The 6 Best Monitors for Programming and Coding in 2021

Upgrade your workstation with these top displays

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The Rundown
The U2415 is built to be at its best in a work environment.
Best Budget:
HP VH240a at Amazon
The price and size make it an ideal candidate for a multi-monitor arrangement.
Built for creative professionals, ideal if your work involves front-end graphics and design.
Best Ultra-Wide:
LG 34WK650-W at Amazon
A great-looking yet well-priced option, with a 2560 x 1080-pixel resolution, a 34-inch diagonal, and a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Enough room to see multiple windows and many, many lines of code all at once.
Best for Features:
BenQ EX3501R at Amazon
The BenQ EX3501R is an ultrawide curved monitor loaded with features like improved brightness, HDR, and file transfer support.

The best monitors for programming and coding should be large, high-resolution, and have features that allow for effective multitasking. For programmers and coders who may need to consult large amounts of data at a time and have numerous spreadsheets or pages open, bigger is better. Our top pick for the category is the Dell Ultrasharp U2415. It's a 24-inch 1920x1200 monitor that works well at home and in an office environment due to its sharp resolution, multiple port options, and high brightness level.

If you're looking for monitors for any purpose, take a look at our list of the best computer monitors. Otherwise, read on to see our overview of the best monitors for programming and coding.

Best Overall: Dell UltraSharp U2415

Dell UltraSharp U2415
What We Like
  • Anti-glare matte finish

  • VESA compatible

  • Excellent ergonomics

What We Don't Like
  • No device auto-detection

Programming and coding is a lot about what gets the job done, and the Dell U2415 definitely has the practical features to do so—all for a very practical price. The display is built with in-plane switching (IPS) technology for rich, accurate colors and great picture quality that holds up from almost any angle. The nicely sized 24-inch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, which comes to a 16:10 aspect ratio. That’s taller than the typical Full HD 1080p monitors at a 16:9 ratio, so besides fitting multiple windows on the screen, you get some extra vertical room to see more lines of code at once. It’s also easy to pivot the whole display 90 degrees and put it in portrait mode for even more vertical space.

The U2415 is built to be at its best in a work environment. Sure, the slim bezels and minimalist design look attractive on your desk, but its adjustability is what can make it your go-to programming display. It has a full range of forward-and-back tilt, side-to-side swivel, and up-and-down height adjustment so you can find the optimal positioning for you, including if you make it part of a multiple-monitor setup. And you can easily connect devices through the wide selection of inputs at the bottom, with two HDMI ports, DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, and USB ports including a high-speed USB 3.0.

Size: 24-inches | Panel Type: OLED | Resolution: 1920x1200 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1| Video Inputs: HDMI, Mini DP, DP

Best Budget: HP VH240a

If your goal is to be able to tackle basic coding without a lot of premium display technology, there are plenty of budget monitor options out there. The HP VH240a is one that provides great functionality for your money. the 24-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) resolution display leaves more than enough room for multitasking, with strong color and image quality from its IPS panel. The input selection only has an HDMI and VGA port available, and the built-in audio has only two weak two-watt speakers, but those typically wouldn’t be crucial to programming work.

Its look might comes across as fairly basic and minimal, but the VH240a is still thin and nicely designed with an impressive full range of adjustability. It can raise up about 5 inches, tilt 30 degrees, swivel 360 degrees, and pivot 90 degrees to portrait mode. The price and size also make it an ideal candidate for a multi-monitor arrangement if you want to get a second one or add it to your existing setup. You may even find the product bundled with a dual-monitor stand to help you make it happen.

Size: 23.8-inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 1920x1080 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:10| Video Inputs: HDMI, VGA

Best Design: BenQ 709 PD3200U 32-inch 4K UHD Monitor

What We Like
  • Amazing, accurate colors

  • Solid features

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Programming isn’t always the flashiest undertaking, but if you can spare some frills, the BenQ PD3200U lets you code in style. It’s a 34-inch 4K monitor built for creative professionals, ideal if your work involves front-end graphics and design. The display has been factory-calibrated for highly accurate color reproduction and wide coverage of professional color spaces. A Hotkey Puck integrated into the stand lets you quickly switch between dedicated display modes for animation, image processing, and CAD/CAM work, or you can customize it to control other settings on the fly.

Still, anyone can benefit from the PD3200U’s 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution and gorgeous screen, and it has many smart design features for extended screen work. An antiglare finish, blue light filters, and flicker-free technology could help keep your eyes comfortable. The stand allows for a full-range of tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, with a 90-degree pivot that the display automatically senses and adjusts content for. The monitor’s software can also divide the display into a variety of split-screen configurations. There’s even a built-in KVM switch so you can control two different PCs with the same keyboard and mouse.

Size: 32-inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 3840x2160 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, Mini DP, DP

"This is definitely not an ultra-thin monitor, but the added VESA mount is nice if you want to attach it to a different stand." — Zach Sweat, Product Tester

BenQ 709 PD3200U 32-inch 4K UHD Monitor

Lifewire / Zach Sweat

Best Ultra-Wide: LG 34WK650-W

LG 34WK650-W
What We Like
  • Excellent gaming performance

  • HDR Support

  • Awesome value

What We Don't Like
  • HDR only configurable in software

Multiple monitors can be a good solution for programmers or anyone looking to have more applications open and see more information all at once. But what about getting extra screen real estate through a single ultra-wide display, so you don’t need to coordinate and connect to different pieces of equipment? The LG 34WK650-W is a great-looking yet well-priced option, with a 2560 x 1080-pixel resolution, a 34-inch diagonal, and a 21:9 aspect ratio. That’s the same pixel height as Full HD but 33-percent wider—and at a large, easily viewable size. The antiglare-treated IPS panel’s 178-degree viewing angles makes sure the picture holds up when you glance at the far ends, too.

