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 115 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, 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 screen with a fairly sturdy build and good ergonomics, although its thick bezels aren't the most stylish. There are red LEDs on the back 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, it's 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. It 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 backlight bleed and clouding that can be rather distracting. Lastly, it 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 best 27 inch gaming monitor under $300 we've tested so far is the ASUS VG279Q. Even though it has a humble 1080p resolution, it delivers an amazing gaming experience with its 27 inch screen and superb motion handling. It's well-built, it has outstanding ergonomics, and it gets bright enough for use in bright lighting conditions. Unfortunately, it doesn't perform all that well in dark rooms, as it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish. On the upside, it has an IPS panel with excellent viewing angles, making it a good choice for co-op gaming.
As mentioned, it has excellent motion handling. Its fast response time results in very little blur trails behind fast-moving objects, and it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can further improve motion clarity. It has a 144Hz refresh rate and it supports FreeSync variable refresh rate to help minimize screen tearing. It also works with recent 10- or 20- series NVIDIA graphics cards thanks to its G-SYNC compatibility.
There's no HDR support and there aren't any USB ports for charging either. You do get a pair of integrated speakers, and a few gaming features, such as the ability to add a crosshair, an FPS counter, and a timer. The backlight is flicker-free and it's well-calibrated out-of-the-box. Black uniformity is a bit disappointing on our unit; however, your experience may vary. All in all, this is a great gaming monitor that most people should be happy with.
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 something with a VA panel, the MSI is a good alternative.
The best 1440p gaming monitor under $300 we've reviewed so far is the AOC CQ27G1. It's a large 27 inch screen that delivers a great dark room gaming experience, as its VA panel is able to produce deep and inky blacks. Images and text look sharp with its 1440p resolution, and there's enough screen space to make it a decent option for work. Viewing angles are a bit narrow, but the screen's curvature helps with visibility and the stand has a wide swivel range. It also has good height and tilt adjustments, but unfortunately, it can't rotate to portrait mode.
For its budget price, it has great gaming performance. It has fast response time, an optional Black Frame Insertion feature, and a 144Hz refresh rate, making fast motion look smooth and clear. It supports FreeSync to help reduce screen tearing, but sadly, it isn't G-SYNC compatible. Input lag is extremely low and only rises slightly with VRR enabled, and there's no HDR support, which is somewhat expected of a monitor in this price range.
There aren't a whole lot of extra features. You have an option to add a virtual crosshair to shooter games and a shadow boost feature to make objects more visible in dark scenes. The one big downside is that it has a fairly low peak brightness, so it's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room. It isn't the most feature-packed monitor out there, but for its wallet-friendly price, it punches way above its weight.
08/06/2020: Minor text and structure changes, replaced Dell U2518D with AOC CQ27G1.
06/09/2020: Moved ViewSonic XG2402 to main pick to replace the Dell S2719DGF; created a new 27 inch category and added ASUS VG279Q and MSI Optix GC27C4; removed the Dell P2417H.
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. 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.