Best Computer Monitors for Working From Home in 2021

When you work from home, your computer monitor is the centerpiece of your home office experience. A good monitor can make your work feel refreshing and increase productivity. In this article, we’ll go over the best monitors within different price ranges.

What to Consider When Buying a Monitor for Working from Home

Like buying a new car, there are several key considerations that you should make before purchasing a new monitor. After all, a monitor is a tool that helps you pay the bills– so why not pick the best one for your needs?

Resolution

Comparison of Monitor Resolutions

Resolution can make the difference between a blurry image and a sharp one. A resolution of 1080p (1920×1080) is the minimum that I’d recommend for productivity purposes. That gives you enough screen space to create documents, surf the web, and cover the basics at an optimal size of 24″. But if you want a larger screen, then you should go for a larger resolution.

Power users will benefit from using a 1440p monitor (2560×1440) or 4K monitor (3840×2160)– which offers 150% to 400% the pixel count as 1080p.

Programmers typically need multiple code editor windows open. Writers need plenty of screen space for notes and research. Video editors need to scour through hundreds of video clips. Regardless of your profession– you will benefit from the increased pixel count.

And don’t worry– Windows and Mac can “scale” the screen so that the text isn’t too small.

Aspect Ratio

Comparison of Monitor Aspect Ratios

Aspect ratio defines the “shape” of the monitor, and how wide it is. Aspect ratio correlates directly with resolution. Most modern monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, which means that if the width is 16 units, then the height is 9 units.

As a remote worker, all of our work is digitally displayed on the monitor. Between spreadsheets, documents, and browser windows– we juggle them every day. A wide aspect ratio can make it easier to manage multiple windows, since you can line them up horizontally. If you find yourself switching between 3 to 4 windows all the time– perhaps it’s time to take a look at an ultra-wide monitor.

At the extreme end of the spectrum, ultra-wide monitors boast a 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratio. Using an ultra-wide monitor is essentially the equivalent of using 2 or 3 standard monitors side-by-side, seamlessly glued together. From that viewpoint, perhaps choosing an ultra-wide isn’t that crazy after all.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate determines how smooth your visual experience is going to be. You can rest assure that any off-the-shelf monitor will have at least a 60hz refresh rate, which means 60 refreshes per second. That provides the standard experience that we expect from a modern monitor.

However, it’s still worth considering a higher refresh rate, like 120hz or 144hz. Moving the mouse, scrolling through documents, and moving windows around will feel much more fluid than before. By no means do you need a high refresh rate, but it might make your daily grind more pleasant.

When you work from home, you spend a great deal of time looking at your monitor screen. Eye strain is common, and a higher refresh rate might help reduce it.

VESA Mount

A monitor can take up a more-than-reasonable amount of desk space. If you want to save precious desk real estate, then you can use an adjustable monitor mount stand so that your monitor floats above the desk. Or you can attach the monitor directly to the wall.

A VESA mounting interface can be found on the backside of most monitors, consisting of 4 screw holes. All VESA mounts use the same standardized size and shape, so you don’t have to worry about measuring anything.

If you work from home, you have to organize your own home office space and improvise. As such, mounting the monitor to the desk gives us back those valuable few inches of desk space to stash headphones, external hard drives and other gear.

Either way, it’s a good idea to double-check that whichever monitor you choose– it includes a VESA mount in the back of the monitor so that you’ll having mounting options available later on if you choose.

Brightness and Contrast

In the daytime, sunlight makes it tougher to see what’s on your monitor screen. The glare from the reflection can cover up text and force you to move your head around in circles just to get some work done.

That’s where screen brightness becomes a necessity. You’ll need to have a monitor with a bright enough screen to compete against the almighty Sun.

Nits is the unit used to measure the brightness of a monitor screen. A brightness of 800 to 1000 nits is considered to be readable in direct sunlight. However, 200 to 300 nits is fine for indoors.

A contrast ratio larger than 5:1 will ensure that the text on your screen is clearly legible without the need of squinting your eyes.

Input Ports

Of considerable importance is the type of input ports that the monitor accepts. Your laptop or computer can only support certain ports for connecting to a monitor.

Back in the day, computer monitors had VGA and DVI ports. Nowadays, HDMI and DisplayPort have become the reigning standard, with USB-C slowly rising in popularity.

It might seem confusing, but remember this:

Keep it simple– stick to HDMI.

Most laptops and computer video cards support HDMI, and most modern monitors support HDMI, too. The HDMI 2.0 standard supports up to 16K resolution at 60hz, which is an insane amount of data. We can rest assured that HDMI isn’t going away any time soon.

Best Monitors for Working from Home

Once you’ve pondered your wants, needs, and budget, it’s time to choose the perfect monitor for your home office. Take a look at these top-ranked monitors for 2021.

The listed prices reflect the pricing at the time that the article was written. Amazon product prices are subject to change.

Acer (SB220Q)

Best Budget Monitor

  • Size: 21.5 inch to 27 inch (multiple options)
  • Resolution: 1080p (1920×1080)
  • Refresh Rate: 75hz
  • Brightness: 250 Nits
  • VESA Mount: NO
  • Price: $150

The Acer SB220Q is a respectable $150 budget monitor that won’t hurt the wallet. With options going up to 27 inches, this monitor is right around the sweet spot in size for a 1080p monitor. Sporting a 75hz refresh rate, this Acer delivers a smooth experience.

Although the brightness isn’t considerably high and it’s lacking a VESA mount, the reviews for this monitor have been overwhelmingly positive. Check it out and see why customers are raving about the Acer SB220Q.

LG (24QP500-B)

Best Monitor Under $200

  • Size: 24 inch
  • Resolution: 1440p (2560×1440)
  • Refresh Rate: 75hz
  • Brightness: 300 Nits
  • VESA Mount: YES
  • Price: $200

If you want a more refined experience within the budget price range of $200, the LG 24QP500-B won’t disappoint. At 1440p, you’ll get a sharper image. The brightness is above average for monitors in this class. And the included base mount can be removed so that you can use your own VESA mount and save desk space.

For a bit more cash, you can upgrade to the 32 inch version and see all 3.6 million pixels in big-screen glory. Either way– with all the stellar review this monitor has– the LG 24QP500-B is a steal at this price range.

ASUS (VP28UQG)

Best 4K Monitor for the Price

  • Size: 28 inch
  • Resolution: 4K (3840×2160)
  • Refresh Rate: 60hz
  • Brightness: 300 Nits
  • VESA Mount: YES
  • Price: $250

With the ASUS VP28UQG, we’ve now stepped into the big leagues. At a whopping 4K resolution, you’ll have plenty of space for all of your productivity needs. Although the ASUS only runs at a standard 60hz, that’s a fair compromise considering the resolution and price range of $250.

Don’t let the “gaming monitor” label fool you. While it’s true that the ASUS is geared towards gaming– it includes ASUS Eye Care technology and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, which ultimately helps to reduce eye strain after long hours of screen time. The ASUS VP28UQG is one of the highest ranking 4K monitors under $300.

Lenovo (G34w)

Best Ultra-Wide Monitor for the Price

  • Size: 34 inch
  • Resolution: WQHD (3440×1440)
  • Refresh Rate: 144hz
  • Brightness: 350 Nits
  • VESA Mount: YES
  • Price: $340

In the realm of ultra-wide monitors, the Lenovo G34w delivers a truely breathtaking experience. With a 21:9 aspect ratio, some reviewers have called it the “goldilocks zone”, as there are more pixels than 1080p, but it’s not as overwhelming as 4K. The natural curvature of the display reduces neck rotation and creates an immersive experience.

Additionally, the 144hz refresh rate produces the smoothest Windows/Mac experience you will ever feast your eyes on. With 350 nits brightness, sunshine glare shouldn’t be too bothersome, and the VESA mount ensure that you have full flexibility to mount the monitor to a wall or desk mount to save space. At the $340 price range, the Lenovo G34w is a substantial upgrade for the price.

Sceptre Curved 49 inch Ultra-Wide

Most Affordable 32:9 Ultra Wide Monitor

  • Size: 49 inch
  • Resolution: Dual QHD (5120×1440)
  • Refresh Rate: 120hz
  • Brightness: 350 Nits
  • VESA Mount: YES
  • Price: $950

For super users who need all the screen space that they can get, it’s not too far fetched to consider the Sceptre Ultra-Wide monitor for your home office. It’s not uncommon for programmers, video editors, and stock market traders to invest in multiple monitors for increased productivity. With the 49-inch Sceptre, you can replace a multi-monitor setup with a single sleek and seamless ultra-wide monitor.

The Sceptre also lets you connect 2 different computers to the left and right halves of the monitor. Surprisingly, this monitor still boasts 120hz even at the high resolution. With strong brightness for the daytime grind, and VESA mount compatibility for your dream setup, the Sceptre Ultra-Wide monitor is fairly priced for the amount of goodies you get.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you need to flip through spreadsheets, write some code, or edit videos– a nice big monitor makes the job easier. A Zoom meeting will no longer takes up your entire screen. You will no longer need to minimize applications. And you will now be completely focused when it’s time to get work done.

With the immeasurable number of monitors up or sale, we’ve picked some of the top-ranking monitors within different price ranges. Choose the best monitor for your needs and budget. Once you receive that fresh package at your doorstep, your work experience might be forever transformed.

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