Best Budget Monitors for Programming


One important feature that the best budget monitors for programming should have is a screen that is easy on the eyes. Programming demands long hours of work at your computer, and therefore, you need a monitor that will not cause eye fatigue or long-term damage. As such, the best monitors for programmers should have high resolutions, blue light filters, and flicker-free backlights. 

Monitors for programmers should also allow for multitasking. This will require your monitor to have as many ports as possible to allow connections to other devices. The monitor also needs a relatively wide screen to maximize your working space and thin bezels for seamless multi-monitor work. Considering all these and more, below are our top seven budget monitors for programming & coding.

Our Top Picks

Best Budget Monitors for Programming

1. Best Overall: HP VH240a Display

Specifications

  • Screen size: 23.8 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

Without question, the HP VH240a Display leads the best low-budget monitors for programming, and over 20,000 reviewers on Amazon agree. Its Full HD resolution on a 23.8” IPS screen offers excellent resolution and wide viewing angles (178° horizontal and 178° vertical). Its 250 nit brightness is good for programming, and it has decent color accuracy with a 72% sRGB color gamut. 

Its 5ms response time coupled with a 60Hz refresh rate offers smooth scrolling as you work through your source code. HP’s thin bezels combined with its HDMI and VGA input makes for a conveniently ‘seamless’ multi-monitor setup. This is further enhanced by the monitor’s stand that allows for height adjustments and titling up to 5° forward and 30° backward. 

The ergonomic stand also allows 90 pivoting for landscape and portrait viewing modes. The stand is detachable, allowing the screen to be mounted. This energy-efficient monitor is compatible with Windows, Mac, and any other device with HDMI ports.

2. Best Budget: Acer SB220Q Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 21.5 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 75Hz

In the Acer SB220Q Monitor, you have an affordable, high-quality monitor for programming. There are plenty of impressive features available in this 21.5 inch IPS monitor at its current price point. The smaller screen with full HD resolution creates higher pixel density and better clarity. It comes with AMD FreeSync technology, a 75Hz response rate, and a 4ms response time, making scrolling through code fast and smooth. 

Wide 178 viewing angles and the 0.24” bezels allow for a multi-monitor setup facilitated by HDMI 1.4 and VGA ports. Unfortunately, the Acer SB220Q cannot swivel, pivot, or be adjusted for height. However, it can be tilted on its fixed stand up to 5 forward and 15 backward. Acer’s BlueLightShield technology adjusts color hues and brightness to reduce blue light exposure for your eye safety.

3. Best Runner Up: BenQ GW2780

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27.0 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 250 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

If you need the best value monitor for programming, then look no further than the BenQ GW2780 Monitor. This sleek monitor has a 27.0 full HD screen with a three-sided borderless design, useful for multi-monitor work. Its IPS screen offers 78 horizontal and 178 vertical wide viewing angles, while the 1000:1 contrast ratio makes it ideal for text clarity. 

The LED backlight adds to this monitor’s visual clarity for increased productivity. The salient feature of this monitor is its EyeCare technology that protects your eyes through long hours of coding. This features low blue light technology to minimize harmful blue light and flicker-free technology to protect from eye fatigue. 

It also includes brightness intelligence technology that adapts the screen display to ambient light. One DisplayPort 1.2, one HDMI 1.4, and a VGA port make up the connectivity features. Unfortunately, the monitor lacks a USB-C port. 

4. Best Under $300: Dell 27” Monitor (SE2719H)

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27.0 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

With its salient features, the Dell 27” Monitor (SE2719H) is one of the best monitors for programmers. Visual clarity is quite high for this full HD screen with IPS panels that give you a perfect view from any angle. The low-haze, anti-glare, matte coating further adds to this clarity by diffusing glares and eliminating reflections from ambient lighting. 

An 8ms response time and 60Hz response rate maintain this clarity by allowing quick and smooth scrolling through code. Regarding ergonomics, the monitor’s LED backlight is flicker-free to protect your eyes from fatigue, and Dell’s ComfortView feature minimizes harmful blue light. Rotation is limited to just tilting the monitor on its stands at 5 forward and 21 backward. 

Connectivity features one HDMI and one VGA port that, along with its three-sided thin bezels, can facilitate a multi-monitor setup. However, if you want only one monitor, an exclusive display manager can help you multitask.

5. Best For Multiple Purposes: Philips 271E1S LCD Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 27.0 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 75Hz

Philips 271E1S has excellent picture quality making it one of the best 27-inch monitors for photo editing and programming. This LCD monitor with full HD resolution has an IPS panel that offers wide viewing angles excellent for either programming or photo editing. It also has a 1000:1 contrast ratio is excellent for viewing source code text and enhanced image clarity. Further, its 82 PPI pixel density and 300 nits brightness enhance visual clarity for either task.

AMD FreeSync technology coupled with a 60Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time offers a smooth viewing experience, whether for code or pictures. Fitted with an anti-glare coating, the monitor can be tilted on its fixed stand up to 5 forward and 20 backward. It comes with flicker-free technology to reduce eye fatigue, and its LowBlue mode filters out harmful blue light. Connectivity is facilitated by HDMI and VGA ports, and it is compatible with Mac and Windows. 

6. Best Portable: ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC Portable USB Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 15.6 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
  • Resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080) 
  • Brightness: 220 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

The ASUS ZenScreen MB16AC Monitor is about the size of a tablet and weighs about two pounds, making it the perfect monitor for programmers on the go. Are you away from your PC monitors and missing that multi-monitor experience? Just plug in this portable monitor to your laptop, and you will have the extra display you crave.

 This multi-screen experience is enhanced by the thin bezels and its hybrid-signal USB-C and USB-A connectivity. Automatic screen rotation enables landscape and portrait viewing mode, the latter being preferred by many programmers. Ultra-Low Blue Light and flicker-free technologies protect your eyes from harmful blue light and eye strain. 

The monitor’s foldable smart case protects the screen and can be used as a stand to prop up the monitor. This monitor also comes with a pen that can be used as a kind of stand to support it while you work.

7. Best 4K Monitor: BenQ EL2870U 4K HDR Monitor

Specifications

  • Screen size: 15.6 inches (diagonal)
  • Display type: Twisted Nematic (TN)
  • Resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160) 
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

The BenQ EL2870U 4K HDR Monitor is an excellent example of the best monitor for programming and gaming. It’s actually labeled as a gaming monitor but it’s also great for programming. It has FreeSync support, a 60Hz refresh rate, and a 1 ms response time, making it great for gaming and programming. 

Although the twisted nematic panel may not give wide angular views, it still offers a crisp view when viewed head-on. The 4K monitor supports HDR-10 and has a 10-bit color depth that is useful for a clear view. This promises clear images and text while coding or gaming. The anti-glare coated monitor also features BenQ’s exclusive EyeCare technology to protect your eyes. 

This includes flicker-free technology for reduced eye fatigue, low-blue light technology that minimizes blue light, and brightness intelligence technology that adapts to ambient light. Two HDMI 2.0 ports and one DisplayPort 1.4 facilitates connectivity to other devices.

What to Check While buying the Best Budget Monitors for Programming

2. Eye Safety

Researchers have found that more than four hours of continuous computer work puts people at risk of developing computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS includes a wide range of eye-related health problems such as eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, double vision (diplopia), and sensitivity to light, among other issues. 

Now, programmers can spend well over four hours per day working on their computers which puts them at risk. The best monitor for programming should help to reduce or entirely avoid the risk of developing these eye problems. Look for monitors that feature blue light filters and flicker-free backlights. 

Ensure that they also feature adaptive light technology that automatically adjusts screen brightness and ideal screen coating to avoid glare and reflections from ambient light. Whether looking through the best monitors for programming under $200 or the more expensive options, always aim to protect your eyes.

2. Refresh Rates

While refresh rates are often considered an important specification for gamers, they are also important for programmers. Refresh rate measures how quickly a monitor can redraw the screen. It is measured in hertz (Hz), representing one cycle per second. When coding, the refresh rate will determine how well your monitor will handle motion as you scroll through your source code. 

Higher refresh rates will mean smoother scrolling and better overall productivity. The best refresh rate for coding is anything above 60Hz. This is a basic measure for a decent, low-budget monitor, as a lower refresh rate will vastly affect your workflow. However, even with a high refresh rate, it is possible to have display lags due to your ports. 

For instance, HDMI 2.0 ports can display 4K at 60Hz, but HDMI 1.4 ports cannot. So remember to check the ports, especially before buying the best monitor for programming and gaming.

Best Budget Monitors for Programming FAQ

1. Is 24 inch monitor good for programming?

The short answer is yes. In reality, there really isn’t the best monitor size for programming as size isn’t that big of a consideration when it comes to programming. Granted, bigger monitors mean that you will see more characters, but since programming requires focus on one line at a time, a smaller monitor will do just fine. However, to facilitate multitasking, getting a monitor with thin bezels that can offer a seamless multi-monitor workspace is better.

2. Should I get two small monitors or one large monitor for programming?

Granted, one large monitor does provide more workspace to facilitate multitasking which is essential to programming. However, two monitors are best for programming as they will give you more workspace at a better resolution and lower cost than one large monitor. Further, multiple monitors have been shown to improve overall productivity and performance. This is because multiple monitors, regardless of size, offer more comfort, more work process options, and better user control than if you were to use a single large monitor.

3. Curved or flat monitor for programming?

Curved monitors are considered among the best PC monitors for photo editing, but either monitor can do when it comes to programming. However, it would be best to consider some things when deciding between the two; your distance from the monitor and whether you want single or multiple monitors. If you want to sit far from the monitor, a flat screen would be best, but a curved screen will do if you want to sit up close. A curved one can work if you want a single monitor, while flat monitors are best for multi-monitor work.

4. Is monitor rotation important for programming?

Most monitors come in landscape mode, but programmers and other creatives increasingly prefer portrait orientation for their monitors. A vertical or portrait monitor allows you to see more of your source code at a glance without having to scroll down. This way, it is easier to read and work on for improved productivity. Also, vertical monitors take up less desk space which keeps your working area looking neat, especially when you are using multiple monitors.

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