It’s easy to think you can get by with just a laptop. After all, it comes with a built-in keyboard, trackpad and screen all in one package — what else could you possibly need? But if you’re working from home or gaming for long hours, you should have a dedicated monitor.
We spoke to tech experts about what to keep in mind while shopping for a new monitor and considered NBC Select staff-favorite options.
SKIP AHEAD The best computer monitors of 2023
How we picked the best computer monitors
We spoke with technology experts about what makes a good computer monitor. We only picked NBC Select staff favorites and top-rated products with a four-star rating or higher, in line with expert guidance. Here’s what we kept in mind when sourcing products:
- Adjustable: Every monitor we recommend is height adjustable, allowing you to set your device to eye level with ease. Some picks are also tilt-adjustable.
- Type: We include both flat and curved monitors. Curved monitors usually feel more immersive and are generally wider than flat monitors, in our experience. “Because of the shape of our eyes, curved monitors give you a better view as they take advantage of our peripheral vision,” says Arthur Zilberman, president of laptop repair company Laptop MD.
- Size: We only recommend monitors between 24 inches and 32 inches, this is because the larger the monitor, the harder it will be to keep it in your eyesight. If you sit close to your desk, you might not want to go larger than a 27-inch monitor, according to Zilberman.
The best computer monitors of 2023
The below options are either direct recommendations from NBC Select staff or top-rated picks. We’ve also included some specifications below each pick, including resolution, size and display type.
This anti-glare display is perfect for everyday professionals and has a 4.7-star rating from over 2,200 Amazon shoppers. It has a blue light filter, an adjustable stand and built-in speakers. It offers WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, four times more detailed than HD but less compared to 4K, according to Zilberman — it should be fine for editing documents, PDFs or photos. The monitor is also color-accurate and flicker-free, which should reduce eye fatigue, according to the brand. As for ports, you have both HDMI and USB connectivity available.
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 |Screen Size: 27-inches | Display Type: IPS
Picking a gaming monitor is tough since it depends a lot on your gaming PC. But Samsung’s Odyssey G7 is one of the best we’ve tried. At 32 inches, you get a large screen for immersive gameplay, a super-smooth 240Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing and stutter, according to the brand. The QLED monitor also delivers deeper blacks and contrast and bright, even picture, according to Samsung. While it’s advertised as a gaming monitor, you can also use it for your everyday productivity tasks, like building work presentations or surfing the web.
Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440| Screen Size: 32-inches | Display Type: n/a
If you’re on a tighter budget, HP‘s 24mh gets you the best bang for your buck near the $100 mark. Unlike many of its competitors at this price point, its IPS display is attached to a height-adjustable stand, so you can position it to your eye level. It’s only 1080p, but that’s enough for an open browser window or two, and can’t be beat for the price. It also has built-in speakers and multiple ports including an HDMI and display port, in case you need to connect additional devices — plus, it has a 4.7-star rating from over 24,500 Amazon shoppers.
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 |Screen Size: 24-inches | Display Type: IPS
Acer is known for its gaming monitors and this one is NBC Select reporter Harry Rabinowitz’s favorite. “It has detailed 4K resolution and a super fast screen— playing games is immersive and smooth, even during fast-paced action scenes,” he says. He also likes its build, saying it’s “built like a tank.” There’s also an adjustable stand to move this monitor to your eye level
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 |Screen Size: 28-inches | Display Type: IPS
This Dell curved monitor has a wide aspect ratio, allowing this screen to fit multiple windows, or allow for an immersive cinematic experience. There’s AMD FreeSync Technology for smooth visuals and built-in dual speakers which deliver loud, room-filling sound, according to the brand. Like all the other monitors on our list, this one is also height- and tilt-adjustable. I’ve used this monitor before and liked that I could easily multitask on it all day long, without feeling any eye fatigue.
Resolution: 3440 x 1440|Screen Size: 34-inches | Display Type: IPS
How to shop for a computer monitor or screen
There are a few crucial factors to consider when shopping for the best monitor for you.
The best screen size for your needs
Most desktop monitors range from 20 inches to 32 inches and you’ll need to consider which size is best for your space, says Whitson Gordon, senior manager of content marketing at Asus ROG. A larger monitor is going to make your work easier to see and provide an immersive experience for movies and games — but smaller monitors will fit better in cramped spaces, in our experience.
Which screen resolution do you need?
“A display’s resolution is the number of pixels it has on screen, usually denoted by horizontal pixels x vertical pixels (like 1920x1080, otherwise known as 1080p),” says Gordon.
You’ll find monitors from slightly below 1080p up to 3840x2160 (aka 4K) and above. “Most people will be just fine with 1080p and 1440p options — especially if the main use of the screen is work-related and doesn’t involve video editing or other high-function visual needs,” says Gordon. If you keep a lot of windows open at once or use your monitor for professional editing, a larger resolution will be preferable. You can also spring for two monitors (like me) if you’re used to multitasking.
A monitor’s panel type determines its color accuracy
You’ll find monitors with three basic display types:
- Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are more affordable and provide smoother motion but aren’t as color-accurate, and those colors can shift (or tint) when viewed at an angle, according to our experts. This is the best choice for budget-conscious shoppers and super-skilled gamers, though they’re becoming less common.
- In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels are more color accurate with better viewing angles, but blacks look a bit more washed out, says Gordon. It provides wider viewing angles, more accurate color reproduction and faster response than regular LED monitors, according to Zilberman. This is generally the best all-around display type unless you plan on gaming in a dark room.
- Vertical Alignment (VA) panels sit in the middle, with deep blacks and good colors, but slightly blurrier motion and weaker viewing angles. These are common in gaming monitors aimed at slower-paced single-player titles, according to our experts.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Arthur Zilberman is the president of technology repair company Laptop MD. Laptop MD launched in 1999, and Zilberman has been in the laptop repair business for over 20 years.
- Whitson Gordon is a senior manager of content marketing at Asus ROG. Previously, he was the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker and a freelance tech journalist. Gordon only offered shopping guidance, we did not ask him for product recommendations.
Why trust Select?
Nishka Dhawan is an associate commerce editor at Select. She’s covered the tech space for more than three years and has written articles on IP ratings, phone cases and best practices for cleaning tech. For this article, she spoke to Select staff and industry experts about their favorite computer monitors and what to keep in mind while shopping. She only used experts for shopping guidance, not product recommendations.