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 variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies like FreeSync or G-SYNC. Budget gaming monitors are typically smaller with lower resolutions, but many of them are versatile monitors that are great for PC and console gaming alike.
We've tested over 180 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.
The best budget gaming monitor with a 1080p resolution that we've tested is the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx. It's an impressive monitor for gaming. Its fast response times deliver outstandingly clear motion, with no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects at the max refresh rate and no overshoot. There's also an optional black frame insertion feature that can further improve the appearance of motion, but it's only available at high refresh rates, which isn't ideal.
As a budget model, this monitor is pretty barebones. There's no RGB bias lighting, and the design is pretty simple but functional. The stand has excellent ergonomics, so you shouldn't have any issues placing it in the ideal viewing position. It has a good selection of inputs, with two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort connection, but there aren't any USB ports.
This monitor is no slouch in picture quality, with wide viewing angles, great peak brightness, and excellent gray uniformity. Like most IPS-type panels, the contrast ratio is low, though, so it's not the best choice for gaming in a dark room. Overall though, this is a great monitor that should please most people.
If you want a monitor with a higher refresh rate, then check out the ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM. It's remarkably similar to the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx as it's also an IPS panel monitor with exceptionally low input lag and superb response time. However, it has a 280Hz refresh rate that provides even greater responsiveness, and the screen is a little more than an inch bigger. The downside is that it's more expensive, falling just a tad over our budget threshold.
Overall, if a 165Hz refresh rate is enough for you, and you're looking to save a bit of money, go with the Acer. Otherwise, the ASUS is a fantastic but more expensive option with a 280Hz refresh rate.
The best budget gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution is the Gigabyte M27Q. Although it's a bit more expensive than our usual budget limit, it's an excellent gaming monitor that should please even the most demanding gamers. Motion looks incredible thanks to the superb response times, resulting in almost no noticeable blur behind fast-moving objects and no overshoot. It has exceptional low input lag as well, so you can respond instantly to the action on-screen.
This monitor is surprisingly well-equipped for a budget model. It has great connectivity, with a built-in USB hub, including a USB-C port, and you can even use it as a KVM switch, so you can control two sources with a single keyboard, mouse, and display. It also has a few customizable overlays that you can use to add virtual crosshairs, system information like the CPU temperature, and even a frame rate counter.
Like most IPS monitors, the contrast ratio is passable, and the black uniformity is sub-par, so this isn't the best choice for gaming in a dark room. Other than that, this is an amazing gaming monitor that should please most people.
If you'd prefer a more versatile monitor that you can use for both gaming and work, check out the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV. While it doesn't have a refresh rate as high as the Gigabyte M27Q, at 75Hz, it's still a touch higher than most office monitors and has exceptional ergonomics with a really wide swivel range to suit any viewing position. Its response time is impressive overall, and it's even faster than the Gigabyte's at 60Hz, so it's great for gaming on consoles at 60fps. Since it's intended for creative professionals, it also has an amazing color gamut and comes with very good color accuracy out of the box. It has built-in speakers and a ton of ports and inputs for all your peripherals. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't support HDR.
Go with the Gigabyte for a higher refresh rate and HDR support, but if you're looking for something a little more versatile, with better ergonomics and a higher response time at 60Hz, the ASUS is a great alternative.
The best budget gaming monitor with an ultrawide screen that we've tested is the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx. Unlike most ultrawide monitors, this model still has a flat, non-curved screen. It's 34 inches, with 3440 x 1440 resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio. This gives you more horizontal space than a standard 16:9 display, which feels more immersive when gaming. It has decent viewing angles and good ergonomics, making it great for sharing content or playing co-op games.
It has a 144Hz refresh rate and excellent response times, so motion looks smooth, with only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. Input lag is remarkably low, and it remains low with VRR enabled. On the subject of VRR, it supports FreeSync natively and is compatible with G-SYNC. It has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help improve motion clarity, but it only works within a narrow refresh rate range and isn't usable simultaneously with VRR.
Unfortunately, even though it supports HDR, it can't display a wide color gamut and doesn't get very bright. Its screen brightness is low in SDR too, so it's not the best for well-lit or sunny environments. It has a USB hub with two USB 3.0 ports, built-in speakers, and a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode. Lastly, it has a flicker-free backlight and a blue light filter to help reduce eye strain. So, if you're looking for an ultrawide gaming monitor that won't break the bank, this is a great choice.
If you mostly game in the dark, the Gigabyte G34WQC might be a better choice. Like the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx, it's a 34 inch, 21:9 monitor with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. However, it's curved, and it uses a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio to produce deeper blacks. This does come at the cost of narrow viewing angles, so it isn't ideal for sharing content with others. Its response times are slower but still great, and it also has a 144Hz refresh rate and VRR support. It can display a wide color gamut, and it gets a lot brighter in SDR and HDR. The ergonomics are significantly worse because it can't swivel at all.
Overall, the Acer is a better choice for most people. It has faster response times, wider viewing angles, and better ergonomics. However, if you want better dark room performance, the Gigabyte is also a good choice.
Jun 04, 2021: Replaced the Gigabyte G27Q with the Gigabyte M27Q, as the G27Q is harder to find and more expensive at the moment.
May 07, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Apr 07, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Mar 08, 2021: Minor text and structure changes. Removed LG 24GL600F because it's discontinued and hard to find. Added Gigabyte G34WQC as 'Dark Room Alternative' to the Acer Nitro XV340CK Pbmiipphzx.
Feb 19, 2021: Replaced the Gigabyte G34WQC with the Acer Nitro XV340CK due to its availability, price, and faster response time. Moved the Gigabyte G34QWC to Notable Mentions.
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.