9 Best Monitor Calibration Tools for Graphic Designers In 2021

Last Updated on May 10th, 2021

Having the best monitor calibration tools has become an important part of any creative being’s toolkit.

Why so?

Because every graphic designer, illustrator, and even photographer rely greatly on the accuracy of their artwork’s authentic colors. And being unable to configure the color scheme can prove a disaster when the same design shows a different gradation and making your client unhappy and unsatisfied.

Using the best monitor calibrator can save you from such a disappointment and keep your relationship with the clients on good terms.

Being a graphic designer myself, I understand how frustrating it could be to invest in different monitor calibration tools and having poor experience.

So, I made this handy list that outlines the best monitor calibrators that you can use to buy the right one in terms of budget or best usage experience. Come, let me share some of the best monitor calibration tools, below!

What is Monitor Calibrator?

No idea what is a monitor calibration tool? Let me help you in understanding this miraculous device.

In 3 words, It’s a tool!

But if you’re looking for a brief answer, a monitor calibration tool helps you in adjusting the monitor’s color by offering you a universal color grading scale so your images remain best on all devices.

It works on spectrophotometer mechanism (err…too much technical term?)

Spectrophotometer is basically a process to adjust the color of your monitor on a standard scale, by using certain color gradation rules. And you don’t need to go all techie for adjusting your monitor for having accurate color grades of your design work. Just adjust a calibrator tool on the monitor, configure it and it will do the technical work on your behalf.

Why You Need a Monitor Calibrator?

You might be thinking that why having a monitor calibration tool has become an essential ritual amongst the creative beings when there are several best monitors available for graphic design work, right?

Let me shed some light on the importance of calibrating your monitor daily and how having a monitor calibrator can help.

  • Firstly, it is the brightness and contrast scale of your monitor that should be corrected before you commence working on your design work. Because not doing so can impact the quality of your work that ultimately damages your name as a graphic designer.
  • Then, it is the gamma correction that holds much importance in our line of work. As you know how important it is to handle the light exposure when it comes to visual graphics and this is where having a monitor calibrator helps you in dealing with the gamma correction.
  • Thirdly, using a monitor calibration tool can help you in correcting the color temperature that is an important aspect of our work especially if we’re dealing with such vibrant design that has different hues and they all appear distinct on different devices.
  • And fourthly, a monitor calibrator helps you in adjusting the light in accordance of your room. Because not having optimized ambience can impact on your eyesight and having a monitor calibration tool can eliminate such risk.

How to Select a Monitor Calibrator?

Since you know why using a monitor calibrator is important for your creative adventures, here comes the most valuable question.

How to Select the Right Calibrator?

Below, I’ve tried to simplify the rules to pick the best monitor calibration tool.

Monitor Type

The first selection factor, for choosing the best calibration tool, is to look for the monitor that you own. See, what features it offers in terms of tech and display quality so that you can pick a monitor calibrator that works best on it in terms of LED backlighting and pixel adjustments etc.

Speed

Your monitor’s speed is also a deciding factor for selecting the right monitor calibrator. Some monitors work on a super-fast speed and some have an average output ratio so do seek which monitor calibrator would be perfect in accordance of processing speed of your monitor.

Light Sensor

While selecting a monitor calibration tool, do consider your work patterns. Because the light in our surrounding does impact on monitor’s overall color gradation performance. So, do seek a calibration tool that can process the monitor ambience in accordance with your surrounding light.

Printing

The graphic designing work requires printing, printing and printing again and this demands you to seek the calibration ability for printers, too. Do seek the best monitor calibration tool that not just keeps your monitor in best color gradation level but also helps you in printing the accurate designs having perfect colors.

Price

And here’s one final selection metric that you must understand before buying your monitor calibration tool, the price. There are those calibration tools that cost you a fortune and there are those having comparatively cheapest price.

The rule of thumb is to spend less if you’re buying for the first time and really have no idea how to use a monitor calibration tool. Once you know different technicalities of using a monitor calibration tool, feel free to opt for a high-priced option that offers you maximum features and most satisfied experience in terms of usage.

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Budget-friendly monitor callibrator
Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
People's choice!
Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
Multi-function callibration tool!
Pantone ColorMunki Design
Title
Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
Pantone ColorMunki Design
Prime Status
-
-
Star Rating
Reviews
96 Reviews
2,918 Reviews
26 Reviews
Price
$54.00
$209.99
$333.00
Budget-friendly monitor callibrator
Thumbnail
Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
Title
Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
96 Reviews
Price
$54.00
Buy Now
People's choice!
Thumbnail
Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
Title
Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Reviews
2,918 Reviews
Price
$209.99
Buy Now
Multi-function callibration tool!
Thumbnail
Pantone ColorMunki Design
Title
Pantone ColorMunki Design
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Reviews
26 Reviews
Price
$333.00
Buy Now

Best Monitor Calibrator in 2021

After you know what is a monitor calibration tool, how it can impact on our graphic design projects, let me share you some of the best monitor calibrators, below. Find the best monitor calibration tools that offer you best price as well as ideal features against the money spent. Come, let me walk you through each monitor calibration tool that I’ve included in the list below:

X-Rite ColorMunki Smile 

Best Monitor Calibration - X Rite ColorMunk

The first recommendation, in the list of best monitor calibration tools, is from X-Rite that is a known name in the industry. ColorMunki Smile is an ideal option for dealing with monitor calibration issues that offers various benefits and unlimited features that I’ve tried to explain below.

The primary reason for including X-Rite ColorMunki Smile in this list is its extreme user-friendly work mechanism that allows you to calibrate your monitor as easy as changing the channel on the TV. Then, it’s the wider support for various operating systems such as Windows and iOS that makes it a preferable choice for graphic designers as well as photographers that prefer to use versatile range of laptops.

If your concern is with color management than ambience setting then this could be an ideal choice for you. Plus, the image comparison feature lets you know the Before and After results of calibration, too.

  • Overall, it’s a nice option in terms of size and ability to calibrate different monitors simultaneously.
  • But I did notice the comparatively more time when recalibrating the monitor when it should’ve taken less time the second time.

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X-Rite ColorMunki Smile (CMUNSML)
754 Reviews
X-Rite ColorMunki Smile (CMUNSML)
  • COMPATIBILITY: This product is NOT MacOS 10.15 Catalina compatible.
  • EXCLUSIVE TECHNOLOGY: This kit includes a measurement device & super simple software. You also get...
  • SIMPLE COLOR BALANCING: ColorMunki Smile is supported in the X-Rite ColorTRUE mobile app, a free app that...
  • COLOR MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE: X-Rite is the leader in color management solutions. Our color matching...

X-Rite ColorMunki Display

Best Monitor Calibration - X Rite ColorMunk

Speaking of compact monitor calibration tools, X-Rite is the best brand that has many outstanding products such as the X-Rite ColorMunki Display (CMUNDIS). Along with offering you the best monitor calibration experience, this device also offers you the lightest weight in the calibrators available today in the market.

This wonder from X-Rite is a trusted product for conducting fastest monitor calibration along with color correction that makes our work flawless and fantastic. It uses advanced filter and optical system for adjusting the color settings of your monitor which is the most impressive feature of this device.

Along with that, this device is a perfect option for comparing the color calibration for concluding the raw files when we’re working on a video-based project. And the color balancing wizard literally lives up to its name by offering such astonishing color grading functionality.

  • The reason for adding X-Rite ColoMunki Display into the best monitor calibration tools is its exceptional calibration quality along with ease of use.
  • But I did feel that the USB cord could be a little longer for offering you the freedom to calibrate different monitors without unplugging the device from the system.

