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 bought and tested over 240 monitors, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best gaming monitors to buy on a budget. See our recommendations for the best monitors under $500, the best monitors under $200, and the best gaming monitors.
The Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx is the best budget gaming monitor we've tested. It's great 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 has fantastic motion handling with an extremely quick response time at its max refresh rate and 120Hz, so you won't notice any motion blur behind fast-moving objects, but there's also more motion blur with 60 fps content when you have VRR enabled.
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 or adjust the screen to your liking, and it has wide viewing angles so that the image remains consistent from the sides. Despite the small size and 1080p resolution, the text clarity is decent, and the images are sharp enough for a realistic gaming experience.
Not all budget gaming monitors are meant for the same type of gamers, and if you're a more competitive gamer in esports gaming, you need something with a higher refresh rate. If that's the case, then the ViewSonic XG2431 is the best budget monitor for competitive esports gaming that we've tested. Even though it has the same 1080p resolution and 24-inch screen size as the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx, what makes it different is that it has a 240Hz refresh rate. It allows you to play high-frame-rate games without issue, and it has FreeSync VRR support with G-SYNC compatibility.
Thanks to its fast refresh rate, it has fantastic motion handling with minimal blur trail behind fast-moving objects no matter the refresh rate you're gaming at. It also has a low input lag for a responsive feel and a flicker-free backlight that reduces eye strain during long gaming sessions. Lastly, it has a few extra gaming features like a customizable backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur as you can change the pulse width and phase, which most monitors can't do.
If you want something to play games with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, then the LG 27GN800-B is the best budget console gaming monitor that we've tested. Console gaming is different than gaming on a PC because the latest gaming consoles have a 4k resolution and can go up to 120 fps, while PC games usually sacrifice resolution for a higher refresh rate. While it's hard to find 4k gaming monitors at a low cost, you can also get 1440p monitors like this one that can downscale 4k games to 1440p. It results in a sharper image than a regular 1440p signal, so games appear more life-like.
In terms of its gaming performance, it's impressive as it has low input lag for a responsive feel. It has a fast response time, including at 60 fps, so you won't notice any motion blur. It also looks great in well-lit rooms as it gets bright enough to fight glare and has great reflection handling, so visibility isn't an issue.
If you tend to game in a dark room, the best budget monitor for dark room gaming is the Dell S2722DGM. It's a great 1440p budget gaming monitor with a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, so that means blacks look deep and inky in dark rooms, and there isn't too much blooming around bright objects. The 27-inch screen and 1440p resolution also deliver good image clarity, and the screen is big enough for an immersive gaming experience. It also has a slightly curved screen that helps bring the edges of the screen within your field of vision so that they don't look washed out.
It has native FreeSync VRR support with G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing if you have an NVIDIA graphics card. It also has low input lag, and even though there's black smearing behind fast-moving objects, which is typical of VA panels, its overall motion handling is great.
Although the best ultrawide monitors for gaming are generally more expensive, the Dell S3422DWG is a more wallet-friendly option. These displays have a 21:9 aspect ratio, giving you more screen space at the sides. This is great for atmospheric and FPS games as you can see more of your game at once. The 3440x1440 resolution also has good image clarity. This monitor is great for dark room gaming as it displays deep blacks, and HDR looks decent because it gets bright enough to make highlights pop and displays a wide color gamut.
Its gaming performance is great as it has a quick response time, low input lag, and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. It has a flicker-free backlight, and there's an optional backlight strobing feature to reduce persistence blur. If you also want to use it for console gaming, it downscales 4k signals from the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but keep in mind that those consoles don't support ultrawide gaming, so you'll see black bars at the sides.
Jul 27, 2022: Restructured article to reflect the current price of monitors; replaced the ASUS VG259QM with the ViewSonic XG2431 because it's better; removed the Gigabyte M27Q and the Dell S2722QC because they're expensive; replaced the Acer XV340CK with the easier-to-find Dell S3422DWG; added the LG 27GN800-B as the 'Best Console Gaming Monitor'.
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.
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.