What’s the Best Budget Monitor? 6 Options Ranked

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Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

320,848

Reviews Analyzed

Updated Apr 30, 2024 6:49 PM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

best budget monitors guide that shows the top best computer monitor model

A whopping 75% of electronic and appliance reviews are untrustworthy. That’s why every reviewer gets a Trust Rating so our True Score System filters out the fake reviews. See how we do it.

When you’re shopping for the best budget monitors, balancing performance with affordability is key. Look for features like full HD resolution, IPS panels for wider viewing angles, and adequate connectivity options such as HDMI and DisplayPort. Common pain points include limited ergonomics and color accuracy. Testing these monitors for input lag, refresh rate, and brightness levels will help identify those that offer the best value for your money.

Our guide highlights 6 winning monitors from a pool of 196 models, backed by analysis of 320,848 reviews. We found that 71% of experts weren’t trustworthy, so we filtered out fake and low quality reviews using our proprietary Trust Score and verified product tests. The top monitors performed exceptionally well, ensuring you get reliable recommendations based on rigorous scrutiny. Additionally, we have a broader selection of the best computer monitors designed to meet diverse needs, from gaming to professional applications, regardless of price.

How Did We Rank the Best Budget Monitors?

In our pursuit of the Best Budget Monitors, we analyzed over 200 websites, focusing on rigorous testing methods and customer reviews. Our experts distilled crucial insights, determining that 2required test results and 1 must-have specifications are vital for budget monitors. Using our True Score system, we ensure our recommendations are grounded in thorough analysis and real-world performance.

Our commitment to unbiased reviews is powered by our ‘True Score’ system, targeting low quality and fake reviews. When you shop through our links, you’re backing our mission. Dive deeper to see how.

?️ Minimum Specifications

  • Must be under $300.

? Test Criteria

  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 or higher (infinite), offering deep blacks and bright whites for an exceptional viewing experience.
  • Color Accuracy: At least 90% of the sRGB color gamut, providing rich and vibrant colors.

Latest Updates

  • 04/30/2024: Republished the list to include the best budget monitors based on our True Score system.

Top Budget Monitors For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell S3222DGM

    • Best For Cheap

    The Dell S3222DGM is great for those on a budget. It offers deep blacks and vivid visuals with high contrast, and it is decent for casual gaming and movies.

    Dell S3222DGM Review →

    True Score

    85
    83
    3

    Experts

    93
    5k

    Customers

    SAVE $32
    $319.99
    $288.44

    Snapshot

    Reasons to Buy

    • Exceptional contrast levels
    • Good color accuracy
    • Fast refresh rate
    • Good reflection handling
    • Decent peak brightness levels

    Reasons to Avoid

    • Poor viewing angles
    • Limited ergonomics
    • No support for HDR content

    Specifications

    Display TypeVA
    HDMI Inputs2
    HDR Formatn/a
    Max Resolution2560 x 1440
    Panel TypePanel TypeVA
    Refresh Rate165 Hz
    Response TimeResponse Time2 ms
    Screen size32"
    Sync TechnologySync TechnologyAMD FreeSync

    All Specs

    Test Results

    Brightness (nits)337
    Contrast Ratio (as ratio x:1)4,283
    Color Gamut/Accuracy % (DCI P3 xy)85
    Color Gamut/Accuracy % (DCI P3 uv)0
    Color Gamut % (sRGB Coverage xy)98
    Color Gamut % (Adobe RGB Coverage xy)82

    All Retailers

    • $288.44
      $320
      Save $32

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      No
    • $319.00
      $430
      Save $111

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      No
    • $329.99

      Availability

      In Stock

      Free Shipping

      Yes

    Our Verdict

    The Dell S3222DGM monitor balances performance and price, making it a reasonable choice for budget-conscious buyers. This monitor boasts an unparalleled contrast ratio of 4282.5:1, resulting in deeper blacks and more defined shadows, significantly enhancing the overall image quality. This feature makes it a standout choice for viewers who appreciate a vivid and immersive visual experience.

    If crisp and blur-free content matters most to you, its response time of 5.0 ms, while not the fastest, is decent. However, it may not be the best choice for extremely fast-paced gaming due to the input lag of 18.3 ms. In terms of brightness, the Dell S3222DGM measures 337.14 nits, providing adequate visibility in most bright indoor settings, though it may not be able to handle direct sunlight. The Dell S3222DGM also offers a smooth visual experience with a refresh rate of 165 Hz.

    Regarding color accuracy, the monitor has a decent DCI P3 color gamut coverage of 85.0% and an sRGB coverage of 98.10%. Although it may not be ideal for tasks requiring high color accuracy, it is quite decent for general viewing and gaming.

    If you value a monitor that gives you a visually immersive experience for movies and casual gaming, the Dell S3222DGM is a reliable choice. Its superior contrast ratio transforms your viewing into an immersive experience. The compromise is the color gamut and input lag, but if you’re mainly focused on enjoying vibrant movies and engaging in gaming where immersion and depth are key, these minor drawbacks are overshadowed by the monitor’s overall performance and affordability.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    HP OMEN 27QS

    • Best For Mac Mini

    The HP OMEN 27QS offers exceptional value for pros and gamers. Its crisp visuals, high refresh rates, and top color accuracy make it ideal for varied tasks.

    HP OMEN 27QS Review →

    True Score

    84
    84
    4

    Experts

    91
    940

    Customers

    SAVE $29
    $229.00
    $199.99
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell S2722DGM

    • Best For Dell

    Dell S2722DGM excels for gamers and general use with its bright display, swift response, and smooth 165Hz refresh, offering great value for casual use.

    Dell S2722DGM Review →

    True Score

    82
    80
    3

    Experts

    89
    5k

    Customers

    SAVE $100
    $299.99
    $199.99

    Did you know 71% of computer monitor reviewers are untrustworthy?

    Our research found only 33 of 110+ computer monitor reviewers as of June 2024 can be trusted. This is why Gadget Review is committed to calculating the most accurate product scores on the web.

    To do this, we give every computer monitor review site a Trust Rating, which measures how trustworthy the site and their testing claims are. We then leverage AI & a machine learning model to combine and calculate the Trust Rating with data from experts and consumers to deliver the True Score, the web’s most accurate product quality rating.

    320,848

    Monitor Reviews Analyzed

    196

    Total Products Analyzed

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell S2722QC

    • Best For Business

    The Dell S2722QC is a great 4K option for crisp visuals, moderate brightness for good indoor visibility, and a contrast ratio enhancing image depth.

    Dell S2722QC Review →

    True Score

    82
    81
    3

    Experts

    89
    2k

    Customers

    SAVE $80
    $399.99
    $319.99

    DON’T SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

    For creative professionals, the best photo editing monitor delivers precise color accuracy and a wide color gamut for detailed image work. Similarly, the top gaming monitor offers high refresh rates and low response times for a seamless gaming experience. Additionally, monitors with FreeSync helps eliminate screen tearing, enhancing gaming displays.

    Streamers should opt for the best monitor for streaming, which ensures clear, vibrant visuals for viewers. Additionally, the premier Acer monitor offers dependable quality at an affordable price, suitable for both gamers and content creators.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell G2724D

    • Best For Graphic Design

    The Dell G2724D excels in bright environments with its high brightness, minimal motion blur at a swift refresh rate, and solid color accuracy.

    Dell G2724D Review →

    True Score

    81
    81
    2

    Experts

    88
    126

    Customers

    SAVE $65
    $299.99
    $235.00

    Category Snapshot

    Computer Monitors

    • Total Brands/Products Tested

      27 Brands, 196 Products

    • Top 2 Brands

      Dell, HP

    • Price Range (Budget-Premium)

      $100-$1,500

    • Average True Score

      74.46

    • Important Test Criteria

      Brightness (cd/m2)
      Contrast Ratio (1000:1)

    • Most Trusted Testers

    • Top Monitor Experts

      Samuel Breton, Chris Eberle

    • Typical Warranty

      2 years

    • Covered by Insurance

      Yes – AKKO

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell C1422H

    • Best For Portable

    The Dell C1422H is ideal for on-the-go use, with its portability and responsive experience. It is best for general tasks and casual gaming.

    Dell C1422H Review →

    True Score

    79
    79
    6

    Experts

    86
    126

    Customers

    SAVE $49
    $298.95
    $249.99

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Best Budget Monitors?

By focusing on these criteria (2 required), anyone can quickly and easily compare these computer monitors and how they’ll perform. This helps you make an informed decision and purchase the best budget monitor.

CRITERIARANGEREQUIREDDEFINITION
Contrast Ratio>1000:1YesThe difference in brightness between the whites (lit sections) and blacks (dim or unlit sections) of a monitor panel.
Color Gamut % (sRGB Coverage xy)> 90%YesHow much of the sRGB color gamut is covered by the monitor, which helps indicate color accuracy for web content and games.

Our Trusted Data Sources

We looked at 110+ computer monitor reviewers and found that 33 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating). The three we have listed below are our most trusted for computer monitors.

  1. Samuel Breton – Rtings, MuckRack
  2. Chris Eberle – Tom’s Hardware, LinkedIn
  3. Tony Hoffman – PC Mag, MuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every computer monitor review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Computer Monitor Test Data & Results

1. Contrast Ratio (as ratio, x:1) Test Results

Contrast ratio is responsible for making images appear “dynamic” and “dramatic.” By having a good contrast ratio, a monitor is able to recreate dramatic differences between light and dark spots in scenes, images and games accurately.

At a minimum, we recommend a contrast ratio of 1000:1, as this will do a good enough job at allow for detail in dark scenes and images. If contrast ratio gets too low, the picture quality suffers, and the monitor performs worse across the board, no matter the lighting condition. By getting a monitor with a sufficiently high contrast ratio, you can ensure the picture quality doesn’t suffer, and dramatic scenes with stark shifts in lighting, whether they be in games or videos, are created as accurately as possible.

Contrast Ratio (higher is better)

2. Color Gamut % (sRGB Coverage xY) Test Results

Since color gamut comes in a variety of different types, there’s bound to be some confusion as to which is meant for what. sRGB is an extremely common gamut that is used for the vast majority of web content, including how YouTube videos display, and is the primary gamut used for video games.

If you’re looking for accurate colors while web browsing, watching videos or playing games, you’re going to want a coverage of at least 90%. Higher is always better and hitting 100% means that if you correctly calibrate your monitor, you should be seeing content exactly as it was intended. Higher than 100% means that more than just the standard gamut has been covered, which can create more saturated and vivid colors. Coming in under 100% means the colors are less accurate, though this doesn’t become a major issue until you start to fall under 90%.

Color Gamut SRGB (in %; higher is better)

Best Budget Monitors: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Sacrificing Quality for Price: While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest monitor available, be cautious of sacrificing quality. Look for a balance between price and features, ensuring the monitor meets your minimum requirements for resolution, display size, refresh rate, and color accuracy. For top-tier visuals, consider the top 4K monitors, or, for gamers, the best 4K gaming monitor, which offers unparalleled detail and vibrancy, enhancing your gaming experience significantly.

  2. Ignoring Display Specifications: Don’t overlook essential display specifications such as resolution, refresh rate, panel type (e.g., IPS, TN, VA), and response time. Consider your intended use case (e.g., gaming, multimedia, productivity) and choose a monitor with suitable specifications to avoid disappointment in performance.

  3. Not Considering Connectivity Options: Ensure the monitor offers the necessary connectivity options to connect to your devices. Check for HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, or USB ports, depending on your requirements. Additionally, consider future compatibility with devices you may upgrade to.

  4. Neglecting Ergonomics: Consider the ergonomic features of the monitor, such as tilt, swivel, height adjustment, and VESA mount compatibility. Adjustable stands and ergonomic design can enhance comfort and usability, especially for extended periods of use. For those considering wall or desk mounting options, learning how to mount a monitor is important as proper mounting can further optimize viewing angles and save valuable desk space, making your setup more efficient and comfortable.

The Best Budget Monitors Tests Compared

Product
True Score
Brightness
Contrast Ratio
Color Gamut (DCI P3)
Color Gamut (sRGB)
Input Lag
Response Time (ms)
Reflections %

Dell S3222DGM

  • Best for Cheap

85
  • 337.14 nits

  • 4,282.5:1

  • 85%

  • 98.1

  • 18.25 ms

  • 5 ms

  • 5.4%

$288.44
$320
$32

HP OMEN 27QS

  • Best for Mac Mini

84
  • 389.5 nits

  • 389.5:1

  • 94.35%

  • 100

  • 8.5 ms

  • 4.2 ms

  • 4.8%

$199.99
$229
$29

Dell S2722DGM

  • Best for Dell

82
  • 390 nits

  • 2,948:1

  • 75%

  • 99.6

  • 9.2 ms

  • 5.2 ms

  • 5.6%

$199.99
$300
$100

Dell S2722QC

  • Best for Business

82
  • 339 nits

  • 339:1

  • 82.9%

  • 100

  • 9 ms

  • 8.3 ms

  • 4.6%

$319.99
$400
$80

Dell G2724D

  • Best for Graphic Design

81
  • 432 nits

  • 432:1

  • 86.35%

  • 100

  • 9 ms

  • 4.3 ms

  • 4.8%

$235.00
$300
$65

Dell C1422H

  • Best for Portable

79
  • 266.08 nits

  • 1,145:1

  • 73.1%

  • 98.9

  • 8.6 ms

  • 6.5 ms

  • 5.2%

$249.99
$299
$49

Budget Monitor Questions (FAQ)

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