Monitors

6 Best Monitors For Reading Documents, Text & Blueprints

If your job requires you to read documents or look at blueprints all day, and you spend a lot of time staring at a screen, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right screen. 

In this post, we're going to share what we think are the very best monitors for reading. 

We'll be reviewing and comparing the best reading monitors on the market, showing you what technical specifications to look for, explaining how to position your monitor correctly, and answering all of your other burning questions.

Image

Model

Screen Size

Contrast Ratio

Viewing Angle

Resolution

Brightness

Color Support

Check Price

BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor | 1080P |...

24 inches

1000:1

178°

1080p (1920x1080)

250 cd/m²

72% NTSC

Dell S Series Led-Lit Monitor 32' Black...

32 Inches

3000:1

178°

2560 X 1440

300 cd/m²

99% sRGB

ASUS Designo MZ279HL 27” 1080P IPS Eye Care...

27 Inches

1000:1

178°

1080p (1920 x 1080)

250 cd/㎡

16.7 million colors

Philips 276E8VJSB 27' Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 1...

27 inches

1,000:1 (static)
20,000,000:1 (SmartContrast)

178°

4K (3840x2160)

350 cd/m2

1.07 billion colors (8-bit + FRC)

Acer KB272HL bix 27' Full HD (1920 x 1080)...

27 inches

100,000,000:1
3,000:1 (static)

178°

1080p (1920 x 1080)

300 cd/m²

16.7 million colors

13.3 Inch 2200x1650 Monitor Electronic Paper...

13.3 inches

N/A

N/A

2200x1650

N/A

N/A


Benefits of Getting the Right Reading Monitor

First off, let’s talk about why choosing the right monitor for reading documents is so important. Here are the main reasons that buying a good reading monitor is a worthwhile investment:

  • Reduces eye strain
    The best monitors for reading have anti-eye strain features like blue light filters that help to protect your eyes from short-wave blue light. This reduces eye fatigue while reading and helps you to avoid blurred vision.
  • Increases comfort
    Good reading monitors feature ergonomic designs and adjustable stands that help you to position them for maximum comfort. This means you’ll spend less time craning your neck to see your screen properly and will be able to maintain better posture.
  • Makes reading easier and faster
    Larger displays, better image quality, and improved color accuracy make it easier to see the blueprints or text that you’re reading. No more squinting at the screen trying to make out the small text.
  • More workspace/reading space
    The best reading monitors have larger screens, wider displays, and greater aspect ratios so that you have more screen space to work with. This makes it easier to have multiple documents open at once.
  • Boosts productivity
    One of the upshots of having a well-optimized monitor for reading is that it can increase your productivity. Being more comfortable allows you to keep working hard for longer, without being distracted by things like eye fatigue or neck strain.
  • Improves image quality and color accuracy
    Better monitors provide better image quality. This is especially important if you work in a creative industry or have to read documents in which detail is important, like blueprints.

Buying Considerations For the Right Monitor for Reading

Alright, before we jump into our list of the best monitors for reading, you need to know what to look for. Here are the main factors to consider when you weigh up your options.

Monitor Panel Type

Different monitors use different types of panel technologies to display information on the screen. There are four main types of monitor panels worth knowing about: TN (twisted nematic) panels, IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels, VA (Vertical Alignment) panels, OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panels, and E Ink panels.

All of the above panel technologies other than OLED panels are types of LCD panels. LCD monitors tend to be much more common and widely available than OLED.

That all probably sounds like a lot of jargon, but don’t worry. You don’t need to understand all the technical differences between the different panel types - you just need to know which is best for your needs.

And for reading, IPS or E-Ink panels represent the best choice.

E Ink is a relatively new and uncommon panel technology that reflects the ambient light in the room and looks a lot like real paper. It looks great, but it’s not widely available on desktop monitors just yet, so IPS is probably going to be the way to go.

For more information on the different panel technologies, see our ‘Types of Monitor’ section towards the bottom of this guide.

Screen Size

When it comes to screen sizes, bigger is usually better. Ideally, you’re going to want to buy the biggest monitor that makes sense after considering your available desk space and budget. A bigger screen will be easier to read off without straining your eyes.

