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The best touch screen monitors in 2021: control your PC using your monitor

Best touch screen monitor
(Image credit: HP)

Welcome to our guide of the best touch screen monitors designed to be used with a desktop computer, or as a secondary monitor to use with an office-based laptop.

If you're after a smaller secondary monitor that can be carried with your laptop for use on the go, see our list of the best portable monitors. Portable monitors can also be had with touch sensitivity, but they're smaller and are powered from your laptop's battery, so they don't need their own power supply.

With so many laptops now sporting touch-screen displays, and touch screens being on pretty much every new phone and tablet in existence, a traditional non-touch desktop computer monitor can seem a bit antiquated. Thankfully, there are now plenty of touch-sensitive desktop monitors around that will let you tap, swipe and pinch to zoom, just like a tablet or touch-screen laptop.

All the touch screen monitors on this list are at least 21 inches in size, with 23-24 inches being the norm. A couple of 27-inch options are also featured, but that's pretty much the size limit for touch screen monitors, as any larger and you'd need stretchy arms to reach all four corners of the screen!

Fortunately, many touch screen monitors are mounted on special stands that allow the display panel tilt from a conventional upright position down to a flatter orientation more like a drawing board, making touch inputs much more comfortable.

Things to consider when choosing a touch screen monitor

If you've already researched the best monitors for photo editing or the best video editing monitors, you may have realized that none of them are touch screen monitors - what gives? Why would you even consider choosing a new monitor that doesn't have touch sensitivity? After all, a touch screen monitor adds an extra, more ergonomic form of user input, so must be better, right? Well, it's not quite that simple.

Screen size and resolution:

The obvious drawback with a touch screen monitor is the aforementioned size restrictions, as if you want a touch screen larger than 27 inches, you're pretty much out of luck. The next step up in size for touch screen monitors are 50+ inch displays designed for corporate presentations rather than home computing. Even most 27-inch touch screen monitors have the same Full HD 1920 x 1020 resolution as their smaller 21-24-inch stablemates, so you're not actually getting more pixels, only bigger ones. This can make your images just look more blocky, unless you sit further away from the screen.

Color accuracy:

It's not just outright screen resolution where touch screen monitors can fall short of their non-touch alternatives. Top-end screens designed for image and video editing are often factory color calibrated, they use LCD displays that can display a huge range of colors, or feature fast refresh rates for smoother video playback and gaming. However, touch screen monitors aren't intended for color-critical image or video work - they tend to be all-purpose displays designed for more general applications like web browsing and basic image viewing. 

Connectivity:

Connectivity also tends to be compromised - you can forget about USB-C hubs with Power Delivery - even DisplayPort connections can be a rarity on touch screen monitors.

Capacitive vs. resistive touch:

These are the two primary forms of touch input. Resistive touch requires you to physically press the screen (which itself is slightly spongy) for it to register an input. It's a cheaper form of touch input, and a resistive touch screen is also tougher than a capacitive equivalent, so they're popular for use in ATMs and retail checkouts, however resistive technology doesn't support multi-touch and won't give the same fluid sensitivity as the touch screens we're now accustomed to on phones and tablets. Consequently, most modern touch screen monitors use capacitive touch screens supporting 10-point multi-touch. These operate exactly like a phone or tablet's touch screen, requiring only a light tap, swipe or pinch to register inputs. All the monitors on this list use 10-point capacitive touch screens.

Computer compatibility:

Put simply, even the best iMacs and MacBooks don't support touch screen monitors. Consequently, all the touch screen monitors on this list will only work with Windows 8.1, Windows 10, some Linux and Android operating systems.

Image quality:

Not all LCD monitors are created equal. LCD displays use three types of construction - IPS (In-Plane Switching), VA (Vertical Alignment) and TN (Twisted Nematic). Each one of these three LCD types exhibits noticeably different image quality characteristics, clearly visible to the average user. For image and video editing, TN-based monitors should really be avoided. These are the cheapest to manufacture, and deliver compromised image quality thanks to their restrictive viewing angles. This results in highly uneven color and contrast across the screen, effectively hiding shadow and highlight detail in your images. IPS-based monitors are the gold standard for image quality. These produce color and contrast that doesn't shift depending on which part of the screen you look at, making image editing much more precise. Most of the touch screen monitors on this list are IPS-based, and the rest are VA-based monitors. These can't quite match the image quality of an IPS monitor, but are much more color-accurate than a TN screen.

