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Best cheap monitors in 2021

Included in this guide:

best cheap monitors 2021
best cheap monitors 2021 (Image credit: Amazon)

The best cheap monitors offer a lot of advantages and benefits — without burning a hole in your wallet. They also offer impressive displays, decent brightness, accurate colors, VESA-mount compatibility and more, and you don't need to spend a fortune. You shouldn't have to break the bank to snag the best cheap monitor for yourself.

At Laptop Mag, we know a thing or two about the best affordable monitors. We've rounded up a best cheap monitors list — some were tested by us, others were thoroughly researched.  In the end, we did all the work so you don't have to.

The best cheap monitors that give you a lot of bang for your buck aren't easy to find, whether you're looking for a gaming monitor or a general-purpose monitor. There are so many aspects to consider, including brightness, color quality, resolution, size, refresh rates and more. That's why we've added a useful short guide at the end of this roundup to arm you with empowering information on how to buy a cheap monitor.

You should also know that an expensive price tag isn't an indicator of quality. While you're seeking to purchase the best budget monitor, you'll want to make sure you're getting the most value for your hard-earned money. At the same time, protecting your wallet comes with some sacrifices — you'll have to make some trade-offs somewhere, whether it's screen size, brightness, refresh rate or another attractive feature. This buying guide will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of our top picks for the best cheap monitors of 2021. This way, you can choose the monitor that's right for you.

If you don't want to make the mistake of buying the wrong budget monitor, stick around to find out top recommendations.

What is the best cheap monitor?

The best cheap monitor is the Acer R240HY bidx monitor. The Acer Acer R240HY bidx monitor has an Amazon review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars for a good reason. Its slim-bezel design that Acer calls "Zero Frame" gives you a more immersive viewing experience. 

The Acer R240HY bidx monitor is also the best cheap monitor for productivity users who need a monitor for office use. Another reason this monitor is the best monitor is its embedded Acer Flicker-less technology, which prevents pesky screen flickering. The Acer R240HY bidx monitor also has a zippy 4ms response time for its low price point. The monitor comes with 1080p, 23.8-inch, IPS display.

The Acer R240HY bidx monitor can also tilt from -5 degrees to 15 degrees, allowing you to choose the best and most comfortable visual angle for media entertainment, office productivity and more.

The best cheap monitors you can buy today

best cheap monitor 2021: Acer R240HY bidx

best cheap monitors 2021: Acer R240HY bidx (Image credit: Amazon)

1. Acer R240HY bidx monitor

Best cheap monitor overall

Specifications
Display: 23.8-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI, DVI, VGA
Response time: 4ms
Refresh rate: Up to 60Hz
VESA mount compatibility: No
Reasons to buy
+Zero-frame design+Vivid colors+Adjustable stand+178-degree viewing angles
Reasons to avoid
-No VESA mount compatibility

The Acer R240HY bidx monitor has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon, which is pretty darn close to perfection if you ask us! This 23.8-inch stunner is one of the best monitors of 2021 because of its ultra-slim bezels and sleek design, gorgeous, vivid colors and wide viewing angles. 

Customers also praised the Acer KG251Q Fbmidpx for its rich darks and bright hues. Users heralded the the Acer R240HY bidx as an excellent choice for the external monitor experience and for hooking up with one's gaming console. Even professionals such as architects and digital designers were taken aback by the KG251G bidx's color, brightness, and resolution. For the price, the Acer R240HY bidx offers a lot of spectacular value.

best cheap monitors: ViewSonic VP2458 Professional 24 inch

best cheap monitors: ViewSonic VP2458 Professional 24 inch (Image credit: Future)

2. ViewSonic VP2458 Professional 24-inch monitor

Best cheap monitor for color accuracy

Specifications
Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI 1.4, USB 3.1, DisplayPort and VGA inputs
Response time: 7ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Wide variety of ports+Color accuracy+100% sRGB gamut coverage
Reasons to avoid
-Not-so-speedy response time

The 24-inch ViewSonic VP2458 Professional is the best cheap monitor for users seeking a monitor with vivid and accurate color. This ViewSonic color has a Delta E score that is less than 2 — the closer to zero, the better. Delta-E tells you how accurate the colors on your monitor will be, so you can be rest assured than ViewSonic's color accuracy will be satisfactory for your viewing pleasures. The ViewSonic monitor will likely appeal to graphic designers and other digital artists.

