Whether you’re a professional video editor working from home or want to experience the best PC games at their finest, the best monitors can have a transformative effect for both work and play.
The monitors we recommend in the buying guide below range from incredible 4K panels to more affordable 1080p screens. Each one has been put through its paces by our team of experts here at Tom’s Guide, so if you pick up one of these displays, you can rest easy in the knowledge that we’ve tested its peak HDR brightness, response times and color gamut measurements.
The best monitors you can currently buy will make every computing task you tackle in your daily routine that little bit more pleasurable and hassle-free. And while we have your attention, be sure to read up on our choices for the best gaming monitors.
The quick list
Short on time? Here's a brief breakdown of the best monitors on the list below, along with quick links that let you jump directly to the review of whichever monitor you're interested in.
The best overall monitor
One of the most reliable monitors we’ve ever tested, this slick 1080p screen boasts crisp detail and excellent colors. The display’s deep black levels also impress.
The best budget monitor
You won’t find a better gaming monitor under $200 than this 1080p display. With a 144 Hz refresh rate, this Acer is ideal for both quick action games and productivity tasks.
Best for MacBook
The best monitor for MacBook owners
A great 5K monitor that has a lot more to offer than just a fantastic 27-inch screen. We love its six-speaker sound system and 12MP ultrawide camera.
The best curved monitor
A fantastic 1440p screen that has one of the most impressively bright screens around. Throw in vibrant color reproduction and 165 Hz refresh rate, and it’s ideal for gamers.
The best ultrawide monitor
Our favorite ultrawide is this superb QD-OLED display. With a 120 Hz refresh rate, amazing black levels and an immersive 21:9 aspect ratio, this is a top-tier monitor for both work and play.
The best monitors you can buy today
Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
The best overall monitor
For a monitor that's great for everyday use and won't cost an arm and a leg, the Dell SE2719HR is our pick. Sometimes you just need a reliable, inexpensive display, and based on user reviews, this is a great one to get. The 27-inch Dell boasts an IPS panel, so the display will look great from any angle. While it won't match the resolution of a 4K monitor, the display is still sharp and clear, with vibrant color and deep black levels. With only HDMI and VGA inputs, it's not ideal for gaming (DisplayPort is better suited to the higher frame rates of a GPU), but most any other use should be ably handled by the 27-inch display, thanks to its minimal lag times and 75Hz refresh rate.
An adjustable stand lets you set the angle to your comfort and liking, while the bezels around the display are surprisingly slim. And with a relatively small stand, the footprint of the monitor is compact enough that you won't have to give up much of your desk space. Heck, with the sleek design and affordable price, you just might pick up two for a dual-screen workspace. For our favorite monitor in terms of function and value, the Dell SE2719HR is the best monitor on our list.
The best budget monitor
The Acer XFA240 demonstrates that excellent full HD monitors don't need to cost a ton of money. For less than $200, this 1080p monitor delivers accurate colors and more extra features than you'd expect, including a full vertical mode that makes it invaluable as a second screen. The monitor works well for both gaming and productivity, with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a variety of ports, including a DVI input for older machines.
The XFA240 has a few drawbacks, which are normal enough in its price range. Its built-in speakers aren't worth using, its menus are confusing and its construction feels a little cheap. On the other hand, it's more than worth its asking price, considering how well it displays games, and how pretty the colors are once you do a little tweaking.
Read our full Acer XFA240 review.
The best MacBook monitor
The 27-inch Studio Display ($1,599) is a great 5K monitor, one that delivers a lot of the value of Apple's $5,000 Pro Display XDR in a much more affordable (though hardly cheap) package.
Like the Pro Display XDR, the Studio Display offers useful features for creative professionals, including a range of reference modes and P3 wide color gamut support. But it also has unique features that any Mac user can enjoy, like a killer (for a monitor) six-speaker sound system and a 12MP ultrawide camera that supports Apple's Center Stage feature, courtesy of an onboard A13 Bionic chip.
With its ultrawide camera, fantastic speaker setup and gorgeous 27-inch 5K screen, this is easily one of the best monitors for MacBook Pro owners seeking an external display.
Read our full Apple Studio Display review.
The best curved monitor
The ViewSonic Elite XG270QC is a large curved monitor with an extremely bright screen. While it will take up a lot of your desk space with its tasteful triangular base, the tradeoff is well worth it. You get a vibrantly colored 27-inch 1440p screen, with a refresh rate of 165 Hz. For gamers with powerful GPUs, this means quad HD gaming with the potential for more than 100 frames per second in each game.
Aside from the XG270QC's price and size, there's very little to recommend against. It has comprehensive menu options, plenty of ports and a variety of handy presets for many different types of games and applications. Whether you need to play the latest games or enjoy a large library of streaming media, the XG270QC's bright, bold, beautiful screen is the right tool for the job.
Read our full ViewSonic Elite XG270QC review.
