After purchasing the top 10 best 32″ LED TVs on the market, we put them to the test with movies, apps and video games. During our testing, we specifically looked for features like resolution, picture quality and smart TV capabilities. To test these features, we watched our favorite movies and played our favorite games and compared the results to one another.
When we got our fill of movies and video games, we found that the Toshiba 32LF221U19 32-inch LED TV was the best 32-inch LED TV around. This TV features the impressive Fire TV interface and voice-enabled smart home compatibility. Keep reading to learn more about the Toshiba Fire TV and the other LED TVs on our list to see which option is best for you.
- 1 Top 5 Best 32-Inch LED TV Compared
- 1.1 #1 Toshiba 32LF221U19 32″ LED Fire TV – Top Pick/Best Smart LED TV
- 1.2 #2 Samsung UN32J4000C 32″ LED TV – Honorable Mention/Best Design and Color Accuracy
- 1.3 #3 TCL 32S325 LED TV – Best for Gaming
- 1.4 #4 Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch TV – Best Value
- 1.5 #5 Sceptre X328BV-SR LED TV – Best Budget
- 1.6 How We Choose the Best 32-Inch LED TV
- 1.7 Why You Should Buy a New 32-Inch TV
- 1.8 What to Look for in the Best 32-Inch LED TV
- 1.9 Mistakes to Avoid
Top 5 Best 32-Inch LED TV Compared
#1 Toshiba 32LF221U19 32″ LED Fire TV – Top Pick/Best Smart LED TVWHY WE LIKE IT: The Toshiba Fire TVs are some of the most affordable TVs that still offer premium features like full HD and smart functionality. The Toshiba 32LF221U19 offers 1080p resolution and impressive voice control options using Amazon Alexa.
Hands down, the top selling point for this Toshiba Fire TV edition is the ability to control the TV – and your other smart home devices – using the built-in Alexa functionality. This greatly enhances the overall user experience. The only downside to this being a dedicated Fire TV is the advertising Amazon pushes your way for their own content and products. Unfortunately, these ads can’t be skipped or hidden.
Even though you only get middling color ranges and black levels, the Toshiba Fire TV still offers full HD 1080p resolution. For the most part, the pictures looks great when watching HD content. Plus, you just can’t beat this kind of pricing for a fully functional smart TV.
#2 Samsung UN32J4000C 32″ LED TV – Honorable Mention/Best Design and Color AccuracyWHY WE LIKE IT: Samsung has always excelled in producing good-looking and reliable televisions, which is apparent in the UN32J400C. It offers accurate colors and an easy-to-use interface perfect for viewers wanting a streamlined experience.
The Samsung UN32J4000C performed pretty well in our testing, but it didn’t blow us away with every single feature it offered, either. The 32 inch LED TV offers the most impressive color accuracy out of all the TVs on our list, but suffered a bit when it came to black levels. Make no mistake, this is a no frills LED television that focuses solely on providing a good picture, which it does well, especially considering the price. Unfortunately, you’ll only get 720p resolution so don’t expect the most high-definition experience.
You also don’t get any smart TV functions with this Samsung TV, although that is a problem easily mitigated with smart Blu-Ray players or video game consoles. If you’re looking for a really simple, easy-to-use LED TV at an extra-affordable price, the Samsung is the choice for you.
#3 TCL 32S325 LED TV – Best for GamingWHY WE LIKE IT: The TCL 32S325 is a small, lightweight LED TV with a heavy feature set. You get the full, impressively smooth Roku TV interface and fast response times with this TCL, along with a 120 Hz refresh rate, making this perfect for gamers.
TCL has made huge waves in the smart LED TV scene in recent days because of its excellent Roku TV interface and super-affordable price. If you’re looking for an affordable smart TV experience in a TV that’s also great for gaming, then you can’t miss the TCL 32S325. The Roku TV interface is the easiest to use on our list and it’s constantly upgraded to keep it working well at all times.
You also get low input lag and a fast 120 Hz refresh rate, which makes this the perfect 32-inch LED TV for gaming. However, the TV doesn’t get super bright, so make sure you only use it in areas that are dim enough for you to see the picture clearly. If you’re looking for gaming and smart TV functionality on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the TCL 32S325, one of the best Roku TVs on the market.
#4 Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch TV – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: The Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 is another excellent Amazon Fire TV option that provides superb Alexa voice control at a price that’s affordable for anyone.
If you want smart home functionality at a price that’s impossible to ignore, then you definitely need to consider the Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 Fire TV. Its best feature is the Amazon Fire interface, which is one of the best smart TV systems available today. Like other Fire TVs, you’ll get somewhat aggressive advertising for Amazon products that you can’t get rid of.
However, this pales in comparison to the picture quality, which manages to stay crisp and vibrant. You’ll get accurate colors and a decent contrast ratio with this LED TV. This is the best budget 32″ LED TV on our list with the best picture quality and performance for its price range.
#5 Sceptre X328BV-SR LED TV – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: If you don’t have more than $100 to spend, you can’t ignore the Sceptre X328BV-SR. Even at an extremely affordable price, you can expect good picture quality with decent color accuracy and contrast levels, making this a hard deal to beat.
Without question, the best selling point to the Sceptre X328BV-SR is its sub-$100 price point. If you’re on a budget that you absolutely cannot break, this is the TV for you. While it doesn’t offer any kind of smart TV functionality, it still performs well overall.
For one, the picture quality is surprisingly good, with accurate colors and deep contrast levels. It also features pretty decent onboard speakers, so you won’t need to purchase additional accessories like soundbars. If you don’t want to spend more than necessary on a reliable, well-designed 720p LED TV, the Sceptre is right for you.
