Is a 40 inch TV big enough? Your guide to deciding whether to get a smaller set

Your guide on how big to go when choosing a second TV or small space set

Samsung 43" The Frame Smart 4K QLED TV
(Image credit: Samsung)

You can't talk about TVs for very long before someone starts singing the praises of the massive set they've just bought for their front room. Bigger has always been seen as better in home entertainment, whether that's the jump from the boxy TVs of yesteryear to our precious flat screens or the rise of 75" and 85" TVs in modern times.

But we think that there's still a place for the non-flashy 40-inch TV, even if they're not often the centerpiece of the lounge like they used to be. But are they big enough?

Smaller TVs have a lot of benefits that are often overlooked. They're perfect for small living rooms, for example, and can be much more easily hidden away if you don't want your technology to be on display all of the time. There are also a lot of great options available, as detailed in our guide to the best 40 inch TVs.

Keep reading for advice on how to decide whether a more-minute screen is right for you and what you should consider before getting one.

Where are you going to put your 40 inch TV?

Sharps fitted wardrobes showing a TV inside

(Image credit: Sharps)

Unlike larger sets like the best 85 inch TVs, smaller TVs can be put in pretty much any room you want. Always wanted to be able to do your Sunday Netflix binge from the comfort of bed? Or enjoy your favorite movie while soaking in the bath? You can even watch a cookery show while whipping up dinner. Basically, the only limit is your imagination. 

The size of these rooms will dictate whether a 40-inch model is large enough, of course, as you don't want to be squinting to see said binge if your bedroom happens to be on the large side. You might also want to go smaller with something like this Seura Séura 19" Indoor Waterproof TV (opens in new tab) or the 32" Frame TV.

For more inspiration, take a look at our articles on bedroom TV ideas, bathroom TV ideas, and kitchen TV ideas.

Pastel coloured living room with Samsung Frame TV on the wall

(Image credit: Samsung )

How much do you want to spend?

You can easily get a great 40 inch TV for less than $200, though it will be light on additional features. If you want to add something like the best streaming device, there's not much wrong with grabbing a non-smart TV for cheap. Just check it has the right connections, and you won't know any different. 

You won't get a 4K model for less than $300, but that can still be considered affordable compared to larger screens. You won't be paying too much more than this for something smart, either, and most modern televisions come with either Alexa or Google Assistant built-in. If this is something you really want on a budget, though, make sure to check all of the specifications.

OLED and QLED screens are what push the price up, and the lowest price for the former panel type we could find is $1,300 (at full price) for the LG 42" C2. The good news is that TVs are almost always on sale during events like Black Friday. This is the top end of what you can expect to pay. 

An open plan with TV in the middle

(Image credit: Mereway Kitchens & Bathrooms)

Check the actual dimensions of a 40 inch TV

You might be surprised to find out that not all 40 inch TVs are actually 40 inches wide - but it's better to find this out now than after you've bought an expensive TV for that small nook in the kitchen. Depending on the bezel size and other factors, there is a slight variation in the actual dimensions of your chosen TV.

For example, the Samsung Frame 43" sits at 42.5" wide, while the Samsung 43" QN90A is a whole inch wider at 43.5" wide. There's also the depth to consider, as this will also vary depending on the model (older TVs tend to be thicker).

We have focused on 40-43" models in this article, but it's worth noting that TVs in this range go up to 49".

Do 40 inch TVs have the latest tech?

Yes, just because 40-inch TVs aren't the ones getting all of the attention, it doesn't mean they don't perform just as well as their larger siblings. While many brands have stopped releasing 32" versions of their new models, the 40-inch TV is alive and well. In fact, you can actually save money on the bells and whistles with a smaller set, whereas it would be extremely difficult to find a 75" TV without smart home tech.

As detailed above, 4K TVs are easy to find in this size, but OLED, NanoCell LED, QLED, and Neo QLED are rarer. They exist, but you're more likely to find standard LED sets. 8K resolution hasn't reached this end of the market yet, either.

A living room with a TV facing the seating

(Image credit: Living with Lolo. Photo credit Life Created)

Verdict: Is a 40 inch TV big enough?

Though the answer to whether a 40 inch TV is large enough for your home will depend on the size of individual rooms and how often you and your family settle down for big movie nights, we would recommend that these smaller TVs are used as second sets or bedroom screens for occasional viewing when you don't want to go to the lounge. They're great for kids' rooms, and you won't be missing out on the latest tech if you choose carefully.

Consider the ideal spot carefully, and measure the distance between you and the TV. According to Sony (opens in new tab), the recommended distance from a 4K TV is 1.5x the set's vertical size. That means that the approximate distance from a 43" model is 2.95ft. Anything significantly more or less than that, and you may be straining your eyes.