5 best gaming TVs for every budget in 2021

Ideal for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and a PC

Nowadays, TV is not only a device to passively watch content. The best 4K and 8K TVs are capable of so much more, but many of them aren’t great for gaming. Gaming capabilities have been especially relevant since the introduction of the ninth generation of consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. There are many reasons to purchase these powerful platforms natively supporting 4K gaming, with 8K becoming a reality eventually. The same goes for PCs, as even midrange configurations can handle some 4K titles just fine. 

What are the essentials for the best gaming TV in 2021?

If you are a gamer, choosing a display that will make the most of the current consoles and PCs is critical. Of course, while the resolution and picture quality are important, you also must pay attention to additional factors. Here I will primarily focus on 4K displays, as they are affordable and perfectly suited for all gamers in 2021. However, I won’t neglect 8K screens if you care about future-proofing or are just curious about them. Every category will feature my preferred device, with all of them currently available. However, I’ll update this guide frequently to reflect the market changes and enlist new models. Finally, don’t miss the FAQ section, as there you’ll find answers that will help you make an informed decision. If you are looking for a great gaming laptop to connect it to your TV, check my list of the best gaming laptops.

LG C1 65″

LG C1 review

The best gaming TV overall is packed with features
LG C1 specifications:
  • 65″
  • Resolution: [email protected]
  • VRR: Yes, including G-Sync and FreeSync
  • Input lag: 10.1 ms
  • Inputs: 4xHDMI 2.1
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  • Four HDMI 2.1 inputs

  • Infinite contrast

  • Lots of gaming settings

  • Very low input lag

  • Supports G-Sync and FreeSync

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  • Modest improvements over LG CX

  • Not meant for bright rooms

Last year’s LG CX was a fantastic TV, but as it’s getting phased out, C1 took its place. While this is not a revolutionary product, there are plenty of improvements here for gamers. This is another gorgeous-looking device, though physically, it’s almost the same as CX or even C9. The OLED screen needs a lot of space on the table because of its wide legs.

LG C1 comes in five sizes, including 48, 55, 65, 77, and 83-inches. The last option is a new one, but it’s also the rarest and not at all affordable. While the 65″ version is what I recommend, you can save money with the 55″ edition. Finally, 48″ might be too small for your living room, but it’s perfect for your PC or laptop. Whatever variant you choose, all of them have identical features and performance.

Like its predecessor, LG C1 is unbeatable with four HDMI 2.1 inputs, more than you need even if you own both PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. The fact that the maximum bandwidth is 40 instead of the maximum 48Gbps is pretty much meaningless, as other manufacturers are doing the same. Other inputs include 3x USB 2.0, digital optical audio out, analog audio out, tuner, and ethernet.

Faster gaming performance

While the CX series was already impressive with a 13ms input lag in gaming mode, LG C1 takes it down to 10.1 ms thanks to its new Boost mode. While some rival models are even faster, one or two milliseconds won’t mean anything to anyone. Thanks to HDMI 2.1, you can enjoy [email protected] fps gaming, although the list of compatible titles is very modest. This device has everything you need, including VRR, FreeSync, and G-Sync. Finally, you’ll find the predefined settings for various genres, including FPS or RPGs. We’ll see if more is coming via firmware update.

This all wouldn’t matter if the picture quality wasn’t up to the highest standards. While the improvements over CX are minimal, you still get an infinite contrast ratio with perfect blacks and realistic colors. Unfortunately, the brightness hasn’t improved, but you won’t be affected in a moderately dark room. In 2021, LG G1 is the OLED series with the highest brightness, but it’s too expensive for the improvements it brings. As per tradition, LG ignores HDR10+, but the more popular Dolby Vision is included. As for the upscaling, it’s better than ever with the fourth generation of Alpha 9 chipset. That’s important if you own any sub-Ultra HD consoles.

Even if you’re the only gamer in the family, you won’t have difficulty persuading others to purchase LG C1. Whether you are watching sports, TV shows, or movies, this device delivers and is the best TV overall.

