The 6 Best Monitors Under $500 - Fall 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Monitors Under $500
213 Monitors Tested
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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 205 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.


  1. Best Office Monitor Under $500: ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV

    8.0
    Mixed Usage
    8.4
    Office
    8.3
    Gaming
    7.6
    Multimedia
    7.8
    Media Creation
    5.8
    HDR Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    75 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    Adaptive Sync

    The ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV is the best monitor under $500 we've tested for office work. This is a great 27 inch, 1440p monitor with tons of features to help maximize productivity. It's also a great choice for content creation, media consumption, and even some casual gaming on the side. At a price that won't break the bank, this is a monitor that most people should be happy with.

    You should have no trouble finding a comfortable viewing position with this monitor thanks to its outstanding ergonomics. It has a wide range for tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, and it can also rotate into portrait mode in either direction. It's also well-suited to bright office environments because it has good reflection handling and gets bright enough to overcome glare in most rooms. It uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, making it easy to share your screen with a co-worker if you need to.

    Unfortunately, it lacks HDR support, which may be disappointing to some. That said, it has several extra features that may be very useful for office work or content creation. The bottom bezel has a built-in ruler, and it also has helpful on-screen overlays, like a ruler, grid alignment, and a tool to preview documents in actual size. Finally, it has a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alt mode and power delivery, as well as a USB hub feature. All in all, this is the best monitor under $500 for office use.

    See our review

  2. Best Gaming Monitor Under $500: ASUS VG279QM

    8.7
    Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 1920x1080
    Max Refresh Rate
    280 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The ASUS VG279QM is the best gaming monitor under $500 with a 1080p resolution that we’ve tested. It's a 27 inch model with a whopping 280Hz refresh rate to deliver a smooth and responsive gaming experience. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, making it great for playing co-op, and it gets bright enough to provide good visibility in well-lit settings. The build quality is impressive, and it includes a sturdy stand with outstanding ergonomics.

    The response time is superb. Fast-moving content looks clear and fluid, and you can further improve clarity with its black frame insertion feature, which, unlike most monitors, can be used simultaneously with variable refresh rate. As for the type of VRR it supports, it's native FreeSync with G-SYNC compatibility. It can get decently bright in HDR, but unfortunately, it doesn't have a wide color gamut, and its low contrast ratio makes blacks look grayish in the dark.

    In terms of extra features, it has built-in speakers but no USB ports. Like most gaming monitors, you can add a virtual crosshair, a timer, or a frame rate indicator on the screen. The backlight is flicker-free to help reduce eye strain. One downside you should know about is that it has higher input lag at 60Hz, so it isn't the best option for 60fps console gaming. Nonetheless, this is a great monitor worth checking out.

    See our review

  3. Curved Alternative: ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B

    Size 34"
    Resolution 3440x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    165 Hz
    Pixel Type
    VA
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    If you prefer a curved display for a more immersive gaming experience, the ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B is the best curved monitor under $500 that we've tested. The large, ultrawide screen and 1500R curve deliver a more immersive gaming experience than the ASUS VG279QM, great for open-world games like some RPGs or simulators. It's an excellent gaming monitor with a fast response time, low input lag, and FreeSync variable refresh rate support. Unfortunately, as this monitor uses a VA panel, there's noticeable black smear in some content, regardless of which overdrive setting you choose.

    Overall, the VG279QM is the better monitor, as it has much better ergonomics, a faster response time, especially at 60Hz, and has better viewing angles. If you want the more immersive gaming experience that only a curved display can provide, though, the VG34VQL1B is a great alternative.

    See our review

  4. Best 1440p Gaming Monitor Under $500: Gigabyte M27Q

    8.1
    Mixed Usage
    8.0
    Office
    8.5
    Gaming
    7.9
    Multimedia
    8.0
    Media Creation
    7.3
    HDR Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 2560x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    170 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best gaming monitor under $500 with a 1440p resolution that we've tested is the Gigabyte M27Q. This versatile model sports a 27 inch screen that provides incredible immersion in games and is packed with great features. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles so that images don't look washed out when viewed from the side, making it a good choice for sharing content and co-op gaming. It gets very bright to combat glare, but it's not the most ideal for dark rooms as its low contrast ratio causes blacks to appear gray.

    Gaming-wise, it delivers an amazingly smooth and responsive experience thanks to its 170Hz refresh rate and exceptional response time. Images look clear in fast-moving scenes, and it has both FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing. It delivers a fairly decent HDR experience; however, the refresh rate is limited to 120Hz when gaming in 10-bit HDR. If you plan on using the monitor for work, you should know that it uses a BGR sub-pixel structure. It doesn't affect picture quality, but it can cause blurry text in some applications.

    The many extra features can be useful for streamers and multitaskers. It has a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display signals from two input sources simultaneously, and you can control both devices with one set of peripherals with its integrated KVM switch. It also has a USB-C port, but the power delivery is limited to 10W, which is only enough for smaller portable devices like smartphones. Nonetheless, it's an excellent, feature-rich monitor that should please most gamers.

    See our review

  5. Ultrawide Alternative: Acer Nitro XV340CK

    Size 34"
    Resolution 3440x1440
    Max Refresh Rate
    144 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    If you prefer the extra screen real estate that an ultrawide monitor provides, the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx is the best ultrawide monitor under $500 that we've tested. While it has a slightly slower response time and a lower refresh rate than the Gigabyte M27Q, its ultrawide 21:9 aspect ratio gives you more horizontal screen space for a more immersive gaming experience. It's still an excellent choice for gaming, with low input lag and amazing response time at its max refresh rate. Unfortunately, it's slower at 60Hz but still good overall. It also supports FreeSync and is compatible with G-SYNC. It's not well-suited to very bright rooms, since its peak brightness is just okay.

