While 32 inch TVs are still exceptionally popular, they rarely see the launch of new models. Many of the TVs sold in this size and smaller are often several years old, which is uncommon for other TV sizes. As these TVs tend to be very inexpensive budget models, their picture quality and overall performance will usually be below average. You can still get decent 32 inch TVs, but you do benefit significantly from going up in size to 40-42-43 inch TVs.
What it is
Movies in the dark. The TV will be used for watching movies in a controlled environment, directly in front, in a home theater way. Mostly only high quality content, like Blu-rays, UHD Blu-rays, streaming and a little bit of HDR.
What it is
TV Shows in a bright living room. The TV will be used in to watch TV shows, in a bright room during the day, from multiple viewing positions at different angles. The content watched has an average quality: cable, streaming, SD channels, etc.
What it is
Video games. The TV will be used to play video games, directly in front, in a controlled light environment. Usually fast games, like online FPS, where motion blur and input lag is important.
What it is
HDR Gaming. The TV will be used to play HDR video games using consoles that support it or on current generation gaming PCs. Xbox One S, PS4 Pro, GTX 10 series and AMD RX series graphics cards.
The best 32 inch TV is the TCL 32S305 720P LCD TV. It comes packed with features thanks to its integrated Roku TV smart platform that adds a lot of functionality for the money.
While its picture quality is not particularly impressive, it is still adequate. It doesn't have fancy features like HDR and its resolution is only 720p, but that is less of an issue at this size. The S305 does a good job overall with the basics of TVs. Its standout feature is its smart features. Roku is both fast and intuitive, making it easy to access just about all the content one is looking for on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Youtube and plenty of other services.
If you'd rather save a few bucks and already own a set-top box you'd use to access online services, go for the TCL 32D100. It is essentially identical to the TCL S305, but it lacks any form of smart features making it a more seamless choice for those that already have a dedicated streaming device.
Samsung UN32J6300. Great TV, but it is now discontinued and hard to find in stock. See our review
Vizio D32-D1. Great small TV, but very hard to find nowadays. See our review
Vizio E32-D1. Decent smart TV, but stocks are a bit scarce now and it doesn't really do anything better than the TCL S305. See our review
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.
Questions & Answers
36 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Best picture quality 24" LED TV?
Unfortunately, we have not reviewed any 24" TVs, so we can't offer any recommendations for that size.
We're looking for a replacement 32" TV for our bedroom. The TV would be approx. 7-8' away, directly in front of us. It would be used mainly for streaming Netflix, and watching cable, network TV and some sports (no gaming). What would you recommend?
Get the Samsung UN32J6300. If it is out of your budget, the Vizio E32-C1 is also a good choice.
Is it worth spending more money and getting a TV bigger than 32 inches, like 40 inches? I plan on keeping this TV for a few years.
As a rule of thumb, yes, bigger is better. There is a limit to it, though, and it depends on your distance from your TV. The farther away you'll be sitting, the bigger the TV you need. Check out our TV distance to size calculator for more info.
What about the Samsung 32 Inch LED UN32J4000 HDTV?
It's not a TV we recommend for most people. It's only 720p, its contrast and uniformity are poor, and it isn't very good at upscaling. It does have a wide viewing angle, so you may want to consider it if you need to be able to watch it from the side, but it's not a great pick for general usage.
Costco currently has the Samsung UN32J525DAFXZA on sale. How does it compare to the Samsung UN32J6300?
We expect it's the same TV as the Samsung J5500, so not well. It has judder when displaying movies, and it has quite a bit more blur. It's a decent TV for sports and TV, but not a great choice for movies and gaming.
Hello. I'm interested in a 32" TV and the Vizio E-series is my front-runner. I've read the research on uniformity and it mentions the bigger the TV, the higher chance of uniformity problems. Would buying the 32" Vizio negate the sub-par uniformity? I'm assuming the size in bold is your tested TV.
It won't necessarily negate the issues - every individual unit is different - but odds are better that you'll have a TV with good uniformity.
Will you be reviewing the Samsung UN32J5003? And I see in another question/answer, you say that you "haven't tested a 1080p 32" TV that did [chroma 4:4:4] this year." What about the Vizio E32-C1? Your review says that it supports it when given a 120Hz signal.