 LG OLED is also in the top position in our list of the best all-around TVs in 2021 and in the list of the best budget TVs in 2021.

Sony X90J
Sony X90J

Sony X90J review

The best midrange gaming TV is perfect for console gaming
Sony X90J QLED specifications:
  • 65″
  • Resolution: [email protected]
  • Inputs: 2xHDMI 2.1, 2xHDMI 2.0
  • VRR: Yes
  • Input lag: 18.7 ms
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  • HDMI 2.1

  • First-class upscaling

  • Excellent default calibration

  • Impressive contrast

  • Additional PS5 compatibility

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  • Limited viewing angles

  • Lacks HDR10+ support

In 2020, Sony presented its controversial X900H gaming TV, which didn’t even have HDMI 2.1 until the later firmware update. As a successor, X90J is under pressure to top it performance-wise and show us that buying a $1000+ TV still makes sense. This model does look almost the same as X900H, and the build quality is good, despite being made of plastic. While you can adjust the height, keep in mind that the legs are positioned wide. Of course, this leaves plenty of space for a soundbar, which I recommend for every TV.

This device comes in many different sizes, including 50″, 55″, 65″, 75″, 85″ and the gigantic 100″, which carries the X92 label. However, the 85″ model is a bit different, as it uses 4K HDR Processor X1 instead of Cognitive Processor XR in the rest of the line. If you are wondering, XR provides slightly improved performance, sound, and video processing.

The Sony X90J has four HDMI inputs, with two HDMI 2.1 compatible. This is plenty even if you have both Xbox Series X and PS5, but the eARC is on one of the HDMI 2.1 ports. As for the other inputs, there’s the standard digital and analog audio out, tuner, ethernet, and IR in. While the composite in is supported, you’ll need to buy an adapter to use it. Finally, one of the two USBs is 3.0.

The firmware update brings the latest gaming features

While the 18.7 ms input lag is far from the most impressive, anything below 20 or 30 ms is excellent. If you prefer sports, racing, or action games, you’ll still enjoy responsive gaming. As was the case with X900H, X90J launched without VRR, so many were skeptical. However, in late October 2021, the firmware update finally brought this feature to life. Also, the PS5 finally recognizes the TV and even optimizes HDR performance. Now, we just need Sony to enable VRR on its latest console, but you can use this feature on the Xbox Series platforms. Of course, HDMI 2.1 allows 4K gaming at 120 fps, although these titles will remain rare in 2022. Note that X90J is geared toward console gamers, so while you can hook your PC to it, there’s no G-Sync or FreeSync support.

The X90J has a fantastic contrast, which is a significant improvement over the X900H. Furthermore, it provides higher brightness. Ultimately, this shows in HDR performance, so make sure it’s enabled in supported games. While Sony keeps ignoring HDR10+, Dolby Vision is still here. I need to mention that color calibration is almost perfect by default, so you don’t need to bother with that. As the TV uses a VA panel, be prepared for limited viewing angles. If you play a local multiplayer title, don’t let anyone sit too much on the side. Finally, if you have a Nintendo Switch, you’ll be happy to know that the upscaling is excellent.

The Sony X90J is an excellent midrange gaming TV, but only after the firmware update enables its advanced gaming features. Two HDMI 2.1 inputs are still plenty enough, and the low input lag will make everyone happy. Despite the limited viewing angles, expect above-average HDR performance and excellent contrast. Outside of OLED, this is the top gaming choice that is still surprisingly affordable.

Hisense U8G
Hisense U8G

Hisense U8G review

The best under $1000 gaming TV is also the best value 
Hisense U8G specifications:
  • 65″
  • Resolution: [email protected]
  • Inputs: 2xHDMI 2.1, 2xHDMI 2.0
  • VRR: Yes, including G-Sync and FreeSync
  • Input lag: 15.2 ms
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  • HDMI 2.1

  • Impressive HDR

  • VRR with G-Sync and FreeSync

  • HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support

  • Contrast

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  • Average upscaling

  • One HDMI 2.1 is also an eARC port

After previously fighting prejudice, Hisense established its positive reputation with excellent budget TVs. However, with U8G, they are going a step above and getting closer to the best that LED technology offers. Despite the name, this isn’t the successor to sub $500 H8G, but H9G. These two models are almost indistinguishable as they share the same design. Only the stand is a bit different, but still very solid. While mostly made of plastic, U8G doesn’t look cheap, and it still incorporates metal parts.

