You don't need to spend an arm and a leg to get a decent gaming monitor. 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.
We've reviewed more than 100 monitors, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $300 that are available for purchase in 2020. For cheaper options, see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors under $200, the best budget gaming monitors, the best budget monitors, and the best FreeSync monitors. See also our recommendations for the best gaming mice and the best gaming keyboards.
The ViewSonic XG2402 is the best gaming monitor under $300 that we've tested so far. It's a 1080p monitor with a fairly sturdy build and good ergonomics, although its thick bezels aren't the most stylish. There are red LEDs on the back of the monitor and on the stand to give it a bit of flair, and it comes with basic cable management to keep your setup clean.
It has a TN panel, which has an outstanding response time and low input lag, providing a responsive gaming experience with almost no noticeable motion blur. It has a 144Hz refresh rate and it supports FreeSync, which helps to reduce screen tearing. Those with a recent NVIDIA graphics card can also take advantage of the variable refresh rate technology, although it only works through a DisplayPort connection. And even at this price, it comes with integrated speakers as well as a USB hub to charge your mobile devices.
Unfortunately, like most TN panels, contrast ratio and black uniformity are disappointing, so it's not the most ideal monitor for dark room gaming. Viewing angles are also disappointing causing the picture to look washed out when viewed from the side. However, this monitor is well-suited for bright rooms, as it has a good peak brightness and great reflection handling. Overall, this is a great budget-friendly gaming monitor that won't take up too much space on your desk.
If you find the ViewSonic XG2402's 16:9 aspect ratio a bit too narrow, you should take a look at an ultrawide monitor such as the LG 29UM69G-B. Although it has a meager 1080p resolution and a 75Hz refresh rate, it can still provide you with a great gaming experience. It has a remarkably low response time and input lag, which feels smooth and responsive, and it also supports FreeSync variable refresh rate. This monitor uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, but its contrast ratio and black uniformity make is unsuitable to play in the dark, as there's significant clouding and backlight bleed that can be rather distracting. Lastly, this monitor has built-in speakers, a flicker-free backlight, and can display a crosshair for shooter games.
Overall, the Dell is a better monitor, but if you prefer the ultrawide format, the LG is the way to go.
The most versatile gaming monitor for under $300 we've seen so far is the Dell U2518D. It's a good 1440p IPS monitor with wide viewing angles and a great stand. It has great peak brightness, as well as a great stand, so it's a good choice for almost any room.
In terms of gaming performance, it's a decent monitor. It has a good response time, but there's still some motion blur and it doesn't have a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. It has a fairly low input lag, but it might not be enough for more serious gamers. It's also a good choice for productivity due to its high resolution, excellent ergonomics, and outstanding out-of-the-box color accuracy. It also has good coverage of the Adobe RGB color space if you want to use it for photo editing, but it might be too limiting for professional editors.
Unfortunately, it doesn't support VRR, and some people may be disappointed by the 60Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR, which is very surprising at this price point, but it can't take full advantage of it as it can't get very bright and can't display a wide color gamut so, unfortunately, HDR doesn't add much. If you can find this monitor for under $300, it's the most versatile gaming monitor at this price range we've tested so far.
The best 27 inch gaming monitor under $300 we've tested so far is the ASUS VG279Q. It's a good overall 144Hz, 1080p monitor that's an impressive choice for gaming, and for its price, most people should be happy with its performance.
It has everything you need in a gaming monitor. It has a very fast response time at its max refresh rate and it's still good at 60Hz, which is ideal for console gamers. It has a black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion, it supports FreeSync VRR, it's G-SYNC compatible, and the input lag is incredibly low, ensuring you get a responsive gaming experience. Despite having a 1080p resolution, this monitor still delivers a good picture quality thanks to its impressive brightness, wide viewing angles, and excellent out-of-the-box color accuracy.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most IPS panels, it has a low contrast ratio and disappointing black uniformity, so it's not ideal to use in dark rooms. It also doesn't support HDR, but it has other good features like built-in speakers and the option to add a virtual crosshair for FPS games. Overall, this is the best 27 inch gaming monitor under $300 we've seen so far.
If you want a monitor with better dark room performance, consider the MSI Optix G27C4. Although it doesn't have as good out-of-the-box color accuracy as the ASUS VG279Q, it has a much better contrast ratio and still has good gaming performance. It has a native 165Hz refresh rate, resulting in clear motion, and it has a good response time at 60Hz, too. There's a black frame insertion feature, it has native FreeSync support, and the input lag is exceptionally low, one of the best we've seen so far. It stays low even at 60Hz, which is great for console gamers. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very bright and it has poor viewing angles, so it's not ideal for co-op gaming.
Overall, if you're looking for the best 27 inch gaming monitor under $300, check out the ASUS, but if you prefer a monitor with a VA panel, the MSI is a good alternative.
06/09/2020: Moved ViewSonic XG2402 to main pick to replace the Dell S2719DGF; created new 27 inch category and added ASUS VG279Q and MSI Optix GC27C4; removed the Dell P2417H from the recommendation.
04/10/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
12/13/2019: Replaced the AOC AGON AG271QX with the Dell S2719DGF, as the AOC is no longer in this price range. Changed the article structure to improve clarity.
10/16/2019: Replaced the Dell S2719DGF, as it's currently over $300.
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 under $300. 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.