What size TV should I buy?
Top 3 best 32-inch TVs
By Martin Pratt
Article 2 of 5
If you want something cheaper or more modest than the big-screen sets, a 32-inch TV is for you. Here, we show you the best 32-inch TVs from our rigorous testing.
Despite TV screen sizes getting ever bigger in recent years, 32-inch is still the preferred option for many people shopping for a new set for their living room, or an additional TV for a bedroom, kitchen or study.
But unfortunately, many of these smaller, cheaper sets don’t make the grade. With manufacturers focusing on mammoth 50, 55 and 65-inch TVs, these more modest models have been all but left behind.
That means if you’re looking for a new 32-inch set, for every great-value option there are dozens of shoddy ones sitting alongside it. Here, we reveal the models that impressed our expert lab tests, as well as the ones to steer well clear of.
In this guide:
Before we get to the best models, it's important to measure your expectations. The fact of the matter is that manufacturers don't release many 32-inch TVs any more, sometimes their range only includes one, and they are almost always inferior to their larger cousins.
The reason for this is partly to do with demand and partly to do with limitations of the small screen. You will have noticed that almost every TV is 4K, but none of them are 32 inches. That's because the bump in resolution doesn't really show on anything smaller than 40 inches.
32-inch TVs are still popular, but aren't nearly as in demand as 43, 49 and 55-inch models. Most people want, and should, be buying bigger TVs for their living rooms. The average living room is around 18.5 metres squared and that means in most instances you'll be sitting roughly three metres from your TV. A 32-inch screen is much too small for that distance.
Of course we understand that people still want smaller TVs for bedrooms and kitchens, which is why we will continue to test the few that are released. What we don't do is change the way we evaluate them. This would improve the score, but wouldn't give a realistic impression of how good these TVs are.
The 32-inch TVs below are the best available, but they aren't as good as larger sets.
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Best 32-inch TVs
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There are plenty of sub-par small TVs on sale. Their rock-bottom prices can make them difficult to ignore, but our picture and sound quality experts have found everything from sickly skin tones, washed-out contrast and raspy sound. Many also miss out on the latest smart TV features. Without access to catch-up and on-demand TV, these simple sets can seem dated.
32-inch TVs to avoid
If you’re replacing an old small TV that could be anywhere from 22 to 32 inches with one of the same size, you may find that you can jump up to a slightly bigger set. With bezels shrinking, a bigger screen can now fit in a smaller space. Height and width measurements for every TV can be found in the tech specs of our reviews.
Plus, with many 40-inch TVs now coming with 4K ultra-HD resolution, you can sit slightly closer without losing any detail. Our online TV size guide recommends that you sit about the same distance (around 2.5 metres) from a Full-HD 32-inch TV as you would a 4K 40-inch one.
Our testing has shown that the average quality in this larger size bracket is higher than that seen among 32-inch TVs. And choosing a 40-inch TV doesn’t mean spending a lot more money than you hoped – check out our guide to the best 40 to 43-inch TVs for sets to suit all budgets.
If you’ve decided that a 32-inch TV is for you, here are some features to look out for:
- Full-HD display: To get the best possible picture quality, go for a 1080p, or Full-HD, TV. An HD-Ready set will let you view HD content but it typically won't be as good as a Full-HD model. New 4K TVs are available, but they're mainly in sizes of 40-inches and over.
- Built-in HD tuner: You'll need HD content in order to enjoy your high-definition display to the full. Go for a 32-inch TV with a built-in Freeview HD or Freesat HD tuner, allowing you to get subscription-free digital TV channels. Some TVs even have both.
- Smart-TV: Most new TVs from the big manufacturers come with smart-TV features, allowing you to watch catch-up and on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. But cheaper TVs from smaller brands may miss out. Head over to our What is smart TV? guide to find out if this is an important feature for you.