Even cheap and budget-friendly monitors can deliver a great gaming experience depending on your needs. While they may lack some advanced features and high resolution more expensive models have, budget monitors still offer low input lag, excellent response times, and variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies like FreeSync or G-SYNC. Budget gaming monitors are typically smaller with lower resolutions, but because the gaming monitor market has been expanding, you're still getting great gaming performance with them.
We've bought and tested over 270 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best gaming monitors to buy on a budget. Also see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $300, the best monitors under $200, and the best budget and cheap monitors.
The best budget gaming monitor we've tested is the ViewSonic XG2431. It's an impressive gaming monitor with more features than even more expensive options. It has a fast 240Hz refresh rate, and even though its 1080p resolution and 24-inch screen size may seem small, this is typical of budget monitors. The lower resolution also makes it easier for your graphics card to achieve a high refresh rate. Despite its budget price, it's well-built, and the stand offers great ergonomics, making it easy to adjust to an ideal viewing position.
The stand-out feature is the customizable backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, where you can adjust its pulse width and phase. Many monitors can't do this, so it's a nice addition to a budget-friendly display. It also has incredible motion handling, thanks to the quick response time across its entire refresh rate range. Lastly, it has native FreeSync variable refresh (VRR) support to reduce screen tearing, and it's also G-SYNC compatible to work with NVIDIA graphics cards.
If you want something bigger, consider the Gigabyte M27Q. There are trade-offs to getting this bigger size over the ViewSonic XG2431, as it has a lower refresh rate of 170Hz, and its backlight strobing feature isn't as versatile. However, its higher 1440p resolution results in a more immersive gaming experience, so while you don't get the same high refresh rate, you get sharper images than on the ViewSonic.
It's an impressive gaming monitor with VRR support to reduce screen tearing and low input lag for a responsive feel. It also has a quick response time for smooth motion, but there's more motion blur than the ViewSonic. The M27Q is a great choice if you tend to game in a bright room because it gets bright enough to fight glare, and the reflection handling is decent. It also has a few extra features to improve your overall experience, like a USB hub that includes two USB ports if you want to charge your devices while gaming.
If you don't mind giving up on gaming performance to get the biggest possible size within your budget, check out the LG 32GN650-B. While it costs more than other budget monitors, you have to expect a higher price for a 32-inch model. It's a great gaming monitor with a bigger screen than the Gigabyte M27Q, but you have to make some trade-offs at this size. It has the same 1440p resolution as the Gigabyte, but because that means the pixel density is lower, images aren't as sharp for an immersive gaming experience.
It also has worse motion handling than the Gigabyte, but it's still decent enough for most casual gamers. Like most gaming monitors, it has low input lag and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. The LG is a better choice than the Gigabyte if you want to use it in a dark room. This is because its VA panel has a higher contrast ratio and decent black uniformity without much blooming around bright objects.
If you want something cheap for your gaming setup, the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is a good choice. Most cheap monitors are small, and you won't find a 32-inch monitor like the LG 32GN650-B, so the 24-inch screen on the Acer is comparable to the ViewSonic XG2431. Because it costs less than the ViewSonic, it has a lower 165Hz refresh rate, which is still fine for most casual gaming, like if you're getting into PC gaming for the first time, but it isn't as good for competitive gaming. It also has a 1080p resolution, so while the image clarity isn't anything special, it's still decent.
Gaming on this monitor feels great because it has a quick response time with high-frame-rate signals and remains decent with low-frame-rate signals. It also has a backlight-strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, and you can adjust the length of the flicker to your preference. It also has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience without delay.
If you want a cheap monitor with a 27-inch screen, there are a few options you can choose from, like the Dell G2722HS. It's similar to the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx because it also has a 1080p resolution and 165Hz refresh rate, but with a bigger screen, you get a bit more space to view more of your game at once. However, it still has some trade-offs versus the Acer because it doesn't have a backlight-strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, and it also has worse ergonomics, but those extra features are a bonus on the Acer.
Besides those differences, the Dell is still good for gaming because it has great motion handling no matter the frame rate you're gaming at. It also has low input lag for a responsive feel, FreeSync VRR support, and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing. Despite its low cost, it still has a few extra features to improve your gaming experience, like a dark stabilizer that adjusts the gamma so you can see opponents easier in games.
Apr 13, 2023: Moved the AOC CU34G2X to Notable Mentions because its price went up; added the LG 32GN650-B as the 'Best 32-Inch Budget Monitor'; replaced the HP X27q with the Dell G2722HS because the Dell is cheaper.
Feb 06, 2023: Replaced the Dell S3422DWG, HP X24ih, and the LG 27GL650F-B with the AOC CU34G2X, Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx, and the HP X27q because they're cheaper; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Dec 14, 2022: Replaced the AOC CU34G2X with the Dell S3422DWG for consistency with other articles; removed the Acer Nitro XV272U because it's hard to find; added the LG 27GL650F-B as the 'Best 27-Inch Cheap Gaming Monitor' for consistency with other articles; updated Notable Mentions based on changes and market availability.
Oct 19, 2022: Restructured article to reflect user needs and current prices and availability; removed the Acer Nitro XF243Y and renamed the ViewSonic XG2431 as the 'Best Budget Gaming Monitor' because it's better overall; replaced the LG 27GN800-B and the Dell S3422DWG with the Acer Nitro XV272U and the AOC CU34G2X for consistency with other articles. Removed the Dell S2722DGM and added the Gigabyte M27Q as the 'Best 27-Inch Budget Gaming Monitor'; added the HP X24ih; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Jul 27, 2022: Restructured article to reflect the current price of monitors; replaced the ASUS VG259QM with the ViewSonic XG2431 because it's better; removed the Gigabyte M27Q and the Dell S2722QC because they're expensive; replaced the Acer XV340CK with the easier-to-find Dell S3422DWG; added the LG 27GN800-B as the 'Best Console Gaming Monitor'.
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 budget 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.