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. See also our recommendations for the best smart TVs, the best small TVs, and the best budget TVs.
The best 32 inch TV we've tested so far is the Samsung QN32Q50RAFXZA. Even at its small size, this TV has a 4k resolution to deliver images with incredible detail and clarity. It performs fair well in bright and dark rooms, and it's also a very good TV for use as a PC monitor, as it can display chroma 4:4:4 properly.
This TV has good motion handling due to its fairly fast response time and black frame insertion feature. Input lag is exceptionally low to provide a responsive gaming experience; however, it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology. Lower resolution content, like cable TV, is upscaled with no visible artifacts and although there's some vignetting around the sides of the screen, there's very little dirty screen effect, which is great if you like watching sports. Like all Samsung TVs, it runs on Tizen OS, which runs smoothly and has access to a large selection of streaming services.
It does support HDR10 and HDR10+, but unfortunately, it can't get bright enough to make HDR content look significantly better than SDR content. Also, its viewing angles are poor, causing images to degrade when viewed from the side, although this is typical for VA panels. Overall, this is a reliable TV with decent performance for its size, making it the best 32 inch 4k TV we've tested so far.
If you find the Samsung Q50/Q50R QLED too expensive, take a look at the TCL 3 Series/32S325 2019. The main downside of this TV is its meager 720p resolution, which is a far cry from the Samsung's razor-sharp 4k. However, it sports a great VA panel with a high contrast ratio, and for such an inexpensive TV, it has surprisingly good color accuracy, better than some high-end TVs. It performs quite well when it comes to gaming, as it has a good response time and exceptionally low input lag, but it lacks FreeSync and HDR support, which is somewhat expected at this price point. Additionally, the TV's peak brightness is rather low, making it more suitable for dark rooms. As this is a Roku TV, you shouldn't have any issues finding the apps you need and the interface is easy to navigate.
If you can afford it, the Samsung is a better TV overall due to its high resolution and good motion handling, but if you're shopping on a smaller budget and you don't mind a few compromises, the TCL is a good alternative.
If you want a TV with better HDR performance, then check out the Samsung The Frame 2020 QN32LS03TBFXZA. It's not as thin as the Samsung Q50/Q50R QLED, but its design is meant to blend into your decor to make it look like a piece of art, and Samsung's no-gap wall mount is included, so the TV is flush to the wall if it's wall-mounted. This TV has a bit wider color gamut than the other Samsung and it gets much brighter in HDR, so more highlights pop the way they're supposed to. It gets bright enough to combat glare and it has decent reflection handling in bright rooms, and due to its VA panel, it displays deep blacks when viewed in the dark, but unfortunately, it doesn't have wide viewing angles. The 32 inch model has a 60Hz refresh rate and no VRR support, while the bigger variants have VRR support and a 120Hz refresh rate.
If you're looking for the best 32 inch TV we've tested so far, check out the Q50R, but if you want better HDR performance, consider The Frame 2020.
The best 32 inch TV with smart features we've tested so far is the Hisense 32H4F. It's an entry-level TV with a 720p resolution, but it's cheap and won't break your wallet if you're looking for a basic small TV. It has built-in Roku as its operating system, which is easy to use and there's a wide selection of apps available.
The performance on this TV is fairly limited. It has an IPS panel with extremely wide viewing angles, which is ideal if you're going to walk around while doing chores or if you have a wide seating arrangement. If you want to place it in a moderate-lit room, it has decent reflection handling but bad peak brightness. Also, it has excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy, which is important since you can't calibrate the TV.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support HDR, it has a low contrast ratio and poor black uniformity, and it doesn't have many extra features found on higher-end TVs like a black frame insertion feature. However, if you're a casual gamer, it's not a bad choice since it has a decent response time and a low input lag. Overall, it's the best 32 inch smart TV we've tested so far.
The best budget 32 inch TV with a 1080p resolution we've tested so far is the Samsung UN32N5300. This TV is great for smaller rooms or the kitchen, as it delivers decent picture quality and its IPS panel has wide viewing angles, which is great if you tend to watch while walking around.
This TV has a 60Hz refresh rate and its response time is okay, with some motion blur behind fast-moving objects. Its reflection handling is okay, although it's best to avoid placing it opposite bright sources of light. If you get most of your content through streaming, then this TV has you covered. Samsung's Tizen OS is a great platform that's well-stocked with apps and its interface is easy to navigate. There are some ads and suggested content on its home page that can't be disabled, but it's a minor annoyance given the TV's overall performance and budget price.
Unfortunately, its input lag is quite high for a modern TV, and its contrast ratio is pretty low, so it's not the best option for watching in dark environments. Furthermore, while this TV supports HDR, it can't display a wide color gamut and it isn't able to bring out highlights due to its mediocre peak brightness in HDR mode. Overall, it's an okay budget TV with a 1080p resolution.
07/08/2020: Added Samsung The Frame 2020 as an alternative, removed the TCL 1 Series as an alternative to the main pick, and changed the Hisense H4F from 'Best Cheap' to 'Best Smart Features' pick.
05/28/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
12/10/2019: Replaced the Vizio D Series 1080p 2017 with Hisense 32H4F.
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.