Are you looking for one of the best 32-inch TVs available to buy right now? A 32-inch TV might seem humble in comparison to the huge, living-room-filling screens you’ll find in our best 65-inch TV list. But, depending on your budget and your home, there’s still a solid argument for opting for a much more affordable and compact model instead.
But, beyond their smaller size, there’s a bigger problem with 32-inch TVs: they don’t offer you the high-end technologies, like 4K resolution or HDR, which you'll almost certainly find in many other sizes. The same goes for those who want an OLED TV, too, you won't get any smaller than a 48-inch model.
However, for a second screen in a bedroom where it might only be used occasionally or if you want a TV that’ll suit a small space, a 32-inch TV option could be the best way to go.
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A 32-inch TV is also a good idea if you’re looking to save money on a new screen and don’t have a big budget to play with. You’ll be paying more for a flagship 55-inch model. That means opting for a small TV can be the difference between making a dent in your bank account and going into your overdraft.
Our TV experts have researched the best 32-inch TVs available, whether you're in the US or the UK. Although not every model in this list has been hand-tested, we've used our knowledge of the current TV market to figure out exactly what each set offers you for the money – and, importantly, each of the options in this list compare with each other.
Read on for our selection of the best 32-inch TVs available to buy right not – whether you're shopping in the US or UK.
It’s worth mentioning that CES 2021 is right around the corner. This is one of the biggest tech expos and takes place every year in early January. CES 2021 will be virtual this time around, for obvious reasons, but it’s always a great opportunity to see what the biggest tech brands have planned for the next 12 months and there are always plenty of TVs to check out.
You might be surprised to see a designer television in this list, but this art-minded new Samsung TV is a shoe-in – at least, after it introduced a new 32-inch size for the 2020 model, bringing QLED picture quality to its smallest size ever.
The Frame's main feature is to blend in with your decor, with an Art Mode that displays classic artworks and an Ambient Mode for moody screensavers. Customizable bezels mean you'll be able to fully control the appearance and color of your set, too, whether you're wall-mounting among some real picture frames or placing it on a bedroom shelf for some late-night watching.
The Frame is more expensive than most on this list, but if you're after the finest 32-inch TV / home furnishing, this is going to be it.
Read our full review: Samsung The Frame (2020)
VIZIO pretty much rules the roost when it comes to high-quality value TVs in the United States, with the 2018 D32-D1 being the best of them all.
While the name might not exactly jump out at you, VIZIO's small screen has a lot going for it – including a full 1080p resolution and an app tray full of the most popular streaming services (including Netflix, YouTube and Hulu). We'd recommend plugging in some speakers if you can, as the integrated ones aren't great.
That being said, if you're looking for something smart, small and affordable at a 32-inch size, you can't beat VIZIO's small screen wonder in our opinion.
Cello may be a humble British TV brand, but it knows how to cater to those on a tight budget. The Cello Smart Android TV starts at just £179 for a 24-inch size, and comes in at £199 for a 32-inch TV size.
For that price you're getting Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, and surprisingly comprehensive smart TV features. The Cello Netgem smart TV that used to be in this guide made do with a very basic operating system – without even Netflix support – and the move to Android for this year's range can only be an improvement.
Sure, there are better interfaces than Android for higher-end sets, but it's highly unusual at this price, packing in Chromecast, Google Assistant support, and most popular TV streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Rakuten. You even Freeview Play – for the UK's terrestrial broadcaster catch-up services.
Picture performance is decent for the price, too, with consistently lit pictures and generally smooth motion from HD/SDR sources.
Read our full review: Cello Smart Android TV
The Sony KDL32WE613 is proof a 32-inch TV doesn't have to miss out on newer tech. It supports HDR, usually only seen in much larger, more expensive TVs.
HDR isn't equal across sets as it relies on a screen's contrast and brightness, but it will let you squeeze more out of a top-end Netflix or Amazon Video subscription, or your favorite console games. The TV also offers recording over USB, Wi-Fi and access to BBC iPlayer, YouTube and a fistful of other apps.
