There are plenty of gaming monitors you can choose from if you're on a tight budget. These models are getting equipped with more gaming features, and while most don't have premium perks like HDMI 2.1 bandwidth or a 4k resolution, you'll still be happy with the performance of most low-cost gaming monitors, including some cheap models. They're also available in different sizes, but ultimately, size is a personal preference.
When looking for a gaming monitor, consider your graphics card to ensure the variable refresh rate (VRR) format works with the monitor, although most monitors work with any graphics card. Having a high refresh rate is also beneficial, especially if you play competitive games, and some budget models include refresh rates up to 240Hz, too. In terms of performance, one of the most important factors for gaming is a fast response time so that motion looks sharp. Its input lag is also crucial, and most monitors have low input lag for a responsive feel anyway.
We've bought and tested over 300 monitors, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best low-cost gaming monitors to buy. 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 gaming monitor you can get on a budget is the ViewSonic XG2431, an impressive monitor with more features than similarly-priced options. It has a fast 240Hz refresh rate, and even though its 1080p resolution and 24-inch screen size may seem limited, this is typical of budget gaming monitors. The high refresh rate is ideal for competitive gaming, and the lower resolution makes it easier for your graphics card to maintain high frame rates for a smooth gaming feel.
The ViewSonic's stand-out feature is its customizable backlight strobing feature, where you can adjust the flicker to your liking to reduce persistence blur. 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 FreeSync variable refresh (VRR) support to reduce screen tearing, and it's also G-SYNC compatible, making it an impressive gaming monitor regardless of your graphics card. However, its VRR support doesn't work at the same time as its backlight strobing feature.
If you're on a tight budget and you're looking for something cheap, there are some useful monitors you can get that perform well for gaming, like the Gigabyte GS27QC. It's different from the ViewSonic XG2431 because it has a much lower 170Hz refresh rate, its backlight strobing feature isn't as customizable, and it's a step down in overall gaming performance, but that's normal for a cheap gaming monitor. On the plus side, it has a higher 1440p resolution and a larger screen with a subtle 1500R curve, delivering a more immersive gaming experience with added detail.
It has a VA panel that makes it a good choice for dark room gaming as it displays very deep blacks, but it lacks a local dimming feature to further improve it, which is expected for a low-cost display. It also has good motion handling without much smearing at high refresh rates, but there's overshoot at 60Hz. Like the ViewSonic, it also has FreeSync VRR and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing with most sources.
If you want a 27-inch gaming monitor like the Gigabyte GS27QC and don't mind spending more on better gaming performance, check out the Dell G2724D. It has many of the same specs as the Gigabyte, but its much better motion handling is the main difference, and it's worth the extra cost if you care about that. It has an extremely fast response time at any refresh rate, and while it doesn't have an optional backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur, there's minimal blur trail with fast-moving objects.
It has a max refresh rate of 165Hz and supports all common VRR formats to reduce screen tearing, including HDMI Forum VRR, which most budget monitors don't support. This means VRR works with the PS5, and the monitor also downscales 4k @ 60Hz signals from consoles, resulting in a more detailed image than native 1440p. Unfortunately, this monitor is limited in extra features as it lacks built-in speakers or an audio output, so if you prefer something with those, you can also look into the Gigabyte M27Q P. It's a great budget gaming monitor with worse motion handling than the Dell.
While bigger budget monitors generally don't offer the best performance, if you're okay with getting something with worse gaming performance than the Dell G2724D to get the biggest possible size within your budget, check out the LG 32GN650-B, which you can also buy as the 32GN63T-B at different retailers. Both variants offer the same great gaming performance. It has the same 1440p resolution as the Dell, delivering the same amount of details, but because of its larger size, the pixel density is lower, so images aren't as sharp.
It also has worse motion handling than the Dell due to its slower response time, but it's still decent enough for most casual gamers, and like most gaming monitors, it has VRR support. It has a VA panel that displays deep blacks in dark rooms, but without a local dimming feature, highlights don't pop against the rest of the image for a satisfying HDR experience. Unfortunately, its panel has worse viewing angles than the Dell, meaning images look washed out from the sides.
Nov 30, 2023: Replaced the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx with the Gigabyte GS27QC because it's easier to find, and moved the Acer to Notable Mentions; replaced the Gigabyte M27Q P with the Dell G2724D because it's better for gaming and for consistency with other articles.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best budget 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.