When it comes to the best monitors, you either go 4K or go home, especially if you're using the monitor for creative work requiring finer detail than you'd get with a 2K monitor or a 1080p display. And now that we're heading into the new year, we'll soon see a whole host of even higher refresh displays once CES 2023 rolls around. We expect to see a good bit of shake up on this list, but unless you're willing to spend a premium on many of newest 4K monitors, many of the monitors on this list will be even cheaper next year, so it'll be a great time to upgrade to 4K if you haven't already.
John Loeffler, US Computing Editor
The best 4K monitors are now becoming then new display standard because 4K resolution is fast becoming the standard. Although 1440p (and 1080p) resolutions are hardly obsolete, many video content are now in 4K, and the best way to experience them is with a monitor capable of displaying them in that resolution.
Because they are becoming increasingly affordable, it's time for you to make that upgrade if you're on a hunt for the best monitor. While the best 1440p monitors are also a great option, you'll soon notice when shopping around that many 4K displays cost about the same as their 1440p counterparts, which means you might be better off going with the higher resolution, depending on your needs.
These monitors fit in the higher-middle ground between the best 5K and 8K monitors and the best 1080p monitors. They come in different varieties, depending on whether you're looking for a super fast gaming display or a high-color-fidelity monitor for creative work or even just a great monitor for streaming movies on Netflix. There are high-refresh 4K monitors for gaming, 4K monitors with wide coverage of the various color gamuts (DCI-P3, Adobe, etc) for content creation, and 4K displays for general productivity.
We've tested many of them, which means we can help you choose an ideal 4K display for your needs. So, we've pulled together out favorite monitors for all the different use cases so you can find the best 4K monitor for your needs and budget.
The best 4K monitors 2022
Dell’s 4K monitor is stunning inside and out. We love its woven arctic white design that lends to its unique elegant look, allowing it to stand out against the sea of black and gray monitors out there. Its display is impeccable as well.
On top of that 4K resolution is a contrast ratio of 3,000:1, support for 1.07 billion colors, up to 4ms response time, and a 178/178 viewing angle that altogether produce stunning, crisp and vibrant visuals that are just as excellent for media consumption as they are for productivity.
Those who like to multitask will appreciate its extra features like Picture-in-Picture, Picture-by-Picture and USB 3.0 hub. The price of entry isn’t bad either, and considering what you’re getting, you’re getting great value. You can get something like the BenQ EW3270U at a similar price, you do miss out on the curved screen and Dell’s suite of multitasking features.
Read the full Dell 4K S3221QS Curved Monitor review
With the Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q, you’re getting a lot of value for your money – especially considering the small price of entry. One of the most affordable 4K gaming monitors right now, this 28-inch display can swivel, pivot and tilt practically whichever way you need (within reason, naturally) to serve your purpose. In fact, this is among the ergonomic monitors we've ever tested.
Of course, it takes more than great ergonomics to be a great monitor. It also has deliciously thin bezels and a nifty cable management solution, as well as a few display settings to boost your viewing experience and Adaptive-Sync for a smoother gaming experience. Thanks to its rich vibrant colors, super sharp image quality and a design that is only subtly gaming-centric, this is among the best 4K monitors not only for gamers but for regular users who consume a lot of visual media as well.
Read the full Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q review
Pro-level displays are no longer the premium-priced, inaccessible purchase they started out to be. At least as far as the BenQ SW321C PhotoVue is concerned. This UHD display designed specifically for photo editing is not just the perfect combination of 4K resolution and 32-inch panel size. It’s also up a step or two in terms of both performance, usability and features.
It boasts an incredibly wide color gamut of 99% of the Adobe RGB color space and 95% of DCI-P3. That’s exactly what you need if you’re in the cinematography or photography sphere. And, that’s on top of all the other features like Delta E ≤ 2 color accuracy in Adobe RGB and sRGB as well as HDR10 and HLG support.
We also found the SW321C has all the key elements for ensuring your prints look like the image you’re seeing on-screen. This is among the best 4K monitors for photo editing you’ll find, and the best part is you’re getting it for cheaper than all others.
Read the full BenQ SW321C PhotoVue review
The Gigabyte M32UC curved gaming monitor is the full package and is ideal especially for multiplatform gamers. Not only does it provide 4k gaming at 144 Hz but it provides respectable HDR400 along with just enough curvature for an immersive experience. There’s also a good amount of ports and great color gamut coverage, though we had to tinker with the settings to get the colors to pop.
