The best gaming monitors in 2021

Nothing beats using one of the best gaming monitors around, whether you’re rocking a cheap laptop or even the best gaming laptop. Gaming monitors come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re really useful for providing more display real estate for games and freeing up your laptop screen for guides or Twitch chats.

However, there are a few things you should know before buying one of the best gaming monitors. You’ll have to choose between 4K, which gives you sharper images but lower refresh rates, and 1080p, which favors responsiveness over resolution—everything in between lands in the middle of the spectrum. There’s also High Dynamic Range (HDR), which nets you better color and brightness but at a higher cost.

You’ll have to choose a panel type, as well, which comes down to a choice between TN (twisted nematic) and IPS (in-plane switching). The former is cheaper and offers better response times, while the latter features better colors and contrast at the cost of response times and a hit to your wallet. Also, check if the monitor supports Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, which is designed to sync up to your GPU for smoother frame rates (go with whichever branded GPU you have). Recently, we tested a 144Hz monitor and 360Hz monitor, then compared it to a 60Hz monitor to see what major differences we could spot.

If you need a gaming monitor to make the most out of Xbox Series X games and PS5 games in the future, make sure the monitor you get has either a 4K or 1080p, 120Hz display. Check out our recent review of the Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K U2720Q, which offers a gorgeous picture quality, a good range of ports and a flexible design all for a great value at $539. Also, see our LG CX OLED TV (CX48OLED) review, which isn’t necessarily a monitor, but it has some gaming monitor features.

Check out our best cheap gaming monitor deals, best gaming deals and best computer monitor deals pages to score a good gaming monitor for an affordable price.

There’s nothing more exciting than sharing that we have some exciting new gaming monitors coming from HP. Today, HP announced its HP X series gaming monitors, which look fantastic and come with some excellent specs. The X series monitors come with 165Hz refresh rates, with the X27c coming with FHD resolution and the X27q, X32, and X34 arriving with QHD resolution. The HP X series of gaming monitors come in 27, 32, and 34-inches and support AMD FreeSync, with the 32 and 34-inch models also coming with HDR 400 capability. HP also is bringing Curved versions of the X series gaming monitors that will come in a 27-inch FHD, @7-inch QHD and 32-inch QHD and will also feature 165Hz refresh rates.  We will have full reviews on the new HP X series gaming monitors soon.

What are the best gaming monitors?

If you’re looking for the most well-rounded gaming monitor you can buy right now, then look no further than the Razer Raptor 27. It’s a decent size, at 27 inches, and it features a sharp 2560 x 1400 panel that’s super colorful and bright. It even supports both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync to reduce screen tearing when you’re playing a fast-paced FPS.

However, if you have money to burn, you could invest in getting a huge 55-inch OLED monitor, aka the Alienware AW5520QF. Overlooking that price for a second, the AW5520QF has a lot to offer, including a stunning 4K OLED panel, a sleek yet practical design and plenty of useful and easily accessible ports. But as you might have guessed, the AW5520QF costs a pretty penny.

The ViewSonic Elite XG270 gaming monitor comes in hot with all 27 inches of its colorful panel clocked at a 240Hz refresh rate topped off with numerous display settings. It’s definitely a showpiece. That said, the Elite XG270’s design is a little impractical if you have a small desk, and the speakers don’t sound great. However, if you’re looking to get into competitive gaming, the Elite XG270 is one of the best gaming monitors you can buy.

The best gaming monitors you can buy today

Razer Raptor 27Asus ROG Strix XG27UQViewSonic Elite XG270Alienware AW5520QFDell S2721HGFAsus ROG Swift PG43UQMSI Optix MAG274QRF-QDLG 24MP59G-PSamsung CHG70Asus ROG Swift PG27AAcer Predator X34ViewSonic XG2401.

