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 115 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 extremely quick 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'll 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 quick 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. Also, 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.
The best budget gaming monitor with a 1440p resolution that we've tested so far is the Dell S2417DG. It's a 24 inch monitor with a TN panel that delivers an incredibly smooth gaming experience thanks to its superb motion handling. Its exceptional response time results in almost no motion blur and it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can further improve clarity. It has a 144Hz refresh rate that can be overclocked up to 165Hz, and it supports G-SYNC natively to help minimize screen tearing. Input lag is extremely low, and although it's slightly higher when playing with VRR, it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.
Unfortunately, it isn't well-suited for dark rooms as it has a very low contrast ratio and poor black uniformity, which is expected of most TN panels. In addition, its narrow viewing angles cause images to look washed out from the side. It has excellent ergonomics, though, so you can adjust the monitor easily to your optimal viewing position. It gets bright enough for use in any lighting conditions and it handles reflections well. Gray uniformity is good on our unit, but the top of the screen is visibly darker than the rest.
Despite its budget price, this monitor comes with a generous number of USB ports. It has four in total and there's one on the side that supports USB BC 1.2 fast-charging. There are two 3.5mm analog audio out ports: one has adjustable volume for use with headphones, while the other is a line out with a fixed volume for use with desktop speakers. On the whole, this is an excellent 1440p gaming monitor at a wallet-friendly price.
If you want a bigger screen or better viewing angles, then check out the ViewSonic VX2758-2KP-MHD. Unlike the Dell S2417DG, this monitor has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, and its large 27 inch screen provides a more immersive gaming experience. Its response time is excellent, it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature, and a 144Hz refresh rate to make motion look buttery smooth. It has native FreeSync support and it's compatible with NVIDIA's G-SYNC. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any USB ports, but it does come with integrated speakers if you need them. And even though it has a higher contrast ratio and better black uniformity, it isn't an ideal monitor for gaming in a dark room, as blacks still look gray.
Overall, the Dell has a higher refresh rate and faster response time and is a better choice for those with an NVIDIA graphics card due to its native G-SYNC support. However, if you want a bigger screen or wider viewing angles, then go with the ViewSonic.
The best cheap gaming monitor we've tested so far is the AOC CQ27G1. It's a decent overall monitor with a very good contrast ratio and impressive 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 is the best cheap gaming monitor we've tested so far.
08/07/2020: Minor text and structure changes, replaced Dell UltraSharp U2520Q with ViewSonic VX2758-2KP-MHD.
07/10/2020: Replaced the AOC AG271QX with the Dell S2417DG and the Dell U2518D with the U2520D.
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 the current market.
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.