The best 32-inch TVs for small apartments, dorms, and bedrooms in 2024


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A 32-inch TV is a perfect choice if you’re got a tight space and are looking for a TV that’s “just right” by Goldilocks standards: It’s not too big, but not too small. Although we all dream of an 85-inch TV that’s large and cinematic, not everyone has 85-inch television space or money. In many cases, too large of a television can overwhelm a room. You want space and wall clearance for your knick-knacks, doodads, and various trinkets you’ve collected over the years, after all. If you’re shopping for a college student, most housing and res-life offices will recommend televisions that are 32 inches or less. Personally, I was only allowed to bring a television that was 17 inches or less. Kids these days really have it all, considering television tech has advanced exponentially compared to when I was in college a decade ago (Shudder! Ick! Time!). The best 32-inch televisions pack high-tech features into a small package for modest rooms.

The best 32-inch TVs: Reviews & Recommendations

Bigger isn’t always better. One of our choices will look great in the guest room or a 200-square-foot dorm room.

Best overall: Roku 32-inch Select Series 720p HD Smart RokuTV

A Roku 32-inch select series TV on a plain background.

Specs

  • Resolution: 720p
  • Ports: 2x HDMI, 1x HDMI eARC, USB
  • Operating system: Roku OS
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros

  • Voice-controlled remote
  • Bezel-less design
  • Compatible with lots of home control devices like Alexa

Cons

  • Brightness is not the best
  • No Ethernet port

We love Roku TVs for their combination of quality and price. One of our favorite Roku TVs is the 65-inch Roku Select, so we weren’t surprised that we loved its pint-sized cousin. We also love vacationing in Roku City and taking in all the sites it has to offer, like the monsters attacking the city proper and the movie theater.

All jokes aside, this is a solid TV under $300. You can customize the home screen so your favorite streaming apps, inputs, and Roku’s free live TV are just a remote click away. Speaking of, the remote is push-to-talk compatible, meaning you don’t have to spend three minutes picking at letters. We also love the remote’s no-nonsense layout. You can also use the Roku app as a bonus remote to bring some peace to the home or if you lose the one it comes with.

Although it’s not 4K, 720p resolution is great if you don’t need that level of detail. However, the brightness is lacking, which is only a problem if you want a blindingly bright TV. It also doesn’t come with an Ethernet port. If that’s too large of a con, consider upgrading to the Roku Select Series 4K. The smallest size is 43 inches, just a heads-up, but it does have an Ethernet port.

When you activate your device, you get a one-month trial of AMC+ and Starz on the Roku Channel. Plus, it’s compatible with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, and Roku Smart Home. It’s quick to set up, has great sound, and comes at a great price. What’s not to like?

Best smart: Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-Series HD smart TV

An Amazon 32-inch 2 series television on a plain background.

  • Resolution: 720p
  • Ports: 2x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI ARC, 1x Ethernet, 1x USB 2,0
  • Operating system: Fire TV OS
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros

  • Lots of ports
  • Dolby Digital Plus compatible
  • Synchronicity between Fire TV devices

Cons

This smart television is great for the freshman who needs a TV with all the bells and whistles for their dorm, or someone looking to stay entertained in your tiny home or RV. The image quality isn’t 4K—like the Roku, it comes at 720p resolution—but support for HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Digital Plus makes it kick just a little harder. Our favorite feature is its synchronicity: You can pause your show in one room and pick up where you left off on another Fire TV in a different room. You can also control other smart home devices from your TV and ask Alexa to tell you a joke right in your living room.

If you participate in late-night binge-watching, you can connect your Bluetooth headphones to your TV so you don’t disturb sleeping roommates (who may or may not be your children and spouse). You also get six months of MGM+ when you purchase this TV. We recommend using it to watch FROM, which is equal parts scary and addicting.

Unfortunately, the interface on this TV is a little lagging. If you’re patient, you won’t mind. If you’re not … you could probably use it to practice waiting a little for once.

Best value: TCL 32-inch Class S3 1080p LED Smart TV

A TCL 32-inch S3 television on a plain background.

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Ports: 2x HDMI, 1x HDMI ARC, 1 USB
  • Operating system: Roku OS
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz

Pros

  • Higher resolution
  • Bezel-less design
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Sound quality could be better

If you’re bummed about the prices and resolutions of these TVs and you’re dead-set on a 32-inch TV, consider this one from TCL. It comes with 1080p resolution and Dolby Digital Plus compatibility for decent picture and sound quality. Reviews note that the sound could be better, but there’s nothing a cheap soundbar can’t fix.

This TV is also VESA-compatible, which means you can mount it on your wall in case you’re not feeling the included legs. We’re particularly fond of the Game Mode, which reduces lag and latency so you can demolish aliens in Helldivers II with ease. Unlike the aliens, you’ll enjoy the company of the TCL S3 and the entertainment it brings.

Here are more 32-inch TVs to stream all your favorite shows:

FAQs

Q: How far should I sit from a 32-inch TV?

For the best viewing experience, you should sit about 4 feet away from a 32-inch TV. If you’re looking, the exact number is 47 inches.

Q: How long should a 32-inch TV last?

The average lifespan of a television is 4-10 years, depending on use. Turning down the brightness can actually elongate the lifespan of your television since you’re not wearing out the LEDs as much as you would at full brightness.

Q: Is a 32-inch TV too small for a living room?

It depends on the size of the living room and personal preference. A 32- to 43-inch TV is great for small living rooms; consider A 43- to 55-inch television is right for a medium living room, and anything more than 55 inches fits a large living room. If you’re a movie buff or gamer, you’ll want a television that’s larger for a more immersive experience. If aesthetics are more of a priority, a smaller television can give you more space for all your artwork and shelves.

Q: Is 4K worth it on a 32-inch TV?

4K televisions are often more expensive than HD versions. A smaller screen might also cause your eyes to miss details, especially if you’re sitting more than 4 feet away from it. Generally, a 1080p resolution will be more than enough for this size of television. Save the 4K for something larger.

Final thoughts on the best 32-inch TVs

A smaller form factor doesn’t mean you will have a worse viewing experience. Good things come in small packages, after all. A 32-inch television is perfect for a dorm room, guest room, or pool house … if it’s a tiny room and you want to watch things in it, 32 inches is the perfect TV size for you.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.





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