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 160 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 best 4k gaming monitor we've tested is the LG 27GN950-B. It has a large 27 inch screen that provides incredible immersion and plenty of space for multitasking. Its IPS panel has wide viewing angles, so images remain accurate when viewed from the side, great for sharing content or playing co-op games. It doesn't handle reflections all that well, but it gets bright enough to overcome glare easily. The ergonomics are somewhat disappointing as it doesn't allow for swivel adjustment at all.
Motion handling is fantastic thanks to its exceptional response time and high refresh rate, resulting in clear images in fast-moving scenes. However, it requires a graphics card with Display Stream Compression technology to achieve its full 160Hz refresh rate over a DisplayPort connection since there's no HDMI 2.1 port; it's limited to 60Hz over HDMI. The flicker-free backlight helps minimize image duplication, and it has both FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing.
Unfortunately, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray in the dark, and even though it has a local dimming feature, it performs poorly. On the upside, it has two USB 3.0 ports for charging and a Picture-in-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals at once. It can deliver a pretty decent HDR experience as it displays a wide color gamut and gets bright enough to bring out some highlights. Overall, it's a great gaming monitor that should satisfy casual and serious gamers alike.
If you want a monitor that delivers a better HDR gaming experience, then check out the ASUS ROG Strix XG27UQ. Like the LG 27GN950-B, it has a 27 inch IPS screen with a 4k resolution. It displays a wide color gamut needed for HDR gaming. It doesn't get as bright as the LG, but it's enough to make some highlights pop. Unfortunately, it has a mediocre contrast ratio that results in blacks looking grayish, and its edge-lit local dimming is terrible, so it's not the most ideal for dark rooms. It has an outstanding response time, and although it has a lower refresh rate of 144Hz compared to the LG's 160Hz, it shouldn't be noticeable.
Overall, the LG and the ASUS are very similar. The LG has better response times and a slightly higher refresh rate to provide smoother gameplay. However, if you want a better HDR gaming experience, then go with the ASUS.
The best 4k monitor for gaming in dark rooms we've tested is the LG 48 CX OLED. This is technically a TV, but modern TVs have low enough input lag to make them suitable for PC gaming. As for its dark room performance, it has an OLED panel that can turn off individual pixels to produce perfect blacks. Since it doesn't have a backlight, there's no blooming around bright objects in dark scenes. It has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate at the sides even if you sit up close.
Response time on OLED panels is near-instantaneous, delivering clear motion in fast-moving scenes. On top of that, it has a Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve clarity. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and low input lag to provide a smooth and responsive gaming experience, and it supports variable refresh rate technology to minimize screen tearing. It can display 1080p and 1440p signals, allowing you to play at a lower resolution if your graphics card can't maintain a playable frame rate.
The most common concern about OLED is the risk of permanent burn-in. This happens when static elements like the user interface of a game or desktop remain on the screen for an extended period. It shouldn't be an issue for most people, though, and there are built-in features that can help mitigate the risks. So, if you aren't worried about the risks of burn-in, this is definitely worth checking out.
If you're shopping on a smaller budget, then consider the Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB. At 43 inches, it's a bit smaller than the LG 48 CX OLED. It uses a VA panel with an exceptional contrast ratio, so blacks still look deep when viewed in the dark, and you won't have to worry about permanent burn-in. It has a wider color gamut, higher peak brightness, and it offers more features like Picture-in-Picture and a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alt Mode. Unfortunately, its response time is only decent, and the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz. Also, its viewing angles are much narrower than the CX, which is expected of a VA panel.
Overall, the LG is a better choice for gaming because it has near-instantaneous response times and a 120Hz refresh rate. However, if you want a cheaper option that's also well-suited for dark rooms, the Philips is a good alternative.
The best 4k gaming monitor that we've tested in the budget category is the LG 32UL500-W. Although it's designed for office use, it still offers decent overall gaming performance. This is also great if you need to use it for office use during the day then game at night, as the 4k resolution helps deliver clear text.
In terms of gaming, it's fairly limited on extra features, but that's somewhat expected. It has a 60Hz refresh rate with FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing, which is good for 4k games that run at 60fps. It has a decent response time, but you may notice some motion blur in dark scenes, and input lag is very low. The 32 inch screen helps deliver an immersive gaming experience, and thanks to its VA panel, it has a good contrast ratio that displays deep blacks. It also has built-in speakers, which is great if you don't want to spend extra on a dedicated setup.
Sadly, it has narrow viewing angles and terrible ergonomics as the stand only has a limited tilt range. This means that it may be harder to share your screen with others around you. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR gaming, but it lacks a local dimming feature and doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR content. Regardless of these issues, this is the best 4k monitor for gaming that you can get at a low price.
Apr 02, 2021: Updated text for clarity; added the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q, Dell S3221QS, Acer Predator X27, and the BenQ EL2870U to Notable Mentions.
Mar 04, 2021: Minor text and structure changes. Removed Acer Predator XB273K Pbmiphzx because it's discontinued and no longer available. Added Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB as Cheaper Alternative to the LG 48 CX OLED. Replaced BenQ EW3270U with ASUS ROG Strix XG27UQ as Better HDR Alternative.
Feb 17, 2021: Replaced the LG 32UD99-W with the BenQ EW3270U as Larger Alternative because of availability and price. Replaced Dell S2721QS with LG 32UL500-W due to low availability and price increase. Added the LG 32UD99-W as a Notable Mention.
Jan 18, 2021: Removed Acer Predator X27 because it has been out of stock for a long time.
Dec 18, 2020: Removed BenQ EL2870U and LG 27UK650-W, added LG 27GN950-B and Dell S2721QS.
Nov 19, 2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
Oct 23, 2020: Replaced BenQ EW3270U with LG 48 CX OLED.
Aug 18, 2020: Moved the BenQ EW3270U to a main pick; replaced the LG 27UD58-B with the BenQ EL2870U.
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.