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Best LG TVs to buy in 2021: LG OLED, Nano Cell, QNED and 4K UHD TVs

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Included in this guide:

LG OLED
(Image credit: LG)

What is the best LG TV of 2021? The answer is slightly different for everyone, but with LG Electronics putting out some of the very best OLED TVs every year as well as some fantastic-looking 8K TVs, there are some truly great models to pick from.

To help you suss out which one's right for you, we've sat down and tested the very best LG TVs from this year and are keeping an eye out for next year's models. We're able to compare them to find out which is the best choice for you.

Of course, if you can't wait to see what's coming down the pipeline, now isn't a bad time to be in the market for a new LG TV. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up fast and thus far we've seen a few great deals on the LG C1 OLED. Missed them? Keep an eye on Black Friday TV deals hub so you don't miss out on the best offers. 

Top picks

LG C1 OLED TV in a living room environment

(Image credit: LG)

No surprises there, the LG C1 OLED is the best LG TV for most budgets

Specifications
Screen size: 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Incredible contrast and color+New 83-inch size
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy bass-Little improvement

The best LG TV of 2021 is, of course, the LG C1 OLED.

As the successor to last year's excellent LG CX, it was something of a shoe-in – even if the brightness boost found on the step-up LG G1 OLED made it a close call. As with last year's range, the C Series is where you'll find the optimum compromise between picture performance (incredible) and price (reasonable) for a modern OLED TV.

You're getting a knockout OLED picture, with an infinite contrast ratio, vivid colors, and deep blacks all on show. The new a9 Gen 4 AI processor only improves upon picture considerations like upscaling, too, even if we found upscaled faces could gain something of a reddish tinge during their transformation.

As with the older model, you're getting 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos audio on 2.2. channel speakers, and HDMI 2.1 inputs too – a great choice for a gaming TV to with your PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Its smallest 48-inch OLED size helps to bring the cost down, too – while a new-for-2021 83-inch option will offer a bigger more impactful experience for those that can afford it. The LG C1 OLED may not have every new trick up LG's sleeve (OLED evo, mainly) but the flexible sizing, reasonable price point and host of modern technologies makes it an obvious choice for the best LG TV out there today.

Read the full review: LG C1 OLED

LG Gallery G1 OLED placed on a cream wall with furniture scattered around nearby

(Image credit: LG)

A premium OLED TV that reaches for the light

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Outstanding contrast+Impressively thin design
Reasons to avoid
-No stand included-Sound system struggles with bass

After something a bit more stylish? The LG G1 OLED is a knockout television that builds on the sleek design of last year's Gallery Series OLED and somehow makes it better.

The real hero here is LG's new OLED evo technology, which updates the panel structure to eke out even more brightness – without increasing blooming effects or, we're told, the chance of burn-in. The LG G1 looks to be a real revolution for the OLED TV maker, then, and certainly offers an upgrade over the cheaper LG C1 OLED – unlike last year, when the CX and GX models were worlds apart in price but effectively offered the same picture performance.

It's an expensive set, and the Dolby Atmos sound system isn't the best for bass – something that will effect all the other LG OLEDs in this guide. But the breathtakingly slim design makes it a real centerpiece television, with the contrast and color benefits of OLED pushed to new, lighting-enhanced heights. The new a9 Gen 4 AI processor is even more capable of smartly upscaling and processing onscreen objects in the most suitable way. Motion processing in particular has got something of an upgrade too.

Watch out though: the G1 is really designed to be wall-mounted, and it won't come with a TV stand or feet out of the box. You can buy a floorstanding Gallery Stand alongside, or find a third-party solution for placing on a counter, though.

Read more: LG G1 OLED TV review

LG CX OLED on a TV stand in a dark living room while someone watches it

(Image credit: LG)

Sitting in third, the LG CX OLED is still a landmark LG TV

Specifications
Screen size: 48-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Incredible contrast and color+New 48-inch size
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy bass-No HDR10+

The LG CX OLED topped this buying guide last year, but even though it's been replaced by new C1 and G1 successors, the CX still holds a special place in our hearts – and our wallets.

