Get the best viewing experience for the least amount of money.

So you've just put together your new Windows 10 rig and need to find some affordable monitors for the desk, but where's the best place to start? 21.5-inch displays are an ideal size for both work and play, and you can pick up some decent screens that won't decimate your bank account, leaving more funds for internal components and other accessories.


We'll be taking a look at a selection of choices that will be well worth the investment, whether you wish to add a second screen to your setup or go all out with a combination of options to attach them to a mounting arm. Note that since these are on the more affordable end of the spectrum, we'll not be looking at 4K, FreeSync or G-SYNC.

AOC — e2228swdn


AOC is a solid brand, though it isn't as popular as the more well-known manufacturers in this list. The e2228swdn is an affordable 21.5-inch screen with a narrow bezel, which comes with VESA mounting options that allow you to take full advantage of stands and clamps. With a latency rate of 5ms, it is ideal for not only work and productivity but some gaming on the side too.

There's a slight downside to this particular model, and that's the omission of an HDMI port; it offers VGA and DVI inputs, which should allow you to connect your PC up just fine.

On a side note, I'm personally rocking two 21.5-inch I2269VWM displays from the company and have thoroughly enjoyed the last few years with them both so far, with no issues to report. The e2228swdn by AOC is a newer screen and will set you back just $99.99.

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HP — Pavilion 22xw

HP Pavilion

The Pavilion 22xw is the first of two HP monitors in our round-up, as well as the first IPS we're covering here. The IPS (In-plane switching) technology incorporated into this display means you'll be able to enjoy everything shown on-screen regardless of the angle you're viewing from.

As for the design, HP has thrown in an anti-glare coating for those sunnier days or bright environments to help you from squinting at reflected light sources. This also helps prevent content displayed on-screen from being drowned out from reflections as opposed to a glossy finish. The stand itself aids in access to the available ports, which include VGA and HDMI.

Response time is 7ms, which is marginally slower than other screens within its price segment. We have a few in this list sporting a response time of just 5ms. Still, for casual gaming and productivity, you can't go wrong with a 1080p IPS panel at $89.99.

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Asus — VS228H-P


This $105.21 ASUS display is a worthy investment for those who know they will be mounting their new displays to a VESA bracket or supporting stand. It's basic, but packed full of features you'll require for working at the desk or enjoying some downtime in your dedicated media room.

You not only have LED backlighting and a response time of 5ms, but the VS228H-P also brings to the table two technologies for an enhanced viewing experience. The first can adjust color parameters to deliver the same image quality and colors with straight viewing, while the Splendid Video Intelligence optimizes video performance and image fidelity by messing around with brightness, color, contrast, and sharpness.

Interestingly, ASUS can not only ship a monitor to you through Amazon, but the company also has two configurations listed, one being a monitor with an accompanying arm mount setup. Or you can go for two screens and a dual-display bracket. Pricing kicks off from $95.921 after rebate.

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Acer — S220HQL


Acer's S220HQL is a super-slim display that doesn't sacrifice on content quality, thanks to its 5ms response time (ideal for movies and other media) as well as LED backlighting. It's a solid looking screen for those looking to save a dime when shipping for devices to go alongside a new PC.

Unfortunately, there are only VGA and DVI ports so you'll be limited on connectivity with the omission of HDMI. Not only that, but there are no means to mount the monitor to VESA-compatible brackets, which is also a shame, especially in this small-sized screen segment.

Still, priced at $99.99 you really can't grumble.

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Dell — S2240T

Dell S2240T

This number from Dell sports edge-to-edge glass with a sleek and clean design. Offering a 1080p experience with optional touch support, the 2240T is a slightly more premium (and expensive) option compared to what we've looked at thus far.

Luckily, there's HDMI as well as VGA and DVI-D to hook up your PC and other devices, and there's also VESA mounting support. Response time for the S2240T sits at 25ms (12ms with overdrive), and it's a glossy screen, so you may wish to have a play with its location and positioning on your desk to optimize your viewing experience with ambient light sources.

Another solid display from Dell, currently priced at $120.77.

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HP — 22er


The second HP monitor in our collection is the 22er, also available in 23, 25 and 27-inch variations. It's an attractive white screen with minimal bezel on the front to offer a premium viewing experience. We'll let off the fact there's no VESA mounting due to the thin design, but these things would look rather stunning mounted on a bracket.

The ports on the rear, which include both VGA and HDMI, are easily accessible, and with IPS you'll be able to take advantage of great viewing angles. Response time for viewing media clocks in at 7ms. The company has also coated the display with anti-glare to ensure that reflections and glare don't ruin on-screen content.

This HP display won't decimate a budget either, coming in at $130.79.

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Did your favorite 21.5-inch monitor fail to make our list? Sound off in the comments!

Updated on July 13, 2017: We replaced the older Dell 2240M with the newer, but more expensive, Dell S2240T.