Best LED Monitors

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
488 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best LED Monitors

Last Updated October 2019

LED monitors, or “flat screens” as some people call them, were slightly futuristic when they first appeared. Unfortunately, computer monitors using LEDs (light emitting diodes) didn’t have much in the way of resolution and responsiveness in the beginning. That’s all changed. Now they’re high-res, space-saving screens that are can be used for high-end gaming or watching movies in addition to running all your normal apps.

As with all things electronic, prices have dropped considerably while resolution, speed, and color depth have increased. Screen sizes range from 19.5 inches to 27 inches and can be flat or curved. The curved monitors are supposed to help reduce eye strain.

LED monitors bring a lot of benefits with them, not the least of which is lower energy requirements. There’s no burn-in like there was with the old CRT monitors, either.

Regardless of what you need – more landscape for big spreadsheets or fast refresh for high-end first-person shooters – there’s an LED monitor out there for you. Let’s dig into everything about them so you can find the perfect model for you.

The highest resolution currently available for LED monitors is 3840 x 2160. The prices are $400 and up for that kind of resolution.

Key considerations

You need to consider a number of things before deciding which monitor you’re getting. Go down the list and examine each one in turn. It will give you a much better idea of which monitors to consider.

Connections

First, you need to know what video connections your computer has on it. If you only have an older VGA connection then you won’t be able to use the larger, faster monitors since they normally require HDMI. Modern computers typically have at least one HDMI or DVI connector. Some have a DP (display port) connection on them.

There are adapters available but there is always some resolution or refresh loss when you’re using them, regardless of what the manufacturers claim. You’re better off using connections that are native to your system.

Immersive viewing with a super clear picture

The Samsung C27F398 27" Curved Monitor offers a 4ms response time to give you one of the fastest on-screen video and gaming experiences with less blur and ghosting than any monitor we looked at. The 1800R screen curvature mimics the curve of the human eye to       reduce eye strain and provide a “you are there” immersive viewing experience. The Eco-Saving Plus feature reduces screen brightness to save power and money on your monthly electric bill.

Size

LED monitors use less real estate on your desk front-to-back than the old CRTs, but take up more room side-to-side. A 27 inch monitor sounds great until you have to make space for it on your desk. Depending on your circumstances, a 24 inches or even a 22 inch screen might be better.

You should consider the height as well. Flat screen monitors require a stand which can add three to four inches to their height. If you have an upper shelf on your desk, measure it just to be on the safe side. Also, you should be aware that the base of the stand can add four to six inches to the depth as well.

DID YOU KNOW?

DP (DisplayPort) has twice the bandwidth of HDMI and can daisy chain devices that are configured for it. However, it’s a newer standard then HDMI and hasn’t caught on as much.

Features

Resolution

The resolution on computer monitors (LED or otherwise) is measured in pixels. All other things being equal, a 21 inch monitor with 1920 x 1080 pixels is going to look better than a 27 inch monitor with the same resolution. That’s because it’s packing the same number of pixels into a smaller area, which means the pixels themselves have to be smaller.

When you’re sitting too close to a large screen you’ll start being able to make out the individual pixels. Images and videos will look blocky or “pixelated.” If you want a very sharp image and plan to watch a lot of vivid content on the screen, it may be worth spending more for higher resolution.

Response time

The response time for LED monitors is a measure of how fast the individual pixels change from one shade to another. Since one frame will stay on the screen for 17 milliseconds on a 60Hz monitor, pixels need to change faster than that. If they don’t, you’ll experience ghosting or blurring during fast changes on the screen. This will be especially noticeable during high-resolution games or videos.

Flat screen vs. curved screen

The old CRT monitors had a convex surface that curved slightly outward. This was required due to the nature of the cathode emitter at the back of the tube which fired from a central location. Without the curve, the dots (pixels) at the edges of the screen would have been elongated instead of round.