The Razer Raptor 27 is hands down the best gaming monitor around thanks to its vivid, bright 144Hz display and sleek design. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. Razer Raptor 27

The best overall gaming monitor you can buy

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (2560 x 1440)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Vivid, bright 144-Hz display+HDR400 support+Sleek design+Clever cable management and port access

Reasons to avoid

-No VESA mount

The Razer Raptor 27 sports a 27-inch, 2560 x 1400 panel that covers 162.1% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 295 nits of brightness, which was vibrant and vivid in person. In terms of performance, it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a 1-millisecond response time.

The IPS panel supports HDR400, and it comes with a few display presets, such as FPS Game, Racing Game, MMO Game, streaming and default. Razer packs bright green flat cables with the monitor, and those line up with grooves in the back that help with wire management. Top that off with its modern, sleek and glowing design with some subtle RGB flair, this is easily one of the best-looking monitors and among the best gaming monitors you can buy.

See our full Razer Raptor 27 review.

The Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ offers a gorgeous 4K display with a 144Hz refresh rate and a ridiculously fast response time, making it one of the best gaming monitors around. (Image credit: Future)

2. Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ

Best 4K, 144Hz gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (3840 x 2160)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: Nvidia G-Sync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

Reasons to buy

+Colorful and bright 4K panel+144Hz refresh rate+HDR400 support+Fast response time

Reasons to avoid

-HDR automatically dims content

With the Xbox Series X and PS5 on their way, it’s hard not to think about what kind of monitor or TV will showcase the best of 4K or high-refresh-rate gaming, but let me introduce you to the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ.

For $799, you get a 27-inch, 3840 x 2160-pixel display with a 144Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync support. It’s colorful and bright, HDR400-enabled, and offers a ridiculous 1-millisecond response time. However, we noticed that the HDR tends to dim content automatically, not utilizing the full potential brightness of the display. Additionally, there are no speakers, which is upsetting given the high price, and the bezels are a little thick. But overall, if you’re looking for one of the best gaming monitors for under $1,000, the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ is it.

The Strix XG27UQ nailed 355 nits of brightness on SDR settings, which crushed the Razer Raptor 27 (295 nits) and the ViewSonic Elite XG270 (277 nits). When I said this beast was colorful, I wasn’t exaggerating. The Strix XG27UQ covers a whopping 108% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is above its 90% projected rating.

See our full Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ review.

If you’re looking for a monitor with a high refresh rate and a colorful screen, the best gaming monitor you can buy is the ViewSonic Elite XG270. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. ViewSonic Elite XG270

Best eSports gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (1920 x 1080)

Max Refresh Rate: 240 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync/FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

Reasons to buy

+Colorful panel+240Hz refresh rate+Numerous display settings+AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync support

Reasons to avoid

-Inconvenient design

For just $429, you can get the ViewSonic Elite XG270 gaming monitor, which presents a 27-inch, 1920 x 1080 display clocked at a 240Hz refresh rate with a 1 millisecond response time. It’s one of the best gaming monitors you can get for eSports. We took a dive in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and found ourselves in… a tomb. Lara Croft’s blue-and-gold tunic popped on the Elite XG270’s panel, and we could even spot the stitching on her sleeves. The monitor has great viewing angles, as our Editor-in-Chief could see the picture clearly while sitting far to the right the screen.

This IPS panel also comes with HDR10 support and is compatible with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It beat the 99% projected color rating, covering 132% of the sRGB color gamut and averaged 277 nits of brightness, which is pretty solid. If you’re looking to play eSports games like Overwatch or CS:GO, this is a great monitor to buy.

See our full ViewSonic Elite XG270 review.

