Modern laptops have completely revolutionized the way (and the where!) writers write.
Now we can set up shop in a coffee house, on our sofa, or on a blanket in the park. We can write while waiting at the airport or riding the train.
That's all great! But that portability comes with one major drawback, and that's that sometimes you wish you just had a little more... space.
Screen space to be exact.
I've been writing with a second, external monitor for many years now and could never go back. It's a much better experience when time and space allow.
So if you're in the market for an external monitor for your laptop, let's dive in to my picks for the best monitors for writers.
TL;DR: If you want to skip right to my top pick and the best overall monitor for writers, I highly recommend the Dell Ultrasharp U2414H 23.8" LED Monitor. Click the link to learn more about this excellent choice on Amazon.
But if you're not in a hurry, let's go a little deeper into the advantages of writing using an external monitor and how to buy the right one.
Advantages of writing with two monitors
Like I said, I've been using two monitors (at least!) for years now.
I've worked as a marketing copywriter and done editorial writing, along with doing my own fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting on the side. And the second monitor helped all of those tasks immensely.
Let's take a short look at how, exactly, a second monitor can help writers:
No need to toggle between drafts and research
It is AMAZING to be able to see your notes, research, or previous drafts AND your current draft at the same time.
No clicking and switching back and forth.
This is an incredible time saver for anyone who works with multiple documents and web browser tabs at a time.
Multimedia becomes so much easier
When you're working with images or video clips to embed in your writing, it's immensely helpful to have them on their own screen.
Have you ever tried to edit or color correct an image in a tiny corner of your laptop screen?!
Drag it on over to the big screen, instead, and stretch out a little. It feels great.
Customize your angles
With a second monitor, you can place it wherever you want. Directly next to your laptop, up on a platform, slightly elevated, tilted to the side, down by your feet...
It's really whatever you prefer!
Let your eyes, neck, and back tell you what's most comfortable for you.
Better image quality
This may be just my personal preference, but I've found that a high quality external monitor really does just look better than your laptop screen.
And I use a laptop with an excellent screen!
But I find external monitors (good ones, anyway) brighter, more spacious, and a little more pleasant and comfortable to look at.
That little benefit can go a long way when you're deep in the weeds on a written piece.
What do writers need in an external computer monitor?
Alright, so you're sold. You're ready to buy a computer monitor to write your next novel, screenplay, or blog post.
How do you know which one to choose?
Reliability & Performance
I would say this is the absolute top thing a writer needs in a secondary monitor.
It just needs to work, reliably, day in and day out.
Sure, extreme graphics capabilities, and super duper resolution are great, but when it comes to the best monitor for reading and writing documents, do you really need the most advanced graphics technology?
You want a crisp, bright working area, and the peace of mind knowing the monitor will always be ready to go the second you boot up.
Your own preferences, workspace, and writing needs will dictate how big of a screen you need in your external monitor.
Around 24 inches is very common and should be more than enough for most writers.
(Smaller than that may be a tad cramped.)
You can go to 43 inches and upwards if you really want. In my opinion, that's way too big for a writer's needs, though it may be the bare minimum for someone like a video editor or graphic designer.
You'll do great with anything in the 24-32 inch screen size range.
During marathon work sessions, you may be staring at your screen for quite a while.
Even the slightest bit of dimness or poor image quality can really burn your eyes out in those working conditions.
You'll want a really bright, crisp image quality in your monitor, preferably backlit by LED for maximum brightness and ease of use.
Alright, show me the best monitors for writers in 2018!
Ready to see my top picks?
Best budget monitor for writers: Acer R240HY 23.8" Monitor
The Acer R240HY is an extremely cost effective monitor for writers.
With a friendly price tag, the Acer brings super crisp image quality to its near-24 inch screen. It's also energy efficient and won't chew into your power bill.
If you're looking for reliable performance, good quality, and a price that won't break the bank, consider the Acer R240HY for writing your next masterpiece.
Screen Size: 23.8"
Claim to fame: Hyper-fast response time & friendly price.
Read reviews & get the latest price on the Acer R240HY 23.8" Monitor on Amazon
Best jumbo monitor for writers: HP Pavilion 32" Monitor
Big. Beautiful. That pretty much sums up the HP Pavilion 32".
As I wrote above, you can certainly find larger monitors, but if writing is your primary task, you'll find that 32" is plenty. Any more would be superfluous and would take up way too much room on your desk.
The color quality on this monitor is fantastic, as is its performance, and for such a large screen you could do far worse on price. A great deal.
Screen Size: 32"
CLaim to fame: Massive, gorgeous, LED-backlit screen.
Read reviews and get the latest price on the HP Pavilion 32" Monitor on Amazon
Best overall all-purpose monitor for writers: Dell Ultrasharp U2414H 23.8" LED Monitor
This bad boy has it all.
Solid screen size. Eco-friendly technology. Razor sharp picture. Responsive and reliable performance. LED backlighting for easy viewing.
What's not to like?
The best part has to be the price tag. While a step up from the budget-conscious Acer, the Dell Ultrasharp should fit most budgets, when accounting for quality.
Screen Size: 23.8"
Claim to Fame: LED-backlit screen & eco-friendly technology.
Read reviews and get the latest price on the Dell Ultrasharp U2414H 23.8" LED Monitor on Amazon
I'm a pro writer, what monitor do I use?
So glad you asked!
I actually use the Dell Ultrasharp 23.8" LED Monitor myself.
I've used it for years and experienced nothing but tremendous performance from it. The image is sharp and I never, ever, ever have to finagle with it or fiddle around with settings or connections.
It just works, which is exactly what I need it to do.
It came as no surprise to me to see this monitor recommended glowingly around the web as well, so I can confidently place it at the top of this list.
Feel free to use this list as nothing more than a starting point. Your needs and tastes may vary greatly, and there are hundreds if not thousands of monitors to choose from.
Happy hunting, I hope this helped!
Also check out my guide to the best keyboards for writers in 2018!
Disclaimer: I may receive compensation from products or services mentioned on my site, but I stand by any research, opinions, or advice I offer here.