PC gamers can enjoy today's competitive pricing in CPUs, graphics cards and memory, and build a highly capable gaming machine without having to overpay or spend a ton of money (unless you want to). We're glad to report this PC builder's friendly environment extends to gaming monitors as well, with dozens of great options at record-low prices for the kind of technology that you get.

This article is an extension to TechSpot's Best Monitors that comprises professional, workstation and enthusiast oriented monitors, while this list is dedicated to high refresh rate monitors that are best suited for gaming. We've broken down our recommendations based on resolution and feature set, as we look for the best models that deliver on the specs, on the performance and on price.

Additional updates: Best 1440p Gaming Monitors, Best Budget Gaming Monitors

Best 1440p Gaming Monitor

LG 27GL850 27" Ultragear Nano IPS

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels.

When you have tech that ticks all those boxes, it's bound to be the high-end option that commands a price premium, however high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years. Case in point, we can find flagship gaming monitors priced as low as $500, with budget offerings dipping below $400 for the first time.

Our recommendation for the best 1440p IPS monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance.

Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. If you are in that position, we’d recommend a VA display instead. There’s also no blur-reducing backlight strobing mode, if you want that feature we’d opt for the Asus VG27AQ with its strong ELMB-Sync implementation.

Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

One last thing to note is all high-refresh 1440p IPS monitors are currently 27-inch. If you want something larger, like 32-inch, you’re out of luck as the best panels at that size top out at a measly 75 Hz which we don't recommend for gaming. If you want a larger panel, we wholeheartedly recommend the 32-inch LG 32GK650F (read our full review) which once held our best value 1440p monitor spot. It's an excellent VA display that stands out because of its great performance. Most 144Hz VA displays at 1440p deliver response times in the 7-8ms range or above, with some pushing 10ms. The 32GK650F offers some of the best VA response times we’ve tested, at a 6.50ms grey to grey average, which is around the mark of a typical IPS display. This helps minimize a lot of the ghosting and smearing issues that early VA adopters have complained about.

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels.

When you have tech that ticks all those boxes, it's bound to be the high-end option that commands a price premium, however high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years. Case in point, we can find flagship gaming monitors priced as low as $500, with budget offerings dipping below $400 for the first time.

Our recommendation for the best 1440p IPS monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance.

Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. If you are in that position, we’d recommend a VA display instead. There’s also no blur-reducing backlight strobing mode, if you want that feature we’d opt for the Asus VG27AQ with its strong ELMB-Sync implementation.

Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

One last thing to note is all high-refresh 1440p IPS monitors are currently 27-inch. If you want something larger, like 32-inch, you’re out of luck as the best panels at that size top out at a measly 75 Hz which we don't recommend for gaming. If you want a larger panel, our next monitor category will be of interest to you.

If you want a high-end 1440p monitor for gaming, you’ll probably be looking at something that uses IPS LCD technology as it provides the best balance of decent response times, great color performance, excellent viewing angles, decent uniformity and a selection of mostly flat panels. Best of all, high-quality 1440p high-refresh IPS monitors have come down in price substantially in the last two years.

The best 1440p IPS gaming monitor is the LG 27GL850 (read our full review), a hugely impressive monitor that offers TN-like response time performance with the color and viewing angle benefits of an IPS screen. This makes it ideal for gaming and especially high refresh rate gaming, given this is a 144 Hz display with adaptive sync support.

The differences between the 27GL850 and other comparatively priced 1440p IPS monitors is stark. The 27GL850 puts up an average grey to grey response of around 4ms in its optimal configuration, which is much faster than competing options that at best pack a 5ms average, or at worse are up near 7ms. Although this is advertised as a “1ms” monitor, performance is equivalent to TN displays that also advertise “1ms,” which is impressive any way you look at it.

The LG 27GL850 also has great wide gamut support, around 95% of the DCI-P3 spectrum in our testing, which is wider than any VA or TN offering we’ve seen. It lacks true HDR like most 1440p displays, but if you need wide gamut for creative work or just want a vibrant picture, the 27GL850 delivers. Uniformity and viewing angles are good, certainly better than most competitors, which allows the 27GL850 to deliver this great balance of color quality and performance. Black levels and contrast ratio are not the best, which makes it a less ideal monitor for gaming in a dark environment. Those two concerns aside, we strongly recommend the LG 27GL850 as the best all-round 1440p gaming display on the market right now, and at $500, it's honestly quite the steal.

Best of the best

Acer Predator X27 4K / 144 Hz 27"

If you’re the kind of gamer who wants the best of everything, has deep pockets, and owns a monster rig, then look no further than Acer’s Predator X27. This monitor ticks all the gaming boxes: 4K, 144Hz, G-Sync, true HDR with 1000 nits of brightness, and 384 zone FALD backlight. You will, of course, need a monster graphics card to get the most out of it, and while the $2,000 launch price has dropped, it’s still an eye-watering $1,649.

The ultrawide option

LG 38GL950G 38" UltraGear

Fans of ultrawide gaming should check out LG's two amazing choices at two well differentiated price ranges:

The LG 34GK950F offers 3440 x 1440 at 144 Hz, and does so with a curved IPS panel that’s excellent quality out of the box and offers over 95% DCI-P3 coverage for wide gamut work. The HDR experience isn’t great, but response times near 6ms and adaptive sync that works with AMD and Nvidia GPUs headlines a feature set that’s outstanding for ultrawide gamers. This monitor is one of best ultrawides for gaming, but it will set you back a handsome $850 which is actually considerably less than when it was released.

The newer and larger 38" LG 38GL950G UltraGear is the best ultrawide monitor on the market bar none. Essentially it takes every feature we got with previous flagship ultrawide displays, and takes it up a notch. The resolution and panel are physically bigger, if only slightly, which we think is really good. We love this size and the bump up from 3440 x 1440 to 3840 x 1600 is handy. In our opinion offers a more immersive experience and it's also better for split-screen productivity work. The only caveat, it's much more expensive at $1,800.

Best 4K HDR Flagship Gaming Monitor

Acer Predator X27 27"

There are tons of monitors that claim to be HDR compatible, but don’t deliver a great HDR experience. Common issues include not supporting a high peak brightness, not including a full array local dimming backlight for increase contrast, and occasionally not even supporting wide color gamut.

Pretty much every monitor that passes DisplayHDR 400 certification doesn’t actually deliver a meaningfully improved HDR experience, and therefore isn’t worth buying as an HDR display. And it’s not much better at DisplayHDR 600, while only a small selection of DisplayHDR 1000 monitors pass all the required items in the checklist. Looking at these validation badges unfortunately isn’t enough to determine whether a HDR monitor is good.

Our advice for most people interested in HDR monitors, is the same as last year: don’t bother.

The risk of fake HDR is too high. It’s still too early to jump in to the HDR ecosystem, and we’d hate for anyone to buy an expensive HDR monitor only to discover later that they got something with fake HDR. If a monitor says it supports HDR, make sure it’s a good SDR monitor at a good price first, and then treat any HDR support as a free bonus. And don’t pay extra for HDR either, we’ve seen plenty of monitors where they offer HDR at an added price but the HDR mode isn’t any better than SDR.

With all of that said, if you have the means and are after a real HDR monitor for gaming, our recommendation goes to the Acer Predator X27, which is one of the only gaming-grade monitors we are happy recommending for HDR. It’s an expensive affair at over $1,600, but it is a wide gamut display with 384-zone FALD backlighting and 1,000 nits of peak brightness. It looks phenomenal while gaming.

It’s worth keeping in mind that several other high-quality HDR monitors are coming soon. The new ultrawide models with 512 zone FALD backlights and 200 Hz refresh rates are almost here, which could interest some buyers with deep pockets. Asus also has a new mini-LED model coming later this year, which is set to be similar to the Predator X27 but with a decent increase to the backlight zones. It could be worth waiting for these displays if you are planning to put down over $1,500 for a HDR monitor.

Best for Esports (240Hz)

HP Omen X 27 240Hz

For the fastest possible response times, highest refresh rates, and best overall performance with less consideration for colors, TN panels are your best bet. TN is known for speed, with other aspects like viewing angles, contrast and color performance falling well behind the other two display technologies.

Top of the line TN offerings are much faster than any current IPS/VA panels, combining the 1440p resolution with 240Hz refresh rates. This combo will punish your GPU, but it's terrific for esports titles like CS: Go, Rocket League and Overwatch. The sort of motion handling you get at 240Hz is simply not achievable at lower refresh rates, and the only way to get this very high refresh is with a TN panel right now.

