The best monitor calibrators for designers for 2019
We round up the best monitor calibrator tools you can buy – but which is the best for you?
If you're serious about your design work, then getting the best monitor calibrator your budget allows is essential. This is where our best monitor calibrators for designers list comes in.
It's vital that you have a good monitor calibration tool, as it means you can ensure your display is accurately displaying colours (and blacks). While you may be able to calibrate your monitor by eye, using one of the tools on this best monitor calibrators list will make the process even more simple, while ensuring the colours are as accurate as possible, ready for you to apply colour theory to your work.
Having a monitor that displays colours accurately also means your monitor will be more comfortable to use, and better for your eyes if you spend a lot of time working on your PC or Mac.
The best monitor calibrators for designers won't just look at the colours on your screen, however. Many will also detect ambient light in the room where you work. This has a big impact on how colours will appear on a screen, and can make sure your monitor is displaying accurate colours no matter what your lighting conditions are.Get Adobe Creative Cloud
So once you've got a brilliant monitor (see our buying guide the best monitors for designers for help choosing one), there are plenty of options for calibration including software downloads, online tools and the built-in calibration tools within Windows and macOS. But nothing offers the accuracy and continuity of a hardware calibrator.
A hardware calibration tool need not break the bank, so we've rounded up the six best options for you below. For more bargains on creative kit, take a look at our Black Friday deals roundup.The best 4K monitor deals of 2018The best home printer for creatives
01. Datacolor Spyder5ELITE
The best monitor calibrator for professionals
Settings: Unlimited | Laptop and desktop: Yes, plus front projector displays | Connector: USB£176 View at Amazon Low Stock £178 View at Wex Photo Video £179 View at Park Cameras ?See all prices (3 found) Use in wizard or expert mode Designed for professionals Expensive
As well as making laptop screens and desktop monitors just right, the Spyder5ELITE provides a lot more in terms of setup but only takes around five minutes to calibrate (less for subsequent calibrations).
There's a simple wizard-based mode but also an expert mode, too. There are 'unlimited' calibration settings plus grey-balancing. You can calibrate all of your displays to a single target, while there's room light monitoring to determine the optimal monitor brightness. You're able to see 'before and after' results using your own images.
02. X-Rite i1 Display PRO
Another top professional calibrator
Settings: Unlimited | Laptop and desktop: Yes, plus projectors | Connector: USB£178 View at Wex Photo Video £178 View at Jessops Check Amazon ?See all prices (3 found) Reuse the same profile on multiple displays So many options Expensive
The incredible X-Rite i1 Display PRO comes with a heap of options, but then you do pay for it. You're able to use your profile across multiple displays (either on the same machine or network) as well as assess the ambient light in your workspace to set your monitor up for best results.
A technology called Flare Correct will measure and adjust your display profile for reduced contrast ratios caused by glare on your screen. Video colour standards are also incorporated, so video editors can set up their display for best results, too.
The X-Rite i1 Display PRO is a little expensive, so perhaps look out for discounts such as the upcoming Black Friday deals.
03. Datacolor Spyder5EXPRESS
The best entry-level screen calibrator
Settings: 2 | Laptop and desktop: Yes | Connector: USB£93.54 View at Amazon £99 View at Park Cameras Low Stock £99 View at Wex Photo Video ?See all prices (3 found) 272 Amazon customer reviews ☆☆☆☆☆ Budget option Easy-to-use Not as many settings as most Professionals probably want more
The Datacolor Spyder5EXPRESS is a really simple route to colour accuracy and is best for hobbyists, students and prosumers rather than pro designers. It's an easy four-step process with just two settings and you can see a 'before and after' view on preset images.
The software is available via a download link provided with the box. Professional creatives will probably be looking for more, though.
04. X-Rite ColorMunki Smile
Another super budget calibrator tool
Settings: Automatic | Laptop and desktop: Yes | Connector: USBLow Stock £90 View at Wex Photo Video £90 View at Park Cameras £91.48 View at Amazon ?See all prices (5 found) 74 Amazon customer reviews ☆☆☆☆☆ Easy to use Cheap Pros will want more
The X-Rite ColorMunki Smile features some of the best monitor calibrator software anywhere. All you need to do is start it up, place the ColorMunki Smile on your monitor and click 'go'. Quick and easy is the name of the game – just plug the device into your computer's USB port.
As with the other contenders here, you'll be able to see the before and after results to check out the level of improvement.
05. X-Rite ColorMunki Design
Calibrate screens, projectors and printers
Settings: N/A | Laptop and desktop: Yes | Connector: USB£429 View at Amazon Calibrates screens, projectors and printers Create and name unlimited color palettes Expensive
This awesome tool enables professional designers – or indeed anybody who works with colour – to calibrate LCD and laptop displays, RGB and CMYK printers, and digital projectors.
You can create and name unlimited custom colour palettes using the included software, while you can automatically synchronise your palettes to Adobe Photoshop CC and InDesign CC in addition to QuarkXpress. You're also able to export them to other photo and design applications.
06. Datacolor Spyder5PRO
Another great monitor calibrator from Datacolor
Settings: 16 | Laptop and desktop: Yes | Connector: USB£114 View at Amazon £119 View at Wex Photo Video £119 View at Park Cameras ?See all prices (3 found) 272 Amazon customer reviews ☆☆☆☆☆ Easy to use Lots of settings There are cheaper alternatives
Datacolor has a number of monitor calibrators on this list, and for good reason, as the company is a trusted name when it comes to making sure your monitors are displaying colours as accurately as possible. The Datacolor Spyder5PRO is more feature-rich (and pricier) than the Spyder5EXPRESS, but not quite as fully-featured as the Spyder5ELITE. This makes it a brilliant choice for people who want the best monitor calibrators for designers, but want to find a balance between features and price. It's easy to use and can help you calibrate your monitor in minutes. Despite its simplicity, there's a range of settings and ambient light profiles, with in-depth software for helping you get the most out of your screen.
Today's best prices for the best monitor calibrators for designers? Datacolor Spyder5ELITE £176 View See all prices X-Rite i1 Display Pro £178 View See all prices Datacolor Spyder5EXPRESS £93.54 View See all prices X-Rite ColorMunki Smile £91.48 View See all prices X-Rite ColorMunki Design £429 View See all prices Datacolor Spyder5PRO £114 View See all prices We check over 130 million products every day for the best pricesView All Deals
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