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Best Dorm Room TVs for Students 2020

From small screens to party projectors, these are the best TVs for students.

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Bottom line

When you’re unwinding with shows and movies after a long day of classes, don’t settle for a tiny laptop or smartphone screen. There are plenty of great TVs out there that are affordable, even on a student budget.

Here are our top five student TV recommendations.

Top 5 TVs for Students

Specs and features comparison

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ModelPrice*Screen sizeResolutionRefresh rateGet it
Best overall
TOSHIBA 43LF711U20 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition
$239.9943"4K60HzVIEW ON AMAZON
Most reliable brand
Samsung UN32N5300AFXZA Smart LED TV
$219.9932"1080p60HzVIEW ON AMAZON
Most practical
Toshiba 32LF221U19 32-inch 720p HD Smart LED TV – Fire TV Edition
$149.9932"720p60HzVIEW ON AMAZON
Best for limited space
VIZIO D-Series 24” Class Smart TV
$138.0024"1080p60HzVIEW ON AMAZON
Most versatile
DBPOWER RD820 Mini Projector
$69.9932"–176"1080pn/aVIEW ON AMAZON

* Price at time of writing.

Best dorm-room TVs for students

Now that you have some basic stats, we’ll take a higher-resolution look at each of our dorm-appropriate recommendations.

Best overall

Toshiba 43LF711U20 43-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition

 

 

Amazon rating: 4.4/5

 

The specs

  • Price: $179.99
  • Screen size: 43″
  • Resolution: 4K UHD
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDMI ports: 3

Pros

  • Smart TV functionality
  • Fire TV built in
  • Voice remote with Alexa
  • HDR compatibility
  • Hands-free control (when paired with an Echo device)

Cons

  • Might be too big for some dorms’ rooms

The average dorm room is around 130 square feet1, so this 4K smart TV from Toshiba is probably about as big as you should get. Its 43-inch screen is best viewed from 6’ away, which could make finding a mounting spot (where both you and your roomie have good sightlines) a challenge.

But we’re talking about a 43-inch 4K smart TV with voice control, built-in Fire TV, and Alexa integration for $239.99. Challenge accepted, right? At this price—assuming you have enough leftover financial aid—you could add a soundbar for only $390 total (plus tax).

Besides, priorities: If we’ve learned anything from ’80s college movies, it’s that you have to establish your coolness early. What better way to flex than with your 4K mini-plex?

Pro tip: If you’re in a more spacious apartment instead of a dorm room, you could always go with the 55-inch model: Toshiba 55LF711U20 55-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV HDR – Fire TV Edition.

Most reliable brand

Samsung UN32N5300AFXZA Smart LED TV

Amazon rating: 4.2/5

The specs

  • Price: $219.99
  • Screen size: 32″
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDMI ports: 2

Pros

  • Smart TV functionality
  • Good screen size for bedrooms
  • Great HD picture

Cons

  • Reports of power problems

If you want a TV that can get you through college and beyond, Samsung is a reliable TV brand. That’s why, despite 11% of Amazon customers reporting power problems with the UN32N5300AFXZA, 80% of the reviews are four stars and above. It’s also why we recommend it.

With a 32-inch screen, you can enjoy this TV from as close as four feet. That means you’ll have a lot more flexibility with where you put it in your dorm room.

This TV also has two HDMI ports, audio ports for speakers or a soundbar, and other ports that work well for older home-entertainment devices—like your family’s ancient DVD player your dad foisted upon you.

Most practical

Toshiba 32LF221U19 32-inch 720p HD Smart LED TV – Fire TV Edition

 

Amazon rating: 4.4/5

The specs

  • Price: $149.99
  • Screen size: 32″
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDMI ports: 3

Pros

  • Smart TV functionality
  • Fire TV built in
  • Voice remote with Alexa
  • Hands-free control (with Echo device)

Cons

  • Standard HD (720p)
  • Reports of screen problems

Was the 43-inch 4K Toshiba TV too much TV for your dorm room? If you don’t mind dropping down to 720p resolution and losing HDR compatibility, try this 32-inch model. It still has some of the same goodies: smart TV functionality, built-in Fire TV, voice remote with Alexa, and—if you have an Amazon Echo device—hands-free control.

Yeah, 720p is kind of a bummer—but it’ll look fine on a 32-inch screen as long as you’re four feet away from it. And you can buy a better TV when you graduate (don’t stress; you will).

On the fence? If you’re not sure this is the perfect TV for your dorm room, look for another TV between 19 and 43 inches. Anything larger will dominate your space.

