Even budget monitors can offer a decent experience, depending on your needs. Although they're usually smaller, with simpler designs and fewer added features, budget monitors can still offer a good overall user experience.
We've reviewed over 85 monitors and below you'll find our top picks for the best cheap monitors available for purchase in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best gaming monitor under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, and the best 1080p monitors.
The best budget monitor that we've tested so far is the Dell P2417H. It's a well-rounded 24 inch 1080p IPS monitor that has wide viewing angles and a flicker-free backlight. Its simple, understated design sports thin bezels and a fully articulating, swivel stand which makes it a good choice for office use or multi-monitor setups.
This monitor has a wide selection of inputs, including VGA, so even those with older setups should have no problem connecting to it. It also has a 4-port USB hub which can be used even while the monitor is in standby, which is a nice addition at this price point. While it doesn't have more premium gaming features like FreeSync, its low input lag and fast response time should make it suitable for most casual gaming.
The picture quality is decent with impressive color accuracy out-of-the-box. Its viewing angles are good thanks to its IPS panel, but unfortunately this comes at the cost of black uniformity and contrast, which are mediocre. This means that it may be better for use in a bright room, like an office. Overall, this is a versatile budget monitor that provides great ergonomics, impressive connectivity options, and satisfactory picture quality for the price.
If you want a solid budget monitor but need something smaller, go for the Dell P2217H. It performs nearly identical to the Dell P2417H, but is slightly smaller and cheaper. It has the same great ergonomic stand with height and swivel adjustments, input options, and 4-port USB hub. Unfortunately, the black uniformity is slightly worse on the smaller model, making it even worse for use in dark rooms.
Overall, the price-to-performance ratio of the Dell P2417H makes it the best budget monitor for most people, but if you have space restraints and can't get the bigger version, go for the Dell P2217H.
The ViewSonic XG2402 is the best budget monitor for gaming that we've tested so far. It delivers a great overall gaming experience for both PC and console gaming. Motion is incredibly clear, thanks to the fast refresh rate and outstanding fast response time, and it has amazing low input lag, even when gaming at 60Hz from a console. This monitor also supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, even when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card over DisplayPort.
This monitor has decent picture quality overall. It has good peak brightness, decent gray uniformity, and great reflection handling. The stand has very good ergonomics, so it's easy to place in an ideal viewing position, and it can rotate to portrait orientation, making it a great choice for a multi-monitor setup.
Unfortunately, like most TN monitors, it doesn't look as good in a dark room and has disappointing viewing angles. Overall, though, it's a great choice for gaming on a budget.
If you like gaming in a dark room, the Samsung CF398 might be a slightly better choice than the ViewSonic XG2402. The Samsung is a less advanced gaming monitor, but it has much better dark room performance, thanks to the much better contrast ratio and better black uniformity. This monitor also has better gray uniformity. Unfortunately, it's not as good for gaming overall, as it has a slower response time, slightly higher input lag, and a slower refresh rate.
Overall, the ViewSonic is the best cheap monitor for gaming for most people, but if you're in a dark room and don't need the lowest input lag, the Samsung is a good alternative.
If you're looking for the best budget office monitor, check out the Dell U2415. This is a decent all-around monitor, with a 24 inch, 1920x1200 screen that is slightly taller than most 1080p monitors. It has great wide viewing angles, and a very good, easy to adjust stand, similar to the Dell P2417H. It's also an excellent choice for a multi-monitor setup, as the side bezels are very thin.
This monitor isn't as well-suited for gaming or multimedia, though. It has a fast response time and flicker-free backlight, but it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't support any variable refresh rate technologies like FreeSync or G-SYNC.
Like most IPS monitors, this one doesn't look as good in a dark room. Like the P2417H, it has an impressive selection of inputs, including a great USB hub, but unfortunately, it doesn't have any analog inputs for older devices. Overall, though, it's a good budget office monitor that should please most people.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best budget monitors. They are adapted to be valid for most people. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors.
If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.
11/05/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.