One of the most crucial aspects of a new monitor purchase is the display’s physical dimensions. Having a monitor that is the right size can greatly enhance your productivity and viewing experience, while a monitor that is the wrong size can lead to strain and discomfort.
There is a wide range of sizes to choose from, including compact models great for everyday use and hulking behemoths perfect for gaming or juggling multiple tabs. In today’s guide, we’re going to take a close look at monitor sizes and how to choose the perfect size for your home or office.
Computer Monitor Sizes
The size of a computer monitor is an important consideration. Having a monitor that is the right size can greatly enhance your productivity and viewing experience, while a monitor that is the wrong size can lead to strain and discomfort. What, then, are the dimensions of the various monitors on the market?
In general, we can break down computer monitor sizes into 3 groups:
- Small— A small computer monitor has a diagonal of 17 inches or less. These are fine for routine activities like checking and writing emails and browsing the web, but they might not be up to the task of gaming or juggling multiple tabs in a word processor.
- Medium— Medium-sized screens have a diagonal measuring between 17 and 24 inches. These strike a good balance between portability and display size, making them an excellent choice for everyday use.
- Large— Large monitors have a diagonal size of 24 inches or more. Gaming and other activities that require a lot of desktop space will benefit greatly from one of these. Users who are cramped for desk space or who are too close to the screen may find them unsuitable.
Of course, this is just a general guideline, and what’s considered large may not be large to someone else.
In order to truly understand computer monitor sizes, we need to understand the following phrases:
- Diagonal size— The diagonal size of a screen refers to the distance between two opposite corners, measured in inches. This is the figure that will appear on a monitor’s retail box.
- Aspect ratio— This is the ratio of the screen’s width to its height, typically written as a decimal (e.g., 16:9). The display’s shape, as determined by the aspect ratio, can have an impact on the user’s enjoyment. A wider aspect ratio (such as 21:9) may be preferable for gaming or multitasking, whereas a more traditional aspect ratio (16:9) may be more appropriate for general use.
- Resolution— The resolution of a monitor describes how many individual pixels it has. Displays with a higher resolution are able to show clearer and more precise images. For comparison, a display with a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (also known as 4K or Ultra HD) has 8,294,400 pixels, while a display with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 (also known as Full HD or 1080p) has 2,073,600.
- Pixels per Inch— PPI is a standard for determining the display’s pixel density. It is the number of pixels that can be seen in a 1-inch square of a screen. A display with a pixel density of 100 has 100 pixels in a one-inch square, while a display with a pixel density of 200 has 200 pixels in the same area. A higher PPI rating will show finer detail and sharper images.
Computer Monitor Size Chart
|Diagonal Size||Aspect Ratio||Common Resolutions||PPI|
|17 inches or smaller||16:9||720p, 1366 × 768, 1600 × 900||92 to 103|
|17 inches||16:9||720p, 1366 × 768, 1600 × 900||92 to 103|
|18 inches||16:9||1440 × 900, 1600 × 900, 1680 × 1050||103 to 109|
|19 inches||16:10||1440 × 900, 1680 × 1050, 1920 × 1200||109 to 122|
|20 inches||16:9||1600 × 900, 1680 × 1050, 1080p||109 to 122|
|21 inches||16:9||1680 × 1050, 1080p, 2048 × 1152||122 to 133|
|22 inches||16:9||1080p, 1680 × 1050, 2048 × 1152||122 to 133|
|23 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440||133 to 140|
|24 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440||133 to 140|
|24 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440||133 to 140|
|25 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440||133 to 140|
|26 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440||133 to 140|
|27 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440, 4K (UHD)||140 to 165|
|28 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440, 4K (UHD)||140 to 165|
|29 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440||165 to 183|
|30 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440||165 to 183|
|31 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440||165 to 183|
|32 inches||16:9||1080p, 1920 × 1200, 2560 × 1440, 4K (UHD)||165 to 183|
|33 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440||183 to 200|
|34 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440, 3840 × 1600||200 to 217|
|35 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440, 3840 × 1600||200 to 217|
|36 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440, 3840 × 1600||200 to 217|
|37 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440, 3840 × 1600||200 to 217|
|38 inches||21:9||2560 × 1080, 3440 × 1440, 3840 × 1600||200 to 217|
Other Computer Monitor Factors to Consider
While size is important, it’s not the only thing that matters. Let’s take a look the other factors that you should consider when shopping for a monitor.
1. Viewing distance
This measures how far away from the screen your eyes are. Viewing distance considerations are affected by screen size and resolution. Generally speaking, a higher resolution display can be viewed from closer than a lower resolution display, but there are exceptions to this rule, such as when the display size is the same. A rule of thumb for getting measuring viewing distance is multiplying your display’s diagonal size by 3 (e.g., a 51-inch viewing distance for 17-inch screens).
2. Refresh rate
A display’s refresh rate is the frequency with which it receives and displays updated content. In other words, the smoother and more fluidly rendered motion is, the higher the refresh rate of the display. Gamers and video editors will almost always consider purchasing a monitor with a higher refresh rate.
3. Panel type
This describes how the screen was made. Viewing angles, color accuracy, and response time can all vary between panel types significantly. Twisted nematic (TN), in-plane switching (IPS), and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels are all very common.
Think about the various inputs and outputs the monitor can handle, such as audio, USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI. Check the monitor’s compatibility with your PC and any peripherals you intend to use with it.
Last but certainly not least, think about the cost of the monitor. Set a spending limit and search for a monitor that meets your needs within your price range.
Can You Use a TV Instead?
The answer is yes, of course! There is no essential distinction between a TV and a computer monitor other than the size of the screen they use to display images and text. Whether you’re shopping for a TV or a monitor, it’s important to keep the same aforementioned criteria in mind.
Using a television set as a monitor requires some creative mounting solutions, but it can be done. Therefore, it won’t hog too much room on your computer’s desktop. Plus, TVs are much heavier than monitors and can scratch your desk.