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 220 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best cheap 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 gaming monitor we've tested with a 24 inch, 1080p screen. 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. Even in terms of picture quality, it looks good, 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 also has fantastic motion handling with an extremely quick response time at its max refresh rate and at 60Hz, so you won't notice any motion blur behind fast-moving objects. There's also a backlight strobing feature, 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 gaming monitors 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. It's also 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 gaming monitor with a 1080p resolution, 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 gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution and 27 inch screen 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, so it shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb in office setups. The stand is sturdy, but it only allows height and tilt adjustments. It's packed with extra features. 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. 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 the 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. It can, unfortunately, 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, then check out the Dell.
The LG 32GN650-B is the best budget gaming monitor available in a 32 inch size and 1440p resolution that we've tested. It's a great gaming monitor with features most gamers are looking for, like VRR support in the form of native FreeSync support, and we confirmed that the G-SYNC compatible mode works.
It has low input lag for a responsive gaming experience, and it has a quick response time, but there's overshoot in most transitions that result in inverse ghosting, and like other VA panels, there's black smearing in dark scenes. However, the upside to owning a monitor with a VA is that it displays deep blacks with a great native contrast ratio, and the black uniformity is decent. Even if you want to use it in a well-lit room, it has decent reflection handling and decent peak brightness, but it struggles in really bright environments.
Sadly, it has limited ergonomics because you can't swivel it, but you can rotate it into portrait mode in a clockwise direction. It's also limited on extra features as it lacks built-in speakers and a USB hub, but that's expected for a budget monitor. On the plus side, the 32 inch screen provides plenty of space for multitasking, and even though the pixel density is a bit low with the 1440p resolution, the text still looks okay. All in all, it's one of the best cheap gaming monitors we've tested.
The best budget gaming monitor with an ultrawide screen that we've tested is the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx. It's a 34 inch model with a flat, non-curved screen. It has a 21:9 aspect ratio with more horizontal space than a typical 16:9 display, giving you a wider field of view for better immersion in games. It feels decently well-built, and it has good ergonomics so that you can place the screen easily at a comfortable viewing position or share it with others.
It has a 144Hz refresh rate and an excellent response time to deliver a smooth gaming experience. Its input lag is exceptionally low, and it has both native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to minimize screen tearing. It has a backlight strobing feature to improve motion clarity, otherwise known as black frame insertion. However, it only works within a narrow frequency range, and it isn't usable simultaneously with VRR. Also, the flickering might cause headaches or eye strain for some people.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get very bright, and its mediocre contrast ratio makes blacks look grayish in the dark, so it's better suited for a moderately lit room. Despite its budget price, there's a USB hub with two USB 3.0 inputs and a USB-B upstream port, which means you can plug your peripherals directly into the monitor. All in all, this is a great option if you want to go ultrawide with a small budget.
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.
Sep 02, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Aug 03, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. 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 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.