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Best gaming monitor 2020: top budget, ultrawide and 4K monitors

Plus all the best 144Hz and 240Hz gaming monitors and more

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Trying to find the best gaming monitor for you and your budget can be tricky when there are so many different models to choose from, but fear not. To help you in your quest to find the best monitor for playing your favourite games on, I’ve put together this list of all the best gaming monitors I’ve tested over the last year. You’ll find everything here from the best gaming monitor for those on a budget, the best gaming monitors with high refresh rates, and our top picks for all the best 4K gaming monitors out there as well. Whatever screen size or resolution you’re looking for, I’ve got a best gaming monitor recommendations for you.

To earn a spot on my best gaming monitor list, a screen must have excellent colour accuracy, good contrast and a low black level. These three things are key to ensuring your games look their best. After all, it’s no good spending lots of money on finding the best graphics card and best gaming CPU only to have your monitor let you down at the last hurdle.

If you’re building a PC from scratch or upgrading your old PC, finding the right monitor can also be helpful in working out what else you need to budget for. If you want to play games at 60fps at 1920×1080, for example, then you can opt for a cheaper graphics card and CPU. Want to play games at 60fps at 4K, on the other hand? Then you’re going to need to dig deep and get a more powerful GPU to go with it. Still, as you’ll soon see below, there’s a best gaming monitor for everyone here, whether you’re after something super cheap and affordable or want the best display money can buy. Here’s everything at a glance:

Best gaming monitor 2020

Just click the links above and you’ll be taken straight to the monitor of your choosing, where you can find out a bit more about it, how much it costs and where you can buy one. Or you can just scroll down for the entire list. And remember, be sure to check out our other best PC hardware guides while you’re here, including our best gaming keyboard guide, best gaming mouse guide, best gaming headset guide, and our best gaming SSD guide.

AOC 24G2U – the best gaming monitor for those on a budget

As the AOC G2460PF becomes increasingly difficult to find, its latest successor, the AOC 24G2U is my latest best budget gaming monitor champion. It has a flat IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, a height adjustable stand, and its AMD FreeSync support works just as well with Nvidia graphics cards as it does with AMD ones. It’s infinitely better than AOC’s other budget gaming monitor, the AOC G2590FX, both in terms of colour accuracy and overall contrast, and it’s also better value for money than the very similar and slightly more expensive Viewsonic Elite XG240R. That’s why it’s currently our RPS approved gaming monitor for our £1000 PC build, the RPS Rig.

The AOC 24G2U has an excellent 24in screen, and its fantastic IPS panel covers 99.6% of the standard sRGB colour gamut straight out of the box, meaning you don’t have to spend ages tweaking anything to get a great picture. That’s a lot for a monitor of this size and price, and is actually better value for money than some of the larger screens further down on this list. That said, with US stock being particularly low right now, its curved VA sibling, the AOC C24G1, is another great alternative at £208 / $145.

Acer Predator XB241H – the best 144Hz gaming monitor

Now, hold on a second, I know the AOC 24G2U has a 144Hz refresh rate as well, but if you want the absolute best 144Hz gaming monitor money can buy, then the Acer Predator XB241H is the one to beat. Mostly because that 144Hz refresh rate can be overclocked all the way up to 180Hz if you feel like it, giving you even smoother looking games for your money. You’ll need a fairly powerful graphics card to make the most of that refresh rate, but

It is a lot more expensive than AOC 242GU as a result, but it’s also a proper Nvidia G-Sync monitor as well, giving you smooth, tear-free gaming and ultra low latency. G-Sync is generally regarded as being better than FreeSync, as it includes slightly more features to make your gaming experience better, but you will need an Nvidia graphics card to make the most of it. To find out more about how G-Sync differs to FreeSync, read our FreeSync vs G-Sync guide.

The Predator XB241H’s colour accuracy is also excellent out of the box, meaning you don’t have to spend ages fiddling with its colour temperature settings to get a good picture, and the viewing angles on its TN panel are good, too. Throw in a flexible stand that gives you plenty of height adjustment, swivel, tilt and rotation, and this is one of the best 24in monitors you can buy today.

Alienware AW2518H – the best 240Hz gaming monitor

best gaming monitor 240hz

You’ll need one heck of a beefy graphics card to make the most of a 240Hz gaming monitor, but if you’ve got the kind of PC that can make the most of it, then the Alienware AW2518H is definitely the best 240Hz monitor around today.

It’s quite expensive, especially compared to Acer’s Predator XB241H, but this 240Hz panel is really quite special. Its 25in panel has superb colour accuracy straight out of the box, and it also has full Nvidia G-Sync support for Nvidia graphics card owners. This is essential if you’re playing games at this kind of refresh rate, as it will help keep your games looking super smooth and eliminate any unwanted screen tear or stutter.

It also comes with plenty of ports, including 4 USB3 ports, with two located on the monitor’s lower bezel (next to its combined headphone and microphone jack) so you don’t have to reach around the back to plug in your mouse, keyboard and headset.

AOC Agon AG273QX – best 1440p gaming monitor

The AOC Agon AG273QX has everything you could possibly want from a 1440p gaming monitor. With a high 165Hz refresh rate, a superb VA panel, height-adjustable stand and AMD FreeSync 2 HDR support that works equally well with AMD and Nvidia graphics cards alike, this is one gaming monitor that really commands your attention.

Sadly, it’s not available in the US yet, but trust me, this is one monitor that will be worth waiting for. Its picture quality is outstanding, covering 99.5% of the sRGB colour gamut and a respectable 87.9% of the HDR-grade DCI-P3 gamut, ensuring images and games look rich and punchy at all times on its default User mode. Plus, its intuitive onboard menu system means it’s easy to make any last minute adjustments.

If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also got a 165Hz refresh rate for high frame rate gaming (provided you’ve got a beefy enough graphics card, that is – which you’ll need if your target is 165fps at 2560×1440). Round that off with a range of inputs and a four-port USB3 hub and you’ve got yourself one of the best 1440p gaming monitors around.

Acer Predator Z35p – the best ultrawide gaming monitor

The Acer Predator Z35p is more expensive than other ultrawide monitors out there, but it’s by far the best ultrawide monitor I’ve tested so far. Not only does it have exceptional colour accuracy, but it’s also a lot more flexible than its FreeSync and G-Sync rivals.

For example, the Predator Z35p comes with four USB3 ports instead just two like its similarly priced rival, the AOC AG352UCG (which I should note has since been replaced by the AG352UCG6 Black Edition, which is effectively the same monitor just with a higher 120Hz refresh rate and black stand instead of silver), and its screen is also a lot brighter, making it more versatile in a wider range of lighting conditions. What’s more, I also much prefer Acer’s onboard menu system, as the AOC’s is, frankly, a bit of a disaster. It’s pricey, yes, but it really doesn’t get much better than this in the ultrawide category.

Although if you want the best stupidly ultrawide gaming monitor, then look no further than the Samsung CRG9, which has a massive 49in curved VA panel and a 5120×1440 resolution, which really does look rather lovely in games such as Red Dead Redemption 2.

Samsung Space – the best budget 4K gaming monitor

Until recently, the BenQ EL2870U occupied my best budget 4K gaming monitor slot, but now the incredible Samsung Space has muscled it aside. It’s more expensive than the BenQ, but its superior picture quality and ingenious stand arguably make it better value for money overall.

Indeed, the best thing about the Samsung Space is that, thanks to its clever clamp mechanism that attaches to the back of your desk, you can push the screen right up against the wall when you’re done playing games, giving you a lot more space to do other things on your desk than you would otherwise. Indeed, the BenQ didn’t have any kind of height-adjustable stand whatsoever, making it pretty rigid and inflexible as a result.

The Samsung Space monitor’s large, 32in display also gives you loads of room to work and play games on, and its picture quality is pretty much perfect straight out of the box, making it a great 4K gaming monitor for those on a budget.

Acer Nitro XV273K – the best 4K gaming monitor

The Acer Nitro XV273K is the best 4K gaming monitor for anyone who’s been hankering after an Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate display but doesn’t have a spare two grand squirrelled away under their mattress. It’s still pretty expensive as gaming monitors go, but with a feature set like this, who can blame it?

Not only does this 27in 4K display have exceptional colour accuracy, but it’s also got a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, just like the current pair of Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate displays, Acer’s own Predator X27 and the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, the latter of which you can read more about below. Its variable refresh rate tech also has the added bonus of being compatible with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, as it’s one of the few FreeSync screens that meets Nvidia’s official G-Sync Compatible requirements.

Its 27in screen size also makes it a lot more practical than my previous mid-range 4K monitor choice, the jumbo TV-sized Philips 436M6VBPAB. The Philips is still pretty good value for money for those in the UK (which can currently be had for as little as £482 at time of writing), but really, unless you’re specifically after an HDR monitor to replace your TV in your living room, then it’s simply not practical as a general gaming screen.

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ – the best 4K HDR gaming monitor

It’s crazy expensive, but if you’re after the very best 4K HDR gaming monitor money can buy, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is the one to get. With a crazy high peak brightness level of around 1000cd/m2, this is the finest implementation of HDR I’ve ever seen. It really brings HDR games like Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to life.

I’d also say it’s a better buy than its slightly cheaper rival, the Acer Predator X27, too. Technically, both monitors share exactly the same panel (which is made by exactly the same manufacturer), but for me, the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ was the more impressive of the two screens when it came to playing games in HDR.

The X27 is still a good choice if you can find it for a good price and don’t mind faffing around a bit with its various onboard menu settings, but for me, I much prefer the overall design of the PG27UQ. Yes, I could probably do without the LEDs burning a ROG-shaped logo hole in my desk (and ceiling), but it has a more pleasant height-adjustable stand than its Acer rival, and slicker, more premium-looking bezels.

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Who am I?

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests. She's also RPS' resident deals herald.

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