Depending on your needs, even cheap and budget-friendly monitors can deliver a great gaming experience. While they may lack some advanced features and fancy designs found on more expensive models, 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 many are versatile monitors that are great for PC and console gaming.
We've tested over 225 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best budget gaming monitors to buy. See our recommendations for the best monitors for Xbox Series X, the best monitors for PS5, and the best 1440p monitors.
The Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is the best budget 1080p gaming monitor we've tested. It's excellent for gaming and offers features that most gamers should enjoy, like a 144Hz refresh rate that you can overclock to 165Hz, and native FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing with G-SYNC compatibility. It looks good even for picture quality, and it performs well in bright rooms.
Despite the relatively small screen size, it's a great choice for co-op gaming because it has wide viewing angles. Also, the stand has a round base that offers a full 360-degree rotation, making it easy to share your screen with a friend next to you. It has fantastic motion handling with an extremely quick response time at its max refresh rate and 60Hz, so you won't notice any motion blur behind fast-moving objects. There's also a backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, but it only works within a narrow refresh rate range.
Sadly, it has limited dark room performance. The IPS panel has a low contrast, and without local dimming, blacks look gray, and the black uniformity is disappointing. It also can't display a wide color gamut or get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR, so it's a better choice for playing SDR games. If this isn't a problem for you, it's one of the best budget monitors for gaming that we've tested.
If you prefer something with a higher refresh rate, look into the ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM. It doesn't have a 360-degree swivel range like the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx, but it still has outstanding ergonomics, making it easy to adjust the screen. Its input lag is higher at 60Hz, so it's not as good of a choice for console gaming. However, it's better for high-frame-rate PC gaming because it has a 240Hz native refresh rate that you can overclock to 280Hz, and the input lag at its max refresh rate is extremely low. It's also a native FreeSync monitor, and NVIDIA certifies it to have G-SYNC compatibility. Sadly, it's not a good choice for HDR gaming due to its low HDR peak brightness and lack of a wide color gamut.
If you're looking for the best budget 1080p gaming monitor, the Acer is a great choice because it's versatile, but if you want something to play high-frame-rate games, then look into the ASUS.
The best budget 1440p gaming monitor we've tested is the Gigabyte M27Q. This 27 inch model delivers an excellent gaming experience as it has an exceptional response time, low input lag, and a high refresh rate. Fast-moving scenes look clear and smooth, and screen tearing is minimal, thanks to its VRR support. It's a native FreeSync monitor and is compatible with NVIDIA's G-SYNC.
The design is pretty simple and not overly gamer-oriented, meaning it won't stick out like a sore thumb in office setups. The stand is sturdy, but it only allows height and tilt adjustments, meaning it's a bit hard to place in an ideal position. It has a USB hub with two USB 3.0 inputs and a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode. You can display two input sources simultaneously with its Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes and control both source devices with one set of peripherals with its built-in KVM switch.
Unfortunately, it's not the best option for dark rooms because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear grayish. However, it has wide viewing angles, decent reflection handling, and gets bright enough to combat glare. It has a wide color gamut with near-full Adobe RGB coverage, making it a great choice for content creators. Lastly, it has a flicker-free backlight and a blue light filter to help reduce eye strain. Overall, this is the best budget gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution.
If you prefer something with better dark room performance, then look into the Dell S2722DGM. It's not as versatile for productivity as the Gigabyte M27Q because it lacks a USB hub, but with a VA panel, it has a high contrast ratio, so blacks appear as they should when viewed in a dark room. It has many great gaming features like low input lag, a 165Hz refresh rate, and native FreeSync support. It has a quick response time, better than most VA panels, but the common issue of black smearing is still present as it has a slow response time in dark transitions. Unfortunately, it can be distracting if your games have a lot of dark scenes, and it also lacks a local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes.
If you're looking for the best budget gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution and 27 inch screen, you can't go wrong with the Gigabyte as it's versatile, but if you want a VA panel monitor, check out the Dell.
The Dell S2722QC is the best budget 4k gaming monitor that we've tested. Although it's for office use, it delivers a great gaming experience overall, with a fast response time, resulting in clear motion with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. It also has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, which helps reduce tearing in some games.
The 4k screen delivers a much sharper image than similar 1080p monitors, which is great for graphically-intensive games like RPGs. It has wide viewing angles, great for co-op gaming, and looks great in bright rooms thanks to its high peak brightness and good reflection handling. It also supports HDR. However, even though it can display a wide color gamut, it's not bright enough to deliver a truly impactful HDR experience.
Sadly, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, as it has a low contrast ratio and just decent black uniformity, so blacks look gray and cloudy in a dark room. That said, as long as you're in a bright room, it's a great gaming monitor.
The best budget ultrawide gaming monitor we've tested is the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx. It's a great gaming monitor, with an excellent response time at the max refresh rate, resulting in very clear motion with almost no noticeable blur trail behind fast-moving objects. The 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio delivers a more immersive gaming experience than the 16:9 monitors on this list, giving you a wider field of view, so you feel like you're a part of the action.
It also has a great selection of gaming features. It supports both FreeSync and G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology, which helps reduce tearing in games, and it has incredibly low input lag, so your actions are in-sync with the action on-screen. It also has an optional backlight strobing feature to improve the appearance of motion.
Sadly, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, as its low contrast ratio results in blacks that look gray in a dark room, and dark scenes, in general, appear washed out. As long as you're in a room with a bit of ambient light, this isn't an issue, and it's a great monitor overall.
Apr 06, 2022: Replaced the Gigabyte M34WQ with the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx, as it's significantly cheaper and offers similar performance overall. Removed a few out-of-date Notable Mentions, and refreshed the text throughout.
Feb 09, 2022: Replaced the Dell S2721QS with the newer Dell S2722QC and replaced the Acer Nitro XV340CK with the Gigabyte M34WQ due to lack of availability; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
Dec 14, 2021: Verified picks for availability and updated text for clarity; added the Gigabyte M34WQ and the HP X24ih to Notable Mentions.
Nov 30, 2021: Replaced the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV with the Dell S2722DGM and renamed the alternative to 'Dark Room Alternative' because the ASUS is hard to find; removed the ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B because it's hard to find; added the LG 32GN650-B in a new 'Best 32 Inch' category to be consistent with other recommendations; updated the Notable Mentions based on changes.
Oct 01, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced Gigabyte G34WQC with ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B.
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.