There are great options available if you want to get the best gaming monitor for under $300. There are some very good picks available on a budget, great for dorms or casual gamers. Cheaper monitors are typically less versatile, with smaller screens and slower response times, but you can still expect a decent gaming experience on most of them. However, companies are starting to produce higher-resolution monitors for about $300, so the market for budget monitors is expanding.
We've tested more than 160 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $300 that are available for purchase. For cheaper options, see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, and the best budget monitors.
The best 1080p gaming monitor under $300 that we've tested is the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx. It's an excellent gaming model that rivals some more expensive options. It's decently well-built and has excellent ergonomics, allowing you to place the screen how you like. It has wide viewing angles, and it provides good visibility in well-lit environments. While its small screen size isn't the most immersive, it does make the pixel density higher, which results in sharper images and text.
It's packed with features that most people expect to find in a gaming monitor. Its native 144Hz refresh rate can be overclocked to 165Hz, and it has native FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support and G-SYNC compatibility. The response time is simply incredible, whether you're gaming at its max refresh rate or 60Hz, resulting in minimal motion blur. It has a Black Frame Insertion (BFI) feature, but it flickers within a narrow frequency range and can't be used when VRR is enabled.
Unfortunately, it isn't a good choice for dark room gaming because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear gray. Also, even though it supports HDR, it can't display a wide color gamut and lacks local dimming. Nonetheless, this is one of the best gaming monitors under $300 that we've tested.
If you want a monitor with an even higher refresh rate, check out the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. Unlike the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx, it doesn't have extra features like HDR or Black Frame Insertion, but it has a higher 240Hz refresh rate and a faster response time at its max refresh, making for exceptionally smooth gaming. It's a little slower at 60Hz but still very fast, and it has very little input lag, so gaming feels nice and responsive. Like the Acer, it supports FreeSync VRR and is compatible with G-SYNC. Unfortunately, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, and its viewing angles aren't quite as wide as the Acer's, but all in all, it's an impressive gaming monitor.
The Acer is a better option overall, especially for 60Hz gaming since its response time is faster there, and it comes with extra features like HDR and BFI. However, the Dell is a great alternative if you're willing to spend a little extra for a higher refresh rate.
The best gaming monitor under $300 that we've tested with a 1440p resolution is the Gigabyte G27Q. With a large 27 inch screen and 1440p resolution, it delivers a crisp image and has plenty of space for multitasking or gaming. It feels well-built, without any flex or wobble, but it has limited ergonomic adjustment options, so it may be harder to place it in your ideal viewing position.
In terms of performance, it's a great gaming monitor. Its 144Hz refresh rate provides a smooth gaming experience, and it has an amazing response time at its max refresh rate, resulting in very little blur trail or motion artifacts. Unfortunately, it's significantly slower at 60Hz, so it may not be the best option for console gaming, but it has very little input lag. It supports FreeSync natively and is compatible with G-SYNC to reduce screen tearing. It even comes with extra gaming features like virtual crosshairs and a frame rate counter.
Like most IPS monitors, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, making blacks look more like gray, particularly when viewed in a dark room. On the upside, it gets quite bright, so glare shouldn't be an issue in brighter rooms. It also has decent HDR brightness, so it can bring out some highlights, and has a wide HDR color gamut. Its SDR color gamut is also exceptional. Overall, this is among the best gaming monitors under $300, particularly if you want a 1440p resolution.
If you tend to game in a dark environment and want something that displays deeper blacks, then look into the Gigabyte G27QC. It's extremely similar to the Gigabyte G27Q, except that its VA panel has a much better contrast ratio to display deeper blacks. That said, it sacrifices viewing angle, so images look inaccurate when viewed from the side. It has a higher 165Hz refresh rate, and like the G27QC, it has FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility. It has a great response time at its max refresh rate and 60Hz, but there's noticeable black smearing behind fast-moving objects, which might bother some people.
If you want the best 1440p gaming monitor under $300, you should be happy with the G27Q, but if you prefer something with better dark room performance, then look into the G27QC.
The best 4k gaming monitor under $300 that we've tested is the BenQ EL2870U. It sports a 28 inch screen, and combined with its 4k resolution, it delivers an incredibly immersive gaming experience. It's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, but it shouldn't be an issue for most people, as getting over 60fps at 4k is still very demanding and requires expensive high-end hardware. It's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room because it has a VA panel with a high contrast ratio but doesn't get very bright.
Its response time is good overall, but it's a bit slow, so fast motion can look somewhat blurry. It has low input lag to provide a responsive gaming experience, as well as native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility to reduce screen tearing. It supports HDR, but like most budget monitors, it can't display a wide color gamut and lacks local dimming. The backlight is entirely flicker-free, which helps eliminate image duplication and reduce eye strain.
Sadly, it has a TN panel with narrow viewing angles, and the ergonomics are terrible, so it's not the best option for sharing content or playing co-op games. On the upside, it has speakers built-in, which is great if you don't have space or the budget to get dedicated ones. It also has an upscaling feature to make lower-resolution content look sharper. Overall, it's a decent, wallet-friendly 4k gaming monitor that should please most people.
May 27, 2021: Replaced the ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM with the Dell Alienware AW2521HF as 'Higher Refresh Rate Alternative' since the ASUS is over the price threshold.
Mar 31, 2021: Verified accuracy of picks. No change in recommendations.
Feb 02, 2021: Complete restructuring of the article. Removed the ViewSonic XG2402, LG 29UM69G-B, ASUS VG279Q, MSI Optix G27C4, and Dell S2721QS; removed the 'Best Gaming' and 'Best 27 Inch Categories'; added 'Best 1080p' category; added the Acer Nitro XF243Y, ASUS VG259QM, Gigabyte G27Q, and BenQ EL2870U; moved the Gigabyte G27QC from a main pick to 'Dark Room Alternative'.
Dec 04, 2020: Replaced the AOC CQ27G1 with the Gigabyte G27QC; added the Dell S2721QS as 'Best 4k Gaming Monitor'.
Oct 05, 2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are the best gaming monitors under $300 currently available. They are adapted to be valid for most people. 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, sorted by price from low to high. 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.