When programming or coding for long periods, it's essential to have a comfortable monitor to keep eye-strain to a minimum. It's important to get a monitor that's the right size, with enough screen real estate to have multiple windows open, and still work comfortably without having to squint. A flicker-free monitor is also a must, as backlight flicker can cause headaches and eye strain with prolonged periods of use. Many programmers even prefer working with more than one monitor, as you can have your editor open on one and your specifications open on another.
We've reviewed more than 85 monitors and below are our recommendations for the best monitors for coding to purchase in 2020. See also our recommendations for the best ultrawide monitors, the best monitors for dual setup, and the best 34 inch + monitors.
The LG 27UK650-W is the best monitor for programming that we've tested so far. The 4k resolution is great for multitasking and ensures that text remains sharp and legible. The overall picture quality is good. In a bright room, you shouldn't have any issues with glare, as the peak brightness is great and reflection handling is good. If you're worried about eye-strain during long coding sessions, the flicker-free backlight is much easier on the eyes.
LG has kept the design of this monitor fairly simple, suitable for any office. The stand has a decent height adjustment, and it can switch to portrait orientation, making it a great choice for a multi-monitor setup. The wide viewing angles of IPS monitors also helps if your multi-monitor setup requires you to view the screen at an angle.
Unfortunately, this monitor isn't suited for dark rooms, as contrast ratio and black uniformity are mediocre. If poor dark room performance doesn't bother you, this monitor is a great choice for programmers.
If you need something bigger than the LG 27UK650-W, check out the LG 32UD99-W. This monitor is great for those who don't like multi-monitor setups and prefer to keep their setup clean with a single monitor. The LG 32UD99-W's 32 inch screen has enough screen real estate to have multiple windows open at once. It'll perform similarly to our main pick in terms of picture quality and motion handling; what sets it apart is the addition of the USB 3.0 hub and the USB-C input, which allows compatible devices to display an image while charging at the same time.
Overall, the 27UK650-W is still the best monitor for coding for most people, but If you want something larger and don't mind the higher price tag, the 32UD99-W is a great alternative.
If you work in a dark room, the LG 32UD59-B may be a better choice than the LG 27UK650-W. VA panels typically have a much higher contrast ratio and better black uniformity, allowing the monitor to produce deep blacks in dark rooms. It does come at a cost, though, with viewing angles being the main compromise.
All in all, the 27UK650-W remains our main pick for most people, but if dark room performance is important and you don't mind compromising on viewing angles, the LG 32UD59-B is a decent alternative.
The Dell U3818DW is the best ultrawide monitor for programming and coding that we've tested so far. This monitor's 21:9 aspect ratio lets you multitask comfortably, without the distracting bezels of a multi-monitor setup. It has an IPS panel that gives good viewing angles, and the panel has a slight curve to it as well to help you see the sides. Unfortunately, like most IPS monitors, contrast ratio is mediocre, and black uniformity is sub-par, making it less suitable for dark rooms. If you mainly work in a bright room, though, it has great reflection handling and it can get bright enough to combat glare. In addition, it has a flicker-free backlight to help reduce eye strain.
This monitor has a special feature that makes multitasking even easier. Using the monitor's Picture-in-Picture mode, you can work on two computers at once with only one set of keyboard and mouse by plugging them into the monitor's USB ports. This works even if the computers are running on different operating systems.
Overall, if you need the extra screen real estate but you want to keep a clean, single monitor setup, this monitor is highly recommended.
If the Dell U3818DW's 38 inch screen still feels cramped for you, then go with the Dell U4919DW, though you may need a bigger desk to put it on. This is a 49 inch monitor with a 32:9 aspect ratio, and a curved screen to help you see the sides. It has similar features to the smaller Dell, including the Picture-in-Picture functionality that lets you work on different computers at once. Unfortunately, the sheer size of this monitor does impact its ergonomics, as it's limited to height and tilt adjustments only, but just like its little brother, the overall build quality is impressive.
Since both monitors offer similar features and performance, the choice mainly comes down to size. For most people, the U3818DW is easier to fit into their existing setup, but if you need the extra screen real estate, the U4919DW is a better choice.
The Dell U2415 is the best compact monitor for coding and programming that we've tested so far. The smaller size is great for limited spaces, or if you prefer to work with multiple small monitors rather than one large one. This 24 inch monitor has a 1200p resolution, which is decent but isn't ideal for multitasking. The stand has great ergonomics and can easily be adjusted to an ideal viewing position.
This monitor has decent peak brightness and good reflection handling, so there shouldn't be any issues using it in a fairly bright room, as long as there aren't too many windows. It also has great wide viewing angles, which is great for a multi-monitor setup.
Unfortunately, like the majority of IPS monitors, it doesn't look as good in a dark room. Overall, though, it's a good monitor for programming and coding.
If you want something with a higher native resolution than the Dell U2415, check out the Dell U2518D. With a slightly larger, 1440p screen, this monitor delivers a more comfortable multitasking experience, and also delivers much better picture quality than the smaller model. Although not technically flicker-free, it has a very high flicker-frequency that shouldn't bother most people.
Overall, the U2415 is the best monitor for coding for most people, as it's completely flicker-free. If you want something with sharper text, though, the U2518D is a good alternative.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for coding and programming that are currently available. They are 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 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.
01/28/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
11/29/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.