Compact and capable, the best all-in-one computers combine the PC and monitor into a single unit, giving you plenty of power, but without the tangle of cables. We've tested more than a dozen all-in-one desktops (both Windows machines and Apple iMacs) to find the best desktop and monitor combinations you can buy.
All-in-one desktops are great whether you need a high-powered system for professional use or a basic desktop for home use — they take up less room than traditional towers, and offer more screen space than even the largest laptops. These unique systems pack their components, ports and monitors into a single unit, allowing you to easily put one on your desk, plug in and get to work (or play).
The all-in-one computers we've reviewed are often best suited to specific uses, like photo and video editing or professionally-demanding tasks, but the more affordable units are great all-around performers, providing something for every member of the family, whether it's kids doing schoolwork or parents trying to get some work done or organize the family photo album. Whatever you want out of a desktop PC, one of the best all-in-one computers is up to the task.
What are the best all-in-one computers?
The best all-in-one computer we've tested is the 2020 Apple iMac with 5K Retina Display (27-inch). It's still the best all-in-one computer for photo and video editing, and a fantastic system all around, thanks to the classic iMac design and new hardware that bumps up the CPU and GPU to deliver excellent power for all of your tasks. It's especially well-suited to photo and video editing, but the Apple iMac will fit just as well in any home or office.
For the very best all-in-one computer for artists, however, there's no beating the Microsoft Surface Studio 2, which gives users a spacious touchscreen with best-in-class pen support, all positioned for optimal comfort. The hinged display drops down to a a low angle, mimicking the slant of an artist's drafting table, and pairing it with superb processing and graphics hardware.
And for unparalleled power, look no further than the Apple iMac Pro, which is easily the best all-in-one computer workstation for pros. High-end processing and ISV-certified graphics are paired with speedy storage and up to 128GB of memory for an unstoppable combination of power and capability.
The best all-in-one computers you can buy today
The Apple iMac 27-inch (2020) is the latest iMac and may be the last Intel-powered all-in-one from Apple, but it couldn't have come at a better time. The new iMac boasts Intel 10th-generation processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, and perhaps most importantly, a 1080p webcam – a big step up from the 720p cameras used in older iMacs. But the 2020 iMac can be had with even more great features, such as the optional nano-texture glass and enhanced speakers.
The iMac design remains unchanged, complete with thick bezels around the screen and a prominent aluminum chin below the display, but the screen in question is a Retina 5K display, which has 5120 x 2880 pixels of colorful detail, as well as P3 wide color gamut support. It also has TrueTone color temperature adjustment, which automatically shifts the color on screen to look best for the ambient light in the room.
Read our full Apple iMac 27-inch (2020) review.
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is the best thing around for anyone who does digital art, thanks to a gorgeous touchscreen that drops down low for comfortable touch and pen use. The better-than-4K display looks amazing, the touch screen supports both the Surface Pen and Surface Dial and the design is top-notch. The design alone would make this the best touchscreen all-in-one for drawing, but the addition of best-in-class pen support takes it upo another level.
The updated Surface Studio 2 gets beefier processing and graphics hardware, switches to all-solid-state drives for storage, and gets an even better version of the PixelSense display that offers enhanced brightness and contrast. It's one of the best all-in-one computers we've seen, and our top pick for media creators and artists.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review.
When it comes to all-in-one computers, they just don’t come more powerful than this. The Apple iMac Pro reclaims the Pro title with way more processing and graphics power than any consumer will ever need, making it the perfect addition to the professional video studio, the audio engineering booth or the architect’s office.
Equipped with a 10-core Intel Xeon processor, workstation grade graphics and a mind-bending 128GB of RAM, this machine is pure power. Plus, the iMac design gets a stylish upgrade with the iMac Pro's cool space gray anodized finish. You can even get the Apple Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse or Touchpad to match. It's the best all-in-one computer for anyone that wants to keep the sleek iMac design, but needs serious power in a workstation.
Read our full Apple iMac Pro review.
How to choose the best all-in-one computer for you
When shopping for a new desktop like one of the best all-in-one computers listed above, it helps to have a clear idea of what your intended uses are for the new system. If you're after a basic machine for web browsing, there are plenty of budget systems that will fit the bill, but more demanding uses like editing photo and video or even creating new artistic content will demand a more powerful system.
For most users, we recommend looking for something with a Core i5 processor or better, with at least 8GB of memory, but more demanding users will want to opt for something more powerful, like an Intel Core i7, and more RAM will translate into faster, smoother operations. You may also want a discrete graphics card if you want to do any sort of gaming or media work.
Storage is also a major consideration. While many of the systems on our list offer 1TB or more of storage, we find that the best option is a dual drive system that offers a larger hard drive for file storage and a faster SSD for storing the operating system and programs.
Touch capability is common on many all-in-one computers, but not on Apple's iMac. If you want touch or stylus support, you'll definitely want to get a Windows machine.
And don't forget about the display. Larger screens are great, but you may get better bang for your buck by focusing on resolution, with 4K displays becoming more common, and some high-end all-in-ones offering even higher resolution options.
All-in-One computers run the gamut from affordable to premium pricing. Budget-friendly systems can be found for less than $1000, but will generally be limited to full HD resolution displays and low-powered Celeron and Pentium processors. The best all-in-one desktops can cost $2,000 or more, and boast 4K displays, the latest Intel Core i7 processors and discrete graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD.
Since these units are always plugged in, you might want to also invest in a good surge protector to make sure your all-in-one stays in good shape.
How we test all-in-one PCs
Every all-in-one we review goes through a variety of benchmark tests in Purch Labs as well as long hours of real-world use. As with our laptop reviews, we use a colorimeter to measure the brightness, color accuracy and color gamut of each all-in-one's display.
For performance, we use the Geekbench 4 test to measure a system's overall processing abilities. We also run a custom spreadsheet test to see how long a PC takes to match thousands of names to addresses. To evaluate each system's hard drive speed, we measure how long it takes to copy 4.97 worth of files.
If an all-in-one has discrete graphics, we run it through many of the same benchmarks we use for gaming PCs. That includes 3DMark Fire Strike, as well as the built-in benchmark tools of games like Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman and Grand Theft Auto V. If an all-in-one is made to support virtual reality, we'll also run the SteamVR Performance Test.
Most importantly, we spend a ton of time simply using each all-in-one desktop for everyday activities. We watch movies, do work, play games, and blast music on the speakers, all to get a better sense of which ones are worth your money.
Check out all of our desktop computer coverage: