October 22, 2020

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Best computer monitors for home, work, and play

Sifting through refresh rates, pixels, resolution, and all the other monitor buzzwords can be intimidating. We break down our top 10 computer monitor choices and what they’re best for to make finding the one that suits you easy.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

We’re willing to bet you spend a decent portion of your day on a computer, whether that be for work, school, or leisure activities. Laptops are amazing inventions, but let’s be real: Being confined to a 13- or 15-inch screen can be limiting. To get the work space you really need, a monitor is a must. This doesn’t have to be your second screen, btw. Hook one up to a desktop for a powerful computing machine.

What to look for in a monitor

The most important features of a monitor truly depend on its intended use. If you’re going to use it mostly for gaming you need a fast refresh rate, quick response time, and good graphics card to ensure the monitor can actually keep up with where you are in the game. Lagging is not welcome here.

Monitors for work or school should have IPS displays, which allow you to comfortably view the screen from any angle, even when it’s 4:30 p.m. and you are fully slouched in your chair. Also look for other eye strain-reducing features to avoid the pain that comes from staring at a screen all day.

No matter what your main purpose for getting a monitor, you definitely want to make sure it has high resolution, good color accuracy, and the necessary ports. These are universal monitor wish list items.

What size monitor should I get?

Size really does matter when it comes to picking out the right computer monitor. First of all, it’s got to fit on the desk or surface where you’re going to be using it. You might think that’s a no-brainer, but it never hurts to be reminded. Standard monitors range from 24 to 27 inches, but those are not the only size choices you have. There are smaller ones if you’re working with limited space or want to take your monitor on the go with you.

Larger displays are clutch for people who like to spread out their work station and have a hundred tabs open at once (we’re all guilty of it). Some monitors are so wide that they’re basically two screens in one. Bigger monitors are also nice for gaming, so you can actually see what you’re doing onscreen.

Keep all of these factors in mind as you browse our top choices for best computer monitors for work, school, gaming, and more.


A well-priced monitor with the features you need • Middle ground price point • Adjustable positions • Can be mounted to the wall

Not the highest picture quality for gaming • No built-in speakers

A great all around monitor for work and play.

1. Dell P2720DC

A middle-ground price point gives you desirable features in a monitor built to perform.

  • Size:
    27 inches
  • Resolution:
    2560 x 1440
  • Refresh rate:
    60Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:09
  • Screen coating:
    Anti-glare

The Dell P2720DC is our top pick because it doesn’t sacrifice on features while maintaining a relatively low price. It streams content in 1440p, a great middle ground between 1080p and ultra-sharp 4K. 
The design gives it a super thin (and sleek) vibe with a matte black casing, and has ports in the back to plug in all your USB-C devices. Plus, if you’re into the two-screen work experience, it’s very easy to connect your monitor to another one. You can adjust its height, swivel, tilt, and pivoting if the built-in setup doesn’t work best for you. And you can even mount it on the wall, if that’s your preferred way to work. 
The drawbacks are that it doesn’t have the ultimate highest picture quality, or built-in speakers. But if you’re a music buff, your speaker accessories will be compatible with your monitor. And if you’re connecting a laptop to this monitor, you’ll have speakers built in there anyway.


Beautiful graphics • Sleek design • Low input lag

Perfect for people who love to game and stream HD content.

2. Razer Raptor 27

A fast refresh rate and sharp graphics make this a killer gaming monitor.

  • Size:
    27 inches
  • Resolution:
    2560 x 1440
  • Refresh rate:
    144Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    Non-Glare IPS Display
Razer is known for its gaming accessories like laptops, headsets, keyboards, chairs, and mice, so of course the brand has a stellar gaming monitor.
The Razer Raptor 27 is 27 inches diagonally and weighs 25.4 pounds, so this is the monitor for you if you want a dedicated gaming setup that can take up a lot of space. If you’re particular about how your monitor is oriented, it can tilt up to 90 degrees, and you can raise it by 5.25 inches if you need to. 
You don’t need to know much about computers’ refresh rates and graphic capacity to know that 144Hz will give you the sharpest graphics you’ve seen in a computer monitor. for its color display as well. 

Swivels, pivots, and tilts • Adjustable height • Eye saver mode

No speakers • Some reviewers had issues connecting the monitor to its stand

If you’re in the market for a no-nonsense monitor with great features, start here.

3. Samsung Business SR650

Samsung hits all your basic monitor needs without putting a huge dent in your wallet.

