The best budget monitors for PC

The joy of a Full HD widescreen monitor (without the pain of the price tag)

Home office with PC and monitor

by William Lobley |

When it comes to any computer setup, a monitor is one of the most important components. It’s your window into the system, and without it, nothing can be achieved. So when it comes to selecting a monitor, you need to choose carefully.

Wanting to get the best monitor possible doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Yes, there are some options out there with multiple inputs, extreme resolutions and ultra-wide curved screens, but these aren’t for everyone. If you find yourself on a budget and in need of an upgraded computer screen, we’ve found you some of the best – and good news, they’re all full HD, wide-screened and brought to you by reputable brands.

The best budget monitors for your home office:

Just like investing in a higher spec mouse or keyboard, upgrading to a larger widescreen can give a surprising boost to your productivity. So whether you’re looking for a monitor to upgrade your family PC, or you're based in a home office and looking for that next bit of tech to streamline your workflow, our best budget monitors for PC guide has got you covered.

Related: Essential working from home tech | The best computer speakers

If you need some help breaking through the technical terms, be sure to check out the FAQ at the bottom of this page for our jargon buster.

Are you a gamer? Read our guide to the best budget gaming monitors

The best budget monitors

23.8 Inch, 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS, 144Hz, 1ms, FreeSync Premium, DisplayPort, HDMI, Wide Color Gamut, Night Vision, Anti-Flicker, Less Blue light, Black

BenQ EW2480

Recommended
BenQ EW2480
Amazon

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This 24-inch monitor offers up a stunning FHD (1980x1080) display, with a realistic colour representation, great contrast, and Eye Care to reduce eyestrain and increase productivity. The image is also enhanced by the HDRi, a system which works to enhance overall image clarity. The on-screen workspace available thanks to the larger size and the image quality of this monitor, for this price, makes it hard to pass up for general users, programmers or even gamers who prefer slower paced games. The EW2480 has in-built speakers, which are great for notifications - but you'll need to upgrade if you plan to listen to lots of music.

Pros Cons
• Plenty of HDMI connections • Weak speaker
• Smart HDRi tech
Specifications
Screen size: 24-inches
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI x3

ASUS VZ249HE

Best value monitor
ASUS VZ249HE
Amazon

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The ASUS VZ249HE is a sleek, contemporary 23.8-inch monitor. The frameless design truly opens up the feeling of the already significant workspace provided and allows for a seamless multi-display setup. The FHD (1920x1080) screen delivers a flicker-free, crisp and even display, while the fantastic colour range ensures that the user is treated to an accurate and immersive image. Eye Care is included to reduce eyestrain, and the 7mm thick screen and low-profile stand goes someway to make up for the inability to wall mount the monitor.

Pros Cons
• Full HD resolution • 60Hz isn’t great for gaming
• Eye Care
• Frameless design
Specifications
Screen size: 24-inches
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA, DVI

Dell SE2219H

Great value
Dell SE2219H
Amazon

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Dell's SE2219H is a really versatile monitor, no matter your need. The 21.5-inch display gives a pleasant amount of useable workspace, and as its FHD (1920x1080) with a 60Hz refresh rate, it looks great too. The colour depth is pleasingly deep and the anti-glare screen with 178-degree viewing angle means that you'll be able to see what's going on no matter your desk set-up. A small but welcome bonus of the SE2219H is the small base, which doesn't impact on your desk space. Note: Dell only ship this monitor with a VGA cable, you'll need to purchase a HDMI lead separately.

Pros Cons
• Full HD resolution • Only 21.5-inch screen
• Space-saving base
Specifications
Screen size: 21.5-inches
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA

AOC E2270SWHN

Great choice
AOC E2270SWHN
Amazon

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The E2270SWHN from AOC is an FHD (1920x1080), 21.5-inch LED monitor with a 5ms response time. Despite being with us for several years, AOC's offering still holds up as an ideal monitor for general and office use and even provides a deep and attractive colour palette for those who are looking to do some light gaming. The monitor can be bracket mounted if required. One downside of the screen is its limited 90-degree viewing angle.

Pros Cons
• Full HD resolution • Small viewing angle
• Good colour
Specifications
Screen size: 21.5-inches
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA

HP 24f Ultraslim

Best ultraslim monitor
HP 24f Ultraslim
Amazon

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HP's 24f offers 23.8-inches of FHD (1920x1080) display, bringing the user's content to live with a crisp and realistically coloured display. The tiny bezel that borders the monitor gives the impression of a much larger screen, and with a refresh rate of 60Hz, video and gaming content is presented smoothly. One downside for some users will be that the monitor's height cannot be adjusted, but it can be bracket mounted.

