The refresh rate is how often the panel refreshes with new information. While standard displays are often 60Hz, gaming displays often come in 144Hz and 240Hz versions. Higher refresh rates offer a straightforward advantage when playing games, because information is being updated to your display more often.
You can select from a variety of resolutions, including 1080p FHD, 1440p, and 4k resolution screens. Keep in mind though, higher resolution monitors require more processing power to run. If you don’t have a top of the line system, you may struggle to run higher resolution screens at a decent frame rate.
Another important consideration in gaming is the color space on your monitor. The most common gamut is sRGB. Most gaming monitors feature decently accurate color gamuts, though color accuracy is not really the priority of a gaming monitor.
The final element to consider when looking for a new gaming monitor is form factor. The traditional route is typically a 16×9 flat panel monitor. But lately, ultrawide and curved monitors have become more popular. Ultrawide monitors offer a huge amount of horizontal workspace, while curved monitors fill up your peripheral vision.
You can pick up a decent gaming monitor for around $400 if you are willing to sacrifice some features. Alternatively, you can spend as much as $2,000 for a higher end model. The higher priced monitors provide a number of hardware advantages, but many professional players still use lower end monitors which feature high refresh rates.
1. BenQ PD3200U DesignVue Designer
Best gaming monitor for designers
As the name implies, this 4k monitor is built specifically with digital art and design work in mind. The large 32 inch, 3840×2160 resolution panel is perfect for detail oriented work, while the wide color gamut ensures the highest grade reproduction of color. This monitor includes a number of affordances which are designed to maximize its ability to accurately reproduce colors. It features a reference-grade 10-bit color panel, with a 100% Rec. 709 and 100% sRGB color space. This means that you can create and design content on this monitor with the assurance that the color accuracy of your work will be very high. As if their stellar color reproduction wasn’t enough, BenQ also included three design specific modes to assist designers, all of which can be selected with a single push of a button.
This monitor includes a built-in keyboard, video, and mouse switch. This feature allows you to display and control two different computers using the same monitor. The ability to switch between two computers on the fly won’t help most users, but it’s still a cool feature for anyone using a dual PC setup.
The biggest downside to this monitor from a gaming perspective is that it only features a 60Hz refresh rate. This is a low standard when compared to some of the other gaming monitors which feature 144Hz or even as high as 240Hz. However, this is a good monitor for anyone who will spend most of their time illustrating, designing, or editing but still wants to game on the side.
Resolution: 3840×2160 | Size: 32 Inches | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Color Gamut: 100% Rec.709 and sRGB | Screen Form Factor: Straight | Response time: 5 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $699.99 USD
Best large gaming monitor
The UltraGear 38GN950 is an ultrawide, curved monitor which measures an impressive 38 inches across. This huge piece of hardware features LG’s proprietary Nano IPS display, which has a very fast 1 MS response rate and a 144Hz refresh rate and can reach 160HZ when overclocked. This fully featured gaming display is the largest top tier monitor on this list which is perfect for anyone who has a computer that can run it.
The 1 MS response time rivals TN display speeds, while keeping all the color fidelity benefits of an IPS panel. In addition to its top tier display specs, this monitor also includes compatibility for both NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technology, both of which are designed to minimize screen tearing and maximize overall output quality.
As an added customization bonus, the UltraGear 38GN950 features a light on the back which can be synced to either sound or video effects for maximum immersion. These lighting effects can be accessed using LG’s included Sphere Lighting 2.0 software. For those who enjoy customizing their LED light set ups, this is a nice feature.
Overall, this monitor has everything that a hardcore gamer is looking for in a display. With a very fast response time, high resolution, and huge size, the LG UltraGear 38GN950 is one of the most fully featured gaming monitors on the market. Just be forewarned, this monitor takes a pretty decent system to run well, due to its size.
Resolution: 3840×1600 | Size: 38 Inches | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz (Overclock 160Hz) | Color Gamut: DCI-P3 98% | Screen Form Factor: Curved | Gsync and FreeSync Compatible | Response time: 1 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $799.99 USD
Best gaming monitor for in game performance
The ASUS Rog Swift PG27UQ is a state-of-the-art monitor which includes some of the best quality features currently available in a gaming monitor. It comes in at a very steep $2,000 price tag, but it is definitely worth it. This 4k monitor measures 27 inches across and features a 144 Hz refresh rate. Having both a 4k panel and a 144Hz refresh rate is a rare combination. Both your GPU and CPU are going to need to be top notch if you want to use this monitor to its full potential, so keep that in mind.
Another unique feature on this display is the ambient light sensor, which detects the light conditions around you and adjusts the brightness of your display accordingly. It’s not a revolutionary feature, but is a nice added option which can help save your eyes some strain as lighting conditions adjust throughout the day.
The display includes built-in ambient lighting which can be synchronized with Aura Sync enabled components and peripherals. The back of the display also has a light signature projection which can be customized to display a number of different symbols. Although these customization features are not necessary, they are a nice added bonus to an already top tier product.
Resolution: 3840×2160 | Size: 27 Inches | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Color Gamut: DCI-P3 | Screen form Factor: Flat | Type of display: IPS | G-Sync compatible | Response time: 4 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $1,999.99 USD
Best curved gaming monitor
The Predator X34 is Acer’s 2021 flagship gaming monitor. It features a curve, but it is such a subtle curve angle that it doesn’t cause enough image distortion to be an issue. This isn’t the cheapest monitor on the list, but with such excellent specs it more than justifies its price.
The Acer Predator X34 features an Ultrawide 3440 x 1440 resolution and a 1900R curve designed to extend past your peripheral sight for maximum immersion into your games. The refresh rate of the 34 inch display officially comes in at only 100Hz, but it is capable of a 180Hz if you overclock it.
This display comes with the FX Predator GameView software which provides useful adjustment options like a dark boost and lets you switch between the included action, racing, and sports gaming profiles. Finally, the back of the display comes with a complimentary, built-in set of 7-watt speakers built in, which is a fun addition.
Resolution: 3440x 1440 | Size: 34 x 14 Inches | Refresh Rate: 100 Hz (180 Hz Overclock) | Color Gamut: DCI-P3 98% | Screen form Factor: curve | Type of display: IPS | G-Sync compatible | Response time: 5 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $1,099.99 USD
Best gaming monitor for productivity
The Dell UltraSharp U2719D is a 27 inch 1440p display which is perfect for productivity and office-based tasks. While this monitor will certainly work for gaming too, it only features a 60Hz refresh rate, so there are better monitors if you are looking to maximize your gaming skill. The Dell Ultrasharp has a clean and professional look to it, with fewer bells and whistles than many of the dedicated gaming monitors.
This monitor comes with decent quality color gamuts of 99% sRGB, 99% rec709, and 85% DCI-P3, so it can serve as an excellent budget option for video editing and other content creation tasks. It obviously won’t be as good at these tasks as one of the design-focused monitor options on this list, but it is up to the challenge if needed.
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Size: 27 Inches | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Color Gamut: 99% Rec709 and 85% DCI-P3 | Screen form Factor: Flat | Type of display: IPS | G-Sync compatible | Response time: 5 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $479.99 USD
6. BenQ EX3203R
Best budget curved monitor
The BenQ Ex3203R is the best curved gaming monitor you can get for less than $500. This 1440p display features a large 32 screen with an 1800R panoramic curvature designed to fill your peripheral vision. It also has a high 144Hz refresh rate designed to deliver a fully engaging and smooth experience while playing games, though it’s 5 MS response time leaves something to be desired.
Unlike the other product from BenQ on this list, you probably won’t be doing too much design work on this one. It only features a 90% DCI-P3 color gamut, which means it is less capable of accurately producing colors than the DesignVue Designer. It does still feature a Vesa HDR Display 400 certification and comes with BenQ’s image-balancing technology, so the content on the screen will look crisp and vibrant.
This isn’t an incredibly special monitor, but it is fully featured. It comes with a high quality panel, provides a curved form factor, and has a fantastic refresh rate, all for less than $500. This is easily one of the best value curved monitors around.
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Size: 32 Inches | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Color Gamut: 90% DCI-P3 with HDR | Screen form Factor: Curved | Type of display: IPS | FreeSync compatible | Response time: 5 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $449.99 USD
Best value gaming monitor
The Samsung Odyssey G7 is one of the best value monitors on this list, offering some of the best features on the market for well under $1,000 USD. It features a 32 inch screen with a solid 1440p QHD display. Although the resolution is a little low compared to some of the UHD options, what sets this display apart from the rest is its lightning fast 240Hz refresh rate. The Odyssey G7 supports both G-Sync and FreeSync, so it should work well regardless of what type of graphics card you are using.
This monitor features the sharpest curve of any on this list, at 1000R curvature. As a result, this display achieves the highest level of in-game immersion by completely filling your peripheral vision. Unfortunately, this also means that there will be some inevitable image distortion, so this is probably not the monitor to do much design or precision work on.
The back of this monitor features an “infinity core” light which adds a little extra flair to the visual design of this highly curved display.
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Size: 32 Inches | Refresh Rate: 240 Hz | Color Gamut: Samsung QLED (97% sRGB) | Screen form Factor: Curved | Type of display: VA | FreeSync compatible | Response time: 1 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $799.99 USD
Best budget ultrawide gaming monitor
The ACER NITRO XV340CK is a fully featured ultrawide gaming monitor that comes in at less than $600. With such solid features and a reasonable price tag, this is one of the best budget gaming monitors in the world. The Nitro features a very large display which measures 34 inches across with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. On top of featuring this wide panel, the refresh rate for this monitor is 144Hz and the response time is 1 MS, making it a highly responsive monitor for gaming.
