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 tested more than 140 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best monitors for coding to purchase. Also, make sure to check out 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 is the Dell S2721QS. It's a simple 27 inch 4k monitor that displays text with exceptional clarity and has enough gaming chops to satisfy most casual gamers. It allows for a good amount of ergonomic adjustments, and it has wide viewing angles, making it easy to share your work with colleagues. It handles reflections well and gets bright enough to combat glare. It has an IPS panel with a low contrast ratio, though, so it isn't the best option if you like working in the dark.
With its 27 inch screen and high resolution, this monitor provides plenty of space for you to work with multiple windows opened side-by-side. It even has a Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display images from two input sources at once, which can be useful for those working on two computers. It has a low input lag, a fast response time, and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate to minimize screen tearing when gaming.
Unfortunately, although this monitor supports HDR, it doesn't get bright enough to deliver a true HDR experience. It has a pair of integrated speakers if you don't have any dedicated ones, and the backlight is entirely flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain on those long workdays. Overall, it's a simple and affordable monitor that should satisfy most people, and it's the best monitor for developers we've tested.
If you want an even bigger monitor than the Dell S2721QS, then check out the LG 32UD99-W. Both monitors are very similar in performance. The main difference is that the LG has a bigger 32 inch screen, providing you more space for multitasking. The downside is that it has worse ergonomics, so it's harder to adjust the screen to your ideal viewing position. Also, it doesn't handle reflections as well, although it gets bright enough to overcome glare in most lighting conditions. As a bonus, you get two USB 3.0 ports for charging and a USB-c port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, which lets you display an image from a compatible device and charge it at the same time.
Overall, the Dell is a better choice for most people, and it's significantly cheaper. However, if you need the extra screen space, go with the LG.
The best ultrawide monitor for programming that we've tested is the Dell U3818DW. It has a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 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 doesn't degrade when viewed from the side.
If you tend to work long hours, it 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, it 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 screens too cramped, this is the best ultrawide monitor for programming we've seen.
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 screens 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 this monitor's size and aspect ratio.
With both 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 best monitor for coding and programming with a compact screen that we've tested is the Dell UltraSharp U2520D. It's a small 25 inch screen that's well-suited for tight spaces. Despite its smaller screen size, it has a 1440p resolution that results in a high pixel density, so text and images look incredibly sharp. Its great ergonomics allow you to easily adjust it to your optimal viewing position, and it has an IPS panel that provides wide viewing angles. It has a good peak brightness, but its reflection handling is just okay, so it's best to avoid placing it opposite bright light sources.
If you want to do some gaming on the side, the response time is great, and the input lag is low. However, the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, and there's no VRR support of any kind. It delivers an okay HDR experience in games, but it can't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR movies. Also, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms, as its IPS panel has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity.
Like its bigger brother, the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, it has tons of connectivity options. Its two USB-C ports support DisplayPort Alt mode, and one can be used to charge your mobile devices even if it's off. It also has a DisplayPort Out, which allows you to daisy-chain multiple monitors. Overall, this is a great option for those with limited space or just prefer a smaller screen size.
The best monitor for programming in the budget category that we've tested is the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. It's a 27 inch screen with a 1440p resolution, with thin bezels that are well-suited for multi-monitor setups. It has a good build quality, and its superb ergonomics allow you to adjust the screen easily for the best viewing experience. It gets bright enough to overcome glare in well-lit rooms, handles reflections well, and its IPS panel's wide viewing angles are great for sharing work and content. It isn't the best for dark rooms, though, as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish.
With a 27 inch screen, there's plenty of space to work comfortably with multiple windows opened side-by-side. It has a 75Hz refresh rate that makes motion look a bit smoother than a typical 60Hz panel, which is great for quickly scrolling through documents or for some casual gaming. Response time is great, and there's also a Black Frame Insertion feature to reduce motion blur and Adaptive Sync support to minimize screen tearing.
There are a couple of USB ports for charging, a pair of integrated speakers, and a QuickFit Virtual Scale feature that lets you preview documents in their actual size before printing. There's no HDR support; however, it's expected of something in this price range. On the upside, if you work long hours and worry about eye strain, the backlight is flicker-free. All in all, it's a great monitor for any workplace that's also easy on the wallet.
11/27/2020: Minor text and structure changes, replaced Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with Dell S2721QS, removed LG 32UD99-W.
09/28/2020: Added ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV.
07/27/2020: Replaced LG 27UK650-W with Dell UltraSharp 2720Q, replaced Dell U2415 with Dell UltraSharp U2520D, removed Dell U2518D.
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.