The best gaming monitors for 2021
Buying one of the best gaming monitors is an investment in your gaming future. Seriously, a great gaming monitor is likely to outlast many iterations of your gaming setup. With that in mind, spurgling out on the best gaming monitor is worth it; it’s going to be on your desk for a while, and you’re going to be staring at it a whole lot.
The best gaming monitor needs to complement your graphics card of choice as well. After all, that fancy new graphics card can’t hit its true potential if you have a mediocre monitor acting as a bottleneck—plan for tomorrow. Don’t bother with a 1080p screen if you’re hoping to upgrade to one of the best graphics cards that can handle 1440p and beyond.
4K gaming is becoming a more and more reachable reality. The Nvidia RTX 3080 and the recently launched AMD’s RX 6000-series giving folks pretty high frame rate counts at this much sought-after resolution. Though going this route can be expensive, and actually finding stock still isn’t easy. We still consider 1440p at 144Hz a reasonable target for PC gaming anyway; these offer great performance at a reasonable price. If you really want to future-proof yourself set up, we’re seeing awesome 4K 144Hz just hitting the market.
There are other things to consider too. Do you want to go for an ultrawide aspect ratio to give that real wrap-around aesthetic? Are you a competitive gamer who values speed over anything else?
We would also always recommend an IPS panel over TN too. The clarity of image, viewing angle, and color reproduction are all far superior to the cheaper technology, but you’ll often find a faster TN for cheaper. The other alternative, less expensive than IPS and better than TN, is VA tech. The colors aren’t quite so hot, but the contrast performance is impressive.
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1. LG 27GN950-B
The fastest, most responsive 4K gaming monitor.
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: Nano IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840×2160 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 144 Hz | Weight: 16.9 lbs
Bright vivid colors
Excellent Response time for a 4K monitor
4K gaming is a premium endeavor. You need a colossal amount of rendering power to hit decent frame rates at such a high resolution. But if you’re rocking a top-shelf graphics card, like the new RTX 3080, then this dream can be a reality at last.
The LG UltraGear is the first 4K Nano IPS 1ms gaming monitor that’ll properly show off your next-gen GPU. This 4K 27-inch HDR monitor has a 144 Hz refresh rate, and 1 is response time, which is kind of wild for a 4K monitor. What is most impressive about this LG is the Nano IPS tech that offers a wider color gamut and stellar viewing angles.
The LG UltraGear 27GN950-B bags you a terrific panel with exquisite IPS image quality and, despite the lesser HDR capabilities, beautiful colors and contrast in your games too. G-Sync offers stable pictures and smoothness in games, and the speedy refresh rate and response times back this up too.
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The best FreeSync gaming monitor.
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 144 Hz | Weight: 20.9 lbs
Fantastic Picture Quality
Excellent gaming performance
Lots of useful utilities
The G27Q proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune for a decent IPS 1440p display. At $330, Gigabyte’s 27-inches packs in many features but, more importantly, provides rich color and smooth gameplay. The 144 Hz refresh rate doesn’t hurt, either. The G27Q excels with a sharp and vibrant picture. The additional features are genuinely useful, and you get a lot of monitor for your cash.
On paper, the Gigabyte G27Q is rather a plain Jane. It’s a flat, 27-inch display with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a design that wouldn’t stand out in an office environment. But it’s actually one of the best gaming monitors I’ve had the pleasure of using. Not only does it have a gorgeous, vibrant panel, but it’s also HDR capable and packs plenty of useful features designed to enhance your gaming pleasure.
Read the full Gigabyte G27Q review.
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3. Pixio PX277 Prime
The best budget 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor.
Screen size: 27-inch | Panel type: VA | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560×1440 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 165 Hz | Weight: 16.3 lbs
165 Hz refresh rate
The Pixio PX277 Prime is about as barebones as it comes in regards to gaming monitors. This 27-inch 1440p panel provides frames at a stable 165 Hz and is also FreeSync certified for a tear-free gaming experience with compatible graphics cards. The screen itself is advertised as anti-glare and holds up in most brightly lit environments, and the thin bezel is always a plus in our book.
The biggest selling point of the PX277 Prime, though, is its low price point. A great entry-level option for those looking for a larger screen with a high refresh rate and don’t want to be left totally broke.
While the build quality isn’t as robust as a higher-spec screen, the Pixio panel is perfect for the budget gamer who doesn’t mind missing out on some of the bells and whistles of higher-end monitor but is keen for top performance.
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The best widescreen curved gaming monitor.
Screen size: 37.5-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 24:9 | Resolution: 3840×1600 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 144 Hz (175 Hz overclocked) | Weight: 21 lbs
Quality, responsive IPS panel
175 Hz Refresh rates
If your mantra for displays is ‘go big or go home,’ Acer hears you, and its Predator X38 is a massive 38-inch curved screen that looks stunning. It features a not-quite-4K QHD ultrawide panel with a 3840×1600 resolution. With an aspect ratio of 24:9, the IPS panel looks great, and the size means you have a lot of screen real estate for gaming.
The display also features G-Sync technology with up to 175 Hz variable refresh rates. That’s a huge boost over lower refresh rate curved gaming monitors. It’s a big, bold, and beautiful-looking display, and the zero-frame bezel-less approach is another welcome addition. If you’re looking for something to turn heads, this is one of the best widescreen gaming monitors. And boy, is it broad.
