With today’s cutting-edge PC hardware, a top quality monitor has never been more important. As features such as high refresh rates, 4K displays, ultrawide screens, and syncing technologies become more common, users need to choose a device tailored to their needs.

Gamers will want something with refresh rates higher than 60Hz and support for VRR (variable refresh rate), while media professionals will prioritize a top quality panel and color accuracy above all else. Then again, maybe you’re not in one group or the other and are looking for an overall balance between image quality, features, ergonomics, connectivity and screen size. To make picking the right monitor easier, here are our favorites in a handful of distinct categories.

Best Overall

Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q

Great | Differentiating Features
Fantastic color accuracy and image quality. 100% sRGB, and REC 709 color space.

Good | Most Have It
Flagship, big 4K display. Plenty of connectivity options. Stylish design.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No G-Sync or FreeSync support. Expensive.

We still believe that when it comes to the best overall monitor available today, you can’t beat Dell’s UltraSharp UP3216Q. The display is simply a dream to use for 4K lovers who sit in front a screen all day. It's an expensive piece of kit, but worth it.

Following in the footsteps of the UP3214Q was no easy feat, but Dell was up to the task with its superb successor. The price continues to hover around the $1400 mark, but if you want 32-inches of pure 4K quality, expect to pay for it.

The Dell is ahead of its similar sized 4K rivals when it comes to color spaces. The monitor displays 100 percent of the sRGB gamut and 99.5 percent of the Adobe RGB color space, along with 100 percent of the REC709 standard and 87 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut - two standards that are widely used in content production. It also ships with an average Delta-E < 2 calibration.

The 3840 x 2160, 140PPI panel is gorgeous; the image quality and color accuracy look light years ahead of many other 4K panels. And while the 60Hz refresh rate, lack of syncing technology, and 6ms response time mean it’s not the greatest gaming monitor available, titles will still look gorgeous on this screen - provided you've got the right hardware to drive all those pixels.

Dell’s display also boasts 178 degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles, 1.07 billion colors, and 300 cd/m² typical maximum brightness. There are a wide range connectivity options on offer, too: a single DisplayPort 1.2, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, a 6-in-1 media card reader, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and 1 USB 3.0 upstream.

For those after a similarly priced 4K monitor that’s designed with gamers in mind, there’s the 32-inch Acer Predator XB321HK. That 4K IPS screen with G-Sync and a 4ms response is as good as it sounds. Providing you’ve got the money and an absolute monster of a GPU, you can now buy a display that will take your gaming experience to a whole new level.

Best Enthusiast Monitor

Dell U2715H

Great | Differentiating Features
Multiple inputs. Amazing out of the box picture quality. Great warranty. Five port USB 3.0 hub. Impressive audio.

Good | Most Have It
Fantastic price. Elegant design. Good viewing angles.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No variable refresh rate technology support.

For the best combination of price, performance, and features, the Dell U2715H continues to stay ahead of the pack. It’s one of most popular and best-reviewed monitors on Amazon, and is a great display for both work and play, especially at its now sub-$500 price point.

1440p is on its way to becoming the preferred resolution of most PC users, and 2560 x 1440 looks spectacular on this 27-inch display. It has great out of the box color reproduction and an amazing, clear image that shows the quality of the LG IPS "Neoblade" panel. It also features a 6ms response time (in FAST mode), typical brightness of 350 cd/ m², a 60Hz refresh rate, and 178-degree viewing angles.

The simple yet stylish stand allows a range of smooth movements, including tilt, pivot (clockwise and anti-clockwise), and swivel. Connectivity, meanwhile, is one of the UltraSharp U2715H strongest features. Its five USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 2.0 inputs, single mini-DisplayPort 1.2, and two standard DisplayPort 1.2 connections should be enough for the vast majority of users.

The best elements of this monitor aren't restricted to its display and build; you also get some of the best guarantees around. Nintendo should take note of Dell's policy: a single bright pixel will see the monitor replaced with a new one; there’s a three-year limited hardware warranty; and best of all, the Advanced Exchange service means you get a replacement before sending off your defective unit.

The lack of VRR support and high refresh rates mean there are better monitors for gaming, but most people will be pleased with what Dell’s machine can produce for general usage at this price point.

