Before you start shopping for a new TV you need to start at square one: decide what size TV is best for your room. Making this determination is the first step in narrowing down the options.
The best TV size for most rooms can be determined by measuring the distance in inches between the seating and screen and dividing by 1.6. This equation should be adjusted on a room-by-room basis depending on the purpose of the room. For dedicated Media Rooms divide by 1.4 and for home theaters divide by 1.2.
The most important thing to consider is room type. Let’s face it: your bedroom and home theatre have different demands. Make sure you take these differences into account.
Feet = Inches
Best TV Size
Max TV Size
Max TV Size
|7 Feet = 84 inches||52.5 inches||60 inches||70 inches|
|8 Feet = 96 inches||60 inches||70 inches||80 inches|
|9 Feet = 108 inches||67.5 inches||78 inches||90 inches|
|10 Feet = 120 inches||75 inches||86 inches||100 inches|
|11 Feet = 132 inches||82.5 inches||95 inches||110 inches|
|12 Feet = 144 inches||90 inches||103 inches||120 inches|
|13 Feet = 156 inches||97.5 inches||112 inches||130 inches|
Best TV Size: Living Room
When choosing the best size TV for Living Rooms, Family Rooms, and other Multi-Purpose rooms it feels especially important that we don’t choose too big or too small: these rooms depend on balance.
The TV needs to feel comfortable. It needs to fit, and feel like home. Too big and it’s overbearing, too small and you’ve got buyer’s remorse. This calculation for living room TV size takes that delicate balance into consideration:
To find the perfect TV size for your living room:
- Measure the viewing distance from your couch to the TV
- Divide the viewing distance (in inches) by 1.6
- The result is the best size TV (in inches, measured diagonally)
- When in doubt, round up
Suggested Living Room TV Sizes
|VIEWING DISTANCE||INCHES||BEST TV SIZE|
|13 feet||156 inches||104 inch TV|
|12 feet||144 inches||96 inch TV|
|11 feet||132 inches||88 inch TV|
|10 feet||120 inches||80 inch TV|
|9 feet||108 inches||67.5 inch TV|
|8 feet||96 inches||60 inch TV|
|7 feet||84 inches||52.5 inch TV|
|BELOW 7 FEET||TOO CLOSE||NOT A BIG SCREEN TV|
- Your couch is 7 feet from the TV
- 7 feet = 84 inches
- 84 divided by 1.6 = 52.5
- Round up and get a 55-inch TV
Your size options will depend on the specific TV Brands and Models that you’re shopping, of which there is an overwhelming variety.
When choosing between two sizes, personal preference will sway you back and forth. Let yourself be guided by the purpose of the room. Imagine yourself in the space and visualize how you’ll use the room, with and without the TV.
Most people end up deciding between a 55-inch TV or 65-inch TV, with 65-inch TVs being the most popular choice.
If you truly can’t decide, bigger is typically better: rarely do people complain that their TV is too big whereas buying a TV that’s too small is a bummer that you’ll relive each time you turn it on.
If your primary concern is that it will look disproportionately large with the other design elements in your room, go smaller. It won’t be the best TV size for viewing but it will be the best TV size for balance, and deep down that’s what you’re seeking. This is a matter of taste and preference- you cannot choose wrong.
Don’t forget the worst seats in the house. If your room has additional seating either very far, very close, or at wide angles, you may want to consider erring in favor of a bigger TV or smaller TV (in that order).
To be sure you’re making the right decision, consider using painter’s tape or cardboard cutouts to create an outline of the TV sizes on your wall. This will give you a more true representation of the decision at hand.
Best TV Size: Home Theater
If you’re designing a Home Theatre, Movie Room, or an area where the TV is the only focal point, your goal should be to create the most immersive experience possible.
That’s achieved by increasing the TV size until it comfortably fills your entire view- but no larger. You should be able to see all of the action, as large as possible, without having to turn your head, crane your neck, or dart your eyes back and forth.
To calculate the best size TV for home theaters:
- Measure the viewing distance from the closest seats to the TV
- Divide the viewing distance (in inches) by 1.2
- The result is the maximum TV size (in inches, measured diagonally)
- When in doubt, round down
Our TV size formula for home theaters lists the maximum TV size: bigger is always better until this point.
After surpassing the maximum suggested size, your immersive entertainment experience will become an irritation. The TV will be too big to see at once, your neck will get sore from moving it all around, and you’re likely to experience dizziness over sustained periods of time.
Get as close to the “Maximum TV Size” as your room and budget allows, but don’t go over.
