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The best budget monitors

It’s fun eyeing the best monitors on the market, but when it comes down to it, most premium monitors are just too expensive. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a display with the features you need. Our list of the best budget monitors shows that, with options for everyone from gamers to 4K enthusiasts.

After reviewing more than 100 of the world’s best displays, we’ve put together a list of fantastic budget options. Our current favorite is the 27-inch Samsung SF354 since it has an awesome 1080p panel at a great value, but if it’s not to your liking, we also have some favorites that are great for 4K movies, gaming, and more.

The best budget monitors at a glance:

Samsung 27-inch SF354

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: It’s basic, but it’s everything you need.

Who it’s for: Those on a budget.

Why we picked the Samsung 27-inch SF354:

There are a few important things to know about buying a cheap monitor. The basics? Never go under 1080p resolution or 27 inches (unless you lack space for it). Stick there, and you’ll guarantee a pleasant viewing experience fit for your home office.

The Samsung SF354 meets those standards for the best value you can imagine. It’s a fairly basic monitor, maxing out at 250 nits and including just one HDMI port. But at $170, it’s all about the value. This monitor offers respectable display quality and an attractive design.

Samsung even throws in AMD FreeSync and an Eye Saver mode, for smooth gaming or long work sessions on the SF354. You could pair this with a low-cost AMD Radeon graphics card for a simple yet surprisingly good gaming PC.

Have a cramped desk? For $40 less, you can opt for a smaller Samsung SF354 24-inch model. At $110 it’s an absolute steal.

Acer ET322QU

Acer ET322QU Abmiprx
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: This extra-large monitor offers very few compromises for a fantastic price.

Who it’s for: Professionals and gamers on a budget

Why we picked the Acer ET322QU:

Getting a large, 32-inch monitor that will completely engulf you in whatever work you want to do does not mean breaking the bank. As this top-notch monitor from Acer goes to show, it actually can be quite affordable.

The Acer ET322QU packs in a 2560 x 1440 resolution into its oversize frame, so there is no need to worry about the blurriness that comes with lower-resolution monitors at this size. Whether you’re playing games or using the extra screen real estate to boost your work productivity, that resolution will not hold you back.

But it’s not all about resolution. Impressively for its price, the Acer ET322QU Abmiprx offers a 75Hz refresh rate, which is a good notch above the 60Hz you would expect to get for such a low price. Sure, it’s not a high-end gaming monitor, but that extra bit of refresh speed will make everything a little smoother and more pleasant to view. And Acer even uses an IPS panel as opposed to the cheaper TN option, meaning you get excellent viewing angles and accurate colors throughout.

BenQ EL2870U

BenQ EL2870U
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: The BenQ EL2870U gives you a large display and 4K resolution at an affordable price.

Who it’s for: People who need a high resolution for work or entertainment

Why we picked the BenQ El2870U:

Perhaps you’re more interested in a higher resolution, even if that means paying a bit more. This BenQ model offers a 4K resolution at 28 inches of anti-glare screen, perfect for getting that extra detail. It also includes HDR support and good color accuracy for its price and FreeSync technology, which eliminates screen tearing when using AMD-based GPUs.

For ports, the BenQ El2870U offers HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4. However, it doesn’t include USB ports, which can make connecting certain peripherals difficult or impossible. Make sure that you don’t need any USB ports before you think about buying.

Asus VG245H

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: This display’s filters, FreeSync, and 1ms response time are great for gamers on a budget.

Who it’s for: Gamers looking for an affordable compromise

Why we picked the Asus VG245H:

This Asus model is great for those who want a bit more performance in their monitor while still saving cash. The 24-inch, 1080p TN screen includes a 1ms response time, a 75Hz maximum refresh rate, color enhancement settings designed specifically for games, and filter settings for easier viewing.

More importantly, the VG245H includes Adaptive-Sync technology that falls under Nvidia’s “G-Sync Compatible” umbrella. It’s a great solution for AMD’s FreeSync, too, eliminating on-screen tearing and stuttering during your favorite games.

Overall, if you are primarily interested in gaming and prefer to spend money on things other than a monitor (or maybe you’re just looking for a good, cheap replacement), the Asus VG245H has your back.

Samsung C27F398

Samsung C27F398

Why you should buy this: Curved screens have never been so affordable.

Who it’s for: People who have always loved the idea of a curved monitor.

Why we picked the Samsung C27F398:

Curved screens used to be a niche, expensive feature. These days, they’re commonplace — and even affordable. This 27-inch Samsung monitor features a screen with a 1800R curvature, perfect for creating the feeling of the display wrapping around you a bit. It likely won’t revolutionize your workflow, but we recommend trying one out at the store before buying.

Beyond the curvature, the C27F398 also hits all the marks for image quality — at least for this price. It measures 27 inches, its resolution is 1920 x 1080, and it all comes in a fairly sleek package. Unlike some of the other options on this list, the C27F398 uses VA panel technology instead of IPS. You’re sacrificing a bit in terms of color accuracy and viewing angles, but it’s not a trade-off you’ll likely notice in your day-to-day usage. Like many of the options on this list, it does not include built-in speakers.

In terms of connections, the Samsung C27F398 is standard at this price. You can’t expect niceties such as USB-C, but DisplayPort and HDMI let you connect a desktop computer, and most laptops, without requiring an adapter.

Acer Nitro QG241Y

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: It has all the features gamers need, just for less.

Who it’s for: Gamers on a tight budget who still want a high refresh rate.

Why we picked the Acer Nitro QG241Y:

At only $140, it’s hard beating the Acer Nitro QG241Y for gaming. It’s a 24-inch display with a 75Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, allowing you to run games at high frame rates without any input lag. It also supports AMD’s FreeSync adaptive sync technology, so you can play games without any screen tearing on a supported graphics card.

Additionally, the monitor comes with Acer VisionCare technology to reduce eye strain, and it boasts 72% coverage of the NTSC wide color gamut. Acer claims a viewing angle of up to 178 degrees, but the VA panel will lose some definition if you drift too far out of the sweet spot. Still, it’s hard to complain at this price.

If you’re just getting started in PC gaming and don’t want to invest in a big, expensive monitor, the Acer Nitro QG241Y is an excellent choice. If you’re serious about competitive gaming, though, we recommend upgrading to a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate.

Acer Predator XB253Q

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why you should buy this: High-end features without the high price.

Who it’s for: Gamers who want to play HDR games with premium features like G-Sync.

Why we picked the Acer Predator XB253Q:

The Acer Predator XB253Q is a 24.5-inch Full HD display with specs tailored toward gaming. That includes a low 0.9ms gray-to-gray response time and a 144HZ refresh rate. It’s also G-Sync Compatible, allowing you to use Nvidia’s adaptive refresh technology for tear-free gaming on a support graphics card.

It uses an IPS panel, which offers excellent color accuracy and viewing angles. The near bezel-less display covers 99% of the sRGB spectrum, making it a good choice for gaming with light productivity on the side. For games and movies, the monitor is certified for DisplayHDR 400, meaning it offers true 8-bit image quality, global dimming, and a peak luminance of twice the typical SDR display.

For ports, you have access to a single DisplayPort connection, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a 3.5mm audio out. The Predator XB253Q also comes with a built-in USB hub, giving you access to four USB 3.0 ports on the back of the monitor.

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
Former Digital Trends Contributor
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
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