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 195 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. This 27 inch, 4k model is great for productivity as it provides plenty of space for multitasking, and it delivers exceptionally sharp text. The stand allows for a good amount of ergonomic adjustments, including rotation to portrait mode, and you can also VESA mount it should you need greater adjustability.
Like most productivity-focused monitors, the S2721QS has a 60Hz refresh rate. However, its response time is pretty good, and it even supports variable refresh rate technology if you want to play some games on the side. The backlight is entirely flicker-free, great for reducing eye strain on long workdays. It handles reflections well, gets bright enough to fight glare, and its wide viewing angles make it great for sharing content with others.
Unfortunately, there are no USB ports, but you do get built-in speakers. There's also a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals at once, which might be handy for programmers working on two computers simultaneously. Like most IPS panel displays, it's not the best option for dark rooms because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish. Nonetheless, it's a great and versatile monitor that should please most programmers.
If you need an even larger screen for better multitasking, then check out the LG 32UD99-W. Like the Dell S2721QS, it also has a 4k resolution but on a 32 inch screen. The pixel density is still very high despite its larger size, so text appears incredibly sharp. On top of that, it has a USB hub with two USB 3.0s and a USB-C that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode and 60W charging. Sadly, it doesn't handle reflections all that well, and it has worse ergonomics because it doesn't swivel at all.
Overall, the Dell is a great monitor that should meet most people's needs. However, the LG is a good alternative if you need more screen real estate, as long as you don't mind some small compromises and a higher price tag.
The best monitor for developers with an ultrawide screen is the LG 38WN95C-W. It sports a 38 inch screen with a 3840 x 1600 resolution, which comes down to the same pixel density as a 27 inch 1440p display. This means there's plenty of room for multitasking, and text looks very sharp. It has wide viewing angles, and the screen is also slightly curved to help with visibility on the sides. The stand allows for height, tilt, and swivel adjustments, but like most ultrawides, you can't use it in portrait mode.
If you typically work in a well-lit setting, it gets more than bright enough to overcome glare, but its reflection handling is just okay. It has a 144Hz refresh rate and an exceptional response time to provide amazing responsiveness, and it even supports VRR, which means it can double as your gaming monitor. Its Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode lets you display two input signals simultaneously, which is great for those working on two computers at once.
Sadly, it has a low contrast ratio like most IPS panel monitors, so it's not the best option for dark rooms. On the upside, it has a USB-C input that supports Thunderbolt 3, and it can deliver a fairly good HDR experience thanks to its wide gamut support and high peak brightness. The backlight is entirely flicker-free, and there's also a blue light filter to help reduce eye strain. Overall, it's a truly versatile monitor for both work and play.
If you want to replace your dual-monitor setup with a single monitor, then check out the LG 49WL95C-W. Unlike the LG 38WN95C-W, it has a 49 inch screen with a 5120 x 1440 resolution and a 32:9 aspect ratio, which is equivalent to two 27 inch, 1440p displays placed side-by-side. This means you have plenty of room for multiple windows on your desktop, and there are no distracting bezels in the middle. Unfortunately, there are a few downsides. First, it doesn't get very bright and might not be able to overcome glare in some settings. Second, it's limited to 60Hz and doesn't support VRR. And lastly, its USB-C input only supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, not Thunderbolt 3.
Overall, the 38WN95C-W should be large enough for most people, and it provides more features, like a high refresh rate, VRR, and Thunderbolt 3. However, if screen space is more important to you, the 49WL95C-W is a good option.
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. 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. 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.
Sadly, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms, as its IPS panel has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity. It delivers an okay HDR experience in games, but it can't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR movies. 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. 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. 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.
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.
It isn't the best for dark rooms, though, as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish. There's no HDR support; however, it's expected of something in this price range. If you work long hours and worry about eye strain, the backlight is flicker-free. 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. All in all, it's a great monitor for any workplace that's also easy on the wallet.
Jul 22, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with the Dell S2721QS because it's cheaper. Replaced Dell U3818DW with LG 38WN95C-W because it's hard to find.
May 25, 2021: Replaced the Dell U4919DW with the LG 49WL95C-W because the LG is easier to find; updated Notable Mentions based on market availability.
Mar 26, 2021: Replaced Dell S2721QS with Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, replaced LG 34GN850-B with Dell U3818DW.
Jan 26, 2021: Replaced Dell U3818DW with LG 34GN850-B.
Nov 27, 2020: Replaced Dell UltraSharp U2720Q with Dell S2721QS.
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.