Best TV Size for Home Theaters
|Viewing Distance||in Inches||TV Size (Maximum)|
|13 feet||156 inches||130 inch TV|
|12 feet||144 inches||144 inch TV|
|11 feet||132 inches||132 inch TV|
|10 feet||120 inches||120 inch TV|
|9 feet||108 inches||108 inch TV|
|8 feet||96 inches||96 inch TV|
|7 feet||84 inches||84 inch TV|
|6 feet||72 inches||72 inch TV|
|5 feet||60 inches||60- inch TV|
|4 FEET||TOO SMALL||NOT A BIG SCREEN TV|
This equation’s ratio between Viewing Distance and TV size allows your screen to fill 40 degrees of your total field of view, which is the amount recommended by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (which composes the basis of our recommendation).
Best TV Size: Gaming & Media Rooms
Don’t make the mistake of thinking “bigger is better” when choosing TV sizes for your Gaming Room: that’s rarely the case.
Suggesting a hard and fast rule for Gaming TVs is notoriously difficult due to the sheer variety of room shapes and sizes: gaming setups are as diverse as the games themselves. Are you in a small bedroom room playing Zelda from a bed? At a desk playing First Person Shooters? Or in a man cave playing Madden in recliners? Context matters.
Although you get tons of entertainment value from the more immersive experience of larger screens, seeing the entire screen without needing to scan all around is important for reaction time. If winning is fun, many would argue you’ll have a lot more fun with a smaller TV that encourages top gameplay.
That’s why we have 2 separate gaming calculations: one for casual gamers and one for competitive gamers. Most people fall into the casual gaming category (if you have to ask then you’re probably a casual gamer).
To calculate the best size TV for Gaming:
- Measure the viewing distance between your seating and the screen
- Divide the distance (in inches) by 1.4 for casual gamers
- Divide the distance (in inches) by 2.0 for competitive gamers
- The result is the Best Size TV for Gaming (measured diagonally)
This calculation results in a TV that is larger than the typical living room, providing the more immersive entertainment experience that casual gamers seek. It takes that “bigger is better” mantra halfway to “home theater” and then stops: the maximum suggested screen size is the point at which competitive gameplay will noticeably deteriorate due to the screen being too large.
Best TV Size for Gaming (by Distance)
MAX TV SIZE
SMALLEST TV SIZE
|156 inches||130 inch TV||65-inches|
|144 inches||120 inch TV||60-inches|
|132 inches||110 inch TV||55-inches|
|120 inches||100 inch TV||50-inches|
|108 inches||90 inch TV||Not a Big Screen|
|96 inches||80 inch TV||Not a Big Screen|
|84 inches||70 inch TV||Not a Big Screen|
|72 inches||60 inch TV||Gaming Monitor|
|Too Small||Not a Big Screen||Gaming Monitor|
To calculate the best size TV for Competitive Gaming:
- Measure the viewing distance between your seating and the screen
- Divide the viewing distance (in inches) by 2
- The result is the smallest suggested TV Size for Competitive Gaming (measured diagonally)
- When in doubt, round up (or get a gaming monitor instead)
The bottom line is that a bigger screen will be more entertaining and that’s why the majority of gamers play games.
If you’re worried about less than peak performance, pick the balanced size of a Living Room TV instead (divide viewing distance by 1.6). If you’re worried about getting waxed in online multi-player and think an extra split second will make a world of difference, split the difference between Living Room size and Competitive Gaming size (divide viewing distance by 1.8). Truly competitive gamers might seek an even smaller setup, but at this point, it’s likely you should be buying a gaming monitor instead of a big screen.
4 Tips You Shouldn’t Forget
Don’t overlook these important issues when picking the proper TV Size:
- 4K and 8K only: these calculations don’t apply to HD, Full HD, or 2K TVs (which we don’t recommend).
- Don’t forget to consider how high you should mount your TV which may also impact whether or not it fits on the wall you are choosing.
- Don’t forget that TV sizes are measured diagonally. Take the horizontal and vertical measurements of the TV and consider how it will look in your space or on your wall.
- Don’t forget the TV Stand or Mount! If you don’t plan on mounting your TV on the wall, you need to make sure the TV stand that comes with the TV will fit on your furniture. Many of the stands are very wide so they can support the weight of today’s huge screens. Measure in advance to ensure it will fit (and can hold the weight)!
How to Spend Your Budget
At this point you’ve probably measured your room, narrowed it down to a few different TV sizes (likely 55-inch vs 65-inch), and started browsing TVs and comparing prices. Welcome to the next step of the TV buying process!
While a larger budget can guarantee a bigger screen and better picture with more bells and whistles, smart shoppers can get the biggest bang for their buck by understanding which features are worth spending money on and which are not.
Head on over to our TV Buying Guide for the rest.