7 Best Budget Gaming Monitor Reviews in 2020 | Awesome Screens At a Modest Price

7 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

40 Hours of Research

25 Options Considered

That’s right. There is absolutely no need to stress out your wallet. Let me help you find the best budget gaming monitor to improve your gaming experience. Once you’ve laid your eyes on these digital darlings, you will wonder how you ever played games without them. I’ve compiled the sweetest of the sweet here for your consideration. These monitors all have two things in common. Their prices are unheard of and they look fantastic. So no matter what your gaming needs, I’ve got just the monitor for you. You will soon take your games to the next level in style.

3 Top Budget Gaming Monitors

1. [Best Budget Gaming Monitor Overall]

ViewSonic XG2402

4.8/5

One of the biggest features that stood out to me during my testing of the XG2402 was its ability to handle motion. Thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, high-FPS games look smooth and realistic.

  • Great practice
  • Well-built
  • Versatile

2. [Best Cheap Gaming Monitor]

Acer Nitro VG240YP

4.7/5

It’s incredible what a difference a few inches makes in a monitor. IPS variants such as these that rock 1080p resolution and a refresh rate of 144Hz were once only available in 27-inch models.

  • Great display
  • Fast refresh
  • Nice design

3.  [Best Eye Care Gaming Monitor]

ASUS VG279Q

4.7/5

Since the latter is likely out of the question, I’m here to introduce you to the ASUS VG279Q. This monitor sports ASUS’s special Eye Care technology. I found it to play a big role in reducing eye strain.

  • Easy on the eyes
  • Large display
  • Rich colors

What to Look For in a Cheap Gaming Monitor 

There are a few factors you should consider before throwing your money at the first affordable option you come across. Your gaming experience depends on it, after all. 

First up is resolution. You might find a bargain monitor for $50 at a thrift store, but if it’s only capable of displaying 720p, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

As long as you make sure you’re working with at least 1080p, you’re going to be in good shape. Anything higher is gravy. Remember, when it comes to screen resolution, the bigger the number, the better your games will look.

If you’re the type of gamer who plays for long periods of time, you might want to consider investing in a monitor for eye strain. This will help protect your eyes during those intense gaming sessions that bleed over into the next morning.

Response time and refresh rate are also highly important, but I’ll go into more detail regarding them shortly. Basically, you want your monitor’s response time to be as low as possible, while the refresh rate should be higher.

AMD FreeSync is important if you want to reduce or eliminate screen tearing. Monitors that support FreeSync will result in your games looking and playing better.

You also want to consider your potentially new monitor to have the connectivity options you require. HDMI is pretty much a given, with others being DisplayPort, USB, auxiliary, DP, or DVI-D, and so on.

Always make sure your new monitor can adequately accommodate your peripherals and accessories before investing in anything. And if you require sound, ensure that speakers are built-in, as well.

Best Budget Gaming Monitor Reviews

1. [Best Budget Gaming Monitor Overall]

ViewSonic XG2402

4.8/5

Features: 

  • Low response time accommodates high frame rate
  • Rotating screen for maximum convenience
  • Enhanced brightness for visual clarity
  • FreeSync-ready to eliminate tearing
  • Lots of connectivity with USB hub

One of the biggest features that stood out to me during my testing of the XG2402 was its ability to handle motion. Thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, high-FPS games look smooth and realistic.

And remember our discussion on FreeSync a moment ago? Well, the XG2402 supports it, so you won’t have to worry about that pesky screen tearing occurring during gameplay.

I’m a big fan of the brightness levels on this monitor. It’s like it has more oomph behind it, making games stand out in a way that you usually only see on premium models. ViewSonic gets a big thumbs-up for the technological craftsmanship they put into the XG2402.

Colors are also impressive. Images are rich, deep, and robust, displaying games the way they were meant to be seen.

Another area that deserves praise is the styling and build-quality. It may be a budget monitor, but it feels solid and sturdy. The screen can be rotated and pivoted any way you like it.

And it looks nice, too. From the very first moment you see it, there’s no question who this monitor is meant for.

ViewSonic XG2402 Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

9.42 x 22.28 x 17.08 inches

Resolution

1920 x 1080 Pixels

Display size

24 Inches

Connectivity

HDMI/DisplayPort/USB hub

Refresh Rate

144Hz

Weight

14.8 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Great practice
  • Well-built
  • Versatile

Cons

  • USBs could be in a better location

2. [Best Cheap Gaming Monitor]

Acer Nitro VG240YP

4.7/5

Features: 

  • Ideal size for the pixel count that makes images stand out
  • Borderless display adds to the immersive experience
  • Incredibly rich colors that add to the visual clarity
  • FreeSync-ready for seamless gameplay
  • Great contrast helps bring games alive

It’s incredible what a difference a few inches makes in a monitor. IPS variants such as these that rock 1080p resolution and a refresh rate of 144Hz were once only available in 27-inch models.

