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A trio of 32-inch TVs on a table Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

The Best 32-Inch TVs of 2022

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A trio of 32-inch TVs on a table Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar

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Editor's Choice Product image of TCL 32S335
Best Overall

TCL 32S335

The TCL 3-Series delivers considerable value for what you're paying: a built-in Roku platform, sleek design, and reliable picture quality. Read More

Pros

  • Good black levels
  • Great smart features
  • Sleek and sturdy

Cons

  • Limited brightness
  • Low resolution
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Samsung QN32Q60AAFXZA

Samsung QN32Q60AAFXZA

The Samsung Q60A features a bright, impressive picture with a generous helping of features that makes it a great pick for the price. Read More

Pros

  • Good picture quality
  • Sleek design
  • Plenty of features

Cons

  • No HDMI 2.1 features
  • Only 60Hz refresh rate
3
Product image of Samsung QN32Q50RAFXZA

Samsung QN32Q50RAFXZA

The 32-inch Samsung Q50R features an array of bells and whistles (including quantum dots), but it's high-class hardware might be too much for folks who just want a basic TV experience. Read More

Pros

  • Impressive hardware
  • Bright for its class

Cons

  • Overstuffed with features for its size
4
Product image of Vizio D32H-J09

Vizio D32H-J09

The Vizio D-Series is a good TV for a room without too much ambient light. It delivers decent picture for the money and includes the SmartCast OS. Read More

Pros

  • Slim bezels
  • Loads of streaming apps

Cons

  • Not very bright
5
Product image of Samsung UN32N5300AFXZA

Samsung UN32N5300AFXZA

If you're in the market for a 32-inch, 1080p television, the Samsung N5300 is a great blend of value and dependability. Read More

Pros

  • Bright for its class

Cons

  • Tizen smart platform isn't our favorite

Even though big TVs have become increasingly affordable in recent years, there are still plenty of reasons to pick up a pint-sized TV. If you're looking to add some entertainment to a dorm room, kitchen, or guest bedroom, a 32-inch TV could be the perfect solution. While you can often find great deals on no-name brands, we recommend sticking to more established manufacturers to assure you get both a great deal and a TV actually worth keeping around.

After testing several of the most popular 32-inch TVs, the TCL 3-Series (available at Amazon) is our stalwart choice as the best 32-inch TV for most people. It’s available with either 720p or full-HD 1080p resolution, offers commendable picture quality, and packs an intuitive, Roku smart platform. But there are a few other TVs on our list worth checking out, all of which should offer solid performance and dependable quality to fit your micro-TV needs.

The 32-inch version of the 2021 TCL 3-Series displaying 1080p content in a dimly lit living room
Credit: Reviewed / Lee Neikirk

The TCL 3-Series is available in both 720p and 1080p versions. We highly recommend springing for the version with 1080p resolution.

Best Overall
TCL 3-Series
  • Resolution: 720p or 1080p
  • Screen sizes: 32-inch
  • Smart platform: Roku

If you’re shopping for a secondary TV and you only want to spend a couple hundred bucks, the pickings can be slim. Fortunately, the TCL 3-Series is one entry-level option that punches above its weight class. It's available in a 32-inch model with smart software in tow (either Roku or Android). Although the 3-Series may not have a lot of sizzle, it’s still a prime cut.

The main gist of this series is that it does away with a lot of the newer and more expensive qualities of most of the mainstream TVs you’ll see in stores these days: the 32-inch 3-Series is available in older 720p or 1080p resolution, while the 40- and 43-inch versions are also 1080p. There’s no 4K resolution here (nor HDR compatibility), but you are getting reliable black levels, good color accuracy, and better backlight uniformity than we usually see in this price bracket.

If we’ve got one complaint about the 3-Series, it’s that it isn’t very bright. Testing revealed rather limited brightness even on the highest backlight setting, meaning it might not be a great choice for a very bright space. We also couldn’t help but notice some pixelation in menus while testing the 720p resolution version of the 32-inch model. If you can find the 1080p version for a similar price, it's worth the upgrade, but we also don't recommend paying too much for a minor upgrade to resolution.

