Ask any PC gamer what their most important computer component is and you will probably hear graphics card, or maybe even CPU depending on the type of gamer. Very few will tell you their monitor is the most important part, which is strange considering its the one part of your rig that you look at and use constantly. Think about the amount money it costs for a gaming PC, would you really want to pair that up with a cheap, subpar monitor? Exactly. So with all of that in mind do you know what makes a monitor worthy of being used for gaming? In our guide below we have listed the best monitors available to gamers.
One of the main things to consider when looking for a new monitor is, there different from every other part of your computer. Your graphics card can become outdated within 1 or 2 years whereas a good quality monitor with all the usual features could keep you going for 8 years easily. It makes sense to spend a little more on a monitor to ensure you don’t have to update it every year or so.
In our buying guide, we’ll have a list that will help you find the best gaming monitor. These models come in varying sizes, specifications and features not to mention differing resolutions like 4K monitors.
Looking for a monitor is difficult, especially in 2017 when we have different models for different types of computer users – gamers, workers, creators, professional gamers etc. Having been through this process numerous times as well as being in the gaming industry has meant we have access to some of the best technology, research and professionals. Meaning we have been able to create a list of the best monitors that is backed up by independent reviews, user feedback, professionals and normal gamers like you and I.
Bear in mind the monitors we list below don’t fall into any one category so if you’re looking for a specific type of screen e.g. 27-inch, 1080P etc. then be sure to scroll through our list and read through our reviews where you will find the answers to all of your questions.
Best Gaming Monitor – Updated April 2017
|Top 1440p G-Sync Monitors |
|Asus ROG Swift PG279Q - Review||2560x1440 (1440p)||IPS||27"||165Hz|
|Acer Predator XB271HU||2560x1440 (1440p)||IPS||27"||144Hz|
|Best Budget & 1080p Monitor||Acer R240HY||1920x1080 (1080p)||IPS||24"||60Hz|
|Asus VG248QE||1920x1080 (1080p)||TN||24"||144hz|
|BenQ GL2460HM||1920x1080 (1080p)||TN||24"||60Hz|
|Acer G276HL Gbd||1920x1080 (1080p)||TN||27"||60Hz|
|ASUS VC239H||1920x1080 (1080p)||IPS||23"||60Hz|
|Top Cheap/Budget 144Hz||Asus VG248QE||1920x1080 (1080p)||TN||24"||144hz|
|BenQ ZOWIE XL2411||1920x1080 (1080p)||TN||24"||144Hz|
|BenQ RL2455HM||2560x1440 (1440p)||TN||27"||144Hz|
|Best 4K IPS G-Sync Gaming Monitors||Acer Predator XB321HK||3840 x 2160 (4K)||IPS||27"||60Hz|
|Best 4K TN G-Sync Gaming Monitors||Acer XB280HK -G-Sync||3840 x 2160 (4K)||TN||28"||60Hz|
|Top Budget 4K Gaming Monitor||Samsung U28E590D||3840 x 2160 (4K)||TN||28"||60Hz|
The most important part of having a good gaming PC setup, out with hardware (Graphics card, RAM, SSD Hard Drive etc.), is to ensure you have a screen compliment your system. It is very important to have a good display, or at the very least you should look to get a reliable and good monitor within your budget from a brand you recognise. Prices, specifically for gamers, can get rather high purely based on the added features the come with!
Have you ever noticed your screen getting a little fuzzy, colours not showing as they should or do you feel there is a lag? That is down to the monitor you are using, it isn’t really suitable to be used for playing games. Just like when you need to choose a mouse to suit how you play and what you need, you also need to choose a monitor for how you play, what you expect and if you would prefer great picture quality or would you prefer a better response time with very little lag.
There are lots of options on the market at different price brackets which do a great job for gaming, but we will aim to answer the question of which one is most suited for your needs.
Looking for a New Gaming Screen in 2017?
If you are looking to buy a new monitor then I highly suggest you invest in the absolute best you can afford. Why? Well, think about it, when did you last buy one? In most cases, they can last 4 or 5 years without needing to be replaced. Spending a little extra now will mean you get the benefits when you likely upgrade your hardware every year or so. They are also long term purchases, so they deserve to have a little bit extra budget. Picking a good one isn’t an easy task, that is why we have put this guide together for gamers.