Monitor screen sizes vary and can be anything from 20" to 40" in size. The most common sizes are 24", 27"; I’d recommend 27” if you can afford it and have space for it.

You should also think about the aspect ratio of your screen (how wide it is). A standard widescreen monitor has a 16:9 aspect ratio, but there are also ultrawide (21:9) and even super ultrawide (32:9) screens available.

The advantage of using a screen with a wider aspect ratio is that you can have more tabs or programs open and visible side-by-side at once. This can be very useful in certain circumstances. Writers, for example, can use one half of the screen for research and read their notes from, and the other half to write.

Resolution

The resolution tells you the number of horizontal and vertical pixels that can be displayed on the monitor screen. The higher the resolution, the sharper the image.

The most common resolution is 1920 x 1080p (Full HD). This is usually good enough for reading, but higher resolutions that provide even more clarity are also available if you can afford them.

You should also think about the screen size when you’re looking at the resolution as this will affect the number of pixels per inch (PPI). The larger the screen, the higher the resolution you'll want to see to ensure the image stays sharp.

For monitors that are over 27" in screen size, I'd recommend a monitor with at least 2560x1440p or 4k (3840 x 2160p) resolution if you can afford it. Anything more than 4K is probably overkill.

Response Time

The response time of a monitor tells you how long it takes to shift from one color to another. It’s usually given in milliseconds (ms). Lower numbers are better here as higher response times tend to mean more motion blur. Typical response times range from 1 to 10 ms.

It’s not a huge deal for reading as you’re unlikely to notice a higher response time, but I’d still recommend aiming for as low a response time as possible. If you plan on using your monitor for gaming as well as reading, low response time is much more important as every millisecond makes a difference.

Brightness

Nobody likes having to squint to make out the text on the screen because it’s too dark. That’s why it’s also important to think about brightness. Each monitor should provide a brightness rating measured in candela per square meter (cd/m2). The larger the number, the brighter the screen.

I’d recommend shooting for a monitor with as much maximum brightness as you can get (ideally 250cd/m2 or above). If you’re reading outdoors or in a well-lit room, that extra brightness will come in handy.

Yes, there is such a thing as too much brightness, but you can dim the brightness later by adjusting it on the monitor as needed, so a higher maximum brightness is always a good thing.

Anti-Eye Strain Features

Reducing eye strain is probably the main reason you want a good monitor for reading, so anti-eye strain features are essential. Look out for features that help to minimize eye fatigue, such as:

  • Blue light filters
    These filter out the harmful blue light that can suppress an important sleep-inducing protein called melatonin. This is especially important if you plan on reading from your monitor at night.
  • Flicker-free screens
    These screens are designed to eliminate brightness flickering to put less strain on the users’ eyes.
  • Anti-glare
    These screens help to prevent light reflection and reduce glare from light sources to help you to see your screen better.
  • Ergonomic stands
    Monitors with ergonomic stands can be easily adjusted to make them sit at the appropriate height and angle for you to use comfortably.
  • Reader mode
    Monitors with a 'reader mode' allow you to automatically adjust the settings to optimize your display for reading at the touch of a button.

Additional Features

Other important features you might want to think about include speakers (do you want to play audio out of your monitor while you’re reading?), USB hubs (how will you connect your monitor to your desktop/laptop?), integrated support features (does the monitor support picture-in-picture display?), and more.

Make sure you consider all of your needs and choose something that fits the bill.

Price & Warranty

And finally, think about the price. You're aiming for the best possible value for money, so set a budget and weigh all the options. Expect to pay at least $100 for a passable monitor, $150-$300 for a solid mid-range option, and $300+ at the higher end of the market. Most monitors will come with some warranty cover, so factor that into your decision too.


6 Best Monitors For Reading Documents Reviewed

1. BenQ GW2480

On Sale Today
BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor | 1080P |...
  • 24 inch full HD 1080P IPS panel: 23. 8”...
  • Wide viewing angle: 178° wide viewing angle...
  • Edge to edge slim bezel design: Ultra-slim...
  • Patented Eye-Care for extended use:...

