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 120 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 screen 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. It's also available in a 25 inch size, the ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM, which is cheaper.
It 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 it supports HDR, its performance is limited due to the lack of a wide color gamut. The backlight is flicker-free, which can be helpful in reducing eye strain during those long gaming sessions.
Unfortunately, it 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. Like most IPS panels, It isn't the best option for dark room gaming, as its low contrast ratio makes blacks look grayish. Overall, the 1080p resolution may be a bit low for some, but its superb motion handling is what makes it the best gaming monitor under $500 that we've tested so far.
If you prefer a monitor that has native G-SYNC support, 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. It gets pretty bright and has good reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues with visibility in well-lit rooms. The biggest downside is that its 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.
Overall, if you want the best gaming monitor under $500, check out the ASUS. However, if you're okay compromising a bit for native G-SYNC support, look into the Dell.
The best monitor under $500 with a 1440p resolution that we've tested so far is the ASUS VG27AQ. Although designed for gaming, it's well-rounded and offers very good performance for most uses. It's well-built, and the stand offers excellent ergonomics, which is something we've seen on many ASUS monitors.
It has a native 144Hz refresh rate that you can easily overclock to 165Hz. It's G-SYNC compatible, and it has extremely low input lag. Its response time at its max refresh rate is excellent, resulting in minimal motion blur, and even though its response time at 60Hz is slower, it has a Black Frame Insertion feature to clear up motion blur. Its IPS panel provides wide viewing angles, and if you want to use it in a bright room, it gets bright enough to combat glare and has decent reflection handling. Lastly, it has built-in speakers, great if you're on a tight budget and you don't want to spend extra on a dedicated setup.
Unfortunately, like any IPS panel, it has a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark. It supports HDR10, but it can't display a wide color gamut, and it doesn't get very bright in that mode. On the upside, it has excellent gray uniformity, so solid colors across the screen look great. All in all, this is the best gaming monitor under $500 available with a 1440p resolution that we've tested so far.
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. It 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.
It 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. If you're looking to game on it, 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.
Unfortunately, while it supports HDR10, it 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, its low contrast ratio makes blacks look gray, especially when viewed in a dark environment, although this is expected of most IPS panels. 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 model 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 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. It has a great stand, with an outstanding range of ergonomic adjustments, so you can easily place it in an ideal viewing position.
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, check out the Dell UltraSharp U2520D. Unlike the ASUS VG279Q, it doesn't have extra gaming features like VRR support, and it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. Still, it's great for office use because it also has wide viewing angles, great for sharing your work with others. It has a USB hub, including a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, allowing you to display an image from a compatible device and charge it at the same time. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy and is ideal for photo editors because it has great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. Sadly, it has a low contrast ratio, and it doesn't handle reflections very well, so it's not ideal to place opposite a window. Fortunately, it gets bright enough to combat glare in moderately-lit rooms.
All in all, the ASUS is the best monitor under $500 for its value, but if you want something with a 1440p resolution, check out the Dell.
09/04/2020: Moved the ASUS VG27AQ to a main pick; replaced the Dell U2518 with the U2520D.
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.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors under $500 currently available. They're 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.