Yes, we likely will review it in a month or two. We expect that the reason chroma 4:4:4 is indirectly supported in that way is because Vizio is using some of the chips from the Vizio M for that size of the E-series. We doubt that chroma 4:4:4 will be possible at smaller sizes, and especially not the E32-C1.
Great Site! Could you help recommend a 32"-37" LED TV? Based on all of your current reviews, the Samsung UN32J6300 looks like the best choice for me, but I wanted to add a few details that might help you suggest another model or size.
I'm moving into a small NYC apartment and unfortunately my current Vizio 55" E Series (2014) won't fit. Since space is a premium, the TV needs to be used for the following two purposes:
-As an external PC monitor for work at a distance of 2 to 3 feet distance. The work is coding/data and will not require photo or film editing (so color/IPS/motion is not a big factor).
-As a television to watch at a distance of four to seven feet, using XBOX 360 or Chromecast as input for Netflix, HBOGo, NHL GameCenter, etc. Not currently using XBOX 360 for any gaming so blur/lag are also not very important.
-Additional factors: 4K would be great, but there are not many 4K UHD options in display sizes less than 40", which is probably too big for the small space. Also, the current inputs, like XBOX360 and Chromecast cannot do 4K and likely won't be able to use existing upconvert methods since they refresh at 60hz. My current PC cannot support 3840x2160 output so I would have to settle for 1920x1080 anyway but could it be worth it to buy 4K anyway to futureproof?
Any recommendations will be much appreciated. Thanks!
You are probably better off buying a 32" PC monitor with a HDMI input (or get a converter). For coding and productivity work, you want your screen to support chroma 4:4:4, and we haven't tested a 1080p 32" TV that did this year, while all PC monitors do. You could get away without, but the text won't be as clear.
You should add a category for non-smart TVs. There are much better ways to achieve smart TV functionality than the TV based apps. I just want to know the picture, and reliability ratings, and put the smart & sound outside of the TV.
We do rate the smart functionalities but that rating isn't included in the overall score of TVs. Like you, a lot of people use external speakers and streaming devices but there is also a significant amount of people that use the TV speakers and included smart features. For now, our 'Smart TV' section is where we comment on Smart functionalities (or if it is missing).
My husband and I just went to Target in Woodhaven MI and bought our very first 32" flat screen TV. The box says 32", but when we pulled it out of the box, it looked too small to be a 32", so we measured it and it is only a 29". Why is there a 29" flat screen in a 32" box? I am very disappointed that we work hard to buy something and it is wrong. This is false advertising, and I don't have the time to run back up to Target, but I did call and they told me to contact you. I want some of my money back cause we paid for a 32", NOT a 29".
It's normal for the screen to be a bit smaller than the advertized size - our 32" Samsung J4000 TV's screen is about 31" - but not that much. Make sure you measure the screen diagonally, as that's how screen size is determined. The horizontal measurement will be smaller.
Which 32 inch smart tv has best sound quality, getting for adult and listens to ALOT of music. Web browsing would be important although our service is slow for being called "high speed". Thanks in advance for your input.
None of them have good sound quality, so you might as well get the Samsung UN32J6300. The picture quality is the best for the size, and while you don't get the fancy smart remote of the higher-end Samsung models, the smart features and browser are at least decent.
It would depend on the model but, unfortunately, we didn't review any Sony 32" this year . If you can find a 32" from the same series that we reviewed, it should perform similarly. For example, Sony has a 32" r500c and we would expect it to be close to the r510c that we reviewed in a different size.
Are your ratings/reviews based upon a single size of the series? It seems so. Thus, the Vizio scores are based upon what you found out about testing the 60". While we really appreciate the thoroughness of your testing, different size models may well behave differently--e.g. sound, motion, blurring, black levels as they differ in what hardware they contain! We realize you make educated guesses and cannot test all sizes, but the scores should have the actual size set tested displayed prominently--otherwise, your ratings are nearly as misleading as those Tru motion and Clear Action #s the companies tout their models with!
Yes, this is a limitation in our reviews unfortunately. To compensate for this, we regularly update our reviews/recommendations based on what people tell us for other sizes (which is also why we share our testing patterns). The best solution would be to test all sizes, but it isn't feasible financially for us...
I'm looking to get a new TV. I currently have a Sanyo 26" and want to upgrade to a 32". I'm looking at two Vizios. I just need a replacement for my bedroom TV. Should I get the Vizio E32-C1 or the Vizio M322i-b1?