Our Top Pick!

Screen Size

24 inches (27 “ also available)

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Viewing Angle

178°

Resolution

1080p (1920x1080)

Brightness

250 cd/m²

Color Support

72% NTSC

Our top pick for the overall best monitor for reading goes to the BenQ GW2480. This slick, stylish monitor has everything a frequent reader could want, including an IPS (that’s the good one, remember?) display with accurate color technology, expansive viewing angles, plenty of screen space, and lots of integrated eye-care tech.

For example, BenQ’s ‘Intelligence Adaptive’ technology will automatically adjust the brightness for you to ensure comfortable viewing, while the low blue light filter and zero-flicker screen will help to prevent eye strain and headaches.

The design itself is very sleek. It boasts an ultra-slim bezel, which, aside from looking awesome, extends your visible screen space to help with multi-panel configurations. The space-saving base is also great for a small home office set up.

It also comes with built-in speakers that are as good as you could expect from a monitor; no worse than the speakers you’d find on most laptops or PC monitors, but obviously still not as good as dedicated external speakers or a good pair of headphones.

At under $150, it’s a steal. Considering the specs, I’d have expected the price to be higher. I guess the great value might have something to do with brand recognition - BenQ isn’t quite as well known in the US as other leading brands, so you’re not paying for the name.

Also Recommended: 5 Best BenQ Gaming Monitors Reviewed

Good
  • Excellent eye-care tech
  • Ultra-slim bezels
  • Good viewing angles
  • Great value for money
  • IPS display
Bad
  • Not 4K
  • Brightness could be better

2. Dell S Series S3219D

Dell S Series Led-Lit Monitor 32" Black...
  • Enjoy crisp, vivid image clarity in QHD (2560...
  • The wide viewing angles ensure a clear view...
  • Hear more life like sound, more dynamic music...
  • Vesa wall mountable design

Best monitor for reading pDFs

Screen Size

32 Inches

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Contrast Ratio

3000:1

Viewing Angle

178°

Resolution

2560 X 1440

Brightness

300 cd/m²

Color Support

99% sRGB

Next up, we have the Dell S Series S3219D, one of the very best monitors for reading PDFs. The screen on this thing is huge. At 32-inches, it’s the biggest monitor on this list with the most visible viewing space. All that extra space makes it ideal for viewing PDFs with small text, and you should easily be able to open several windows and fit them side-by-side.

It boasts a QHD (QuadHD) 2560 x 1440 resolution, which is somewhere between 1080p and 4k - right in the sweet spot. However, remember that most HDMIs don't support 2560x1440p, so you might be limited to 1080p if that's what you're using.

It also has Dell’s ComfortView technology, which filters out harmful blue light and optimizes the screen settings for eye comfort. The flicker-free, low-haze screen does a great job of eliminating headaches and eye fatigue. It's also wall-mountable, which is useful if you’re working with limited office space.

Surprisingly, the in-built speakers are actually pretty good too, which is unusual for a monitor. The main downside is that it uses a wide-angle VA panel, not IPS, which I’d have preferred. Overall, though, it’s a great monitor. You’ll struggle to find a screen this big with as good a feature set for a similar price.

Also Recommended: Best Monitors for Eye Strain

Good
  • Huge screen
  • Good speakers
  • ComfortView technology
  • Good value
  • Good brightness
Bad
  • VA panel
  • Some users report refresh rate issues

3. ASUS Designo MZ279HL 

ASUS Designo MZ279HL 27” 1080P IPS Eye Care...
  • 27” Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS monitor with...
  • Stereo 3W speakers with ASUS SonicMaster for...
  • Ultra-slim frameless design with minimalist...
  • ASUS Eye Care technology with TUV...

Best 27 Inch monitor for reading documents

Screen Size

27 Inches

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Viewing Angle

178°

Resolution

1080p (1920 x 1080)

Brightness

250 cd/㎡

Color Support

16.7 million colors

Moving onto the Designo M7279HL from Asus. This is our top pick for the best 27-inch monitor for reading documents; Asus has done a really great job of designing an excellent all-around monitor here.