The best ultrawide monitor
A sensational QD-OLED ultrawide monitor that screams class at every turn. A follow-up to the already brilliant Alienware 34 AW3423DW, this newer model dropped its price tag and added the welcome addition of an HDMI 2.1 port. That means the Alienware AW3423DWF is now far more suited to getting the most out of Xbox Series X and PS5.
When it comes to gaming performance, this Alienware produces results that are as impressive as the monitor's bold design choices. Using DisplayPort, this monitor can hit a mightily fast 165 Hz refresh rate, which makes it perfect for playing fast-paced shooters, like Doom Eternal. Add in a couple of impressively punchy HDR modes, solid pixel-cleaning settings to help prevent against OLED burn-in and effortlessly inky blacks and you're left with a truly stunning monitor. That 21:9 aspect ratio doesn't just make the best PC games more immersive, the added screen real estate is a dream when navigating multiple browser windows or editing images in Photoshop.
Read our full Alienware AW3423DWF QD-OLED gaming monitor review.
The best OLED monitor
The Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED gaming monitor puts a killer OLED display into a TV-like size that's made for big screen gaming. With a size that toes the line between TV and monitor, the 55-inch display has a highly polished design, a cornucopia of great features and key gaming monitor features such as DisplayPort connectivity and fast 120Hz refresh rates. And while it's technically not a TV, it also comes with a slick remote control to adjust the picture settings and navigate menus from the comfort of your couch.
But it's not just a TV-sized monitor, it's also a superb OLED gaming display. The Alienware boasts a huge color gamut and accuracy that rivals some of the best TVs on the market. The AW5520QF's price will probably scare off folks on a budget, but if you do your PC or console gaming in the living room or want a truly premium monitor, Alienware's behemoth screen is well-suited to the job. And since a computer can stream almost anything, so you'll be able to watch, listen to or play whatever you want.
Read our full Alienware AW5520QF review.
The LG UltraGear 27GR95QE-B ($999) is one of the most gorgeous gaming monitors we’ve seen yet. That’s good news considering we’ve been eager to test this OLED monitor since LG first announced it late in 2022.
But what makes the LG UltraGear 27GR95QE-B so great? It has a fairly subdued design for a gaming monitor. And at 27 inches, it’s not exactly huge. What sets it apart is its jaw-dropping visual fidelity provided by the 2.5K OLED display. Games look phenomenal on this monitor, as does streaming content. The super fast 0.03ms response time and 240Hz refresh rate also deliver an enjoyable gaming experience. The fact it’s less than $1,000 is also a big deal.
The monitor isn't perfect, however. It's considerably dimmer than some of its competitors, and the fact you can't access all menu options without a remote is also troubling. The astonishing picture quality and speedy performance mostly help you overlook these deficiencies, but they're still worth pointing out.
Read our full LG UltraGear 27 review.
The Acer Predator X32 FP ($1,499) gaming monitor balances stunning visual fidelity and rock-solid performance. This 32-inch behemoth features a gorgeous 4K mini-LED 160Hz display that’s both crisp and colorful. On top of that, the monitor comes with a ton of ports and an aggressive design that demands attention.
This is one of best gaming monitors out there thanks to its blazing-fast performance, smooth refresh rate and vibrant visuals. It takes up a lot of space on one’s desk, but the monitor’s large display helps draw you into the games you’re playing.
While more affordable options exist, the Predator X32 FP is still a great gaming monitor. It just might be a good idea to wait for a price drop before buying this premium device.
Read our full Acer Predator X32 FP gaming monitor review.
Samsung's curved 49-inch Odyssey G9 Gaming Monitor is a strong overall performer, but its unwieldy design and sky-high price do not make it ideal for everyone.
Boasting top-notch functionality and impressive performance along every metric, the Odyssey G9 is worthy of serious consideration from anyone who can make full use of it. So if you have a high-end graphics card, a spare $1,700 or so, an excess of desk space (or a sizable hunk of wall), a stuffed-to-bursting game library you want to apply a unique (and not always completely complementary) visual spin to, and not much desire to use the monitor for everything else, you probably won’t be disappointed. Plus the next generation of the Odyssey G9 Neo, which replaced the original G9, is tipped to be the world's first 8K ultrawide curved monitor. Truly astonishing if it comes to fruition.
Read our full Samsung Odyssey G9 review.
How to choose the best monitor for you
How to choose the best monitor for you
Finding the best monitor can be a confusing experience when you don't know what to look for. There are a few key details to pay attention to for any monitor, and some specific advice for certain specialized uses.
We evaluate every monitor on the same basic criteria, starting with size and resolution. In general, more is better here: the bigger the display and the higher the resolution, the more you can see. We also measure several aspects of picture quality as part of our review process, looking at how many colors the monitor can produce (reported as color gamut) and how accurately it displays each color (reported as a Delta-E rating). Better scores here make for a better display in every instance. Display brightness is another factor, but higher brightness doesn't always translate into a better display, though it does suggest that a monitor will deliver more vibrant color and may offer HDR (high dynamic range) support.
