A great computer monitor will help you knock out work and crush spreadsheets faster. They’re the ultimate productivity booster for office workers and people who work from home.
With all of the different options and price points on the market today it can be difficult to identify which features are the most important for business users. It used to be you could go to the computer store and pick one of 3 sizes that they have available and call it good. Now the market is much more granular, and monitors come in all shapes, sizes and price points.
Most Business Professionals should choose a 32” – 36” ultra-wide WQHD monitor to boost productivity. They take up less desk space and enable users to see more data at one time without having the edges of a computer monitor get in their way like in a traditional dual monitor setup.
Let’s look at some of our top choices and explain all of the facts and details you should educate yourself with before making a purchasing decision.
Best 34inch Curved Monitor for Productivity
Dell has been making high quality computer monitors for years. This specific model has a slight curve to the screen which makes it easier to see both ends of the display while reducing head title. The height and title adjustments make it easy to find the right position for comfort and the high resolution lets you see more at a time than lower resolution models.
Why we like it:
- WQHD Resolution means more space to fit items on the screen.
- 34” monitor size and curved means lots of space without lots of head tilting
- Adjustable height, tilt, and viewing angles for comfortable ergonomics.
Best 34inch Flat Screen Monitor for Productivity
This 34 in LG monitor has many of the same great features as other models such as WQHD resolution, the ability to adjust height tilt for comfort, but comes in a flat screen format. There really is no wrong choice between flat and curved monitors and mostly comes down to personal preference.
Why we like it:
- LG Makes some of the best TVs and Monitors in the business.
- WQHD resolution allows you to fit more content on the screen vs lower resolution models.
- Height and tilt adjustment for maximum comfort.
- Wide range of ports for more flexibility and multi-tasking.
Best 34inch Flat Screen Monitor for Productivity
Best 27inch Flat Screen Monitor for Productivity
The 27in ASUS ProArt display is a great choice for people that work from home or don’t have the space on their desk for a larger monitor. The higher resolution of this model makes it almost equivalent to dual 24in monitors while taking up less desk space. This specific model has amazing color reproduction, has height, and title adjustment along with the ability to swivel the screen for people that work in computer programming or enjoy the flexibility of being able to rotate the screen.
Why we like it:
- Space efficient, high resolution means you can fit a lot of content on a single screen.
- Ability to swivel the monitor for programming and long form writing.
- Excellent color reproduction for artists
- Mac Compatible
Best Portable Laptop Monitor to Boost Productivity
A portable second monitor is a great addition to your gear for boosting mobile productivity. One of the worst parts of traveling can be working off of a single laptop screen. In recent years, a number of manufacturers have released portable second monitors that plug into the USB-C port of a laptop to provide more real estate.
Why we like it:
- 15.6in screen matches the size of many business laptops
- Plug and play design that works with USB-C
- Comes with portable carrying case
- Portable stand supports Portrait or Landscape Mode
Scroll down to read more about what features and specifications you should prioritize before purchasing your next monitor.
Table of Contents
Why Companies and Business Professionals Should Invest in a Quality Monitor
Quality computers and monitors are a key productivity booster for business. A good monitor will improve employee satisfaction and boost productivity. Companies will spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on new computer software that promises to unlock unparalleled levels of productivity while neglecting the items that professionals interact with for a majority of their day.
At the same time, companies are reluctant to increase spending on IT equipment. Even though it is fundamental to increasing productivity. A slow computer or small computer monitor will cost analysts and accountants lots of time flipping between monitors or waiting for processing to complete.
A monitor is a key piece of productivity equipment, and a good one can even improve eye health by reducing strain leading to improved employee satisfaction. It seems like an insignificant thing on the surface, but if someone is already getting burned out at work, add a headache and eye strain on top of everything else.
In this article we explore the benefits of new computer monitors and what you should look for when choosing a new one.
Key Considerations for Choosing a New Computer Monitor
It can be overwhelming trying to find the best monitor. The market has exploded recently to include more niche options from Gaming Monitors with ultra-high refresh rates to Stock Trading monitors with thin bezels and ability to mount 9 of them together to professional medical and video editing monitors that have especially high color accuracy.