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X-Rite ColorMunki Display (CMUNDIS)
1,353 Reviews
X-Rite ColorMunki Display (CMUNDIS)
  • EXCEPTIONAL COLOR ACCURACY: The ColorMunki Display incorporates technologically advanced filter and...
  • EXCLUSIVE TECHNOLOGY: Equipped with the same hardware & color engine technology found in X-Rite's...
  • IDEAL COLOR BALANCING: This calibrator/projector uses adaptive technology that measures and analyzes the...
  • COLOR MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE: X-Rite is the leader in color management solutions. Our color matching...

Datacolor SpyderX Pro (SXP100)

Monitor Calibrator - Datacolor SpyderX Pro

If you’re seeking one of the best monitor calibration tools that take lesser than 5 minutes to prepare your monitor for work, I recommend you to buy Datacolor SpyderX Pro.

The reason for suggesting Datacolor SpyderX Pro is that it uses an advanced mechanism for calibrating the monitor that allows it to complete the whole process in a few minutes (2 minutes max) that is really an astonishing feature. This limited calibration time is really commendable as other devices take longer than 2 minutes which can impact on your work routine when you’ve to wait for several minutes during the calibration process.

Plus, with over thousand reviews, this is literally a People’s Choice for having mostly positive comments about it. And the Before and After feature is one wonderful addition to conclude how it fixed your laptop screen and now, you’re ready to work.

  • Datacolor SpyderX Pro is an intuitive device that you can master in first few hours or purchase. Plus, the end results are visible to you as well as in your work which is one of the reasons for including it to the best monitor calibration tools.
  • You might feel it’s a costly option if your budget is lesser than 100 bucks. Otherwise, it’s a perfect choice for calibrating your monitor.

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Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
2,918 Reviews
Datacolor SpyderX Pro – Monitor Calibration Designed for Serious Photographers and Designers SXP100
  • THE FASTEST SPYDER EVER: Calibrating your monitor to achieve color precision now takes just a minute or...
  • THE MOST ACCURATE SPYDER EVER: Groundbreaking lens-based color engine provides a higher level of color...
  • .THE EASIEST-TO-USE SPYDER EVER: SpyderX Pro is so intuitive, you don’t have to be a color expert. It...
  • SEE THE DIFFERENCE INSTANTLY: SpyderProof functionality provides before-and-after evaluation of your...

Wacom Color Manager

Best Monitor - Wacom Color Manager

Speaking of a compact monitor calibration tools, I decided to include Wacom Color Manager (EODIS3-DCWA) that offers you superior usage experience and offers you a very light weight. Along with being lightweight, this device is highly compatible with X-Rite Color TRUE mobile app that connects you with iOS and Android based devices instantly without doing much of manual settings.

Wacom Color Manager offers you full support for adjusting white point, contrast ratio, and even helps you in dealing with gamma adjustments of your monitor. Plus, you can adjust and check several times the display quality of your monitor to ensure that you’re not being misguided by this important tech during the design work. Speaking of color optimization, you can gracefully perform this necessary check for evaluating the Hi-Res picture quality of your design.

  • What I liked the most about Wacom Color Manager is the extended USB wire that offers you more reach for connecting it to a USB port and placing it on multiple monitor screens placed at a variable length.
  • I do recommend you reconsider buying this monitor calibration tool if you’re having a low buying capacity.

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Wacom Color Manager (EODIS3-DCWA)
29 Reviews
Wacom Color Manager (EODIS3-DCWA)
  • Core technology based on industry leading i1Profiler software for calibrating and profiling all modern...
  • The Wacom Calibrator hardware is also compatible with the most recent version of X-Rite Color TRUE mobile...
  • Broadcast video standards support: NTSC, PAL SECAM, and ITU-R Rec.BT.709
  • Infinite control of white point, luminance, contrast ratio, gamma and more

X-Rite i1 Display PRO 

Best Monitor Calibrator - X Rite i1Display

Here’s the real treat for photographers, illustrators and graphic designers in shape of X-Rite i1 Display PRO that offers you full control over technical adjustments of your monitor. X-Rite i1 Display PRO is one of the best monitor calibration tools that you can use for a multitude of functions such as color management, pixel accuracy check, and even for routine monitor calibration with ultra-fast speed.

