about your room’s size and brightness, as well as your seating arrangement, before considering a TV’s apps and services. “You can always add a new streaming box if your TV doesn’t quite do what you want, but you can’t increase the brightness of your TV or make it bigger,” Babcock says.
- Model age: Don’t forget that many smart features are temporary and may become obsolete as technology advances, so an older model might have a shorter life span. “Smart TVs are like smartphones,” says Dave Tice, a TV and media research expert at Hub Entertainment Research and author of The Genius Box. “They need to have their software upgraded on a consistent basis, and eventually they outlive the ability to upgrade.” To help your TV last as long as possible, Tice suggests purchasing the newest model you can.
- Compatibility with other devices: If you already own an Amazon Fire Stick or Roku box for streaming, Tice recommends opting for a smart TV that is compatible with those devices. Same goes for Apple AirPlay (which can connect to iPhones, iPads and Macs) or Android TV (which connects to Android smartphones). You are more likely to feel satisfied with your purchase if your smart TV fits in with the ecosystem of devices you already use.
- Smart features: Also consider the streaming apps and services the TV offers, because not all services are available on every brand. For example, some smart TVs offer extra gaming features like THX mode that make them better for gamers. You also might prefer one brand’s operating system or interface over another; Samsung uses the Tizen platform, TCL uses Android TV and Roku platforms, LG uses WebOS and Toshiba uses Amazon Fire TV.
- Your internet connection: Ask yourself if your home’s internet connection has enough bandwidth to serve HD or 4K video along with all the other devices using Wi-Fi in your home. You should also plan to place the set in an area of your home with good Wi-Fi power for optimal streaming, Tice says.
How we chose the best smart TVs
Our best smart TV 2022 recommendations are based on a combination of expert reviews, user testimony and online ratings. To help you find the right smart TV for you, we spoke with experts and scoured online articles and reviews to find out which models are getting the most buzz.
Here are our picks for the best smart TVs to buy in 2022:
Samsung S95 OLED
This “impressive” 65-inch TV tops the list of the best smart TVs, according to Babcock. The Samsung S95 OLED uses a new type of OLED panel called QD-OLED, which “allows for incredibly deep blacks and a wide range of colors, so the latest TV shows in HDR look incredibly vivid and lifelike,” he says. With their well-organized smart interfaces, reasonable price tags and huge selection of smart features and apps, Samsung’s smart TVs are “by far the most-owned smart TVs” based on surveys by Hub Entertainment, adds Tice.
Reviewers rave about this model, in particular. One satisfied customer writes, “I did a ton of research on TVs in this class, and this one is by far the winner. Whether it is cable TV, using a streaming service or casting from your phone, this TV outperforms all the rest.” Samsung also makes excellent smart watches.
- Exceptional picture quality
- User-friendly interface
- Large selection of smart features and apps
- Screen glare can decrease picture quality in bright rooms
LG C2 OLED
LG is another popular entry-level option in terms of brands, according to Lee, because you can get top-notch image and audio quality at an affordable price. Babcock recommends the LG C2 OLED, which comes with a user-friendly Tizen interface and stunning visuals, due to its OLED screen and LG Brightness Booster that provides a brighter picture. And with the TV’s unique Magic Remote, users can simply point and click at what they want to select on the screen—similar to a Nintendo Wii remote. Also in the market for a fridge? LG earned a top spot on our list of the best refrigerator brands of 2022 as well.
- User-friendly interface
- One-of-a-kind “Magic Remote” provides easy navigation
- The OLED panel doesn’t display bright, vibrant colors as well as Samsung’s newer QD-OLED screen
For folks who want an inexpensive smart TV that doesn’t sacrifice image and audio quality, look no further than the Hisense U6H. It sports a price tag under $600 but delivers better picture quality in bright rooms than other leading brands, according to Babcock. He also notes that the TV and remote come with built-in microphones that are compatible with Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to navigate the interface and stream content. Other notable features include Hisense’s patented ULED screen and a Game Mode feature that automatically adjusts settings for optimal gaming. Here’s how to clean a TV screen to help you keep your new purchase in tip-top shape.
