Anyone who’s spent eight hours in front of a monitor that’s the wrong size knows that yes, size really does matter. Too small? Eyestrain. Too big? Neck hurts.
No matter how many kinds of monitors you see advertised, three main sizes are your options. For office work, a monitor that’s 27 inches occupies the Goldilox zone— big enough to read from, small enough to fit on the average office desk.
While each size has its merits, it also has its drawbacks— a 32-inch monitor can feel like a dream, but if you haven’t the space for it, it won’t work.
That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and since you have choices, you may want some guidance in making your decision, which is why we’re here.
We’ll look at the differences between 24 vs. 27 vs. 32-inch monitors and help you find the right size for you.
Points to Consider for Monitor Size
When comparing 24 vs. 27 vs. 32-inch monitors, some people make the mistake of thinking that bigger is always better. Others take one thing only into consideration: the lowest price. You have a better chance of finding the right monitor for you by considering other factors.
What type of work do you need the monitor for?
If you’re in a data entry field or spend hours reading words and numbers, the smallest monitor you can find can cause eye strain. If you do graphic design, you probably want a bigger monitor to see all the details you’re working with.
How much space do you have?
All Sceptre monitors have at least a 75Hz refresh rate from my observations. This is a welcome improvement over the industry standard of 60Hz, making them good displays for casual gamers. Most of their gaming enthusiast displays offer even higher refresh rates, up to 165Hz, while still being offered at affordable prices.
What are your deal-breakers and must-have features?
Most monitors don’t perform the same task, and they don’t all work the same. Features vary from one to the next. The same questions posed above should help govern your decision.
You’ll also find that you can choose from lower and higher contrast ratios. The higher the ratio (say, 2,000:1 vs. 200:1), the brighter and better-rendered the colors displayed.
Or maybe you need a monitor that has speakers built-in because your desk is too small. Or you want a monitor where you can raise the height because when you put your desk in standing mode, it just doesn’t level out quite right.
The point is that there are many features— scalability, HDMI ports, a USB port, higher or lower brightness levels— for you to think about when choosing a monitor.
Actual Monitor Sizing Explained
When we speak of a 24-inch monitor, we refer to the length of a diagonal line running from one upper corner of the display area to the opposite lower corner. A monitor’s width will typically measure shorter than the length of that diagonal. Let’s look at the surface area differences between 24. vs. 27 vs. 32-inch monitors.
24 vs. 27 Inches
While there is no universal set of measurements for a monitor of any size (more on this in a bit), the screen of a 24-inch monitor measures about 21 inches wide and almost 12 inches high for a surface area of 252 square inches.
A 27-inch monitor’s screen is 23 ½ inches tall and a hair wider than 13 inches and offers 311 square inches of surface area, making it 23.41% larger.
27 vs. 32 Inches
A 32-inch monitor’s display screen measures 28 inches by 15 ½ inches. It has a surface area of 434 inches, which is 39.55% larger than a 27-inch model.
These measurements aren’t the actual measurements of the monitor but just the screen. And when you’re choosing a monitor, the size of the entire unit matters, especially if you have limited desk space.
Monitors can be up to seven inches deep. The bezel and casing surrounding a monitor can add at least a couple of inches to the height and width of the unit, and this will vary from brand to brand.
Consult the specs page of the monitor you’re considering or take a tape measure to the electronics store.
32-Inch Monitors: Are They Too Big?
Asking if a specific size is too big is a moot question without more information. The answer, in this case, is, “usually.”
A 32-inch monitor will best suit people whose work involves multitasking, provided you have the room for it. If you need a second screen as you work, a larger monitor may benefit you. Rather than a dual monitor setup, multitaskers may find a single, larger monitor more efficient.
Consider also the type of work done on the monitor. A video editor or graphic designer wants a larger display to see details better. This goes for construction and engineering applications as well.
If you spend your days writing or entering data into a single program, a 32-inch monitor will be more than you need.
Consider also that as the monitor size increase, so does the distance between the left and right edge. This means you’ll expend effort turning your neck from side to side to take in all the data.