The best thing about this TV is the built-in Roku software (which we generally prefer to Android software). It’s very easy to plug it in, do a bit of setup, and get down to watching things. Roku even includes a decent range of totally free channels, like westerns and kids’ content, meaning it’s a snap to enjoy programming right away. Coupled with the strong core picture qualities, the 3-Series delivers excellent value for the money.

Pros

  • Good black levels

  • Great smart features

  • Sleek and sturdy

Cons

  • Limited brightness

  • Low resolution


Other 32-Inch TVs We Teste

Product image of Samsung QN32Q60AAFXZA
Samsung Q60A
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Screen sizes: 32-Inch
  • Smart platform: Tizen OS

The Samsung Q60A might be the most affordable option from their 2021 QLED lineup, but it’s still priced at a premium to some of the other TVs on this list. Still, that extra cost buys a lot in terms of performance and features.

Many 32-inch TVs are limited to 1080p (sometimes called Full HD) resolution, and that looks pretty good from a few feet or more. But the 4K resolution of the Q60A is a noticeable difference and very welcome if you plan on using the TV for gaming. Speaking of gaming, the Q60A interface includes Game Bar, a menu that puts all gaming-centric information in one place. Although we should note that the Q60A has HDMI 2.0 inputs, so you won’t get full 4K/120Hz capabilities out of next-gen consoles.

The picture is bright and thanks to quantum dot technology, the Q60A delivers some of the best color performance in this size category. But while it’s one of the brighter TVs in this guide, it’s still not bright enough for HDR to shine.

Samsung’s Tizen OS might not be our favorite streaming OS (that designation goes to Roku), but on the Q60A it’s still a snappy full-featured smart platform with the ability to integrate with Amazon Alexa. The Samsung Q60A has excellent TV features and good picture quality with bold color. It would make a handsome addition to a kitchen or dorm room.

Pros

  • Good picture quality

  • Sleek design

  • Plenty of features

Cons

  • No HDMI 2.1 features

  • Only 60Hz refresh rate

Product image of Samsung QN32Q50RAFXZA
Samsung Q50R
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Screen sizes: 32-Inch
  • Smart platform: Tizen OS

Of all the 32-inch TVs in this guide, the Samsung Q50R is one of the best performers, and it’s a 4K TV, so 4K games and streaming content will be displayed in their native resolution. The TV’s display is also equipped with quantum dots, which is why its color reproduction is both accurate and voluminous; according to our lab tests, the Q50R covers 100% of the Rec.709 SDR color gamut and an impressive 92% of the wider DCI-P3 HDR color gamut.

Unfortunately, the Q50R doesn’t get much brighter than 300 nits even with quantum dots in tow. Technically speaking, the Q50R is an HDR TV, but with a panel this dim, you won’t experience much of a difference between SDR and HDR content.

So while the Samsung Q50R is an impressive 32-inch TV due to its performance and hardware, it’s also probably not worth the cost. To put this TV’s price into perspective, consider the fact that the 55-inch version of the TCL 5-Series—our favorite TV under $500—is less expensive than the 32-inch Q50R.

Unless you’re sitting inches away from the panel, its 4K resolution is not a critical feature. And although the Q50R comes with Samsung’s Tizen smart platform built into the TV’s software, we much prefer the Roku experience offered by the TCL 3-Series. If money’s not a factor and you simply want the best possible performance, the Q50R offers a great picture—it’s just a bit overstocked for its size.

Pros

  • Impressive hardware

  • Bright for its class

Cons

  • Overstuffed with features for its size

Product image of Vizio D32H-J09
Vizio D-Series
  • Resolution: 720p or 1080p
  • Screen sizes: 32-Inch
  • Smart platform: Vizio SmartCast

For a small and affordable TV, the Vizio D-Series puts together sleek design and good visual quality with Vizio’s SmartCast platform. It’s not exceptionally bright (the 40-inch 1080p version we tested measured under 200 nits) and it doesn’t support HDR, but shows streamed through its SmartCast platform are engaging, thanks to its relatively low black level (considering its cost).

