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 2020. 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 deterrent 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's associated with more expensive, higher-end TVs and monitors, but sometimes we're 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.
If you find the ViewSonic XG2402's 24 inch screen small and prefer the more immersive gaming experience that a larger monitor can provide, while still in the budget category, then get the ASUS VG279Q. You won't get the nearly instantaneous response time that leaves almost no blur behind fast-moving content, but on the upside, the 27 inch ASUS delivers an excellent gaming experience. It's a monitor with excellent response time and a very low input lag that supports FreeSync and is G-SYNC compatible with NVIDIA's latest drivers for nearly tear-free gaming.
If you prefer (and can afford) a larger screen, get the ASUS; otherwise, the ViewSonic is the 24 inch best choice.
The best budget 1440p gaming monitor from the ones we've tested so far is the AOC AGON AG271QX, although it can sometimes be hard to find at the right price. It has an excellent response time that delivers crisp motion with almost no blur and supports FreeSync for nearly tear-free gaming. The input lag is remarkably low and gamers will enjoy a very responsive gaming experience. This monitor is more suitable for an average lit room, and its 27 inch screen and 1440p resolution will display more of your gaming arena, minimizing the need for excessive scrolling.
Unfortunately, just like most TN monitors, it has a few flaws; the viewing angles are poor, so the sides of the screen don't look uniform when you sit up close. Also, those who game at night will find the contrast ratio inadequate, and blacks end up looking gray in a dark room.
Overall, however, this is a good budget 1440p monitor that delivers a great gaming experience.
If you like the AOC AGON AG271QX but want a good 1440p gaming monitor with wide viewing angles, check out the Dell U2518D. 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: 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 cost is your primary concern.
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.
01/15/2020: Updated text to improve clarity.
11/12/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.