These are the key features that you should consider:
Multiple Monitors vs a Single Ultrawide Monitor
Flat or Curved Monitor
Built in Speakers
Available Ports and Integrated KVM Switch (In some cases)
Things to Watch Out for When Buying a New Computer Monitor
Avoid Gaming Monitors
Multiple Monitors vs a Single Ultrawide Monitor
For many years dual monitor setups have been common in the workplace. The extra screen space allows you to put multiple windows on each monitor so you can see two spreadsheets at a time or see a source document or report and reporting or accounting software on the other.
If you are currently using a single monitor, it could be most cost effective to add on a secondary monitor of a similar size. You do have to be careful that the two monitors are the same size or else they might not be aligned which can be annoying.
Another popular setup is to use a single external monitor in conjunction with a laptop screen but the lack of vertical alignment and difference in screen size can be a distraction.
Why Accountants and Finance Professionals Need Ultrawide Monitors
Accounting and Finance jobs have evolved over the last decade where it’s no longer enough to know debits and credits, companies are increasingly asking accounting and finance departments to become business intelligence and reporting experts requiring them to use specialized software and move beyond Excel spreadsheets as the drive to become more automated increases.
What is the Best Screen Size for Accountants and Finance Pros?
There are four different screen sizes that we recommend. Large widescreen monitors with HD resolution are our top picks. 32in is a sweet spot in desk space, extra screen real estate, and not so large that you will be constantly moving your head from left to right.
34 inch curved or flat utlra-wide hd monitor
32 inch curved or flat ultra-wide hd monitor
27 inch hd monitor (flat display)
More important than the actual screen size is the resolution of a screen. The resolution dictates how dense a monitor is and how much stuff can fit on a screen. Many monitors are sold with cheaper low-resolution screens that look big, but you can’t fit any more data on it than a smaller monitor.
Benefits of Ultrawide Monitors
We are big fans of ultrawide monitors. We’ve found that they have the ability to significantly boost productivity beyond a more traditional multiple monitor setup. They can be overkill for basic office use as they do take up a decent amount of desk space, but for professionals the productivity boost is more than worthwhile.
Enhanced Productivity with Ultrawide Monitors
A high-resolution extra-wide monitor provides a significantly larger screen real estate compared to a single regular monitor or even a dual monitor setup. The extra screen space allows accountants to keep multiple applications, spreadsheets, and documents open side by side, making it much easier to compare data, perform calculations, and analyze financial information.
With a single ultra-wide monitor, you’ll no longer need to switch between tabs or constantly resize windows. A maximized Excel Spreadsheet will let you view all of the columns in a giant financial reporting sheet all at the same time.
Ultrawide Monitors for Business Intelligence and Reporting
Business Intelligence and Reporting Software like Microsoft Power BI or Alteryx require users to constantly expand and collapse configuration panels on the side of their screen. This quickly eats up valuable screen space. Ultrawide monitors let you view your full report along with all of the necessary configuration panels without shrinking your working space, increasing your productivity.
Are Curved Monitors Good for Excel Spreadsheets?
Curved monitors are just as good as flat monitors for Excel Spreadsheets. The curvature of the screen does distort an Excel grid slightly, but most people will adjust to it after a day or two and it no longer becomes a concern. The additional real-estate and ability to view more columns and rows at a single time make ultra-wide monitors a great productivity booster when working in Excel.
If you’ve gone from using a single monitor to dual monitors in the past, the adjustment of moving from a flat monitor to a curved monitor is similar. It takes a couple of days to get used to, but once you adjust to it you don’t notice it or think about it. Your neck may even thank you for the extra ergonomic benefits of not having to continuously twist your neck to see side to side.
What Ports should I look for in a New Monitor?
Computer ports are not an exciting topic for most people, but please read the following to save yourself a lot of potential headaches.
Gone are the days of the big blue VGA port being the universal plug for all monitors. They’re rarely seen in businesses today except for the staunchest IT holdouts for outdated technology.
