Monitors come in many shapes and sizes, with designs ranging from simplistic office monitors that blend into the decor to fancy gaming monitors with extreme designs. Whether it's for work or play, there are many good monitors available for under $500. From excellent gaming features to the largest screens you can get, there is something for everyone in this price range.
We've tested more than 110 monitors and below are our recommendations for the best monitors under $500 to buy. See our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, and the best 1080p monitors.
The best gaming monitor under $500 we've tested so far is the ASUS VG279QM. This is a 27-inch, 1080p monitor with an incredibly high 240Hz refresh rate, which can be overclocked up to 280Hz to provide an even smoother gaming experience. It sports an IPS panel that has great viewing angles, and it gets bright enough to overcome glare in any lighting condition. Like most IPS panels, It isn't the best option for dark room gaming, as its low contrast ratio makes blacks look grayish. Its overall build quality is great and it has outstanding ergonomics, allowing you to adjust the monitor however you like.
This monitor has superb response time, so there's almost no motion blur behind fast-moving objects. It has a black frame insertion feature to further improve motion clarity, and it's compatible with FreeSync and G-SYNC to reduce screen tearing. As expected, it has an exceptionally low input lag; however, it's significantly higher when playing at 60Hz, making it a poor choice for console gaming. Although this monitor supports HDR, its performance is limited due to the lack of a wide color gamut.
Unfortunately, this monitor doesn't have much in terms of extra features. It has one USB 3.0 port that you can use to charge your mobile devices, and you can add a virtual crosshair, timer, or frame rate counter. The backlight is flicker-free, which can be helpful in reducing eye strain. Overall, the 1080p resolution may be a bit low for some, especially if you also use it for productivity tasks, but its superb motion handling is what makes it an excellent gaming monitor.
If you prefer a monitor that has native G-SYNC support, then check out the Dell S2417DG. Although it has a smaller screen than the ASUS VG279QM, its 1440p resolution on a 24-inch screen results in sharper images and text due to the higher pixel density. Unfortunately, its refresh rate caps out at 165Hz, but its response time is just as good and it also has an optional black frame insertion feature. The biggest downside is that this monitor's TN panel has a low contrast ratio and there's significant clouding throughout the screen, making it less ideal for dark rooms. Also, it has poor viewing angles, sub-par color accuracy, and it doesn't support HDR. On the upside, it gets pretty bright and it has good reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues with visibility in well-lit rooms.
Overall, if you want the highest refresh rate, go with the ASUS. However, if you're okay compromising a bit for native G-SYNC support, then go with the Dell.
If you like the ASUS VG279QM's 27-inch screen but you want a higher resolution, then go with the ASUS TUF VG27AQ. This monitor has a 1440p resolution, making it a good choice for gaming and productivity tasks. It has a maximum refresh rate of 165Hz; however, it should still be enough to provide a buttery-smooth gaming experience to satisfy even the most hardcore gamers. It also uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, and it has native FreeSync support along with G-SYNC compatibility. Its response time is excellent, input lag is low, and it supports HDR. Unfortunately, this monitor can't display a wide color gamut and its peak brightness just isn't enough to make highlights pop in HDR content. There's no USB port for charging, but it comes with integrated speakers if you don't already have dedicated ones.
If you don't mind the lower resolution, the VG279QM is a better choice due to its superior motion handling. However, if a higher resolution is important to you, then go with the VG27AQ.
The best 4k monitor under $500 that we've tested so far is the LG 27UK650-W. Although a 4k resolution can sometimes be difficult to appreciate on a 27 inch screen, it does make a noticeable difference when it comes to productivity. Text looks sharp, images are incredibly detailed, and you can also fit more onto the screen, which is great for multitasking. This monitor lets you share work or content easily thanks to its IPS panel's wide viewing angles, and visibility in bright environments isn't an issue.
If you're looking to game on this monitor, you should know that the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz. There's support for FreeSync, and it works with NVIDIA graphics cards via a DisplayPort connection. As expected, it has an impressive response time and its input lag is very low, even when VRR and HDR are enabled. Speaking of HDR, while it's supported, the monitor can't display a wide color gamut and its peak brightness isn't enough to produce a significantly better-looking image, which is rather disappointing. Also, the monitor's low contrast ratio makes blacks look gray, especially when viewed in a dark environment, although this is expected of most IPS panels.
This monitor has an impressive color accuracy out-of-the-box and its 10-bit panel has superb gradient performance, with virtually no visible banding. It has a decent build quality, but the stand lacks swivel adjustments and the tilt range is pretty narrow. Nevertheless, this is a very good monitor, and its stylish design fits well into any type of setting.
If you want to get the most for your investment, the ASUS VG279Q offers the best price to performance ratio and is the best value monitor under $500. This is a very good monitor for almost any use, and it's especially well-suited for gaming. It has outstanding motion handling, excellent low input lag, and decent overall picture quality. It has a great stand, with an outstanding range of ergonomic adjustments, so you can easily place it in an ideal viewing position.
This monitor has great peak brightness and good reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues using it in a bright room. It has wide viewing angles, perfect for sharing your screen with someone else, or if you're looking to do a multi-monitor setup and won't be sitting directly in front of it.
Unfortunately, its 1080p native resolution might disappoint some users, as this isn't ideal for multitasking. It also doesn't look as good when displaying dark scenes in a dark room, although this shouldn't be that noticeable for most people. Overall, it's a very good monitor that should please most people.
If you prefer a monitor with a higher resolution, then take a look at the Dell U2518D. Like the ASUS VG279Q, it has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles and its SDR peak brightness is about the same, which is suitable for any type of room setting. It has a 1440p resolution on a smaller 25 inch screen, making text and images look incredibly sharp. There are some tradeoffs, though, as it has a 60Hz refresh rate and it doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology. On the upside, it has an outstanding color accuracy, excellent response time, and although its input lag is slightly higher, it should be good enough for most people. It has HDR support, four USB 3.0 ports for charging, as well as a DisplayPort Out port, allowing you to daisy chain multiple monitors.
Overall, the ASUS is a better monitor due to its versatility and advanced gaming features, but if resolution is important to you, then you should go with the Dell.
07/07/2020: Replaced Acer Nitro XV273X with ASUS VG279QM; minor text and structure changes.
05/08/2020: Added ViewSonic Elite XG270 as an honorable mention.
03/10/2020: Added the Acer Nitro XV273X and placed the S2716DG in notable mentions.
01/10/2020: Added the ASUS TUF VG 27AQ.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors under $500 currently available. 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 under $500. 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.