MacBooks are always the best laptops to have in your arsenal, whether you are a working professional or a gamer. For decades Apple has been making these marvelous machines, but the problem is screen size.

How to Choose the Best External Monitor for a MacBook?

MacBooks are less than 15”, and the screen size isn’t that great to enjoy the machine’s capabilities to the fullest. So all you need is the best monitor for MacBook Air or Pro.

Here’s your quick guide to buying an amazing external display for your Mac.

Screen Size

The reason why you are buying an external display is the screen size. So, make sure to choose the right size for your requirements. These monitors are available in various options with 24″, 28″, and 38-inch screen sizes.

Make sure to measure your desk before going for a display. Or, if you are planning to mount it on the wall, ensure that the wall has enough space to accommodate a monitor with a VESA mount.

Connectivity Ports

After the screen size, hop on the ports to buy a monitor that’s compatible with the MacBook. Nowadays, manufacturers are making Mac-ready monitors that need just one cable to connect with your laptop.

Going for such displays makes the desk clutter-free, and you can work with ease. Also, look for other ports such as Type-C and USB-A for Daisy-Chaining the display.


The bigger the resolution gets, the better the image quality will be. So if you are a video editor or someone looking for a monitor to edit photos, graphics, and visual content, you should go for higher resolution options.

Makers like Apple, ASUS, and LG have 4K as well as 5K displays available with ultimate resolution. However, these displays are expensive. If you need a regular monitor for a 9-to-5 job, you can consider the standard resolution, i.e., 2560 by 1600p.

Refresh Rate

When looking for an external monitor for your MacBook, never overlook the refresh rate. The refresh rate is responsible for eliminating image ghosting and blurring issues.

If you are considering a monitor for gaming, consider a higher refresh rate, i.e., 120Hz. On the other hand, if you need a display for day-to-day tasks, you can go for 60 Hz monitors.

Panel Type

When looking for a MacBook monitor, you will come across several panel types, including LED, IPS, LCD, and more. IPS panels are relatively new and are great for consistent viewing from all angles.

However, monitors with these panels can be pretty expensive. You can opt for LCD monitors as well because of the promising picture quality and budget-friendly models.

Response Time

This is the time the pixels take to change the colors. Usually measured in milliseconds (ms), the response time affects the performance of a monitor. The shorter the response time, the better the display will perform without any motion blur.

Consider the premium lineup by LG as these monitors have less response time and are great for gaming and other such professional tasks.


The brightness is the ability of the display to produce light. A typical monitor for a MacBook can have 250cd/m2 brightness. If you are considering a monitor for video/picture editing and graphic designing, look for models with higher brightness levels.

Contrast Ratio

It is the ratio of the luminance of the darkest color to that of the brightest color. However, there’s no standard set for contrast ratio, as you see for response time and refresh rate.

Some monitor manufacturers 50,000:1, whereas some do 1000:1. It would be great to check the best external monitor for MacBook reviews to know more about the contrast ratio and other specifications of the display.


Always go for a monitor that comes with a versatile stand and is compliant with the VESA mount. The tiltable stand helps you adjust the viewing angle, and you can work for hours without compromising on comfort.

Most branded monitors like Dell, LG, Apple, ASUS offer this versatility, so you can choose any of them based on the price and reviews.


An external monitor for MacBook can cost you an arm-and-a-leg if you don’t have a budget in mind. So choose a figure, and funnel down the options that fall under your budget.

However, don’t go for cheap and non-branded models as they don’t offer great quality, and the after-sales services will be poor as well.

Final Thoughts

Make a list of the external monitors you like, and compare them based on the factors mentioned in this article. Always check the customer reviews when buying a monitor to ensure that you are putting your money in the right product.

Lastly, you can look for additional features as well, including built-in speakers, webcam, and more, to have better functionality and convenience with the new monitor.

iLounge author Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.