Hisense comes only in two sizes, so you’ll be disappointed if you need a small or very large display. Still, the most in-demand sizes are available, which include 55″ and 65″. Yet, while these two models are almost identical, there’s one noticeable difference. The 65″ model has nearly three times more local dimming zones, producing better black levels.

The Hisense U8G has four HDMI ports, and two of them are HDMI 2.1, making it fully compatible with PS5 and Xbox Series consoles. The rest of the inputs include composite via an adapter, ethernet, tuner, and digital and analog audio out. Additionally, there are two USBs, one of them supporting the 3.0 standard.

Every VRR option for PC and consoles gamers

Unlike the H9G, U8G is tailor-made for gamers! The 15.2 ms input lag in gaming mode makes it an excellent choice even when playing fast games like the latest Call of Duty or Forza Horizon. As I mentioned, this TV has HDMI 2.1, making it compatible with those rare [email protected] fps titles. Furthermore, it also includes VRR in all its shapes! This will make it attractive even to PC gamers, as this device supports G-Sync and FreeSync. Of course, keep in mind that you can’t use VRR or 1440p mode on PS5 because the console currently lacks support.

This TV uses a VA panel which is excellent at black uniformity and contrast while also impressively handling reflections. Furthermore, brightness is also terrific, which helps a lot with HDR performance. Make sure to have it enabled in all supported games, as well as Dolby Vision and HDR10+. I already mentioned extra dimming zones on the 65″ version, but nothing is helping to improve the viewing angles. Hence, try to stay near the central position. Finally, don’t expect much from upscaling, which is only decent.The Hisense U8G has every single feature needed for top gaming performance on PC or modern consoles. However, it also impresses with the picture quality and doesn’t need additional calibration. This also makes it a fantastic choice for watching movies or sports, so even non-gamers will love it. Finally, you can also get U7G for a couple of hundred bucks less, as it also has HDMI 2.1 but with reduced picture quality.

Samsung QN900A
Samsung QN900A

Samsung QN900A review

The best 8K gaming TV is the pinnacle of LED technology
Samsung QN900A specifications:
  • 65″
  • Resolution: [email protected]
  • HDMI: 4xHDMI 2.1
  • VRR: Yes, including G-Sync and FreeSync
  • Input lag: 10.1 ms 
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  • Excellent upscaling

  • Incredibly thin

  • Four HDMI 2.1 inputs

  • Excellent viewing angles for a VA panel

  • Terrific HDR performance

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  • Still fairly expensive

  • Average local dimming

In 2021 the prices of 8K TV sets kept dropping, so it’s not even hard to find them in your local stores. While they’re still not affordable, it’s not hard to be mesmerized by their performance. Yet, it’s not only about the resolution, as these sets often use the most advanced technology, not available anywhere else. That’s certainly the case with Samsung QN900A, which is the company’s new flagship, replacing Q950T. Knowing that, no one should be surprised that the build quality is pristine, while the TV is impressively thin at 2/3 of an inch.

While I recommended the smallest, 65″ version, Samsung QN900A is available in 75″ and 85″. At the moment, you’ll be paying around $1000 for every 10″ more. Luckily, all versions use the same panel and have identical performance.

The Samsung QN900A has four HDMI 2.1 inputs, as another reminder of its high status. The rest of the inputs include ethernet, tuner, and digital optical audio out. Furthermore, there are three USB 2.0 connections.

8K gaming on the best LED screen

As the input lag is 10.1 ms, this puts the Samsung QN900A among the best performers. As a result, you can safely go online and play rounds of Fortnite, Apex Legends, or any other title requiring fast reflexes. While we got the first 8K console video game, you should know that they will stay infrequent. Yet, this device also supports [email protected] fps gaming and VRR, including G-Sync and FreeSync. Of course, the TV has perfect compatibility with both platforms, as it automatically switches to game mode. I also love the Game Bar menu, which displays helpful info.