Also Great: Going Ultrawide

Looking for some extra screen real estate that can boost your productivity? Then check out another Dell offering: the Ultrasharp U3417W. This 34-inch curved beauty not only boasts accurate colors and great grayscale performance through its IPS panel, but also has a ton of ports and a fast response time.

The U3417W also has a thinner bezel and less backlight bleed than its predecessor – the U3415W – and is certainly the prettier and more stylish of the two monitors. It's currently discounted down to $780, making it a great choice for widescreen enthusiasts who enjoy multitasking and gaming in equal measure.

Best Gaming Monitor

Asus PG279Q

2018 Update:
Check out our dedicated feature The Best Gaming Monitors for recommendations on 1080p, 1440p, 4K and Ultrawide monitors if you're primarily shopping for a gaming PC.

Great | Differentiating Features
Amazing 165Hz refresh rate, G-Sync. Stunning picture. Premium design.

Good | Most Have It
Plenty of settings for gaming. 1440p looks great without being too demanding. Intuitive user interface.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Some calibration may be required to get the best picture. Still expensive.

Asus and Acer continue to fight it out in this category, with both companies producing amazing monitors that hit the sweet spot for gamers: 27-inch, 1440p G-Sync displays with a high refresh rate. But it’s Asus’ PG279Q that continues to stay head of its rival’s Predator XB271HU, despite being the slightly more expensive display at $800, compared to Acer’s $739.99.

Instead of having to compromise and pick between the fast refresh rate and low input lag of a TN Panel, or the stunning beauty of an IPS screen, the Swift offers the best of both worlds. All wrapped up in a stylish package.

Hitting 60 fps at 4K resolutions is often a struggle for the fastest of GPUs. For visually luscious gaming that doesn't end up looking like a slideshow, the Swift’s 2560 x 1440 resolution is perfect. Even with graphical settings turned up to high, you can push the coveted 60fps mark in 1440p on most games with a previous-gen GTX 970 – still the most popular GPU among Steam users.

At 27-inches, this monitor is big enough for all your gaming needs without feeling overwhelming or getting in the way of the cases/printers/cats that occupy some desks.

There are more 165Hz (and higher) monitors available today than six months ago, but it's still an amazing feature. The jump from 144Hz to 165Hz can be difficult to notice, admittedly, but those moving from 60Hz monitors will see a huge difference in both gaming and everyday use. Not only will your mouse pointer seem to glide across the screen but, providing you have a beefy GPU, or turn down the settings, a game hitting 165 FPS in 1440p is the kind of sight to make console gamers weep.

For extra buttery-smooth gameplay, Nvidia users will benefit from the PG279Q’s G-Sync support, which synchronizes the monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU for an even smoother experience.

The small joystick hidden behind the monitor makes adjusting the OSD easy, and there are plenty of options available, including preset display modes and overlays designed for games. You also get 1000:1 contrast ratio, 100 percent of the sRGB gamut, 178-degree viewing angles, and a snappy 4ms response time.

The design is a big plus point, too. With its sturdy square base, thin bezel, and the ROG brand's splashes of red, the Swift has the look of a premium piece of hardware. There’s the full range of height, tilt, swivel and pivot adjustments available, and it even has a smart cable management system at the back to keep everything tidy.

If you had to pick faults with the PG279Q, it would be that it could use more inputs. The single DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI ports, along with two USB 3.0s, may be enough for most people, but many monitors in this price range boast more options. Ultimately, though, the Swift is worth the asking price.

A Great Ultrawide Option

While Acer and Asus both have excellent options for fans of Ultrawide (3,440 x 1440) gaming monitors, Samsung’s CF791 34-inch display has moved ahead of its two rivals.

Sporting a 1500R curvature, 100Hz refresh rate, and a 4 ms response time, this display ticks all the right boxes. It features the same Quantum Dot technology used in Samsung’s high-end TVs, which allows for some sharp, accurate colors and good contrast ratio. Best of all, it has an amazing design, with “boundless” thin bezels offering a more immersive experience. The only caveats are the fairly high price, and the fact it uses AMD’s Freesync rather than the more popular G-Sync. However, a spokesperson told me last year that a version sporting Nvidia’s variable refresh rate tech will likely be available at some point in the future.

