It’s never been easier to take phenomenal photos. As smartphone cameras improve, and professional-quality lenses abound at affordable prices, your food, kittens, tropical landscapes, and #nofilter selfies have never looked better.
But if you want to take your photo-editing game to the next level, whether you’re a professional photographer, designing posters for work, or photoshopping inappropriate things into Trump’s mouth, the right monitor can make a huge difference in the quality of your work.
If you’re serious about producing great photos, you’ll want a monitor with clean, accurate colors, a display large enough to fit all the windows you need, and the appropriate settings and calibration tools for the work you’re doing.
Monitors vary widely in quality and price. We’ve compiled our favorite monitors for photo editors who are just starting out as well as for those with a bit more expertise (and money to burn).
Here are a few monitors to make your photo editing a breeze:
At $2,447, this is one of the most expensive photo-editing monitors you’ll find. But it also delivers spectacular image quality for photo professionals. It’s a 27-inch screen with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution — that’s better than its cheaper counterpart below, but not as dense as you’ll see on 4K screens like the Asus PA328Q.
Where this monitor beats some of its 4K competitors is its color accuracy. Its contrast ratio (1,000:1) is a bit lower than that of the CG2420, but it can display an impressive 1.097 billion colors, and it’s one of the most accurate, dynamic displays you’ll find.
And unlike many monitors with better resolution, the CG277 comes with an anti-glare coating and a shading hood to keep outside light from interfering with your photos. It also sports a built-in calibrator, which will make calibrating and re-calibrating significantly more convenient — it can even be set to auto-calibrate itself.
Runner up: Eizo ColorEdge CG2420
For editors on a slightly tighter budget, Eizo’s CG2420 is cheaper, but still one of the best in the business. The $1519 CG2420 isn’t the best when it comes to display and resolution (24-inch, 1,920 x 1,200), but a 1,500:1 contrast ratio means it displays some of the most crisp, accurate colors around.
Like its more expensive counterpart, this monitor has a glare-prevention hood, a screen that swivels between portrait and landscape, and a built-in sensor that can auto-calibrate the device.
Second runner up: BenQ SW271
While, at $1,099, this monitor isn’t cheap, it’s a more affordable option than the Eizo displays. It features a 27-inch 4K screen with a standout 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. Its stand is wider and sturdier than most, meaning you’ll get fewer wobbles as you adjust the screen (though unlike many of its competitors, this one can’t swivel).
BenQ claims this monitor can display around a billion colors. Its high color accuracy is matched only by Eizo’s monitors.
As a bonus, a built-in dial easily allows you to switch between sRGB, Adobe RGB and advanced B&W display modes, depending on what and how you’re editing.
Third runner up: Asus PA328Q
Asus’ PA328Q is a 32-inch monitor designed for photo professionals. At a hefty $927.59 on Amazon, it’s very much a monitor for editors who need top-quality graphics. But on that front, it’s among the best you’ll find.
It features 3,840 x 2,160 resolution and a screen that’s really easy to rotate 90 degrees for portrait and landscape photos — that’s a rarity even among nicer monitors. With a tiny joystick controller, you can easily switch between a number of picture modes — Standard, sRGB, Scenery, Reading, and Darkroom — as well as adjust contrast, color temperature, and RGB settings.
Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes will help you work with images from multiple sources at once. And there are five different blue light filters to protect your eyes over long periods of editing.
We’re big fans of this $369.99 monitor for general use, but it’s also a great option for photo editing on a budget. Best Buy’s top-selling monitor natively supports a picture-in-picture split-screen mode, which makes it easy to have multiple photos, or layers, open at once. This monitor has a decent (1,000:1) contrast ratio, and some of the best resolution for its price point at 3,840 x 2,160, which will give you a very sharp and clear view of your photos.
Also, it’s probably the best-looking of the monitors listed here. Unlike the others which are, let’s be honest, bulky monstrosities, the UE590 has fairly narrow bezels, and a slim, elegant design.
Runner up: Asus PA248Q
If you’re looking for a well-regarded photo monitor, but don’t want to drop thousands, Asus’ PA248Q is for you. This monitor offers a 1,920 × 1,200 resolution for only $329.00 — professionals will want better, but it’s probably sufficient for amateurs, and displays natural, accurate color.
It can swivel, though it’s been noted to wobble a lot when at its highest setting. Anti-glare coating and a matte screen combine to reduce the effect of glare.
It features Standard, sRGB, Scenery, and Theater modes, and two customizable user modes, that you toggle with a joystick. The joystick also has a fun option to place a size-adjustable grid overlay over your screen, which is useful for designing graphics for different purposes. You can see, for example, what your photos will look like when printed at different sizes.
Second runner up: BenQ GW2765HT
At $299, the GW2765HT is one of the best deals you’ll find for a solid photo-editing monitor.
With a 27-inch display and 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, you’ll get the same (if not better) image quality and clarity you would from many more-expensive monitors.
There’s also a customizable blue light filter to protect your eyes from strain, and the stand is easy to adjust and swivel.