Do you need a monitor light for your gaming monitor?

BenQ ScreenBar Halo monitor light
(Image credit: Future/Rob Dwiar)

Whether you need a monitor light for your gaming monitor or not is almost certainly a rare question to consider, particularly so for most folks who mainly use PCs to play games on. We've all been there, though. When it's late at night, dark and your eyes start to feel the heat from a bright screen, the contrast between it and the dull ambient light.

As a result, we've all probably felt the relief of turning on some lights that take the strain off the eyes and lessen any frowning, or headaches that exposure to screen light can give us.

But adding something to the top of one of the best gaming monitors might not immediately be something you think of doing, to achieve the same effect, of course. Let me tell you, though, that I can not go back: my advice is that, yes, you do need a monitor light for your gaming monitor. Let me explain why.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo monitor light

(Image credit: Future/Rob Dwiar)

Of course, any extra lighting can take the stress off your eyes, but where traditional desk lamps and clamp-mounted lights fail, a dedicated monitor light or bar greatly succeeds – by some distance.

I have a single monitor setup and use the excellent Acer Predator X38. It's a big ol' beast and one of the best ultrawide monitors and best-curved gaming monitors on the market without question. However, its size and the fact that I have a Razer Blade 15 on the desk too means I sit off-center. Therefore, any desk-clamp light would need to have some reach to be able to illuminate me while being attached to the only side of the desk that it could do (I sit in a corner). Throw in the fact that I use a standing desk (the SecretLab Magnus Pro, one of the very best gaming desks), and the placement of any light could become problematic with my workspace moving up and down. 

I tried to live with a 'normal' desk light for as long as I could. But my BenQ ScreenBar Halo simply sidesteps all of this placement and reach nonsense. Easily. It (and its light) simply goes wherever your monitor is, so by extension, is always illuminating the thing I'm looking at, not a broad, imprecise area that my monitor happens to be in.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo monitor light

(Image credit: Future/Rob Dwiar)

The lighting solution itself is also just superior - both in a luminance way and an eye-health way. Using my ScreenBar I can control the temperature of the light to the minutest fraction - not just choosing from a few presets that some other lights may offer - and I can also determine its brightness, direction, and (on this model) whether I want the backlight on as well for some ambient lighting.

In terms of eye care, we've long been fans of BenQ's monitors, for their gaming quality, picture excellence, and genuinely good eyecare features - these aren't just gimmicks. This has been translated by the brand into the ScreenBar range ensuring that string is taken off your eyes and looking at a screen for long periods is as easy as possible.

Comparing monitor lights to desk lights

Monitor light or bar

  • Offers perfect placement
  • Can have front- and back-lights 
  • Can offer more control and flexibility
  • Often more expensive
  • Tidy cabling
  • Robust; fewer hinges/moving parts
  • Eyecare features built-in

Traditional desk lighting

  • Often awkward placing
  • Usually only one-directional light
  • Often limited controls or options
  • Often cheaper
  • Untidy cabling
  • Often multi-hinged and weaker
  • Few eye care options

Lastly, my Razer Kiyo, one of the best webcams, can just sit on top of my Screenbar neatly and not be interfered with by the light I've added to my setup. Something that could not be said for my previous strip light, which could never light up my face without shining directly on and into the webcam.

Some folks may find that they can recreate the same effect or benefit with gaming LEDs and combos – or one of the best ring lights too – but the latter particularly is mainly for the benefit of others (or video recording) rather than enabling you to play games for longer. Oh and to help look after your eyes while doing so as well.

As I said in my review of the ScreenBar Halo, this kind of light really is the gaming monitor accessory people don't know they need. I will forever be using them myself, but also recommend them to others too.

BenQ ScreenBar Halo monitor light

(Image credit: Future/Rob Dwiar)

If you're looking to commit, then you can find the latest lowest prices on the BenQ ScreenBar range below no matter where you are.

Also if you are looking for that new screen that your light can adorn, then check out some of the best prices on our favorite gaming monitors below.

Looking for something more TV-shaped in your quest to find the right gaming screen and setup? Check out our guides to the best gaming TVs, best TVs for PS5 and Xbox Series X, and best 120Hz 4K TVs to cover your big-screen gaming screen search.

Rob Dwiar

Rob is the Deputy Editor of sister site, TechRadar Gaming, and has been in the games and tech industry for years. Prior to a recent stint as Gaming Editor at WePC, Rob was the Commissioning Editor for Hardware at GamesRadar+, and was on the hardware team for more than four years, since its inception in late 2018. He is also a writer on games and has had work published over the last six years or so at the likes of Eurogamer, RPS, PCGN, and more. He is also a qualified landscape and garden designer, so does that in his spare time, while he is also an expert on the virtual landscapes and environments of games and loves to write about them too, including in an upcoming book on the topic!