They should both have very similar picture quality, so just get whichever of the two is cheaper.
The Vizio D32-D1 seems to beat the top two recommendations in terms of score. Is this a technicality or do you really recommend the TCL 32S3800 and Samsung over it?
This is a technicality, when the last update was done, the Vizio D32-D1 was out of stock and that why it was not in the top recommended. The recommendation page will be updated soon. In the meantime, you are right, the Vizio D32-D1 is a better choice.
How good is the Vizio E32-C1 and the E32H-C1 for gaming? I've watched movies so far, but I am planning to set up my console to play on this TV, and I am wondering how good it is for gaming. Also, what is the difference between the E32-C1 and E32H-C1? Also, what are the best settings for the E32-C1 that you recommend for decreasing input lag while gaming?
The main difference is that the E32H-C1 is a 720p TV, so it's not quite as good as the E32-C1 for what you're looking to do.
The E32-C1 doesn't have much blur, and the input lag can get pretty low, so it's a good gaming TV. To lower the lag, just enable the 'Game Low Latency' option.
Does your recommendation for Samsung have any consideration for the "smart" components? We bought the Samsung UN32EN5300F, which has horrible software. Too many updates and dropped apps. Sometimes it would stall for an update when there were no updates to download. The first year, it wouldn't let us use all of our Netflix profiles - only the main profile. Today the hardware failed and the screen is nothing but a bunch of lines. I couldn't recommend a Samsung.
The software has changed quite a bit since your model, and while there are still bugs, it's generally much faster and more useful. Unfortunately, it seems you got unlucky with your TV.
I was all set to buy the Vizio E32-C1 based on your recommendations but it only has component video not composite or HDMI. I still use a DVD player and gather I won't be able to connect it to the Vizio E32-c1. Am I correct? What's "composite"?
The TV can receive both composite and component. Composite uses three cables; two for audio, one for video. Component uses five cables; two for audio, three for video. To use composite plug the red and white audio cables into the red and white audio inputs, and plug the yellow video cable into the green/yellow input.
My building manager has told me he won't provide a Smart TV due to the bandwidth requirements. What is the best non-Smart TV for watching movies and sports?
If you really can't get a smart TV (most TVs are, nowadays) it limits your options drastically. The two 32" non smart TVs that we have reviewed this year are pretty bad. The LG LF5600 has bad motion handling in sports and the Samsung J4000 always look blurry (although better motion). It is hard to recommend one but the LG got the edge. A better possibility would be for the building manager to block the internet access of the TV from the router. This way, you could get the Samsung J6300 smart TV without being able to access it's smart features and you would enjoy a way better picture quality.
I am wanting to replace my old box TV with a new 32" TV. We have only antenna TV. Has anyone ever compared TV tuners to see if one brand is better than the others? Reception is more of an issue than picture quality.
We don't have results from proper testing, but we did an informal test of the various brands we have in the office. They all performed pretty much the same as the others. We expect the quality of the antenna you use will be the bigger factor.
One Cox cable tech told me that true HDMI was not for 32" televisions. I asked her if that was the case, then why were they being sold? I have an off-brand model, a Scepter, bought at Walmart and made by Hitachi, and it gives me great picture, but after about six months of getting full 1080p picture, I have been through at least three cable boxes and the last tech here told me the Cox mini box I have doesn't have the power to send out the full 1080p signal, so I am using component hookups, not HDMI.
Although I feel a bit cheated, it is by the cable company, not the maker or size of the TV. I do get a great picture, so shouldn't complain, but it is just a principle thing. Don't blame it on my television. Cox has been very good to me over the years. I'm a Senior on fixed income so don't really have the money to get another 50" Vizio that died after only six years. I did the best I could.
What do you think about the comment about HDMI not being for 32" television? I am hoping to upgrade next year after I save some money and get at least a 40". Is it worth paying the extra for HDMI, or should I save money and get 1080i or 720p? I am guessing the difference will show up more on the larger screen. Thanks.
We're not quite sure what they meant. HDMI works fine on any size of TV, including 32". It's true that cable boxes generally don't output 1080p (usually they send 720p or 1080i), but that's not really an issue. For best picture quality, you should continue using HDMI.
Larger TVs should only be available in 1080p resolution (or higher), and not 1080i or 720p. There's no need to worry about that when buying your next one.