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Best Gaming TVs for 2021

Gamers can rack up XP and destroy spawn-camping lowlifes with these gorgeous, responsive smart TVs.

Best overall

LG CX 4K Smart TV

Price (55”): $1,396.99

Screen sizes: 4

Screen type: OLED

Resolution: 4K

Refresh rate: 120Hz

Input lag: 8.8 ms

HDR: Yes

Best midrange

SAMSUNG Q80T Series

Price (55”): $1,070.46

Screen sizes: 4

Screen type: QLED

Resolution: 4K

Refresh rate: 60Hz (4K, 120Hz (2K)

Input lag: 9.2 ms

HDR: Yes

Best budget pick

TCL 5-Series ROKU Smart TV

Price (55”): $449.99

Screen sizes: 4

Screen type: QLED

Resolution: 4K

Refresh rate: 60Hz

Input lag: 9.1 ms

HDR: Yes

Most TVs are designed for watching video, but gamers have different needs. We’ve rounded up the best TVs on the market for getting your game on.

Top 3 TVs for Gamers

Swipe Left to See All →
TVPriceInput Lag*Refresh rateResolutionSee on Amazon
Best overall
LG CX 55" Smart TV
$1,396.998.8 ms120Hz4K UHDView on Amazon
Best midrange
Samsung Q80T Series
$1,070.469.2 ms120Hz4K UHDView on Amazon
Best budget
TCL 55" 5-Series
$449.999.1 ms60Hz4K UHDView on Amazon

Data current as of 10/30/2020. Pricing and features subject to change.
*Input lag stats courtesy of RTINGS.com.

If you’re curious about what these specs indicate, jump to our What to Look for in a Gaming TV section.

LG CX 4K Smart TV

Best overall


Amazon Rating:  (4.4 /5)

Specs

  • Input lag: 8.8 ms
  • HDR: Yes
  • Screen size: 55″
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Screen type: OLED
  • Resolution: 4K UHD

If you want a gorgeous picture, you want an LG OLED TV. The panel on this smart TV is simply stunning. Thanks to OLED technology, every color will look deeper and brighter, so you can experience the full beauty of your games the way the designers intended. (Imagine Ghost of Tsushima!) This TV also has a very respectable 21ms input lag, which makes for a smooth gaming experience. The one downside? There’s quite a price to pay for all this majesty.

Samsung Q80T Series

Best midrange

samsung-qled-quantumAmazon Rating: (4.3 /5)

Specs

  • Input Lag: 9.2 ms
  • HDR: Yes
  • Screen size: 55″
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Screen Type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K UHD

The Samsung Q80T series of smart TVs strike a very nice balance of picture quality and price. With great contrast ratio, a fast refresh rate, a healthy 55-inch size, and an attractive design, it’s hard to go wrong. If you want to spend enough to get something you’ll be happy with for a while but don’t want to go above and beyond, this is your TV. Our biggest complaint is that the viewing angles could be better, but if you’re a gamer who’s used to sitting front and center on the couch, you probably don’t care about that.

TCL 5-Series

Best budget pick

Amazon Rating:  (=4.3 /5)

Specs

  • Input Lag: 9.1 ms
  • HDR: Yes
  • Screen Size: 55″
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Screen Type: QLED
  • Resolution: 4K UHD

This wallet-friendly QLED TV offers excellent picture quality and almost unnoticeable input lag for gamers. Although it lacks fancy features like local dimming, the 4K screen display is vibrant and clear enough to see every gritty detail play out.

It also features a built-in Roku smart TV platform for streaming your favorite non-game content for whenever you’re ready to switch from gamer to streamer. We’ve highlighted the 55-inch model, but it’s available in 50-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch sizes as well.

What to look for in a gaming TV

When choosing a TV for gaming, the two things we’re looking for are responsiveness and picture quality. When we press a button on our controller, we want the TV to register it instantly and look great doing it.

If you don’t want to go with one of our recommendations, here are the specs to watch for to find another TV that’s great for gamers.

Input lag

Input lag is the response time between when you press a button or provide other input and when the TV registers it. Input lag is especially important in multiplayer and first-person shooter games like Call of Duty, where the action is fast-paced and competitive.

In these games, anything slowing down your reactions is a major disadvantage. That’s why most TVs include a “game mode” that adjusts various settings to reduce lag time while maintaining picture quality.

Our Recommendation: Generally, lower input lag times are better—30 milliseconds (ms) or less is a good target to aim for. Don’t get too focused on this feature though. At a certain point, it becomes hard to notice the difference, and picture quality often comes at the cost of less input lag. Strive to find the right balance between quality and lag time, and you’ll have a TV that covers both bases.