How We Choose the Best 32-Inch LED TV
Screen quality is the primary feature to consider with a television, and it played a key role in determining our top picks. One thing to remember with smaller screen televisions, such as 32 inches, is that some off-brand manufacturers offer screens at discount prices in this screen size category, more so than in the larger screen categories. But it’s smart to stick with the best TV brands in this category to ensure that you have the best screen quality.
The number of input ports that are available also was a consideration for the TVs on our list. With smaller televisions, you won’t find as many input ports as are available on larger screens, because there just isn’t as much room available. Having at least two — and preferably three — HDMI inputs is a must these days, even on a screen as small as 32 inches.
Smart TV functionality was important for the models on our list, as more viewers are looking for the ability to access popular apps and stream content. Each manufacturer has its own Smart TV interface it uses, and there are quite a few strong offerings: Tizen, Android, and WebOS to name a few. And although selecting the best Smart TV interface can be a matter of personal preference, my favorite is the Roku interface, which happens to be included with our top pick, the TCL 32FS3800.
The Roku model contains standard popular apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Crackle, and Hulu Plus, but it also has Spotify, HBO Go, Amazon Video, and CinemaNow. And with Roku, you can perform searches of various streaming services independent of the service’s app, meaning you can search multiple services at once for a particular show or actor. This is a time saving feature. The Roku interface just feels natural to use, and in my experience, Roku is a very stable interface, outperforming some other Smart TV options. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, as Roku has been around for quite a bit longer than other options, originally appearing as the navigation interface in some of the first stand alone DVRs.
Another key component we emphasized in our list of the best 32-inch TVs is response time. A 32-inch model often serves as a second TV in the home, aimed at gamers, meaning a unit’s strong response times are important for multiplayer gaming. For example our top choice on this list, the 32FS3800, has a top response time of about 15 ms, which is a top-end performance level for a 32-inch TV. If a smaller TV has a 60 ms or slower response time, it’s going to struggle with gaming. Although TVs with faster response times may cost a bit more than slower performing televisions, serious gamers will definitely want to spend a little extra to receive the best performance levels. If you’re someone who just plays games occasionally or who rarely participates in multiplayer games, you probably can receive the performance you need from a TV with mid-level response times (about 35 ms or slower).
Why You Should Buy a New 32-Inch TV
Although much of the television market’s focus is on the best 55-inch TVs or the best 70 inch TVs, not everyone has the space for such a large television screen. A smaller TV is perfect for a smaller room, where you don’t want to feel overwhelmed with a large screen. If your primary seating area is about 4-7 feet from the TV, a 32-inch LED television is a great choice. Or if you’re a gamer, you may want to sit closer to the screen, which makes a 32-inch model great as a best TV for gaming.
Another great reason to purchase a smaller TV is as a second model (or third model) for the man cave. Perhaps you’re looking for multiple TVs for the NCAA Tournament, so you don’t miss any games. A 32-inch TV will be easy to move around and serve as a good complementary screen to your larger unit, all at a lower price than a larger screen might set you back instead.
And the price point in this screen size category is very desirable. When you can pick up a television that still measures 32 inches diagonally for just a few hundred dollars, you’re receiving a nice deal.
What to Look for in the Best 32-Inch LED TV
- Screen Resolution: One thing you’ll notice with 32-inch televisions is that you’ll be limited to HD resolution. So if 4K resolution is your desire, you’ll have to look at larger, more expensive models.
- Refresh Rate: The measurement of how often the screen refreshes is measured in hertz. A fast refresh rate, say 120Hz, typically results in better performance for fast moving subjects on the screen, such as sports or gaming, versus a 60Hz refresh rate.
- Smart TV Functionality: One of the benefits of going with a small TV is that it still has all of the Smart TV functions of its larger screen counterparts. Smart TVs have Wi-Fi technology or Ethernet ports built into them, allowing for an Internet connection, but each manufacturer offers different Smart TV interfaces.
- Ports: If you’re using your 32-inch model TV as a gaming TV, you’re going to need plenty of ports for connecting gaming systems. Having multiple HDMI ports is key to ensuring all of your devices can be connected at one time. All of the units on our list offer at least two HDMI ports, although at least three are better.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Placing TV in Wrong Size Room: A 32-inch TV will work well in a small room, as you’ll want the primary sitting area to be about 4-7 feet from the 32-inch screen. If your sitting area must be farther from the screen, you probably will want to seek a larger display to compensate.
- Strong Contrast Levels: If you’re going to be sitting closer to the screen than normal, you’re going to notice problems with contrast easier as well. You’ll want the difference between the whites and blacks to be as distinct as possible. TV manufacturers measure contrast in a ratio, where any measurement of 3,000:1 or higher is a good performance level.
- Worrying About 1080p HD Resolution: Don’t be hung up on selecting a 32-inch television that has 1080p HD resolution. Because this screen size category is pretty small, you won’t really notice the difference between 720p and 1080p LED models. And many 720p HD 32-inch TVs, such as the TCL model that’s our top pick, are able to upscale to simulate 1080p when such programming is being displayed.
What Else You Should Think About
When seeking the best 32 LED TV, make sure you understand everything you need to know about modern flat screen televisions. If you haven’t shopped for TVs for a few years, it’s important that you look through our TV buying guide to better understand all of the latest jargon around making a television purchase. LED TV review articles on our site can help you find a great model too.
Although some shoppers may initially balk at selecting a small screen, if you choose to go small, you’ll be amazed at the great prices you can find. The TCL 32LF221U19 32-inch TV will be a best buy at less than a couple of hundred dollars, as long as you place it in a room where your primary seating is relatively close to the screen. And the TCL unit will work well as a best gaming TV, should you be seeking a smaller model as a second television in your man cave!