Best for limited space

VIZIO D-Series 24” Class Smart TV

 

Amazon rating: 4.1/5

The specs

  • Price: $138.00
  • Screen size: 24″
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • HDMI ports: 2

Pros

  • No streaming device necessary
  • Chromecast built in
  • Apple AirPlay 2 support
  • Voice control (Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri)

Cons

  • Small screen
  • No Bluetooth

What if you need a smaller TV? Maybe the housing department messed up the roommate matchmaking, and now you’re stuck with a grouch who hates telenovelas. Or anime. Or sports. This VIZIO model will help you avoid poking that bear.

Although a 24-inch screen isn’t normally ideal, if your dorm permits wall-mounting, get a mount that swivels and tilts. Then you can mount it on your bedside wall and swing it out over the bed (just make sure it’s at least three feet away from your eyes).

With a sweet pair of wired headphones (sorry, no Bluetooth), you’ll have your own little full HD theater.

Most versatile

DBPOWER RD820 Mini Projector

Amazon rating: 4.5/5

The specs

  • Price: $69.99
  • Screen size: 32″–176″
  • Resolution: 1080p (supported)
  • Brightness: 2800 lux
  • Ports: HDMI, USB, VGA, AV, SD, headphone jack

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Portability
  • Wide choice of screen sizes
  • Lots of connectivity options

Cons

  • Dim picture (unless it’s dark)
  • No voice control

Plenty of people in college host parties, but a projector will make your parties legendary. Turn off the lights and convert your entire wall into a screen, or grab an extension cord for a movie under the stars. Or just keep it on your bed and point it at the ceiling and for your own personal IMAX experience.

This projector has plenty of connectivity options so that you can hook it up to a cable box, laptop, console, or smartphone. However, there is no Bluetooth capability, so get the right cables for your device. The RD820 also has a built-in speaker, but you’ll probably need a stronger supplemental sound system for big open spaces.

Despite its limitations, this mini projector is affordable, mobile, and offers a big-screen experience—which is perfect for a student who’s on the go and ready to party.

Save on a TV with Amazon Prime

Amazon offers 50% off Amazon Prime memberships for students. It can help you save on groceries, school supplies, shipping costs, textbooks, and more. Prime memberships also include free access to Amazon Prime Video, which gives you a lot of streaming content to watch on your new smart TV.

Our final take: What’s next?

The TVs listed above are great for all kinds of college lifestyles. Once you’ve decided on the one for you, we can help you find cheap and free TV services.

If you want cable TV, check which TV providers are in your college town by entering your ZIP code below. Signing up early can help you beat the rush of move-in day.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Best Dorm Room TVs for Students FAQ

When you’re purchasing a TV for your college dorm or off-campus housing, it’s helpful to know a few things that set TVs apart from each other.

Which TV brand should I get for my dorm or apartment?

While name-brand TVs like LG, Sony, and Samsung have a history of excellence, some cheaper rivals like TCL are proving to be reliable too. Don’t pay more just because a name is more familiar. Name-Brand TVs vs. Their Cheaper Rivals: What’s the Difference?

 What TV size should I get for my dorm or apartment?

The best size for your dorm room will be around 19″ and 32″. If you’re looking for a TV for the living room, the best size will depend on the size of the space, but a TV between 32″ and 63″ should work for most student housing. To calculate the perfect TV size for your dorm room or apartment, check out our TV Viewing Distance Calculator.

TV Viewing Distance Calculator

What are smart TVs?

Smart TVs can stream content from services like Netflix and Hulu when connected to the internet. The only smart TV on our list is the TCL 55S405, but you can turn any TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV using a streaming device like the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Express. Learn More about Smart TVs

What is screen resolution?

Screen resolution is how clear the picture is based on how many pixels a TV has. 4K Ultra HD is the best available, with 1080p just behind. But for screens smaller than 40″, 720p works well unless you’re sitting really close to it. Give yourself 6′ to 8′ of space, and the picture will look great. Learn More about Screen Resolution

What are refresh rates?

Refresh rates are how often the picture on your screen changes, which is what makes a movie look like it’s moving. The current standard is 60Hz, meaning the picture changes sixty times per second.

If you’re a big action movie or sports fan, you might want to splurge on a 120Hz or 240Hz TV because lots of movement can look choppy at 60Hz. Otherwise 60Hz works just fine. Learn More about Refresh Rates

Do college dorm rooms have cable?

Some college dorm rooms have cable, while others don’t. Check with your school’s housing department.

What is the average size of a college dorm room?

According to DormStormer.com, the average dorm size is 130 square feet1.

ENDNOTES

  1. DormStormer.com, “Average Dorm Room Size.”

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