32 inch TVs are still popular for small rooms or kitchens. However, manufacturers are rarely releasing new models in this size. Usually, the picture quality or overall performance of such TVs are below average, as they tend to be inexpensive budget models, so you could benefit significantly from going up to the 40-42-43 inch TV sizes.
Note: Prices and availability fluctuate a lot at the beginning of the year. Since the beginning of the year, most manufacturers have started releasing replacements for their TV lines. Usually, these TVs tend to launch at very high prices and it is unlikely that these newer models will become reasonable choices until the latter half of the year, thus keeping the 2018 models in our recommendations for a few more months.
The best 32 inch smart TV we’ve tested so far is the Samsung UN32N5300. It is the replacement of the 2017 model, the Samsung UN32M5300, that was just slightly better and you should get it if you can still find it. The N5300 has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles that allows you to watch TV from up close without experiencing uniformity issues at the edges. It has a decent picture quality with good gray uniformity and can get bright enough for an average lit room. Although it supports HDR, there is little benefit to using it in this mode.
On the downside, the N5300, just like most IPS TVs, has poor dark room performance and most gamers will find the input lag too high for their needs.
Overall, if you need the N5300 as a secondary TV, it will serve you well.
If you find that the blacks of the Samsung UN32N5300 appear washed out, then get the TCL S Series 32S305 720p Roku TV. You will not have the 1080p resolution or the wide viewing angles of the Samsung. The TCL S305 is a budget LED TV with decent picture quality and very good contrast ratio, which is great for dark room viewing. It has the same excellent Roku TV smart platform that higher-end TCLs have, but unfortunately, it isn't very bright. It is a good basic TV that you can use while doing something else.
If you need a TV to watch only Free To Air channels or plan to use it just as a display, then get the TCL 32D100. The TCL has no smart features and you must use an external TV box if you wish to stream any content. It has a decent picture quality but lacks any advanced picture enhancement features to help you improve its performance. It is addressed to those people who only need a display and possibly Free To Air TV.
The Samsung M4500 is a budget smart TV with a native resolution of 1366x768. The M4500 cannot get very bright, but has deep blacks thanks to the high native contrast ratio. It can handle reflections well but, unfortunately, the color gamut is mediocre even for an SDR TV.
Motion looks crisp due to the fast response time, and you can enable the optional black frame insertion or the motion interpolation features if you wish to make the image crisper. The input lag is not too low, and unless you are gaming on older game consoles, you might notice that the responsiveness is not good.
What's probably the best feature of the M4500 is that it runs the full Samsung Smart TV interface, with all the same apps as the higher-end TVs. It has full access to the Samsung App Store where you will most likely find the app you are looking for. Overall, the M4500 is not a good TV, but it can serve as a secondary TV in a kitchen or a garage.
The Vizio D Series 1080p 2017 is a mediocre TV with very basic smart features. It has good reflection handling and decent viewing angles due to its IPS panel, but it can only reach poor brightness levels and thus it can't fight bright room glare. At the same time, it does not have a high contrast ratio, so blacks look gray in a dark room. On the upside, it has an excellent low input lag which is great for gaming, but unfortunately, when used as a PC monitor it can't display proper 4:4:4 even when set to 'Computer' mode, so any text appears blurry.
Overall, you should not use it as your primary TV as it is not a very good one. For the right price, you can get it as a secondary unit for a room where picture quality is not the primary concern.
Our recommendation above is what we think is currently the best 32 inch smart TV to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper TV wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it) and availability (no TVs that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of TVs that have a 32 inch size. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no TV is perfect, most TVs are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.