For some uses, like professional graphics work, you'll need to watch for additional features, and refinements on the basics. If color quality is important in your work, you should look for factory calibrated displays, and pay close attention to the color accuracy and gamut portions of our reviews. You'll also want to spring for matte-finish panels, displays with shade hoods and adjustable monitor stands that let you find the perfect viewing angle.
Things to consider
Size: A larger monitor is generally a better purchase simply because it offers the most visual real estate, which is better for both full-screen media consumption and split-screen multitasking. Higher resolution is also better, since it allows better detail and lets you see more information in the same screen size. The old phrase "bigger is better" applies to both here, and we recommend opting for larger screens and higher resolution whenever possible.
Response time: If you care about playing the latest games under the most optimal conditions, you'll want to look for a monitor with low response time. This measures how long it takes for the display to respond to what you're doing, and it's typically expressed as a measurement (in milliseconds) of how long it takes a pixel on the display to go from one color to another and back again.
Unless you're planning to play games that demand quick reflexes or pinpoint accuracy, you really don't need to worry about response time. In general, anything under 10ms is good, though for gaming under 5ms is better. Many gaming monitors promise response times as low as 1ms, which is about as good as you can hope for.
Refresh rate: Refresh rate measures how many times per second your monitor is able to to draw a new image. It's measured in Hertz, and again if you're not planning on doing a lot of intense gaming you probably don't need to worry about this very much. Most monitor achieve refresh rates of 60Hz or less, and that's plenty for watching videos or getting work done. However, if you want to play games at higher than 60 frames per second, or you're planning on working with video at framerates higher than 60 fps, you'll want a monitor with higher refresh rates. 120Hz is good, 144Hz is better, and there are even gaming monitors that offer refresh rates of 240Hz or higher.
Finding a good gaming monitor
Gaming also has its own unique concerns. When the difference between victory and defeat can come down to split second timing, you can't afford long lag times. If you want one of the best gaming monitors, we recommend finding a display that offers response times of 15 milliseconds or less.
Smoother gameplay is also part of what you pay for in a gaming monitor, so pay attention to what frame syncing technology a monitor supports. AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync both allow the monitor and the graphics card to coordinate the refresh rate of the screen with the output of the GPU, but they approach this problem in slightly different ways, and a given monitor will likely provide support for only one or the other format. If your gaming rig uses Nvidia cards, you'll want a G-Sync capable monitor, while AMD-based systems will play nicely with a FreeSync display.
Choosing a secondary monitor
For a secondary monitor to use on the road, you'll want something that's small enough to carry with your laptop, and simple enough to set up and use within moments. For this, we recommend choosing one with a USB-C port for connectivity, as that allows the monitor to use a single cable for both video signal and power. While the basic advice of "bigger is better" does still have some application here, it's also worth considering how well a portable monitor matches the size of your laptop display, since a larger display panel will have different dimensions than your laptop, and may not fit as easily into your backpack or laptop bag.
How we tested these monitors
How we test the best monitors
When seeking out the best monitors, we test every display we review with our Klein K 10-A colorimeter, paired with testing software. We use this high-quality scope to measure the display's brightness levels, color gamut and color accuracy.
Brightness is measured in nits, or candela per square metre (cd/m2). More nits means a higher brightness, which translates into clearer picture, brighter color and usually a more realistic looking image. For basic monitors, we expect a display backlight to produce between 2-300 nits of brightness, though HDR (high dynamic range) displays will often exceed that with a higher maximum brightness. However, brightness alone doesn't make for a great display, since some monitors will wash out colors or offer inconsistent backlight that varies in some portions of the display panel.
HDR also presents its own testing challenges, as new capabilities and standards allow a monitor to offer higher peak luminance than our standard tests will register. When in doubt, read an individual review for a discussion of these issues, and how an individual product will handle each.
Color is the other big concern for displays. Monitors that produce more colors have a larger color gamut, as measured under the sRGB or P3 color standards. This is presented as a percentage, with higher percentages indicating more colors.
Color accuracy is the other aspect of color, which lets us measure how closely a monitor can reproduce a given shade. This is presented as a Delta-E rating, which indicates the level of deviation from perfect. Zero is a perfect score, while higher numbers indicate lower accuracy.
We also test a display's response time, using a Leo Bodnar input lag tester. This device measures how long it takes a signal to travel from a source device to the monitor and show up on the display. Measured in milliseconds, this number is most useful for gamers and anyone that needs immediate onscreen feedback from any input.
Finally, every monitor we test is also used for web browsing, streaming video and gaming, as well as the writing of the review itself. Our anecdotal testing will often allow us to note the quirks of a display that lab testing might miss, whether it's difficulty in scaling content or issues with backlight or color reproduction.