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The best gaming monitors in 2020

The best gaming monitors
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Having one of the best gaming monitors can elevate your entire hobby. Think about it: What's the point of buying or building a superb PC and decking it out with fancy accessories if your games look subpar? One of the best gaming monitors can display crisp images, vivid colors, high resolutions and fast frame rates, and they can do so with easy-to-navigate menus and tons of options to optimize gameplay.

On our list of the best gaming monitors, we've researched some of the bestselling peripherals on the market to see which ones really deliver a gaming experience worthy of your PC or console. Our selections run the gamut from 1080p to 4K resolutions, and from 60 Hz refresh rates all the way up to 144 Hz — and higher. Whether you have an AMD or Nvidia GPU, there's a monitor on this list that can help you optimize your experience.

Our selections for the best gaming monitors range from just over $100 into the thousands, and from 24-inch models for your desk to 55-inch behemoths that can command a central spot in your living room. No matter how you like to play games, one of the best gaming monitors on this list will help you play them to their fullest.

What are the best gaming monitors?

At present, the best gaming monitor we’ve tested is the Razer Raptor 27. This 27-inch monitor offers lifelike colors and crisp images, thanks to its quad HD 2560 x 1440 resolution. You’ll also be able to run games at high frame rates, thanks to the monitor’s 144 Hz refresh rate. The monitor’s size, resolution and refresh rate all represent reasonable middle grounds, which most gamers will be able to achieve without building or buying incredibly powerful PCs first. The only real downside to the Raptor 27 is its price, which is pretty high for a monitor of its size and capabilities.

If you don’t have much money to play with, you can pick up the LG 24MP49G-P. This bare-bones monitor displays games at 1080p resolutions with a refresh rate of 75 Hz. If you have a relatively modest PC — or a current-gen console — this is probably all you’ll need. At 24 inches, it’ll also fit easily on top of most desks.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Alienware AW5520QF, which, at first glance, doesn’t even look like a gaming monitor. This 55-inch behemoth can replace a TV as the focal point of your living room, except that its OLED screen and fast refresh rate (120 Hz) are perfectly suited to PC games. This monitor costs thousands of dollars, but if you’re serious about living room PC gaming, it’s one of the best gaming monitors you can buy.

Tom’s Guide is currently in the process of revamping our best gaming monitors page, so stay tuned for new additions to replace older models over the next few weeks.

The best gaming monitors you can buy today

Best gaming monitors: Razer Raptor 27

(Image credit: Razer)

1. Razer Raptor 27

The best gaming monitor overall

Dimensions: 24.2 x 15.3 x 7.5 inches | Screen Size: 27 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Refresh Rate: 144 Hz | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C

Gorgeous display
Smart design
Straightforward menus
Very expensive
Requires USB-C for customization

The Razer Raptor 27 is currently our selection for the best gaming monitor overall. This 27-inch screen displays gorgeous colors with stunning accuracy, at crisp quad HD resolutions. You can run games at more than 100 frames per second, thanks to the Raptor 27’s fast 144 Hz refresh rate. At 2560 x 1440 pixels, the screen is high-res enough to display gorgeous images, but not so high-res that you’ll need an incredibly powerful PC to make the most of it. In other words, it’s a nearly perfect midpoint of performance and accessibility.

The only real downside to the Raptor 27 is that it’s extremely expensive, especially compared to other quad HD monitors. But you’re also paying for the monitor’s excellent physical design, which makes the ports extremely easy to access, and the cables very simple to manage.

Read our full Razer Raptor 27 review.

Best gaming monitors: LG 24MP59G-P

(Image credit: LG)

2. LG 24MP59G-P

The best budget gaming monitor

Dimensions: 21.7 x 16.5 x 8.0 inches | Screen Size: 24 inches | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

IPS panel
Great brightness
Fast response times
So-so color quality

The best gaming monitor value, the LG 24MP59G-P offers excellent brightness and response times for the price, and is the rare IPS panel you can get for under $200. It also packs AMD FreeSync for eliminating screen tears on AMD-powered machines. Color quality is pretty good, with decent color gamut (93.3 percent) but solid accuracy (Delta-E 0.74). 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.

Beyond that, the monitor screen measures 24 inches, and features a refresh rate of 75 Hz. You can connect it to your computer with either a DisplayPort or HDMI cable. There's no denying that the LG 24MP59G-P isn't the fanciest or most elaborate monitor you can buy, but for the price, it more than gets the job done.

Read our full LG 24MP59G-P review in our best cheap gaming monitors roundup.

