The 9 Best Computer Monitors of 2021

Enhance your computer with these top-rated display monitors

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Whether you need a screen for work, gaming, or video editing, you're going to want one of the best computer monitors. If you’re using your PC for gaming, you’ll probably want a higher-end monitor that will serve as the only screen for your desktop tower. Gaming monitors tend to focus on refresh rates, colors, and resolution, as these factors are important in providing the best PC gaming experience. If you want a screen for productivity, you can opt for a single monitor setup or a multi-monitor setup with more than one display. Productivity monitors tend to emphasize ergonomics, size, connectivity, and software features.

In either case, a good panel should provide you with more than just a clear picture, and the monitor’s features all play a role in how well it fits your needs. We’ve rounded up the best monitors of 2021 in different categories and price ranges. Read on to see our top picks.

The Rundown
The LG 4K UHD 27UD88-W functions well as both a productivity and gaming monitor.
This monitor doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, but it performs exceptionally well in the areas that matter.
Its full HD 1080p IPS panel provides better viewing angles and overall picture quality than typically found in this price range.
Best for Gaming:
Alienware AW3420DW at Amazon
If you are someone who takes great pride in their rig, this is the monitor for you.
Best High Refresh:
Alienware AW2720HF at Amazon
The display comes with a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time, giving you an ultra-smooth and responsive gaming experience.
The screen has a tight 1800R curve that helps you see the edges of its vast real estate in your peripheral vision.
The Predator X38 is one of the best ultrawide gaming monitors you can get, though it'll cost you a pretty penny.
If you want a feature-packed computer monitor for your office workspace, look no further than HP's EliteDisplay E243.
Best Touchscreen:
Dell P2418HT at Amazon
The display features ten-point multi-touch support for a responsive experience and works great with gestures.

Best Overall: LG 4K UHD 27UD88-W Monitor

What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • USB-C connectivity

  • Freesync support

What We Don't Like
  • Average refresh rate

The LG 4K UHD 27UD88-W has many of the features you want in a multipurpose display, and it functions well as both a productivity and gaming monitor. With its 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), you’ll enjoy dazzling picture quality across a 27-inch screen with a sleek, functional design.

The LG 27UD88's in-plane switching (IPS) panel allows for 178-degree viewing angles and accurate, vibrant colors. It also supports high dynamic range (HDR) technology, and though it may not hit the peak brightness and color range some HDR-mode enthusiasts look for, the monitor delivers an excellent experience for both media watching and professional photo or video editing.

Gamers will enjoy this monitor’s ability to go from a work display to a gaming display, so you can use one monitor for both purposes. Even without exceeding a 60Hz refresh rate like some speedier gaming monitors, support for variable refresh rate through AMD’s FreeSync eliminates screen tearing while Dynamic Action Sync reduces input lag.

Best 4K : Dell UltraSharp U2718Q 27-inch 4K Monitor

What We Like
  • Bright with vivid colors

  • Portrait and landscape orientation

  • USB-C connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K comes with a pretty steep price tag, but we think it’s worth every penny. This monitor doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, but it performs exceptionally well in the areas that matter. 

The picture comes through beautifully, with true 4K resolution and a pixel density of 163ppi. With color coverage at 95% DCI-P3, 99% RGB, and 99% Rec 709, images are extremely accurate and detailed. Dell says it comes factory calibrated too, which means you get all the visuals without having to mess with the settings. 

USB-C connectivity lets you transfer data and charge your devices, meaning less cords on your desk. Speaking of your desk, the monitor’s stand isn’t oversized, so you’ll have plenty of space to work. Plus, there are tons of ways to move the monitor, including portrait and landscape configurations, so you can set up your desk however you like.

Best Budget: Acer SB220Q bi 21.5-inch 1080p Monitor

Acer SB220Q Monitor
What We Like
  • Excellent value

  • Freesync capability

  • Solid refresh rate

What We Don't Like
  • No VESA mount

With a price tag hovering around $150, the Acer SB220Q bi can help you squeeze the most pixel power out of each dollar. Even though it costs less than many of the picks on this list, it has a surprising collection of features packed into its quarter-inch-thin, nearly bezel-free frame. The 21.5-inch screen isn’t the largest, but its full High-Definition 1080p IPS panel provides better viewing angles and overall picture quality than the TN panels typical of this price range.

This versatile monitor throws in a few extra features for gamers as well. Its 75Hz refresh rate is a slight bump up from the standard 60Hz rate, and support for FreeSync can create a dynamically smoother gaming experience when paired with compatible graphics cards. Its 4ms response time isn’t as fast as what modern TN panels can achieve, but our tests showed that this panel still works well with most titles.

The Acer SB220Q bi's design, while sleek and solid enough, doesn’t offer much in the way of adjustability beyond a limited range of tilt. It also lacks USB inputs, with only one HDMI and one VGA port. Minor concessions such as these keep it affordable, though, and this monitor still offers quite a few extra features for the low price.