LED and QLED TVs still can’t offer the same picture quality as OLEDs, but Samsung QN900A doesn’t disappoint. Where it beats every OLED is the HDR brightness, which is even better after the firmware update. With values above 1000 nits, this makes it the best HDR showcase on the test. This device also impresses with reflection handling and provides decent gray uniformity and contrast. Despite using a VA panel, viewing angles are significantly improved using the Ultra Viewing Angel technology. I also recommended manual calibration to enjoy the excellent colors offered by the wide color gamut. Finally, the AI-based upscaling produces impressive results with 1080p and 4K content, with barely visible artifacts.  

The Samsung QN900A is a beautiful-looking TV packed with every gaming feature you can imagine. While the picture quality can’t rival OLEDs, it’s still impressive, with unrivaled HDR brightness. If you need a relatively affordable 8K set, Samsung is the king!

Hisense U6G
Hisense U6G

Hisense U6G review

The best budget gaming TV option
Hisense U6G specifications:
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  • Wide color gamut

  • Very low input lag

  • ALLM support

  • Advanced HDR standards

  • Reflections handling

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  • Average SD upscaling

  • Lacks HDMI 2.1

As gamers are so demanding, it may seem that buying a budget TV for the latest consoles isn’t a brilliant idea. However, for the price of PS5 and Xbox Series X, Hisense U6G offers way more than expected. While mostly plastic, this device has a solid build quality, with wide legs leaving a lot of space for a soundbar.

The 55″ version is the biggest you can buy for $500, but you can save some money on a 50″ variant. Additionally, you may purchase the 65″ and 75″ models, as even the biggest one is still under $1000. All sizes have the same features, except 65″ and 75″ having twice as many local dimming zones.

The HDMI 2.1 is still not available in this TV class, but like was the case with H8G, you’ll have four HDMI 2.0 inputs. The other connectivity options include analog and digital audio out, tuner, ethernet, two USB 2.0, and even a composite in.

Top class gaming for less

The Hisense U6G is ready for all games as the input lag is measured at only 10.8 ms. While you can easily hook the latest consoles, HDMI 2.0 means you are limited to [email protected] fps gaming. While that may be a handicap one day, it won’t happen anywhere soon. The lack of HDMI 2.1 also means that there are no VRR options. Yet unlike H8G, U6G supports ALLM. This means that it will switch to gaming mode automatically.

The U6G offers an impressive contrast ratio and black uniformity. It’s also excellent at handling reflections while the wide color gamut shines after calibration. At 600 nits, this TV isn’t as bright as others on the test, but HDR still looks decent. Hisense still deserves praise as this model supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Yet, don’t forget that VA panels like this have restricted viewing angles. The upscaling looks good, especially with 1080p content.Even though this is the only TV on the test lacking HDMI 2.1, its price makes it such an attractive buy. This is by far the best choice for gamers on a budget, and it’s also a good idea to purchase it as your secondary TV.

Check my list of the budget gaming laptops to connect it to your new TV.

The best gaming TV – frequently asked questions

What is the acceptable input lag for gaming?

Input lag expresses how long it takes for a display to react to an electrical signal you have sent via a device such as a gamepad or a keyboard. In general, TVs have a higher input lag than monitors, but anything below 30 ms is considered very good. However, even bigger values are not a problem if you are playing slower-paced games. Also, titles that support 120Hz mode are much more responsive and can lower input lag by 50 percent. Nonetheless, you won’t feel much difference between 10 ms and 20 ms input lag unless you are a pro gamer.

Do I need a gaming TV with HDMI 2.1?

