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 100 monitors and below are our recommendations for the best monitors for coding to purchase. See also our recommendations for the best ultrawide monitors, the best monitors for dual setup, and the best 34 inch + monitors.
The best monitor for programming we've tested so far is the LG 27UK650-W. It's a great office monitor thanks to its 4k resolution, which allows you to open multiple windows at once. It also has very wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate even if you're not sitting directly in front of it, which is great if you're planning on using it in a multi-monitor setup.
Out of the box, the color accuracy is great, so you won't need to get it calibrated unless you want to. It has very good peak brightness in SDR, enough to combat glare in most office environments, and it has decent reflection handling. The input lag is low, resulting in a responsive desktop experience, and it has excellent gray uniformity, so solid colors across the screen, such as a web page, look great.
Unfortunately, since it has an IPS panel, it has a mediocre contrast ratio and blacks appear closer to gray, especially in a dark environment. However, text looks extremely clear on this monitor and it has a flicker-free backlight, so you won't strain your eyes during long programming sessions. Overall, this is the best monitor for coding we've tested so far.
If you want a bigger monitor to open even more windows, then consider the LG 32UD99-W. It performs very similarly to the LG 27UK650-W, but it doesn't handle reflections as well. Instead, it has better dark room performance thanks to the improved contrast ratio and black uniformity. The input lag is also low and text looks extremely clear, plus this monitor has two USB 3.0 inputs to charge your devices and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, so you can charge a compatible device and display an image from it at the same time.
If you're looking for the best monitor for developers that we've tested, the 27UK650-W is a great choice, but if you want something bigger, look into the 32UD99-W.
If you want a monitor with better dark room performance, the LG 32UD59-B is a good alternative. Since it has a VA panel instead of an IPS panel, its viewing angles aren't as good as the LG 27UK650-W, but it produces deeper blacks and has better black uniformity. Like the other LG, it's also a 4k, 32 inch monitor, so you have plenty of space to open multiple windows. Unfortunately, it has poor ergonomics as you can only adjust its tilt and height, so it might be hard to place in an ideal position. However, it has an all-black design, so it fits nicely into any dark environment.
If you're looking for the best monitor for programming, consider the 27UK650-W, but if you want a monitor with better dark room performance, look into the 32UD59-B.
The best ultrawide monitor for programming that we've tested so far is the Dell U3818DW. This is a monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio and an uncommon 3840x1600 resolution, which is great for text clarity. The screen has a slight curve, making it easier to see the sides; but if you're still concerned about visibility, its IPS panel has good viewing angles, so the image won't degrade when viewed from the side.
If you tend to work long hours, this monitor has a flicker-free backlight that can help reduce eye strain. For multitaskers, there's a Picture-by-Picture mode that allows you to display an image from two sources at the same time, and you can use one set of keyboard and mouse to control both computers by plugging them into the monitor. There's an abundance of ports on the back, including four USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port. The latter supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which lets you plug in a laptop and charge it with a single cable.
Sadly, this monitor isn't well-suited for dark rooms due to its mediocre contrast ratio and sub-par black uniformity. However, you shouldn't have any issues in bright rooms, as it has decent peak brightness and great reflection handling. If you find the traditional 16:9 monitors too cramped, this is the best ultrawide monitor for programming we've seen so far.
If you want an even bigger monitor, check out the Dell U4919DW, as it has a 32:9 aspect ratio. This is equivalent to two 27 inch 1440p monitors placed side-by-side, which gives you a ton of screen real estate for efficient multitasking. Its performance and features are very similar to the Dell U3818DW, but it has a slightly higher peak brightness. Its response time and input lag are outstanding, and you still get its excellent Picture-by-Picture mode. Unfortunately, the ergonomics are poor, as it's limited to tilt and height adjustments, which is quite understandable due to the size and aspect ratio of this monitor.
With both monitors performing nearly identically, choosing between the two largely comes down to size. For most people, the U3818DW should be large enough; but if you like having lots of windows opened at the same time, look into the U4919DW.
The Dell U2415 is the best compact monitor for coding and programming 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. It also has a low input lag, resulting in a responsive desktop experience.
Unfortunately, like the majority of IPS monitors, it doesn't look as good in a dark room. However, it has good out-of-the-box color accuracy, and overall, this is the best compact monitor for programming we've seen so far.
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.
05/26/2020: Minor changes to text for clarity; updated notable mentions.
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.