The Best TVs of 2018

By Lee Neikirk

Virtually every American living room is home to a TV, and most of them work just fine. But for some viewers, "just fine" simply isn't good enough. For these discerning cinephiles, gamers, and techies, only the best will do.

But what makes a TV the best of the best? Every year, TV manufacturers add new bells and whistles that promise the latest and greatest in picture quality. But while the buzzwords may change, the basics of a good TV usually remain the same—bright whites, inky blacks, accurate colors, smooth motion, and high resolution.

We've put all of the hottest TVs on the market through a battery of tests in our Cambridge, Massachusetts labs, teasing out their individual strengths and weaknesses. The few that excel in every department have earned the right to be called the Best Right Now.

But consider yourself warned: These beauties don't come cheap.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated September 19, 2018

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Credit: Reviewed / Lee Neikirk

65-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

65-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

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For years, OLED technology has been the most impressive thing in TVs, and OLED TVs have been our #1 choice for the last several years. It makes sense, then, that the best TV you can buy right now is an OLED model.

The LG C8 is not the priciest OLED TV on the market, nor is it the cheapest from LG—that honor goes to the step-down B8 series—but it is our pick for #1, right now.

What you're getting:

  • 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution
  • The best possible black levels
  • Excellent HDR/Dolby Vision performance
  • High-end processing with AI/LG ThinQ
  • HDR10, Dolby Vision, & Dolby Atmos compatibility
  • OLED-panel refresh rates

What you're not getting:

  • Super high brightness (compared to similarly priced LED TVs)

LG's 2018 OLED lineup includes five different series: the W8, G8, E8, C8, and B8. However, while there are some differences in design, speakers, and available sizes, the W8 through C8 TVs are identical in terms of picture quality—LG has said as much, and I've seen it myself.

The B8 doesn't have the new Alpha 9 processor that the others have, which helps the C8 to cinch the lead for "best possible quality" while still being relatively much more affordable than the W8 flagship. As for the point about high brightness: the C8 (and LG's other 2018 OLEDs) are still much brighter than 99% of the TVs on the market, they just aren't as bright as some of the quantum dot models available this year.

However, no matter which way you slice it, from a pure performance standpoint the C8 is still the best all around TV you can buy in 2018. Check out the full review for more details.

55-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

55-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

This is the 55-inch version of the "best overall" 65-inch C8 OLED—it's exactly the same, just smaller.

Because OLED TVs don't use backlights, there's markedly less visible distinction (and practically no objective distinction) between different screen sizes. So if you simply can't fit the 65-inch model in your home, but want the best of the best from 2018, this is the one to go for.

77-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

77-inch LG C8 Series (2018)

If you have the funds and want an absolutely gigantic version of our "best overall" 65-inch OLED, this is as big as OLEDs get.

Just note that, naturally, you're paying a heck-ton for this TV—around $8,000. But if that seems reasonable to get your hands on a TV so big and technologically advanced it makes the average TV feel like an iPad, have at it.

How We Test

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I've been testing and reviewing TVs at Reviewed since 2012. In our TV testing lab, we have the latest CalMan calibration software, a QuantumData signal generator, and individual light/color measuring meters—not to mention about 200 Blu-rays and sundry AV equipment.

We use industry-backed and scientifically sound tests to determine things like a TV's HDR peak brightness of what percentage of the DCI-P3 color standard it achieves. We also watch an awful lot of Netflix. Our top priority is to discover what the consumer will actually experience at home—regardless of what the meters say.

I personally tested and reviewed almost every TV on this list myself, and for those I didn't, it was still tested via the methodology and human vision-related weighting metrics I designed in conjunction with Reviewed's staff scientists and tech experts.


Other Awesome TVs

Maybe you want something smaller than 55 inches, larger than 77 inches, more affordable, brighter—there are reasons you might not go for the top-tier OLED above. Not to worry: there are a bunch of really splendid televisions to be had. Here's the rest of the best.


65-inch B7 Series (2017)

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  • Editors' Choice

65-inch B7 Series (2017)

This is LG's entry-level OLED series from last year—as you might expect, it was already more affordable than the average OLED because it was the "lowest level" option from last year (make no mistake—it's still an ultra-premium TV).

Now that there's a new crop of 2018 OLEDs, the B7 series is even more affordable, making it an excellent choice if you're looking to score a respectable OLED TV for as cheap as possible.

What you're getting:

  • 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution
  • HDR10 & Dolby Vision compatibility
  • The webOS 3.5 smart platform

What you're not getting:

  • Dolby Atmos support/pass-thru (available on most 2018 models)
  • A9 processor/AI/ThinQ support (a 2018 addition)

Buying a TV that's a year out of date can sometimes mean software issues: either apps are updated more slowly, or firmware takes longer to roll out—or sometimes, doesn't roll out at all.

However, unless you plan to lean heavily on the B7A's streaming software and internal functions, there's really no drawback in buying this 2017 OLED strictly for its picture quality. It's not as bright as the 2018 OLEDs, but it's definitely bright enough, especially for what you're saving. Check out the full review.

Note: There are two versions of this TV—the B7 and B7A. The only difference is that the latter does not natively do Dolby Atmos audio.