Now that Acer has released this 24-inch monitor, images don’t look as muddy. Pixels are perfectly sized and look clear as a bell. I can honestly say that a few less inches in screen real estate is a welcomed change.

For one, the viewing angle on the VG240YP is quite wide. Games are displayed in beautiful 1920 x 1080 resolution. Colors look crisp and vibrant, with brightness levels that bring out each image in exceptional clarity.

So, how do games play? After all, that’s the whole reason you’re here, right? During my time with the VG240YP, every game played on it was nothing short of stunning. The 144Hz refresh rate goes a long way in delivering smooth, seamless gameplay.

I also love the amount of screen that there is. There is barely any frame around this monitor, and I find that this helps to further engross you in the game. The build-quality is commendable, although it’s a little lacking to accommodate the low price point.

You also don’t get much flexibility in the positioning of the screen. It tilts, and that’s about it. Those looking for more freedom in where they place their screen should check out ViewSonic’s XG2402.

Acer Nitro VG240Y Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

21.3 x 9.4 x 16.2 inches

Resolution

1920 x 1080 pixels

Display size

23.8 inches

Connectivity

2x HDMI/DisplayPort

Refresh Rate

144Hz

Weight

10.83 pounds

Pros

  • Incredible price
  • Great display
  • Fast refresh
  • Nice design

Cons

  • Limited screen movemen

3. [Best Eye Care Gaming Monitor]

ASUS VG279Q

4.7/5

Features: 

  • Eye Care technology enables you to play longer
  • Great response time gives you smooth motion
  • Less eye strain means healthier gaming
  • Wide screen for immersive gameplay
  • Built-in speakers sound crisp

Let’s be honest. We’ve all had those moments where we stayed up way too late playing games and our eyes felt like they were going to explode. If you find yourself regularly doing this, it’s time to either start thinking about protecting your eyes or cutting back on your game time.

Since the latter is likely out of the question, I’m here to introduce you to the ASUS VG279Q. This monitor sports ASUS’s special Eye Care technology. I found it to play a big role in reducing eye strain.

There’s also lower contrast, but don’t think this factor ruins image presentation. I’d maintain that it’s hardly noticeable, but I guarantee your eyes will certainly appreciate it. And thanks to speedy response time, high frame rate and motion is handled expertly.

Colors are also quite vibrant. Gameplay looks fantastic on this monitor, although there were times when I was wishing for a slightly higher pixel count. This is only a minor quibble, though. 

You’ll be happy to know that FreeSync is supported on the VG279Q. Screen tearing won’t interfere with your games thanks to this feature.

Viewing angles are wide and immersive. There isn’t much border either, further engrossing you into your gaming experience.

ASUS VG279Q Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

24.4 x 2 x 14.3 inches

Resolution

1920 x 1080 pixels

Display size

27 inches

Connectivity

HDMI/DVI-D/DisplayPort

Refresh Rate

144Hz

Weight

12.3 pounds

Pros

  • Framerate looks great
  • Easy on the eyes
  • Large display
  • Rich colors

Cons

  • Some images look washed out

4.6/5

Features: 

  • Versatile display that positions to your liking
  • High resolution makes images look crisp
  • Limited border for greater immersion
  • Vesa-compatible for wall mounting
  • Rich colors bring gameplay to life

If you’re looking for a monitor that gives you freedom and flexibility, you’ll love Dell’s U2518D. It sports a rotatable screen for user-friendliness and greater convenience.

At 25 inches, images look absolutely stunning. This is due in large part to the 2560 x 1440 screen resolution. Combined with the wide aspect ratio, games feel immersive and responsive.

I must say, the image quality alone makes this entry a winner and worthy of its ranking. But when you factor its excellent response time and versatility, the U2518D is a great investment for any gamer. 

Sure, its refresh rate is a bit on the low end, but I didn’t notice anything lacking in its delivery. Motion looks just fine, and the frame rate is handled really well. 

This only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the black levels. Some of them just don’t hit that deep mark you like to see in certain games. Some gamers might find this is enough to take them out of the game. 

It wasn’t so much that it ruined anything for me, but your mileage may vary. Aside from that minor caveat, you’re getting an excellent gaming companion that won’t disappoint.

Dell U2518D Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

22.35 x 7.9 x 15.6 inches

Resolution

2560 x 1440 pixels

Display size

25 inches

Connectivity

HDMI/DP(in/out)/mDP/aux/3x USB

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Weight

7.58 pounds

Pros

  • Full range of motion
  • Stunning display
  • Wide angles
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Black levels seem off

4.5/5

Features: 

  • Huge screen real estate for immersive gameplay
  • Beautiful graphics with high responsiveness
  • Fast refresh for smooth motion and clarity
  • Lots of ports give you great connectivity
  • High resolution for crisp images

I’ll be honest. I’ve not had a lot of experience with curved displays. The closest I’ve had to it is a curved Samsung smartphone that was hot about 10 years ago. 

