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The best budget monitors for 2020

This article was last updated by Digital Trends editor Luke Larsen on 7/17/2020.

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, 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″ SF354

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

Who’s it for: Those on a budget.

Why we picked the Samsung 27″ 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 represents the best value you can imagine, meeting those standards. It’s a fairly basic monitor — maxing out at 250 nits and includes just on HDMI port. But at $170, it’s all about the value. This monitor does offer 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. You could pair this with a low-cost AMD Radeon graphics card for a simple, yet surprisingly awesome, gaming PC.

Have a cramped desk? For $40 less, you can opt for a smaller 24-inch model. At $130 it’s an absolute steal.

LG 32MA70HY-P

LG 32MA70HY-P

Why you should buy this: This extra-large monitor is great for important tasks but the price is far more manageable than many alternatives.

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

Why we picked the LG 32MA70HY-P:

Let’s say that even 27 inches isn’t big enough for your desktop computer dreams. Maybe you need an even larger monitor to host multiple windows, extra-large editing software, or games that just work better when you’re engulfed by the whole screen.

In these cases, we highly recommend the ultra-affordable LG 32MA70HY-P, a 32-inch, Full HD IPS monitor with multiple options for mounting. On-screen controls and built-in screen split options also make it easy to quickly adjust content and inputs as needed. The monitor includes DisplayPort, HDMI, and D-sub connections. It’s adjustable, allowing it to fit in a variety of desktop layouts.

If you’re willing to pay a higher price for a higher UHD resolution, LG sells the LG 32UD60-B for $100 more.

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’s it 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 monitor 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’s it 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 rips 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), this model has your back.

Samsung C27F398 Curved Monitor

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

Who’s it for: If you’ve 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 to create the feeling of the display wrapping around you a bit. It won’t likely revolutionize your workflow, but I 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 1,920 x 1,080, 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 of 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 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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