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, 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 100 monitors, and below you'll find out recommendations for the best cheap gaming monitors to buy. 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. See also our recommendations for the best cheap gaming mice.
The best budget gaming monitor we've tested so far is the ViewSonic XG2402. It's a great monitor for fast-paced games thanks to its outstanding motion handling. It has a 144Hz refresh rate and low response time, and it even supports FreeSync variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing.
If you have a recent 10- or 20- series NVIDIA graphics card, it's compatible with G-SYNC as well, though it will require a driver update. Despite its budget price, this monitor has a good build quality that feels solid. If you play in a well-lit room, this monitor can get bright enough to overcome glare and it has great reflection handling. It also has a flicker-free backlight to help reduce eye strain for those long gaming sessions.
Unfortunately, it uses a TN panel that has a low contrast ratio and poor black uniformity, which is less ideal for dark room gaming, as blacks tend to look more like gray. Its viewing angles aren't great, but surprisingly, it has impressive color accuracy right out of the box. This monitor should please most gamers, making this the best budget gaming monitor we've tested so far.
If you find the ViewSonic XG2402 too small, consider the 27 inch ASUS VG279Q. Although it has a 1080p resolution, its low response time and high refresh rate deliver a crisp picture with very little blur behind fast-moving objects. It also has an optional black frame insertion feature to further reduce the appearance of motion blur, and its backlight is flicker-free, which helps reduce eye strain. Additionally, it comes with some convenient gaming features such as a crosshair for shooter games, a frame rate counter overlay, and it even has built-in speakers. It supports FreeSync variable refresh rate and it's compatible with NVIDIA's G-SYNC with a firmware update.
If you're looking for the best budget gaming monitor, look into the ViewSonic, but if you want something bigger, then the ASUS is a good choice too.
The best budget 1440p gaming monitor we've tested so far is the AOC AGON AG271QX. With its 27 inch screen and high resolution, this is a great monitor for an immersive gaming experience.
This monitor has nearly everything that we've come to expect from a gaming monitor: a fast response time for a clear picture with minimal motion blur, and low input lag for amazing responsiveness, and a 144Hz refresh rate for smooth gameplay. In addition, it supports FreeSync to reduce screen tearing, and it's compatible with recent NVIDIA graphics cards. This monitor is well-suited for bright rooms thanks to its high peak brightness and good reflection handling. It comes equipped with integrated speakers and it has a USB 3.0 hub as well. The monitor feels well-built and the stand has good ergonomics, allowing you to adjust the screen however you like.
Unfortunately, its dark room performance is disappointing. Like most TN panels, its low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity result in blacks that look like gray when viewed in the dark. Also, it has sub-par viewing angles, so it's not ideal for co-op gaming or for sharing content. On the whole, this is the best budget 1440p gaming monitor we've tested so far.
If you're looking for a monitor with wide viewing angles, then the Dell U2518D is a good choice. It doesn't have a high refresh rate or VRR support like the AOC AGON AG271QX, but it's still a good gaming monitor, especially for console gamers. It has outstanding motion handling, so motion looks clear, but unfortunately there's no black frame insertion feature to reduce motion blur. The input lag is low, but it's still not one of the lowest ones we've seen, which might disappoint some more serious gamers. However, it has outstanding out-of-box color accuracy and impressive ergonomics, so you can place the monitor how you like for co-op gaming.
If you want the best 1440p budget gaming monitor, the AOC is a great choice, but if you want better viewing angles, the Dell is a good alternative.
The best cheap gaming monitor we've tested so far is the AOC CG27G1. It's a decent overall monitor with a very good contrast ratio and good out-of-box color accuracy that offers great gaming performance.
This monitor offers anything you would want in a gaming monitor. It has an incredibly low input lag, great response time, and a black frame insertion feature to reduce any motion blur. Its 144Hz refresh rate can go as low as 20Hz thanks to its support for FreeSync VRR technology, but sadly it's not compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards. It also includes extra features like a shadow boost and on-screen crosshair for FPS games.
Unfortunately, it doesn't perform very well as an office monitor or for watching movies due to its mediocre brightness, disappointing viewing angles, poor black uniformity, and lack of HDR support. Regardless, for a monitor that won't break your wallet, this one is the best cheap gaming monitor we've tested so far.
04/29/2020: Replaced the Acer XF251Q with the AOC CG27G1 as best cheap pick, removed its alternate, the Samsung CF398. Updated notable mentions to reflect current market.
04/10/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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.