By virtue of being a year old at this point, the CX is far cheaper than its initial launch price, or that of its new C1 iteration. There isn't too much difference between them either in terms of specification – the older model still comes with an OLED panel, 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos audio and HDMI 2.1 inputs – so it may be worth buying the CX while it's still in stock at retailers in your regions.

The CX does offer top-class picture quality, thanks to its a9 Gen 3 processor and infinite contrast OLED panel. You're also getting 2.2 channel speakers, ensuring you can get some quality audio alongside those rich pictures – and even if it's a bit heavy on the bass frequencies at times, it's not enough to tarnish the overall experience of this set.

Its smallest 48-inch OLED size helps to bring the cost down, too – and thanks to the range of sizes, it's a flexible choice for a range of homes and budgets.

Read the full review: LG CX OLED

LG BX OLED lit up in a living room with a couple on the sofa watching it

(Image credit: LG)

OLED on a budget

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: OLED
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+LG's cheapest OLED+Incredible color contrast
Reasons to avoid
-Some video noise in dark scenes-Less advanced processing

Can’t afford the CX, or don’t feel like you need the latest processing to satisfy your cinephile needs?  The LG BX OLED may be the one for you.

The BX may have only launched in late 2020, but it immediately became a must-buy for those after a lower-cost OLED compared to the CX or Gallery Series. By packing in a cheaper (if less capable) a7 Gen 3 processor, it managed to knock a decent amount off the asking price for an OLED TV, and offers both great performance and great value.

You're getting pretty much all the perks of a more premium LG TV, with the webOS smart TV platform, individual pixel control, deep blacks, and the like.

The only place it falls short is in the processing, which has had to take a hit in order to keep costs down. There is some mild video noise in dark scenes, as well as occasional (if not very regular) motion blur. These won't be huge issues for everyone, though they'll be more noticeable if you're watching a lot of dark, moody television and films.

Things are changing for 2021, with a new entry-level A1 OLED that looks set to undercut the B Series on price, though it will sacrifice HDMI 2.1 ports and some of the audio output (20W rather than 40W) to do so. For now, though, this is the cheapest OLED you can buy from LG Electronics.

Read the full review: LG BX OLED

LG Nano90 on a TV stand in a living room while someone watches it

(Image credit: LG)

LG finally gets its LCD game on with the Nano 90

Specifications
Screen size: 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch, 86-inch
Resolution: 4K
Panel type: LED-LCD
Smart TV: webOS
HDR: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Reasons to buy
+Wide viewing angle support+Much improved black levels
Reasons to avoid
-Backlight flickering-No HDR10+ support

LG's LCD TVs can have a hard time of it, given how much effort LG goes to when making its case for OLED's superiority. If you are after an LCD TV, though, the Nano90 is a capable 2020 TV that won't cost as much as the flagship CX OLED at the top of this list. In fact, you'll get 65 inches of screen on the Nano90 for less than a 48-inch CX – so there's certainly a case for LCD yet.

The arrival of HDR has been particularly challenging for IPS screens, putting even more strain on IPS’s inherent contrast controls. The Nano90’s new backlight power management system, though, truly transforms LG’s LCD HDR fortunes – despite some mild backlight flickering. 

Contrast is vastly improved over past LCD models, too – and black levels are, if not on a par with OLED, certainly still capable.

We imagine that if you’re after an LED set at this price range, you’ll probably be making the jump to a QLED in this list of the best Samsung TVs. For LG enthusiasts, though, the Nano90 is still a solid choice for your home.

Read the full review: LG Nano90

Why LG?

Why should you buy an LG TV?

A great question. With so many outstanding TV brands out there, why should you choose LG over the rest?

