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The best budget monitors for working (or playing) from home

You don't have to spend a whole lot to get a good monitor. Here's a roundup of some of the best budget monitors you can get.
February 18, 2021
budget monitor featured image

Be it for video editing, gaming, or enhancing your home office experience, a great monitor can make all the difference. Choosing the right one isn’t particularly easy, though, and some of the best options can cost you thousands of dollars. That said, not everyone wants or even needs to spend a lot of money to get an excellent monitor. These may not be the most feature-packed or come with fancy designs, but here are some of the best budget monitors you can get right now, priced at under $300.

More: The best monitors you can buy

Buying the best budget monitors

Budget monitors aren’t as hard to shop for as they were a few years ago. Today, you can choose from various options to match your use case as closely as possible.

While shopping for a cheap monitor, narrow down your use cases first. If you want a cheap monitor for work, it makes more sense to opt for a higher resolution. If you want one for gaming, you’re likely to do better with a monitor that runs at a lower resolution but has a higher refresh rate so you can get some high FPS gaming done.

When picking a panel type on a budget, an IPS panel is likely to serve you the best. Cheap TN panels are not as great, but you may get a better refresh rate and a lower price if you pick a monitor with one, so it depends on exactly how tight your budget is. On the aspect ratio side of things, you should be able to find the standard 16:9 widescreen as well as some reasonably-priced ultrawide options.

See also: Display specs and terms explained — Resolution, contrast, color gamut, and more

Connectivity is probably the most important factor while buying a cheap monitor. While you’re very unlikely to run into issues with this since most monitors carry the standard output ports, make sure that the monitor you pick supports the output from your system. HDMI and DisplayPort are rather commonplace, but an older system may need your monitor to have a VGA port.

In terms of design, most budget monitors will come with the standard recessed-display design with sizeable bezels. However, some monitors do get the fancy new three-side-bezel-less design. These are often priced a little higher. Regardless, if the design is important to you, be prepared to shell out a little extra.

The best budget monitors

Editor’s note: We will continue to update this list of the best budget monitors as more are released.

ASUS VG279Q: The best budget ASUS monitor

best budget monitors asus vg279q

The ASUS VG279Q is one of the best gaming monitors you can buy if you’re working with a budget. The 27-inch device has a Full HD IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync compatibility, a 1ms response time, and low input lag. Your port needs are likely covered with the availability of an HDMI port, a DisplayPort 1.2, and dual-link DVI-D. It also comes with two built-in speakers.

It helps that it’s a good-looking monitor too, with a three-sided frameless design. You can set it at different angles, adjust the height, and even mount it on the wall (VESA compatible). The ASUS VG279Q is at the higher end of our budget, but it’s a high-quality monitor that should serve you well for gaming.

BenQ EL2870U: The best budget 4K monitor

best budget monitors benq el2870u

BenQ doesn’t quite match the refresh rate, coming in at just 60Hz, but it boosts the resolution of the EL2870U to 4K UHD. The large 28-inch display is AMD FreeSync enabled with a 1ms response time that should serve you well. Slim bezels on three sides and a pair of integrated speakers should help to completely immerse you into the action.

As far as ports and features go, you get an HDMI port, DisplayPort 1.2, and a headphone jack. You can tilt the screen, adjust the height, or mount it on the wall too. The BenQ EL2870U is HDR10 ready, and it’s just waiting for you to test it out.

Sceptre C305B-200UN: The best budget ultrawide monitor

budget monitors sceptre curved C305B 200UN

The Sceptre C305B is not only one of the most affordable ultrawide monitors around, but it’s also pretty good for gaming as well. It offers an impressive 200Hz refresh rate and is compatible with AMD FreeSync. The 30-inch monitor comes with a curved screen with a Full HD (2560 x 1080) resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It’s a TN panel, so the color accuracy isn’t great.

When it comes to connectivity, you get a couple of HDMI (HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4) ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a headphone jack, and two built-in speakers. You can tilt the screen, and it is compatible with select wall mounts.

LG 32MA70HY: The best budget big monitor

best budget monitors lg 32ma70hy

Another great pick, and the widest option on the list, the 32-inch LG 32MA70HY packs plenty of features but takes a more mainstream approach. It may not be the best for gaming with a 5ms response time, but the Full HD display with HDR10 capability should be perfect for streaming your favorite shows.

With the VESA mount, you can also mount the LG 32MA70HY to your walls and attach peripherals with two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort option. LG’s advanced Black Stabilizer should help bring even the darkest of scenes to life, and the IPS display offers just about everything you could want in a monitor.

Samsung SF354: The best budget Samsung monitor

best budget monitors samsung sf354

Samsung’s phones and TVs are known for their impressive displays, and the SF354 monitor shrinks that power into a desktop-friendly size. The Full HD monitor is less than half an inch thick, with a large 27-inch display and four ultra-slim bezels. It’s FreeSync enabled with a dedicated Game Mode that helps to adapt to the ever-changing action of your favorite games.

Samsung equipped the SF354 monitor with an HDMI port and a DisplayPort, which should be enough for your basic peripherals. The SF354 has a flicker-free 60Hz refresh rate, as well as eye-saver mode and a wide 178-degree viewing angle to give you the best possible experience.

Acer SB230: The best budget Acer monitor

budget monitors acer SB230

The Acer SB230 doesn’t do much to distinguish itself, compared to the other options on this list. Its specs and features are quite standard for an affordable monitor. You get a 23-inch IPS LCD screen with a Full HD resolution and 75Hz refresh rate. It comes with an impressive 1ms response time, though, and supports AMD FreeSync, so it’s even a decent option for gamers.

It comes with one HDMI port, a VGA port, and an audio port. The monitor can tilt, but it isn’t the most obvious mechanism. There’s no built-in option to mount it on a wall, though. Ultimately, its price point makes the Acer SB230 an excellent choice.

Other frequently asked questions

Q: Which company makes the best budget monitors?
A: There are a lot of cheap monitors out on the market from multiple sellers. Samsung, LG, ASUS, and Acer have some of the best budget monitors in the market, with various offerings available.

Q: Are cheap monitors good for gaming?
A: You can get a solid gaming experience with a cheap monitor, especially if you opt for a higher refresh rate screen. Just make sure to pick the resolution and refresh rate according to your requirements.

Q: Are cheap 4K monitors worth it?
A: Cheap 4K monitors are absolutely worth it, especially if you pick the right one. They offer better features at a lower price now, since 4K has become more common in recent years.

Q: Is a 1080p monitor good for gaming?
A: On a tight budget, 1080p is pretty good for gaming. If you can snag a monitor with a higher refresh rate at 1080p resolution, you will get an even better gaming experience.

Q: Which is better, TN or IPS?
A: Monitors with TN panels are cheaper but have poor viewing angles, especially if you’re shopping budget monitors. IPS provides better value for money on a budget.