There are several reasons why you might want to check monitor size: perhaps most obviously, if the time has come to get a new one, you may want to check how big your current one is, as a guide to what you need to be looking for. You'll almost certainly want something the same size, if not a little larger.
But if you've had your monitor for a long time, you may not actually be certain how big it is anymore. Was it 17 inches? 21? Does the bezel count?
To avoid any confusion, we've put together this handy little explainer, to let you know exactly how to make sure you have the right measurements. You can use the same method to measure your laptop screen size as well.
Sounds good? Let's get started!
How To Check Monitor Size
There are a couple of very simple ways to find out how large your monitor is. First and most obviously, is to check your paperwork, which should give you a model number, and very often, will tell you the size of your monitor as well. If not, you can visit the manufacturer's website and get the information there.
As a handy tip, the model number of a monitor will very often contain the information you are looking for. Take as an example, the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ, one of the best ultrawide monitors. The monitor is 35 inches, and the number 35 in the "PG35VQ" gives you that information. This principle applies in the vast majority of cases.
But if you want to make absolutely certain, then the best thing to do is use an old-fashioned measuring tape. Measure your monitor diagonally, from top-left to bottom-right (or vice-versa, we aren't picky). Don't include the bezels, you are simply measuring the size of the screen itself. Generally, monitors are measured in inches, so don't get confused and start measuring in centimetres.
Now you know how to find out how big your monitor is. But when you are looking for a monitor, does size actually matter?
What Is The Best Monitor Size?
There is no definitive answer to what the 'best' monitor size is. It really depends on individual needs and wants. Some people may prefer a larger screen due to their eyesight. Others might want something smaller because of the limited space for their setup. But there are some general principles to keep in mind.
The ideal size of the monitor will be dictated by two main factors: how far away you are sitting from the screen, and the resolution of the monitor itself.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the screen, the higher the resolution should be, to keep everything crystal clear. The following guidelines are a useful template:
- 1920x1080 should be on monitors no larger than 25 inches.
- 1440p is suitable for 27-inch monitors.
- 4K works great on monitors between 27 inches and 43 inches.
If you are considering an ultrawide monitor, then the calculations change a little. The resolutions are slightly different, but 2560x1080 on a 34-inch ultrawide monitor is the same pixel density as 1080p on a 27-inch monitor. 3440x1440 on a 34-inch monitor meanwhile, is the equivalent of 1440p on a 27-inch display.
How Far Away Should I Sit?
The other part of the equation is how far away you intend to sit from your monitor. Once again, there is no hard and fast rule for this. Ultimately it comes down to what works best for you. How good your eyesight is will also be an influencing factor.
Ideally, you don't want to sit so far away that you can't make out what's happening. If you're squinting, you're probably too far away. And on the other hand, you don't want to sit too close that you can make out individual pixels, or can't take in the whole screen at once.
The general principle recommended by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is to calculate your distance from the display and divide it by 1.6. This will then give you an idea of the largest monitor you can use. The larger the screen, the further away you are probably going to need to be.