Monitor Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Making a Purchase

Are you in the market for a new monitor but don’t know where to start? With so many different types and models available, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. In this monitor buying guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know before making a purchase. From screen size and resolution to refresh rate and panel type, we’ve got you covered.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Screen Size
  • Resolution
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Panel Type
  • Refresh Rate
  • Response Time
  • Inputs and Outputs
  • Ergonomics
  • Additional Features
  • Budget
  • Brand and Warranty
  • Reviews
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs


A monitor is an essential component of any desktop setup. Whether you’re a gamer, graphic designer, or simply need a larger screen to work on, there are many factors to consider before making a purchase. In this guide, we’ll cover the most important features of a monitor to help you make an informed decision.

Screen Size

One of the first things to consider when buying a monitor is the screen size. A larger screen can provide a more immersive experience, but it may also take up more desk space. Monitor sizes are measured diagonally, and typically range from 21 inches to 32 inches or larger.


Resolution refers to the number of pixels on the screen, and it can have a big impact on image clarity. The most common resolutions are 1080p (1920 x 1080), 1440p (2560 x 1440), and 4K (3840 x 2160). Higher resolutions can provide a sharper image, but they also require more powerful hardware to run smoothly.

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio refers to the ratio of the width to the height of the screen. The most common aspect ratios are 16:9 (widescreen) and 4:3 (standard). Widescreen monitors are better suited for movies and games, while standard monitors are better for productivity tasks like web browsing and document editing.

Panel Type

There are three main types of monitor panels: TN, IPS, and VA. TN panels are the most common and offer fast response times, but they have limited viewing angles and poor color accuracy. IPS panels have better color accuracy and wider viewing angles, but they can be more expensive. VA panels have the best contrast ratio but may suffer from ghosting and motion blur.

Refresh Rate

Refresh rate refers to the number of times per second that the screen is redrawn. A higher refresh rate can provide a smoother gaming experience, but it may not make a noticeable difference for general use. The most common refresh rates are 60Hz and 144Hz, but some monitors can go as high as 240Hz.

Response Time

Response time refers to the time it takes for a pixel to change from one color to another. A faster response time can reduce motion blur and ghosting in fast-paced games, but it may not be noticeable for general use. The most common response times are 1ms and 5ms.

Inputs and Outputs

Make sure the monitor you choose has the necessary inputs and outputs for your setup. Most monitors will have at least one HDMI and DisplayPort input, but some may also have VGA, DVI, or USB ports.


Consider the ergonomics of the monitor before making a purchase. A monitor with adjustable height, tilt, and swivel can help reduce eye strain and neck pain.


When it comes to buying a monitor, your budget will play a significant role in determining which model you can afford. Monitors can range from less than $100 to over $1000, depending on the features and specifications.

It’s essential to determine how much you’re willing to spend before making a purchase. A budget monitor may have fewer features, a lower resolution, and a smaller screen size, but it can still provide a decent experience for general use.

If you’re a gamer or need a monitor for professional work like graphic design, it may be worth investing in a higher-end model. These monitors will typically have a higher refresh rate, better color accuracy, and a larger screen size.

Remember that the most expensive monitor doesn’t always mean the best quality. It’s important to consider the specific features and specifications that are important to you and find a monitor within your budget that meets those requirements.

Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to read reviews and compare prices from different retailers to ensure you’re getting the best deal. With a little research, you can find a monitor that fits your budget and provides the performance you need.

Brand and warranty: 

When it comes to buying a monitor, the brand can be an essential factor to consider. Different brands have different reputations for quality and reliability, and it’s important to do your research before making a purchase.

Some of the most popular brands in the monitor industry include Dell, HP, Asus, Acer, and Samsung. These brands have a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality monitors with advanced features and specifications.

Additionally, the warranty provided by the manufacturer is an important consideration when buying a monitor. Most manufacturers offer a standard one-year warranty, but some offer extended warranties for an additional fee. It’s crucial to read the warranty carefully and ensure that it covers any potential issues that may arise with the monitor.

Some brands offer exceptional customer support and have a reputation for honoring their warranties promptly. It’s always a good idea to check online reviews to see what other customers have experienced with the brand’s customer service and warranty.

When buying a monitor, choosing a reputable brand with a strong warranty can provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re making a reliable purchase that will last for years to come.



Reading reviews is an essential step when buying a monitor. Reviews can provide insight into the performance, features, and quality of a particular monitor, helping you make an informed decision.

There are several sources for monitor reviews, including online retailers like Amazon, tech blogs, and review websites like Tom’s Hardware and PCMag. It’s essential to read reviews from multiple sources to get a well-rounded understanding of a monitor’s capabilities.

When reading reviews, pay attention to the overall rating and the number of reviews. A monitor with a high rating and many reviews is generally a good indication of a reliable product. It’s also helpful to read the individual reviews to see what customers liked and disliked about the monitor.

Be wary of reviews that seem overly positive or negative, as they may be biased or fake. Look for reviews that provide specific details about the monitor’s performance, features, and build quality.

It’s also helpful to consider the reviewer’s perspective. A gamer may have different requirements than a graphic designer or someone who uses the monitor for general productivity. Consider your own needs and compare them to the reviews to find a monitor that meets your specific requirements.

Ultimately, reviews are an invaluable tool when buying a monitor. They can provide valuable insight into a monitor’s capabilities, helping you make an informed decision and ensuring that you get the best monitor for your needs.

Monitor FAQs

  1. What is the ideal size for a monitor?

The ideal size for a monitor depends on your personal preferences and intended use. For general productivity, a 24-inch monitor is a popular choice, while gamers may prefer a larger screen size of 27 inches or more.

  1. What is the refresh rate, and why is it important?

The refresh rate is the number of times a monitor can refresh the image per second. A higher refresh rate means a smoother and more responsive experience, which is essential for gaming and fast-paced work.

  1. What is the difference between a TN, IPS, and VA panel?

TN panels have a fast response time and high refresh rate, making them ideal for gaming. IPS panels offer better color accuracy and viewing angles, while VA panels have a high contrast ratio and deeper blacks.

  1. What is HDR, and is it essential for a monitor?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which provides a wider range of colors and higher contrast ratios. While it’s not essential, HDR can significantly enhance the viewing experience for games and movies that support it.

  1. Do I need a 4K monitor?

A 4K monitor has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, providing a sharper and more detailed image. While it’s not necessary for general productivity, it can significantly enhance the viewing experience for games, movies, and other content that support 4K resolution.

  1. What is the difference between a curved and flat monitor?

Curved monitors offer a more immersive experience and can reduce eye strain by providing a more natural viewing angle. However, they can be more expensive and may not be suitable for certain tasks like graphic design.

  1. Can I connect multiple monitors to my computer?

Yes, most modern computers can support multiple monitors, allowing you to extend your desktop or use them as separate displays for multitasking.

  1. Do I need to calibrate my monitor?

Calibrating your monitor can ensure that the colors and brightness are accurate, providing a more consistent viewing experience. While it’s not necessary, it can be helpful for graphic designers and other professionals who require precise color accuracy.