Unless you’re sitting only a few feet from the D-Series, the 720p version should be fine for most situations, but if you plan on using the TV for gaming there’s a 1080p version for a little more money.

Previous iterations of the D-Series were without the Vizio SmartCast streaming platform, so it’s a welcome addition here. While we prefer other solutions such as Roku or Apple TV, many of the major apps come pre-installed and others are available to install and enjoy. You can also cast content from your mobile device to it easily, much like Chromecast.

The Vizio D-Series is a good option for folks looking to keep the cost down while still getting a decent-looking TV with access to streaming apps built in. Still, we consider the TCL 3-Series worth the bump in price.

Pros

  • Slim bezels

  • Loads of streaming apps

Cons

  • Not very bright

Product image of Samsung UN32N5300AFXZA
Samsung N5300
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Screen sizes: 32-Inch
  • Smart platform: Tizen OS

If you don’t want to spring for the more premium Q60A or kitted-out Q50R but still want to stick with Samsung, the 32-inch Samsung N5300 is probably your best bet.

The N5300 is a full-HD (1080p) TV that, technically speaking, supports HDR, but it doesn’t get bright enough to showcase the benefits. Still, its peak brightness of around 300 nits is among the highest we measured in the 32-inch class, and while the other Samsung’s are capable of similar highlights, the N5300 costs significantly less.

As is the case with the Samsung Q50R, the N5300 features Samsung’s Tizen smart platform, which will get you by in a pinch, but you might miss the flexibility and ease of use typically associated with Roku.

If you desire a Samsung-branded TV and don’t want to fork over the cash for the more expensive Q60A or Q50R, the Samsung N5300 is a great compromise.

Pros

  • Bright for its class

Cons

  • Tizen smart platform isn't our favorite

How We Test 32-Inch TVs

Credit: Reviewed

Our lab is outfitted with much of the same equipment you would find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates televisions.

The Testers

Reviewed has been testing TVs since some of its current employees were in middle school. While many proud TV testers have come and gone through Reviewed's labs, the current Home Theater team consists of Michael Desjardin and John Higgins. Michael is a Senior Staff Writer and has been a member of the Reviewed tech team since 2014. A film enthusiast and TV expert, he takes picture quality seriously but also understands that not every TV is a good fit for everyone.

As Reviewed’s Editor of A/V and Electronics, John Higgins is responsible for products ranging from TVs to soundbars to headphones. Before Reviewed, he spent his freelance years writing about televisions, projectors, speakers, and all manner of home theater gear for myriad print and online publications.

Lee Neikirk was Reviewed's previous Home Theater Editor. He began his time at Reviewed as a staff writer, then senior staff writer, covering TVs, headphones, and soundbars.

A TV tester measuring a TV's contrast
Credit: Reviewed / Chris Snow

We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue, and so on.

The Tests

It'd be an understatement to say that we're serious about TV testing. The lab in our Cambridge location is outfitted with much of the same equipment you'd find at a factory that manufactures and calibrates television.

On the hardware side, we've got things like a Konica Minolta CS-200 tristimulus color meter, an LS-100 luminance meter, a Leo Bodnar input lag tester, a Murideo Seven 8K signal generator, and more Blu-rays than we can keep track of. For software, we use Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate color calibration software, the industry-standard in taking display measurements and calibrating screens to specifications.

Our testing process has been honed over many years to gather data that is marginal enough to satisfy curious video engineers, but also relevant to the average person's viewing experience. We measure things like peak brightness, black level, hue and saturation for primary and secondary colors, the accuracy of the TV's electro-optical transfer function—you get the idea, it's complicated.

Weighting for our performance tests is based on how the human eye prioritizes vision, which means we put "brightness" data (monochromatic eye based on light sensitivity) higher than colorimetry, which is also scaled by the eye's sensitivity, and so on.

Outside of the strictly technical tests, we also spend a lot of time just watching and using each TV, getting a feel for the at-home experience of doing things like dialing up streaming video service, connecting a Blu-ray player and watching movies, using the smart features, and checking out the TV's ports, remote, and on-set buttons—anything and everything that might be relevant.

