You may be wondering why there are only two TVs on my list of 32-inch TV recommendations. The main reason is that most of the TVs I review are 55-inches and up. Perhaps, prospective smaller TV buyer, you're wondering why. Allow me to explain:
- I always recommend getting a bigger TV if you can afford it and have the space.
- Smaller TVs are cheaper so people depend less on reviews and more on pricing differences.
- Larger TVs are getting less expensive too, narrowing the price gap and making bigger sets better values.
- Smaller TVs have worse picture quality because TV makers reserve their best tech for larger models.
- Readers overwhelmingly ask me to review larger TVs.
For all of those reasons and more (not least of all enjoyability when watching movies, flipping through the channels or streaming on Hulu, Netflix, or Disney Plus) 32-inch is the smallest size TV I review, and there are only two current models worth recommending. Just like with 43-inch sets, the next-largest size I review, you won't find the latest extras at this size — all 32-inch TVs still have HD (720-pixel or 1080p) resolution instead of 4K, for example, and none have picture-enhancing extras like full-array local dimming. Instead I prize smart TV apps and built-in streaming first.
The list below represents the best TVs in the 32-inch size I've reviewed in CNET's test lab, where I compare them side by side to see which ones are most worth buying. And yes, when I take into account things like viewing experience, display, refresh rate, resolution, smart features, streaming, sound and connectivity, there are only two I recommend.
Best 32-inch TV overall
Remember how I said smart TV function is king at this screen size? Roku is our favorite platform for live TV streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube and the rest, and it's even better baked into the TV. At this price buying a separate streamer for Roku is a significant investment — and juggling that streamer's remote is a hassle — so if you must get a 32-inch TV to meet your viewing needs, this is our favorite.
It has three HDMI ports, delivers high-quality images with 720 pixel high definition and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you don't have to upgrade your smart speaker devices to interact with this particular TV. Read CNET's TCL 32S325 Roku TV review.
Best 32-inch TV with Alexa
This Toshiba features Amazon's Fire TV system built-in, making it a direct competitor to the TCL's Roku system. In general we like Roku better than Fire TV, thanks to superior menus and search, but this Toshiba has one cool extra the TCL lacks: built-in Alexa, available by talking into the remote. Note that the Echo Dot in the above image isn't included.
This TV also offers three HDMI ports, 720p HD picture quality and an LED display. Read our Toshiba 32LF221U19 review.
Other stuff to know about buying a new 32-inch TV
Still with me? If neither of those TVs appeal to you my advice is that, at this size, just about any Roku TV that's $130 or less is a good choice. Roku licenses its operating system to TV brands including Hisense, RCA, Sharp and others, and any of them will deliver the smart TV advantages of my top choice above. If you insist on another brand like Samsung, LG or Vizio that's fine, but know that at this size you'll probably be paying more for similar image quality and an inferior smart TV experience compared to the two TVs above.
Looking for more info? Here's everything to know about buying a new TV in 2020.
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Originally published earlier this year.