Contrast ratio

Contrast ratio is the ratio of the brightest white to the darkest black a screen can produce. Perhaps more than any other property of a TV, contrast ratio has the potential to make or break a picture—a poor contrast ratio makes the image feel washed out and shallow.

For the best possible contrast ratio, you want an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TV. These TVs only light up the individual pixels needed to display an image, leaving the others off. The result is deep, silky blacks and infinite contrast.

Our Recommendation: They say once you’ve gotten used to a really nice OLED display, you won’t go back to anything else—and they’re right. High-quality LED TVs can still have good contrast ratio, but a higher contrast ratio is always better, and OLED does it best.

Screen size

Screen size is really a personal decision based on the size and layout of your room, how far you want to sit from the TV, and how much money you have to spend. With modern consoles supporting 4K resolution, you can generally go as big as you want and not worry about losing picture quality.

Our Recommendation: Generally, the further back you’ll be sitting from the screen, the bigger you’ll want your screen to be. Go to a store with a TV showroom, like Best Buy, and “try on” different sizes of TVs to see which makes sense from the distance you’ll be sitting at home.

Refresh rate

TVs (and screens in general) don’t actually display moving images. What you’re really seeing is a still image updated many times per second, to give the illusion of a moving picture.

Refresh rate is the rate at which those updates occur. Refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), with the most common rates these days being 60Hz and 120Hz, though these are increasing. (A 60Hz screen refreshes 60 times per second.)

Our Recommendation: A faster refresh rate is basically always better, but there are diminishing returns. The jump from a 60Hz refresh rate to a 120Hz refresh rate is a big improvement but moving from 120Hz to 240Hz is less noticeable. Aim for 120Hz for the best bang for your buck.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

HDR was touted as the next big thing in TV a couple years ago, and it’s on most of the popular models nowadays. Dynamic range is the contrast between light and dark areas, and HDR is a technique to enhance that contrast and produce a more lifelike picture. Does it work? In a word: yes.

Our Recommendation: All other things being equal, if the choice is between a TV with HDR and one without, the one with HDR support will have the better picture. There’s a caveat though. The source material needs to support HDR as well in order to take advantage of it.

Fortunately, all the latest consoles, including the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, support HDR video.

Viewing angles

The picture on any TV (or any screen, for that matter) will always appear more clear and vibrant when viewed head-on. Any shift to the side, above, or below the screen will cause the picture quality to degrade. This is true of all screens, though some TVs suffer more than others.

A wider viewing angle means that viewers can sit further to the side of the screen and still get a good experience. A narrow viewing angle means that you’ll have to sit directly in front of the TV to get a crisp picture.

Our Recommendation: Wider viewing angles are best for gamers, especially if you’re playing multiplayer where not everyone can sit directly in front of the screen. Plus, check out our TV Viewing Distance Calculator for the best placement of your TV according to our experts.

Local dimming

Local dimming is a feature on LED TVs that helps them get closer to the infinite contrast and perfect blacks of an OLED TV. With local dimming, the LED array that lights up the screen and produces the picture is divided into zones.

Zones closer to dark areas of the picture are dimmed, making those areas even darker. That’s a very basic explanation, but the idea is that only the areas of the screen that need to be are lit up.

Our Recommendation: This feature can either make a big difference or very little, depending on how it’s implemented. It’s never really a bad feature to have though. We say go for it, especially if it’s advertised with a TV from a reputable brand.

Motion blur

Motion blur is exactly what it sounds like: fast-moving objects on the screen appear blurry or streaky, sometimes with trails behind them. This is most apparent in sports and video games. And since we want the best TV for gaming, we want a TV with as little motion blur as possible.

LED TVs tend to suffer from motion blur more than OLED TVs due to the way the technology operates. If you do end up going with an LED TV, choosing a model with a higher refresh rate can help minimize motion blur effects.

Our Recommendation: To make motion blur a non-issue, stick with OLED models. If you must go with LED, make sure the refresh rate is at least 120Hz for best results.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap gaming TV for your bedroom or want the best of the best for your media room, these picks should serve you well. Already have a gaming TV you love? Let us know which model you have in the comments.

If you’re tired of switching the inputs on your TV, get a console that can do it all. Check out our review of the best gaming consoles for streaming to get the one for what you want.

Gaming TVs FAQ

Which TV has the best input lag?

The LG CX Series we’ve chosen as the best overall gaming TV has the best input lag we’ve encountered—8.8ms. But there are models we haven’t tested that come in as low as 7.3.

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