Difference between LCD and LED Monitors: Explained

By Arindam Roy

A computer monitor is a display that can show various forms of input from computers. Most screens will display information in “widescreen” format. There are many different types of monitors, each with their own specific advantages and disadvantages. The two most common types you’re likely to encounter are LCD and LED monitors.

What are the differences between LCD and LED monitors?

Since LCD monitors use liquid crystals to produce images, they have a more limited lifespan. The quality of the image is also dependent on how well the monitor’s pixels function, which may deteriorate with time. LEDs offer a clearer and crisper picture than their liquid crystal counterparts. They achieve this by illuminating an organic material that changes from yellow to blue when an electric current is applied. Plus, LEDs have a higher refresh rate than LCDs, which means your screen won’t be blurred if too many images flash across it too quickly.

If you’re looking to get the most for your dollar, consider getting an LED-backlit monitor. All of our Editors’ Choice budget and mid-range monitors use LEDs—and they’re some of the best monitors we’ve tested. One of our top picks, the HP Pavilion 22c, even has integrated lighting so that it looks like it’s turned on at night!

One issue with LED screens is that they don’t work as well in bright lights—a common complaint about many gaming monitors. A more common industry nickname for these screens is “nitrogen-cooled TN” because liquid nitrogen keeps them from overheating. Many high-end monitors use IPS panels—which offers wide viewing angles and vibrant colors in addition to better contrast—but those are more expensive.

Also read: Different Type of Monitors & Their Uses

What benefits do LED monitors have over LCDs?

LED monitors have crisper images, higher refresh rates, faster response times and better color accuracy than LCD monitors. However, they’re also generally more expensive than comparable LCDs. While there are many options that are more affordable, a cheaper LED monitor still costs at least $400 less than a comparably sized LCD monitor. If you want an LED monitor with the best gaming performance, expect to spend well over $1,000 for one of our top picks.

If you’re looking for a gaming monitor with an LED-backlit panel, we recommend:

Read more: What Type of Monitor is Ideal for Gamers?: A Perfect Guide

Are there any downsides to LED monitors?

We found that the image quality decreases when the backlight is on in a dark room. If you play games late at night, LED monitors may not be ideal because of reduced contrast and color saturation. If you use your computer in an office or other brightly lit area, though, we wouldn’t recommend going with an LCD monitor instead—LED monitors have better brightness than their LCD counterparts. On the other hand, some gamers prefer to game after work or on weekends in darker areas.

What’s the difference between LCD and LED monitors? Point-wise discussion below:

  • LCD monitors usually have a lower resolution than LED displays when they produce images at the same size, due chiefly to the need to accommodate an air-gap between pixels for polarizing filters used in liquid crystal displays (LCDs).
  • LED monitors use LEDs as their backlight instead of CCFLs. LED-backlit screens are thinner, lighter and more power efficient than CCFL-equipped monitors.
  • LCD monitors can be made very thin and light, with some models designed to be wall-mounted. This is not the case with LED displays.
  • OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays are the brightest and highest quality of all screens in existence today, but they’re also extremely expensive. OLED monitors are available in very high resolutions (in excess of 16 million pixels). However, they are still somewhat difficult to produce on a large scale because their organic materials make them expensive to manufacture.
  • LED monitors consume less power than LCDs.
  • LED monitors produce a brighter, sharper picture with better contrast and color grading than LCDs. This is largely due to the fact that LEDs are monochromatic light sources, whereas LCDs use a backlight that is made up of different colors. However, LED monitors can be more expensive than comparable sized LCD models.
  • LCD displays offer a wider viewing angle, making them ideal for multiple-display setups in offices or digital signage solutions. This is not the case with LED displays. In addition, LED displays can have issues when images are displayed on glossy surfaces and some colors may appear washed out if positioned at an acute angle to the screen.
  • LEDs are more environmentally friendly than LCDs, since they last longer and consume less energy. A typical LCD display can use up to 150 watts of power on average when used for extended periods of time. In comparison, LED monitors use just an average of 15 watts in standard settings.
  • LED displays have higher response times than LCDs, which means that if you’re playing fast-paced video games or watching video action, your screen will get blurry more quickly with a LED monitor. The difference can be up to 40ms for a typical LED monitor with 4 millisecond (ms) refresh rate compared to 15ms for an LCD screen with the same 4 ms refresh rate.
  • LED displays are generally better suited for multitasking, in part because they can support higher resolution images. However, LCD screens have been shown to last longer than LED monitors. In addition, some LED displays offer a higher refresh rate than comparable LCD models.
  • LCD screens are still more common than their LED counterparts. For example, around 80 percent of flat-panel displays sold in the US in 2010 were LCDs. Many consumers also prefer the darker blacks that come from LCDs and CCFL backlights instead of the brighter black levels offered by LEDs and newer technologies like quantum dots or other types of nanocrystals.
  • LED displays also offer better color accuracy and a clearer picture than LCD models.
  • LED monitors use light-emitting diode backlighting (typically white LED), which allows for thinner design than CCFLs which require inverting (a process of running electricity through a gas, which creates light with specific spectrum). Inverting produces heat, adding additional thickness to the LCD screen.
  • LED monitors tend to have faster response times as well as faster refresh rates than LCD screens because LEDs can turn on and off faster than CCFLs. This lack of motion blur is great for gamers and those who want to watch videos that include fast action.
  • LED monitors can be held to be more energy efficient than LCD screens. In addition, LED monitors have no life expectancy.

