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Although we prefer to talk about the best and most advanced monitors you can buy, sometimes money, or lack thereof, is the deciding factor. Often a good cheap monitor is your best bet, but finding a low-cost, quality monitor can be challenging.
Best cheap monitors
In the $250 price range, you will find screens with a diagonal of less than 27 inches and Full HD resolution (1,920×1,080 pixels). Some monitors use IPS panels, which are best suited for general purpose since they offer the best colors and wide viewing angles. Most of them also have a refresh rate of 60Hz and a response time around 5ms.
However, most inexpensive monitors employ the older TN panels, which suffer from less accurate colors and narrower viewing angles. However, they are better suited for gaming; they have a higher contrast ratio and can have a refresh rate of up to 144Hz. Many of these also support AMD’s Adaptive Refresh FreeSync technology to synchronize the game’s frame rates with the display.
The brightness of all these monitors hovers around 250-350 nits, which should be fine for most users. And if you spend a little more you’ll be able to buy a cheap monitor with convenient extras such as a height-adjustable stand or a built-in USB Hub.
Below you will find our top picks for the best cheap monitor you can buy right now.
Asus VG245H: cheap gaming monitor
The Asus VG245H (Check on Amazon) is a great model for those who want something more than the standard monitor for productivity. The 24-inch TN screen has a 1080p resolution, a 1ms response time, and a 75Hz refresh rate (overclocked if you are using an AMD graphics card).
More importantly, the VG245H includes AMD’S Adaptive-Sync technology. This means that it supports a variable refresh rate with both AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s “G-Sync Compatible” graphics cards.
In addition, it includes color enhancement settings designed specifically for games and ASUS Eye Care for a flicker-free display with a blue light filter that minimizes eye fatigue.
Last but not least, the two HDMI ports allow you to connect both your PC and a gaming console.
Overall, if you’re primarily a gamer this is the most affordable gaming monitor you can buy.
There is also available a 27-inch variant: ASUS VG275Q (Check on Amazon).
Samsung CF398/C27F398: cheap all-rounder
Curved screens were a niche feature and very expensive. Nowadays, however, they have become common and even affordable. The Samsung CF398 (Check on Amazon) features a screen with a 1800R curvature, giving you the distinctive feel of the display enveloping you for an even more immersive viewing experience.
It is also an extremely modern and elegant monitor, sporting a slim design and a glossy black finish, which makes it a perfect match for the minimalist aesthetic of most office desks.
In addition to the design, this Samsung also boasts a superb image quality — for this price range. Unlike other monitors in this list, Samsung uses a VA panel instead of IPS. Therefore, it sacrifices something in terms of color accuracy and viewing angles, but these are not things you’ll notice with everyday use.
By contrast, the VA panel offers much better performance when viewed in a dark room, since it produces deeper, more uniform blacks. The 27-inch screen has 1080p resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, excellent motion handling, a fast 4ms response time, and very low input delay. It’s also quite customizable in terms of brightness and contrast.
In addition, it supports AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, which also works with Nvidia’s recent graphics cards (when connected via DisplayPort). The presence of two inputs, an HDMI and a DisplayPort also means that you can connect both a PC and a laptop (or a gaming console).
All in all, an excellent all-rounder without spending much.
Dell SE2416HX: best budget monitor
The Dell SE2416HX (Check on Amazon) is the best cheap monitor for most people. Its 24-inch display offers unmatched color accuracy in this price range – it covers 108% of sRGB color gamut – and excellent viewing angles (178 degrees) thanks to its IPS panel. It also offers deep blacks and bright whites that most competing monitors can’t match. The display is also equipped with an anti-glare coating.
This inexpensive monitor has an eye-catching, stylish design, with its ultra-thin frame and classic black finish. The screen controls are placed at the front in the bottom right corner, a very convenient position. And thanks to Dell’s PowerNap feature, which reduces screen brightness when not in use, it’s also a low-power monitor.
Obviously, there are some trade-offs because of the super cheap price. This monitor has a lower brightness than average (around 180 nits), has a dynamic contrast ratio of 8M:1, and slow response times (6ms) that are not ideal for gamers. Finally, it is not VESA compatible.
Dell UltraSharp U2415: best cheap office monitor
The Dell UltraSharp U2415 (Check on Amazon) is the ideal office monitor: it features good brightness, solid contrast, and precise colors. Its best quality, however, is that each monitor comes per-calibrated from the factory, so you will see the same image across all of them if you decide for a multi-monitor setup.
Its Full HD resolution is perfect for its 24-inch screen size, while the 16:10 aspect ratio (1,920×1,200 pixels) is ideal for working on web pages, emails, and documents.
Like most IPS monitors, it offers wide viewing angles which are great for sharing the screen with a colleague. In addition, the display becomes quite bright and has good reflection handling, so you should have no problems if placed in a bright room.
It also offers solid image quality, good motion handling, and low input lag. Its gray uniformity is especially excellent, which is useful when looking at web pages and documents all day.
Its versatile ergonomic stand allows you to adjust it in height, tilt and even rotate it 90° and work in portrait mode.
The only drawback is that its IPS panel is not ideal if viewed in a dark room since it offers a mediocre contrast and bad black uniformity.
Overall, this is the best cheap office monitor ever.
HP VH240A: the cheapest
If you are looking for a good cheap office monitor with an ergonomic stand, that can be adjusted in height and rotated to work in portrait mode, then the HP VH240a (Check on Amazon) is a great choice.
This 24 inch IPS monitor has a Full HD resolution, a respectable 5ms response time, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a 10M:1 dynamic contrast ratio, thus offering a crisp, smooth, detailed, and vibrant image even off-angle.
It also features an HDMI and a VGA port, and has built-in speakers.
It will be hard to find a monitor that offers more for less.
ViewSonic XG2402: best cheap gaming monitor
If you want a better gaming monitor than the Asus VG245H (Check on Amazon), get the ViewSonic XG2402 (Check on Amazon). This 24-inch monitor uses a TN panel boasting a 1080p resolution, a 1ms response time, incredibly low input lag, and a 144Hz refresh rate for crisp, blur-free images. It also supports AMD’s FreeSync technology (which is also compatible with Nvidia’s recent graphics cards) which eliminates screen tearing.
In addition, it has a very good peak brightness and great reflection handling making it suitable for bright environments. It also features an HDMI port and a DisplayPort, built-in speakers, and a USB hub.
It even comes with a number of perfectly optimized modes for different game types such as FPS, RTS, and eSports.
Unfortunately, the TN panel comes with a couple of drawbacks. The XG2402’s contrast ratio and black uniformity are lower than its IPS/VA counterparts, making it less ideal for gaming in the dark, while its narrow viewing angles cause image degradation when viewed from the sides.
Nevertheless, this is the best cheap gaming monitor on this list.