The 10 Best Dorm and Small Apartment TVs of 2019

Make your dorm or apartment the go-to spot for movie night

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Monitor for Video Streaming: Acer R240HY at Amazon

"Consider investing in a quality monitor and skipping the TV altogether."

Best Smart Features: TCL 32S305 at Amazon

"This 32-inch LED TV comes with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi that easily connects to your home network."

Best 4K: TCL 50S425 at Amazon

"Gives you access to all your favorite streaming apps and more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes."

Best Budget: Element ELEFW195R at Walmart

"For under $100, this is a great TV for your small space."

Best Value: Sceptre X328BV at Amazon

"This is a mount-ready unit that will work well for a college student thanks to its steady performance and exceptionally low cost."

Best 19-Inch: Sceptre E195BV-SHD at Amazon

"It measures 19.8 x 14.8 x 4 inches and weighs 7.6 pounds, so it’s very portable."

Best 32-Inch: Samsung UN32N5300 at Amazon

"Offers a great straight-out-of-the-box experience."

Best 720p: Sony KDL32W600D 32-Inch at Amazon

"Built-in Wi-Fi and downloadable apps so you can stream content from most major video services."

Best Projector: WOWOTO CAN Mini Projector at Amazon

"At just 11.9 x 9.6 inches long and 3.7 inches tall, this device mimics the visual quality of a smart TV, but in a package that’s about the size of an iPad Pro."

Best 28-Inch: LG28LJ400B LED Kit at Walmart at Amazon

"Comes in a bundle with a wall mount and power surge adapter."

Our Top Picks

Best Monitor for Video Streaming: Acer R240HY

Acer R240HY
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.8

If you plan on coming to campus with a desktop PC, consider investing in a quality monitor and skipping the TV altogether. This works particularly well for students who are going to be watching the majority of their content from streaming services like Hulu and Netflix rather than traditional cable providers. Those going the monitor route need to consider the Acer R240HY, which is the best value for a 1080p monitor on the market.

The 23.8-inch screen has a TrueHD max resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and comes in spellbinding 100 Million:1 contrast ratio. In-Plane Switching (IPS) shows colors in vibrant form from any angle. That means your friends watching from over on the bed get to see the high-quality imagery in the same vibrancy you do from your swivel chair.

The slim, frameless monitor and attractive bezel mimic the design of a flat-screen TV, making it even easier to skip a second screen. VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs make it easier than ever to get content from a computer or phone to the monitor. Just be warned that this monitor is not mountable, so it will need to sit on your desk.

Best Smart Features: TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)

4.5

This 32-inch LED TV comes with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi that easily connects to your home network. For the budget price, you’ll be pleased with its 720p HD resolution and 60GHz refresh rate that keeps up with fast action scenes. Our favorite thing about this TV is its intuitive user interface, so you won’t have to navigate complicated menus to get to your favorite shows and apps. It also has ample inputs, including three HDMI (one w/ ARC) and one USB. 

The TV itself is fairly standard in appearance, but its simplified remote has just 20 buttons, which is half that of a standard remote, including shortcut buttons to these popular apps: Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. Best yet, if you’re already snuggled into bed and can’t reach the remote, you can download the mobile app to turn your smartphone into the clicker.

Best 4K: TCL 50S425 50" 4K Smart LED Roku TV

4.5

When it comes to finding a 4K smart TV that doesn’t cost a fortune, TCL’s 50S425 is the perfect combination of features and affordability. This 50-inch TV is bigger than most of the other models on this list, but with good reason — you have to have a little screen real estate to really appreciate that dazzling 4K picture quality. The Roku TV interface gives you access to all your favorite streaming apps and more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes. The simplified remote makes it easy to navigate and find exactly what you're looking for, and a downloadable app for both Android and iOS also lets you use your smartphone as a remote.

As for that 4K screen: HDR and HDR10 make colors even more vibrant and details especially crisp. For gamers, the minimal input lag can keep up with fast-paced graphics so you don't miss a beat. The rear of the television has three HDMI inputs for adding external devices like a gaming system or alternative streaming options like Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire TV.

Best Budget: Element ELEFW195R

As mentioned before, a good price is paramount for a dorm or small apartment: after all, if you're a student, you likely aren't in a position to drop hundreds of dollars on a TV. That’s where this 19-inch flat screen from Element comes in. For under $100, this is a great TV for your small space.