Have the cash to burn? The Alienware AW5520QF has a vivid and huge 55-inch OLED display, making it one of the best gaming monitors. (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

4. Alienware AW5520QF

Best OLED gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 55-inch (3840 x 2160)

Max Refresh Rate: 120 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: OLED

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (3), SPDIF Out, USB (4), Headphone Jack

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous 4K OLED panel+Elegant, practical design+AMD FreeSync and 120Hz refresh rate+Useful port selection

Reasons to avoid

-Extremely expensive

Once you’re at 55 inches and boasting an OLED panel, can we really still call the Alienware AW5520QF a monitor? Regardless, whether you’re looking for a TV or a monitor, the Alienware AW5520QF is the perfect machine to play your games on, especially if you have the money to spend, specifically a whopping $2,999. Sure enough, the screen did an excellent job keeping up as we slashed at a nasty golem in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Our character’s movements were smooth, fluid and free of any screen tearing.

Along with the gorgeous 4K OLED screen, you get a screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync. The Alienware AW5520QF also has a decent set of speakers on it, so you’ll be able to hear separate sounds and place them around you. The Alienware makes ranks quick as one of the best gaming monitors.

See our full Alienware AW5520QF 55-inch OLED Gaming Monitor review.

If you’re strapped for cash, the Dell S2721HGF is more than satisfactory for your gaming needs. It’s one of the best gaming monitors around. (Image credit: Future)

5. Dell S2721HGF

The best budget 27-inch gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (1920 x 1080)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: VA

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), headphone jack, Headphone Jack

Reasons to buy

+Colorful display+High refresh rate+Fast response time+Easy installation

Reasons to avoid

-Display could be brighter

The Dell S2721HGF is a lovely 27-inch curved monitor that acts as a good entry point into vivid gaming displays for those on a tight budget. For $224.99, you get 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1 millisecond response time. It also has AMD FreeSync Premium capabilities, which can lower latency and reduce screen tearing.

Exploring the colorful worlds found in Doom Eternal and Crash Bandicoot 4 with the Dell S2721HGF was immersive and engaging. Sure, it’s not as vivid or as bright as some of the more expensive displays out there, but if you’re looking for a way into the hardcore gaming scene without spending tons of money, this monitor is a great investment.

See our full Dell S2721HGF monitor review.

The Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ is a beautiful big monitor with a 4K display and fast 144Hz refresh rate, but for the price, it could do some things better. (Image credit: Rami Tabari)

6. Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ

The best big 4K monitor

Specifications

Display: 43-inch (3840 x 2160)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: VA

Inputs: DisplayPort (2), HDMI (2), USB Type-A (2), USB Type-B (1), headphone jack

Reasons to buy

+Bright, vivid 4K panel+144Hz refresh rate+Fast response time+Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatible

Reasons to avoid

-Text is fuzzy

If you’re looking for a big screen to fill up your gaming space with gorgeous visuals, it’s difficult to find a better choice than the Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ, a 43-inch, 4K gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate.

This beauty provides remarkable visuals, a fast 1-millisecond response time to match and smooth compatibility with Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. It even comes with a neat little remote. But, it’s not all fun rainbow colors here. Firstly, this beast costs $1,499, and it’s not without problems. Text is noticeably fuzzy on the display, the HDR looks washed out compared to SDR, and the speakers are bad at highlighting dialogue.

Despite all of that, if you can get over some fuzzy text and come prepared with your own gaming headset, the Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ is easily one of the best gaming monitors out there.

See our full Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ review.

Aimed at esports gamers, the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD gaming monitor is fast, colorful, stylish and not too hard on your wallet (Image credit: Future)

7. MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD

The best color performance

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (2560 x 1440)

Max Refresh Rate: 165 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync and FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: Rapid IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C, 2x USB-A 3.5 audio jack

Reasons to buy

+Excellent viewing angles+Low input lag+Vivid colors+165Hz refresh rate+Fast response time+Highly adjustable

Reasons to avoid

-Oversaturated colors (out of the box)-Low contrast

The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD is fast, colorful, stylish, and not too hard on your wallet, making it an excellent all-around gaming monitor that supports both AMDFreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync. The all-black nearly bezel-less 27-inch monitor is ergonomically friendly, highly adjustable, easy on the eyes, and built for speed with 1ms response times and a 165Hz refresh rate to ensure buttery smooth motion and image quality. And at $369, it doesn’t break the bank.

The MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD came in handy when I played Borderlands 2 with its super colorful pen-shaded graphics. After a few minutes of slaughtering a few bandits, bruisers, and spider creatures, and blowing off the head of a vicious little grenade-wielding marauder who was throwing grenades at me, I was taken with the display. Not only is the panel gorgeous with rich, beautiful hues, it’s redonkulously fast! All the character’s movements were buttery smooth and when racing around in the armored Runner gunning down monsters, the speedy refresh rate ensured there wasn’t any noticeable ghosting or motion blur.

See our full Review MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD

If you’re on a budget, the best gaming monitor to buy is the LG 24MP59G-P, thanks to its bright display and stylish design.

8. LG 24MP59G-P

Best cheap gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080)

Max Refresh Rate: 75 Hz

Response Time: 5ms GTG/1ms MBR

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

Reasons to buy

+Bright display+Stylish design+Responsive for the price+Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-Not very colorful

As we sifted through the field of cheap gaming monitors, the LG 24MP59G-P stood out primarily because of its solid all-around features for the price ($150). Its 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 display covers 93 percent of the sRGB color gamut and hits a respectable 246 nits of brightness. This monitor also has one of the best lag times we saw in this price range. Additionally, it has a pretty wicked design and it’s even compatible with AMD FreeSync.

Unlike many of the inexpensive gaming monitors we looked at, the LG 24MP59G-P has some visual flair, thanks to a two-toned red-and-black color scheme that will make it look right at home in your battlestation. The construction is stylish and sturdy, and a small four-direction joystick set into the bottom edge of the display cabinet lets you navigate menus quickly and also doubles as a power button.

The Samsung CHG70 is the best gaming monitor you can get if you want to focus on HDR performance while gaming.

9. Samsung CHG70

Best HDR gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 32-inch (2560 x 1440)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: VA

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (2)

Reasons to buy

+Sharp, 1440p resolution+Fantastic HDR support+Impressive color and accuracy

Reasons to avoid

-Noticeable warping and color shifting-No built-in speakers

Samsung’s CHG70 curved gaming monitor blew us away with the full force of a rainbow. The 32-inch, 1440p, FreeSync display covers a wild 154 percent of the sRGB spectrum. When playing Grand Theft Auto V, we especially noticed how night scenes looked a little more true to life, with bright, glowing headlights and signs that popped against the low lighting. Colors were vibrant, including the blue in images of California skies and the red of a stolen sports car.

In SDR mode, the monitor averaged up to 365 nits of brightness in our testing, and in HDR mode, the specs say that the monitor can go up to 600 nits. To top it all off, the display sits on a super-ergonomic stand that can accommodate any setup you throw at it.

See our full Samsung CHG70 review.

Want to have supersharp 4K gaming? The Asus ROG Swift PG27A offers a gorgeous display and an intuitive interface, making it one of the best gaming monitors.

10. Asus ROG Swift PG27A

Best 4K gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 27-inch (3840 x 2160)

Max Refresh Rate: 60 Hz

Response Time: 4ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB (2)

Reasons to buy

+Gorgeous 4K picture quality+Intuitive interface+G-Sync support+Solid built-in speakers

Reasons to avoid

-Fairly pricey

The Asus ROG Swift PG27A is among the most beastly sub-$1,000 monitors, as it offers a 4K display with Nvidia G-Sync, a pair of solid speakers and an intuitive interface. This 27-inch champion covers a rich 130 percent of the sRGB color gamut. And while it stumbled slightly with its 234 nits of brightness, it offers a speedy 4-ms response time for a 4K monitor.

Playing Mass Effect: Andromeda on the PG27A’s 27-inch, ultra-HD display was revelatory; the game’s lush forests and imposing alien structures looked incredibly sharp and colorful. We could even make out the tiny scratches and patches of condensation on the character’s helmet — two details that we never really noticed before. It also neatly flips into portrait mode, as if it were meant to be viewed that way all along.

See our full Asus ROG Swift PG27A review.

Want a curved display? The Acer Predator X34 is the best gaming monitor for you due to its impressive design, gorgeous picture quality and low latency.

11. Acer Predator X34

Best curved gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 34-inch (3440 x 1440)

Max Refresh Rate: 100 Hz

Response Time: 4ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync

Aspect Ratio: 21:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

TODAY’S BEST DEALS

Reasons to buy

+Impressive design+Gorgeous picture quality+Strong G-Sync performance+Low latency

As long as you’re willing to drop the cash ($849), the Acer Predator X34 is hands down the best curved gaming monitor you can get. At 34 inches with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, it’s incredibly immersive, covering 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut and a strong 261 nits of brightness.

Tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege ran smoothly and played responsively, and in a game where a few shots can kill you, we appreciated having the extra field of view for spotting bad guys. Watching a 4K trailer for Elysium on the Predator made us feel like we were in a mini movie theater, from the sheer sharpness of the film’s futuristic landscapes to the engulfing 21:9 aspect ratio. You’ll even get the full dive with the Predator’s crisp 7-watt speakers and its Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. This monitor just looks pretty badass, too, as if an alien artifact crash-landed on your desk.

See our full Acer Predator X34 review.

Are you packing an AMD GPU? Then the best gaming monitor for you is the ViewSonic XG2401, as it features AMD FreeSync and boasts superfast response times.

12. ViewSonic XG2401

Best Freesync gaming monitor

Specifications

Display: 24-inch (1920 x 1080)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: TN

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI (2), USB (3)

Reasons to buy

+Superfast response times+Fast 144-Hz refresh rate at 1080p+AMD FreeSync support+Highly adjustable stand with headphone dock

Reasons to avoid

-A few extraneous features

For just $200, the ViewSonic XG2401 is a sharp, 24-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel with a speedy 1-millisecond response time and AMD FreeSync compatibility for tear-free gaming. The XG2401 did an excellent job highlighting the lush forests, flowing rivers and colorful fantasy characters of Dota 2, making it easy for us to keep up with the action. The monitor’s RTS and MOBA modes made the image almost excessively sharp — they didn’t look especially pretty, but these modes created thick outlines around every character that could potentially help pro players better spot allies and enemies.

The ViewSonic averages 355 nits of brightness, while the color landed at 91 percent, which could be better. But for a monitor this inexpensive, the built-in speakers packed a punch when we cranked the volume up all the way, and this monitor even offers a neat headphone stand.

See our full ViewSonic XG2401 review.

How to choose the best gaming monitors for you

Choosing the best gaming monitors for you is dependent on a lot of factors, such as: budget, the size you want or space you have, the GPU you have and what kind of balance you want between resolution and refresh rate. If you’re looking for a good-sized monitor that features a great balance of everything, the Razer Raptor 27 has what you need, as it sports a sharp resolution and a decently high refresh rate all packed into a super color display.

However, if you want to hit a 4K resolution comboed with a high refresh rate, you better be willing to spend the money, because something like the Alienware AW5520QF is going to burn a hole in your wallet. But if you want to keep your budget relatively low and are primarily focused on playing eSports games, such as Overwatch and CS:GO, we recommend getting a high refresh rate monitor like the ViewSonic Elite XG270.

How we test the best gaming monitors

Firstly we put each gaming monitor through our standard benchmark testing. We use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness, sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut of the gaming monitor’s display. Then we evaluate each aspect of the gaming monitor, including its ports, performance, design and speakers.

When it comes to the display, we typically play around 3 games of varying genres to get a feel of what each kind of game looks like on the display. We’ll also watch a movie trailer to see how watching live action stuff is presented on-screen. During our testing, we go through all of the modes and settings to determine which is best for each viewing experience.

Not every display is going to be super gorgeous and colorful, so we keep in mind the price of the gaming monitor before we determine our scores and our impressions.

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