The stinger is this 32-inch TV set is only 720p, not Full HD. If you're going to watch close-up, the benefits of higher resolution may outweigh HDR.
What to look for
We know that shopping for a new TV can be a massive hassle, more so when you’re not sure what you’re looking for. But, don't worry, the experts here at TechRadar are veterans at compiling lists that help you find out what features to check for when you're looking for the best 32-inch TV for you.
Smart features / Wi-Fi
With 32-inch TVs, one of the most important features to look for is 'smart TV' capabilities. When it comes to a TV for a second or third room, smart features can drastically improve the value and utility of TVs for the simple reason that it prevents you from having to purchase another set-top box or streaming stick. You may regret not getting the likes of Netflix, Amazon or Disney Plus on there – or just the humble Freeview Play catchup service in the UK.
Instead, all of the functionality of those devices is built right in, saving you time and money. If you’re looking for a TV to fill a bedroom or study, a set with Wi-Fi capability that supports video streaming and file sharing should be at the top of your list.
Full HD resolution
If you can, we recommend avoiding TVs with resolutions lower than 1080p. Sure, a 720p image will look fine on a smaller screen, but if you want all the details in the images, a 1080p TV is the way to go. Keep in mind that some retailers and manufacturers will try to mislead customers by labeling most 32-inch TVs as 'HD Ready', signifying that it features an HD resolution; however, even though the lower 1,366 x 768 resolution technically qualifies as 'HD Ready', it's going to deliver an image that is muddier and less clear than TVs with a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 display ('Full HD').
Ports and inputs
One last thing to consider before you decide which 32-inch TV you want, is whether or not it has all the ports you need. Devices like the PS4, the Nintendo Switch and DVD/Blu-ray players will need HDMI inputs; the Nintendo Wii or other legacy game consoles will need a component or even composite video input; PCs, if they don’t use HDMI, will likely use a DVI or VGA input; and Sky or cable set top boxes will need an additional HDMI.
When you have a lot of different devices to connect, it will really make your life easier getting a 32-inch TV that has enough ports to support everything you want to do with it.
The right kind of panel
There are essentially two types of LCD panel technology out there for 32-inch TVs: IPS and VA. IPS panels offer slightly wider viewing angles, while VA panels support much better contrast.
With big screen 'main' TVs likely to be used for watching films, sometimes with the lights dimmed, the lack of contrast with IPS screens can become a big issue, causing dark scenes to look washed out. So if you're looking for a 32-inch TV to go into a relatively dark environment, a VA panel is a must.
IPS panel contrast issues are less problematic in bright rooms such as conservatories and kitchens, though, and the (slight) IPS viewing angle advantage can also be handy in such large environments where viewers may be using the TV while walking around the room.
Far too many 32-inch TVs treat sound as an afterthought, even though it's a key part of any viewing experience. It can be tricky to judge a TV's likely audio performance, though, without hearing it for yourself.
All you can do is look for rated speaker output specifications (even though these are notoriously unreliable) and clues in a TV's design: forward firing speakers, built-in bass woofers, enough space on the rear to allow air to move around, and so on.
Small TV alternatives
It's worth considering whether other, smaller displays might fulfil your needs as well. Once your screen gets smaller than 32 inches, you're moving into monitor or even smart display territory.
A monitor might be a better idea if you want to double up your TV with a computer screen – and you'll often get better specs and higher refresh rates thrown in, compared to the same size for televisions. (Check out our guide to the best gaming monitors for more.)
Smart displays, too, are effectively small screens that can be easily placed anywhere around the house, and tend to come with basic app support, such as YouTube. Amazon's Echo Show range (Echo Show 10, Echo Show 5) pack in Amazon Prime Video, while the Google Nest Hub Max boasts Netflix support – making a little TV binge while you're cooking pretty straightforward.
Original reporting in this article was by John Archer.