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The best budget monitors for 2020

While we love showcasing the best and most advanced monitors you can get, our budgets can’t always cover their hefty cost. Often a good budget model is the best fit, but finding low-cost monitors that are also quality picks can be a challenge.

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

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 under 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 Abmiprx

Acer ET322QU Abmiprx

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 Abmiprx:

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 can actually be quite affordable.

The Acer ET322QU Abmiprx 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

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

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 Curved Monitor

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.

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 at 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.

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