What You Should Know About Buying 32-Inch TVs

While everyone has different eyes, generally, our vision all functions the same way: we prioritize dynamic information and bright, compelling colors over subtler hues and resolution (sharpness). Generally, a TV can be considered a good TV when we forget that we're watching a TV. We don't see pixels creating mixes of red, green, and blue to simulate colors; we see the real world, lit and colored as it is, in fluid motion.

In simpler terms, this means a TV that can get very bright and dark without obscuring details; produces accurate colors (compared to various color standards designated by the International Telecommunication Union); possesses proper bit-mapping and the right codecs and decoders for video processing; and can properly play the various types of content thrown at it without judder, blurring, and so on.

Note that specs alone (pixel count, measured brightness) aren't automatic indicators of quality, much like intense speed is not automatically an indicator of a good car.

What TV Terms Do I Need To Know?

When it comes to knowing what you're paying for, almost no category is rifer with subterfuge and tomfoolery than TVs. While knowing the specs of the TV you're shopping for is only half the battle, it's the bigger half. Here are the key bits of jargon you'll want to know while browsing:

LED/LCD: This refers to Light Emitting Diode and Liquid Crystal Display. LEDs are the backlights used in LCD TVs, also sometimes called a LED TV for this reason. The LED backlight shines through a layer of a semi-solid substance called "liquid crystal," so named for its ability to morph in reaction to tiny electrical volts and allow light to pass through.

OLED: This means Organic Light Emitting Diode. This is an altogether different panel technology than LED/LCD. Rather than an LED backlight element shining through an LCD panel element, OLED TVs essentially combine the backlight and crystal array, using sub-pixel strata that produce light and color individually.

4K/UHD: Usually 4K refers to resolution—specifically, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This is the current standard/mainstream resolution for most TVs. UHD means Ultra High Definition, and actually refers to a suite of picture improvements like 4K resolution and Wide Color Gamut, which can display many more shades than HD TVs.

High Dynamic Range: Like "UHD," High Dynamic Range (or HDR) refers to both a type of TV and a type of content that expands on the typical range of brightness (luminance) and color that a TV will produce. HDR TVs are newer and usually a bit more expensive, but can have many times the brightness and 30% more color production than non-HDR TVs. Current top HDR formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.

60Hz/120Hz: These numbers refer to what is called a "refresh rate," with Hz (hertz) representing "times per second." So if a TV's refresh rate is 60Hz, this means it re-scans and updates for picture information 60 times per second; with 120Hz, it's 120 times per second. Currently, TVs only come in 60 or 120Hz. A higher refresh rate is always better, but not always necessary.

Smart TV: The term "smart TV" has evolved a lot over the years, but all it really means is that the TV connects to the internet. Most smart TVs these days are just a way to watch streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video on your TV. Some smart TVs have browsers, calendars, or even Roku or Android functions. All smart TVs have ethernet or Wi-Fi built-in.

Quantum Dots: Quantum dots are used in LED/LCD TVs only. These are microscopic nanocrystals that produce intensely colored light when illuminated. Quantum dots can be used to vastly improve the red and green saturation of a TV, and are one way that LED/LCD TVs can match the color spectrum of OLED.

Local Dimming: OLED panels look great because each pixel can operate independently. LED/LCD TVs can imitate this functioning via a process called local dimming, where localized clusters of LEDs dim or boost depending on whether the screen needs to be darker or brighter, sometimes vastly improving their performance and worth.

What Is a TV Series?

You may notice the TVs listed in this roundup don't follow the traditional naming convention you might see in a store or online. That's because rather than nominating a single size of TV (such as the LG OLED65C2PUA, aka the 65-inch LG C2 series OLED), we nominate the entire range of sizes within a "series."

Typically these TVs are identical in performance but differ in price and size. We do this to offer you more flexibility in your decision, but also because it's the most accurate representation available.

Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
John Higgins

John Higgins

Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video

@johntmhiggins

John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. He is an ISF Level III-certified calibrator with bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, Home Theater Review, T3, Sound & Vision, and Home Theater Magazine. When away from the Reviewed office, he is a sound editor for film and musician, and loves to play games with his son.

See all of John Higgins's reviews

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