The 24-inch ViewSonic VP2458 Professional is also a perfect budget monitor for productivity users. The monitor features a blue-light filter help boost productivity for all-day comfort. One trade off you'll have to make with this cheap monitor, however, is response time. The response time is 7ms.

best cheap monitors: ASUS VS228H-P

best cheap monitors: ASUS VS228H-P (Image credit: Asus)

3. ASUS VS228H-P monitor

Best budget monitor with great color accuracy

Specifications
Display: 22-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI, DVI, VGA
Response time: 5ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+VESA-mount compatibility+Accurate color
Reasons to avoid
-TN panel

The Asus VS228H-P monitor is one of the best cheap monitors due to its bargain price, but it comes at the expense of screen size, offering a 22-inch screen with a basic TN panel. 

The display itself is capable, if not impressive: It boasts an average brightness of 184 nits and accurate color (Delta-E 0.10) while covering a fair amount of the sRGB gamut (110 %). The monitor also offers some versatility, thanks to VESA-mount compatibility and an audio jack for connecting speakers or headphones (when connected over HDMI). It comes with a generous three-year warranty. 

AOC C24G1 24" Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor

best cheap monitors: AOC C24G1 24" Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor (Image credit: Amazon)

4. AOC C24G1 24" Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor

Best cheap curved monitor

Specifications
Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: VGA, HDMI x 2, DisplayPort
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 144Hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Thin bezels+VESA mount compatible+Dual HDMI+Curved aesthetic
Reasons to avoid
-No built-in speakers

The AOC C24G1 24-inch Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor is one of the best cheap monitors you can get with a high refresh rate of 144Hz. There's a reason why it's got an Amazon rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Customers who've had the pleasure of taking this beautiful monitor home gush about its sharp, crisp visual quality -- it's not as visually pleasing as a 4K monitor, of course, but the picture quality is impressive.

The AOC C24G1 24-inch Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor has a quick response rate of 1ms, which is particularly useful for games requiring fast reflexes or precise timing. This is a great selling point for gamers: in gaming situations where the difference between life and death is measured in milliseconds, having a speedy response rate is crucial to have an edge over your opponents.

This monitor is compatible for VESA mounting so that you can neatly place it on your wall. This 24-inch display is perfect if you're a budget-conscious consumer seeking cheap alternatives for your artistic, gaming or office needs.

best cheap monitors: HP Omen Monitor

best cheap monitors: HP Omen Monitor (Image credit: HP)

5. HP Omen Monitor

Best budget gaming monitor with FreeSync

Specifications
Display: 24.5-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: DisplayPort, HDMI, audio output, USB 3.0,
Response time: 1ms
Refresh rate: 144hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+AMD FreeSync technology+Tilt adjustment+Snappy response rate+Great value for price
Reasons to avoid
-TN panel

HP sells the Omen in several display sizes, but let's zoom in on the HP Omen 24.5-inch model that you can snag for around $250. What we love about the HP Omen as the best cheap monitor is that it has everything a gamer needs to have a satisfying, immersive gaming experience.

It has a super-fast response rate of 1ms, it has a 144Hz refresh rate and it has AMD FreeSync, which is a technology that reduces input lag, screen tears and monitor stutter so that you can sweep the leaderboards and dominate fast-paced gameplay.

It also has an anti-glare panel, so if the sun is beaming at you through your windows, you won't be obstructed by its rays. This monitor also has tilt adjustment and wide viewing angles.

best cheap monitors: Dell P2219H monitor

best cheap monitors: Dell P2219H monitor (Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell P2219H monitor

Best cheap monitor with a small footprint

Specifications
Display: 21.5-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.0
Response time: 8ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Flexible angle/height adjustment+Well stocked on ports+Easy installation+Thin bezels
Reasons to avoid
-No speakers

The Dell P2219H monitor has an impressive 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon due its modern, thin-bezel design, variety of ports and angle versatility.  For those with sensitive eyes, Dell introduced a ComfortView feature that reduces blue-light emissions that can harm you. So if you tend to spend hours and hours at work on your monitor, you can reduce the straight on your eyesight.

You can also tilt, swivel , pivot and adjust the height of your monitor for a more comfortable setup.

best cheap monitors: Dell Gaming Monitor SE2417HG

best cheap monitors: Dell Gaming Monitor SE2417HG  (Image credit: Dell)

7. Dell SE2417HG monitor

Best budget monitor for viewing Netflix

Specifications
Display: 23.6-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI, audio-out, VGA
Response time: 2ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: No
Reasons to buy
+Matte screen+Great for family entertainment+Great contrast
Reasons to avoid
-No VESA mount compatibility

Dell is targeting gamers with the SE2417HG monitor due to its 2ms response rate. Sure the the 24-inch Dell SE2417HG monitor would make an OK entry-level gaming monitor, but customers lauded the Dell SE2417HG as a perfect monitor for family entertainment activities, such as browsing through the internet and watching Netflix. Amazon reviewers also gushed about the Dell SE2417HG monitor's sharp, high contrast picture quality.

The Dell SE2417HG is easy to assemble, has a robust stand and has a matte-finish screen. The latter helps to minimize reflections from indoor lighting for a better viewing experience.

It's also worth noting that this monitor is the highest-rated on this buying guide with 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

best budget monitor: ASUS VS248H-P

best budget monitor:  ASUS VS248H-P (Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus VS248H monitor

Best budget monitor with awesome brightness

Specifications
Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI, DVI, VGA
Response time: 2ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Decent brightness at 241 nits+Easy-to-use controls+Decent-sized display
Reasons to avoid
-So-so color accuracy

The 24-inch Asus VS248H is a solid option for the bargain hunter. It offers a decent-size display, quick 2 millisecond response times and Asus’ standard three-year warranty. While the color accuracy (Delta-E of 0.10) and gamut (108 percent) aren’t anything special, it does offer some of the better brightness of the low-priced models we tested, averaging 241 nits. Additionally, the monitor’s controls are easy to see and use, thanks to clear labels and placement along the bottom of the bezel. 

best budget monitors: Dell SE2416Hx

best budget monitors: Dell SE2416Hx (Image credit: Dell)

9. Dell SE2416HX monitor

Best budget monitor from Dell

Specifications
Display: 23.8-inch (1920 x 1080)
Ports: HDMI, VGA
Response time: 6ms
Refresh rate: 60hz
VESA mount compatibility: No
Reasons to buy
+IPS panel+Great viewing angles+Sleek design
Reasons to avoid
-Average brightness

The SE2416HX is the best cheap monitor from Dell. It has an attractive price for a 24-inch display. Viewing angles are quite good; thanks to an IPS panel. Its color accuracy is solid (0.11) -- if not the best we’ve seen -- and its 108% of the sRGB color gamut is in the middle of the pack. 

However, there are some trade offs for the cheaper price tag. The Dell SE2416HX monitor suffers from dimmer-than-average brightness (averaging 179 nits) and slow response times (6 milliseconds) that result in image smearing when viewing fast-paced video or games. The monitor has an attractively sleek design with inputs for both HDMI and VGA, but it lacks any mounting support. It is covered by a one-year warranty. 

How to choose the best budget monitor for you

In this price range, expect screens that are less than 30 inches and have 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, but not higher. Some of the budget monitors we looked at use IPS display technology, but the majority use the older TN panels, which often suffer from narrower viewing angles and less accurate color. You’ll also give up conveniences like built-in USB connections, faster refresh rates and height-adjustable stands.

Screen Size:

Let's talk screen size. Monitors can be anything from 20 inches to 49 inches, more or less, in size. But if you don't want to spend too much on a monitor, you'll have to settle for a screen display that's under 30 inches. 

Resolution:

You'll also want to consider resolution, which refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels -- the higher the number, the sharper your display will be. However, when it comes to cheap monitors, it's not likely that you'll get anything higher than  1080p resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). The bigger your screen gets, the higher the resolution should be. For example, a 1080p monitor might be fine on a 24-inch monitor, but not so much on a 27-inch monitor because it would have to "stretch" itself to fit more screen real estate.

Panels:

There are four main types of panels: TN, IPS, VA and OLED. TN and VA panels are usually the least expensive. On the plus side, TN panels feature decent response times and low input lag, but tend to offer not-so-great color richness and viewing angles. VA panels offer better contrast and vibrant colors, but typically are not recommended for budget gamers (TN may be a better choice for response rates, but you'll have to sacrifice image quality).  IPS  offers better image quality than TN and VA panels, but the response time may be subpar for a gamer. IPS panels are best for creators (e.g. video editors, image editors) seeking the best cheap monitor. OLED is the priciest option -- you likely won't find this premium panel on a cheap monitor.

VESA-mount compatibility:

If you're planning on mounting your monitor to a VESA mount, you'll want to make sure the monitor has VESA-mount compatibility. 

Tilt adjustment:

Perhaps you'll want a cheap monitor that change angles, and if that's the case, look out for cheap monitors with tilt adjustment capabilities.

Ports:

You'll also need to observe which ports you'll need. Most current laptops, for example, use one or more of the following for display connections: HDMIDisplayPortUSB-C (Thunderbolt 3). You'll want to double-check to see if your chosen monitor can effectively connect with your laptop.

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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!