The 27-inch HP Omen X 27 is a great monitor, boasting of an elite 3ms response time average, allowing for a true 240Hz experience with very low ghosting and blur. Input lag is nearly 0, the fastest we’ve ever tested, and the adaptive sync experience is flawless. This is a really, really fast display, the fastest 1440p monitor you can get.

All the usual TN flaws and trade offs are still present -- viewing angles, contrast ratios or wide color gamuts -- this is not a monitor suitable for color accurate work, for example. But gaming? Oh, this is a beauty.

The Omen X 27 is available for around $580, which is not inexpensive, but it is much cheaper than its main competitor, the Lenovo Y27qg, which at around $900 we just can’t recommend. Get the Omen X 27 if you’re after a TN, and enjoy the blistering performance.

Spending less on a TN 1440p ~144Hz panel is harder to recommend as the monitors are not affordable enough to justify the trade-off, and most don’t perform significantly better than the best IPS offerings like LG’s Nano IPS range. The Viotek GFT27DB is one highlight offering with 4ms response times and decent color performance, but still suffers in the usual ways, like a lackluster contrast ratio and poor viewing angles. At $270 it could be a good option if you want fast response times on a budget, but maybe some of the budget options we’ll talk about next will interest you more.

Fast refresh at 1080p

Hardcore esports gamers sometimes will prefer smaller displays that have no more than 1080p resolution to keep those frame rates at max. The Asus ROG Swift PG258Q is a 24.5-inch 1920 x 1080 TN LCD monitor with a whopping 240 Hz refresh rate, combined with G-Sync, for the ultimate low latency, high refresh experience. Contrast and viewing angles aren’t fantastic, however default color quality is decent. Gamers should expect somewhat-near-sRGB accuracy out of the box and a very bright display, which leads to a good viewing experience with solid, vibrant colors. The Asus PG258Q presents a top of the line 240 Hz monitor choice for gamers that know their hardware won't drop frames below 200 fps in the games they play competitively.

Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

MSI Optix MAG341CQ 34" Curved

For ultrawide monitors, there are two directions you can go. Either you save some cash and opt for a 3440 x 1440 display at 100 Hz, or you go all out on the best 144 Hz models on the market.

When looking at 3440 x 1440 ultrawide displays at 100 Hz, all you have to spend these days is around $450, which is crazy considering a few years ago these panels were a premium $1,000+ option. Most of the budget-class models use the same Samsung VA panel, offering contrast around 3000:1 and response times in the 5-7ms range. It’s a high quality panel that’s well suited to gaming, and something we have no trouble recommending.

Our recommendation right now goes to the MSI MAG341CQ, which often sits at around $430. It’s widely available, delivers decent performance and is going to impress those who haven’t dabbled in ultrawides before.

Even better options, at a premium

If you have a more ample budget and want the best available widescreen gaming monitors, LG has two amazing choices at two well differentiated price ranges:

The LG 34GK950F offers 3440 x 1440 at 144 Hz, and does so with a curved IPS panel that’s excellent quality out of the box and offers over 95% DCI-P3 coverage for wide gamut work. The HDR experience isn’t great, but response times near 6ms and adaptive sync that works with AMD and Nvidia GPUs headlines a feature set that’s outstanding for ultrawide gamers. This monitor is one of best ultrawides for gaming, but it will set you back a handsome $850 which is actually considerably less than when it was released.

The newer and larger 38" LG 38GL950G UltraGear is the best ultrawide monitor on the market bar none. Essentially it takes every feature we got with previous flagship ultrawide displays, and takes it up a notch. The resolution and panel are physically bigger, if only slightly, which we think is really good. We love this size and the bump up from 3440 x 1440 to 3840 x 1600 is handy. In our opinion offers a more immersive experience and it's also better for split-screen productivity work. The only caveat, it's much more expensive at $1,800.

Best Value 4K Gaming

Acer Nitro XV273K 4K / 144 Hz 27"

For the best 4K monitor category there aren’t many displays in contention right now and we have reviewed all of them in detail already.

