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 95 monitors and below are our recommendations for the best monitors under $500 to buy in 2020. See our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, and the best 1080p monitors.
The best monitor under $500 for gaming we've tested so far is the Acer Nitro XV273X. It's a fantastic monitor for gaming and it's the only IPS panel with a 240Hz refresh rate that we've tested up until now. Its native FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) technology can support a wide range of refresh rates, ensuring a nearly tear-free gaming experience. Gamers will love the incredibly low input lag and the excellent response time at both its max refresh rate and 60Hz, so there's minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects. There's also a black frame insertion (BFI) feature to help reduce motion blur.
Unfortunately, because this monitor has an IPS panel, the contrast ratio is mediocre, resulting in blacks that look gray. However, its black uniformity is still decent, which is rare for IPS panels, and it has one of the best black uniformity that we've seen on an IPS panel. This monitor also has the best out-of-box color accuracy that we've tested, so you won't need to get it calibrated, but some people may find the 1080p resolution limiting for some games.
If you game with friends, the viewing angles are also good enough for co-op gaming. Overall, this is an excellent gaming monitor for its price, making it the best gaming monitor under $500 we've tested so far.
If you're looking for a monitor that supports your NVIDIA graphics card, look into the Dell S2417DG. Its TN panel doesn't match up to the IPS panel on the Acer Nitro XV273X in terms of viewing angles, but gamers will love the minimal motion blur and the BFI feature to help reduce it even further, and the input lag is also incredibly low. Although it's a 24 inch screen, the 1440p resolution delivers a more immersive gaming experience. Unfortunately, it doesn't support HDR, which might be a deal-breaker for some, but on the upside, if you're planning on using this monitor in bright rooms, it can get fairly bright and has good reflection handling.
The Acer is the best gaming monitor under $500 we've tested so far, but if you're looking for a G-SYNC alternative, look into the Dell.
If you prefer a monitor with a higher resolution, the ASUS TUF VG27AQ is a good choice. It doesn't have the 240Hz refresh rate found on the Acer Nitro XV273X, but the 1440p screen delivers a clearer image. Like the Acer, it also has an IPS panel, so the contrast ratio, black uniformity, and viewing angles are similar between the two, but the ASUS has much better ergonomics, so you can place your monitor however you like. The input lag and response time at max refresh rate are both excellent, plus there's a BFI feature to help reduce motion blur. Although it supports HDR content, it doesn't add much because it can't display a wide color gamut. If you game in a bright room, this monitor can get bright enough to combat glare.
Overall, the best gaming monitor under $500 is the Acer, but if you're looking for a monitor with a higher resolution, look into the ASUS.
The best 4k monitor under $500 that we've tested so far is the LG 27UK650-W. You're getting good value for your money with the high resolution on this IPS panel monitor. It has great viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewed from the side or if you sit up close, so this is a good choice if you need to share your screen with coworkers. Unfortunately, as is the case with most IPS panels, the contrast ratio and black uniformity are both mediocre, so blacks look gray when viewed in a dark environment.
This monitor has fantastic gray uniformity, meaning solid colors on the screen, such as the white on a web page, will be uniform and not distracting while you work. Gamers will appreciate the great response time and really low input lag, but the max refresh rate of 60Hz might be limiting for some. However, it has great SDR peak brightness and decent reflection handling, so it should still perform well in most average-lit rooms.
Overall, this is the best 4k monitor under $500 that we've tested so far.
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, this monitor's 1080p native resolution might disappoint some users, as this isn't ideal for multitasking. This monitor 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 want something with a higher native resolution, check out the Dell U2518D. Although not as good as the ASUS VG279Q, this 25 inch monitor delivers very good performance for the price, with good overall picture quality, decent motion handling, and HDR support. It has a higher native resolution, delivering a sharper image with more screen real estate. It isn't as good as the ASUS for gaming, though, as it has a slower refresh rate and no dedicated gaming features, but it's a versatile choice for most uses.
Overall, although the ASUS is better for most people, if the low native resolution bothers you and you don't need dedicated gaming features, the Dell is a good alternative.
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.
03/10/2020: Added the Acer Nitro XV273X and placed the S1716DG in notable mentions.
01/10/2020: Added the ASUS TUF VG 27AQ and changed the article structure to reflect market conditions.
11/05/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.