LED monitors don’t suffer from that limitation since there is an individual LED for each pixel; therefore, they’re flat. As screens became wider, the limitations of human eyesight began to make themselves known.

People see the world in three dimensions, but flat screens only display two. As a result, your eyes naturally focus on the center of the screen, losing focus on about an eighth of the screen on either edge. A curved, concave screen focuses the eyes more naturally.

LEDs were invented in 1961 but weren’t used in monitors until 1977. They were mainly used for small laptops and children’s toys.

LED monitor prices

Less than $100

Monitors under $100 are available anywhere from 19 inches to 24 inches at the top end of the scale. Some even have built-in speakers. 1920 x 1080 is the most common or standard resolution, even in the lower price bracket.

$100 to $200

This is where you’ll find monitors over 25 inches with 2ms response times and curved screens. Resolutions of 1920 x 1200 start appearing here also.

More than $200

There’s no real upper limit to prices here at the top. This is where you’ll find ultrawide screens, 3440 x 1440 resolutions, and customizable controls.

EXPERT TIP

HDMI computer monitors can be used as televisions, provided they have speakers or speaker jacks and HDMI televisions can be used as computer monitors. The differences between them are getting smaller all the time.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Turn the brightness setting down to conserve power. You’ll still get             vibrant colors and save some money on your electric bill.
  • Position a 19 inch monitor about one arm’s length away from you. Add an extra inch of distance for every additional inch of the monitor size.
  • Place lights off to the side and slightly behind the monitor to avoid screen glare.
  • Don’t place the monitor in front of a window. You’ll create eye strain for yourself due to the contrasting brightness of the two.
  • Do not use glass or window cleaner for cleaning the screen. Turn it off and use a dry microfiber cloth to clean it.

 HD 1600 x 900 resolution and 5ms response time

For value on a budget, this Acer G206HQL 19.5" LED Monitor is the way to go whether you’re using it on a Mac or PC. This will handle all your desktop needs. It even gives you a decent picture when you are watching movies or playing games. It doesn’t have much tilt to it but it works right out of the box.

Other products we considered

There are dozens of brands of LED monitors. We mainly focused on the name brands people are acquainted with, but others are worth a look, too. The Sceptre Ultra Thin 24" is a strong contender with built-in speakers and variable settings for the resolution and refresh rate. Dell has a D Series LED-Lit Monitor 31.5" that is white on the back with a black facing on the front. It’s a bit of a monster and only has a 1920 x 1080 resolution for all that landscape, but it’s reasonably priced and would be great if you’re using a remote keyboard and want to be able to read the screen from across the room.

LED monitors can contain lead and mercury. Be sure to check the local recycling laws in your area before you throw an old monitor in the trash.

FAQ

Q. There is no display on my screen. What do I do?
A.
Make sure the monitor is on. There should be an indicator light on the bezel of the monitor, usually along the bottom. If there is no light, the monitor may be turned off or may have come unplugged. Some monitors have an automatic power off mode if the computer goes to sleep to conserve energy. Press the spacebar or move the mouse to wake the computer up.

Q. The monitor says there is no signal. What’s wrong?
A.
If the monitor is able to display a message that means it is on and working properly. The message is most likely the result of a loose connection between the monitor and the computer. Unplug the cable from the monitor and the computer, then reattach it making sure it’s firmly seated on both ends. If it doesn’t work you may have a bad cable.

Q. What is the lifetime of an LED monitor?
A.
This is a little harder to answer than you might think. LED monitors are solidstate electronics. There are no moving parts. They generate heat internally, though, which gradually wears down the components. A ballpark estimate of two to three years is the average lifespan. Some people have LED monitors that are still going strong after six years or more, so you might have the same thing happen to you.

Q. Should I repair my monitor or replace it?
A.
Replace it. Unless it’s brand new and still within the manufacturer’s warranty, it will almost certainly cost more to repair than it will to buy a new one. The prices have come down so much it doesn’t make sense to do anything else.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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