Computer Aided Design or "CAD" is utilized in just about every industry, from landscape design, civil engineering, movie animation, and much more. As CAD designs are often going to end up as real structures that humans will be in and around, it's incredibly important that they're accurate.
Having a high-quality monitor where you can see little details is essential. If you're looking for the best monitors for CAD, you're in the right place.
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Why Do CAD Applications Require a Quality Monitor?
For centuries, people have used engineering drawings; however, they were incredibly time-consuming and complicated. CAD is an easier and more accurate way to communicate all required information, allowing engineers to make a layout and work upon it with a monitor.
Your monitor should have a good amount of brightness, with incredible color accuracy and high pixel resolution. Moreover, your monitor should handle the robust CAD software, come with a solid response time, refresh rate, and ideally work with various OS.
CAD Monitor Comparison Table
25”, 27”, 32”
2560 x 1440
3840 x 2160
3840 x 2160
3840 x 1600
2560 x 1440
2560 x 1080
What Makes a Good CAD Monitor? CAD Monitor Recommendations
Your CAD monitor must be versatile, meaning it's able to work with Mac and Windows, different CAD versions, etc. This is in case you are working with groups of people who may not have the same OS you have, or if you will be working with different CAD versions.
Color & Visual Accuracy
Your monitor's color accuracy is essential for the best results, and the colors should adapt to your surroundings. Image and color reproduction needs to be spot-on so that there are no misunderstandings and misrepresentations with the final product.
Screen Size & Resolution
If ever there was a time where size does matter, it’s with CAD monitors. For example, your average laptop screen is going to be way too small for what CAD software demands. However, a good meet-in-the-middle is about 23” or more for image and saving space.
This will also depend on whether you're using just one monitor or multiple. If using only one, you may even go for 30"+.
The standard resolution for CAD users is 1920 x 1080 pixels for great detail. While this is an excellent resolution for monitors up to 25", if you're getting towards 30" or more, I highly recommend you move up to 2560 x 1440 pixels. If you're okay with spending a bit more, 4k displays are more accessible than ever and are incredibly crisp.
Response Time & Refresh Rate
Response time is essentially the time it takes for one pixel to change from one color to another as the image on your monitor changes. These are measured in milliseconds, and those with slow response times can produce blurry images, which not only makes it annoying but can create inaccuracies.
Refresh rate isn't quite as critical in CAD as other industries, though it still plays a significant role. A lagging screen can make it more challenging to do your job and harder to move around 3D designs smoothly.
Panel Type, Viewing Angle & Displays
You’ll find there are different panel types when choosing your new monitor. TN (Twisted Nematic) monitors were at one point the most popular and are a type of affordable LCD display.
However, they don't offer quite as many capabilities in terms of color accuracy and viewing angles. IPS (In-Plane Switching) displays are rapidly rising in popularity and are set to be the new standard due to their top-notch color ranges and broader viewing angles.
Monitors with a high viewing angle can be seen from various angles and positions while still retaining high image quality. This is important if you're working with others, doing presentations where you need to share your screen, etcetera.
There is both 2D and 3D CAD software, so you should know which you'll be using. 2D features basic geometric shapes and flat drawings, while 3D is slightly newer and much more realistic. The designs can be viewed and rotated from any angle to ensure complete precision. Your monitor should be able to handle whichever software you use.
Your monitor should be bright enough for you to see with clarity and accuracy in any type of lighting or environment. Sharpness directly relates to pixel density, and the more pixels fit into a monitor, the sharper the display will be. Higher monitor resolution will also result in sharper images and finer detail.
For added convenience, some monitors let you choose between different viewing modes: either portrait or landscape. This will come down to personal preference and also the specific project you’re working on.
Using multiple monitors is a popular option, helping with live workflow, palettes, and other projects. Some even let you adjust the height and angle to customize it to your liking and make sure you see accurately.
While almost every major brand stays to the HDMI standard, others, such as DisplayPort, VGA, and DVI. Older ones like USB simply aren't acceptable by today's standards, transferring data much too slowly. Look for a model with a minimum 2-year warranty.
We all want to get the best value for our money; a nice array of features, rich/smooth display, and precision. These range widely in prices, but those on our guide are all excellent options.
6 Best Monitors For CAD Reviewed
1. BenQ PD2700Q
- 27" IPS 2560x1440 QHD Resolution, Signal...
- 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB for optimal color...
- DualView Function to split screen into two...
- Display Pilot Software for Customized Monitor...
Best Monitor for CAD
25”, 27”, 32”
2560 x 1440
100% Rec. 709 and sRGB
“A moderately priced 27-inch monitor designed for CAD/CAM users and content creators, the BenQ PD2700Q offers a nice selection of picture presets and delivers very good grayscale and viewing-angle performance,” PC Mag informs.
Seeing as how this model offers features typically only seen on models hundreds of dollars more expensive, it’s no wonder why it’s considered the best monitor for CAD.
The overall build quality and performance is unbeatable. The cabinet comes with a rectangular stand and mounting arm, which lets you fully adjust the tilt, swivel, pivot, and height. If you’d like, you can even get rid of the stand and mount it on the wall.