So with all that in mind, if you find yourself poking your old desktop monitor, frustrated that it won't respond in the same way as your laptop or tablet screen, a touch screen monitor could well be for you.

The best touch screen monitors in 2021

Recommended

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell P2418HT

The very best touch screen monitor on the market

Screen Size: 23.8-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 300cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort

Highly adjustable stand
10-point capacitive touch
IPS image quality
Limited color space coverage
'Only' 24 inch

Dell's P2418HT has fairly typical touch screen display credentials - a 23.8-inch screen size and Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution - but it stands out from the crowd in other areas. Its special articulating stand transitions the display from a standard desktop monitor to a downward 60-degree angle touch orientation. It also supports extended tilt and swivel capabilities, so you can adjust the screen to your task or a more comfortable position. Plus, a protective cushion at the base of the screen offers a buffer against bumps when the stand is fully compressed. The IPS LCD display promises better color and contrast accuracy than cheaper VA or TN LCD touch displays, and there's even DisplayPort connectivity, which isn't always present on touch screen monitors.

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

2. ViewSonic TD2455

Another excellent touch screen monitor choice

Screen Size: 23.8-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Display connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort

IPS LCD display quality
Clever ergonomic stand
DisplayPort connectivity
No VGA/DVI connections
Slightly weak max brightness

The stand supporting most monitors is usually little more than an afterthought, but it's arguably the standout feature on the ViewSonic TD2455. Its ergonomically-advanced dual hinge enables 5-60 degrees of tilt, so you can easily find your most comfortable working posture. Viewsonic also includes a stylus pen should you want to write or draw on the screen instead. There's also upmarket image quality thanks to the IPS LCD that provides better color and contrast consistency, regardless of your viewing position, while the 1920 x 1080 screen res is high enough for crisp image clarity when spread across the 23.8-inch panel size. 250 cd/m2 max brightness and a 1000:1 contrast ratio are pretty typical, though the DisplayPort and USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C connectivity are unusually generous inclusions.

Philips 242B9T

(Image credit: Philips)

3. Philips 242B9T

It may look bland, but this is a well-featured 24-inch touch screen option

Screen Size: 23.8-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4

IPS image quality
Versatile Z-hinge articulating stand
Excellent connectivity
Utilitarian design
Average max brightness

If you can get past the uninspiring black plastic design of the Philips 242B9T, this touch screen monitor has a lot to offer. It should be easy to connect to pretty much any computer, thanks to its full array of HDMI, DVI, VGA and DisplayPort connectivity and included cables for all but DVI. It's even got its own built-in 2W stereo speakers, while the clever Z-hinge stand allows a huge -5 to 90 degrees of tilt adjustment, making it extra-ergonomic when using the 10-point capacitive multi-touch display. As with most of the touch screen monitors on this list, the 242B9T incorporates an IPS 1920 x 1080 Full HD LCD display, giving excellent 178 x 178-degree viewing angles.

(Image credit: HP)

4. HP EliteDisplay E230t

Arguably the best-looking touch screen monitor

Screen Size: 23-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2

IPS, Full HD display
Sleek design
DisplayPort connectivity
No DVI connection
Stand could be more adjustable
Max brightness could be higher

The EliteDisplay E230t certainly looks the part, sporting a modern, sleek design with super-slim screen bezels and classy, sleek stand. This doesn't enable the same kind of screen gymnastics and some touch monitors, so you can't tilt the screen right down to an almost flat configuration, but there is a more limited range of tilt/swivel and pivot adjustability. Image quality specs are decent for the money: you get a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, a 250 cd/m² brightness rating, and a 5 ms response time, all backed up by IPS LCD technology for superior color and contrast accuracy. 10-point capacitive multi-touch sensitivity and DisplayPort connectivity round of this compelling package.