With a resolution of 1366 x 768, the Element ELEFW195R sits firmly in the 720p category, which should honestly be fine for its tiny screen size. The dynamic contrast ratio is 1000:1 and the aspect ratio is 16:9. Element has loaded in 3D Video Noise Reduction for a clearer picture and there are HDMI, USB, component, composite, RCA, and headphone inputs, so all the requisites are here. And, of course, there’s also automatic digital and analog antenna channel tuning to make sure you get the most out of whatever package you’ve purchased. It isn’t a smart TV and it doesn’t come with any of the flashy name brand features, but at this price point, you get an amazingly serviceable machine. 

Best Value: Sceptre X328BV

It may come as a bit of a surprise to see a brand like Sceptre at the top of our list, but stay with us. If you’re looking for a dorm TV, your size limitations likely max out around 32 inches and price is your other main consideration. Dorms are notoriously public spaces, ripe for theft and damage from social gatherings. Sceptre is a brand known for value, but the X3288BV also offers a few spec points that are a welcome surprise giving its low price point.

First off, the 720p resolution may be the bare minimum for pixel count, but the bright LED tech make this “barely HD” TV seem solidly brilliant. The unit also has built-in MEMC 120 technology — something that essentially estimates movement in quicker sequences to help smooth it out, mitigating the need for a higher refresh rate. There’s an HDMI input and mobile HD connectivity through the built-in MHL link. There are also USB, VGA, and component inputs, and there’s even a Clear QAM tuner meant to make hooking up live TV even easier — eliminating the need for an antenna. All in all, this is a mount-ready unit that will work well for a college student thanks to its steady performance and exceptionally low cost.

Best 19-Inch: Sceptre E195BV-SHD

Sceptre E195BV-SHD
Courtesy of Amazon.com

TVs that measure 19 inches are becoming a thing of the past, but a few manufacturers are still making good, inexpensive units that work well in small spaces. The Sceptre E195BV-SHD is a bare-bones 720p HD TV with an LCD display and HDMI connectivity. It measures 19.8 x 14.8 x 4 inches and weighs 7.6 pounds, so it’s very portable and easily could find a home in whatever space you have open.

Customers have noted that the Sceptre E195BV-SHD works great as a cheap non-primary TV, especially in places like a bedroom or a kitchen. Some people have even used it as a PC monitor and have said this TV works well for switching between game console, TV and PC usage.

Best 32-Inch: Samsung UN32N5300

As the TV market has progressed, the depth of options for TVs as small as 32 inches has definitely gone down. That said, there are still some choice units from top manufacturers, and this 32-inch TV from Samsung checks basically every box you could want. First, it’s 1080p, so while it isn’t breaking any pixel records, when you factor in the increased clarity from the HDR functionality, you have a great-looking screen. And if that brightness wasn’t enough, Samsung has loaded in a proprietary algorithm they’re calling Ultra Clean View to smooth out distortion. There’s more: the bolstered color performance, Micro Dimming shadow definition, and enhanced contrast all yield the best possible picture under the 1080p restrictions. Of course, there’s also smart TV app access and an external app you can control with your mobile device to make navigating the on-screen options even easier. It all connects via Wi-Fi, component cables, HDMI, and more, meaning it offers a great straight-out-of-the-box experience.

Best 720p: Sony KDL32W600D 32-Inch

Sony KDL32W600D 32-Inch
Courtesy of Amazon.com

When you don’t have a lot of space to work with for your TV, getting a smart TV is often a good idea because it means you don’t have to find space for streaming media players or game consoles to bring Web content to your TV. The Sony KDL32W600D is a well-reviewed 32-inch smart TV that fits this role. It has a 720p direct-lit LED screen and has two HDMI inputs and two USB ports, ensuring good connectivity.

Now let’s talk about what makes the Sony KDL32W600D smart. The TV has built-in Wi-Fi and downloadable apps so you can stream content from most major video services, including YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. You can also play media like movies and music directly from a USB stick by simply sticking into one of the two USB ports.

A majority of customers have been happy with this TV, especially when it comes to picture quality. The only thing they found lacking was sound quality, so you might want to invest in a small sound bar if you have audio concerns.