- Limited screen glare in bright rooms
- Voice command feature
- Babcock notes that this TV has some picture issues, such as motion blur and limited color uniformity
Vizio TVs rank among the most widely owned budget brands based on Hub Entertainment surveys, according to Tice. At just $368 for a 55-inch display, the Vizio V-Series is a cheap smart TV that packs a real punch. It has top-notch display and sound features like 4K Ultra HD image resolution and Dolby Vision Bright Mode, as well as built-in voice controls, while staying easy on the wallet. Buyers agree, giving this smart TV more than 7,000 five-star reviews on Walmart’s website. “If you are looking for an amazing TV that works great [and] has a ton of new features,” writes one reviewer, “then this TV is for you.” And it makes an amazing and surprisingly affordable tech gift … though you may want to keep it for yourself.
- Under $400
- Remote with voice command
- Advanced picture settings enhance image quality
- Less sophisticated operating system
TCL 6-Series Roku TV
Want to spend a little more but not ready to splurge? The best smart TV for you might be the TCL 6-Series Roku TV, which rings in at less than $1,000. It uses the Roku streaming platform, which has a huge selection of streaming app options, a simple interface and an easy search function. Plus, advanced picture settings, such as mini-LED backlighting for extra brightness and local dimming to create perfect black colors, are included to enhance your viewing experience. It also boasts a few cool bonus features, including THX gaming mode and Dolby Vision HDR, which will make you feel like you’re in the center of the action when watching your favorite Netflix shows.
- Uses Roku TV, rated among the best streaming platforms by experts
- Advanced image features for better colors
- THX mode for gaming
- Some reviewers have reported issues with the image quality
LG G2 OLED
Tice is a fan of LG’s smart TVs for their easy-to-use Tizen interface, which allows users to navigate from their cable service to any of the streaming services directly from the TV’s home page without switching input sources. If you want an LG TV and cost isn’t a concern, check out the LG G2 OLED. The OLED screen has more than 8 million self-lit pixels for extra brightness, and the α9 Gen 5 AI processor creates high-quality audio to enhance the viewing experience. With extra features like Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro and Filmmaker Mode, this smart TV is worth its hefty price tag, reviewers say. “The cheapskate in me really feels the hole burned into my wallet when I purchased this thing,” writes one customer, “but the quality I’ve experienced is unbelievable.” Here are more tips on the best time to buy TVs and everything else.
- Excellent picture quality, with bright and vibrant colors
- High-quality audio processing
- Additional visual and audio features for a cinema-like viewing experience
- Stand is sold separately
- More expensive than other options
Best for gaming
If you’re asking “What is the best smart TV for gaming?” your search stops here. Gamers can’t go wrong with the Sony X90J, a 50-inch smart TV with two HDMI 2.1 ports for an Xbox or PlayStation, along with enhanced refresh processing to avoid lag time. Though users might make a few trade-offs on brightness and viewing angles, the exclusive gaming features more than make up for it. Also worth noting: The Google TV interface allows users to download additional apps and games beyond what is already offered. One reviewer calls this smart TV “fantastic,” adding, “I can enjoy all of my 4K movies and Xbox One X to their fullest capabilities on this television.” Gamers will also want to check out the best VR headsets to level up their entertainment experiences.
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Multiple full-spec HDMI 2.1 ports
- Google TV smart platform has easy setup and a wide variety of apps
- Functions best in a darker room
- Difficulty viewing the screen at certain angles
Best for home entertainment
Sony A95K OLED
Shoppers with slightly bigger budgets—and bigger living rooms—should consider the Sony A95K OLED, Babcock says. This smart TV, which measures 65 inches, would be the perfect addition to your home-theater setup. It delivers gorgeous and vibrant images, as well as a wide viewing angle, thanks to the high-resolution screen, to accommodate spaces with larger seating arrangements. Plus, it comes with Sony’s free BRAVIA CORE streaming service, which offers movies you won’t find on other popular streaming services, and exclusive features for the PlayStation 5.
- Wide viewing angle for large spaces and multiple viewers
- Excellent picture quality, with both perfect blacks and high peak brightness to fight glare
- Free BRAVIA CORE streaming service delivers exclusive movies
- Exclusive PlayStation 5 features
- More expensive than other options