55-inch B7 Series (2017)

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  • Editors' Choice

55-inch B7 Series (2017)

This is the 55-inch version of the B7 series OLED detailed above. It's the exact same TV, just smaller.

For all the same reasons, the 55-inch B7 is also more affordable than ever. This is one of the best TVs to buy if you want premium OLED picture quality, but want to spend as little as possible.

65-inch Samsung Q9FN Series (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

65-inch Samsung Q9FN Series (2018)

This is Samsung's flagship, top-of-the-line TV for 2018, so naturally it's one of the best TVs you can buy.

The Q9FN is the pack leader in Samsung's "QLED" lineup: highly polished 4K/HDR TVs equipped with a newer technology called quantum dots, which is where the Q comes from. As the top QLED for 2018, the Q9FN is chock full of goodies.

What you're getting:

  • 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution
  • Quantum Dot-enhanced color
  • Full-Array Local Dimming LED backlight
  • HDR10+ compatible (benchmarked around 1,600 nits)
  • Samsung Smart Hub
  • 120 Hz refresh rate

As LED/LCD TVs go, the Q9FN is about as fancy and high-performance as they come. It's one of the brightest TVs I've ever seen (twice as bright as the 2018 LG OLEDs), which also enables it to produce extremely vivid, saturated colors.

While normally such high brightness would cause backlight-related issues, the Q9FN is also equipped with full-array local dimming, allowing it to dim and boost the LEDs behind the screen, increasing perceptible contrast while still managing gigantic amounts of luminance.

Obviously you're paying a lot, but you're getting a highly-polished TV that's perfect for a brighter viewing environment or somewhere with a lot of glare. The only reason you might not want this QLED TV over a darker OLED is if you like to watch in total darkness. Check out the full review for more info.

75-inch Samsung Q9FN Series (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

75-inch Samsung Q9FN Series (2018)

This is the 75-inch version of Samsung's Q9FN flagship. It's just as fancily frilled as the 65-inch, but is also 10 inches bigger—so don't expect it to come cheap.

On the other hand, if you compare the cost of the 75-inch Q9FN (around $5,000 right now) to the cost of the 77-inch C8 OLED (around $8,000), it does become more cost effective to buy the Q9FN over the C8 in larger sizes.

65-inch Vizio P-Series Quantum (2018)

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  • Editors' Choice

65-inch Vizio P-Series Quantum (2018)

Last but definitely not least, Vizio's P-Series Quantum dropped a lot of jaws when it released in summer 2018.

Priced originally at $2,200 and now available around $1,600, the P-Series Quantum is a marvel of value. While it lacks the exterior, aesthetic polish and fancy accessories, the Quantum more than makes up for it in terms of its pure picture quality to price ratio.

What you're getting:

  • 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution
  • Full-Array Local Dimming backlight
  • Quantum Dot color
  • HDR10 & Dolby Vision compatibility
  • Very good HDR brightness (benchmarked around 1,600 nits)
  • The Vizio Cast platform

What you're not getting:

  • A super fancy remote/an external mainboard/a very high-end design, etc.

As quantum-dot equipped, premium LED TVs go, the P-Series Quantum is up there with the best of them. The fact that you can get it in a 65-inch version for a little over $1,500 is pretty baffling.

While it's not quite as perfectly polished as the $3,000 TVs here, it's close enough for the price that Vizio deserves serious accolades. Check out the full review for more info.

What You're Paying For

Why exactly are these "best" TVs the best? Most of it has to do with their picture quality and technical specifications. But even if you don't mind shelling out the big bucks to, you should make sure you know what you're paying for when you do.

  • 4K: 4K refers to a TV's resolution—how many pixels, or picture elements, it has on the screen. A pixel is a tiny square made up of three sub-pixel elements, which display either red, green, or blue. By manipulating these pixels, TVs create the images we see. 4K means "four-thousand," because a 4K TV has 3,840 pixels across (horizontally) and 2,160 pixels down (vertically).

  • OLED: OLED means "organic light-emitting diode," and refers to a type of panel technology. For a long time almost any TV you bought would be an LCD (liquid crystal display), which is manipulated electronically to product the colors and shapes of images, but does not produce light. That's the job of backlights!

  • LED Backlight: All LCD TVs use an LED backlight, which is primarily how they differ from OLED TVs. OLED cells create their own light, meaning they can brighten/darken independently of one another. This is why OLED TVs typically have much better contrast than LED/LCD TVs. The best LED Backlight type is Full-Array Local Dimming.

  • HDR: HDR means "High Dynamic Range," and it refers to a new content ecosystem and format structure within consumer displays. HDR content is "graded" (or mastered) to maintain much higher differentials in brightness and much more vivid colors than non-HDR content, and it's something newer TVs are finally able to display. HDR is currently available in two formats: HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

  • Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are a newer addition to LED/LCD TVs only. A "film" of these nano-crystal dots is placed beside the LCD substrate during a TV's construction. When hit with the light from a TV's backlight, quantum dots are sized to emit very high-saturation red and green colors, making it possible for LED TVs to hit the new HDR standards for color saturation. Basically, quantum dots mean more colorful TVs.

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