This tiny device may look ordinary in appearance (in contrast to most calibration devices) but it can bring a prominent change in your work by offering accurate color grading on a number of devices including laptop, desktop or even your tiny mobile screen. In other words, X-Rite i1 Display PRO is a perfect option for having a uniform result across different screens that offers you more confidence on your work quality.

  • The reason for including X-Rite i1 Display PRO in the best monitor calibration tools list is its fastest processing speed and the ambient light monitoring capabilities.
  • Overall, I couldn’t find any flaw in this device but yes, price could be a hurdle if you’re on a limited budget.

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X-Rite i1Display Pro (EODIS3),i1Display Pro Display Calibration
1,925 Reviews
X-Rite i1Display Pro (EODIS3),i1Display Pro Display Calibration
  • PROFESSIONAL CALIBER: i1Display Pro combines ambient light measurement, monitor profiling & projector...
  • DUAL MODE: Two user modes (Basic & Advanced) provide serious Color Perfectionists with the perfect...
  • ULTIMATE ACCURACY: The X-Rite i1Display Pro is the ultimate choice for discerning photographers,...
  • COLOR MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE: X-Rite is the leader in color management solutions. Our color matching...

Datacolor SpyderX Elite (SXE100)

Calibration Monitor - Datacolor SpyderX Elite

If you’re one of those graphic designers who fall for compact sized gadgets, I’d recommend you to consider buying Datacolor SpyderX Elite (SXE100) that has proven its worth with wonderul features and a tiny size.

With the inclusion of a lens in Datacolor’s new, intuitive SpyderX Elite, you can calibrate your monitor in lesser time than those of your devices that take a brief 10-minute duration or so. Plus, this new upgrade in the device gives you more power for adjusting the color grade of your monitor, offer more features for profile changing and adjust monitor colors more precisely to achieve your visual goals.

What I liked the most about Datacolor SpyderX Elite (SXE100) is its timely screen updates that keeps you aware of the tech changes which is one essential information for graphic designers, photographers and even those illustrators who rely on the screen for most of their creative work.

  • I became a big fan of Datacolor SpyderX Elite’s Before and After comparison that enables me to conclude if the soft and hard copy of my design prints have uniform results or not.
  • There’s not much negative review for Datacolor SpyderX Elite but I personally felt the need for a longer cable for accessing more devices during calibration activity.

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Sale
Datacolor SpyderX Elite – Monitor Calibration Designed for Expert and Professional Photographers and Motion Imagemakers SXE100
2,918 Reviews
Datacolor SpyderX Elite – Monitor Calibration Designed for Expert and Professional Photographers and Motion Imagemakers SXE100
  • Calibrating your monitor to achieve color precision now takes just a minute or two - several times faster...
  • Groundbreaking lens-based color engine provides a higher level of color accuracy for multiple monitors...
  • SpyderX Elite is intuitive, you don't have to be a color expert. It features a step-by-step assistant and...
  • SEE THE DIFFERENCE INSTANTLY: SpyderProof functionality provides before-and-after evaluation of your...

Pantone ColorMunki Design

Monitor Calibration - Pantone ColorMunki Design

If you’re one of those graphic designers and photo enthusiasts who rely on tested gadgets then I’d recommend you to buy Pantone ColorMunki Design. This device has remained the prime choice of tech users from quite some years and with its cutting-edge technology, for calibrating the monitors, it has won our hearts.

The reason for suggesting Pantone ColorMunki Design to graphic designers is that it offers auto-syncing facility with the Adobe Photoshop’s color palettes that enables you to color correct and export your files effortlessly.

