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Best Monitors to Buy for Security & CCTV Cameras (2021)

Find the best monitor for your security camera or CCTV camera setup. Learn what to look for when buying security monitors & TVs.

Security cameras with monitor Chuttersnap / Unsplash

Last Updated: October 15, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

There are many types of monitors out there, so I will try to help with choosing the best one for security and CCTV camera setups. This guide goes over everything from the size of the monitor to refresh rates and everything in-between.

I've included my recommended monitors and TVs below for viewing security and CCTV camera feeds to make a more knowledgeable and straightforward purchase.

Size

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The best monitor size for viewing your security cameras depends on how far you'll be sitting from your monitor, which resolution you want, and how many camera feeds you'll be viewing on one display.

If you want to sit farther away from the monitor, you'll probably want to get a larger one so that you can see all of the camera feeds clearly.

Smaller monitors have the advantage of fitting more camera feeds into your field of view without having to move your eyes as much.

Larger monitors can allow you to have more camera feeds and other apps on the screen overall if you get a monitor with a higher resolution.

In the chart below, you can see the optimal resolution for each size of monitor.

Any resolution higher than the optimal resolution listed below might look a little crisper or allow you to display more camera feeds at once. Slightly crisper images alone would likely not be worth the extra added cost.

For example, you'll have the best experience if you get a 27-inch monitor with a 1440p or 4K resolution. Verify that your CCTV DVR or security device is capable of handling the higher resolution.

Monitor Sizing
Monitor SizeOptimal Resolution
24 inch 1080p / 1440p
27 inch 1440p / 4K
32 inch 1440p / 4K
42+ inch 4K

Using a TV Instead of Monitor

TVs are also another great option for a security system setup. TVs are the best option for a larger display since larger monitors are not as common and are more expensive.

For additional recommendations specific to TVs, check out my other article: Choosing the Best TV for Your Room - A Buyer's Guide.

Check out my recommended TVs for viewing security and CCTV camera feeds below.

Power Usage

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LEDs are the primary backlight type in monitors nowadays, so most monitors use a similar amount of power. Most monitors consume an average of 45 to 65 watts during use.

Some Energy Star certified monitors can use as little as 16 to 35 watts, but the monitor won't be as brightly lit in energy-saving mode. A larger LED monitor or TV (over 30 inches) can use around 80 to 100 watts.

Lifespan

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LED-backlit displays typically have a 100,000-hour lifespan. LCD backlit displays have around a 50,000 to 100,000-hour lifespan. That's equivalent to 5 to 11 years of constant use.

These estimates mainly depend on the quality of components (particularly capacitors in the display) and the temperature the display is being used in (the higher temperature, the worse). Quality-engineered LED displays, which are more expensive on average, usually last up to the estimated lifespan.

Burn-In

LED LCD monitors are less susceptible to screen burn-in compared to OLED. LED LCD and QLED displays are your best options for camera feeds with static images. If you use an OLED TV for viewing your camera feed, though, you may have some minor burn-in over time. However, newer models typically have settings and features to mitigate screen burn-in.

Resolution

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The best monitor for your setup can also depend on how much detail you want to be displayed and the clarity of what's on your screen, like user interface elements and text quality, along with your camera feed.

The clarity is based on the resolution, but a bigger screen allows you to see it at a more comfortable size. A 27-inch monitor with a 1440p resolution will look a lot more crisp compared to 1080p.

Security cameras usually have a 1080p, 2K, or 4K resolution. The resolution of the camera feed doesn't mean that you have to have the exact resolution for your monitor, though. For example, a 4K camera can still look clearer than a 1080p or 2K camera when viewing them on a lower resolution display (1080p or 1440p). With that said, if you want to get the full benefit of your 4K camera feed, then you'll be best off with a 4K display, especially if you have many camera feeds you want to view on one display.

Usage

You may plan to also use your monitor for computer apps, such as browsing websites or multitasking (having multiple windows open side-by-side).

The advantage to using a higher-resolution monitor (1440p or 4K) for your security setup is that you can fit more apps and windows onto the screen at once. Higher resolutions can help with multitasking and allow you to view multiple camera feeds and any other apps you want to view simultaneously.

If you don't scale the UI on your operating system, text and buttons will be smaller at high resolutions. However, newer operating systems let you scale the UI, which means that everything can be the same size as on a low-resolution monitor but have greater detail.

Monitor Resolution Comparison Monitor Resolution Comparison Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Panel Types

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The display panels inside monitors can use a variety of different technologies. Common LCD panel types include TN, VA, and IPS. Non-LCD panel types include OLED.

Note that LED and QLED are types of backlight technologies and are used in combination with TN, VA, and IPS panels.

Below is a comparison of the different monitor panel types. Overall, IPS panels are my favorite because they provide the best features for the price.

Monitor Panel Types
TNVAIPS
Excellent Good Very Good
Excellent Excellent Very Good
Okay Very Good Excellent
Okay Good Excellent
Good Very Good Good
$ $$ $$$

Refresh Rates

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Refresh rates determine how well a monitor can handle motion — the higher the refresh rate, the better. If you're using your monitor only for security cameras, refresh rates won't matter that much. If you're using your monitor for other uses also, then it can improve the overall experience. Scrolling through your web pages will look a lot more smooth. With that said, you won't notice a difference in refresh rates while there's no motion on the screen.

Monitors can have a refresh rate ranging from 60 to 360 Hz.

Refresh rate is the number of times a display can redraw the screen. Refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz), which is defined as one cycle per second. For example, a refresh rate of 60 Hz means that the screen will redraw 60 times each second.

A good refresh rate is around 120 Hz to 165 Hz or above for all use cases, but 60 Hz will be good enough when using only for your security camera feed. Refresh rates of 75 Hz and higher will reduce motion blur and make animations smoother in other cases.

Response Times

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Response time also determines how well a monitor can handle motion — the lower the response time, the better. A lower response time can improve the smoothness and clarity of text while scrolling through web pages or documents.

Response time is the time it takes a display to change from one color to another. The timing of this is usually determined by going back and forth between white and black. The timing is measured in milliseconds, with lower being better.

If your monitor has a higher response time, you'll notice more ghosting. When ghosting occurs, it looks like the colors or text are blurring together whenever there's quick movement on the screen.

Try to get a monitor with a 1 ms response time for best results. Monitors with a slightly higher response time (e.g., 5 ms) can still make for a great monitor for your security camera feed if you don't mind some minor ghosting.

Some monitors are not capable of both being set to their highest refresh rate and achieving their fastest response time. Check the monitor specs to determine what it supports.

Reflectivity

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If you're viewing your monitor in a dark lit room, its reflectivity won't matter as much unless you have lights shining from behind you. In a brighter room, or if you have lights behind you while viewing, you'll want to get a monitor with an anti-glare panel for best results. If your monitor is glossy and reflective, it can be hard to see parts of the display.

Brightness

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Most monitors currently sold are bright enough for most situations, like for viewing a security camera feed. If you're considering a monitor for viewing in a brightly lit room, you should turn off any energy-saving settings to maximize the supported brightness level of the monitor. You can then raise the brightness settings accordingly.

250 to 350 cd/m² is the standard range of most monitors and is best for general use. Brighter monitors of around 500 cd/m² are better for brighter rooms or if you want a brighter screen.

Monitor brightness is measured with cd/m², which means candela (luminous intensity) per square meter. A "nit" is another way to describe 1 cd/m² brightness.

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SAMSUNG UE57 Series (28 Inch)

  • 28 inch | 4K | 60 Hz | 1 ms | TN Panel

  • 4K resolution allows for viewing more content simultaneously.

  • Supports:

    • One billion colors
    • Picture-in-picture
    • VESA mounting
  • SAMSUNG UE57 Series 28-Inch 4K on Amazon (affiliate link).

    SAMSUNG UE57 Series 28-Inch 4K

BenQ EX2780Q (27 Inch)

  • 27 inch | 1440p | 144 Hz | 1 ms | IPS Panel

  • The IPS panel provides excellent picture quality.

  • Option for optimizing screen brightness based on on-screen content and ambient light.

  • Supports VESA mounting.

  • BenQ EX2780Q on Amazon (affiliate link).

    BenQ EX2780Q

ASUS ProArt PA278QV (27 Inch)

  • 27 inch | 1440p | 75 Hz | 5 ms | Rotatable | IPS Panel

  • The IPS panel provides excellent picture quality.

  • Factory calibrated and color accurate; 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color gamut.

  • Supports:

    • Portrait orientation
    • VESA mounting
  • ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p Monitor on Amazon (affiliate link).

    ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p Monitor

ASUS TUF Gaming (27 Inch)

  • 27 inch | 1440p | 165 Hz | 1 ms | HDR10 | IPS Panel

  • Fast refresh rates reduce motion blur and make animations smoother.

  • 1 ms response times prevent ghosting during quick movements.

  • The IPS panel provides excellent picture quality.

  • Supports:

    • VESA mounting
    • HDR10 (when used with HDR content, allows for darker darks and brighter brights)
  • ASUS TUF Gaming 27 inch 2K HDR Gaming Monitor (VG27AQ) on Amazon (affiliate link).

    ASUS TUF Gaming 27 inch 2K HDR Gaming Monitor (VG27AQ)
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If you want a bigger option than monitors, these TVs can work as a giant monitor for your security camera feed setup! You can then have the option of using your TV for both security and entertainment. These TVs also support 4K resolution, which is excellent for viewing many security camera feeds at once.

Samsung QN90A QLED (Best)

  • This is an exceptional TV for any use, whether for movies, games, sports or as a PC monitor.

  • It's the "Neo" QLED variant, which has an excellent contrast ratio and deep blacks.

  • This will also work great in a bright room.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has some slight blooming around bright objects. Here's more info about QLED blacklight bleed. Despite that, this is one of the best QLED TVs you can buy.

  • The Samsung QN90A QLED also supports low input lag, variable refresh rate, and fast response time, all of which are needed for gaming.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung QN90A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung QN90A QLED

Samsung QN85A QLED

  • This is another excellent Neo QLED TV variant for use in bright rooms while having fantastic response time, low input lag, and vivid natural colors.

  • The Samsung QN85A QLED has wide viewing angles and high brightness to overcome screen glare.

  • It's superb for HDR content due to its high brightness and wide color gamut.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has lower contrast compared to the QN90A.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung QN85A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung QN85A

Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED

  • Great for watching sports or TV shows together with family and friends due to the wide viewing angles while keeping accurate colors.

  • It's also quick enough for gaming and great for using as a PC monitor.

  • A negative to this TV is that it has lower contrast compared to the QN90A and lower local dimming compared to both TVs mentioned above.

  • This TV also has high brightness for HDR along with wide viewing angles.

  • Check the latest price of the Samsung Q80A QLED on Amazon (affiliate link).

    Samsung Q80A QLED