This page will list all the models and makes we feel are the best on the market for gaming specifically, with some honourable mentions for those that require a screen for work and play. Our lists are split into the overall best and also 24-inch, 27-inch, IPS and TN, 1080p and 1440p. Not to forget we will also provide the top choices for console gamers and high frame rate PCs, for example, 144Hz as well as the best budget models under $200/£150.
Best Budget / Cheap Monitor
So you are looking for a great monitor for gaming on a budget and don’t want to break the bank. Well, we have some absolutely perfect budget options for you. I actually own one of these bad boys for my gaming laptop. Oh, when we say best budget display we mean below $200 (£150 for the UK), but prices do change daily so you are always best checking prices yourself. What is budget today might be super cheap tomorrow!
When you are looking for the best budget monitor you really do need to pay attention to a few details – one being reviews always read the reviews. Amazon is great for reviews so when you do decide to buy you should ensure the reviewers on Amazon are enjoying their purchase. In most cases, if you are a casual gamer then a good budget monitor with 60Hz refresh rate is more than enough.
With more powerful computers and gaming laptops comes more frames per second meaning the viability of a high Hz display comes into play. Games such as CS:GO, Battlefield Call of Duty and other fast pace games are perfect on the best 144Hz gaming monitor. If you are looking for a cheap or budget 144Hz monitor then you are in luck as some of the main brands have been releasing high-quality models with 144Hz refresh rate.
Do I need a 144Hz monitor?
Upgrading to a 144Hz monitor is something that you need take a little consideration with. First off you need to make sure your graphics card is pushing the frames per second to warrant a 144Hz screen. If you can’t get past 60 to 80 FPS then you have no need what so ever for a 144Hz monitor. Whereas if you’re a player of games like Counter Strike then you likely get frame rates pushing 144+ meaning you’re the ideal candidate for one of these screens.
Now you need to ask yourself if it will make a difference to your gaming style, easier asked than answered when you don’t have access to a 144Hz to test. We have included an image comparing 60Hz to 144Hz (provided by Asus). You can clearly see the slight blurriness of the 60Hz screen compared to 144Hz. These high refresh rate panels help with both clarity and allowing a gamer to react faster to what is happening on screen. Something that is vital for fast paced online games. A high-quality 144Hz monitor with G-Sync or Freesync is an absolute requirement for those looking for an eSports gaming monitor for competitive competitions.
If you are looking to upgrade to a 144Hz monitor and are looking at getting on the best model possible then we suggest you look at the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q. It boasts a 144Hz refresh rate, 1440p resolution and G-Sync. The Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is also considered one of the leading models on the market.
If on the other hand though you are looking to get setup with an entry-level or budget 144Hz then the Asus VG248QE monitor is a fantastic option. This model comes with a 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, the big draw back is the TN panel – its not the best for colour reproduction.
Both of these 144Hz’s will provide a terrific boost to those that play competitive games such as COD, CS:GO etc. The Asus VG248QE has a reported 12ms input lag which makes this model a great 144Hz option. This Asus VG248QE does come with a couple of “cons”, it has a TN panel and can only be bought in a 1080p resolution. With that in mind, the monitor is still a great purchase based on its price and the features it does come with.
If you’re looking to get bang for your buck on a 144Hz screen then this is the screen we suggest as of right now. We suggest you take a quick look at the Asus VG248QE customer reviews here.
Best 27 inch & 1440p
Is bigger better? Well, not always. In most cases, a 27-inch screen may increase the resolution from 1080p to 1440p which are the ideal resolution for a 27-inch screen. In other cases, it may upscale a 1080p resolution to a 27-inch screen – this generally looks OK for normal tasks but video games can look a little unusual with large pixel visible and “jaggys” visible on the screen. In our opinion, if you have the budget for a 27-inch then you should only be looking for 1440p resolutions – that being said you need to ensure your PC has a powerful enough graphics card to run your games at a higher resolution while maintaining a high level of frames-per-second.
If you are looking to purchase an ultrawide monitor for gaming then make sure you read this.
