12 Best Gaming Monitors for Smooth Gameplay and Competitive Edge

Gaming monitors are designed to provide smooth, tear-free visuals and low input lag for a responsive gaming experience. Unlike standard monitors, they have higher refresh rates up to 360Hz, faster response times, and adaptive sync technology.

In this guide, we‘ll explain what to look for when shopping for a new gaming monitor. We‘ll also recommend 12 of the best gaming monitors across various budgets and categories – from affordable 1080p models to premium 4K and ultrawides.

Why You Need a Gaming Monitor

Standard 60Hz monitors are not ideal for gaming because they can suffer from issues like:

  • Ghosting and motion blur: Fast motion in games can appear blurry and leave "ghosts" or trails behind moving objects. This makes it harder to accurately track targets.

  • Screen tearing: This is when the monitor refresh rate and game frame rate fall out of sync, leading to a torn look between frames. It‘s distracting and ruins immersion.

  • High input lag: If a monitor has high input lag, there‘s a longer delay between your controls and the action on screen. That makes games feel sluggish and unresponsive.

Gaming monitors have higher refresh rates – starting from 144Hz all the way up to 360Hz on select models. The more frames per second (FPS) rendered, the smoother and more responsive games feel.

They also have very fast response times, often 1ms gray-to-gray, so pixels can change colors rapidly without leaving trails. And adaptive sync technology like AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync matches the monitor‘s refresh rate with the game‘s frame rate to eliminate stuttering or tearing.

For competitive multiplayer gaming, these specs minimize distractions and input lag so you can react faster to what‘s happening on screen.

Key Specs to Look For

Here are the most important gaming monitor specs and features to consider:

Refresh Rate

A monitor‘s refresh rate indicates how many times per second it updates with a new image. Most standard monitors have a 60Hz refresh rate. Gaming monitors start at 144Hz, considered the sweet spot for smooth gameplay.

Higher-end models go up to 240Hz, 280Hz or even 360Hz for extremely fluid motion clarity that gives a competitive edge. The latter ultra-high refresh rates are useful primarily for esports gamers who play fast-paced titles like Fortnite or CS:GO.

Response Time

The response time measures how fast a pixel can change from one shade of gray to another (listed in milliseconds). Faster is better, with 1ms being ideal. Monitors with slower response times can suffer from motion blur or ghosting artifacts in games with fast movement.

Adaptive Sync

Technologies like AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Synch match the monitor‘s refresh rate to the game‘s frame rate output from your GPU for a tear-free experience. Look for "G-Sync Compatible" or "FreeSync Premium" certified monitors.

Resolution and Aspect Ratio

Popular gaming monitor resolutions include 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 2560 x 1440 (1440p), and 3840 x 2160 (4K). Ultrawide monitors have a 21:9 aspect ratio versus the more standard 16:9 ratio. Higher resolution monitors deliver sharper image quality but require a powerful graphics card.

Panel Type

TN panels have the fastest response times, while IPS panels offer the best colors and viewing angles. VA panels land in between with higher contrast ratios. Know the pros and cons of each panel technology to find what works best for the types of games you play.

HDR Support

HDR improves color range and contrast for more dynamic, lifelike visuals – provided games and media support it. Look for HDR400- or 600-certified monitors. But keep in mind, most affordable gaming monitors actually have low-quality "HDR effects" that don‘t meet certification levels.


Look for the following ports based on your PC setup and which consoles you plan to connect:

  • HDMI 2.0 or 2.1
  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • USB Hub: Convenient for plugging in gaming peripherals

Budget 1080p Gaming Monitors Under $200

You can get an excellent 1080p gaming monitor for under $200 that will still provide buttery smooth gameplay. Here are three great options:

AOC 24G2

The 24G2 is one of the most popular 1080p/144Hz gaming monitors. It uses an IPS panel with support for AMD FreeSync Premium for just $179.

  • 24-inch 1080p screen
  • 144Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time
  • IPS panel with rich colors and wide viewing angles
  • AMD FreeSync Premium adaptive sync

Fast response time eliminates ghosting, while the high refresh rate delivers ultrasmooth motion clarity for fast-paced multiplayer games.


This monitor features a 24-inch 1080p TN panel with up to 165Hz refresh rate with overdrive. It works great with both AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

  • 24-inch 1080p TN display
  • 165Hz refresh rate (overclocked) and 0.5ms response time
  • AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync Compatible adaptive sync
  • Under $200 price tag

The ASUS VG248QG is ideal for esports gamers who want the fastest refresh rates without breaking the bank.

MSI Optix G241

MSI‘s Optix G241 monitor provides vibrant colors you wouldn‘t expect from a TN panel. It has a clean, professional design perfect for gaming setups.