  • Size:
    24 inches
  • Resolution:
    1920 x 1080
  • Refresh rate:
    75Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    IPS Panel

This is a budget monitor without being a cheap monitor. The Samsung SR650 24-inch monitor is less than $200, but doesn’t skimp on the important features you want in a monitor. It has a 1920 x 1080 IPS panel with a 75Hz refresh rate. In layman’s terms, you’ll get crisp, stunning images and a wide viewing angle.
The size of this monitor is great for most desk setups because it gives you plenty of screen without taking up too much space. Your laptop will still comfortably fit on your desk with the monitor.
There are plenty of ports on this Samsung monitor, including two USB 2.0, two USB-C, HDMI, and VGA connections. The monitor itself is also incredibly versatile and adapts to your work preferences. You can adjust the height and swivel, tilt, and pivot the monitor to whatever position suits your needs.


Beautiful display • Attractive design • Can use iOS or Windows

Very expensive • Only supports USB-C

Perfect for the Apple loyalist, but may be too expensive for the casual user.

4. Apple Pro Display XDR

While it’s expensive, this monitor is a beautiful machine for the creative industry.

  • Size:
    32 inches
  • Resolution:
    6016 x 3384
  • Refresh rate:
    60Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    IPS Panel
Apple loyalists who edit video, design graphics, or love video games, rejoice: There is a big, beautiful (albeit pricey) monitor for you. At $4,999, the cost is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But it’s for many reasons, including incredibly sharp colors and HDR. 
Most people enjoy Apple computers for their easy-to-understand design, and you can certainly run its operating system on this monitor, but you can also run Windows or Linux on it. The 32-inch monitor gives eye-popping 6K resolution, as well. You can ensure it won’t overheat because there are hella grates to let out any excess energy. 
If you edit video or design graphics, there’s a special type of display that will help you with seeing visuals sharply. It’s called full-array local dimming, where you can adjust the light in different parts of the monitor so you get the best possible contrast and visual quality of what you’re seeing. So while this is still a very expensive monitor, you get great features, especially if you work in any visual spheres. 

High refresh rate • Fast response time • Adjustable

Though it’s on the pricier side, this is a really stellar gaming monitor.

5. Acer Predator XB271HU WQHD

Experience a fast refresh rate and quick response time when you game with this Acer monitor.

  • Size:
    27 inches
  • Resolution:
    2560 x 1440
  • Refresh rate:
    144Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    Flickerless IPS Panel
The Acer Predator is a highly rated gaming monitor that has 2560 x 1440 resolution and a fast refresh rate of 144Hz. It has a fast response time and features Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, making it a really excellent machine for gaming.
As for looks, this Acer monitor has slim bezels and a red and black v-shaped stand — it’s a nice look with a bit of flair. The monitor is height-adjustable and tilts, swivels, and pivots for whatever position your gaming needs require. You can even mount the screen to the wall if you want a super legit setup.
The monitor is equipped with decent speakers (PCMag calls them “moderately loud, but tinny sounding”) and has HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB 3.0 ports located on the back. Overall, Acer has made an impressive gaming monitor.

Inexpensive and high quality monitor

No built in wall mount • Refresh rate not as high as other monitors

A strong choice for a monitor at just $100.

At just $100, this 21.5-inch HP monitor is a workhorse for those on a budget. Though this monitor does not have the picture quality of something like the Razer, it can clearly display items like four Adobe Premiere workspaces. Its HD imaging and 16:9 resolution were praised as well by customers. For computer nerds out there, that’s 102 pixels per inch. 
It has an incredibly slim profile, and despite it being made of plastic, the body has an expensive look and feel. The 60Hz response rate may not be high enough for the serious gamer, but should work well for any graphic design, video editing, and streaming needs.
The stand for this monitor is a little wonky, but honestly you could use the base to store pens and sticky notes if you really wanted. While there’s no built-in wall mount and it does not come with HDMI cables, you’re able to purchase those as add ons.


Sharp visuals with 4K quality • Thin bezels • Pivot, tilt, and swivel adjustments

A whopping 32 inches for someone who needs to see all the details.

7. Dell UltraSharp U3219Q

Get an edge-to-edge experience with this large UHD 4K monitor.