(Image credit: Planar)

5. Planar Helium PCT2785

The best larger-than-average touch screen monitor

Screen Size: 27-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort

Built-in webcam and mic
Versatile, highly-adjustable stand
Relatively large 27" screen size
Full HD res is low for a 27" screen
Relatively pricey

Want a larger than average touch screen monitor? This 27-inch offering is our pick, as it's based around an IPS LED-backlit display. That translates more dependable color accuracy and contrast that won't shift depending on whether you're viewing the centre of the screen or the corners. The Full HD resolution is spread a little thin across a 27-inch display, so images will look slightly pixelated, but this is an unavoidable compromise you have to make if you want a touch screen monitor larger than 24 inches. The PCT2785 does score well in terms of versatility though, as you get a built-in HD webcam and microphone, making it great for homeworking and video conferencing. There's also 10-point capacitive multi-touch and an ergonomically-advanced stand that can transform the display from completely flat through to a 70-degree tilt.

(Image credit: Acer)

6. Acer T232HL

An older but still very capable touch screen monitor

Screen Size: 23-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 300cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI x2

IPS LED-backlit display
Reasonable 300cd/m2 max brightness
Adaptable stand
No DVI or DisplayPort connections
Huge black screen bezels

This touch screen monitor was introduced back in 2014, which is a long time ago in the monitor world. However, with its quality IPS display technology and reasonably high Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, it can still rival newer touch screen monitors when it comes to image quality. What's more, the elegantly simple stand allows for a versatile 8-60 degree tilt, enabling you to interact with the screen at a greater variety of angles than a typical monitor would allow. There's also 10-point capacitive touch sensitivity, so you can use a full range of touch gestures. However, the T232HL does show its age with its thick black screen bezels, and its dated display connectivity - VGA and dual HDMI are your only options here.

(Image credit: Acer)

7. Acer T272HL

A larger touch screen monitor, but there are compromises

Screen Size: 27-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: VA | Brightness: 300cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI x2

Bigger than most touch monitors
Versatile stand
Internal speakers
Not IPS
No DisplayPort connectivity
Full HD a bit low for a 27" screen

The T272HL is the bigger 27-inch sibling to Acer's 23-inch T232HL. Like the T232HL, it boasts a slightly above-average 300cd/m2 brightness, along with 10-point capacitive multi-touch. There are also a pair of 2w internal speakers, and the stand allows a large 10-60 degrees of tilt to enhance touch ergonomics. If you're after a larger-than-average touch screen monitor, the T272HL is a reasonable choice, but there are compromises to be made. For starters, this is still a 1920 x 1080 Full HD monitor, so while it may be physically larger than a 23/24-inch Full HD display, images will simply look larger, not more detailed. What's more, while the 23-inch Acer T232HL uses a superior IPS LCD display panel, this 27-inch model has to make do with a more downmarket VA-type display, meaning contrast and color accuracy will vary depending on your viewing angle - that's not ideal for precise image or video editing.

(Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus VT229H

A slightly smaller touch screen monitor, but it's still Full HD

Screen Size: 21.5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 250cd/m2 | Display connectivity: VGA, HDMI

Low price
Full HD looks sharp over 21.5 inches
IPS
No DVI or DisplayPort connections
Very basic stand
Mediocre max brightness

At 21.5 inches, the Asus VT229H is one of the smaller touch screen monitors on this list, but it still sports the same Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution as larger 24 and even 27-inch touch screen displays, meaning you get more pixels per inch and slightly crisper image quality. This is also an IPS LCD, with wide 178 x 178-degree viewing angles and reliably consistent color and contrast, regardless of your viewing angle. The capacitive 10-point multi-touch enables all typical pinch/swipe gestures, and even touch typing on a virtual on-screen keyboard. The screen's slim bezels give it a modern look, however the basic included stand won't allow the display to tilt to the same degree as some rival touch screens. There is a VESA mount option though, if you'd rather attach a more ergonomic monitor arm.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging labs manager, responsible for all of the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensor, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest smartphones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to bags, filters and all manner of accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography!