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You don’t have to spend a small fortune to get a decent monitor. Whether you’ll be using it for schoolwork, the office, or gaming, there are budget monitors that can fit any need. Cheaper monitors are usually smaller, though, and most of them have 1080p resolutions, which isn’t ideal for everyone.
We’ve reviewed 71 monitors, and below you’ll find our picks for the top 5 budget models that are available for purchase in 2019.
Dell P2417H: The best cheap monitor
Dell P2417H – RTINGS.com
The Dell P2417H is the best budget monitor that we’ve tested so far. This 24”, 1080p monitor delivers decent picture quality, and has a great response time and low input lag, perfect for casual gaming. This is also a good monitor for office use, as it has great ergonomics, so it’s easy to place in an ideal viewing position and it looks great when viewed at an angle, thanks to the IPS panel.
This is a pretty bare-bones monitor, with very few additional features. There is a built-in USB hub, with two ports on the back, and two ports on the side, which can be very convenient. It doesn’t have any extra gaming features, like FreeSync, but it has low input lag and a great response time, so it’s still a good choice for casual gamers.
Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, the Dell P2417H doesn’t look as good in a dark room, and it can’t get very bright, which might be an issue if you’re in a bright room.
Dell P2217H: The best compact budget monitor
Dell P2217H – RTINGS.com
Variable Refresh Rate: No
If you like the Dell P2417H but want something even smaller and more portable, check out the Dell P2217H. This monitor is a slightly smaller variant of the other Dell, and it offers nearly identical performance.
The small size of this monitor is great for mobile professionals, as it’s relatively compact and easy to carry. There’s no quick release on the stand, though, which isn’t ideal. This monitor has the same inputs as the larger model, including the useful built-in USB hub.
Unfortunately, it has slightly worse black uniformity than the P2417H, which isn’t great for dark room viewing. Otherwise, this is a decent monitor for most uses.
ViewSonic XG2402: The best cheap gaming monitor
ViewSonic XG2402 – RTINGS.com
Variable Refresh Rate: FreeSync
If you want better gaming performance than the Dell P2417H and Dell P2217H offer, the ViewSonic XG2402 is the best cheap gaming monitor that we’ve tested so far. This monitor delivers decent overall picture quality, and it has excellent motion handling and low input lag. This monitor also has a great selection of inputs, and has a built-in USB hub on the back, similar to the two Dells.
This monitor delivers a great gaming experience. It has an excellent 144Hz refresh rate, and it has an impressive response time, so your favorite games have very little blur behind fast-moving objects. This monitor also supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card.
Unfortunately, this monitor’s TN panel isn’t great for dark room viewing, and the image degrades when viewed at an angle. Overall, though, this is a great budget gaming monitor that should please most gamers.
Samsung C27F398: The best budget gaming monitor for a dark room
Samsung C27F398 – RTINGS.com
Variable Refresh Rate: FreeSync
If you want a larger monitor with good dark room performance on a budget, check out the Samsung C27F398. This 27”, 1080p monitor delivers decent overall picture quality, with very good motion handling and great low input lag. The VA panel on this monitor delivers much better dark room viewing than the ViewSonic XG2402, as it produces deep, uniform blacks.
This monitor delivers a good overall gaming experience. It supports AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, even when connected via DisplayPort to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. This monitor is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, though, which might disappoint some gamers.
Unfortunately, like the ViewSonic, the image on this monitor degrades when viewed at an angle, which isn’t ideal for some uses. Overall, though, it’s a good budget gaming monitor.
Dell U2415: The best budget office monitor
Dell U2415 – RTINGS.com
The Dell U2415 is the best budget office monitor that we’ve tested so far. It delivers decent picture quality, okay motion handling, and low input lag. The 1920×1200 screen is a bit better for multitasking, and the stand has great ergonomics, so it’s easy to place the screen in the ideal viewing position.
Like most IPS monitors, this one has great wide viewing angles. This is great for sharing your screen with someone else, like clients or coworkers. This monitor gets decently bright and has good reflection handling, so there shouldn’t be any issues seeing the screen in a bright room.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as good when viewed in a dark room, as it has mediocre contrast and bad black uniformity. Overall, though, it’s a good office monitor for most people.