Pros Cons
• Full HD resolution • Locked height
• Sleek design
Specifications
Screen size: 24-inches
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA

Iiyama GB2530HSU-B1 Gaming Monitor

Iiyama GB2530HSU-B1 Gaming Monitor
Amazon

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Japanese brand Iiyama isn't as well known in the wider marketplace as some, but it's earned a following in PC gaming. It's a brand that offers great image quality and stats at an affordable price point. The GB2530HSU-B1 is a true gem, housing great specs that include excellent screen size and resolution for work and gaming, a 75Hz refresh rate and FreeSync for smooth gaming, and a response time of 1ms. It's the ideal choice for a competitive gamer in training.

To see more budget gaming monitors, visit our dedicated rundown here.

Pros Cons
• Great quality • No 120fps gaming
• Affordable • Not 1440p
• Handles HD gaming at 60fps • Internal speakers are weak
Specifications
Screen size: 27-inch
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA, USB

AOC 24B2XDAM

AOC 24B2XDAM
Amazon

View offer

The AOC 24B2XDAM is a straightforward 24-inch screen, offering full HD resolution on a nice and clear VA panel. It has a slim frame, which is ideal for multiple monitor setups and can connect to a computer via HDMI, VGA or DVI. What's The Best's own Adam Binnie recently purchased this monitor, and you can read his thoughts below.

Pros Cons
• Reliable • So-so speaker
• Affordable
• Works with HDMI and VGA
Specifications
Screen size: 24-inch
Resolution: 1080p
Connections: HDMI, VGA, DVI

AOC 24B2XDAM: Tried and tested

Adam Binnie picked up the AOC 24B2XDAM in the Prime Day sales. Here’s what he has to say about his experience so far:

"The only thing shorter than my attention span is the length of time I’m willing to do any indoor exercise, and every winter/rainy spell leaves me annoyed that I can’t ride my bike.

"There’s a solution, of course, an indoor turbo trainer and an app like Zwift, which essentially turns your bike into a controller for a skinny, lycra-clad avatar on the screen.

"Still, to maintain anything over 20 minutes, I need to trick my brain into thinking I’m riding for real, and the key to this is a huge screen positioned close to my face so I’m not able to look around the garage and get distracted by projects or things that need tidying.

Related: The best computer desks

"Up until this point, I’ve been using my phone and it just wasn’t doing the job. However, connecting it to a large screen via an HDMI to USB-C adaptor is the most cost-effective solution (cheaper than a new laptop, at any rate) and this AOC model works out as great value for money.

"As well as an attractively thin border, the display features rich colours and a wide viewing angle. Zwift has never looked better. Plus, with two speakers built-in, there’s no need to buy some PC speakers or listen to the game on my tinny phone speaker.

"Usually, cheap tech cuts corners by not including extras like a stand or cables, but this model comes with everything you need (even an HDMI lead) and is truly plug and play.

"The stand has proved sturdy so far, and it also has holes to accept a VESA mount. I had plans to use those to attach it to the wall at some point, but it’s stable as it is and light enough to pick up and move onto a shelf if it’s getting in the way.

"Super easy to recommend as a second screen for hobby use or even work, plus you can hook it up to a phone or something else with Netflix and YouTube on it as a great value alternative to a TV."

FAQs

How to choose a budget monitor

As with any budget item, the best budget monitors are not brimming with extras - they are set up instead to deliver as well as they can on the basics. However, it’s still good to have a plan of action when looking at purchasing a new budget screen.

The best advice we can give is that you should be led by what you know you need. Whether your priority is screen size or connection types, meet these criteria as best as possible and then anything above and beyond is a bonus.

Related: The best budget printers that'll transform your home office

What is resolution?

Resolution refers to the number of pixels that are available on the screen – the more pixels, the better the image. It is worth considering that, if you plan on jumping above standard Full HD resolution, you’ll need to make sure your graphics hardware can handle the extra work. If in doubt, always check with manufacturers.

Resolution guide:

HD: 1280×720

Full HD: 1920×1080

Ultra HD/4K: 3840×2160

Response Time

Response time is a measurement that tells us the lag, or delay, between input and display. A quality monitor will usually have a response time between one and five milliseconds.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate is to monitors what frames per second is to film. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the image – low refresh rates can make fast-paced displays appear to jump, stutter and jolt. Refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), and most monitors will sit at 60Hz.

60.z is great for most situations, but gamers may want to look for monitors with much higher rate to keep up with modern gaming standards.144Hz gaming monitors are quickly becoming the minimum standard for high quality, stutter free gaming displays.

Related: The best laptops under £1,000

Why are monitor’s titled in whole numbers (eg. 22-inch), but are actually smaller numbers (eg. 21.5-inch)?

This can be confusing, but it’s just the industry rounding things up. It’s extremely common for a 21.5-inch monitor to be referred to as 22-inch.

What is Eye Care?

Eye Care is a feature included with some monitors which adjusts the blue light emitted by the monitor, maintaining the positive effects (alertness, improved cognitive function) and reducing the negative effects (unbalanced circadian rhythm, eyestrain). Eye-Care is a serious benefit to a monitor that anyone who spends prolonged periods of time working on computers should consider carefully.

William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in gaming, technology and the outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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