You don't have to spend a fortune to upgrade your desk setup. An investment in an affordable monitor can bring many benefits, including a boost in productivity and an elevated gaming experience.
A larger display, or one that's curved for a more immersive computing experience, can also improve your desk ergonomics, which will go a long way if you plan on spending hours every day in front of your PC. These budget-friendly picks are among the best affordable monitors available today.
C-Suite on a budget
Dell's UltraSharp line of monitors have been a solid choice among professionals and creatives in the premium segment. Coming in at just a hair shy of a full 24 inches, the UltraSharp U2422H comes with an ergonomic stand, 100% support of the wide sRGB color space for accurate color reproduction, a sleek and professional design with minimal bezels, and a built-in USB-C hub. Provided you're not a serious gamer who needs a fast refresh rate or higher resolution, the UltraSharp's U2422H manages to keep cost low by sticking with the tried and tested 1080p IPS panel and 60Hz refresh rate, and that's more than plenty to get work done.
AOC's gaming monitors are available in various sizes, resolutions, and choice of curved or flat panels for very attractive prices. The company's C24G1 is a FHD gaming monitor that checks off many boxes on a gamer's wish list, including speedy 165Hz refresh rate, a curved panel for immersive gaming, fast 1ms response time, and compatibility with AMD's FreeSync Premium technology. To keep costs at bay, AOC uses a TN panel, rather than the more mainstream IPS LCD screen, on the C24G1, but other than that, you're getting an attractive gaming display with an ergonomic stand, VESA mounting options, and a color-accurate display that covers 88.29% of the wide DCI-P3 color space.
Pixels without the premium
Dell's 27-inch S2721Q is a an excellent UHD monitor that comes in a very affordable price, giving you the best of a large digital canvas coupled with 4K resolution. Ideal for serious multitaskers, PC users who live in Excel, creatives, and consumers of digital content. The S2721SQ supports 99% of the sRGB color space and comes with a 130Hz refresh rate with AMD's FreeSync onboard. An ergonomic stand with the ability to fully rotate the panel to portrait orientation makes this a great companion for coders.
For creative pros on a budget
Ideal for mission-critical professional and creative workflows, the 27-inch Asus WQHD ProArt Display PA278QV delivers support for 100% of the sRGB color space and a delta E value of less than 2! The IPS panel comes with an anti-glare coating, Calman Verified calibration from the factory, and support for extensive connectivity. An ergonomic stand with VESA compatibility makes this an ideal addition to your digital studio, and if you're working with a ProArt-branded PC workstation, you'll also get access to ASUS-exclusive presets and palettes for adjustments.
Go big and go wide
LG's premium UWQHD monitor is a larger panel that will only make a modest dent on your wallet. This affordably priced 34-inch UWQHD curved monitor is perfect for those who want minimal desk clutter but don't want to fret with multiple displays on their desktops for multitasking and immersive gaming. With a 160Hz refresh rate, 5ms response time, and AMD FreeSync Premium support, the 34WP65C can easily transition from battle station to workstation mode. HDR10 support is also available.
Big screen without the big price
BenQ's GW2780 delivers a 27-inch computing experience on your desk without stretching your budget thin. This large display comes with a 1080p resolution, an IPS panel for wide viewing angles, and a slim edge-to-edge design that reduces bulky bezels for a sleek aesthetic. Integrated cable management system helps to keep cable clutter to a minimum, while the panel itself is advertised to minimize eye strain, including a low blue light mode, automatic brightness adjustments, and flicker-free LCD tech.
Why you can trust Windows Central
Investing in a monitor is one of the most important desktop upgrades you can make to help you improve productivity and ensure an ergonomic experience that reduces the potential for neck, shoulder, and back injury while on the job. Though you can spend in excess of a thousand dollars on a premium panel, distilling the features you actually need and want will help to keep you on budget.
When shopping for a budget panel, you should consider the display size. A larger panel can help you fit more on the screen while changing the panel's aspect ratio can help to make the content you're viewing more immersive. Traditional FHD and UHD panels come in a 16:9 aspect ratio, but there are wider monitors, like WQHD and UWQHD displays, which can be even better for multitasking and gaming. Many of these panels are curved, and the effect is the equivalent of running two displays together side by side, creating an immersive experience.
Resolution is also another significant factor that affects pricing. Traditionally, 4K monitors are more priced at a premium compared to lower FHD and QHD resolution panels. However, with technological advancements, you can still find 4K panels at a more modest price, especially if you're not looking for a large display over 30 inches.
Gamers will want to focus on gaming panels that deliver fast refresh rates, measured in hertz, and quick response times, measured in milliseconds. Refresh rates start at around 60Hz these days, and creatives will want more color-accurate panels that will support the sRGB or DCI-P3 color spaces, like the ASUS ProArt Display on our list.
And finally, if you're after an ergonomic setup, be sure to choose a display with a stand that can raise and lower your monitor, in addition to the basic tilt and swivel adjustments, which will help move your screen at eyesight and reduce any neck or back strain. Blue light controls and flicker-free screen tech can also help reduce eye strain.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails.