Nearly all monitors, and most of the content viewed on them, are meant for horizontal, or “landscape,” orientation. But if you want to use a monitor as a secondary display, or if you work with, say, portrait photos or video meant for smartphones, a vertical layout makes more sense. But a screen’s ability to rotate into a vertical orientation is just one feature among many, so it pays to know the best vertical monitors, as we identify here, so you’re sure to get an all-around solid performer.
To learn more about choosing a vertical monitor, scroll below our recommendations for a summary of important specs and features.
1. LG DualUp 28MQ780-B – Best vertical monitor
Unique aspect ratio is useful for photo, video editing
Makes an awesome second monitor
Highly adjustable stand
Vivid, accurate color
Difficult to fit in a small home office
USB-C port offers limited downstream connectivity
Can lack immersion in some content
When it comes to vertical monitors, there’s the LG DualUp 28MQ780-B, and then there’s everything else.
This monitor’s dominance is due to its unique 16:18 aspect ratio, which can be rotated 90 degrees for an 18:16 aspect ratio. In this orientation the monitor is roughly as tall as a 24-inch monitor in vertical orientation, but much wider.
You can view 3:2 or 9:16 content in a photo or video editing program at its full height and still have room on either side for the program’s tools. It’s also a wonderful fit for editing large, complex documents, like a magazine layout or PDF.
The LG DualUp 28MQ780-B scores well in other areas, too. It’s bright, color accurate, and has a wide color gamut. Connectivity is solid and includes a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alternate Mode and up to 90 watts of Power Delivery for charging a connected device. It also ships with a highly adjustable monitor arm that’s perfect for positioning the monitor alongside another display.
Priced at an MSRP of $699.99, and sometimes on sale for around $650, this monitor is not inexpensive—but it’s affordable enough to make most high-end alternatives irrelevant. The only significant downside is its resolution which, at 2560×2880, comes in a bit shy of 4K.
Read our full
Review LG DualUp 28MQ780-B
2. Dell U3223QE – Best 4K vertical monitor
IPS Black panel fulfills its promise
Accurate color with wide gamut
High brightness in SDR
USB-C hub with 90 watts of power
Edges of display are noticeably bright
HDR performance disappoints
Only a 60Hz panel
The Dell U3223QE is an awesome monitor and currently ranked at the top of PC World’s best monitors guide. It ships with a versatile ergonomic stand that can rotate 90 degrees for vertical use, which is rare for a 32-inch monitor.
Image quality sets the Dell U3223QE apart from the pack. It has a 4K IPS Black panel with a contrast ratio roughly double that of older IPS panels. This provides a richer, deeper, and more realistic image. The U3223QE also has extremely accurate color, a very wide color gamut, and high maximum brightness.
The monitor has a buffet of connectivity which includes a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alternate Mode and up to 90 watts of Power Delivery. The USB-C port connects to five additional USB-A ports, ethernet, and DisplayPort-out, which makes a USB-C hub or dock unnecessary.
Dell sells a smaller version of this monitor, the Dell U2723QE, which packs the same features into a smaller footprint. It’s a couple hundred dollars less than its bigger sibling but retains the stand that can rotate the monitor into vertical orientation.
Read our full
Review Dell U3223QE
3. NZXT Canvas 27Q – Best budget vertical monitor
Attractive and robust design
Four video inputs including USB-C
Great color performance
High motion clarity at 144Hz and 165Hz
Limited image quality adjustment
Speakers not included
HDR mode is barebones
NZXT’s Canvas 27Q is a great budget monitor with an unusual wrinkle that makes it ideal for vertical use: The stand, which does rotate for vertical use, is a $40 option. NZXT also sells a monitor arm for $100.
Why is this a perk? Vertical monitors are often used in less common situations and spaces, so it’s likely you’ll want to replace the stand with a monitor arm. As a result, a bundled stand is dead weight. But if you do want the optional stand, that’s also fine—NZXT’s stand is sleek, sturdy, and can rotate for vertical use.
Either way, the Canvas 27Q is an excellent monitor. It delivers 1440p resolution, exceptional color accuracy, a wide color gamut, and a high maximum brightness. The monitor’s overall image quality isn’t far off the Dell U3223QE and rivals the LG DualUp 28MQ780-B. The Canvas 27Q also supports an enhanced refresh rate of up to 165Hz.
Selling the display without a stand helps NZXT achieve a competitive price. The Canvas 27Q has an MSRP of $319.99 but frequently sells for just $249.99. This monitor is such good value, in fact, that it eliminates other 27-inch 1440p monitors from consideration. If you want to go vertical, and you don’t need 4K, this is your best bet.
Read our full
Review NZXT Canvas 27Q
What to look for in a vertical monitor
The most important trait in a vertical monitor is, of course, support for vertical use.
This is technically possible with any monitor that has a 100x100m VESA mount, as you can add a third-party monitor stand or arm that allows rotation for vertical use. However, an ideal vertical monitor will support this from the factory or, in less common cases, make the stand optional (so you can decide on your own).
Aspect ratio matters, but you don’t have much choice
A monitor’s aspect ratio has a big impact on its usefulness. A standard 16:9 monitor rotated for vertical use becomes a 9:16 monitor. That’s a somewhat awkward fit for a lot of content.
That’s why the LG DualUp 28Q780-B is the top pick. Its unusual 16:18 aspect ratio, which becomes a 18:16 aspect ratio in vertical use, is a far more versatile and practical choice. No other monitor on the market has this aspect ratio.
There are other options. A few monitors have a 16:10 aspect ratio, which becomes 10:16 in vertical use. This is less awkward than 9:16 but still not excellent. There’s also a handful of specialty monitors with a 3:2 or 5:4 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, these alternatives are rare and often lackluster in image quality when compared to more common widescreen monitors, which is why we can’t recommend them.
Image quality depends on your needs
Aspect ratio aside, the features that make for a good vertical monitor are no different from a monitor used in the standard, horizontal orientation.
4K resolution, or something close to it, is ideal, while 1440p is a good compromise for more affordable monitors. Also look for a monitor with a maximum brightness of at least 300 nits, as this will help overcome glare. Good color accuracy and a wide color gamut aren’t necessary for all people, but preferable, and all the vertical monitors we recommend score well in these areas.
USB-C is useful for vertical monitors
USB-C with DisplayPort Alternate mode is an alternative to HDMI and DisplayPort. It adds a DisplayPort video connection to the familiar USB-C port supported by many laptops and tablets (which is now mandated in Europe).
Unlike HDMI and DisplayPort, USB-C has the option to provide power through a standard called USB Power Delivery. This will charge a connected laptop, tablet, or other device. The LG and Dell monitors on this list support this feature, while the NZXT monitor does not.
Want to know more about how USB-C works on a monitor? Our guide to USB-C hub monitors has the details.
A monitor arm can be useful for vertical use
A desktop monitor stand is acceptable for vertical use if it supports rotation into vertical orientation, but a monitor arm is preferable.
An arm provides a wider range of movement in all directions. A vertical monitor will, in most cases, be used as a second display—and an arm makes aligning the first and second displays easier.
How we test monitors
PCWorld’s monitor guides are informed by hundreds of reviews from our team of staff and freelance experts. These guides combine tens of thousands of hours of testing and decades of combined expertise.
We test monitors using a SpyderXElite color calibration tool. This tool provides objective measurements of color accuracy, color gamut, color temperature, brightness, gamma, and contrast, among other metrics. Objective results help us compare dozens of monitors without bias to find the best in each category.