The best monitors for programming in 2022
You’ll need one of the best monitors for programming if you take coding seriously. Much like having a comfortable keyboard to work on and a computer powerful enough to run code, a good display will make a huge difference in your workflow.
While there are a number of things to consider, the top of the list should be screen size. It helps if the display can flip into portrait mode to see even more lines of code at once. Since you’ll be staring at that display for hours, flicker-free technology and blue light filters that minimise eye strain are also features you’ll want. Don’t forget to consider colour accuracy and colour coverage if your projects include images and video. For more about how we rate and review monitors, see our how we test page.
With all the different options out there, it can be tough deciding which one to choose. To help you, we’ve applied our expertise to guide you to the right monitor specifically for programming. Regardless of your needs or budget, there’s a monitor here that will suit, some of which we’ve tested or used ourselves, others we’re recommending based on our expertise. You’ll even find some of the best 4K monitors and the best ultrawide monitors among our picks. And, if you plan on coding on the go, consider our guide for the best laptops for programming.
The best monitors for programming available now
The LG UltraFine Display 32UL950’s steep price tag might be tough to swallow, especially if you’re only starting out as a programmer, but it’s a superb screen that features 600 nits of brightness, HDR600 support, and 98% DCI-P3 colour coverage. It’s a pleasure to not just code on, but also for playing a PC game or for viewing films.
At 32 inches, this display is large enough that you won’t be squinting at your text code and you have enough room for viewing multiple windows side-by-side. An elegant design with minimal bezels adds to the sense of an immersive workflow, while Thunderbolt 3 connectivity allows for data transfer speeds of 40GB per second.
This certainly isn’t the cheapest monitor for programming on our list, but given the top-rate specs, superior build quality, and excellent colour coverage, it is good value and well worth the outlay if you have the budget.
If you’re new to programming or still studying, then you’ll probably want a monitor for programming that’s kinder on your bank account, but ideally without sacrificing quality. Fortunately, there are a few good affordable options out there, including the VP2458 Professional from ViewSonic. At under $300/£300, it falls within everyone’s budget, but it still offers some attractive features for programmers.
It comes with the kind of blue light filter offered by pricier monitors so you can reduce eyestrain even if you’re on an all-nighter to make a deadline. It also delivers lifelike colours with its 100% sRGB coverage and quick and easy colour calibration. The 24in panel makes it a good size to fit in a dorm or small apartment setup while an adjustable setup allows you to work in the best posture even if you’re in a tight space. On top of that, the near-frameless design offers a seamless visual experience when using multi-monitor setups if you want to go down that avenue.
To keep the price down, the ViewSonic VP2458 Professional keeps things to a humble HD resolution, but that’s a fair compromise for this price.
The BenQ DesignVue PD3220U is an outstanding monitor. It boasts excellent colour coverage with 100% Rec.709, 100% sRGB, and 95% P3 colour gamuts – although our own tests recorded up to 98% DCI-P3. It’s factory calibrated and delivers high colour accuracy out of the box, it comes with a variety of colour modes Animation, Rec.709, Adobe RGB, and CAD/CAM to help simplify creative workflows.
More importantly for programmers and web designers, it boasts features like PiP/PbP for multi-input multitasking, two Thunderbolt 3 ports for daisy-chaining multiple monitors and even connecting external GPUs, and that coder-coveted portrait mode, which comes with auto-portrait desktop orientation. We find 4K resolution on a 32-inch panel with a 140 PPI pixel density to be the sweet spot for delivering sharp, highly-detailed visuals, which can make for a comfortable coding experience and serve for a lot more besides. See our full BenQ PD322OU review for more details.
The BenQ EX3203R is primarily aimed at gamers, but when we reviewed the screen, we found it to be ideal for general productivity work too. We think it’s a brilliant monitor for programming too thanks to its high resolution and large screen size. So if you’re both a coder and a keen gamer, this is an option that’s well worth considering. It boasts 1440p resolution, which is ideal for coding as it gives you more pixels to work with than a 1080p monitor, but doesn’t go overboard like a 4K monitor.
Some people may think the 34-inch screen size is a bit large, but it has a 1000R curvature, which makes it very comfortable to use. The colour accuracy isn’t fantastic, and calibration is needed for the best performance, but this is unlikely to be a major issue for programming. See our full BenQ EX3410R monitor review for more details.
Much cheaper than all the other options out there, the MSI Modern MD271QP delivers 100% sRGB colour gamut, a 75Hz refresh rate, and a highly articulating stand that lets you tilt, swivel, adjust the height, and even pivot up to 90 degrees, out of which programmers will get a lot of use especially when that code starts to get really long.
It’s a great budget 1440p monitor for some creative professionals as well. Although we found the Adobe RGB and P3 coverage to be unremarkable during our testing, its Delta-E average of 0.49 makes it one of the most colour-accurate displays we’ve ever tested. And although MSI quotes a peak brightness of 250 nits, we recorded 350 nits with brightness set to 100% during our own tests. Read our full MSI Modern MD271QP review for the details.
We honestly don’t know why there aren’t more 16:18 monitors for coders, writers, and other multitaskers. Even though we haven’t done a full review of the LG DualUp Monitor 28MQ780, LG’s latest offering with a 16:18 aspect ratio and a fully articulating mount and stand, it only took us a couple of hours of use to be fully convinced of its brilliance.
Touting a squarish format, this 2560 x 2880 monitor is always wide enough to display what you need from every open window, regardless of whether it’s in landscape or portrait mode. It also helps you organise those windows by allowing you to snap them up into a stack of two or three, brilliantly making them effortlessly accessible and showing more than enough content.
Of course, if you just want to focus on your code, you can maximise that window and have more than enough space to see a big chunk of it, no matter how long it’s gotten, without you having to crane your neck. To round out this ultimate productivity package, the ergonomic and fully articulating stand will let you seamlessly tilt, swivel, rotate, and move it forward or backwards until you find the most comfortable position for you.
We’ve already included an ultrawide monitor in the list, but one that sits at the lower end of the definition and is suitable for more desk types. The Samsung CRG9 sits at the other end, offering a huge 49-inch screen, with a 32:9 ratio. It’s a huge amount of workspace, which means you can have all your apps, websites and more open at once. And thanks to multiple inputs and picture-in-picture mode, you can hook up two devices and use them together on the same monitor, making for a more space-efficient option than using multiple monitors.
The monitor offers superb image quality thanks to some of Samsung’s best tech, making it an ideal choice if you do photo or video editing as well as coding. It’s another expensive option, but it’s well worth the money for what you get.
The BenQ EW3280U may be from the manufacturer’s entertainment series and designed specifically for multimedia consumption, but we found that it makes for an excellent productivity monitor. The price is great for budget-conscious coders, and features like its light sensors that detect ambient light and optimizes brightness and colour temperature accordingly are brilliant for your eyes.
Meanwhile, its USB-C with DisplayPort Alt mode lets you not just connect your necessary peripherals but also charge your laptop and drive the display. The 32-inch panel size is just the ticket for 4K resolution viewing, allowing you to see your codes effortlessly. And, when you’re done with work, you can simply sit back and enjoy a movie, thanks to its DisplayHDR 400, great set of speakers, and an included remote. Read our full BenQ EW3280U review to see more reasons why this screen gets our seal of approval.
Huawei’s spiffy offering, the Huawei MateView, is undeniably sleek and brilliantly designed. For example, it keeps its super neat, incredibly thin design while still offering an impressive selection of ports by utilising its stand. Just as impressive are its specs that include 100% sRGB and 98% DCI-P3 colour coverage, up to DeltaE<1 colour accuracy, 500 nits of brightness, and HDR 400. Of course, being a USB-C monitor, it also boasts a USB-C port that supports data and video transfer as well as up to 65W Power Delivery.
