It’s fairly safe to assume that most TVs made in 2020 are smart to some extent, and virtually every TV manufacturer claims to make the best smart TVs. But what exactly does that adjective “smart” entail? What makes a TV smart?
In this context, smart isn’t so much a technical term as a catch-all descriptor for TVs with certain types of features. The best smart TVs provide some mix of the following features:
- Voice assistant functionality (Alexa, Google, Apple or a proprietary system) – Makes it easy to find content with your voice. Alexa and Google Assistant allow you to connect other smart home devices and access them with your voice.
- Built-in casting – The ability to stream content from your mobile device to your TV. This is usually accomplished via Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast.
- An intuitive OS – The interface which you’ll use to search through apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime and your TV’s settings.
Our primary focus below is TVs with great smart features. That’s not to say that these aren’t plenty of incredible 4K TVs — you’ll find plenty of cross over between the two categories — but these smart TVs have great online and voice assistant features that make your viewing experience that much more enjoyable.
Here are our recommendations for the best smart TVs for sale in 2020.
1. LG C9
This isn’t your typical flatscreen TV. If you’re looking for a smart TV with 4K resolution and plenty of streaming options, we have plenty of top-rated options for you below (and there are tons of affordable flatscreen TVs to choose from, too). However, if you’re looking for a truly premium home entertainment setup, then we dare you to find a better option than this gorgeous 77-inch LG C9 OLED TV.
LG and Sony’s OLED TVs look incredible, there’s no doubt about that, and we’ve consistently touted the LG C9 Series as one of the best TVs for sale today. However, this smart TV makes other top-rated smart TVs look downright dumb. The WebOS interface that comes with the LG C9 Series is as well organized and easy to navigate as they come. The app store is robust with most, if not all, the most popular applications. Your go-to entertainment apps populate cleanly across the bottom third of the screen when needed. And for those who prefer voice control over the old-school way, the C9 has support from three different voice assistants: the LG proprietary ThinQ, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Finally, you can stream content from your phone to the TV via Apple AirPlay 2.
For full smart capabilities and overall picture quality, the LG C9 leads the pack.
2. TCL 6-Series Smart TV
BEST BUDGET SMART TV
With an interface so simple a caveman could figure it out, the TCL 6-Series provides essentially a bare-bones interface stripped of all the bells and whistles that you don’t need for an intuitive, easy to navigate experience. Beyond that, you can plug headphones right into the remote for “private listening” when you don’t want to wake others at night. And you can even keep track of upcoming shows you want to watch via My Feed within the interface. All of this is contained in a completely affordable price. We see you, TCL.
3. Sony AG9 OLED
If we’re talking just picture quality, Sony’s OLED TVs lead the pack. But drop in a little smart-feature hot sauce into the mix and this TV becomes extra awesome. For starters, most Android users that use will be able to control the TV with their phone via the Sony TV SideView app. That also means built-in Chromecast for seamless streaming from your devices to the TV. It’s no surprise that since Google Play is your primary go-to app store, it also has Google Assistant integration and easy access to all of the best streaming services. This TV is the total package. Unfortunately, that comes at a steep cost.
4. Vizio P-Series
With the Vizio P-Series, there’s no need for an additional Chromecast device to stream content from your phone straight to your TV, which is awesome, and rather handy. The SmartCast OS (pretty much the Android interface) is robust. It provides rows for featured content, recommended content and one for all of your downloaded apps. The downside is the interface is a bit on the slow side compared to premium smart TVs. With that in mind, this is one of the best mid-tier flat screen TVs you can find for the money.
5. Hisense 55H8G Quantum Series 55-inch Smart TV (2020)
SUPER BUDGET OPTION
Finding a 4K TV around $500 is incredible in and of itself. The small price tag is enticing enough, but the Vidaa U interface is pretty sweet, too. You won’t find as many apps as you would with WebOS or Tizen OS, but you’ll find all the heavy hitters (Netflix, Prime Video, etc.). It’s easy to navigate as well, all without overwhelming your home entertainment experience with bloatware you’ll never use (take notes, Samsung, LG and Sony). Of course, the picture quality won’t be as great as OLED TVs the likes of LG and Sony, but you’re getting a smart TV with 4K picture quality for $500. That still pretty great, yeah?
6. Toshiba TF 32-inch Smart Fire TV Edition
Looking for a top-rated small TV? Even though you can buy a Fire Stick from Amazon, the Toshiba TF 32-inch Smart TV has the Fire Stick platform built right into it. And there is still plenty of utility for a 32-inch TV, which can be perfect for a kitchen or a den. The Fire Stick platform is incredibly easy and versatile, allowing for you to speak directly to Alexa to find the content you are looking for. Toshiba is a solid choice if you need a little TV at a little price tag.
7. Samsung Q80T
Samsung’s Tizen OS is about on par with the simplicity and intuitiveness of LG’s WebOS. Higher-end Samsung TVs also come with Bixby, Samsung’s proprietary voice assistant. (However, the 2020 version of the Q80 does come with Alexa functionality as well). Beyond the nifty voice control search, there’s also a Mult-View feature to watch content on your phone and TV while you are casting. That makes it easier to share content from your phone for others to watch and enjoy. Beyond the smart stuff, Samsung Q80T is an overall great TV choice for picture quality. There have been early reports of occasional picture quality issues, which is frustrating in a TV that costs more than $1,500.