With one of the best gaming monitors in your setup, your games can be more immersive than ever before. It’s easy to take monitors for granted — after all, as long as they display a decent picture, it’s easy to shrug your shoulders and say, “good enough.” But any monitor can display images; a great monitor can deliver crisp resolutions, fast frame rates and vivid colors. It’s the difference between seeing a game happening onscreen, and feeling like you’re part of the action.
Tom’s Guide has compiled a list of the best gaming monitors for every setup, whether you’re looking a neophyte gamer looking for something inexpensive, or a demanding 4K aficionado with some money to burn. Bear in mind that these monitors aren’t just good for gaming; they can also make your TV shows and movies feel much more immediate, and even your everyday productivity work much sharper.
From flat to curved, from 1080p to 4K, from budget-priced to premium, here are the best gaming monitors you can buy. Read on to learn how you can improve your gameplay with better resolutions, faster framerates, more lifelike colors and a better visual experience overall.
What are the best gaming monitors?
Like a lot of other gadgets, the best gaming monitor you can buy is the one that’s right for your individual needs. For most people and situations, we recommend the Dell 24 gaming monitor: a 24-inch quad-HD display, which can handle resolutions up to 2560 x 1440 pixels. Granted, you won’t be able to see your games and media in stunning 4K, but truthfully, many computers aren’t equipped for that kind of visual output, anyway. The Dell 24 gaming monitor is reasonably priced, easy to position and simple to use. It should hit the sweet spot in most cases.
If you do have a computer that can handle 4K output, you’ll want to buy the Asus ROG Swift PG27A. This 27-inch monitor displays games, movies and TV shows in glorious UHD resolutions, with frame rates up to 60 fps. It offers Nvidia G-Sync technology, so what’s happening on screen should always be in smooth, continuous contact with what your GPU renders (provided you have an Nvidia graphics card, of course). This monitor isn’t cheap, but chances are, your PC wasn’t, either; this is one way to get the most out of your purchase.
Finally, if you have a living room gaming setup, you’ll want to consider the Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED Gaming Monitor. This huge monitor is the size of a standard TV, but with the refresh rate and depth of color that you’d expect from a full-fledged gaming peripheral. If you’ve constructed a powerful machine that you want to take the center stage in your entertainment center, the Alienware AW5520QF is one of the best possible peripherals to highlight your creation.
The best gaming monitors you can buy today
1. Dell 24 Gaming Monitor
The best gaming monitor overall
Screen Size and Resolution: 24 inches, 2560 x 1440 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 165 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
Vibrant quad-HD display
Useful game presets
Stiff navigation buttons
If you want something better than 1080p but can’t afford to go full 4K, the Dell S2417DG is the best gaming monitor that hits that sweet spot. This sharp 2560 x 1440 display offers excellent color and brightness, and features useful game modes as well as Nvidia G-Sync support for keeping your games extra smooth. Dell’s monitor looks unassuming enough for the office, but also offers tons of ergonomic adjustment to help you game comfortably.
The Dell S2417DG features a 24-inch screen, a 165 Hz refresh rate and support for both HDMI and DisplayPort connections. In our tests, we were extremely impressed with how good the monitor made games and other multimedia look. We were also pleased with its presets, which let you tweak your visual experience without having to dive too deeply into the menus. The physical buttons on the monitor are a bit stiff, but aside from that, the system has almost no drawbacks, especially for the price.
Read our full Dell S2417DG review
2. LG 24MP59G-P
Screen Size and Resolution: 24 inches, 1920 x 1080 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Response Time: 5ms GTG, 1ms MBR | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
Fast response times
So-so color quality
The best gaming monitor value, the LG 24MP59G-P offers excellent brightness and response times for the price, and is the rare IPS panel you can get for under $200. It also packs AMD FreeSync for eliminating screen tears on AMD-powered machines. Color quality is pretty good, with decent color gamut (93.3 percent) but solid accuracy (Delta-E 0.74). The construction is stylish and sturdy, and a small four-direction joystick set into the bottom edge of the display cabinet lets you navigate menus quickly and also doubles as a power button.
Beyond that, the monitor screen measures 24 inches, and features a refresh rate of 75 Hz. You can connect it to your computer with either a DisplayPort or HDMI cable. There’s no denying that the LG 24MP59G-P isn’t the fanciest or most elaborate monitor you can buy, but for the price, it more than gets the job done.