There are a nice selection of I/O ports on the back, along with 2 DisplayPort inputs (full/mini), HDMI, an audio output, and three USB 2.0 ports.
Out-of-box color accuracy was satisfying, though grayscale performance knocked it out of the park. Sharp highlight and shadow detail were impressive, along with viewing angles that maintained accuracy from extreme angles.
The 27” IPS panel is non-reflective and comes with a 2560 x 1400 resolution, excellent brightness, 1000:1 native contrast, 16:0 aspect ratio, and 12 MS pixel response with a bit of input lag. If you’d like to use multiple monitors, the DualView Function can also split screens into 2 windows, making it perfect for CAD and animation modes.
To ensure you’re designing as long as you want to, you get Eye Care Technology complete with Low Blue Light and Flicker-Free features.
Also Recommended: Best Laptops for AutoCAD
2. Philips 328E1CA
- Philips e-line 32" (31.5" Viewable) 328E1CA...
- Curved VA panel with Philips Ultra Wide-Color...
- Mega Infinity dynamic Contrast Ratio for...
- Effortlessly smooth gameplay with...
Best Curved Monitor for CAD
3840 x 2160
120% sRGB, 97.8% NTSC color gamut
I know you're probably wondering, "Is a curved monitor good for CAD?" and the answer is, it's perfect! It's nearly impossible to find such a high-quality curved monitor at the price the Philips 328E1CA is listed for, so I recommend you snatch this deal up right away.
“The 32” curved screen of the Philips provides an immersive viewing experience, with the curve sufficient enough to draw you into the viewing experience without feeling unnatural,” explains PC Monitors.
With a 3840 x 2160 4k UHD resolution, it’s the perfect size for single-monitor setups while still providing incredible detail.
The slim build is very sturdy, and when you pair it with the 4-year warranty they offer, you can rest assured it’s going to last a long time. On the rear you’ll find a K-Slot, two HDMI 2.0 ports, DP 1.2a, a 3.5mm audio input, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an AC power input.
The monitor uses your standard RGB stripe subpixel layout, 120% sRGB, and 97.8% NTSC color gamut, making your designs more “alive” than ever before.
I found their Smart Contrast feature to offer incredibly rich blacks, shadows, and details. Adaptive-Sync technology ensured everything moved smoothly across the screen, with no lagging or stuttering. Overall, there’s no competitor to this best curved monitor for CAD.
Also Recommended: Best 4K Curved Monitors
3. BenQ PD3200U
- Exclusive AQCOLOR technology covers a wide...
- View files side-by-side with DualView. Easily...
- Ergonomic features allows you to customize...
- Keyboard video mouse (KVM) switch allows...
Best 4K Monitor for CAD
3840 x 2160
Adobe RGB, sRGB, Rec. 709
Truly a superstar in the CAD world, the BenQ PD3200U is one of the best in the world, with a beautiful display, sharp image quality, and realistically accurate colors.
“At 32 inches, this panel hits a sweet spot of size and density,” says Fstoppers, “and when it comes to color, this panel is perfectly suited to professional use. It’s very accurate, hasn’t drifted, and offers excellent performance.”
With a 2K QHD resolution, you can expect phenomenal detail and sharp image quality than you’ll be able to get from your regular Full HD monitors. With CAD/CAM mode activated, you'll see great contrast between lines and shapes, so if you're a technical designer, I'd put this at the top of your list.
To keep your spine in good shape and ensure you can see the position ideal for you, you can adjust the monitor's height, tilt, and orientation.
Supporting Adobe RGB, sRGB, and Rec. 709, this CAD monitor makes sure you get the brightest and most accurate colors available. Design for hours on end if you'd like thanks to Low Blue Light technology, along with Brightness Intelligence and ZeroFlicker, auto-adjusting brightness, and settings based on your surroundings.
I couldn’t be happier with the BenQ BL3200pt CAD professional monitor, and others feel the same way too.
Also Recommended: Best 32 Inch Monitors for Pixel & Screen Space
4. Dell U-Series U3818DW
- Get an immersive experience and enjoy...
- Complete your work projects and enjoy home...
- Compatibility - All operating system. With...
- You can display and edit content from two...
Best High-End LED Monitor for CAD
3840 x 1600
sRGB, Rec. 709
Dell is a brand that we've all come to know as a reliable, steadily performing one, and that's evidenced here with their U-Series U3818DW. If you’re on the hunt for an IPS with solid picture quality, low input lag, and a big, high-res screen that lets you see more of your designs at once, this is it.
There's no more need for a dual-monitor setup with this ultra-wide 38". Perfect for 2D and 3D, it's incredibly versatile at a low price. The curved display offers an immersive viewing experience, making it great for long work hours.
Excellent color reproduction and viewing angles are what to expect here, with optimal accuracy and incredible detail while ComfortView filters out harmful blue light too.
Build quality is made to last, though it is a downside that it only comes with a 1-year warranty. However, I did love that you can display and edit from 2 different PCs with their single KVM feature. This makes it a great group-working monitor.
