Guide to Buying A Cheap Computer Monitor

So you're looking to buy a monitor? Well here is my guide to buying a cheap computer monitor. The monitor is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will buy for your cheap computer. You will have to look at it constantly for hours and hours, so it had better be something that appeals to your eyes.

Now don't fall for the pitch that the bigger the monitor the better, because size isn't the only thing that matters here. There is also the dot pitch, resolution, and refresh rate.

Dot Pitch

The dot pitch tells you how sharp the image can be on your cheap computer monitor. The dot pitch is measured in millimeters (mm) and the smaller the number the sharper the image on your computer monitor. In desk top monitors, common dot pitches are .31mm, .28mm, .27mm, .26mm, and .25mm. For your cheap computer monitor I suggest getting a dot pitch of .28mm or smaller.

Think of the dot specified by the dot pitch as the smallest physical visual component on the display. A pixel is the smallest programmable visual element and maps to the dot if the display is set to its highest resolution. When set to lower resolutions, a pixel encompasses multiple dots.


The resolution is the number of pixels your can display at one time. The more pixels you have on the screen the sharper the picture will be. This is great for pictures but not so hot for text. As you increase the size of your resolution the smaller everything will become. Say for example you are running at a 800x600 resolution (meaning you have 800 pixels across and 600 down) and 8pt font may be perfectly readable, but if you increase the resolution to 1024x768 or higher the same 8pt font will appear smaller and maybe harder to read on your screen.

Most cheap computer monitors these days support at least up to a 1024x768 resolution and some can go much much higher. You should make sure you get at least 1024x768 resolution monitor when picking up yours. Now I'll tell you what. With all the ultra high definition monitors out there now you've got a lot to choose from. A 1440p monitor isn't going to be cheap, but the fact that they now exist means 720p monitors and lower can be had on the cheap.

Vertical Refresh Rate

The vertical refresh rate is a very important aspect of any cheap computer monitor, this is the speed that you monitor redraws the screen, usually measured in hertz (Hz).

You should run your monitor at a refresh rate of 85Hz in order to prevent any eyestrain and headaches. With a lower refresh rate you may not notice a difference but after some time passes you will start to experience some splitting headaches and severe eye strain.

Monitor Size

The monitor size is the the easiest of all the options to choose. The bigger the monitor, the bigger the screen, but beware of the sneaky tricks some companies pull by listing the monitor size instead of the viewable size. The monitor size is the diagonal width of the entire monitor, where as the viewable size is the diagonal size of the screen.

The standard, and quite cheap, for monitors these days is 17" and it is quickly moving into the 19" domain.

Choosing your cheap computers monitor should take you a little time so that your ensure yourself a good deal and a monitor that will please your eyes years and years.