Studies show that extended monitor work strains the cervical erector spinae muscle. Adding the constant left-and-right only complicates matters, so if you don’t need that larger display, you’re adding to the strain on your body.
Best Overall 32-Inch 4K Monitor
Best For: Killer all-rounder for business, text, visual, and media workflows.
There’s a bunch of technical stuff like “10-bit color,” “1,000:1 static contrast ratio, and “40-60Hz VRR range,” but what matters to most is that this LG monitor is thin and doesn’t have a large bezel, so it takes up little space compared to other 32-inch monitors.
Its 4K resolution means sharp images that look terrific, and it boasts a Reader Mode, which lowers the blue light levels to make for a physically easier reading experience.
27-Inch Monitors: Just Right?
Most of us are not professional video editors so that 32-inch model could be too much. A 27-inch monitor, on the other hand, will be an excellent fit for the majority of people.
Consider the bulk of work done on computers; we’re talking about office work, general business work, and even programming and coding. A 27-inch monitor will be the just-right fit for most people in office settings.
Just a bit larger than a 24-inch model, the 27-inch adds just enough space to give users extra real estate for this or that program they may be toggling back and forth to. Most working professionals utilize dual 27-inch monitors to maximize their productivity.
There’s also the resolution advantage: higher resolutions will look and perform better on a 27-inch monitor than on a smaller one.
If you spend lots of time looking at your screen, anything you can do to make it easier on yourself helps, and having those three extra diagonal inches can make a real difference.
Best Overall 27-Inch 4K Monitor
Best For: The middle-ground for size, but top-tier for crisp detail.
This monitor has vibrant colors and supports 4K resolution, but perhaps the best thing about it is it’s practical features: the screen pivots, and it offers height and tilt adjustment options to get the best viewing angle.
And if you can’t eliminate the glare from that one office light, LG has an effective anti-glare coating on this model.
24-Inch Monitors: Too Small?
Some people prefer a smaller monitor. In that case, a 24-inch is not too small. For most people, it may seem somewhat cramped.
Running multiple programs may feel claustrophobic on a smaller monitor, but if you don’t spend hours working on it, it could be the one for you. You may also have space considerations that won’t allow for a larger screen.
Many competitive gamers prefer a 24-inch monitor, and this goes back to what we talked about with a 32-inch monitor and having to move their heads to take in the entire visual field.
While a larger monitor works well for data entry and the like, a 24-inch monitor works just as well for those applications. A 24-inch monitor should be more than adequate for a general use monitor.
Best Overall 24-Inch 1080p Monitor
Best For: The compact pick for office performance.
The top and side bezels are tiny. Since many 24-inch monitors get chosen for space considerations, this is a valuable feature.
It also features IPS technology, allowing accurate colors and images even when viewed at an angle. While this is our choice for the best 24-inch monitor, we exclude gaming from that consideration.
Best Gaming 24-Inch 1080p, 144Hz Monitor
Best For: Competitive gamers please stand up.
This monitor’s 1ms response time means virtually no lag time in gaming action, and its color reproduction is top-notch. Its 144 Hz refresh rate ensures you get the smoothest gameplay and a competitive edge when playing multiplayer games. After all, reduced head rotation and eye movement can increase your gaming response times.
It also uses sRBG technology, which isn’t the highest-end in color tech these days, but that doesn’t mean the colors are lacking.
What it does mean is that this monitor doesn’t require as much effort from your computer, so more of your CPU’s resources can be directed to the game. That translates into better performance.
Questions about the perfect monitor size? We have the answers.
In most cases, you should get a 27-inch. It’s the more universal size and will deliver the best performance for most applications.
There’s a much bigger difference between 27 and 32-inch, but there is some difference between these sizes. A 27-inch monitor’s surface area is almost 25% larger than the 24-inch.
If these are your choices, the 27-inch is better. However, given all options, the better choice for gaming is a 24-inch monitor.
In most cases, the 27-inch monitor will be best. Going bigger takes up desk space, and going smaller may feel like a cramped computer desktop.
Optimal distance depends on the resolution on that monitor, but the maximum effective distance is about 3 ½ feet. Higher resolution means you can get closer, but the minimum distance is 1.7 feet.