Above we have included our top 5 best 27-inch gaming screens, 4 of which are 1440p and the other one is more of an honourable mention for an upscaled 1080p. As you can see there is a mix of budget and high performing screens in our list.
Best 24 inch & 1080p
In our opinion, a 24-inch monitor is more than ample and is likely the size most gamers will want, need and utilise the most. A 24-inch display will give you enough real estate to look at when deep in gaming mode so not to feel cramped. Not to mention 24-inch screens often provide the best band for your buck based on quality, features and price. All of us at eSport Source use 24-inch screens.
A few things to consider is which panel is best for you, TN or IPS? In most cases again we suggest IPS as we all want our games to look great especially now that technology is getting better and prices are getting lower! I advise you read our quick guide about TN and IPS panels before making a choice on the screen you want.
In most cases, gamers will be looking to keep costs down while also having a screen that compliments their gaming style, as well as being affordable. In that case, a good 1080p screen usually comes up trumps. You will have an option between IPS and TN screens but with a 1080p resolution, you get more than enough screen real estate. 1080p has been the go to resolution for a while now but with the increase in screen sizes, 1080p might not be wise. Basically, if your screen size is 24 inches at most then 1080p is the way to go. If you want a larger screen then ideally you should be looking at least at 1440p – trust us an upscaled resolution on a 27-inch can look terrible!
Best Console Gaming Monitor
Finding a monitor for a games console is just as important to a PC but it usually focuses on slightly different aspects.
Read our exclusive best console gaming monitor guide for more information and help.
Best IPS Monitor
Buying an IPS monitor for gaming makes sense when you are looking to get the best colour and picture quality possible. In 2017 getting the best look and feel from games is just as important as getting low response times and high resolutions. Choosing the best IPS screen for your needs can be tricky, though. Above we have listed IPS panels that are affordable, reliable and provide everything you need.
Best TN Monitor
Playing competitively or simply want to keep your twitch reflex as quick as possible? Then a TN panel is likely the best choice. With that being said there are hundreds, if not thousands of TN panels. We have included our 5 top TN displays, although we here do prefer IPS 🙂
What should you consider?
You have come across this website because you are looking to buy a new screen, more so you probably want the best that you can afford – correct? With hundreds of displays on the market, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a standard display and a screen for gamers. This is where we come in, we have put together a feature checklist below but also have a post dedicated to showing our readers what to look for on a monitor.
- The most important spec required is the response time. Gaming is fast paced where ever millisecond counts so you are on the hunt for a monitor with a low response time. Anything below 6ms is considered good, with most competitive gamers looking at <2ms when looking for their a screen.
- 60Hz, 120hz or 144Hz? This is a complicated question, but there is a short answer that I tend to use myself. If your PC is consistently producing less than 60 FPS (Frame Per Second) then 60Hz is best for you. And if you are consistently getting more than 60 FPS then maybe 120Hz will be the answer for you. If you have a top of the range PC then you might be looking for the best of the best, so you should be able to start looking at a 144Hz screen. I would always urge you to go with the highest Hz you can afford, purely because it provides you with room to grow your PC!
- G-Sync – this has been a godsend for gamers everywhere. G-Sync pretty much stops your screen from showing tearing when V-Sync is disabled meaning you get fast inputs and no tearing of the screen. V-Sync can reduce tearing but it will also increase lag time meaning twitch responses needed for fast paced games can be affected.
- Another rule is down to resolution if you have a 24-inch screen then go with a 1080p screen. Whereas if you want a 27-inch screen then you should be looking at 1440p at least. You also have the option to for a 4K screen, although make sure your PC will handle it!
- Do you use dual or multiple screens? If so then you really will need to invest in a thin bezel display. This is basically the small black margin that is on the left, right and top of a screen. Making sure these are either non-existent or at least thin will give your setup a flawless look. Something to note: If you are measuring the exact bezel width make sure you double the width because when you have two screens next to each other both will have a side bezel – this is something I have seen a lot of gamers trip over.
If you are looking for a portable USB powered display then be sure to check out our dedicated Portable Monitor buying guide.
Updated 10th April 2017