It also comes with most of the features one could need including a USB-C port – though it doesn’t deliver enough power to charge a laptop – that HDMI 2.1 port that’s critical for 4K gaming at 120Hz with next-gen consoles, and KVM for those who want to connect multiple sources.
Just make sure to invest in a pair of external speakers. The ones that Gigabyte has included are worth avoiding.
Read the full Gigabyte M32UC review
4K fans will find a lot to love in the LG Ultrafine 24MD4KL-B. That's especially if they’re photographers or videographers who need all that prime real estate and high resolution.
It boasts a 98% DCI-P3 color gamut, 540 nits of typical brightness, and a height-and-tilt adjustable stand that makes it easy to find a comfortable workflow that will let you focus on your creative process. When testing, we were also impressed by its color accuracy. That’s besides its Thunderbolt 3 port that supports 4K Daisy Chain so you can have a setup with multiple monitors.
From its 4K resolution to its plethora of ports and buttonless design, this 4K display is the perfect match for your Mac, MacBook or Ultrabook. And, despite those bizarrely thick bezels and mid-range price tag, this display might be hard to resist. We would recommend this to fledgling photo and video editors.
Read the full LG Ultrafine 24MD4KL review
If you’re on the market for one of the best 4K monitors without all the fancy bells and whistles, you’ll want the BenQ PD2700U. Still, it remains to be an impressive 27-inch 4K display.
We found its IPS panel to be color accurate and of high quality. It boasts 100% Rec.709 and sRGB color spaces, which makes it great for photographers and graphic designers. It comes with different modes – Darkroom, CAD/CAM and Animation Mode – for different workloads. It has DualView and KVM Switch for the ultimate multitasking. And, it features BenQ’s AQCOLOR technology, which means every unit is individually pre-calibrated out of the box.
But, when you get the BenQ PD2700U, you are getting a lot of pixels, which is all you really need. It’s not the cheapest 4K monitor on this list. However, it’s more than affordable for professional photographers and graphic designers.
Read the full BenQ PD2700U review
The Corsair Xeneon 32UHD144 may be expensive. And, its HDR performance might be a little underwhelming, especially considering the price. But, this monitor is still a stellar option for most people. To start, you don’t have to choose between fast refresh rates and crisp, detailed images with it as it provides 4K resolution at 144 Hz. That alone makes this monitor great for any gamer not too hung up on HDR.
But, creatives will find this to be solid for their use as well. We were impressed, for instance, by the 32UHD144’s color gamut coverage. With its 100% Adobe and sRGB, it can handle anything photographers and graphic designers need it to. And, its 98% DCI-P3 coverage means that it does well for video editing as well. Additionally, it comes with iCue integration which we really appreciated as it let us properly set up the monitor through the app directly on our computer instead of having to dive deep into the monitor OSD menu.
Read our full Corsair Xeneon 32UHD144 review
The LG 32UN880 UltraFine Display Ergo has done something cool. Instead of going for the same homogeneous mount and stand that all monitors have, it has opted for a C-Clamp, One-Click Mount that allows it to extend, retract, go high, go low, tilt and pivot like no other. Plus, as it clamps down on the edge of the desk, it reduces the monitor’s footprint somewhat. That’s versatility turned up to 11. In fact, we can safely say that this is the most ergonomic monitor we’ve tested.
But wait, there’s more. It also boasts incredible color accuracy and beautiful picture quality. The best part is that you’re getting all that without burning a massive hole in your pocket. Admittedly, the 350 nits of brightness and the HDR10 compatibility are a tad disappointing. However, for us, this is still an easy recommendation for creatives as well as gamers.
Read the full LG 32UN880 UltraFine Display Ergo review
If you’re hoping for a monitor that comes with a decent amount of features, that crisp 4K resolution, and a reasonable price tag that won’t have you looking up instant ramen recipes, then consider the Monoprice 28in CrystalPro 4K.
Its under $400 / £400 price is not even the best reason to get it. While Monoprice doesn’t provide concrete numbers, we found the monitor to have good contrast as well as vibrant and relatively accurate colors. We did notice that the backlighting wasn’t uniform which could be an issue for creatives if this is the only monitor they’re using. That said, it wasn’t too noticeable.