Let’s start by talking about ergonomics. One of the most important factors in a reading monitor is adjustability, and this monitor has that in abundance. The monitor can be adjusted in height (0-100mm), tilt, and swivel, which allows you to position it perfectly to reduce eye strain (see our monitor positioning guide at the bottom of this article for how to do that).

The screen itself looks great, with ultra-thin bezels, excellent wide viewing angles, and a full HD 1080p resolution. ASUS’ integrated Eye Care technology ensures flick-free backlighting and filters out blue light to minimize eye fatigue.

The refresh rate, at 75Hz, is pretty good and ensures silky smooth visuals, which makes it great for both reading and gaming. It also has dual HDMI and VGA ports, so you don't have to worry about connectivity and can hook it up to multiple devices.

Again, the look of the whole monitor is very nice. It has a frameless, space-saving design and measures just 7mm at the thinnest point. It’ll look great in any home office.

Also Recommended: 5 Best 27 Inch 4K Monitors

Good
  • Ultra-thin design
  • Good refresh rate
  • Integrated Eye Care technology
  • Adjustable, ergonomic stand
Bad
  • Not 4K
  • Brightness could be better

4. Philips 276E8VJSB

Philips 276E8VJSB 27" Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 1...
  • Philips e-line 27" Led monitor with ultra...
  • Elegant, slim design with narrow Border...
  • Multiview enables active Dual connect and...
  • Displayport 1.2, HDMI 2.0 (x2) inputs with...

Best monitor for reading blueprints

Screen Size

27 inches (22, 24, 32, 34 inches also available)

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Contrast Ratio

1,000:1 (static)
20,000,000:1 (SmartContrast) 

Viewing Angle

178°

Resolution

4K (3840x2160)

Brightness

350 cd/m2

Color Support

1.07 billion colors (8-bit + FRC)

The Philips 276E8VJSB is our pick for the best monitor for reading blueprints. It’s perfect for engineers, architects, and CAD technicians.

This has the highest resolution we've seen so far at 3840x2160, which ensures crystal clear images and stunning visuals even at larger screen sizes.  It's one of the best 4k reading monitors you'll find.

We’re recommending the 27-inch model, but it’s also available in larger screen sizes, going all the way up to 34-inch ultrawide. If visible screen space is important to you, the ultrawide version is a reliable option. The bezels are super thin and almost unnoticeable, and you can also choose your own display panel. Options include flat IPS, curved IPS, flat VA, and curved VA.

The curved screens are a nice way to save desk space while maximizing visible screen space but, if you’re not sure, I’d recommend sticking with the flat IPS.

Where the Philips 276E8VJSB stands out is when it comes to color clarity. The display supports over a billion colors and delivers rich, vivid, life-like color reproduction. If you work in the design industry, this is probably going to be a huge plus.

My only complaint is the lack of VESA compatibility, which makes it tough to mount. Bear this in mind if you’re getting a larger screen and have limited desk space.

Good
  • 4K resolution
  • Excellent brightness
  • Excellent color accuracy
  • Good warranty cover
Bad
  • Pricey
  • Not VESA compatible

5. Acer KB272HL

Acer KB272HL bix 27" Full HD (1920 x 1080)...
  • 27 Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen VA...
  • 75Hertz Refresh Rate Using HDMI Port
  • Response Time: 4 millisecond (G to G). Stand...
  • Acer VisionCare Technologies

Best computer monitor for reading text documents

Screen Size

27 inches

Aspect Ratio

16:9

Contrast Ratio

100,000,000:1
3,000:1 (static)

Viewing Angle

178°

Resolution

1080p (1920 x 1080)

Brightness

300 cd/m²

Color Support

16.7 million colors

Next up, we have the Acer KB272HL, another strong contender for the best computer monitor for reading text. It has a 27-inch VA widescreen display, 1080p resolution, good color accuracy, maximum brightness, and nice viewing angles.

What makes it special, though, is Acer's integrated VisionCare technology. It’s one of the best examples of monitor eye-care I’ve come across and consists of four separate Acer technologies: Low Dimming, ComfyView, BlueLightShield, and Flicker-less display.

