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Updated Dec 14, 2022 11:40 AM

It used to be that staring at the same monitor all day was something we could limit to office hours. But as remote work has increased, a computer screen is also where we spend lunch hours and happy hours; it has become a conference room, not just a corner of the second bedroom. An interface for coworkers, teachers, friends, and family, the right monitor in a work from home setup can be central to improving both our outlook and using Outlook. So let’s, well, screen options for the best monitors for home office.

Features to consider when shopping for the best monitors for home office

Size: Naturally, the first spec you should consider when buying a monitor for your home office is its size. Most external monitors measure between 24 and 27 inches diagonally, which is roughly double the size of a 13-inch laptop display. This is a big enough canvas to make creating digital art or multitasking a lot easier. There are monitors above and below those sizes too depending on your needs.

Resolution: A monitor’s resolution will dictate how crisp text, images, videos, and games look, and its importance varies based on what you’re doing. A 1080P HD monitor is perfectly fine for gaming, but won’t cut it for high resolution photo and video editing. Conversely, a 4K monitor is better for creative professionals, but won’t be as important for gamers unless you plan on playing high-end titles at their maximum settings.

Ports: Most external monitors have both HDMI and DisplayPorts, which will allow you to connect a computer to it without the need for an adapter. Some monitors suited for home office use also have USB ports, which allows them to act like a hub for smaller accessories like a webcam or external hard drive.

Refresh Rate: This spec dictates how quickly the screen can be updated with new information. This is the most important feature to consider if you primarily plan on using the monitor for gaming. Every millisecond counts when playing games and can make the difference between winning and losing, so seeing your character move as quickly as possible will make a big difference.

Best 4K: Dell Ultrasharp U2720QM

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Specs

  • Size: 27-inches
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Ports: Two HDMI, two DisplayPorts, one USB-C, two USB-A, one headphone jack
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

Pros

  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Port selection

Cons

  • Lower refresh rate
  • Price

If you’ve got to crunch the numbers, you shouldn’t have to squint to see them, and the Dell Ultrasharp U2720QM monitor for home office offers 27 inches of crisp display space at a competitive price of about $600. The IPS (that’s In-Plane Switching) LED panel delivers a clearer picture from any angle, features 163 pixels per inch and a 1,300:1 contrast ratio (the more above 1,000 the left number goes the better) and offers 95 percent of the P3 gamut, which is the color space many of us have gotten used to watching video. The best Dell monitor for home office supports HDR, or high dynamic range, which means more visible detail, especially in the darker areas of the screen. So, even if the folks from accounting aren’t good about lighting their Zoom calls, you can see more of their faces. And, with USB-C, DisplayPort, and HDMI inputs, the U2720QM is ready to connect to pretty much any standard computer (and it can be used to charge and/or daisy chain USB-C devices).

Need something more specialized? Well, if you’re a video editor you should check out the best monitors for color grading, while aspiring e-sports professionals can look through the best gaming monitors or read more below.

Best 4K for gamers: LG UltraGear 27GN950-B Monitor

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Specs

  • Size: 27-inches
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Ports: Two HDMI, Two USB-A, one USB-B, a headphone jack, one DisplayPort
  • Refresh rate: 144Hz

Pros

  • High refresh rate
  • Port selection
  • Resolution

Cons

  • Price

If a monitor is the window to a game’s soul, you don’t want to shortchange all the passion put into these immersive worlds, do you? With the right hardware support, the LG 27GN950-B’s “Nano IPS” panel can achieve a 144Hz refresh rate (overclocked to 160Hz) and 1ms response time, which is ridiculous for a 4K monitor. It is both G-SYNC and FreeSync—offering flexibility if you do decide to purchase a top-shelf graphics card—but is a solid performer with low input lag right out of the box, offering multiple calibration presets and customizable parameters. It’s a very bright monitor, which is great to fight the glare of a workday with suboptimal lighting (though, conversely, it might not have the best contrast for dark-room gaming, where a VA panel is preferred). It’s not too terribly much more than an office-oriented 4K monitor, has all the standard ports (USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort), and is capable of delivering a clear, tearing-free experience whether shooting off emails or tearing through another campaign.

Not all monitors have to be a major investment, however, as the best cheap gaming monitors can attest.

Best ultrawide: Samsung Odyssey G9 Monitor

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Specs

  • Size: 49 inches
  • Resolution: 5120 x 1440
  • Ports: One HDMI port, two DisplayPorts, Three USB-A ports
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz

Pros

  • Refresh rate
  • Size
  • HDR support

Cons

  • May be too big
  • Price

The best Samsung monitor for truly voracious content consumers and creators, the Odyssey G9 offers an astounding 32:9 aspect ratio, driven by a company known for its pin-sharp panel innovations. Using QLED technology, this DQHD monitor features 5,120 by 1,440 resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate, and HDR10. It’s got a curvature of 1000R, which matches the human eye and keeps the entire image at the same distance to minimize eye strain, with great peak brightness and reflection handling perfect for those well-lit office appointments. There’s no doubt this represents the pinnacle of side-by-side document comparison and a Picture-in-Picture feature lets multiple devices be displayed simultaneously, but it’s also a monitor optimized for G-SYNC/FreeSync and the motion handling of gaming. (making it one of our favorite ultrawide gaming monitors)

Best Mac-compatible: Dell S2722QC

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Specs

  • Size: 27-Inches
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Ports: One USB-C, two HDMI, one headphone jack, one USB-a
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz

Pros

  • USB-C port for video and data transfer
  • Full rotation
  • Built-in speakers

Cons

  • Price

No, it won’t match the Apple Studio Monitor’s industrial design, but Dell’s S2722QC has a lot going for it. The 27-inch 4K display’s marquee feature for Mac owners is its USB-C port, which will allow you to hook it up to any Mac released after 2016 without an adapter. The USB-C port carries both audio and video (this monitor has built-in speakers, which is a big plus) in addition to power and data. This means the monitor will actually charge a MacBook when it’s connected that way. You can also hook up an accessory to the display’s USB-A port, which is handy. There are two HDMI ports on the S2722QC, which Mac owners can use to hook up game consoles, media streamers, or other video accessories. This monitor is large enough for gaming, so the extra ports will come in handy.

