Best TVs of 2021
Consumer Reports tests hundreds of televisions each year. These 4K sets have risen to the top.
Those in the market for a new TV right now can choose from an interesting mix of 2021 sets and leftover 2020 models, many at their lowest prices ever. Both model years are included in Consumer Reports’ TV ratings.
The list below, of the best TVs you can buy right now, is available to CR members and spotlights sets with screens that are 65 inches or larger. However, most of these models are also available in smaller, less expensive sizes, and you can find some of them with even larger screens. The TVs that perform best in CR testing tend to be pricier flagship models. But we’ve also included some great 65-inch 4K sets that cost well under $1,000, plus a few even bigger sets priced under $2,000.
We’ll keep this list updated as we test more new TVs and as the best older models disappear from retailers.
We’ve made a few noteworthy changes to our TV ratings. While overall picture quality remains important, we added data privacy and security scores for all the TVs we test.
LCD TVs vs. OLED TVs
Before you dive into the individual models, it pays to understand the two basic technologies used in today’s televisions: LCD TVs, which are also called LED TVs for the LED backlights that illuminate the screen, and OLED TVs, where each pixel generates its own light.
There are far fewer OLED TVs on the market, and they tend to be more expensive, though prices have dropped over the past couple of years. OLED sets do a great job of displaying the blackest parts of an image, so the deepest shadows can really look black, as in real life, rather than gray. OLED TVs also have essentially unlimited viewing angles, so the picture still looks great if you view it from the sides of the screen.
A majority of TVs being sold are LCD sets. While they generally can’t deliver OLED-like black levels, they get better every year, especially models that use full-array backlights, where the LEDs are spread across the entire rear panel instead of just along the edges. These models include a feature called local dimming, which divides the backlights into zones that can be dimmed or illuminated separately, depending on the scene. This can help improve black levels.
Some newer sets have “mini LED” backlights, which use a large number of even smaller LEDs that can be divided into more zones and locally dimmed.
Typically, only the pricier models have full-array backlights with local dimming. Other sets are edge-lit, with the LEDs positioned on the sides of the screen. Some of these sets also include local dimming, but it tends to be less effective than in sets with full-array backlights. The best LCD TVs can create very bright, vivid images.