Best cheap gaming monitor (2022)


If you do your research, a cheap gaming monitor can be a great investment and still provide a top-notch gaming experience. Many budget-friendly displays still pack in premium-rate features like high refresh rates, 1440p resolution, and HDR support for better detailing and color. The flip side is that you may have to sacrifice screen size, depending on what you’re willing to spend. There are a few big-screen options that are on the more affordable side, but they’ll still push towards the upper-end of “budget-friendly.” So if you’re trying to stick to a stricter budget, you’ll have to settle for a smaller screen. A cheap gaming monitor can also be a great way to get your hands on a display for console gaming; if you’re willing to play on smaller screens, a gaming monitor can be even cheaper than the most budget-conscious TVs. I’ve gathered up some of the best cheap gaming monitors from top brands like Samsung, MSI, and Acer. And I’ve broken down their features to help you find a new screen that fits your budget as well as your gaming needs.

Also: Best gaming monitor: Prepare for a world of hertz

Samsung Odyssey G5 27-inch

Best cheap gaming monitor

Samsung Odyssey G5 27-inch

Samsung

Screen size: 27-inches | Resolution: 1440p | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Adaptive sync: AMD FreeSync Premium | HDR: HDR10 | Response time: 1ms | Panel type: Curved VA

The Samsung Odyssey G5 27-inch monitor is not only affordable, it still packs in plenty of features to elevate your gameplay. It produces excellent 1440p resolution with HDR10 support for enhanced color and detail. It also has a 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync Premium compatibility for smoother playback and an ultra-fast 1ms response time for near-instant reactions to your inputs. The curved screen helps reduce glare from ambient light as well as makes longer play sessions more comfortable by reducing eye strain. 

Pros:

  • 1440p
  • AMD FreeSync Premium
  • HDR10 support

Cons:

  • No USB 3.0 or USB-C ports
  • No integrated speakers
  • A bit dim at 250 nits

HP X32

Best big screen

HP X32

HP

Screen size: 32-inches | Resolution: 1440p | HDR:  HDR400 | Refresh rate: 165Hz | Adaptive sync: AMD FreeSync Premium | Response time: 1ms | Panel type: IPS

The HP X32 is a budget-friendly large screen monitor built from the ground-up for gaming. It features a 165Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync Premium support for buttery-smooth gameplay and 1440p with HDR400 support for better color and detailing. The 32-inch display gives you plenty of room to see, and the built-in blue light filter helps reduce eye strain during long play sessions. The HP X32 is also compatible with the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch, so you can use it for console gaming as well as PC. 

Pros:

  • AMD FreeSync Premium
  • Excellent refresh rate and response time
  • Great color

Cons:

  • No USB-C or USB 3.0 inputs
  • No integrated speakers

LG Ultragear 27GL650F-B

Best under $250

LG Ultragear 27GL650F-B

LG

Screen size: 27-inches | Resolution: 1080p | HDR: HDR10 | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Adaptive sync: AMD FreeSync/Nvidia G-Sync | Response time: 1ms | Panel type: IPS

If you’re working with a really limited budget, you can still get a great display with the LG UltraGear 27-inch monitor. It’s compatible with both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync to reduce screen tearing and stuttering, and the 144Hz refresh rate ensures smoother gameplay. The IPS panel produces 1080p resolution and up to 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut for more lifelike images, while the 1ms response time gives you near-instant reactions to your mouse clicks or keyboard inputs. It also has support for HDR10 for better detailing, even without UHD resolution. 

Pros:

  • Great price
  • FreeSync/G-Sync compatible
  • HDR10 support

Cons:

  • No USB 3.0 or USB-C inputs
  • No integrated speakers

MSI Optix MAG251RX 25-inch

Best refresh rate

MSI Optix MAG251RX 25-inch

MSI

Screen size: 25-inches | Resolution: 1080p | HDR: HDR10/HDR400 | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Adaptive sync: Nvidia G-Sync | Response time: 1ms | Panel type: IPS

A higher refresh rate means that your gameplay will stay smooth, even during intense action scenes. And the MSI Optix MAG251RX has one of the best refresh rates you can get from a budget display. If you connect the monitor to your rig via DisplayPort, you can get up to a 240Hz refresh rate for silky-smooth action for both on and offline play. And if you prefer HDMI connectivity, you’ll still get up to 144Hz, and consoles can get up to 120Hz. It also has a 1ms response time, giving you an extra edge in twitchy shooters and precision platformers. While the screen gives you 1080p resolution, it still supports both HDR10 and HDR400 for better detailing and contrast and it produces up to 84 percent of the DCI-P3 color spectrum for better images. This monitor also supports Nvidia G-Sync for variable refresh rates, to keep your playback consistent across genres and platforms. You can also charge wireless mice and keyboards or mobile devices with the USB-C input.  

Pros:

  • Excellent refresh rate
  • HDR10 support
  • USB-C charging

Cons:

  • No integrated speakers
  • No AMD FreeSync compatibility

Omen 25i

Best adaptive sync

Omen 25i

HP

Screen size: 25-inches | Resolution: 1080p | HDR: HDR400 | Refresh rate: 165Hz | Adaptive sync: AMD FreeSync Premium Pro/Nvidia G-Sync | Response time: 1ms | Panel type: IPS

Not all games perform the same, so you need a monitor that can keep up. And the Omen 25i is designed to adapt to whatever your favorite game is at the moment. It works with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro to ensure a minimum refresh rate of 120Hz (and you can overclock to 165Hz) as well as HDR400 support for enhanced detailing. By allowing for adaptive refresh rates, your monitor can match your game’s ideal frame rate for optimal performance. You’ll also get excellent color volume since the display can produce up to 90 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut, and it features a Game Remaster Mode to automatically enhance the graphics of older games. 

Pros:

  • AMD FreeSync/Nvidia G-Sync compatible
  • Great color
  • Works with consoles and PC

Cons:

What is the best cheap gaming monitor?

The Samsung Odyssey G5 27-inch monitor is the best cheap gaming monitor according to our analysis of gaming monitor specifications, including price, screen size, resolution, response time, and more.

How did we choose these gaming monitors?

Aside from making sure these monitors are budget-friendly, I looked at a number of tech specs to ensure they would work for both PC and console games as well as being a good value for the price. I checked refresh rates, response times, screen resolution, and color volume to pick the best displays for a variety of games.

Which cheap gaming monitor is right for you?

Once you’ve hammered out a budget for a new gaming monitor, you want to make sure that you get a screen that is going to fit well within your current setup. A screen that is too big can overwhelm your desk, while one that is too small can make your in-game HUD feel cramped and limit your viewing area. You’ll also want to consider connectivity, since some monitors use either HDMI or DisplayPort cables to hook up to your GPU. And if you hate wearing a headset, you’ll want to spring for a monitor with integrated speakers.

Are cheap gaming monitors worth it?

They absolutely can be! Just because you have to stick to a budget, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or awesome features. There are tons of options out there for budget-friendly gaming monitors with premium features like HDR support, 1440p resolution, and VRR support.

What is a good refresh rate for gaming?

There’s no real hard and fast answer for this, but the absolute minimum refresh rate you want for gaming is 60 or 75Hz. Anything lower can make your games feel pretty sluggish and more prone to screen tearing. Fortunately, many gaming-specific monitors (even the cheap ones) have native refresh rates of 120Hz or higher for smoother gameplay.

What size monitor should I get for gaming?

This is another pretty subjective question, but you wouldn’t want to go much smaller than 24-inches. You want a screen that gives you enough viewing area to be able to see your HUD, in-game text, and game menus clearly. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to press your nose to the monitor and squint to read dialogue prompts or game settings.

Are there alternative cheap gaming monitors worth considering?

There are plenty of budget-friendly options out there if you’re looking to upgrade your gaming setup without spending a fortune. Here’s a short list of other, affordable monitors that I thought were great:



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