As technology has improved, so have the options available. Even if the two ports fit together, there’s no guarantee that you will get to take advantage of the latest features. We know that there’s nothing worse than getting an exciting new piece of computer hardware and not being able to use it right away.
Understand the Limitations of your Existing Laptop or Desktop Copmuter
The first step is to examine and understand the specifications of the laptop computer that you’re currently working with.
Identify which ports it has available. HDMI, USB C, and Display Port are most common.
Lookup which version of HDMI port your laptop has.
Ensure that your laptop can output ultra-high resolution.
We learned the hard way that there is a maximum resolution that every laptop can output, and each laptop is different. Not all laptops will support high resolution output to get the most out of today’s ultrawide high resolution monitors.
Your laptop may need to have two USB C ports, if it uses one of the ports to charge with. If your computer only has one port that’s used for charging you may need a USB Hub or Docking Station to be able to charge and plug in a monitor using a single USB C port.
USB C Connectivity in a monitor is a nice feature. It can provide better picture quality and higher refresh rates than what is available through HDMI or Display Port. Note that there is a subset of USB C called Thunderbolt that can also be used for computer monitors. The two ports look exactly the same on a laptop, but you may need a special Thunderbolt cable to connect your laptop to the monitor.
Measure Your Desk Prior to Buying a New Monitor to Work from Home
The best monitor to use to work from home is going to largely depend on how much space you have. We recommend 34in ultra high resolution wide-screen models that let you display large amounts of data on one screen. However, they can take up a significant amount of space which can limit many people that work from home to require a 27in – 32in model.
It’s important to note that Ultra-high resolution monitors let you fit more on your screen while taking up less physical desk space than using a more traditional two monitor setup. For example, a 27inch high resolution monitor lets you view as much on your screen at a time as 24 inch dual monitors while taking up 2/3 the amount of similar desk space.
Why is an Adjustable Monitor Stand Important?
When spending long days and weeks staring at a computer monitor, it’s important that it’s in a comfortable position. It will reduce neck strain and prevent you from having to constantly change your posture to see everything you need to on the screen.
The University of Michigan put together a great explanation of proper posture and adjusting your work space. We recommend reading it before putting together a space to work from home and if you find yourself uncomfortable at your workplace after sitting for long periods. Computer Ergonomics: How to Protect Yourself from Strain and Pain | University Health Service (umich.edu)
A secondary consideration for adjusting the ergonomics of a computer monitor is whether or not you use of an external webcam on top of an external monitor. Video calls on Teams or Zoom can be awkward if your camera is too high or too low when pointing at your face. Monitors that can easily slide up and down or tilt will make re-positioning of a camera much easier and faster.
Should you be Concerned about Harmful Blue Light?
Along with ergonomic comfort of a new monitor, eye-strain can be a real problem. Especially at month end, if you’re an accountant working long hours or late into the evening it can be a lot of screen time.
Many laptops designed for office work have settings that reduce the amount of harmful blue light that they emit. This can reduce eye-strain. These modes can cause a slightly warmer color than the cool white you may be used to and the settings also may not be entirely effective.
We recommend using dark mode on your computer whenever possible. Even if your monitor is not designed for peak brightness like a gaming monitor even a decent peak brightness level can cause unnecessary stress on your eyes. Dark mode reduces the amount of bright white light that your eyes are subjected to and will reduce the burning feeling after long periods of exposure to computer screens.
Can you use a 4k OLED TV as a Computer Monitor?
While you technically can, we do not recommend using a 42in or larger 4k tv as a computer monitor. We tried it, hated it, and would not recommend it. Theare are 4 primary drawbacks of using a small tv as a computer monitor in a business setting.
42in and above are too large to comfortably have on a desk and hurt your eyes.
Televisions are calibrated for distance viewing and text looks fuzzy up-close
Most TVs use a 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s great for movies but very few people want to look at spreadsheets stacked on top of each other. Newer Ultrawide monitors allow you to view spreadsheets and other software in windows next to each other left to right.
A 4k TV stand takes up a lot of desk space and may not fit on your office desk, or it can take up so much room you won’t be able to comfortably fit a mouse, keyboard and laptop next to it.
