Depending on your needs, even budget monitors can deliver a great gaming experience. While they may lack some of the advanced features and fancy designs found on more expensive models, even budget monitors can offer low input lag, excellent response times, and even frame rate matching technologies like FreeSync or G-SYNC. Budget gaming monitors are typically smaller, but many of them are versatile monitors that are great for PC and console gaming alike.
We've reviewed over 85 monitors, and below you'll find out recommendations for the best cheap gaming monitors to buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best monitors for Xbox One and the best gaming monitors for PS4. If you're looking for a good pair of headphones to game with, check our recommendations for the best gaming headsets.
The ViewSonic XG2402 is the best budget gaming monitor we've tested so far. This 24 inch monitor covers a lot of bases despite the budget price. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, low response time, great input lag, and even supports AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate technology for a near tear-free gaming experience.
Where the ViewSonic does cut back is in terms of picture quality. Viewing angles are quite poor, and so are the contrast ratio and black uniformity. It does redeem itself with decent peak brightness and great reflection handling, so it's suitable for use in a bright room. The 1080p resolution may be a deterrence for some, but having a lower resolution also helps to achieve higher frame rates for smoother gameplay.
Overall, this is a great budget gaming monitor that should please even the most demanding gamers, as long as picture quality isn't as important to you.
HDR is often a feature that is associated with more expensive, higher-end TVs and monitors, but once in a while, we are treated to the likes of the Dell U2518D, the best HDR budget gaming alternative. It lacks the advanced gaming features found on the ViewSonic XG2402, such as a 60Hz refresh rate instead of 144Hz, and it doesn't support any VRR technology. This monitor caters to those who truly appreciate a good picture, with a 1440p resolution and decent HDR performance.
Overall, the Viewsonic is the best budget gaming monitor we've tested so far, but if you want to experience HDR for those atmospheric or RPG games that don't require a high refresh rate, the Dell is a decent HDR gaming alternative.
For something a bit bigger and more immersive than the ViewSonic XG2402, check out the ASUS VG279Q instead. This is Asus' budget gaming monitor that's cut from the same cloth as the ASUS ROG Swift PG279QZ. Although physically similar, there are a few differences of note. The resolution is cut down to 1080p and only FreeSync is supported natively, but G-SYNC compatibility is available with a driver update. The IPS panel offers great viewing angles but there's a bit more motion blur than the ViewSonic, despite having excellent response time and the optional black frame insertion feature.
Overall, the ViewSonic is the best budget gaming monitor we've tested so far, but if you want something a bit bigger, the ASUS may be a slightly better choice.
The AOC AGON AG271QX is the best budget 1440p gaming monitor that we've tested so far. It sports a TN panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync support. Of course, being a TN monitor, it comes with the good and the bad. Response time and input lag are excellent but the image degrades quite a bit when viewed from an angle, appearing washed out. Dark room performance may be an issue as contrast ratio and black uniformity are also impacted.
AOC does offer a great selection of inputs, though, which includes a built-in USB hub with two USB 3.0 ports, great for connecting gaming peripherals. Overall, this is a great gaming monitor that should please most people.
If you like the AOC AGON AG271QX but want a good 1440p gaming monitor with wide viewing angles, check out the Dell U2518D instead. Although not as good for gaming as the AOC, this is a good gaming monitor for casual gamers, with wide viewing angles and a great stand. It also supports HDR, but the performance is limited by the lack of wide color gamut.
Unfortunately, this monitor has slightly higher input lag, which isn't ideal for fast-paced shooters or MOBAs. Overall, though, it's a good monitor for pretty much any use.
The Acer XF251Q is the best cheap gaming monitor we've tested so far. At its price point, we can expect some features to be omitted. Fortunately, it still retains a critical feature for gaming, which is FreeSync support. That said, it's only limited to FreeSync, as it lacks a DisplayPort for NVIDIA's G-SYNC. The TN panel still offers great response time and input lag; however, viewing angles and color accuracy suffer as a result. This monitor is also limited to a 1080p resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz, which may deter more serious gamers.
Ergonomics are fairly decent on the Acer, a rarity for budget monitors, so it's easy to place in an ideal viewing position. It gets decently bright and has good reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues with it in a bright room.
Despite the budget price, this monitor still performs admirably and is a great choice if your primary concern is cost.
If you like gaming in a dark room, the Samsung CF398 might be a better choice than the Acer XF251Q. This is a basic gaming monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate that might disappoint some gamers, but it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. This monitor looks better in a dark room thanks to its VA panel, as the much higher contrast ratio delivers deeper blacks, which is especially noticeable in a dark room.
Overall, the Acer is the best cheap gaming monitor for most people, but if you game in a dark room a lot, the Samsung might be a better choice.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best cheap gaming monitors currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people, in each price range. Rating is based on our review, factoring in price and feedback from our visitors.
If you would prefer to make your own decision, here is the list of all of our monitor reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. Most monitors are good enough to please most people, and the things we fault monitors on are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.
11/12/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.