Working from wherever possible is important if you're always on the go. Working on a laptop isn't the most productive, and that's where portable monitors are beneficial for remote work. They make it easier to be productive, giving you extra screen space. Most support USB-C connectivity, so you can power them up and display an image with a single cable. There are a few downsides, though, as picture quality isn't as good as regular desktop monitors, meaning portable monitors are better to use as a secondary screen.
We've bought and tested over 275 monitors, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best portable and the best travel monitors. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best USB-C monitors, the best monitors for MacBook Pro, and the best office monitors.
The best portable monitor we've tested is the espresso Display 15 Touch. Overall, it's a decent portable monitor with a few neat features to improve your workflow. You can connect to it via one of its USB-C ports, and it works with various devices, including smartphones that support external displays. It has a responsive touchscreen that works well with Windows and macOS PCs, letting you easily complete work that requires touch movements, like content creation. It also has a few extra features, like a rotation lock that adjusts the image into portrait mode when you turn the display.
What makes this better than most portable monitors is that it's available with different accessories too. One of those is its stand, which offers decent ergonomics, letting you place the screen in a few different ways. You can also get a case with a kickstand if you prefer. On top of that, it has great color accuracy and displays a wide range of colors in SDR, meaning the picture quality is good for a portable display.
If you don't need all the high-end features of the espresso Display 15 Touch, check out an upper mid-range option like the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV. It has many of the same features and performs similarly to the espresso monitor, but there are some trade-offs for the cheaper price tag. While it has a touchscreen like the espresso monitor, it isn't as responsive and doesn't work with macOS devices, meaning you can't use the touchscreen if you want to connect to your MacBook. It also has slightly worse picture quality because it has a worse SDR color gamut and volume, but the overall accuracy is still excellent.
It has a few advantages over the espresso, like if you want to use it in a well-lit environment because it has decent peak brightness and much better reflection handling. Like the espresso monitor, it also has two USB-C ports that you can use to connect your devices, and it also has a Micro HDMI port, which is helpful if you have an older laptop with HDMI but not USB-C.
Although portable gaming monitors are less common than portable monitors for work, you can still find some options if you want a high refresh rate for gaming on the go. The ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE is a great choice if you're interested. It's mainly for mobile gaming or if you need something on the side of your main monitor. It's better than the espresso Display 15 Touch and the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV for gaming because it has a higher refresh rate and a faster response time, resulting in crystal-clear motion with almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects. It also has extremely low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
It supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology with G-SYNC compatibility, ensuring a nearly tear-free gaming experience from almost any source. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, which is high enough for casual gaming, but if you want something with a higher refresh rate, the 240Hz ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE is a good alternative. However, it costs more, so only consider it if you're going to take full advantage of the display.
If you aren't a gamer and want a lower-cost portable monitor for work use, the Dell C1422H is a good mid-range option. You don't get the same 144Hz refresh rate as on the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE, which is why it isn't as good for gaming. Instead, it's similar to the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV because it also has a 14-inch screen and 1080p resolution with two USB-C ports, but it doesn't have a touchscreen or Micro HDMI input. The lack of a touchscreen is the trade-off you have to make for getting something cheaper, but the touchscreen support on the ASUS is limited anyways.
It's an okay overall display with good picture quality for a portable monitor. The accuracy before calibration is good, so colors look realistic while browsing the web or looking at documents. Each of its USB-C ports supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, and if you have it connected to a 90W charger, the monitor supports 65W of power delivery, which is enough to charge your phone or tablet while you're using the display.
If you're looking for the best portable monitor for laptop use and are on a budget, consider the Lepow Z1 Gamut. Even though it's cheaper than the Dell C1422H, you don't lose many features. However, the main differences are in the performance, as it doesn't get as bright and has worse accuracy before calibration than the Dell. It still has a 1080p resolution, with a slightly bigger 15-inch screen, and the text clarity is great. It also displays a wide range of colors if you choose to calibrate it, and unlike the Dell, it supports HDR. While its HDR performance is still limited, it at least gives you versatility if you want to watch a video on it.
It offers a few connectivity options, including a Mini HDMI port and two USB-C ports. One of its USB-C ports supports power delivery if the display is connected to an external power source. However, with only 5W of power delivery, it's only enough to charge small devices like a phone. It even has built-in speakers, which is convenient when you don't have headphones.
May 29, 2023: Verified that the monitors are still available to purchase and updated text for accuracy throughout.
Apr 28, 2023: Replaced the ViewSonic VG1655 with the Lepow Z1 Gamut because it's better and easier to find; updated text for clarity throughout.
Mar 29, 2023: Added the espresso Display 15 Touch as the 'Best Portable Monitor' and renamed the ASUS ProArt PA148CTV as the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Monitor'; replaced the Lepow Z1 Gamut with the ViewSonic VG1655 because it's easier to find; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Feb 22, 2023: Replaced the Lepow Z1 with the Lepow Z1 Gamut because it's better overall for nearly the same price; added the ASUS ZenScreen Touch MB16AMT to Notable Mentions.
Jan 23, 2023: Replaced the ASUS ROG Strix XG17AHPE with the ASUS ROG Strix XG16AHPE because it costs less and has a lower 144Hz refresh rate as most people won't need a 240Hz refresh rate on a portable monitor.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best portable monitor for laptop use currently available. They're adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. 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 portable 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.