So you can imagine my amazement when I finally got my hands on the AOC CQ32G1. Clocking in at 32 inches, you’re getting a huge display that sucks you into whatever game you’re playing.

It works really well and features hardware that pulls the most out of your games for a truly impressive gaming experience. The high refresh rate ensures that motion is handled smoothly.

I never noticed any screen blurring or problems with performance. More than anything, I was blown away by how well the curved display works to raw you in. Graphics are sharp and vibrant, further enhancing your play time.

The build-quality of the CQ32G1 is also quite nice. It feels sturdy and very well-crafted. This is important and nice to see, as the monitor is built to be wall-mounted if you so desire.

If it had one drawback it would be that its brightness levels aren’t the best I’ve seen. Still, when images look as good as they do on the CQ32G1, brightness isn’t that big of a deal.

AOC CQ32G1 Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

21.8 x 9.64 x 20.87 inches

Resolution

2560 x 1440 pixels

Display size

32 inches

Connectivity

2x HDMI 1.4&2.0/DisplayPort/3.5mm aux

Refresh Rate

144Hz

Weight

16.05 pounds

Pros

  • Massive screen size
  • Stunning design
  • FreeSync-ready
  • Immersive

Cons

  • Limited brightness

4.5/5

Features: 

  • Huge screen size with wide viewing angles that draw you in
  • Tough build-quality and design for high durability
  • Excellent draw time for gameplay with no lag
  • Incredible price makes this a great bargain
  • Clear imagery for greater graphics

Good gravy. This thing is nothing short of amazing. How is it that LG is able to sell this mammoth of a monitor for such a low price? First of all, you’re getting a whopping 34 inches of widescreen action that never fails to impress.

Not to mention the visual clarity that is delivered consistently during gaming. Contrast is most excellent, and I feel it adds to the overall visual appeal that you get from this monitor.

During my time with the 34UM68-P, gameplay was smooth and snappy. The refresh rate could certainly be higher in the specs, but I never noticed an ounce of lag. In fact, I’d argue that some of my regular playthroughs improved from using this monitor.

The build-quality is equally exceptional. I love the stylish and sleek design that LG implemented into this model. And considering its large body, the 34UM68-P has excellent weight and balance to it.

It should be noted that I noticed some visual blandness when using the monitor for other applications. As it stands, I have to say that it’s only good for gaming. Anything else will have you wanting better resolution.

I appreciate that the 34UM68-P is designed to be mounted to a wall. This circles back to its excellent craftsmanship. It’s a beast of a monitor that is tough and durable. 

Connectivity options are a bit limited, as it only has a couple of HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. It’s strictly meant for gaming on the visual side of things. 

If you want audio options, you’ll need to get those from your sound system. I’d imagine that most of us pipe our headphones through this way anyhow. 

I’m rather fond of the viewing angles afforded by the 34UM68-P. You can tilt and adjust the screen position to better accommodate your gaming needs.

If you’ve been bothered by screen tearing in your games up until this point, you’ll love the difference this monitor makes. Thanks to FreeSync, this issue will be a thing of the past.

You also get a total of three game modes built right into the 34UM68-P. One is designed for strategy games, while the other two are for first-person shooters. I was happy with the effect each mode had on the games it was meant for.

LG 34UM68-P Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

32.7 x 9.9 x 21.6 inches

Resolution

2560 x 1080 pixels

Display size

34 inches

Connectivity

2x HDMI/DisplayPort

Refresh Rate

75Hz

Weight

17.6 pounds

Pros

  • Lots of screen real estate
  • Perfect contrast
  • Great design
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Limited connectivity

4.4/5

Features: 

  • Affordable 4K resolution that anyone can enjoy
  • Incredible graphics that bring games to life
  • FreeSync eliminates pesky screen tearing
  • Eye Care technology reduces eye strain
  • Vesa-ready for easy wall mounting

Looking for some 4K goodness? With the BenQ EL2870U, you’re getting some truly exceptional graphical prowess. The price for this classy monitor is amazing, giving everyone a chance to own to play games in ultra-high definition. 

FreeSync makes another appearance, ensuring that your games run smoothly and seamlessly. You won’t find any screen tearing here.

I really appreciate that BenQ equipped the EL2870U with Eye Care technology. Now you can play until the wee hours of the morning with less eye strain.

The refresh rate might only be 60Hz, but motion looks great. Even games with high frame rate are handled incredibly well. I didn’t have any issues with input lag, that’s for sure.

In fact, I enjoyed gaming on this monitor so much that I found myself repeatedly returning to it. The resolution is a big reason for this. You have to see it for yourself to fully appreciate it.

