Programming often requires you to multitask with tons of windows open, and if that's what you need, you'll want a big monitor to open different windows simultaneously. You can either get a large, high-resolution screen that makes it easy to open multiple windows at the same time, or you can also get an ultrawide monitor that offers more horizontal screen space. While size is a top consideration, you'll also want to look for other things in a monitor, like ergonomic adjustments, great picture quality, and a USB hub if you want to connect external devices.
We've bought and tested more than 270 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best monitors to purchase for programmers. Also, check out our recommendations for the best ultrawide monitors, the best monitors for dual setup, and the best office monitors.
The best programming monitor that we've tested is the LG 38WN95C-W. It's a great overall display that's versatile for different uses and performs well for work-related purposes. It offers great connectivity with two USB-A ports and a USB-C port that supports Thunderbolt 3. It means you can connect a compatible laptop to display an image from it and charge it using a single cable. It also has a Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you view images from two sources at once, which is useful if you simultaneously work with a laptop and a desktop computer.
It has a large 38-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is great for programming because you can easily open multiple windows and multitask for a better workflow. It has a unique 3840x1600 resolution which helps result in good text clarity. If you want even better text clarity, the LG 40WP95C-W is a similar display with a 5120x2160 resolution, and text looks extremely sharp. However, it also costs a lot more for features you don't necessarily need for programming, like its accurate sRGB picture mode, so the 38WN95C-W offers better value for programmers.
If you're looking for something cheaper in the upper mid-range price category or aren't a fan of the ultrawide format of the LG 38WN95C-W, check out the Dell U3223QE. It's also an impressive work monitor with a large 32-inch screen and 4k resolution, so while it doesn't offer as much horizontal screen space as the LG, it has higher pixel density for sharper text clarity. It means that you can easily read your coding text and view more lines simultaneously, and the screen is still big enough for multitasking with various windows open.
Like the LG, it has extra features to improve your workflow, like a massive USB hub with three USB-C and five USB-A ports. It supports DisplayPort Alt Mode if you want to connect a laptop, and it has 90W of power delivery, which is enough to charge many laptops. It even has a KVM switch that makes using the same keyboard and mouse easy if you have two devices connected to the monitor. Also, it has Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes, so you can view images from two sources simultaneously.
If you find the Dell U3223QE too expensive or prefer a smaller option, consider the Dell U2723QE. It's essentially a smaller version of the U3223QE with a cheaper price tag, so you can choose whichever size you prefer. While both monitors have the same features and perform similarly, there are a few differences in performance, but not necessarily with things you need while programming. For example, the U2723QE displays a wider range of colors in HDR and images look more vibrant. While this isn't useful for programming, it does present an advantage if you want to also use the monitor for relaxing and watching videos at the end of a long programming session.
It has the same massive USB hub and extra features as the U3223QE, so it's a great choice for productivity using different devices. The smaller screen also results in higher pixel density, making it very easy to read fine text. Also, it has a wider swivel range than the U3223QE, which is great if you often need to turn the screen to show a coworker.
If you find the Dell U2723QE too expensive, cheaper options are available in the lower mid-range price category that are still good, like the Dell S2722QC. It's a step down from the U2723QE in terms of features because it has a smaller USB hub with a single USB-C port and two USB-A ports, and it doesn't have a KVM switch, so it isn't as good for multitasking. However, that's what you have to expect for something cheaper, and it still offers the same 4k resolution with fantastic text clarity, and thanks to its 27-inch screen, you can open two windows side-by-side.
It's a great choice for well-lit rooms because it gets bright enough to fight glare. The reflection handling is also very good, even better than the U2723QE, meaning you won't have issues using it in well-lit rooms. Fortunately, it has wide viewing angles to keep the image consistent from the sides, and with its excellent ergonomics, it's easy to adjust the screen and share it with someone sitting next to you as they'll see a consistent image from the sides.
If you're looking for the best monitor for developers and are on a budget, consider the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. It has a lower 1440p resolution than the Dell S2722QC, meaning that text doesn't look as sharp. However, the text clarity is still decent, and with the 27-inch screen size, there's enough space to open two windows next to each other. As it's a budget monitor, it doesn't have a USB-C input like the Dell, so you'll need to connect it via DisplayPort or HDMI, but it still has four USB ports. If you want a monitor with a USB-C port, the ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV is similar but costs a bit more.
Regarding picture quality, the PA278QV gets bright enough to fight glare and has good reflection handling if you want to use it in a well-lit workspace. However, like most monitors, it doesn't look good in dark rooms because it has a low contrast that makes blacks look gray. It doesn't support HDR either, but that doesn't make a difference for programming.
If you want a cheap entry-level monitor that won't take up a lot of space, then the ASUS VG246H is a good option. With a smaller 24-inch screen and lower 1080p resolution than the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV, it's better to use it as a secondary display next to your main one. Using two next to each other for more screen space in a multi-monitor setup is also possible. Its text clarity is decent, and the picture quality is good thanks to its good reflection handling and decent SDR peak brightness, meaning you won't have problems with it in a bright room.
It's pretty barebones in features, which is what you have to expect for a cheaper monitor. Despite its low cost, it has remarkable ergonomics that make it easy to adjust the screen to your liking, and with wide viewing angles, images look the same when viewing from the sides. It also has a flicker-free backlight that helps reduce eye strain during long programming sessions.
May 15, 2023: Verified that the monitors are still available to buy, and updated text for clarity throughout.
Mar 17, 2023: Added the Dell U2723QE as the 'Best Mid-Range Monitor' to give another option; replaced the Dell S2721QS with the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV because it's easier to find; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Jan 18, 2023: Replaced the Gigabyte M34WQ and the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV with the Dell U3223QE and the Dell S2721QS because they're each better aligned with user needs for programming; renamed the Dell S2722QC to the 'Best Lower Mid-Range Monitor'; updated the Notable Mentions based on changes.
Nov 10, 2022: Restructured article to reflect how programmers are looking for monitors; removed the Gigabyte M32UC, Dell S3422DWG, Dell S3221QS, Dell S2722DGM, and the Lenovo D27-30; added the LG 38WN95C-W, Gigabyte M34WQ, Dell S2722QC, ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV, and the ASUS VG246H because they're all better-suited for productivity; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Oct 06, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs for programming in the dark; Removed the Dell U2723QE, Dell S2722QC, Dell S2721QS, and the Dell C1422H because they all have a low contrast ratio; renamed the Gigabyte M32UC as the 'Best Monitor For Programming'; replaced the Gigabyte M34WQ with the Dell S3422DWG and renamed to 'Best Upper Mid-Range Monitor'; added the Dell S2722DGM and the Lenovo D27-30 to their respective categories; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best monitors for coding and programming that are 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's 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.