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Best TVs for sound

By Martin Pratt

From screechy soundtracks to muffled dialogue, we’ve heard it all. If you want a great TV experience without needing a sound bar, check out this round-up of the best sounding sets.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

There’s more to a TV than picture quality. And we believe you shouldn’t need to buy a sound bar or surround sound system to get a great experience from your brand new TV.

Perhaps you don’t have room for a sound bar or simply don’t want to spend yet more money after buying a new TV. Here, we round up the TVs that not only have the best sound quality, but also still deliver the same great picture and easy-to-use smart-TV platform as all of our Best Buy sets.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a trial to Which?.

Best TVs for sound

82%
£1,999.00
Reviewed

This is the best 55-inch TV you can buy. From screen to speakers, it's is as close to perfect as we've seen in years.

79%
£2,199.00
Reviewed

It's Samsung's best TV and an absolute marvel that can hold its own against the best OLEDs out there.

76%
£1,999.00
Reviewed

It's not the best of the best, but don't let that put you off. Sony's TV is more than deserving of a spot in your living room.

71%
£649.00
Reviewed

Sure it's basic and misses out on a PVR and voice control, but when the picture and sound are so good - who cares?

Not found the set for you? Browse all of our TV reviews

And here are three TVs to avoid

TV sound quality varies wildly, and modern flatscreen TVs have a poor reputation when judged against their boxy CRT predecessors. But recent years have seen some TVs deliver quality sound despite their ultra-thin profile. That said, poor-sounding TVs are still easy to find – here are some of the worst we’ve seen in the Which? test lab.

TVs with poor sound

49%
£295.00
Reviewed

This TV is short on features and short on quality. In fairness to it, the HD picture quality is quite good, but the audio is atrocious.

49%
£249.00
Reviewed

As long as people still want a TV for their kitchen or bedroom there will always be a demand for 24-inch TVs, but a small screen doesn't excuse low quality. The sound is horrendous and in motion, the picture is a blurry mess.

Should I buy a sound bar or surround sound system?

If your TV sounds great on its own, is there really any point splashing out on a surround sound system, too? Logic tells us that a sound bar – something specifically designed for sound – should sound better than a TV, which has many other functions. But that isn’t always the case.

We put the best and worst TVs, sound bars, surround sound systems and hi-fis through the same sound-quality test to find out whether it’s ever worth buying an additional sound system.

We found that a TV rated five stars for sound quality will actually sound worse when hooked up to a one-star sound bar. But if you’re looking to take your TV experience to the next level, the best sound bars will always improve TV sound quality.

The graph below shows the results of our tests. We asked our listening panel to score each five-star product out of 10, using the same tracks on each.

Interestingly, the hi-fi system we tested blew the sound bar out of the water. So if you already have a decent hi-fi in your living room, you’re best off simply connecting it to your TV.

While our listening panel didn’t prefer the sound of the home cinema surround sound system, it of course has a unique selling point: true surround sound. But keep in mind that well-balanced, crisp and detailed sound is what matters most, regardless of what type of system you’re using. 

So unless you particularly value the idea of sound effects coming from all directions, you can save money (and space) by repurposing your hi-fi system or going for a sound bar. For more help deciding which is best for you, check out our sound bar vs home cinema and surround systems guide.

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