"While not quite zero, the bezel is probably only as thick as a few sheets of paper. It makes for a good-looking screen when in use, creating a near edge-to-edge display." Zach Sweat, Product Tester

Best for Gaming: Alienware AW3420DW Curved Gaming Monitor

What We Like
  • Large size

  • Fast refresh rate

  • Trusted brand

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Alienware has earned itself a solid and trusted reputation in the gaming world. Fortunately, this monitor lives up to what you’d expect from an Alienware peripheral. If you are someone who takes great pride in their rig, this is the monitor for you.

A 34-inch wide curved screen just screams immersion, and it provides an awesome field of view for intense gaming sessions. You get the essential tech you’d want in a gaming monitor: G-sync, a fast refresh rate (120Hz), and a reasonably fast response time (2ms). 

The IPS Nano color technology provides bright and solid color coverage that exceeds the sRGB standard. The 3440 x1440 WQHD is not a 4K resolution, but it is a common resolution for widescreen monitors. The picture looks bright and beautiful, and the overall design will enhance your rig setup, with a cool futuristic look. It kind of looks like it fell from a spaceship. The price of this monitor may be more expensive than some people's entire computer, but this is a premium monitor that lives up to its price.

Best High Refresh: Alienware AW2720HF

What We Like
  • Stunning design

  • High refresh rate

  • A good value

What We Don't Like
  • Not 4K

Alienware's gaming products are renowned for their top-notch quality, and the AW2720HF is no different. Boasting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, its 27-inch full-HD panel covers up to 99 percent of sRGB color space and uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology. The display also comes with a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time, giving you an ultra-smooth and responsive gaming experience. Not just that, it supports both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync, so you don't have to worry about screen tearing issues.

The Alienware AW2720HF looks every part the gaming monitor with a gorgeous white chassis. The back panel features hexagon-shaped buttons (for tweaking display settings) at the bottom corner and an illuminated alien logo at the diagonally-opposite top corner. Then there's the stand, with a vertical illuminated ring further accentuating its design. Connectivity options include HDMI, USB (four downstream and one upstream), 3.5mm audio (one headphone-out and one line-out), and DisplayPort.

Best Ultrawide: Samsung CHG90 49-inch QLED Monitor

Samsung 49 inch CHG90 Gaming Monitor
What We Like
  • Huge screen

  • Allows for versatile screen splitting

  • 144Hz refresh rate

What We Don't Like
  • 3840 x 1080 max resolution

There are ultra-wide monitors, and then there’s the Samsung CHG90. The standard widescreen aspect ratio is 16:9, while the typical ultra-wide monitor might have a 34-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Samsung’s “super ultrawide” measures 49 inches with an aspect ratio of 32:9. That’s like two 27-inch 16:9 monitors put together!

The screen has a tight 1800R curve that helps you see the edges of its vast real estate in your peripheral vision. It’s not the sharpest display available, though, with only 1080p vertical resolution and an 81.4 pixels-per-inch pixel density. It does, however, sport a QLED vertical alignment (VA) panel with local dimming. When combined with HDR mode, the monitor produces vivid colors and excellent picture quality.

The Samsung CHG90 also markets itself as gaming monitor, and its 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time will certainly serve gamers well. It also features AMD’s FreeSync 2, the latest version of AMD’s variable refresh rate technology, which is designed to pair nicely with HDR. The monitor’s performance, size, and other extra gamer-centric features come together to provide a one-of-a-kind immersive gaming experience, provided you have the budget and desktop space to make it work.

Best Splurge: Acer Predator X38 UltraWide Gaming Monitor

Acer Predator X38
What We Like
  • Bright, crisp image

  • Extremely responsive

  • Great color accuracy

  • Perfect balance of resolution and refresh rate

What We Don't Like
  • Deep footprint

  • Very expensive

  • Some backlight bleed

The Acer Predator X38 is a 37.5-inch ultra-wide gaming monitor that excels on just about every front. Its 3840x1600 resolution provides more vertical resolution than we are used to in an ultra-wide monitor, and it translates to fantastic results in both gaming and productivity tasks. Pair that with a 144Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 175Hz), G-Sync support, and a snappy 1ms GtG response time, and you’ve got quite the formidable display suitable for just about any gaming scenario. 

Thanks in part to the IPS panel, the Predator X38 also features great color, covering 98 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut with a Delta E<2. While not everyone prefers to work on a curved panel, our reviewer found the 2300R curve found on the X38 is reasonable enough not to cause any over-the-top distortion that impacts productivity. 

It’s not all sunshine and roses, however. The IPS panel has its familiar drawbacks, including less contrast than similar VA panels (1,000:1 vs the X35’s 2,500:1), suffers from some backlight bleed, and can only manage DisplayHDR 400 instead of the X35’s DisplayHDR 1000 spec. None of these things are terrible drawbacks, but they’re trade-offs worth noting.

The hardest pill to swallow is the price. The Acer Predator X38 costs as much as a perfectly capable gaming computer on its own. Is it worth it? You could certainly make the argument, but for many people, it simply won’t be an option.