For most people, a 1440p 144Hz monitor will be a better option than a 4K 60 Hz display for gaming. Both cost roughly the same, but the 1440p models will have better gaming performance, better adaptive sync experiences, higher refresh rates and often better panel quality. The step up from 1440p to 4K isn’t nearly as large as the step from 1080p to 1440p in terms of visual quality either, so it’s not worth trading off all those extras – especially the higher refresh rate – for just a bump in resolution.

However there are a few monitors that offer the best of both worlds at a premium: a high-resolution 4K experience, with a high-refresh rate. Just make sure you have the necessary GPU horsepower to make the most of it.

The Acer Nitro XV273K (read our full review) will set you back around $800, delivering a 27-inch IPS display at 3840 x 2160 with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. And we say 120 Hz here because despite being advertised as 144 Hz, the maximum refresh rate you can use in a practical setting is 120 Hz. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s still a high refresh rate and something you’ll struggle to max out even with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

In our tests, performance is solid and it offers a wide color gamut if required. we’d ignore the HDR capabilities though, for that you have to go all the way to the true 4K flagships like the Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ.

Best Budget 1080p Monitor

AOC 24G2 24"

Among gamers 1080p monitors are still extremely popular. While some will no doubt look to upgrade to a higher resolution with their next monitor purchase, if you only have around $200 to spend, you'll get by far the best experience going with something 1080p. There are several 1080p monitor types on the market, and we’ve been recommending VA or TN panels in this category depending on where pricing sits at any given time. But in 2020, with the release of several really high quality yet affordable IPS options, we believe the best bang for buck right now lies with this often premium monitor technology.

Currently the best budget 1080p monitor is the AOC 24G2. Not only is this the best 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor on the market overall, but thanks to a low $180 price, we also believe it’s the best bang for buck 1080p monitor you can get.

The 24G2 uses a 24-inch flat 1080p 144Hz IPS panel with adaptive sync and low frame rate compensation. The gaming experience is simply great due to a combination of factors. We get a high refresh rate, great adaptive sync implementation that works flawlessly with AMD or Nvidia GPUs, and fast response times due to its use of IPS technology.

A 5ms grey to grey average using its optimal overdrive settings is a good bit faster than equivalent VA panels, and approaches some TNs that typically retail for around the same price. Throw in a backlight strobing mode and the 24G2 delivers very good motion handling, which makes it ideal for fast paced gaming.

AOC backs this up with low input lag, a high contrast ratio for an IPS panel, low power consumption and an ergonomic design that includes a height adjustable stand, which is rare among budget oriented monitors. Even factory color performance is solid with the bonus of some wide gamut coverage.

This is nearly a complete package that nails all the key areas for a gaming monitor. With that low $180 retail price that puts it around the mark of several popular TN monitors, we see no reason to choose a TN panel over this IPS model. It’s a great buy.

A larger alternative, and even cheaper options

There are several other options that take our fancy in this market. If you want something larger, say 27-inches, the AOC 27G2 is the bigger brother of the 24G2 that retails for $210. We’d choose this over the similarly priced Acer Nitro VG271P, as the Acer model has a more limited stand and lacks adjustable overdrive when adaptive sync is activated. While we do believe both the 24G2 and 27G2 deliver the best bang for buck in the 1080p market, $180 might be on the upper end of your price range, and that’s understandable.

There are other 1080p 144Hz monitors available closer to $150, which is a decent saving of 17% or so. At this price point, you’re looking at a curved VA monitor, but you’ll still be getting a 144Hz display with adaptive sync performance. VA panels tend to be a bit slower than IPS and can suffer from an issue called ‘dark level smearing’, where slow response times for dark colors in particular can cause more blur than you’d like. But we think this issue tends to be overstated a bit given modern VA panels are pretty decent.

If you’d prefer to save some cash and spend $150, here’s what we’d recommend: for 1080p 144Hz VA options, we have the Viotek GN24CB which comes close to the performance we see from the 24G2. It’s available for just $150 in the US. It lacks a height adjustable stand and its performance isn’t as strong at lower refresh rates, like 60Hz.

If you can’t get the Viotek, or you want a height adjustable stand, our choice would be another AOC monitor, the C24G1. At ~$145, it packs the same height adjustable design as our top IPS recommendation although panel performance isn’t as solid, but it’s good enough for the price. Outside of these, we're not enthused by the value proposition of any 1080p TN monitors right now, so we’d just stick to the options we’ve mentioned.

Masthead image credit: xNighthawk83 on reddit