Read our full LG 24MP59G-P review in our best cheap gaming monitors roundup.
3. Samsung CHG70
An immersive curved gaming monitor with 144Hz refresh rate
Screen Size and Resolution: 32 inches, 2560 x 1440 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time: 1ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: VA | Inputs: HDMI (2), DisplayPort, USB
Sharp 1440p resolution
Fantastic HDR support
Impressive color and accuracy
Noticeable warping and color shifting
No built-in speakers
The best curved gaming monitor we’ve tested, the Samsung CHG70 packs a ton of great gaming features into a gorgeous and reasonably priced package. You get a stunning 32-inch curved 1440p display, FreeSync support for extra smoothness on AMD graphics cards, and a highly ergonomic stand that can easily adjust to any gaming setup. But the real kicker is the CHG70’s excellent HDR performance, which really allows colors to pop in high-fidelity games.
You can play games with very high frame rates, as the CHG70 offers a refresh rate of 144 Hz. With plenty of inputs, you could theoretically connect it to a PC and two consoles simultaneously, which is great news for streamers. It’s also useful for those who keep all of their gaming gear together in a small nook rather than spread throughout a living room.
Read our full Samsung CHG70 review.
4. Asus ROG Swift PG27A
The king of 4K gaming monitors
Screen Size and Resolution: 27 inches, 3840 x 2160 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Response Time: 4ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 (x2)
Gorgeous 4K picture quality
Solid built-in speakers
If you’re willing to pay a premium price, the Asus ROG Swift PG27A is one of the best gaming monitors available, complete with 4K resolution and G-Sync support. Its crisp and colorful 3820 x 2160 display will bring out every tiny detail in your favorite games, while its Nvidia G-Sync support keeps everything running smoothly on Nvidia GPUs. The monitor’s ergonomic design makes it easy to adjust it to your gaming setup, while its intuitive onscreen interface and handful of bonus features round out this high-end package nicely.
The ROG Swift PG27A measures 27 inches across, and features a refresh rate of 60 Hz. If you have a sufficiently powerful computer, that means you’ll be able to run games at 4K resolution with frame rates of 60 frames per second. You can connect your systems via HDMI or DisplayPort, and there are even some USB ports, in case you need some extra ways to charge gear throughout your day.
Read our full Asus ROG Swift PG27A review.
5. Acer Predator X34
A stunning curved gaming monitor with great sound
Screen Size and Resolution: 34 inches, 3440 x 1440 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 100 Hz | Response Time: 4 milliseconds | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
Gorgeous picture quality
Strong G-Sync performance
Navigating menus can be a pain
If you’re looking to treat yourself, Acer’s Predator X34 curved gaming monitor is one of the richest, most immersive displays we’ve ever played on. The Predator’s 34-inch, 3440 x 1440-pixel display will fill your field of view with whatever virtual world you choose to get lost in, while its Nvidia G-Sync support ensures that your favorite games will run as smooth as possible. The Predator also just looks cool, with a sharp, angular design and customizable LED lights that will glow nicely over your mouse and keyboard.
With a 100 Hz refresh rate and ports for both HDMI and DisplayPort connections, the Predator X34 is a versatile monitor. The colors and sharpness speak for themselves, especially since you’ll be able to play your games at quad-HD resolutions with frame rates that exceed 60 frames per second. The monitor is expensive, but in this case, you’ll definitely get what you pay for.
Read our full Acer Predator X34 review.
6. ViewSonic XG2401
The best FreeSync monitor
Screen Size and Resolution: 24 inches, 1920 x 1080 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Response Time: 1ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: FreeSync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: TN | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA
Super-fast response times
Fast 144Hz refresh rate at 1080p
AMD FreeSync support
Highly adjustable stand with headphone dock
A few extraneous features
If you game on an AMD graphics card and are looking for an affordable display that doesn’t skimp on features, the ViewSonic XG2401 is one of the best gaming monitors available. This 144Hz monitor offers incredibly fast response times for playing competitive games with precision, and supports AMD FreeSync to reduce tears and stutters. It’s also highly ergonomic, offers a handy headphone stand and has some impressively loud built-in speakers.
The XG2401’s screen measures 24 inches, making it an easy fit for most desks. The VGA port is also a nice touch, as the monitor plays nicely with older computers — or simply those who prefer to connect their video and audio outputs separately. While you won’t get 4K resolution, you also won’t have to pay through the nose, so the monitor’s features tend to balance out.