Panel-maker LG Display (distinct from LG Electronics, which assembles and sells LG-branded TVs) has become the poster child for today’s OLED TVs, as a major supplier to its competitors like Panasonic, Sony, or Hisense. While you may like the specific feel or features of other OLED ranges – Panasonic has a more grounded color palette, while Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology emits sound from the panel itself – you’re still in a sense buying from LG.

LG’s OLED sets tend to have a slightly warmer ‘pop’ to colors than some competitors, but the difference is pretty small unless you’re looking for it. But what really marks it out is that it offers the cheapest OLED model on the market, the LG BX – with the exception of the Vizio OLED during some rather tempting sales periods.

OLED is able to reach deeper black levels and offer more precise light control than even the best LCD or QLED TVs, thanks to its self-emitting panels and ability to turn pixels off entirely. The TVs of degrade faster than LCDs, though, and can't go quite as bright as some new Samsung TVs. (You can suss out your preference in our OLED vs QLED comparison guide.)

The webOS smart TV platform on LG TVs is also fantastic, with a sleek and polished interface alongside good app support – and voice commands through the Magic Remote for all new OLED sets. Keep in mind, though, that LG doesn't support HDR10+, even if it has generally wide support for HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG formats. UK viewers won't find Freeview Play on its most recent televisions either.

Naming conventions

A man watching an LG 4K TV that is wall mounted in front of him

(Image credit: LG)

Can’t make head or tail of all those numbers and letters naming those LG TVs? We don’t blame you – the name structure can be confusing, if necessary for differentiating the huge number of old, new, and incoming sets that LG releases to market. It doesn’t help, either, that each TV maker tends to use different identifiers for their sets.

For LG’s OLED TVs, the structure is slightly easier. Something like the LG C9 OLED will be listed as “LG OLED55C9PUA” – with “LG” obviously referring to the manufacturer, “OLED” referring to the panel technology, and “55” being the model size you’re looking at (55-inch). Most sets will come in several sizes, though 55-inch is the flagship size for most new televisions these days.

Here, “C” is for the mid-range “C Series” of televisions, which sees a new model every year, alongside the budget “B Series”, stylish “E Series”, wallpaper-thin panel “W Series”, and more advanced “Z Series”.

The “9” in “LG OLED55C9” refers to the year the TV was released: 2019. That’s why LG TVs that came out in 2018 were called “C8”, “E8”, and so on. At the end of the model number are three letters marking the territory the TV is sold in: “PUA” is for North America, while “PLA” is for the UK.

LG TV Guide Cheat Sheet

Here's a quick cheat sheet for reading an LG label:

Example: LG 65SM9500PUA

1. 65: Screen size (this is a 65-inch TV)
2. SM: Indicates panel technology (S for Super UHD) and year it was made (M for 2019)
3. 9500: The number here is the series (higher is better but also more expensive typically)
4. PUA: Territory that the TV is offered in (PUA for America, PLA for UK, PTA for Australia)

LED sets work a bit differently, though. LG’s LEDs are now labelled under “NanoCell”, rather than “Super UHD”, though they’re still the LED panels LG has been making for years.

The LG NanoCell 9 Series – that “9” again referring to its 2019 release, so you know it’s up to date – is listed as “LG 65SM9500PUA”, this time leading with the model size (65-inch). That’s followed by the “S” labelling for Super UHD / NanoCell TVs, compared to “U” for simpler UHD TVs, “L” for LED TVs that aren’t 4K. LG also used to use “E” for OLED and “P” or Plasma TVs (now discontinued), though you won’t find these labels on new sets.

The second letter differentiates between each year’s new product range. So, while 2019 4K LEDs from LG all have “SM” in them, 2018’s sets had “SK” instead. 2020 will no doubt use “SN” to keep this logic going.

Henry St Leger

Henry is TechRadar's News & Features Editor, covering the stories of the day with verve, moxie, and aplomb. He's spent the past three years reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as well as gaming and VR – including a stint as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.