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19 October 2020

Most reliable TV brands

Unique Which? reliability data can help you to choose a TV brand that lasts. We survey owners of LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba TVs to find out which sets develop the fewest faults over time.
Cracked-screen
MP
Martin Pratt

Picture problems are the most common issue with TVs. Our research found that 35% of all faults were to do with picture quality.

A new TV is an expensive purchase we don’t make very often. Most of us don’t upgrade more than once every six or seven years, so it’s vital to choose the right TV from the right brand. Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, can be an important buying decision. That’s why each year in our unique reliability survey, we ask more than 10,000 Which? members to tell us whether they're pleased with their TV, or have experienced problems.

Our unique survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults and how quickly they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest TV manufacturers, including LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony. We've calculated a reliability rating for each, so you know which brand won’t let you down, and which produces sets that are less reliable.   

How long do different TV brands last? 

To find out how long you can rely on your TV, we calculated an average estimated lifetime for each brand, based on how long respondents were able to keep a product before having to replace it because of an issue that was out of their control. 

Estimated lifetimes should only be used as a guide – there’s nothing to say your TV will suddenly stop working when this time period is up. However, it’s a useful way to get an idea of how a product you own, or are shopping for, compares with others. 

Estimated average lifespan

Brand Estimated average lifespan
M 13
M 14
M 13
M 14

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020, covering 12,445 TVs.

How quickly do different TV brands need replacing? 

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for longest compares with the worst brand, as well as the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a five-year period in the table below.

TVs replaced because of a fault

Brand Two years Five years
M 8% 57%
M 2% 34%
M 9% 24%
M 2% 32%
Member icon
6% 41%

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020, covering 12,445 TVs.

How satisfied are customers with different TV brands? 

Our survey also reveals how satisfied people are with a brand overall – we use this to calculate a customer satisfaction score, based on how likely people are to recommend it. 

Loyalty is also an important factor. Although it doesn’t always correlate directly with satisfaction, some brands have what it takes to keep customers coming back time and again. Our loyalty score is based on whether people stuck with the same brand when they upgraded.

Despite being largely satisfied with both brands, twice as many people still chose to abandon our lowest-scoring brand the next time they bought a new TV.

Customer scores for TV brands

Brand Customer loyalty score Customer satisfaction score
M 47% 83%
M 24% 82%
M 50% 82%
M 26% 80%
Member icon
3% 78%

The above data is based on a survey of Which? members in July 2020, covering 12,445 TVs.

Common TV problems

Problems with the display and picture is the most common fault, accounting for 35%. Problems in this area can range from small annoyances to severe issues that render your TV unwatchable. You could have a few dead pixels, leaving a small black area on your screen – unfortunately, there's no easy way of fixing this. But if it's simply that the colour balance seems a little off, head into the picture settings and see if you can correct it.

You're far less likely to have a TV that suffers from the next most common faults. 9% reported software issues, ranging from apps disappearing to sluggish menu speeds and system crashes. But it could be worse: another 9% reported a complete failure of the TV, rendering it completely unwatchable.

TV brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more details about its performance in our survey.

Samsung TVs overview table
Number tested in the past two years 133
Number of Best Buys
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Estimated lifetime
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Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past two years (as of 13 October 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2020 of 12,445 TV owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 13 October 2020.
  • Find out how well Samsung TVs score for reliability, and how the most popular brand in the world stacks up against LG, Panasonic and Sony.
  • See which faults are most likely to affect a Samsung TV, from problems finding channels and faulty remotes, to catastrophic screen failures and software problems.
  • See how Samsung fared based on its customer score – we asked those in our survey how satisfied they were with its TVs, and whether they’d happily recommend one to friends and family.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
LG TVs overview table
Number tested in the past two years 132
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past two years (as of 13 October 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2020 of 12,445 TV owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 13 October 2020.
  •  LG is one of the most popular TV brands, but is it the most reliable? See how it stacks up against its chief rivals: Panasonic, Samsung and Sony.
  • With problems ranging from minor issues with buttons on the remote not working, to catastrophic software failures that render the TV unusable, see which are most likely to affect LG TVs.
  • Reliability is one thing, but are owners happy with their purchase? Find out how likely people are to recommend an LG TV to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Panasonic TVs overview table
Number tested in the past two years 62
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past two years (as of 13 October 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2020 of 12,445 TV owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 13 October 2020.
  • In past years, Panasonic has been one of the most popular brands, but with the Japanese brand losing market share to LG and Samsung, have standards slipped? Find out if Panasonic TVs are still some of the most reliable around.
  • Even with the best will in the world, some TVs will still develop faults. Find out which are most likely to affect Panasonic TVs.
  • Panasonic was once the dominant force in TVs, but are people still a fan of its sets. Learn how satisfied people are with their TV and how likely they are to recommend a Panasonic to others.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.
Sony TVs overview table
Number tested in the past two years 113
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past two years (as of 13 October 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2020 of 12,445 TV owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 13 October 2020.
  • Four brands dominate the TV industry, matching each other blow for blow when it comes to technology and innovation, but how does Sony stack up when it comes to reliability?
  • From minor issues with a TV's firmware, to devastating display faults that can’t be fixed, see what problems are most likely to affect a Sony TV.
  • Are Sony TVs popular? We asked Sony TV owners how happy they were with their set and whether they’d be happy to recommend one to someone else.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access
Philips TVs overview table
Number tested in the past two years 40
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Estimated lifetime
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Loyalty score
Member icon
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past two years (as of 13 October 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2020 of 12,445 TV owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 13 October 2020.
  • Four brands dominate the TV industry, matching each other blow for blow when it comes to technology and innovation, Philips isn't one of them so how does it stack up when it comes to reliability?
  • From minor issues with a TV's firmware, to devastating display faults that can’t be fixed, see what problems are most likely to affect a Philips TV.
  • Are Philips TVs popular? We asked Philips TV owners how happy they were with their set and whether they’d be happy to recommend one to someone else.
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite computing brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the technology products they own – from how likely they'd be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home. This year more than 15,000 Which? members told us about nearly 100,000 devices. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.

Our brand surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best TV you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy awards and won’t recommend any of its products unless there's a marked improvement in longevity.

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