Most Ultrawide gaming monitors hit you hard in the pocket, but if money isn't an issue and you simply can’t have anything other than the absolute best, then the 34-inch Asus ROG PG348Q is for you.

At the time of writing it’s got $100 off its $1300 Amazon price. But for that amount you get an astounding IPS monitor with up to 100 Hz variable refresh rates and G-Sync tech. Every element of the screen, from the colors to the contrast levels, are breathtaking, and it comes with an absolute ton of features. Eye-wateringly expensive, but a true example of getting what you pay for.

Best Affordable 4K Monitor

LG 27UD68-W

Great | Differentiating Features
Phenomenal 4K performance for this price range.

Good | Most Have It
AMD FreeSync support. Genre-specific gaming modes.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Very few ports. Stand could be better.

While 4K gaming is still out of reach for most people, the resolution is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to productivity and other uses. As such, the price of once-expensive 4K displays are falling fast.

The Asus PB279Q is a great choice when it comes to 4K on a budget, having dropped from its original price of almost $700 to $549. But the LG 27UD68-W is newer, more energy efficient, and gamer-focused. As such, it remains our pick for best affordable 4K monitor.

Not only does LG’s 27UD68-W offer a gorgeous 3840 x 2160 resolution on its 27-inch IPS screen, but it also comes with a slew of gaming features, including FreeSync. Gamers with a beefy AMD card looking to make the move to 4K will find its $480 -$550 price an absolute bargain.

In addition to FreeSync support, you also get Black Stabilizer for identifying and brightening dark areas in games, Dynamic Action Sync that reduces lag time, and different modes that optimize the settings in FPS and RTS titles. The 5ms response time and 60Hz refresh rate, meanwhile, may not be the fastest, but they work well when it comes to 4K gaming. The LG 27UD68-W boasts of some other impressive specs, including 1.07 billion colors, 178-degree viewing angles, 350 cd/m² peak brightness, and over 99 percent sRGB coverage.

There have been a few cutbacks made to keep the monitor’s price down. Connectivity is limited to two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a single DisplayPort 1.2. It also lacks built-in speakers, though most people prefer external audio devices these days. And although the monitor’s small bezels make it look sleek and larger than it actually is, the stand is a bit plasticky. But despite these minor issues, it’s an incredible monitor with a fantastic price.

Best Value Monitor

ViewSonic VX2757-MHD

Great | Differentiating Features
Incredible value for a 27-inch FreeSync monitor

Good | Most Have It
2ms response time, large for the price, 75Hz max refresh rate

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Speakers aren't the best, TN panel

Getting a 27-inch monitor with FreeSync, a 75Hz max refresh rate, and a 2ms response time for under $200 sounds like the stuff of fantasy. But thanks to its current discount, you can now buy the excellent ViewSonic VX2757-MHD for just $189.99.

It may not have the perks you find with IPS panels, but it’s a fair trade-off for that price, size, and AMD’s variable refresh rate tech. That’s not to say the picture’s bad – far from it. The image is remarkably sharp and crisp, especially for a monitor under the $200 mark.

You may imagine that the ViewSonic's low price means its build quality raises questions, but this isn’t the case. The monitor is solid, well-built, and stylish. It also comes with a helpful cable management loop.

It’s not easy to find a cheap monitor that’ll satisfy both gamers and more casual users, but the many features of this display should please everyone on a budget. There’s even a hot key that optimizes gameplay for FPS, RTS and MOBA titles.

Considering that many similar 27-inch monitors with variable response rates cost close to double the VX2757-MHD’s price, you can see why it gets our best value award.

If you’re looking for one of the cheapest monitors out there that isn't a total heap of junk, then check out the HP Pavilion 21.5-Inch IPS monitor. It’s small and about as basic as you can get, but this IPS panel has bright, sharp colors and a 7ms response time. At an incredible $99, you can understand why it’s currently the best-selling monitor on Amazon. For a no-frills display that produces a good picture, or a multi-monitor setup on a budget, the Pavilion's a great choice.