If you're looking for a monitor on a budget, there's a good chance 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. Many monitors include gaming features like variable refresh rate (VRR) support or higher refresh rates. You can also find low-cost 4k monitors if you care about text clarity, but it's easier to find 1440p displays in the budget category.
We've bought and tested over 275 monitors, and below, you'll find our top picks for the best monitors available for purchase at a low cost. Also, check out our recommendations for the best monitors under $200, the best budget and cheap gaming monitors, and the best 1080p monitors.
The best monitor we've tested in the budget category is the Gigabyte M27Q. It's a very good overall monitor that's versatile for different uses, like if you need something for gaming and working on the side. It has a 27-inch screen with a 1440p resolution, which results in decent text clarity, but because it uses a BGR subpixel layout instead of RGB, like on most monitors, some programs don't render text well with it. Regardless, you still see plenty of detail while playing games, and it has a 170Hz refresh rate with variable refresh rate (VRR) support to reduce screen tearing. It also has great motion handling thanks to its fast response time, and it has low input lag for a responsive feel.
It has a few extra features that make it versatile for other uses besides gaming, like a KVM switch. This makes it easy to switch between devices and use the same keyboard and mouse connected to the monitor. It also has a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alt Mode that lets you display an image from a compatible display, but because it's limited to 10W of power delivery, it isn't enough to charge a laptop.
If you need something only for work and aren't a gamer, consider a high-resolution display like the Dell S2721QS. It's different from the Gigabyte M27Q because it has a much lower refresh rate and doesn't have many extra gaming features. It doesn't have a USB hub like the Gigabyte, but its main advantage is its high 4k resolution. This lets it display extremely sharp text, which is ideal for productivity and makes it easy to multitask. If you want something with a USB hub, the Dell S2722QC is another option with both USB-A and USB-C ports, and it's worth getting when you can find it on sale.
The S2721QS is a good choice 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 keep the image consistent from the sides and impressive ergonomics that make it easy to adjust if you need to share your screen with others.
While few budget-friendly monitors are available with larger screens than 27 inches, some, like the LG 32GN650-B, are decent enough for everyday use and offer more screen space. It's also sold as the 32GN63T-B, and both models perform the same, so you can get whichever you can find for cheaper. You'll have to sacrifice on resolution if you want a bigger screen at a low cost, and that's the case here as the LG has a lower 1440p resolution compared to the Dell S2721QS. This means text doesn't look as sharp, but with more screen real estate, you can still multitask.
It's a gaming monitor like the Gigabyte M27Q, and the main difference is that it has worse motion handling with more smearing and inverse ghosting, but it's still good enough if you're getting into PC gaming. It also has low input lag for a responsive feel and FreeSync VRR support with G-SYNC compatibility. Additionally, it has a VA panel that looks good in dark rooms thanks to its high native contrast, but it has narrow viewing angles, and the image looks washed out from the sides.
If you prefer a smaller screen, there are more options you can choose from with a 24-inch screen than a 32-inch screen. 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/32GN63T-B, it has a lower 1080p resolution, making it easier for your graphics card to reach its 240Hz max 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 it's 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 monitor or if you need extra USB ports to charge other devices. It also has great ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it a better choice than the LG for co-op gaming, as everyone sees a consistent image from the sides.
If you're on a tight budget and want something cheap, some good cheap monitors are available, but you'll get fewer features than if you were to get something in the budget category. The ASUS VG246H is a decent, cheap display with a 24-inch screen and 1080p resolution, like the ViewSonic XG2431. However, 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. It has outstanding ergonomics that make it easy to adjust, and with wide viewing angles, you can easily share your screen.
Despite its budget price, it still has an sRGB picture mode with great accuracy before calibration, meaning images look life-like without any calibration. 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 important, the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is a brighter alternative but costs more. It's also harder to find cheap 27-inch monitors as they cost more. The LG 27MN60T-W is an okay monitor for work, but it has limited ergonomics.
May 31, 2023: Removed the Dell G2722HS because it went up in price; renamed the Dell S2721QS as the 'Best Budget Monitor For Work' and added the Gigabyte M27Q as the 'Best Budget Monitor' for consistency with other articles; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Mar 31, 2023: Replaced the HP X27q with the Dell G2722HS because it's cheaper; added that HP and the AOC CU34G2X to Notable Mentions.
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.
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.