If you’re concerned with the white balance challenges of your design work, this device can be a great help with its white balance calibration tile for LCD and LED screens. Plus, it works very smoothly with RGB and CMYK printers, too.

  • Maintaining the quality in this gadget is what convinced me to add it in the best monitor calibration tools list.
  • Again, I only found the price tag a little issue otherwise it’s the best monitor calibrator that I’d highly recommend you to buy.

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Pantone ColorMunki Design
26 Reviews
Pantone ColorMunki Design
  • Create and name unlimited custom color palettes with Palette Creation software
  • Select colors from Pantone, other built-in libraries, and dynamically associated Harmony, Variation, and...
  • Preview your colors before you go to production with unique verification tools
  • Communicate effortlessly--Automatically synchronize palettes to Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and...

Datacolor SXSSR100 SpyderX Studio

Monitor Calibration - Datacolor SXSSR100

If you’re really serious about taking full control over your visuals and monitor calibration matters, here’s one essential kit in shape of Datacolor SXSSR100 SpyderX Studio.

This important calibration toolkit from Datacolor is a must-have for every graphic designer, photographer and illustrator as it includes various monitor calibration tools including SpyderX Elite and Pro that offer full calibration control in different capacities.

In simple words, this toolkit is a must-have if you’re concerned about color correction, monitor output accuracy and print quality of your design work.

  • I absolutely loved the idea of inclusion for all the essential monitor calibration tools in one place.
  • Yes, you might find the price tag a little out of your budget but given the type of gadgets this toolkit includes is worth the price.

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Sale
Datacolor SXSSR100 SpyderX Studio: Suite of Photo Tools for Precision Control from Capture to Editing and Print
36 Reviews
Datacolor SXSSR100 SpyderX Studio: Suite of Photo Tools for Precision Control from Capture to Editing and Print
  • SpyderX Studio is the essential, all-in-one suite of tools for serious and pro photographers seeking...
  • SpyderX Elite is our fastest (4X faster), most accurate and easiest-to-use monitor calibration device,...
  • Spyder Print offers printer calibration with the ability to create any number of custom profiles for any...
  • Spyder Cube defines white and black values otherwise impossible to do with a standard gray card. Ensures...

Datacolor SpyderCube SC200

Best Monitor Calibration - Datacolor SpyderCube

Before we conclude our list of best monitor calibration tools, here’s one final gift from my side (and Datacolor to be precise). If you’re a photographer or an illustrator in search of a reliable calibration gadget, I’d suggest you to consider Datacolor SpyderCube SC200 that miraculous fits into your tech list and offers a wonderful calibration result.

Made exclusively for those beings who work with a lens and an editing software, Datacolor SpyderCube SC200 is a treat for correcting colors and white balance issues on the go.

  • I highly recommend that you own Datacolor SpyderCube SC200 as it costs lesser than other Datacolor monitor calibration tools and offers a wonderful calibration experience on the go.
  • If you’re at a pro level, this device might not be a good fit but it can be a good start in your monitor calibration journey as a professional creative individual.

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Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
96 Reviews
Datacolor SpyderCube SC200
  • Reference tool to achieve accurate colors without trial-and-error operations in RAW processing
  • SpyderCube provides all relevant light information for the RAW adjustments
  • Easy to use and compatible with all RAW converter software
  • Essential for RAW processing but can also be used when processing images in a JPG workflow

Also check:

Ending Note

So, this was a little intro about some best monitor calibration tools that you can have for best graphic design work quality. There are identical names when we search for the best monitor calibrators but I’d suggest you to dig deeper in technical specifications before making up your mind.

Amongst the suggestions listed above, I found X-Rite ColorMunki Display the best choice for creative minds like us. But don’t settle on one option until you know what’s fit for your working needs.

Keep creating beautiful visual graphics with accurate colors. Adios!

Disclosure: This content is reader supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commision.

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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