Gaming has evolved in recent years, with new 4k screens delivering a more detailed gaming experience. Console and PC gamers alike have embraced this new format, with upgraded consoles released mid-cycle that can take advantage of the greater levels of detail provided by these new screens. This doesn't come without trade-offs, though, as most 4k screens have slower refresh rate and, by extension, slower response times than their lower-resolution counterparts.
We've tested over 195 monitors, and below are our picks for the best 4k gaming monitors to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best monitors for Xbox Series X, the best monitors for PS5, and the best monitors for PC gaming.
The Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx is the best 4k gaming monitor that we've tested. It sports a 28 inch IPS screen with wide viewing angles, and it comes with a very sturdy stand that allows for tons of ergonomic adjustments. It handles reflections well and gets bright enough to provide good visibility in most lighting conditions, but it might struggle a bit in very well-lit or sunny settings.
It has a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz and is one of the first monitors to have HDMI 2.1 support. It has an exceptional response time to deliver a clear image in fast-moving scenes, and it supports VRR to reduce screen tearing. It can display a wide color gamut for HDR, but like most monitors, the overall HDR experience is underwhelming because it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop, and its edge-lit local dimming is terrible.
There are many ports on this monitor, including a USB hub with four USB 3.0 and a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode. The power delivery is 65W, which should be enough to charge most ultraportable laptops but not power-hungry ones with a dedicated GPU. It has built-in speakers and a blue light filter to help reduce eye strain. All in all, it's an excellent monitor for both PC and console gamers.
If you want a better HDR gaming experience, then check out the ASUS ROG Strix XG27UQ. It's just an inch smaller than the Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx, but it's still an IPS monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate. It has a much better color volume, which means it can display more colors at different brightness levels, and it also gets a lot brighter, enough to make some highlights pop when viewed in a dark room. The downside is that it doesn't have any HDMI 2.1 ports, so you can only achieve the full 144Hz with a graphics card that supports Display Stream Compression over a DisplayPort connection. It also has fewer USB 3.0 inputs and no USB-C. Its response time at maximum refresh rate is slower but still outstanding, and it's much better than the Acer at 60Hz.
Overall, the Acer is a better choice because it has better response time at max refresh rate and more connectivity options. However, if you want a monitor that delivers a better HDR experience, then go with the ASUS.
The best 4k monitor for gaming in dark rooms we've tested is the LG OLED48C1. While we do recognize that this is a TV, there really is nothing better for dark rooms than an OLED like the C1. Its 48 inch screen feels incredibly immersive, and it can display deep, inky blacks for a great dark room gaming experience. Also, there's no blooming or visible transition between dimming zones like on backlit TVs because there's no backlight.
Like most OLEDs, the response time is near-instantaneous, resulting in clear motion with almost no blur trail behind fast-moving objects. It has HDMI 2.1 ports, which means you can play at 120Hz without chroma subsampling to reduce bandwidth. As for its VRR, it supports FreeSync natively and is certified as G-SYNC compatible. Input lag is exceptionally low and shouldn't increase when playing in HDR.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to using an OLED TV as a monitor. First, it has no ergonomic adjustments to speak of, so it might be hard to get a comfortable viewing position. Second, there is a risk of permanent burn-in, although we don't expect it to be an issue for most people. On the plus side, it delivers an amazing HDR experience, and it has built-in speakers. Overall, it's an excellent monitor worth considering.
If the LG 48 C1 OLED is out of your budget, then check out the Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB. At 43 inches, it's just a tad smaller than the LG, but it still delivers a great dark room experience thanks to its VA panel's outstanding contrast ratio. It also gets very bright, enough to make highlights pop in HDR content. It has a USB-C input that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode, and unlike the LG, it allows for a small amount of tilt adjustment. Unfortunately, it's limited to 60Hz, and its response time is only decent, so you might see a bit more ghosting in fast-moving content. The upside is that it's immune to permanent burn-in, which is one thing less to worry about.
Overall, the LG is a much better choice for dark rooms due to OLED's ability to produce perfect blacks, and it also has significantly better motion handling to deliver a better gaming experience. However, if you find it too expensive or you're worried about burn-in, the Philips is a good alternative.
The best 4k gaming monitor that we've tested in the budget category is the Dell S2721QS. It's a versatile monitor with a simple design that should fit easily into most office settings. It's well-built, and it comes with a sturdy stand that allows for all manner of adjustments so that you can get a comfortable viewing position. Reflection handling is good, and screen brightness is great, which means you shouldn't have any problems with visibility in bright rooms.
Gaming-wise, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, which is somewhat expected for a budget monitor. The response times are good, though, and it has both native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to minimize screen tearing. It can display a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough, not even for the most basic form of HDR. Also, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray in the dark, typical of most IPS panels.
It's pretty light on extra features as it's primarily designed for productivity. That said, you do get built-in speakers and a Picture-in-Picture/Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals at once, which you can use to watch a TV show or movie while gaming. Overall, while it isn't particularly feature-rich, it's a good budget monitor that most people should be happy with.
Jul 22, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced LG 48 CX OLED with LG 48 C1 OLED.
Jun 22, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced LG 27GN950-B with Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx.
May 26, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. Replaced LG 32UL500-W with Dell S2721QS.
Apr 26, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
Apr 02, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, Dell S3221QS, Acer Predator X27, and the BenQ EL2870U to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best 4k gaming monitors currently available. They're 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 4k 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.