Desktop computers deliver the best combination of features and performance for the price, but with the exception of all-in-ones they also require you to purchase a separate monitor. Some of the highest-end monitors that are used for multimedia applications or gaming have screen sizes of 40” or more, but these are excessive for the needs of most small businesses. For that reason, we will focus this guide on the best business desktop monitors up to a maximum size of 27”.

We looked at the most popular options and reviewed the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK, Acer S277HK, and HP Pavilion 22cwa monitors in-depth below. These solutions covered a range for small businesses and deliver the best combinations of performance and price. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.

Best Monitor for Small Businesses in 2017: NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK

We recommend the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK as the best monitor for small businesses in 2017 because of its combination of performance and price.

Monitor Comparison Table:

NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BKAcer S277HKHP Pavilion 22cwa
Screen Size24”27”21.5”
Resolution1920 x 10803840 x 21601920 x 1080
Panel TechnologyIPSIPSIPS
Video InputsHDMIDVIVGADisplayPortHDMI 2.0DVIDisplayPortMini DisplayPortHDMIVGA
USB Ports3 x USB 3.0NoneNone
Pixel Response6 milliseconds4 milliseconds7 milliseconds

What Do These Terms Mean?

The Screen Size is the size of the screen in inches, measured diagonally, and touchscreen refers to whether or not you can control your computer by touching the screen and moving your fingers (think of a tablet, like an iPad).

  • The Resolution measures how many pixels, which are tiny dots of visual information, fit on the screen measured in length x width. The higher the number, the more detail and data can appear on the screen. 1920 x 1080 will deliver HD picture and 3840 x 2160 will be in 4K.
  • The Panel Technology refers to the type of display that the monitor utilizes. TN panels are the cheapest to produce, followed by IPS, PVA, and MVA. The better the panel technology, the wider the viewing angle and the more accurate the colors and greyscale will be.
  • Video Inputs refers to the types of ports that the monitor includes. HDMI is now the standard, but the more options the better.
  • USB Ports refers to the number of USB inputs that the monitor includes and the type of USB technology they are.
  • Pixel Response is how fast a pixel turns to white and then to a color to display the changing image on the screen. The lower the pixel response time the better as this will mean that the screen adapts more quickly and there are less visual artifacts. 8 milliseconds should be the maximum response time for a smooth viewing experience.

Best Monitor for Small Businesses: NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK

We recommend the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK as the best monitor for small business because of its combination of features and mid-range price.

NEC has been producing exceptional business class monitors for many years and the MultiSync EX241UN-BK builds on this pedigree. It has a full HD 24” IPS display with very good color accuracy and greyscale, a good pixel response rate, and it’s the only monitor of the three we reviewed to include any USB ports. At $395, it offers an excellent value for your small business.

Beyond its technical performance, another important factor for businesses to consider is how flexible the monitor is physically. By this measure, the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK delivers as well. With a fully adjustable stand, including height, tilt, swivel, and pivot and a standard VESA interface for wall mounting, the monitor can adapt to any ergonomic need.

Neither the Acer S277HK nor the HP Pavilion 22cwa offer as much range of motion. Both monitors allow a limited degree of tilt, but no height, swivel, or pivot and only the HP can be wall mounted (with the purchase of an additional VESA plate from HP).

Best Monitor for 4K: Acer S277HK

We recommend the Acer S277HK monitor for those businesses that want a 4K display at an accessible price. While there are better 4K displays on the market, few offer the value of the Acer S2777HK.

The Acer S277HK’s IPS display delivers a full 4K experience with a 3840 x 2160 resolution, excellent color accuracy and greyscale, and the best pixel response rate of the three monitors we reviewed at 4 milliseconds. This translates to a vivid picture, rich and saturated colors, sharper detail, and minimal, if any, ghosting or visual artifacts on fast moving images.

The design of the monitor is aesthetically pleasing. Acer has thought outside of the typical black box to design the S277HK with a striking brushed aluminium frame and offset stand. However, it’s this same design that may present some limitations depending on your preferred use. The display can only tilt up to 5 degrees forward and 15 degrees back — there’s no height, swivel, or pivot adjustments available. As well, the offset stand is fixed to the display and there is no VESA mount to affix the monitor to a third-party adjustable stand or to your wall.

Similar to the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK, the Acer S277HK offers a good variety of input ports including HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, and DVI so that you can be sure you can connect a range of peripherals to it. Curiously, though, there are no USB inputs; the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK includes three USB 3.0 ports in comparison.

Depending on how you expect to use your monitor, these shortcomings may not affect you at all. If not, or if you’re willing to overlook them in favor of the Acer S277HK’s outstanding 4K image quality for an accessible price, then we recommend it as the best value in 4K monitors for your small business.

Best Budget Monitor for Small Businesses: HP Pavilion 22cwa

We recommend the HP Pavilion 22cwa as the best budget monitor for your small business because of its combination of features and low price.

Most budget monitors, especially those in the $100 range, offer TN display panels that are cheaper to produce. The HP Pavilion 22cwa, however, delivers a full HD image with an IPS display panel. This means that you’ll get a wider viewing angle, more vivid and accurate color and greyscale performance, and an anti-glare coating that minimizes the effects of ambient light.

The HP Pavilion 22cwa’s 21.5” display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and reasonable 7 millisecond pixel response rate. This isn’t suitable for any gaming needs, but is still ample for most small business uses. Input port options are minimal as well, with just HDMI and VGA, but the near-universality of these input types means that this shouldn’t be an issue for most uses.

Being a budget monitor, there are some compromises. The stand can only tilt, so you can’t adjust the height, swivel, or pivot, and mounting the monitor to a third-party stand or to your wall will require the additional purchase of a VESA mount from HP. The build is clean and simple, but plastic, but this is to be expected from a monitor at its price point.

If you’re looking for a monitor for your small business that is a good all-around performer for a minimal cost, there are few options that match the HP Pavilion 22cwa’s value. That makes it our recommendation for the best budget monitor for your small business.

Other Small Business Monitor Options

There are many other monitors for small businesses on the market that may be a better fit for your business’ needs. Here are some of the others that we liked and what makes them unique:

MonitorPriceScreen SizeResolutionVideo InputsUSB PortsPixel Response
NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK$39524”1920 x 1080HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort3 x USB 3.06 ms
Acer S277HK$54527”3840 x 2160HDMI 2.0, DVI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPortNone4 ms
HP Pavilion 22cwa$10021.5”1920 x 1080HDMI, VGANone7 ms
NEC MultiSync EA275WMi$61327”2560 x 1440HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort3 x USB 3.06 ms
Acer R240HY$13023.8”1920 x 1080HDMI, DVI, VGANone4 ms
Dell Ultrasharp U2415$25024”1920 x 12002 x HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort5 x USB 3.08 ms
Philips Brilliance Curved 279X6QJSW$30027”1920 x 1080HDMI, DisplayPort, VGANone4 ms
ViewSonic VP2780-4K$60027”3840 x 2160HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort4 x USB 3.05 ms

The Bottom Line

There are almost as many monitor options as there are computers to connect them to. They range from utilitarian and budget-friendly on the low-end to brilliantly lifelike with the price to match on the high-end.

We’ve narrowed the choices down to three recommendations at different price points to help you focus your search. The HP Pavilion 22cwa offers tremendous value for its budget price and the Acer S277HKdelivers a stunning 4K image for an accessible price, but the NEC MultiSync EX241UN-BK is our recommendation for the best monitor overall for your small business because of its combination of features and price.