    All things considered, the Gigabyte is better for gaming thanks to its higher refresh rate and faster response time, but if you want an ultrawide for under $500, the Acer is a great alternative.

    See our review

  6. Best 4k Monitor Under $500: Dell S2721QS

    8.1
    Mixed Usage
    8.4
    Office
    7.9
    Gaming
    8.1
    Multimedia
    8.4
    Media Creation
    7.0
    HDR Gaming
    Size 27"
    Resolution 3840x2160
    Max Refresh Rate
    60 Hz
    Pixel Type
    IPS
    Variable Refresh Rate
    FreeSync

    The best 4k monitor under $500 that we've tested is the Dell S2721QS. This 27 inch IPS model is a great choice for productivity, as it provides tons of space for multitasking, as well as an incredibly sharp image. It feels well-built, and it comes with a sturdy stand that includes basic cable management and a good amount of ergonomic adjustments. It has wide viewing angles so that the image remains accurate when viewing from the side, and it gets bright enough to combat glare.

    It's great for content creation, especially for those working in the sRGB color space since it has full coverage. Its Adobe RGB coverage is good but might not be enough for photography professionals. Gradient handling is superb, and there's no color bleed. It has a pretty good response time and VRR support if you want to play some games on the side as long as you don't mind playing at 60Hz.

    Unfortunately, even though it can display a wide color gamut for HDR, the overall HDR experience is rather underwhelming because it has a mediocre contrast ratio with no local dimming to improve the black level, and it just doesn't get bright enough to really make highlights pop. Also, it doesn't have any USB ports. On the upside, you do get built-in speakers and a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode. It isn't the most feature-rich, but it's still a great option if you need a simple 4k monitor that performs well.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx: The Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is an excellent 1080p gaming monitor with a 165Hz refresh rate. Get this monitor if you're shopping on a very small budget. See our review
  • ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM: The ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM is a smaller and cheaper alternative to the ASUS VG279QM. It has the same 1080p resolution, but it has a higher pixel density due to its smaller screen size, so images and text look a bit sharper. See our review
  • ViewSonic Elite XG270: The ViewSonic Elite XG270 is an excellent gaming monitor, but it's more expensive than the ASUS VG279QM, and it has a lower 240Hz refresh rate and slower response time. See our review
  • ASUS TUF VG27AQ: The ASUS TUF VG27AQ is a great alternative to the Gigabyte M27Q, but it's more expensive, and its response time isn't as good. That said, it might still be a good choice if the M27Q's BGR sub-pixel structure bothers you. See our review
  • LG 27GN850-B: The LG 27GN850-B is a great gaming monitor. It has better response time than the Gigabyte M27Q but a lower refresh rate of 144Hz, and it's more expensive. See our review
  • MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD: The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is a good alternative to the Gigabyte M27Q, but it's more expensive, and some people may not like its over-saturated colors. See our review
  • Gigabyte G34WQC: The Gigabyte G34WQC is a good dark room alternative to the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx. It has a much higher contrast ratio to produce deep blacks, but it has slower response time and worse viewing angles. On the other hand, it might be a better choice if glare is an issue because it gets a lot brighter to combat glare. See our review
  • Dell S2721DGF: The Dell S2721DGF is an excellent alternative to the Gigabyte M27Q, but it's more expensive. It has better response time, wider viewing angles, and significantly better ergonomics. See our review
  • LG 27UK650-W: The LG 27UK650-W is a good 4k monitor, but it's an older model that's discontinued and hard to find. See our review
  • Dell S3221QS: The Dell S3221QS is a larger alternative to the Dell S2721QS with better dark room performance, but it has bad ergonomics and narrow viewing angles. See our review
  • Acer Predator XB273U GXbmiipruzx: The Acer Predator XB273U GXbmiipruzx is a great 1440p alternative to the ASUS VG279QM. It has a USB hub that includes a USB-C port, and it supports a wide color gamut for HDR. It might be hard to find, though. See our review
  • Gigabyte M32Q: The Gigabyte M32Q is very similar to the Gigabyte M27Q, just with a bigger 32 inch screen. However, its input lag is higher at 60Hz, which isn't ideal for 60fps console gaming. See our review
  • Acer Nitro XV272U KVbmiiprzx: The Acer Nitro XV272U KVbmiiprzx is a great gaming monitor, but its low screen brightness might be a problem for well-lit settings. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 27, 2021: Added the ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B as the 'Best Curved Gaming Monitor Under $500'.

  2. Jun 29, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced Dell S3221QS with Dell S2721QS.

  3. Apr 30, 2021: Replaced the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV with the ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV as 'Best Office Monitor Under $500'.

  4. Mar 01, 2021: Minor text and structure changes. Removed Dell S2417DG due to price increase. Replaced ASUS VG27AQ with Gigabyte M27Q and added Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx as ultrawide alternative. Removed ASUS VG279Q. Replaced Dell S2721QS with Dell S3221QS due to low availability and price increase.

  5. Jan 05, 2021: Updated text for clarity and structure, replaced LG 27UK650-W with Dell S2721QS.

All Reviews

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 our reviews of monitors 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.

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