As I’ve mentioned, there are almost no [email protected] games for PS5 or Xbox Series X. A few of them, like Dirt 5, Devil May Cry V: Special Edition, or Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, support 120Hz gaming, but only at 1080p. The drop in resolution is usually not enough to achieve such a high frame rate, so the graphic detail also suffers. Currently, only a few PS5/Xbox Series X games support native [email protected], including Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. However, this is a 2D game that would fly even on PlayStation 3. So, as we assume that the trend will continue, does that mean that HDMI 2.1 is pretty pointless? Well, not really. First, HDMI 2.1 brings VRR, enabling a smooth frame rate, and secondly, you’ll still feel benefits on 120Hz TV if the game is somewhere between 61-120 fps. 

Does it matter if HDMI 2.1 ports have a transfer rate of 40 Gbps instead of 48 Gbps?

HDMI 2.1 is not a universal standard, meaning there is some difference in the data transfer rate. So, are you missing anything if you see that your brand new TV has only a 40 Gbps transfer rate on its HDMI 2.1 ports instead of the full 48 Gbps? In theory, yes, but not in reality. That additional 8 Gbps is needed to display [email protected] content with HDR, VRR, and 12-bit color depth. Every TV on our list supports 10-bit color, so they won’t ever need a 48 Gbps transfer rate.

OLED or QLED TV – what is better for gaming?

I know you don’t like this answer, but both technologies have pros and cons. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a matter of personal preference, but your optimal needs. OLED screens are considered the top of current technology, as they offer the best contrast and unrivaled black levels. However, that becomes less relevant if the TV is in well-lit surroundings. In that case, QLED is superior as it has a much brighter screen. In that regard, OLED is similar to plasma TVs. 

Is burn-in still a problem on OLED screens?

One other thing that OLED shares with plasma technology is the possibility of a permanent burn-in effect if the screen or parts of it remains static for a long time. However, if you buy an OLED in 2021, you don’t have to worry, thanks to various protections. Additionally, you can also apply automatic brightness limitation, and although this will slightly impact HDR, rest assured that your TV will be burn-in-free. So yeah, you can take hours to make your next move in the game of virtual chess or in your favorite turn-based strategy.

VA or IPS panel – which one is better?

The VA and IPS are two prevalent types of LCD panels. In fact, it’s not uncommon that a single TV model uses different panels! For example, the Samsung Q80A employs IPS for 55″, 65″, and 75″ inch models, but VA for 50″ and 85″ versions. As you can imagine, this means that both technologies have their pros and cons.

IPS panels shine when it comes to viewing angles, so if you often watch movies and play games with friends and family, they are much better than VA. However, contrast is the exact opposite, so a VA panel is a superior choice if you regularly watch TV in the dark. Finally, VA usually has better black uniformity. 

When will be the right moment to purchase 8K TV?

I know people who ignored those 720p TVs when they appeared more than a decade ago and waited for full HD displays. One of them was me! So, is it a good idea to skip 4K and wait for 8K prices to come down? Well, maybe not. First, in the best-case scenario, 8K will become mainstream in about 3-4 years, and even then, 8K content will be minimal. But what about PS5 and Xbox Series X? While both systems support 8K in theory, playing new Gran Turismo, Gears of War, or God of War at such resolution seems impossible, even at 30 frames per second. Also, the most potent PC setups are currently struggling with 8K, which won’t change anytime soon.

Finally, to see 8K resolution benefits, you will need a giant screen, like 65-inches or even bigger! So if you don’t have a large living room, it’s doubtful you will ever benefit from it.

If you are looking for a budget option check out list of the best budget 4K gaming Tvs.

When is the best moment to buy a new gaming TV?

I’m sure that someone will always tell you to wait a bit more to buy a new TV set, but the truth is, the choice is already excellent. For less than $500, you can buy a great 4K TV that will recognize your console and even automatically apply low latency mode once it’s turned on. For twice that much, you’ll gain HDMI 2.1, 120Hz mode, VRR, and overall better picture quality, and I guarantee that you’ll be pleased for years to come. Finally, the top class is still a viable choice, so you will get the best if you invest in the LG C1 series. If you don’t own a gaming PC, PS5, or Xbox Series X/S or don’t plan to get it this year, then you don’t need a gaming TV. But as you came here to read about it, that probably isn’t the case!

What are the main traps to avoid when buying a gaming TV?