On the back, you’ll find an AC power connector input, two HDMI connects, a DP connector, USB Type-C port, audio line-out, USB upstream and downstream ports – everything you will likely need.
5. ViewSonic VP2771
- PREMIUM MONITOR: This QHD (2560x1440p)...
- FRAMELESS DIGITAL CANVAS: A three-sided...
- REDUCE CABLE CLUTTER: Connect video, audio,...
- ULTIMATE COLOR ACCURACY: Screen wide sRGB,...
Best 27 Inch Monitor for CAD
2560 x 1440
sRGB, EBU, smpte-c, Rec. 709, and dicom-sim color spaces
You’ll need to mess with the calibration settings a bit to get the most out of ViewSonic VP2771’s full potential though you can count on it being reliable and accurate that makes it perfect for CAD work.
“Engineered to deliver unmatched color accuracy crucial for professional applications, the monitor displays your work with the vivid and lifelike color it deserves,” says ViewSonic themselves. I have to agree with them.
Color support and uniformity are some of the best out there. The 27" monitor comes with factory-certified preset color modes and an optional calibration kit to make custom setups for anything you need.
You'll get preset modes for sRGB and Rec.709, which are pretty standard, but then you also receive EBU, SMPTE-C, DICOM-SIM, and even iPhone support! A built-in ambient light sensor was reminiscent of the iPhone, in fact, adjusting the brightness and colors depending on your surroundings.
It was a bit of a bother that I needed a Philips-head to install the panel on the upright, but considering the affordable price, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make again. I loved how ergonomic the design was, with easy adjustments. Finally, if you often work in groups, you'll love the KVM switch.
Also Recommended: Best 27" 4K Monitors
6. LG 29WK600-W
- 29 inch ultra wide 21:9 full HD IPS monitor
- HDR10 compatible
- AMD free sync technology
- sRGB 99% Color Gamut
Value for Money
2560 x 1080
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a lot of cash to get yourself a nice CAD monitor – you just have to know where to look. The LG 29WK600-W is a hidden gem that you need in your workspace if you’re on a budget.
With a stunning 21:9 aspect ratio, it’s perfect for CAD. The color is accurate, and at a 2560 x 1080 resolution, you'll see clearer than ever before.
Weighing in at almost 12 pounds, it’s definitely not a flimsy thing. The sturdy build is made to last, though LG's stingy 1-year warranty doesn't jive with that. I did love the modern white design, which not only looks unique but premium.
Viewing angles are very good, making it an excellent choice if you do a lot of group work or sharing of screens. I did find the max brightness just a bit too dim for my liking, but this will depend on your tastes and environment.
The Onscreen Control features are unmatchable, letting you take advantage of an array of multi-tasking tools. Screen Split mode allows you to "cut" the screen in half while the Dual Controller enables you to connect 2 different computers onto the same monitor. This almost renders dual-monitor setups obsolete – not to mention this single CAD monitor just looks so sleek and cool!
Today, CAD is used by architects, engineers, drafters, artists, and more. It’s used to make 2D and/or 3D models to design structures like homes, government buildings, electrical schematics, floor plans, and more.
It was back in 1957 when Dr. Patrick J. Hanratty developed PRONTO, which was the first commercial numerical-control programming system. From there, more software programs developed upon that, using basic principles and feasibility of computer technical drawing.
Ivan Sutherland really stepped things up in 3D computer modeling, which is the basis of CAD today.
CAD Monitor Maintenance & Troubleshooting
To take care of your CAD monitor, check out the following steps:
- 1Use a surge protector to prevent damage caused by electrical spikes
- 2Keep air vents open to lengthen lifespan of components
- 3Leave your monitor on to keep it from going cold to warm suddenly
- 4Check all connections and make sure nothing is pinched or squished
- 5Ensure it’s in a safe, stable space
- 6Regularly clean it with a soft cloth and screen spray
Here’s how to fix some of the most common issues:
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Is a 27 inch monitor too small for 4K?
While a larger monitor will yield better results, you will probably be just fine with a 27 inch (though it’s not ideal).
Which monitor reviewed above has the best graphics?
How many monitors do you need for CAD work?
Many believe you need at least 2, but with any of the options mentioned above, one is more than enough.
Is an IPS panel good for graphic design?
It sure is! In fact, it’s preferred!
Where can I find these CAD monitor recommendations?
Amazon is where you need to go! They have the best deals, great warranties and coverage, and fast/safe shipping.
Now that you know just about everything you could ever need about the best computer monitors for CAD, have you selected the right one for you? If not, allow me to reiterate how great the BenQ PD2700Q is. Not only is it affordable, but it also has an excellent build quality, incredible detail and color accuracy, is ergonomic, and comes with a ton of extra features.
Jake Redman is a UK-born-digital nomad & founder of Ultimate Quality Content, a collective of high-end copywriters formed to provide detailed insight into everything technology-related. Jake is the definition of a man-nerd. He gets excited over things like processor architecture, ray-tracing, & is an avid E-Sports fan, specifically League of Legends. When he isn’t writing detailed tech-related articles, Jake can be found performing fire-breathing shows & wields a dragon staff, or on the sofa playing Mario Kart.