The color reproduction on this display is decent as well. It features an IPS display with a color gamut of sRGB 99%. So this monitor will also work pretty well for photo editing, design work, or video editing in a pinch. The Nitro is FreeSync compatible, but not G-Sync compatible, so it will work slightly better on an AMD card. Although this monitor doesn’t include too many extra features beyond its solid specs, it performs very well considering its price point.
Resolution: 3440 x 1440 | Size: 34 Inches | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Color Gamut: sRGB 99% | Screen form Factor: Straight | Type of display: IPS | FreeSync compatible | Response time: 1 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $599.99 USD
Best budget display for designers
The ASUS ProArt Display is less of a gaming monitor than it is a design monitor that is capable of gaming. This 27-inch 1440p monitor features an IPS panel with a 75Hz refresh rate.
The biggest advantage of this monitor is its 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color gamuts. This means that this monitor is capable of reproducing most visible colors with near perfect level of accuracy. It also comes with the ASUS-exclusive ProArt preset and ProArt Palette which provide a number of different color parameters which you can adjust on the monitor.
You can also use the ASUS quick fit Virtual Scale that allows you to align documents and designs to their actual sizes on your screen. This is a unique and useful feature for visualizing your content before sending it to be printed or sending it to a client.
If you are a designer looking for a solid, color accurate gaming display, you won’t find a better option than this for under $300.
Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Size: 27 Inches | Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Color Gamut: 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 | Screen form Factor: Straight | Type of display: IPS | FreeSync compatible | Response time: 5 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $299.99 USD
Best budget gaming monitor
The ViewSonic Elite XG270 is the only FHD 1080p panel on this list, but it makes up for its lower resolution with a very affordable price tag, a lightning fast response time, and a very fast refresh rate.
Measuring in at 27 inches, this monitor features an IPS display which refreshes at 240Hz and has a rapid 1 MS response time. Since the display is only 1080p, even some moderate systems can take advantage of this monitor’s rapid response and refresh rate. This monitor is G-Sync compatible, but it is not FreeSync compatible, so this will work better on an NVIDIA machine.
There are several affordances built into the physical frame of the Elite XG270 too. It comes with optional sight shields which you can attach to the two sides of your screen to help keep you focused on the game and block any reflections from the sides of your display. There are also some small features like a built-in mouse anchor, and RGB light strip on the back and a hook to hold your headphones.
This is a well featured gaming monitor, considering its price. It has many of the most sought after features for modern gaming monitors, with the exception of a higher resolution. If you are looking for a 240 Hz monitor for less than $400, this is your best option by far.
Resolution: 1080×1920 | Size: 27 Inches | Refresh Rate: 240 Hz | Color Gamut: 99% sRGB | Screen form Factor: Straight | Type of display: IPS | G-Sync compatible | Response time: 1 MS | Blue Light filter: Yes
Price: $399.99 USD
Frequently asked questions
Is there a difference between a gaming monitor and a regular TV monitor?
The major difference between TV monitors and gaming monitors is their refresh rates and response times. Televisions often feature low refresh rates, slow response times, and high levels of input lag. Your screen ends up a little bit behind what you are trying to do with your controller, resulting in less precision and a worse gaming experience. Gaming monitors feature high refresh rates and response times, as well as very low levels of input lag, for a more responsive gaming experience.
What size/hz is best for a gaming monitor?
Anything around 27 inches is optimal for gaming performance. You can get larger screens but anything above 27 inches is going to require a more powerful PC to ensure you maintain a certain frame rate. As refresh rates go, the more hz the better. A higher refresh rate monitor is always going to be better in gaming, an activity that relies on your responding as quickly as possible. If you are buying a monitor for gaming specifically, you should look for a panel that is at least 144Hz. If you have to choose between resolution and frame rate, frame rate is more important when it comes to competitive gaming.
What gaming monitors do pros use?
Pros use monitors from many of the companies featured on this list. However, many professionals opt to use slightly lower specc’d monitors, often with a smaller 24-inch screen. They choose these, in most cases, because they prefer to maximize their frame rate and game performance over increasing the size or resolution of their experience.
However, this doesn’t mean the average gamer should buy a lower specc’d monitor. The advantage gained by running lower resolution and smaller sized monitors to maximize game stability will only be realized at the very highest levels of professional play. If you do choose a worse monitor you will be missing out on many of the most desirable features that come on modern gaming displays.
What is the difference between IPS, VA, and TN panels?
There are three major types of panels in use for gaming monitors: IPS, VA, and TN. All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.
IPS stands for In-Plane Switching panels. This type of panel is generally slower than a TN panel, but it is better at portraying colors accurately. They are also the more expensive type of panel.
TN stands for Twisted Nematic panels. This type of panel is capable of higher refresh rates and faster response times, but TN panels feature more color distortion when viewed from an angle, making them worse for any design or color intensive task. They are also the most affordable type of panel.
VA stands for vertical alignment panels, which exist somewhere between TN and IPS. They have a faster response time on average than IPS, but a slower response time than TN. They also have a tighter view angle than IPS, but a broader view angle than TN. VA panels biggest advantage is that they are capable of very high refresh rates.