See our full ViewSonic XG2401 review.
7. LG 38GL950G UltraGear Gaming Monitor
Screen Size and Resolution: 38 inches, 3840 x 1600 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Response Time: 1ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Panel Type: IPS | Inputs: USB 3.0 (3), HDMI, DisplayPort
Bright, vivid 38-inch curved display
Sharp 3840 x 1600 resolution
Low response time, high refresh rate
No built-in speakers
The LG 38GL950 delivers a kitchen sink of great features for folks willing to pay a premium price. This 36-inch, 3840 x 1600 curved display is incredibly immersive for cinematic games, and features Nvidia G-Sync and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate for keeping things smooth during more competitive titles. The monitor doesn’t reach full 4K resolution, but quad-HD should suffice for most people, especially those with cheaper PCs.
LG’s ultrawide display also sports a rear-facing ring of customizable RGB lighting, which is ideal for adding some ambient mood lighting to your command center. The 38GL950 is a breeze to set up, and delivered great brightness and color both in real world use and on our lab tests. LG’s ultrawide monitor is very pricey, and we wish it had USB-C, but this is a great premium display for folks seeking maximum immersion.
Read our full LG 38GL950G review.
8. Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED Gaming Monitor
A bonkers gaming monitor and OLED screen in one
Screen Size and Resolution: 55 inches, 3840 x 2160 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Response Time: 0.5 ms | G-Sync/FreeSync Compatible: G-Sync | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Panel Type: OLED | Inputs: HDMI 2.0 (3), DisplayPort, USB 3.0 upstream, USB 3.0 downstream (4), headphone, S/PDIF
Beautiful, polished design
Superb OLED panel
DisplayPort and multiple USB 3.0 ports
Complicated to enable features like HDR
The Alienware AW5520QF 55-inch is the best gaming monitor and big-screen TV in one device — for folks willing to spend about $4,000. This humongous OLED screen gives you the best of both worlds, delivering the size and picture quality of a 55-inch 4K TV alongside key gaming monitor features such as DisplayPort connectivity and fast 120Hz refresh rates. Hook it up to a console, or a living room PC, or both.
The AW5520QF’s high price tag may scare off folks on a budget, but if you do your PC gaming in the living room or want a premium monitor that can double as a great TV, Alienware’s mammoth screen is uniquely qualified to do the job. Remember: A computer can stream almost anything, so you’ll be able to watch, listen to or play whatever you want.
Read our full Alienware AW5520QF review.
How to choose the best gaming monitor for you
The best gaming monitor for your needs comes down to three major factors: resolution, refresh rate and price.
How much resolution you need depends on how powerful your PC is. Extremely powerful machines can run games at 4K resolutions (3840 x 2160 pixels), which means you’ll probably want to pony up for a more elaborate monitor. Cheaper machines pair better with 1080p monitors, while those in-between can run at quad-HD resolutions.
Refresh rate is similar, in that more powerful machines will need monitors with higher refresh rates. While refresh rate and frames per second are not exactly the same thing, it’s useful to think of them in the same terms when choosing a monitor. Is your PC powerful enough to get 60 frames per second during gameplay? 120 frames per second? More? The higher the refresh rate, the higher number of frames per second the monitor can support.
Price is pretty self-explanatory. Just remember that more expensive monitors will be useful for longer periods of time. A good screen can last for a decade or more, and if you decide to buy or build a new machine in the future, you may not need to replace a monitor that’s sufficiently advanced.
How we test gaming monitors
As we do with TVs, we use our Klein K-10A colorimeter and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software to extract a range of color, contrast and brightness data from each monitor’s default display modes. Of the data we gather, we weigh brightness (white luminescence), color accuracy (Delta-E) and color gamut most heavily in our reviews.
We also use a Leo Bodnar Lag Tester to measure each display’s latency, a key statistic for those looking for highly responsive monitors.
Qualitatively, we run each monitor through both productivity and gaming tests. You’re not going to switch monitors each time you need to open a word processor, watch a video or send an e-mail, so every monitor on this list must be sharp and responsive for everyday use. As far as gaming goes, we run each monitor through games in a variety of genres, including FPS, RTS, MOBA, RPG and MMO, in order to ensure that it doesn’t favor one genre at another’s expense.