It’s taller than the 27-inch 16:9 displays we’ve already mentioned and nearly half again as wide, but the higher resolution means the dot pitch is slightly lower than, the lesser panels. And for games that properly support ultrawide resolutions, the surround effect of the XR382CQK is incredibly immersive—sitting at your desk, the 38-inch panel will fill your field of view.
Read the full Acer Predator X38 review.
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Best portable monitor for gaming.
Screen size: 17.3-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 3 ms | Refresh rate: 240 Hz | Weight: 2.3 lbs
Easy to use
Lightweight and thin
Speedy 240 Hz display
Portable monitors have always existed as a novelty. Whenever you see one out in the wild, it’s usually attached to someone’s boring work laptop tasked with displaying mind-numbing spreadsheets. Portable monitors give you a second screen during travel without the fuss. The ROG Strix XG17AHPE takes that same portability but also adds the performance of a premium gaming monitor.
This thin and lightweight 17-inch IPS display has a 240 Hz refresh rate, along with a 3ms response time, making it the perfect gaming monitor for a LAN party. Shooters like CS: GO, and Apex Legends benefit from the buttery smooth refresh rate. The built-in 7800mAh battery will give you a couple of hours of gameplay. The XG17 is the ideal companion screen for work and play… assuming you’ve got $500 lying around.
Read the full ROG STRIX XG17AHPE Portable Monitor review.
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6. Alienware 25 AW2521HF
The best 240Hz gaming monitor.
Screen size: 25-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 240 Hz | Weight: 7.8 lbs
Great viewing angles
Extremely fast response times
It may have once been a niche, but 240Hz gaming has quickly become more widespread, and Alienware has set itself ahead of the pack with the gorgeous AW2521HF gaming monitor. While not the cheapest on the market, it has the style and performance to make you want it on your desk.
Gamers will dig the Alienware 25’s lightning-fast response time in games like Valorent and Destiny with little to no ghosting or artifacts. This 1080p IPS panel is bright and vivid too.
If you work or game in a bright room, the Alienware 25 handles even the most obnoxious glares. More importantly, the AW252HF has some impressive viewing angles regardless if you have it set in the middle of your desk for gaming or off to the side as a second monitor in portrait mode while you work. Our only real complaints are the lack of HDR support, along with having not the best contrast.
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7. ROG Swift PG259QN
The best 360Hz gaming to date.
Screen size: 24-inch | Panel type: IPS | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 1920×1080 | Response time: 1 ms | Refresh rate: 240 Hz | Weight: 7.8 lbs | Variable refresh rate: G-Sync, FreeSync compatible
360Hz refresh rate
Excellent response time
If you’re a fan of flat-out overkill, the ROG Swift PG259QN will check those boxes. This ludicrously fast 360Hz display even lets you analyze your gaming ecosystem to figure out which one of your devices affects your latency, thanks to Nvidia Reflex (if you’re using an RTX card). Seeing if your hardware or accessories gives you terrible input lag is good information and will keep you from making frivolous upgrades.
This monitor is a competitive gamer’s dream. Anyone looking for a competitive edge and values speed over anything else will be overjoyed with this Swift gaming monitor. If you already own a 240Hz monitor, you’re probably ok with what you have, but once you see this monitor in action, that’s a different story. Just make sure you’ve got a beefy enough GPU that’s capable of spitting out a high number of frames.
Jargon buster – gaming monitor terminology
Refresh Rate (Hz)
The speed at which the screen refreshes. For example, 144Hz means the display refreshes 144 times a second. The higher the number, the smoother the screen will appear.
Graphics tech that synchronizes a game’s framerate with your monitor’s refresh rate in order to help prevent screen tearing by syncing your GPU frame rate to the display’s maximum refresh rate. Turn V-Sync on in your games for a smoother experience, but you’ll lose information, so turn it off for fast-paced shooters (and live with the tearing). Useful if you have an older model display that can’t keep up with a new GPU.
Nvidia’s hardware exclusive frame synching tech that works with Nvidia GPUs. It basically allows the monitor to sync up with the GPU. It does by showing a new frame as soon as the GPU has one ready.
AMD’s take on frame synching uses a similar technique as G-Sync with the biggest difference being that it uses DisplayPort’s Adaptive-Sync technology which doesn’t cost monitor manufacturers anything.
When movement on your display leaves behind a trail of pixels when watching a movie or playing a game. This is often a result of a monitor having slow response times.
The amount of time it takes a pixel to transition to a new color and back. Often referenced as G2G or Grey-to-Grey. Slow response times can lead to ghosting. A suitable range for a gaming monitor is between 1-4 milliseconds.
Twisted-nematic is the most common (and cheapest) gaming panel. TN panels tend to have poorer viewing angles and color reproduction but have higher refresh rates and response times.
In plane switching panels offer the best contrast and color despite having weaker blacks. IPS panels tend to be more expensive and have higher response times.
Vertical Alignment panels provide good viewing angles and have better contrast than even IPS, but are still slower than TN panels. They are often a compromise between a TN and IPS panel.
High Dynamic Range. HDR provides a wider color range than normal SDR panels and offers increased brightness. The end result is more vivid colors, deeper blacks, and a brighter picture.
This refers to the maximum brightness (measured in nits) of a monitor or television.
Shorthand for monitors with aspect wider aspect ratios like 32:9 or 21:9
The number pixels that make up a monitor’s display measured by height and width. For example: 1920 x 1080p, 2560 x 1440p (2K), and 3840 x 2160p (4K).