See more reviews of our favorite Sony TVs available for purchase.

Best Projector: WOWOTO CAN Mini Projector 3D DLP

Gone are the days of blurry, low-quality projectors meant only for high school lectures. Now, you can get beautiful HD quality and the charm of a drive-in theater, all in the comfort of your living room or dorm. For those who don't have space for a full-size TV, the WOWOTO CAN Mini Projector 3D DLP makes for a clever alternative.

At just 11.9 x 9.6 inches long and 3.7 inches tall, this device mimics the visual quality of a smart TV, but in a package that’s about the size of an iPad Pro. Lit by 3,500 lumens, the WOWOTO CAN projector produces 300-inch pictures in brilliant 1080P. It comes equipped with HDMI, USB, and Ethernet ports, along with a built-in Android 4.4 wireless connection, which allows you to stream media from a variety of sources. You can also pair the WOWOTO CAN with a Bluetooth-enabled device, using “screen-mirroring” to project your favorite shows or movies on a bigger screen.

Check out our other reviews of the best projectors available on the market today.

Best 28-Inch: LG28LJ400B LED Kit at Walmart

LG Walmart

Since televisions with anything less than a 32-inch display do not come with 4K resolution, you likely want the best you can get out of a 720p TV. LG has a great bundle with its LG28LJ400B LED Kit that comes with a remote, 750-Joule 6-outlet surge adapter, and an added wall mount. LG's LED backlighting delivers exceptional image clarity and brightness to your TV, in addition to better energy efficiency compared to conventional LCD TVs. The entire package weighs less than ten pounds, it's very affordable, and is perfect for any room you decide to put it in.

Want to see some other options? Take a look at our best 26 to 29-inch TVs.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought two top-rated TVs for dorms and small apartments that our reviewers tested daily for weeks on end. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these TVs, from their resolution to their built-in apps. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Dorm and Small Apartment TV

Resolution - If you’re on a budget, then you’ll do fine with a 720p TV. The trouble is that since you’re sitting so close in a tighter space, it’s easier to notice the difference. If you have a desktop computer, or a laptop with an HDMI output, you can get a 1080p monitor for a very affordable price tag.

Built-in apps - If you don’t already have a streaming device, you can save some money by choosing a TV with built-in apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and Vudu. Streaming devices are pretty affordable too, but they also take up extra space.

Inputs - Make sure the TV you choose has enough HDMI inputs to accommodate whatever DVD or Blu-ray players, game consoles, and any other devices you want to hook up. This will save you the cost of buying an HDMI switcher down the line.

Test Results: Acer R240HY (Best Monitor for Video Streaming)

3.8
What We Like
  • Great picture quality

  • Sleek design

  • Ergonomic tilt feature

What We Don't Like
  • Can’t adjust height of monitor

  • Awkward placement of cable ports

Acer R240HY
Acer

Our testers recommended this monitor based on its budget-friendly price, desk-friendly design, and high-quality display. One of our reviewers commented, “The ‘zero frame’ and stand look very sleek and modern.” Calling the picture “clear and vivid,” one of our testers also said, “I think it's a great deal for what you're getting.” In terms of negatives, one of our reviewers wasn’t a fan of the cable port placement, which she said made the wires stick out. And while our testers liked the ergonomic tilt feature, one of our reviewers would have liked to adjust the height of the monitor, too.

Test Results: TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model) (Best Smart Features)

5
What We Like
  • Easy navigation

  • Clear display

  • Convenient accompanying app

What We Don't Like
  • Short power cord

TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)
TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV
TCL 32S305 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)
TCL 32S305 32-Inch 720p LED TV (2017 Model)

This TV came highly recommended by our testers for its ease of use. “The setup was extremely quick and painless and I like that the remote has buttons for Netflix and Hulu, so I can turn the TV on and automatically connect to my favorite streaming services,” one of our reviewers revealed. One of our testers described the display as “crisp” and the audio as “surprisingly good.” In fact, our testers mentioned very few negatives. One of our reviewers simply said, “I wish the cord was a little longer so I wouldn't have to use an extension cord to reach my outlet.” Bottom line: “The interface is easy to use, it's speedy, and you can connect to all of your streaming services via one platform,” raved one of our testers.