Acer Low Dimming automatically adjusts the brightness settings to 15%-brightness when you’re in darker environments, like when you’re reading at night, in order to reduce eye strain.

ComfyView helps to limit the reflections from ambient light sources to reduce glare, while BlueLightShield protects you from long-term eye damage by adjusting the color hue and brightness.

Another stand-out feature is Acer eColor Management, which makes it quick and easy to adjust the display settings. This is great if you’re fussy about your display as you can tune the brightness, contrast, and color settings to better match your environment and improve your reading experience.

Aside from reading, it's also useful for gaming thanks to the excellent refresh rate and AMD Radeon FreeSync technology, which syncs the monitors’ frames with your graphics card to do away with stuttering and tearing.

Good
  • VisionCare technology
  • Good contrast ratio
  • Good color accuracy
  • Acer eColor Management for easy adjustment
Bad
  • VA display
  • Not 4K

6. Electric Magic E Ink Monitor

13.3 Inch 2200x1650 Monitor Electronic Paper...
  • Resolution:2200x1650 Retinal screen...
  • Great EPD design to protect your eyes
  • HDMI connected,the speed is almost as fast as...
  • Support Systems:Windows 7/8/10,Mac OS...

Smallest monitor for reading documents

Screen Size

13.3 inches

Aspect Ratio

N/A

Contrast Ratio

N/A

Viewing Angle

N/A

Resolution

2200x1650

Brightness

N/A

Color Support

N/A

And finally, we have the Magic E Ink Monitor, a top of the range screen that’s great for anyone that primarily reads text-only documents.

What makes this monitor special is the E Ink display panel, which creates a ‘paperlike’ ink screen similar to e-readers like the Amazon Kindle. It’s one of the few monitors on the market that use E Ink technology, and the only one featured on this list.

At just 13.3 inches, it's also our smallest monitor for reading documents. The screen really isn't big enough to work with blueprints, and the screen doesn't display colors, so it isn't well-suited to things like CAD and design work. However, if you're mainly planning to read or write text, this is the way to go.

I often use an E Ink monitor when writing as I tend to suffer from screen-headaches, and this eliminates that problem. I can easily sit in front of it for hours without any pain or sore eyes.

Obviously, the biggest drawback is having to work in a black and white environment, but it’s manageable. Things like browsing the internet, reading, and writing are fine. You can even watch videos and view images well enough, just expect a little detail/clarity to be lost in darker images.

An added bonus is that it doesn’t use a whole lot of power, so you can hook it up to your laptop and turn your main screen without having to worry about it draining the battery.

The main downsides are the slow refresh rate and ‘ghosting,' which can be distracting. It also has an odd resolution (2200x1650) and aspect ratio, which might seem a little unusual to work with if you're used to standard 16:9 displays. But, all that aside, it's still a fantastic product.

Good
  • E Ink technology
  • Low power consumption
  • Great for reducing headaches
  • Looks like paper
Bad
  • Unusual aspect ratio
  • Black-and-white display
  • Small screen

Types of Monitors

Monitors can be subcategorized based on the type of panel technology they use. Here’s a quick breakdown of all the main panel technologies.

TN (Twisted Nematic)

TN stands for Twisted Nematic panels. This is the most common panel type used in modern monitors, and also the most affordable. The advantages of Twisted Nematic panels are their fast response times, higher refresh rates, and minimal input lag, all of which makes them ideal for gamers.

However, they also tend to have poor viewing angles, bad color contrast, and generally lower image quality. As such, they’re less suitable for reading.

IPS (In Plane Switching)

IPS panels offer the overall best image quality. Compared to other types of panels, they tend to provide improved contrast and brightness, more accurate colors, and wider viewing angles.

The tradeoff for that image quality is that they also tend to be more expensive and have higher input lag than other types of monitors.

Related: 6 Best IPS Monitor Under 200 USD for Vibrant Colors

VA (Vertical Alignment)

Vertical Alignment panels are like a compromise between IPS and TN panels. They typically have better color contrast and viewing angles than TN panels (though not quite as good as IPS panels) but also higher refresh rates and more brightness than IPS panels.

