A Quick Guide to Choosing a Monitor for Programming

For programmers and software developers, a computer monitor is a crucial part of the job from day to day. It allows you to visualize everything you need, expands your screen real estate, and creates space for every window and application you need to open.

This means it’s extremely important to pick the best model that will be reliable, long lasting, and efficient.

From extending an existing display to creating an entirely new PC from scratch to upgrading the one you already have, the monitor is key. However, buying a monitor brings up many questions.

Should it be curved? Is 4k worth the extra cost? What about orientation rotation? That’s why we’ve picked out some of the best programming monitors available — and included plenty of information on how to decide which one is the best fit for you.

I’m A Developer, Do I Really Need A Monitor?

Whether you’re building a PC from the ground up, extending the display from a laptop, or adding another monitor to your existing array, these devices are a significant part of your workflow. They represent a significant investment in hardware and should be treated as such. The right monitor will help you work more efficiently and feel more comfortable at your workstation.

Because monitors are used for so many different things, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. We’ve recommended some monitors for programming and coding here, but these aren’t necessarily the same best choices as if you plan on gaming competitively or using a suite of creative software on a regular basis.

If these are your needs, we have some other recommendations as for the best gaming monitors, but if you are intending to code as your primary use then the monitors here are all great choices.

Best Programming Monitors: What To Consider?

Resolution

Resolution is a measure of how many pixels fit into your screen. High resolutions mean that the pixels are packed tighter, so information will be sharper and clearer. Most monitors these days are available in 1080p (1920 x 1080), but many manufacturers have also released 4k models to take things up a notch.

However, unless your graphics card and CPU support 4k, you won’t actually be able to use it to its full potential and it may become nothing more an extra expense.

Size & Orientation

The size of your monitor also needs to be considered. Displays are typically measured on the diagonal, and depending on your goals, you may want something bigger than or matching the size of your existing setup. You should also consider whether you need portrait or landscape monitors. Many models will offer a rotation feature, but not all, so it’s good to check.

Lastly, make sure the monitor’s footprint isn’t too big for your desk – especially if space is already fairly crowded or if you have another monitor that takes up a significant amount of space.

Stand & Flexibility

Every monitor comes with a different stand, and while you could theoretically change it out if necessary, you probably don’t want to go through the trouble. Most stands will be angle-adjustable, but to different degrees, and you’ll also want to make sure that the height can be easily changed.

Fixed stands are a poor choice for anyone. Since the most comfortable viewing angle can vary for a number of reasons, you definitely need something that can be easily adjusted to that.