  • Size:
    32 inches
  • Resolution:
    3840 x 2160
  • Refresh rate:
    60Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:09
  • Screen coating:
    Anti-glare with 3H hardness
If you keep finding yourself zooming in on elements, reading spreadsheets with thousands of entries, or have to create and edit content, you may want a bigger monitor than the one you already have. And this one is BIG, at 32 inches. Remember when televisions weren’t even that big? 
It has 4K visuals, USB-C connectivity, and a USB hub. in addition to transmitting visuals, audio, and data, that USB hub can charge a 15-inch Macbook to full battery. The UltraSharp U3219Q has extremely slim bezels, giving you edge-to-edge viewing of a full, vibrant display. It has 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD 4K resolution, which provides four times more detail than Full HD — that’s seriously impressive.
This is more expensive than others on this list, but you surely get what you pay for. The monitor pivots and tilts into multiple positions, including a vertical rotation. This isn’t the ideal monitor for those with small spaces, but for those who want or need that kind of screen power, it’s a great choice. 

Wide with great color display • Multiple ports • Curved screen means less eye strain

Perfect for someone who needs the widescreen view.

8. Acer XR342CK Pbmiiqphuzx

Reduce eye strain and gain a larger workspace with this curved Acer monitor.

  • Size:
    34 inches
  • Resolution:
    3440 x 1440
  • Refresh rate:
    50Hz (100Hz overclocking)
  • Aspect ratio:
    21:9
  • Screen coating:
    IPS Panel

Having a dual-screen setup is great for work, but sometimes it’s cumbersome to try to fit two monitors. You may not be into that aesthetic on your desk. And let’s face it, twice the monitors means twice the cost. So in its place, here is one big wide monitor: The Acer XR342CK Pbmiiqphuzx. The title sounds like an alien sneezing, but its features make up for the strange name. 
It’s 34 inches wide, has a sturdy adjustable stand, and multiple ports for your USB and USB-C needs. There’s a cool curve to the top of the monitor, which gives it a distinct look from a standard computer monitor and helps you crane your neck less. This allows you to see every inch of your screen without eye strain, which is something a dual monitor setup can’t promise.
But the curved nature could cause some problems for a visual designer or architect as the curvature might warp your perspective slightly. Regardless, it’s a strong choice for people who need an ultra wide display.


Attractive design • Mid price range • Nice screen brightness • Good for gaming

USB ports disconnect when the monitor goes to sleep • Large base that’s not great for smaller desks

A well designed, mid-priced monitor.

9. LG 27UK650-W

With virtually nonexistent bezels, you’ll get all the screen you’re promised here.

  • Size:
    27 inches
  • Resolution:
    3840 x 2160
  • Refresh rate:
    60Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    IPS Panel

The LG 27UK650-W has an incredibly slim casing that is almost invisible, and its stand has a sleek curve. It’s got the kind of profile that would fit in in any office or stylish home setting. At $550, it sits in the middle of the price range on this list. 
The monitor’s HDR display combines Ultra HD 4K resolution with IPS clarity, making it awesome for gaming and working — whether that’s creating spreadsheets or designing graphics. It’s especially great for content creators, which honestly includes most people at this point. 
Gamers will marvel at all the advanced gaming features that make your graphics look realistic and keep your movements fluid. Regardless of what you use the monitor for, everyone can appreciate the adjustable display that tilts and pivots to let you get the best view.


Well priced • Very portable • Has many ports

Can’t adjust the height • Colors appear flat

A stellar option for those who travel or can’t lift a huge monitor.

10. Lepow 15.6-Inch USB-C Portable Monitor

A portable monitor gives you a second screen no matter where you choose to work.

  • Size:
    15.6 inches
  • Resolution:
    1920 x 1080
  • Refresh rate:
    60Hz
  • Aspect ratio:
    16:9
  • Screen coating:
    IPS Panel
Not everyone has the luxury of a permanent work station and some people prefer to move around as they work. That’s why the Lepow USB-C portable monitor is so great. At 15.6 inches, this monitor looks and feels more like a tablet than a monitor, so it’s not going to be suitable for every situation, but on the go and in a pinch it’s a sweet companion to have.
This display feels roomy even at its small size, supports 1080p resolution, and only weighs 1.7 pounds. It has a mini-HDMI port and a USB-C port. This means you can connect to any gaming system, and some televisions as well as laptops. And while you can’t adjust the height of the monitor, there is a strap at the back that allows you to adjust the tilt.
The features don’t stop there — there’s also a built-in speaker and an audio port. While , they did mention the colors felt kind of flat, which is understandable for a monitor of its size and price. But it’s a great bang for your buck.