The 34WK650-W comes with a number of features to help with productivity, like LG’s Screen Split 2.0 to divide the display into multiple virtual screens or provide picture-in-picture. You can quickly control this and other display settings by clicking through an on-screen menu instead of using physical buttons on the monitor. The monitor itself can also tilt and adjust in height to help you find a comfortable viewing position.

Beyond the nice setup the monitor offers for coding, you can enjoy other high-end display tech as well, such as high-Dynamic Range (HDR) support for boosted image quality, and AMD FreeSync for smoother gaming experiences (with compatible graphics cards).

Size: 34-inches | Panel Type: LED | Resolution: 2560x1080 | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, Mini DP, DP

Best 27-Inch: ViewSonic VG2765 27-Inch 4K Monitor

What We Like
  • Slim bezel design

  • Good adjustment options

  • Great color gamut

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The 27-inch size is a popular choice for work monitors—it’s big enough without being too massive or moving into the ultra-wide territory. The ViewSonic VG2765 is a mid-range 27-inch IPS display with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, enough room to see multiple windows and many, many lines of code all at once. The monitor looks great all around, with its thin bezel on three sides framing a clear and vibrant picture, helped by ViewSonic’s SuperClear technology for improving viewing angles. Flicker-free and blue light filtering features may help cut back on eye strain for long coding sessions.

The 27-inch screen and 16:9 aspect ratio works well in portrait orientation, too, and the VG2765 can pivot to take advantage of the vertical space. Its ergonomics are excellent in general, allowing for wide-ranging swivel, tilt, and height adjustments. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a comfortable position on your desk, but if you prefer, it also includes holes for VESA-compatible wall mounting.

Size: 27-inches | Panel Type: LCD | Resolution: 2560x1440 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, Mini DP, DP

Best for Features: BenQ EX3501R Ultrawide Curved Monitor

What We Like
  • Good build quality

  • HDR and AMD Freesync support

  • Great value

What We Don't Like
  • No built-in speakers

  • Ports are difficult to reach

The BenQ EX3501R is a curved, ultrawide monitor that can do double duty for programmers and gamers because it's packed with tons of useful features for both. The biggest selling point is the huge 35-inch 3440x1440 display which can allow you to have multiple pages of data or spreadsheets open at a time. It comes with eye-care technology that uses a proprietary sensor to adjust the screen brightness and color temperature based on your room lighting. This can be particularly helpful during long hours of coding. Even better, the EX3501R comes with USB-C connectivity allowing you to enable fast USB data transfers and 2K video with just a single cable.

Size: 35-inches | Panel Type: D | Resolution: 2560x1440 | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DP

Final Verdict

The best monitor for programming and coding is the Dell UltraSharp U2415 (view at Amazon). It's designed for workspaces and comes with a 24-inch IPS display for rich and accurate colors. The 1920x1200 resolution is 16:10, including more vertical room see data and lines of code. Also worthy of mention is the HP VH240a (view at Amazon). It's a great monitor on a tight budget, with the same 24-inch size and 1080p resolution.

About Our Trusted Experts

Anton Galang started writing about tech in 2007 as an editorial contributor to PC Magazine and PCMag.com. He specializes in computers and their peripherals, including monitors.

Zach Sweat has been writing for Lifewire since April 2019. He tested the BenQ PD3200U monitor on our list, and particularly liked its inclusion of a VESA mount.

FAQs

What resolution do you need for coding/programming?
As in most displays, size is a major consideration when choosing a resolution (typically the larger a display, the higher resolution you need to maintain the sharpness of an image). Because coding often requires reading dense text, higher resolution is generally recommended, so that text/data can be enlarged without sacrificing legibility, though for most desktop monitors FHD (1080p) is sufficient. If you're coding on a larger display or a flat screen TV, 4K is probably a more reasonable target.

Does refresh rate matter?
Refresh rate refers to the number of frames a monitor is capable of displaying per second, rated in hertz. Generally, higher refresh rates are only critical for motion, like that in first-person shooters or action movies. For a dedicated programming and coding display, a lower refresh rate is fine, especially considering the modern standard is around 60Hz.

Does panel type matter?
If you plan to spend a lot of time parked in front of a display, panel type is important. Relying on outdated technology like TN (twisted nematic) with its poor color accuracy and abysmal viewing angles may increase eye strain for some people, and should be considered only when budget restraints make it a necessity. Your target should be at least a VA panel or, ideally, an IPS panel (or perhaps one of its variants) with improved color depth and pixel density.

BenQ 709 PD3200U

Lifewire / Zach Sweat

What to Look For in a Monitor for Programming or Coding

Resolution

One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a monitor is its resolution. While most monitors these days are high-definition (HD), not all are the full 1080p — be sure to check that before you buy. Or you could consider a 4K monitor for the ultimate viewing experience.

Slim Bezel

Monitors of this size provide a ton of screen real estate for work and gaming, but they also take up a lot of space on your desk. Look for a monitor with a slim bezel to reduce the bulk. As an added benefit, monitors with thin bezels look even bigger than they actually are.

Extra Ports

The best monitors come equipped with a lot more than HDMI-in ports. Look for a unit that has enough HDMI ports to plug in all your equipment, plus extras including DisplayPort, HDMI-out connections, and USB 3.0 hubs.

BenQ 709 PD3200U

Lifewire / Zach Sweat

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