Do you Want a Monitor with Built-In Speakers?
Built-in speakers are a feature that can be more of a consideration for remote workers and people that work from home. It’s nice to turn up some tunes on Spotify or Pandora while cranking through spreadsheets without having to connect a Bluetooth Speaker or other external speaker solution.
Having Built-In Speakers should be seen entirely as a convenience feature. Even the best monitors won’t have incredible sound quality. By nature of a computer monitor being relatively thin, there’s just not enough space to put high end speakers that produce rich room filling sound.
Are Gaming Monitors Okay for Work?
While you could using a gaming monitor for work, we wouldn’t recommend it. While some produce excellent image quality, they’re not calibrated for office use and will often lead to eye strain.
A typical gaming monitor supports features specific to producing bright colors and reproducing quickly changing images on a screen. While business monitors are typically designed to make office work easier by producing sharper text and reduce eye strain.
If you’re not sure if a computer monitor is made for gaming, there are some features which are indicators that it may be better for producing fast paced bright colored video than for office applications.
It’s worth noting that these features are not mutually exclusive. A business monitor may also support these technologies.
Ultra High Contrast Ratio
High Peak Brightness
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support
AMD Freesync Technology or NVIDIA G-Sync
Smart Monitors that include Built-in TV Streaming Services
Are Work Monitors Okay for Gaming?
Yes, you can play games on a work monitor, but the picture quality may not be as good as you would want for fast moving action scenes. In many cases it could be better to use a small tv as an output for gaming than using a work monitor.
While trying to find the best business monitor it’s important to keep in mind the use case that you’re purchasing for. A computer monitor for Excel is going to have a different feature set than one for gaming. Great picture quality for work is not the same as for gaming, you would want to have crisp text and features like a KVM switch, low blue light technology, and decent peak brightness rather than extreme peak brightness.
Should your Business buy Cheap Monitors?
As many businesses look to reduce costs, they may be tempted to purchase low-cost monitors for their workers. We acknowledge that monitors can get to be very expensive, especially when outfitting an entire workplace but we would recommend against purchasing the least expensive models available.
Going straight for the cheapest models possible will result in poor viewing angles, washed out colors, fuzzy text and ultimately will lead to eye strain for your employees. Ultimately, it will reduce employee productivity and they will get less work done which more than mitigates the additional cost of a decent quality monitor.
If you are budget constrained, you can usually get a decent multi monitor setup by purchasing pre-owed computer equipment. Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace can have decent prices on used hardware. Many cities also have computer equipment upcycling stores where you can buy computer hardware that was donated or recently came off lease from local businesses. It’s a great way to find a good monitor that is slightly older but decent quality from a reputable brand.
Invest in Portable Monitors for Traveling Workers
Relatively new to the market are portable monitors that allow you to add a second screen to a laptop. The most popular ones connect using your laptop’s USB C port and come in two styles. Detached mobile monitors either look like an Apple iPad with a foldable case or like a Microsoft Surface with a kickstand.
If you work in auditing, do a lot of site visits or lead training sessions at various locations a second portable screen can greatly increase productivity to help you get more work done on the road.
What is a KVM Switch?
A KVM switch is also known as a Keyboard Video Mouse switch. It allows you to use a single monitor, keyboard and mouse with multiple computers. In a typical setup, you plug multiple computers into a single monitor and plug the keyboard and mouse into usb ports on the monitor.
If you switch between multiple laptops during a workday, it could be useful and save you some time and hassle from unplugging and plugging cords and cables in when you switch computers.
It’s a niche use case, and you can re-create some similar functionality with an inexpensive USB HUB that gives you plug to manually swap between computers.
Ultrawide Monitors are More Energy Efficient
This is a relatively minor benefit, but every little bit helps. Ultrawide monitors use more modern technologies for backlighting and have less components than a multiple monitor setup which reduces energy consumption. It may not be something you notice on your next electric bill, but you might appreciate freeing up an extra electric wall plug when getting power delivery from one socket instead of taking up two sockets for two separate monitors.
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