How to Choose a Computer Monitor

    A dedicated monitor could be just the boost your work-from-home setup needs, for productivity and ergonomics

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    home office Photo: iStock

    There are plenty of ways to improve your home office, from upgrading your WiFi network to buying a comfier chair, but few can make as immediate an impact as adding a big computer monitor.

    Plug a monitor into your laptop and you’ll be able to see more content at once, which means less time switching back and forth between windows.

    You might choose to leave communication apps like Outlook, Slack, and Teams open and always visible on one side of the screen while cranking away on a PowerPoint presentation or Word document on the other. And, of course, you can continue to use your laptop monitor, as well, for a two-screen setup.

    Think of getting a monitor like expanding the size of your workbench, giving you more room to fit more tools to get more work done.

    More on working from home

    A monitor can help with ergonomics, too. External monitors typically offer more robust adjustment options than laptops have, enabling you to easily tweak their vertical and horizontal orientation. No more having to scrunch your neck at an awkward angle just to be able to see the screen.

    But unless your idea of a fun weekend is comparing hardware specifications, walking into an electronics store (or browsing its online equivalent) to shop for a new monitor may be intimidating.

    You’ll face a sea of similar-looking rectangles all labeled with jargony specs such as refresh rate and contrast ratio. Even terms you may be familiar with if you’ve recently shopped for a new TV, like 4K and HDR, could be confusing in the context of a computer monitor: Is HDR helpful if you’re in Microsoft Excel or Gmail all day?

    What follows is a brief primer on how to shop for a monitor in 2022, plus Consumer Reports’ test results on some good options. Ultimately, we feel that for around $200, most people working from home will be able to find a reliable monitor that gives them what they need.

    Prices change frequently, so it pays to shop around.

    Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

    We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.