The only gripe I have has to do with colors and how they are displayed. I definitely got better results from the other entries I reviewed. Still, the visual clarity makes up for this to some degree.

I also wish there were more versatility to the screen positioning. Tilting is the only option available, limiting you on where you can play games. 

I would have liked it if there were more connectivity options, too. You only have access to a couple of HDMIs and a DP. But considering the low price, some caveats are expected.

BenQ EL2870U Technical Specifications: 

Dimensions

19 x 3 x 26 inches

Resolution

3840 x 2160 pixels

Display size

28 inches

Connectivity

2x HDMI/DP

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Weight

12.57 pounds

Pros

  • Good screen size
  • Accessible price
  • Clear visuals
  • Effective

Cons

  • Limited screen positioning

How We Chose the Best Budget Gaming Monitors

For a monitor to be included, I had to make sure that it was capable of handling a handful of games. Images had to look bold and clear, and there could be no lag present.

Connectivity is also key, although I realize not everyone needs a plethora of ports to complete their gaming experience. That being said, you’ll find that most monitors are equipped with plenty of options.

Resolution is another must-have factor that needs to be, at minimum, 1080p. Anything less didn’t make the grade for what I feel is an adequate gaming monitor. You’ll even find a 4K option among the ranks. 

Screen size played a role in my decision to include a monitor, as well. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we like our games to feel big. No monitor listed here has a display size of below 23.8 inches.

I found that even the smallest monitor had enough room to satisfactorily display images clearly. But for those who insist that their monitors be large, I have included some really nice “big screens”, as well.

You’ll find that built-in sound was the least of my concerns. As gamers, I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of us have independent sound systems.

And lastly, it goes without saying, price is important. You don’t have to spend a small fortune to get great gaming visuals. There are plenty of monitors under $400 that are jam-packed with features.

What Is Screen Resolution?

This is the amount of pixels that your monitor can cram into it for display purposes. The higher the pixel count, the better its visual clarity will be.

I have included each entry’s resolution (among other specs) so that you can better determine if it fits your gaming needs. 

Anytime you see something like “1920 x 1080” listed under a monitor’s specifications, you’re looking at its resolution. The first number is the amount of pixels displayed horizontally, while the lower number is the amount displayed vertically.

You want to keep in mind that it’s important to pay attention to a monitor’s display size. The bigger the display, the more pixels you want it to have. Images always look clearer on a small display.

There are some smartphones that have the same resolution as some monitors. Images might look great on a compact screen but get blurry and washed out on a big monitor.

What Is Response Time?

This is simply how long your monitor takes to cycle through different colors; typically black, white, or grey. Some monitors have a response time of 10 milliseconds (ms), while others can be as low as 1 ms.

Whereas refresh rate is better with higher numbers (see below), response time is better with lower numbers. So, why is this important, and why should it matter to you as a gamer?

Well, think of it this way: if you’re playing competitively, you know that every millisecond (literally) counts. Whether it be in a racing game, playing Street Fighter V, or Medal of Honor, you rely on lightning-quick response time to stay ahead of your competition. 

Any delay will likely lead to defeat. This is why serious gamers need their monitors to display imagery as quickly and seamlessly as possible. 

What Is Refresh Rate?

This is the frequency in which a monitor redraws an image on-screen. Measured per second in hertz, the higher the hertz, the better your game will look during gameplay. 

If you have a 60Hz refresh rate, your monitor should clearly display games in 60 frames a second. Conversely, a monitor with 120Hz rate will make your 60 FPS game look even better.

The improvement comes in the motion department, not graphically. Although it might appear that your graphics have improved, you’re really just seeing them as they were meant to be seen.

If you want to get the absolute most out of your games, consider investing in a gaming monitor with a high refresh rate.

What is AMD FreeSync?

If you’ve ever played a game and noticed the screen become misaligned, AMD FreeSync works to fix this issue. Screen “tearing” happens fairly regularly on monitors that don’t have decent refresh rates. 

Basically, your game’s framerate is faster than what your monitor’s hardware can keep up with. But this can be fixed if your monitor is equipped with FreeSync. By enabling this feature, your games will run more smoothly and completely.

If your monitor supports FreeSync, simply right-click on your desktop and an option for AMD Radeon should populate. From here, you can navigate through its display settings and enable the FreeSync feature.

Once confirmed, your games should see a noticeable difference in their visual clarity and graphical wholeness. 

What Is Contrast Ratio?

Not to be confused with your monitor’s brightness setting, contrast controls how light or dark images are displayed. Having the correct contrast is necessary if you want to get the most out of your high-resolution screen.

Contrast that is improperly set can result in images that are either washed out or too dim. Thankfully, the monitors I have included feature great contrast ratios. The games I tested all looked incredibly clear and balanced.

And balance is exactly what you want. This will ensure that your games maintain their visual brilliance throughout gameplay.