  • 23.8-inch 1080p TN screen with anti-glare coating
  • 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time
  • AMD FreeSync Premium adaptive sync supported
  • DCI-P3 90% color gamut
  • Under $200 pricing

Excellent 1440p Gaming Monitors Under $400

Want sharper picture quality along with high frame rates? These 1440p monitors armed with a fast refresh rate and response time provide the best bang for buck.

Dell S3220DGF

The Dell S3220DGF is a flat 32-inch QHD monitor ideal for PC and console gaming. It provides stunning sharpness and vibrant colors at a reasonable price.

  • 31.5-inch 1440p screen with 1500R curvature
  • 144Hz refresh rate and super fast 4ms response time
  • Great color reproduction covering 93% of the sRGB color space
  • Supports HDR400 plus AMD FreeSync 2 and is G-Sync compatible

This monitor combines gorgeous colors and motion clarity with certified HDR400 support under $400. An excellent high-resolution choice compatible with both AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

LG 32GP850-B

LG‘s UltraGear models are renowned gaming monitors packing the latest specs. The 32GP850-B model delivers fast IPS performance matched with rich colors and sharp QHD resolution.

  • 32-inch 1440p IPS display with 160Hz refresh rate (overclocks to 180Hz)
  • Fast 1ms GtG response time with nearly no motion blur
  • VESA DisplayHDR 400 support
  • Nvidia G-Sync Compatible and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro adaptive sync

It‘s also all set for HDR gaming with VESA‘s mid-tier HDR 400 certification. An outstanding monitor for both gaming and creative work.

Gigabyte M32Q

If you want a super clean professional design, check out Gigabyte‘s M32Q. It looks great in any setup.

  • 31.5-inch 1440p display with 170Hz refresh overclocking
  • Fast response time along with FreeSync and G-Sync support
  • 94% DCI-P3 wide color gamut with IPS image quality
  • Rich connectivity including USB-C input and KVM switch

This monitor is geared towards both work and gaming with its excellent color reproduction during the day and silky performance at night.

Premium 4K and Ultrawide Gaming Monitors

Going up in size, resolution and features, these high-end monitors offer an extremely immersive gaming experience for enthusiasts.

LG 34GP950G-B

The LG 34GP950G-B is one of the best ultrawide gaming monitors money can buy. It‘s Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate certified for the smoothest variable refresh rate (VRR) animation possible.

  • 34-inch curved ultrawide monitor with 3440 x 1440 resolution
  • Nano IPS panel technology reproduces stunning, accurate colors
  • 144Hz refresh rate overclockable to 180Hz
  • Certified for Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate adaptive sync

G-Sync Ultimate marries lifelike image quality together with flawlessly smooth gameplay free of tearing, stuttering or flickering disturbances. It doesn‘t get better than this for Nvidia gamers.

Alienware AW3423DW

Dell‘s iconic Alienware brand has released the world‘s first QD-OLED gaming monitor, providing true HDR performance with deep inky blacks and incredible color range covering 99% of DCI-P3.

  • 34-inch ultrawide QD-OLED monitor at 3440 x 1440 resolution
  • 175Hz refresh rate with instant 0.1ms GtG response time
  • VESA DisplayHDR TrueBlack 400 certified with unmatched contrast
  • G-Sync Ultimate adaptive sync for flawless high FPS gameplay

If you want the most cutting-edge gaming monitor with stunning image quality, look no further than the revolutionary AW3423DW.

Samsung Odyssey G7

The 1000R curved Odyssey G7 series offers incredibly immersive visuals paired with lightning reflexes. Available in 27-inch or 32-inch sizes.

  • WQHD 1440p resolution paired with 240Hz refresh rate
  • Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro support
  • Extremely responsive 1ms response time with almost no motion blur
  • 600 cd/m2 peak brightness and DisplayHDR 600 compliance

Samsung has packed all the latest specs plus aggressive 1000R curve and WQHD resolution into this tournament-ready monitor.


This premium ASUS gaming monitor is geared towards enthusiast PC gamers craving sharp 4K visuals at a blistering 144Hz refresh rate.

  • Massive 32-inch 4K IPS display with 144Hz refresh rate
  • Nvidia G-Sync compatibility for buttery smooth VRR
  • Quantum dot technology and 384 local dimming zones for brilliant HDR
  • DisplayHDR 600 and 90% DCI-P3 wide color gamut coverage

The PG32UQ brings fast 4K gaming and gorgeous accurate color reproduction with over a billion shades possible thanks to quantum dot nano crystal technology and full array local dimming in an LED edge-lit display.

Find the Right Gaming Monitor for You

Competitive gaming requires equipment that can keep up with fast-paced action without lag, blur or distractions. While a gaming PC with a powerful graphics card is essential, the monitor plays a crucial role as well.

Gaming monitors reduce input lag and provide the fluidity, clarity and responsiveness needed to gain an edge against other players. With a dizzying array of models available catering to budgets large and small, use this guide to narrow down your requirements and match them with the right display for your needs and setup.