Whether you're rocking the top cheap gaming laptop or even the best gaming laptop, nothing beats using one of the best gaming monitors around, like the Dell 24 S2417DG, as your main display. Gaming monitors come in all shapes and sizes, and they're really useful for providing more display real estate for games and freeing up your laptop screen for guides or Twitch chats.
There are a few things you should know, however, before buying a gaming monitor. You'll have to choose between 4K, which gives you sharper images but lower refresh rates, and 1080p, which favors responsiveness over resolution. Everything in between lands on the middle of the spectrum. There's also High Dynamic Range (HDR), which nets you better color and brightness but at a higher cost.
You'll have to choose a panel type, as well, which comes down to a choice between TN (twisted nematic) and IPS (in-plane switching). The former is cheaper and offers better response times, while the latter features better colors and contrast at the cost of response times and a hit to your wallet. Also, check if the monitor supports Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, which is designed to sync up to your GPU for smoother frame rates (go with whichever branded GPU you have). But are 144Hz gaming monitors worth it? I bought one to find out.
If you don't feel like shelving out the money for a discrete gaming monitor, check out the best 4K laptops to get an all-in-one package.
Here are the best gaming monitors
- Razer Raptor 27
- Dell 24 S2417DG
- Alienware AW5520QF
- LG 24MP59G-P
- Samsung CHG70
- Asus ROG Swift PG27A
- Acer Predator X34
- ViewSonic XG2401
1. Razer Raptor 27
The best overall gaming monitor you can buy
Display: 27-inch (2560 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
The Razer Raptor 27 sports a 27-inch, 2560 x 1400 panel that covers 162.1% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 295 nits of brightness, which was vibrant and vivid in person. In terms of performance, it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a 1-millisecond response time.
The IPS panel supports HDR400, and it comes with a few display presets, such as FPS Game, Racing Game, MMO Game, streaming and default. Razer packs bright green flat cables with the monitor, and those line up with grooves in the back that help with wire management. Top that off with its sleek profile, subtle RGB lighting and easy installation, the Raptor 27 is easily the best overall gaming monitor you can buy.
See our full Razer Raptor 27 review.
The best 24-inch gaming monitor
Display: 24-inch (2560 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 165 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
The Dell 24 S2417DG is one of the best 1440p gaming monitors you can get for the price. Its 24-inch, Nvidia G-Sync panel covers 123 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and emits a solid 284 nits of brightness. It's also supereasy to pivot the display, and even turn it into portrait mode.
The monitor offers several useful presets, like FPS, RTS and RPG mode, which all change the color and brightness of the display. Now, pack all those neat features in package with an affordable $429 price, and you've got yourself a badass gaming monitor.
See our full Dell 24 S2417DG review.
3. Alienware AW5520QF
Best OLED gaming monitor
Display: 55-inch (3840 x 2160) | Max Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: OLED | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (3), SPDIF Out, USB (4), Headphone Jack
Once you're at 55 inches and boasting an OLED panel, can we really still call the Alienware AW5520QF a monitor? Regardless, whether you're looking for a TV or a monitor, the Alienware AW5520QF is the perfect machine to play your games on, especially if you have the money to spend, specifically a whopping $4,999.
Along with the gorgeous 4K OLED screen, you get a screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync. The Alienware AW5520QF also has a decent set of speakers on it, so you'll be able to hear separate sounds and place them around you.
Best cheap gaming monitor
Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080) | Max Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Response Time: 5ms GTG/1ms MBR | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
As we sifted through the field of cheap gaming monitors, the LG 24MP59G-P stood out primarily because of its solid all-around features for the price ($150). Its 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 display covers 93 percent of the sRGB color gamut and hits a respectable 246 nits of brightness. This monitor also has one of the best lag times we saw in this price range. Additionally, it has a pretty wicked design and it's even compatible with AMD FreeSync.
Best HDR gaming monitor
Display: 32-inch (2560 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: VA | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (2)
Samsung's CHG70 curved gaming monitor blew us away with the full force of a rainbow. The 32-inch, 1440p, FreeSync display covers a wild 154 percent of the sRGB spectrum.
In SDR mode, the monitor averaged up to 365 nits of brightness in our testing, and in HDR mode, the specs say that the monitor can go up to 600 nits. To top it all off, the display sits on a super-ergonomic stand that can accommodate any setup you throw at it.
See our full Samsung CHG70 review.
Best 4K gaming monitor
Display: 27-inch (3840 x 2160) | Max Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB (2)
The Asus ROG Swift PG27A is among the most beastly sub-$1,000 monitors, as it offers a 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync, a pair of solid speakers and an intuitive interface.
This 27-inch champion covers a rich 130 percent of the sRGB color gamut. And while it stumbled slightly with its 234 nits of brightness, it offers a speedy 4-ms response time for a 4K monitor. It also neatly flips into portrait mode, as if it were meant to be viewed that way all along.
See our full Asus ROG Swift PG27A review.
Best curved gaming monitor
Display: 34-inch (3440 x 1440) | Max Refresh Rate: 100 Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Adaptive Sync: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
As long as you're willing to drop the cash ($849), the Acer Predator X34 is hands down the best curved gaming monitor you can get. At 34 inches with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, it's incredibly immersive, covering 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut and a strong 261 nits of brightness.
You'll even get the full dive with the Predator's crisp 7-watt speakers and its Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. This monitor just looks pretty badass, too, as if an alien artifact crash-landed on your desk.
See our full Acer Predator X34 review.
Best Freesync gaming monitor
Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080) | Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | Adaptive Sync: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (3)
For just $200, the ViewSonic XG2401 is a sharp, 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel with a speedy 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync compatibility for tear-free gaming.
The ViewSonic averages 355 nits of brightness, while the color landed at 91 percent, which could be better. But for a monitor this inexpensive, the built-in speakers packed a punch when we cranked the volume up all the way, and this monitor even offers a neat headphone stand.
See our full ViewSonic XG2401 review.