Unfortunately, manufacturers still use tricks to fool unaware customers. For example, the Samsung Q80T was a great TV, but only if you skip 49/50-inch versions as they don’t have HDMI 2.1 or 120Hz panels. The general rule is that you are safe from these unpleasant surprises if you buy a 55-inch or bigger TV, although you should always double-check. 

The other thing that will happen more often is that you bought a great TV on paper, but it seriously lacks in reality. For example, Sony X900H didn’t have HDMI 2.1 support or a 120Hz refresh rate before the update. The problem is that the updates may roll out very slowly, so you need to wait up to a year to get them. Well, is that Sony suggesting that we currently don’t need HDMI 2.1, as there has been such a massive shortage of PS5 consoles since the launch date?

What is the best size for a gaming TV?

Yes, larger is better, especially for console gamers. Still, be reasonable as a 75-inch screen won’t look good in a small room. The best size for your new TV is the one you can afford, and that’s not too big for your home. With 4K screens, the dimension is so crucial because it allows you to see more details. If you buy a 55-inch 4K set only to watch it from 12 feet away, it will be like using a 1080p screen. Most people are okay with a 65-inch TV, but again, find the one that’s right for you, but don’t go below 55-inch models.

Of course, PC gamers, you are an exception! If you want a gaming TV serving your monitor, even a 40-inch screen looks gigantic! Plus, as it is probably around two feet in front of you, you will still catch all the details!

Finally, should you choose a massive TV or a smaller one that has better picture quality? Again, there is no universal rule. If a 55-inch OLED is big enough for your home, but you can still fit that larger 65-inch LED, I would personally go with the larger one.

Buying guide for the best gaming TV

What is the best gaming TV you can buy in 2021 for your budget?

Purchasing a new gaming TV is not an easy task because there’s no universal solution. What you should do is choose something that best suits your needs, your budget, and the available space. While that’s not crucial, we all want an aesthetically pleasing slim device with the excellent build quality.

The LG C1 65″ is my top gaming choice as it has brilliant picture quality, low input lag, excellent HDR, VRR, and HDMI 2.1 inputs. As 8K won’t be a standard for a long time, rest assured that you won’t need to replace it anytime soon.

However, as I said, even the best gaming TV isn’t the most reasonable option for all of us. If you plan a screen for your living room that receives lots of daylight, the Sony X90J might be a better solution. This is still an excellent device with 4xHDMI 2.1, low input lag, and VRR support.

At less than $1000, the Hisense U8G is an incredible value, especially if you don’t need four HDMI 2.1 inputs. You still get two of these and even advanced VRR features, absent from Sony X90J. The HDR is similarly impressive, with excellent peak brightness and Dolby Vision/HDR10+ compatibility.

The Hisense U6G is the best proof that you can have a solid gaming experience even on a TV that’s no more expensive than the console itself. While HDMI 2.1 is too much for this class, you’ll still enjoy low input lag and impressive picture quality with a wide color gamut. This is one of the best budget TVs overall!

If you have a high-end PC or want to experience the latest technology, an 8K TV is the answer. The Samsung QN900A is the most stunning-looking TV I’ve ever seen, and it still packs every gaming feature you may think of. Plus, the HDR performance is easily the best on the test!

What Is the best gaming TV in 2021?

If your budget is not limited, then LG C1 is the best you can get. The beautiful OLED screen and excellent gaming performance make it worth every penny. Sony X90J is the best non-OLED alternative, more suitable for gaming during daylight. Excellent upscaling makes it an excellent choice for older consoles too.

Unlike Sony X90J, Hisense U8G has two instead of four HDMI 2.1. However, this TV is less than $1000 for the 65″ version and it includes FreeSync and G-Sync, making it a better choice for PC gamers. Alternatively, U6G costs 50 percent less for the 55″ inch version while still keeping the impressive picture quality and low input lag. Of course, it lacks HDMI 2.1 and VRR.

Finally, the price of 8K gaming is significantly lower thanks to the 65″ Samsung QN900A, which has every single gaming feature, and the excellent Game Bar to provide you complete control.