On the plus side, its stand is not only easy to assemble but is fully articulating. So, if you need a display you can quickly throw into portrait mode, then consider this one. And, if you’re using a Macbook or Ultrabook, you’ll be pleased to know it delivers up to 65 watts of power via its USB-C port.
Read our full Monoprice 28in CrystalPro 4K review
Who says monitors have to be boring? The Samsung M8 takes the philosophy of more is better and packs it into an iMac-like package that make most monitors look like they were produced in a mortuary.
Of course, there are some caveats as the M8 does feel a bit flimsy. And, when tested, we found its uneven backlighting and slightly underwhelming color gamut coverage to preclude it from gaming or creative work.
But, if you need a solid productivity monitor, it offers a whole lot of functionality including USB-C connectivity with 65 watts of power delivery, a clip-on adjustable magnetic webcam with a security cap, and smart TV functionality that will let you stream Netflix, Disney+ or whatever other streaming service you like when you’re procrastinating from work. Of course, there are some built-in speakers as well though we recommend investing in some external ones instead.
Read our full Samsung M8 review
How to choose the best 4K monitor for you
Knowing what to look for in the best 4K monitor is important when choosing the right one for you. You need to know what panel size is ideal for your setup – bear in mind that the best monitor size for 4K is 32-inch – and the panel type (VA, IPS or TN) that's ideal for your needs, as well as the type of connectivity you require.
Of course, if you plan on using yours for creative workflows, you should consider one with excellent color accuracy, the right color spaces for your work, higher brightness levels and a higher contrast ratio. If you plan on using it for gaming, you'll want to take a closer look at the refresh rate – some 4K monitors now offer 120Hz and 144Hz refresh rates, response time, and G-Sync or FreeSync support.
Other important things to consider are the aspect ratio, viewing angles and HDR capabilities.
Finally, take a look at the price. Many 4K displays are still pretty expensive, but there are also several excellent options out there that are affordable for most people. If you can afford to splurge, however, the kitted-out models are more than worth their steep price.
Is a 4K monitor worth it?
The best 4K monitors are going to give you incredible visuals that pair well with your gaming PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, and the most recent movies and shows filmed with UHD. If you watch a lot of media or play a lot of the newest games, you should definitely consider getting the best 4K monitor so you can play and watch everything as it’s meant to be seen in high-definition.
If you’re not a frequent gamer and are just looking to get a new monitor, it might still be a good idea to upgrade to a 4K monitor. It seems high-definition is where the standard resolution is headed, so it might be best to be ahead of the curve with a 4K display. Even if you only watch the occasional YouTube video when working, a 4K monitor will definitely make a difference.
Is 4K good for office work?
One of the biggest advantages of 4K resolution is having more screen real estate, which means you'll have a lot more space to work with. That makes it great for multitasking – the more space you have, the more tabs, windows and applications you can open and make immediately accessible.
4K monitors are not necessary for office work. However, you might find it extremely advantageous to use one, especially if you tend to juggle different tasks at the same time.
What is the best monitor size for 4K?
Many say that 4K is great on 24-, 27-, and 32-inch panels while others love it on 43-inch ones. Of course, it all depends on how far you are from your display and how big your desk is.
Just bear in mind that on a 24-inch panel, that 4K resolution will make everything smaller, which in turn makes text harder to read. Display scaling helps improve your experience, but not all apps can be scaled to the ideal size.
Meanwhile, having a massive 43-inch screen is overkill for most people, especially if you're using your computer mostly for productivity tasks. It also requires a lot of desk space.
This is why most people think that a 32-inch panel is the sweet spot for 4K resolution. It's the ideal size for enjoying that incredibly sharp and detailed Ultra HD goodness.
How we test 4K monitors
Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
We test a 4K monitor like we test any other monitor. We start by setting it up and using it as our main monitor for a few days. We utilize it for our day-to-day workloads, streaming movies and shows, and, especially if it's a gaming monitor, playing our favorite AAA games. This is how we gauge its real-world performance.
We do more than that, however. We also test very specific features like color reproduction, refresh rates and response times. We make sure that the visuals are smooth, clean, and artifact-free. And, we check just how good its marquee features – HDR, adaptive sync technology, RGB lighting – are.
We then note its design, build and other physical features like bezels, ports and viewing angles.
Finally, we gather all that information and compare it to its price to see if it’s a great value to consumers overall.