32 inch TVs are still popular for small rooms or kitchens. However, manufacturers rarely release new models in this size. Usually, the picture quality or overall performance of these TVs is 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.
We've tested over 5 TVs available in this size, and here are our recommendations for the best 32 inch smart TVs you can buy in 2020. See also our recommendations for the best small TVs and the best budget TVs.
The best 32 inch TV we've tested so far is the Samsung QN32Q50R. At this size, its 4k resolution is perfect for those who like to sit up close. It delivers a good picture quality thanks to its high contrast ratio, excellent motion handling, and wide color gamut. However, there are some uniformity issues, as the sides of the screen are noticeably darker and there's clouding throughout the screen, which can be distracting when viewed in a dark room. If you tend to watch in a bright room, this TV has decent peak brightness and reflection handling. That said, it can't get bright enough to bring out highlights in HDR content.
If you're planning on gaming with this TV, it has an exceptionally low input lag and fast response time to provide a great gaming experience. There's also an 'Auto Low Latency Mode', which triggers automatically when gaming on a compatible console such as the Xbox One. The downside is that it has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz and it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology. You can also use this TV as a large monitor, as it can display chroma 4:4:4 properly, which is important for text clarity.
Overall, if you need a small TV or a large monitor, this one is a good option.
If you're shopping on a smaller budget, consider the TCL 3 Series/32S325. It doesn't quite have the eye-popping 4k resolution of the Samsung Q50/Q50R QLED, but its 720p resolution can still deliver a decent picture quality. Although this TV has good reflection handling, it's better suited for dark rooms, as its peak brightness is rather low. On the upside, it has an impressive native contrast ratio and decent black uniformity, producing deep blacks when viewed in the dark. Also, it has excellent color accuracy right out of the box, so you won't have to pay for a costly calibration. This TV has some decent gaming chops as well, with a low response time and low input lag, but it doesn't support any advanced gaming features such as variable refresh rate technology. Roku's interface is user-friendly, and you can easily find almost anything that you need through its app store.
If you can afford it, the Samsung is a much better TV overall, but if cost is a concern and you're okay with the lower resolution, the TCL is a good alternative.
If you only use your TV for Free-To-Air channels and don't need the online-streaming capabilities of a smart TV, get the TCL 1 Series/32D100. It isn't 4k like the Samsung Q50/Q50R QLED, and it doesn't have any smart features, but it's cheaper and can still be connected to a streaming box like an Apple TV or Roku if you change your mind later on. Its picture quality is decent, and it delivers nice deep blacks in a dark room, thanks to its high native contrast ratio. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting more difficult to find available, though that may change.
If you want a more feature-packed 4k TV, the Samsung is a much better option, but if you just need a simple screen to display Free-To-Air channels, go for the TCL.
If you find the Samsung Q50/Q50R QLED expensive and you don't mind a 1080p TV, check out the Samsung UN32N5300; it's the best 32 inch TV in the budget category we've tested to date. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles and delivers decent picture quality. It can get fairly bright in SDR and you shouldn't have any issues unless you have a very bright room. It has a low input lag for casual gaming, but more serious gamers will need something faster.
Although this TV supports HDR, you won't get much benefit from using it in this mode as it can't get very bright and doesn't have a wide color gamut to deliver a full range of colors. Its native contrast ratio also isn't very high, so blacks tend to appear more grey in a dark room, though this is expected for a TV with an IPS panel.
Overall, if you're looking for a small secondary TV that still has good smart features, 1080p resolution, and great reflection handling at a decent price, this TV is a good choice.
The Hisense 32H4F is a basic but cheap TV. It has a sub-par picture quality with a non-standard native resolution of 768p, which is limiting. On the upside, it has good reflection handling, good viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel, a fast response time for crisp motion, and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience. However, this TV has no support for HDR, can't display deep blacks in a dark room, and can't get very bright, so you shouldn't place it in a bright room.
Overall, this TV isn't for anyone looking for picture quality, but it won't break the bank and will serve you well in a garage or a kitchen.
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.
02/28/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
12/10/2019: Replaced the Vizio D Series 1080p 2017 with Hisense 32H4F and changed some text for clarity.