If you're on a budget and you're looking for a monitor, there's a good choice you'll find a good option for your needs. Although they're usually smaller, with simpler designs and fewer added features, budget monitors can still offer a good user experience for work or play. 4k monitors are also starting to become more affordable, so if you're a fan of text clarity, you can find a 4k display on a budget. Even if you're looking for a budget gaming monitor, many monitors include gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) support or higher refresh rates.
We've bought and tested over 265 monitors, and below you'll find our top picks for the best monitors available for purchase at a low cost, whether you want something on a budget or something cheap. Also, check out our recommendations for the best monitors under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, and the best 1080p monitors.
The best budget monitor we've tested is the Dell S2721QS. It's mainly designed to be an office monitor and provides excellent office performance, especially for its price. Not many 4k monitors are available at a budget-friendly price, which is why the S2721QS is a good choice for this price range, as you get a high resolution for a low cost. The 4k resolution helps result in sharp text, which makes it ideal for productivity as you won't have any issues reading text, and the 27-inch screen is big enough to open two windows side-by-side. Despite its budget price, it's a well-built monitor with impressive ergonomics, making it easy to place in an ideal position.
It's a good choice to use in a well-lit room thanks to its high SDR peak brightness and very good reflection handling, meaning you won't have any issues with visibility. It also has wide viewing angles that make the image remain consistent from the sides. There are a few downsides, though, as it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, so it isn't good for PC gaming, and it's a better option if you need something for work.
If you want something bigger than a 27-inch monitor, there aren't as many budget options available because larger screen sizes naturally cost more, but you can still find a few good options. If that's something you want, then consider the LG 32GN650-B. You'll have to sacrifice on the resolution if you want a bigger screen to keep the cost down, and that's the case here as the LG has a lower 1440p resolution compared to the Dell S2721QS, meaning text doesn't look as sharp, so you may have to increase the scaling if you find the text hard to read. However, with more screen real estate, you can still multitask.
The main advantage this monitor has over the Dell is that it has better gaming performance with a higher 165Hz refresh rate. It's good if you're getting into PC gaming and need a budget display. It also has low input lag for a responsive feel and decent motion handling. It looks good in dark rooms thanks to its high native contrast, but with limited ergonomics and narrow viewing angles, it isn't the best choice for co-op gaming.
If you prefer a smaller screen, there are more options you can choose from than getting a 32-inch monitor, especially if you're a gamer. If that's the case, the ViewSonic XG2431 is a great choice as a 24-inch monitor. Instead of the 1440p resolution of the LG 32GN650-B, it has a lower 1080p resolution that makes it easier for your graphics card to reach its 240Hz refresh rate. With this, you get a smoother gaming experience, and the response time is fast across its entire refresh rate range, resulting in minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects. It also has a customizable backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, which isn't something all monitors have, and is a nice addition to a budget-friendly display.
Although it doesn't have many extra features, it has a USB hub with two USB ports. It's good if you want to connect your mouse and keyboard directly to the keyboard or need extra USB ports to charge other devices. It also has great ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it a good choice for office use if you need something simple, like a secondary display.
If you're on a tight budget and want something cheap, there are some good cheap monitors available, although you'll get fewer features than if you were to get something in the budget category. The ASUS VG246H is a decent overall cheap display with a 24-inch screen and 1080p resolution like the ViewSonic XG2431, but it doesn't have a fast refresh rate for gaming, so it's better to get this only if you need a simple monitor for work. If that's the case, it has outstanding ergonomics that make it easy to adjust, and with wide viewing angles, you can easily share your screen with a coworker or client.
Despite its budget price, it still has an sRGB picture mode with amazing accuracy before calibration, meaning images look life-like without any adjustments. It also has good reflection handling if you want to use it in a room with a few lights, but it doesn't get bright enough to fight intense glare. If that's what you're looking for, the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is a good alternative, but it costs more and can be harder to find.
If you want a cheap 27-inch monitor, you won't find as many low-cost options as in the 24-inch size range, but there are still a few cheap 27-inch displays. The HP X27q is a very good monitor that costs more than the ASUS VG246H, which is what you have to expect for a larger option, but it still costs less than other 27-inch budget monitors like the Dell S2721QS. While you don't get the same outstanding ergonomics as the ASUS, it has a higher 1440p resolution that offers good text clarity. It also has more gaming features like a 165Hz refresh rate and smooth motion handling if you want to use it for casual gaming.
It looks good in well-lit rooms thanks to its great peak brightness and good reflection handling. It also displays accurate colors but doesn't have a dedicated sRGB mode to lock the colors to the sRGB color space like the ASUS, so some colors look oversaturated. Despite its budget price, it has a local dimming feature, but because it performs terribly and only turns on in HDR, it doesn't make fun of a difference when you're using the monitor in SDR.
Jan 30, 2023: Replaced the HP X24ih and the LG 27GL650F-B with the ASUS VG246H and the HP X27q because they're each cheaper; updated Notable Mentions based on changes and market pricing.
Dec 01, 2022: Removed the Gigabyte M32Q and the ViewSonic XG270 because their costs went up and replaced them with the LG 32GN650-B and the LG 27GL650F-B; updated Notable Mentions based on market prices and changes in the article.
Oct 04, 2022: Complete restructuring to reflect current prices and availability; replaced the Dell S2721D with the Dell S2721QS because it has a higher resolution; replaced the ASUS VG246H and the LG 32QN55T-B with the ViewSonic XG2431 and the Gigabyte M32Q because they're better. Removed the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx and the Gigabyte M27Q; added the ViewSonic Elite XG270 and the HP X24ih as 'Cheap' categories; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Jun 13, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs; added the Dell S2721D, ASUS VG246H, and LG 32QN55T-B; renamed the Acer Nitro XF243Y to 'Best For Gaming' and the Gigabyte M27Q to 'Best For Photo Editing'; removed the ASUS VG259QM, Dell S2722QC, and the Acer Nitro XV340CK.
Mar 24, 2022: Replaced the Dell S2721QS with the newer S2722QC and removed the LG 32UL500-W as an alternative; added the Acer Nitro XV340CK in a new 'Best Ultrawide' category.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best cheap monitors and the best monitors on a budget. 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 that are currently under $350. 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.