"It’s really difficult to find a swiss-army knife in the monitor world, and the Predator X38 is the closest I’ve found to date."Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best for Office: HP EliteDisplay E243

What We Like
  • Affordable price

  • Built-in blue light filter

  • VESA mountable

What We Don't Like
  • Wide aspect ratio not the best for productivity tasks

If you want a feature-packed computer monitor for your office workspace, look no further than HP's EliteDisplay E243. The frame and stand both sport a modern and elegant design with a silver finish. However, there's more to the EliteDisplay E243 than just good looks. The monitor comes with a 23.8-inch full-HD panel, having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Based on in-plane switching (IPS) technology, the display reproduces accurate colors across all viewing angles. It's also bordered by a three-sided micro-edge bezel that provides a seamless viewing experience when using multi-monitor setups.

With support for tilt, height, swivel, and pivot adjustment, you can set up the monitor exactly as you want. Talking about connectivity options, you get HDMI, VGA, USB (two downstream and one upstream), and DisplayPort. The monitor comes bundled with all the necessary input cables in the box and is backed by a three-year warranty.

Best Touchscreen: Dell P2418HT

Dell P2418HT
What We Like
  • Vivid picture

  • Articulating stand

  • Well-designed cable management system

What We Don't Like
  • Slow response time

Touchscreen displays offer an intuitive way of interacting with on-screen elements, and Dell's P2418HT is the ideal solution if you're looking to add that functionality to your desktop PC. Its 23.8-inch full-HD panel has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio in addition to using in-plane switching (IPS) technology to deliver consistent colors at all viewing angles. The display features ten-point multi-touch support for a responsive experience and works great with gestures (think pinch, swipe, etc).

The P2418HT comes with a unique articulating stand that effortlessly transitions its standard desktop position to a 60-degree angled orientation, thus allowing you to use the touch-enabled panel much more conveniently. The stand also supports tilt, swivel, and height adjustment.

In terms of connectivity, you get an HDMI port, a VGA port, five USB (four downstream and one upstream) ports, and a DisplayPort. Other features worth mentioning include an anti-glare coating on the display and a "ComfortView" feature that cuts out blue light emissions to improve eye comfort.

Final Verdict

Unless you need your monitor to push more than 60 FPS, the LG 4K UHD 27UD88-W is easily the most well-rounded monitor in terms of features and specs. However, if money is no object and you require reference-quality color, the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K is the way to go.

How We Tested

Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate PC monitors based on design, display quality, panel composition, color accuracy, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, displaying videos or gaming, as well as in more niche scenarios like video editing/rendering. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 125 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

Anton Galang started writing about tech in 2007 as an editorial contributor to PC Magazine and PCMag.com. He was also previously the Editorial Director of print and digital media at A+ Media. 

Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for a variety of major technology publications including TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He's passionate about all forms of technology and how they continue to impact and enrich our lives every day.

Zach Sweat is an experienced editor, writer and photographer based in New York City. He is passionate about using written language to make people think, discover or learn new things, find stuff they enjoy and make connections with each other.

Rajat Sharma has been in the field of technology journalism for more than six years now, and has reviewed dozens of computer monitors (among other gadgets) so far. Before joining Lifewire, he was associated with The Times Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, two of India’s biggest media houses.

Jonno Hill has been reviewing products for Lifewire since 2019. He specializes in compute hardware, photography, video, and gaming. He has previously been published in PCMag.com and AskMen.com.

FAQ

Which brand monitor is best?

There are many reliable brands of monitors available, with some of the best being Dell, HP, LG, and Samsung. But this is not to say other brands do not make quality monitors. Some brands, such as Alienware, specialize in certain areas, so you may find the best monitor brands change based on what type of monitor you're looking for. It’s best to focus on what you need the monitor to do.


What size computer monitor is best?

That depends on several factors, such as purpose (i.e. gaming or productivity), desk space, whether you’re going with a single or multi-monitor setup, and budget. The most common sizes are between 19 and 24 inches, but gamers and people wanting added productivity will often look for larger screens, or even ultra-wide screens.


Should I buy a curved monitor?

Curved monitors are amazing at creating an immersive viewing experience by replicating the way your eyes see the world. This can also reduce eye strain and reduce tiredness over long sessions. The downside to curved monitors is that you have less flexibility in viewing angles, which is usually less of an issue with flat screens.

What to Look for in a Computer Monitor

Refresh rate - The refresh rate of a monitor refers to how many times per second the screen can update with new image data. This is most important for playing games, and you’ll want to look for a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 144Hz if you’re really serious. Most gamers will be satisfied with a refresh rate of 75Hz or more, but if you don’t use your computer for gaming, you can opt for lower.

Display type - Monitor display types can be hard to understand because there are several different types of LED displays. IPS monitors have great color reproduction and viewing angles, so they’re good for watching video content, any work that requires accurate colors, and most general use scenarios. TN monitors have worse viewing angles, but fast refresh rates make them perfectly suited for gaming.

Resolution - Resolution refers to the number of pixels that the monitor can display, which impacts the sharpness and clarity of the image. The lowest resolution you should settle for is 1920 x 1080, which is referred to as full HD. If you want to take it to the next level—and your video card can handle it—go for a 4K monitor with a 3840 x 2160 resolution.

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