All of the above points are not exclusive to LCD and LED monitors, we just chose these primarily because they are most readily present in these two specific models. This article is about technical differences between them and their products, not the merits of each type of screen. In addition, please keep in mind that as a consumer you should make an informed decision when it comes to deciding what type of monitor and display will meet your needs best for your specific budget climate – it may be one or both types mentioned above.

Relevant reading: What Screen Resolution do I Need for My Monitor?: A Quick Guide

So which monitors are the best?

Typical gaming monitors use an LCD panel with a refresh rate of 60Hz, but most LED monitors offer a 120Hz refresh rate, which is twice as fast. Plus, some LED monitors are even better at 144Hz, which means that they can display twice the frames per second. That means you’ll be able to play your games faster without an annoying lag. In addition to these increased refresh rates, many LED monitors also have better motion-blur capabilities than their LCD counterparts. On top of these added features, we found that the 4K options from Asus and Acer provided sharper images than any other type of monitor we tested.

Although these types of monitors usually have better motion-blur capabilities than LCDs, you should still try to keep your monitors on a stand with a curved base or wall mount to eliminate as much motion blur as possible.

If you’re looking for an affordable monitor with high refresh rate, image quality and multiple gaming options (such as customizable red lights or heat sinks), we recommend:

If you’re looking for one of the best 4K LED monitors or a screen that measures more than 30 inches diagonally, we recommend:

Related post: Should You Get a 1440p Monitor or A 4K Monitor?: Detailed Guide

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I Know if I Should Buy a New Monitor or Refurbish One?

There can be some confusion when it comes to refurbished monitors because some people don’t realize that used monitors were given the chance to reach their full retail value again if they were still fairly new at the time they were returned. Refurbished monitors are typically safe and good options but we do caution against buying refurbished monitors that are more than a year old. This is because there’s a chance that the monitor is experiencing a fault, and in turn fixable by a technician.

Why Do We Recommend Monitors That Have IPS Panel?

IPS panels are considered to be more accurate than TN panels, which allows for a better color reproduction and contrast ratio even if you’re viewing an image from off angle. They are also cheaper but slower than the latest TN panel types, which can provide consumers with a better value.

Why Should I Choose a 2K or 4K Monitor?

As technology keeps improving, 4K monitors are becoming slimmer and cheaper than ever before. If you’re looking for a monitor that is highly detailed and offers a beautiful viewing experience without costing too much, 2K monitors might be the ones for you.

How Can I Maximize a Monitor’s Resolution?

There are multiple ways that you can maximize your monitor’s resolution. Some of them include using Multiple Monitors, creating multiple windows, and using virtual desktop programs. They are all mentioned here .

How Do I Accurately Calibrate a Monitor?

This video will show you how you can accurately calibrate your monitor using Windows 10 and an i1Display Pro colorimeter. It will walk you through the process step by step. [VIDEO]

You may also like: How to Install a New Computer Monitor: Explained

Should I Buy a Cheap Monitor or Go Big?

Buying cheaper monitors can certainly save some money in the short term, but there are also cases in which you should buy the more expensive option. If you are planning to use your monitor for a long time, then you should always consider the purchase of a high-quality monitor. This is because cheap models can have issues like broken pixels and faded colors while better models will offer better viewing angles and color reproduction.

What is the Best Way to Position a Monitor?

If you want to get rid of eye strain and improve your overall viewing experience when using your monitor, then there are many things that you should consider doing. The first is to make sure that your head is at least 30cm away from the screen. When you use a monitor for long periods of time, your neck muscles will start to tire out. This can lead to neck pain if you don’t place your monitor in the right position. In addition to this, be sure to choose a monitor that has an adjustable stand so that you can find the best angle for you while you’re working.

How Can I Make My Monitor Last Longer?

Just like with anything else, taking care of your monitor will ensure that it lasts longer. Before you clean your monitor, make sure to unplug the power cable and remove any peripherals. Don’t use any cleaning chemicals that could potentially damage your screen, instead use lukewarm water and a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe the screen. This can also help reduce your monitor’s risk of failure due to other common issues such as dead pixels. 24) What Is an IPS Panel?

IPS panels are known for their wide viewing angles and vibrant colors, but they aren’t ideal for gaming or photo editing because they can’t keep up with faster refresh rates. They also have wide viewing angles and can give colors a cool, washed out feel to it. This is because the human eye tends to lose some of the natural color as you go away from the center of your screen.

Related article: Computer Monitors Troubleshooting: A Quick Fix Guide

What is the safe way to disconnect my computer monitor from my computer?

Disconnecting a monitor from a computer involves using what’s called a data cable. It has three pins: red, green and blue. These are often used to connect your screen to your computer to help with software, but also allow you to take your screen apart and replace it if it gets damaged.

All three types of cable have been tested by consumer groups around the world, and are safe for use between monitors and computers. Take care when connecting the cables, though, as they can be hard to see underneath rubber feet on your keyboard or mouse, which can get in the way if they’re not completely removed.

Choose a color

If you go for a black or white display, the color of the display will be darker or lighter than your typical computer monitor. Some people prefer the look, though others say it can make them sick to look at it.

Some monitors are also very expensive and so don’t come in black or white, which makes them even more expensive. If this is something you’re interested in looking into, make sure to check out your options with electronics stores such as BestBuy.com or Amazon.com before making your decision.


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