One could argue that the best monitor for the Mac is Apple’s own Studio Display, which features one Thunderbolt 3 port and four USB-C ports. As much as we love that monitor, it costs $1,500, which is out of many people’s budgets. Dell’s display has several of the same features will only set you back $300, which is a lot more reasonable.

Best budget: AOC C24G1A Curved Frameless Monitor

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Specs

  • Size: 24-inches
  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Ports:
  • Refresh rate: 165Hz

Pros

  • High refresh rate
  • Freesync support
  • Height adjustable

Cons

  • May not be big enough
  • Not high resolution enough for creative work

An FHD display with up to a 165Hz refresh rate, the AOC C24G1A monitor features a 1,500R curved VA (Vertical Alignment) panel and 3,000:1 contrast ratio, meaning it’s going to offer inky blacks and vivid colors. You won’t get the same color gamut as an IPS monitor, but you will get some added depth to the physical experience. The monitor’s frame is unobtrusive and the sturdy stand has height, swivel, and tilt adjustments, offering a well-rounded, responsive experience. You’re restricted to using HDMI or DisplayPort as your connection, but the monitor still offers a lot of upscale, cinematic features for a low price and will improve the general work environment.

If your work involves travel or devices in multiple locations, another cheap option is the 15.6-inch Lepow HD USB-C display—the best portable monitor for mobile presentations. It’s not a replacement, more an extension of your desktop—think an iPad, minus everything but the screen. For just under $200, you get a 1080p IPS Eye Care panel with Mini-HDMI and USB-C ports (and a built-in cover), so you can connect a laptop, smartphone, or gaming device while on the go.

FAQs

Q: What should I look for in a home office monitor?

Start your search at 24-inch models, but seriously consider 27 inches as a best baseline. A Full HD (1080p) resolution is the bare minimum, but a 4K panel with more than 100 pixels per inch, flicker-free operation, more than 95 percent of color spaces, and low blue light will deliver the crisp, rich presentation that reduces frustration and fatigue. An adjustable, ergonomic stand will reduce slouching and straining. Having both an HDMI and a USB-C port will assure maximum compatibility. And if for some reason you want to mount a monitor to a wall, make sure to pick one that is VESA compatible for ease of attachment.

Q: Do I need a 4K monitor for office work?

“Need” is a relative term. If you’re not doing photo or video editing, you probably don’t need a 4K monitor. But could even clerical work and conference calls benefit from the added resolution? Absolutely. And, as more and more streaming media sites upgrade their content to the standard, getting 4K is a way to partially future-proof your investment.

Q: Which monitor is better for eyes?

Eye strain, like carpal tunnel syndrome, is a harsh reality of the modern work environment, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. To reduce the chance of fatigue, look for a monitor that promises flicker-free, low blue-light technology. Several brands, such as BenQ, ASUS, and ViewSonic, designate optimized monitors as “Eye Care.” An adjustable, ergonomic stand and fast response rate also help, because the best solution is a consistently stable image.

Can a 4K monitor improve my workflow?

In a word: Yes. Any monitor properly positioned at eye level will do wonders for your posture and efficiency compared to hunching over a laptop. But if you’re staring at something all day, go in for the rich color and sharpness that a 4K monitor delivers. The best monitors for home office offer the ability to display more simultaneously—cutting down on scrolling, clicking, and cursing as you cycle through buried documents—but more quantity needs to come with more clarity. At a resolution of 3840 by 2160, a 4K panel delivers four times the pixel count of HD (1920 by 1080) displays, which means more spreadsheet fields but also more pleasing video chats (you’ll see the pores on a nose before you’ll see the dots that make up the image).

What if I want to game after work?

You know what they say: work hard, display hard. OK, maybe that’s not a common saying yet, but it could be as PC gaming continues to gain popularity. While recognizing there are people that build a custom gaming rig and select a monitor specifically paired to their GPU, this recommendation is for the best gaming monitors for home office that can perform without dedicated NVIDIA or AMD hardware. You can really expect it to shine should you choose to invest in specialized components that can push its higher refresh rates and lower response times to the max.

What if I have a Mac in my home office?

So you’re deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem and looking for a monitor. Well, if brand loyalty and/or uniform aesthetics are a priority to you, that classic Cupertino industrial design is available in Apple’s own Studio Display, which costs $1,599. But if you’ve got a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac mini from the last few years, you have access to a USB-C port and therefore any monitor supporting that connection. That makes the best Apple monitor simply the best USB-C monitor with the looks and features you like (pretty much any of our previous recommendations, though the Samsung would require an adapter). So, because a lot of Mac users are creative professionals, this pick highlights a monitor that’s geared toward color accuracy and photo/video editing.

How much should a monitor for a home office cost?

This will depend on the size, resolution, and additional features for the monitor. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $150 to get a basic one, but could spend close to a grand if you want a premium one for gaming.

A final word on shopping for the best monitors for home office

Finding the best monitors for home office can take some time, but it’s worth it. Folks always talk about the benefits of investing in real estate. Well, the same goes for screen real estate. When it comes to a work-from-home setup, you may not always start with the optimal space, but if you approach selecting the best monitor for home office like the most cost-effective renovation, you’ll find one simple upgrade can substantially improve your workstation.