That being said, they’re also known for a few problems, like color distortion and contrast loss when viewed from off-angle, as well as ‘blurring’ caused by higher response times when gaming. They’re not super common either with fewer VA panel monitors on the market than other types.

E Ink

E Ink displays are the only panel type designed specifically for reading. As such, they’re probably the best panel type for reducing eye fatigue, with superb contrast ratios and viewing angles.

They use 'electronic paper display technology,' which is designed to make your screen look like real paper. It provides higher contrast and visibility while consuming less power than other types of displays.

However, E Ink displays are only available in black and white. This isn’t a problem if you only ever plan on reading text, but if you need to see color images, blueprints, or diagrams, it’s not going to be suitable. There are also only a few manufacturers currently providing E Ink computer monitors, and they tend to be fairly pricey. 


Ergonomics: Monitor Positioning for Reading Comfort

It's not just about the monitor you use; it's also about how you use it. You want to be as comfortable as possible while you’re reading from your monitor, right?

If so, you need to get your ergonomics right. That means positioning your screen in such a way as to help you to maintain neutral posture and so that you can read effortlessly for hours without squinting, leaning forward, or shuffling around in your seat.

With that in mind, here’s how to properly position your monitor for better ergonomics.

  • Adjust your chair or monitor stand height so that your eyes are level with the top third of the screen. You should be looking slightly downwards to view the middle of the screen.
  • Sit at least 20 inches (51cm) away from your monitor, so the screen is around arm's length away from your eyes. For larger screens, you may need to sit further away.
  • Reduce glare by adjusting the screen angle appropriately. You may want to tilt it back 10° to 20°.
  • Users that wear bifocals should adjust the monitor height, so it sits further below eye level and then tilt the screen back further (around 30° to 45°).

Cleaning, Maintenance & Troubleshooting

It’s important to look after your monitor if you want to keep it in tip-top condition. Here are some tips on how to properly clean and take care of your monitor:

  • Never cover the air vents
    The air vents are usually located on the top or side of the monitor. They help the monitor to keep cool, so make sure you keep them open at all times to avoid overheating.
  • Use a surge protector
    A surge protector can help to protect your monitor from damage caused by electrical spikes.
  • Turn it off when not in use
    To preserve the life expectancy of your monitor, turn it off when you’re not using it. Also, avoid turning it off and on more than necessary to prevent power spikes.
  • Place on a stable surface in a well-ventilated area
    This will help to protect it from excessive heat, light, and moisture.
  • Clean your screen regularly
    Use a dry, lint-free cloth or antistatic screen cleaner to clean your screen whenever you notice a build-up of dust or smudges. If the smudges or stains are hard to remove with a dry cloth, you can add a little dish soap and warm water but be careful not to get it too wet.
  • Clean the plastics regularly
    You can use a damp cloth for this. Just dampen it with warm water and scrub the plastics while the monitor is unplugged, being careful to avoid any electricals.
  • Brush the ventilation holes
    Periodically use a brush, paintbrush, or something similar to keep the ventilator free of dust.
  • Check cables are secure
    If your monitor seems to be showing a blank screen, double-check all cables are secure and that you’re using the right kind of cable to connect it to your PC.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Which type of monitor is best for the eyes?

Flicker-free IPS monitors with eye care technology like blue light filters are the best for the eyes. E Ink monitors are another good option, though not widely available.

Is 4K monitor good for the eyes?

Usually, a higher resolution like 4K is better for the eyes as the sharper image means you’re less likely to have to strain your eyes to make out finer details.

Are bigger screens better?

Yes, bigger screens are better for readings as you can fit more text/images on the screen and make them larger.

How far should my eyes be from the monitor?

Your eyes should be around 20 inches (51cm) away from the monitor screen.

What types of work requires reading in front of monitors?

Editors, writers, proofreaders, engineers, designers, architects, and many other job roles all involve lots of reading from monitors.


Conclusion

That concludes our guide to the best monitors for reading text, documents, and blueprints. Hopefully, this has given you all the information you need to find the right screen for your needs.

If you’re still deciding which one to choose, I’d say go for the BenQ GW2480. It’s probably the overall best choice for reading, all things considered, and won’t let you down.