Did you know that everyday people pay money to get rid of perfectly good computer monitors? For example in my city, it costs ten dollars to bring one to the dump or you can pay whoever you buy a new computer system from a few dollars to take away the old one including the monitor? Now many of these are junk, but lots of them are perfectly functional high resolution big screen computer monitors with years of life left in them.
Older monitors used Cathode Ray Tube technology, commonly called CRTs. CRTs are absolutely great monitors although they are much bigger and heavier than flat screen monitors which we’ll discuss below. You can find great CRTs for free via Craigslist, Freecycle and other online sites.
More modern monitors use Liquid Crystal Display or LCD monitors and are often called flat screen monitors. They used to be very expensive, but now you can find them new for well under $100 in many cases. Used ones are also available, but make sure they are the more modern thin film transistor liquid crystal display or TFT-LCD displays – most are.
My favorite way to get a high quality LCD monitor on the cheap is to buy a refurbished monitor, usually from a manufacturer such as Dell. Prices are much cheaper than new, and you typically get new quality.
Sometimes you just need a good quality monitor and an older and usually free CRT is just fine. Other times you may need more state of the art, for example for fine graphics work, and you can usually find a refurbished or slightly used LCD monitor for a fraction of the new price, which incidentally is not so expensive anymore either!