The one thing that makes it an ideal monitor for programming, however, is its 3:2 aspect ratio – something that isn’t common with PC monitors. When we tested it out for our Huawei MateView review, we found the 3:2 aspect ratio to be excellent for productivity as that extra vertical space allows a panel to display more lines of text, which means you won’t have to scroll as much when dealing with extremely long documents. That makes this one a boon to programmers, coders and web designers.
Another huge 49in ultrawide option is the Philips Brilliance 499P9H. Like the Samsung monitor above, this also offers a more streamlined alternative to working with multiple monitors. With all that screen real estate you’re getting, you can spread out as much as you can, which in turn saves you time and allows you to focus on your work.
True to its multi-tasking nature, it also boasts a built-in USB-C docking station, a built-in KVM switch to easily switch between sources, and power delivery up to 65W, allowing you to power and charge your notebook via USB-C. Stock is low in the US at the moment. This award-winning monitor for programming isn’t cheap, however, so only invest if the whole package is worth it to you.
The best monitors for programming: What to consider
There are some important considerations to bear in mind when buying a monitor for coding. Firstly, there’s the matter of size. You’ll want a screen that is large enough that you’re not forced to strain to see, but not so big that you feel uneasy working on it. A huge monitor that looms over you can be uncomfortable, although that can be remedied with curved screens, which avoid you having to strain your neck to see all parts of the screen.
Another important factor is resolution. The higher the resolution, the more room you have to work, and text can look sharper too. However, ultra-high resolutions can leave text looking very small, which again is uncomfortable, although on both macOS and Windows 10, you can tweak the scaling of text so that it’s more comfortable to read on high-resolution monitors.
Ergonomics are important too. The best monitors for programming are easily adjustable, offering a good range of movement. You might also like a monitor that can be rotated to portrait orientation. Other features to look out for include blue light filtering and flicker reduction, which help take the strain off your eyes. Some monitors also offer automatic brightness adjustment, which fine-tunes the display to suit the ambient light of your setting, again helping to avoid eyestrain. It might also be worth looking at the best monitor stands to ensure you get your setup just right.
Are 4K monitors suitable for programming?
When you’re coding, a monitor’s resolution will not factor in quite the way it would with other content creators. Having access to stunning graphics, at least for work, doesn’t hold the same priority as being able to work in comfort. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore UHD monitors when looking for that next display.
UHD displays do offer one particular benefit to coders over their lower-res counterparts. That higher resolution provides more screen real estate and allows you to fit more windows on your screen while working. If anything, that higher resolution allows a more streamlined workflow.
How big should my monitor be for programming?
A display’s size depends largely on how you work and what your setup is like. If you plan on sitting further back, you’ll want to use a larger monitor so you can see everything clearly. But, if you work in more cramped quarters, you’ll want to have the entire display within your field of vision. And, that means downsizing. Otherwise, you’ll end up moving your eyes and neck to the point of discomfort.
Is a curved screen good for programming?
Choosing between a flat or curved panel is mostly a matter of preference. Flat panels lend themselves much better to multi-display setups, with some of them can rotate 90 degrees to use in portrait mode.
If you’re planning on sitting a little closer to your monitor, a curved monitor might be better, especially if you don’t plan on adding a second panel. The curvature gives you a more immersive viewing experience, letting you see the corners of the screen without having to refocus on different parts of the screen. That curved design will also alleviate eye fatigue and strain.
Why do coders use vertical monitors?
When you use a vertical monitor, you’re able to read and skim through much larger portions of your work at once. Since lines of code don’t get very long, the width of a monitor doesn’t come into play when writing or reading through your code the way it does for photo or video editing work. So, turning a monitor into portrait mode makes the best use of your screen space. Of course, you’ll want to pair that with a monitor in landscape mode to see the results.