Best gaming monitors: Dell 24 Gaming Monitor

(Image credit: Dell)

3. Dell 24 Gaming Monitor

The best flatscreen gaming monitor

Dimensions: 21.3 x 7.1 x 19.4 inches | Screen Size: 24 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Refresh Rate: 165 Hz | Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

Vibrant quad-HD display
Very responsive
Useful game presets
Highly adjustable
Stiff navigation buttons

If you want something better than 1080p but can't afford to go full 4K, the Dell S2417DG is the best gaming monitor that hits that sweet spot. This sharp 2560 x 1440 display offers excellent color and brightness, and features useful game modes as well as Nvidia G-Sync support for keeping your games extra smooth. Dell's monitor looks unassuming enough for the office, but also offers tons of ergonomic adjustment to help you game comfortably.

The Dell S2417DG features a 24-inch screen, a 165 Hz refresh rate and support for both HDMI and DisplayPort connections. In our tests, we were extremely impressed with how good the monitor made games and other multimedia look. We were also pleased with its presets, which let you tweak your visual experience without having to dive too deeply into the menus. The physical buttons on the monitor are a bit stiff, but aside from that, the system has almost no drawbacks, especially for the price.

Read our full Dell S2417DG review

Best gaming monitors: Samsung CHG70

(Image credit: Future)

4. Samsung CHG70

The best curved gaming monitor

Dimensions: 28.5 x 24.5 x 15.0 inches | Screen Size: 32 inches | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Maximum Refresh Rate: 144Hz | Inputs: HDMI (2), DisplayPort, USB

Sharp 1440p resolution
Fantastic HDR support
Impressive color and accuracy
Noticeable warping and color shifting
No built-in speakers

The best curved gaming monitor we've tested, the Samsung CHG70 packs a ton of great gaming features into a gorgeous and reasonably priced package. You get a stunning 32-inch curved 1440p display, FreeSync support for extra smoothness on AMD graphics cards, and a highly ergonomic stand that can easily adjust to any gaming setup. But the real kicker is the CHG70's excellent HDR performance, which really allows colors to pop in high-fidelity games.

You can play games with very high frame rates, as the CHG70 offers a refresh rate of 144 Hz. With plenty of inputs, you could theoretically connect it to a PC and two consoles simultaneously, which is great news for streamers. It's also useful for those who keep all of their gaming gear together in a small nook rather than spread throughout a living room.

Read our full Samsung CHG70 review.

Best gaming monitors: LG 38GL950G

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. LG 38GL950G UltraGear Gaming Monitor

The best ultrawide gaming monitoor

Dimensions: 35.3 x 21.7 x 11.3 inches | Screen Size: 38 inches | Resolution: 3840 x 1600 | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort

Bright, vivid 38-inch curved display
Sharp 3840 x 1600 resolution
Low response time, high refresh rate
No built-in speakers
Doesn't swivel

The LG 38GL950 delivers a kitchen sink of great features for folks willing to pay a premium price. This 36-inch, 3840 x 1600 curved display is incredibly immersive for cinematic games, and features Nvidia G-Sync and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate for keeping things smooth during more competitive titles. The monitor doesn't reach full 4K resolution, but quad-HD should suffice for most people, especially those with cheaper PCs.

LG's ultrawide display also sports a rear-facing ring of customizable RGB lighting, which is ideal for adding some ambient mood lighting to your command center. The 38GL950 is a breeze to set up, and delivered great brightness and color both in real world use and on our lab tests. LG's ultrawide monitor is very pricey, and we wish it had USB-C, but this is a great premium display for folks seeking maximum immersion.

Read our full LG 38GL950G review.

Best gaming monitor: Alienware AW5520QF

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED Gaming Monitor

A bonkers gaming monitor and OLED screen in one

Dimensions: 48.3 x 10.4 x 30.3 inches | Screen Size: 55 inches | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort

Beautiful, polished design
Superb OLED panel
DisplayPort and multiple USB 3.0 ports
Crazy expensive
Complicated to enable features like HDR

The Alienware AW5520QF 55-inch is the best gaming monitor and big-screen TV in one device — for folks willing to spend about $4,000. This humongous OLED screen gives you the best of both worlds, delivering the size and picture quality of a 55-inch 4K TV alongside key gaming monitor features such as DisplayPort connectivity and fast 120Hz refresh rates. Hook it up to a console, or a living room PC, or both.

The AW5520QF's high price tag may scare off folks on a budget, but if you do your PC gaming in the living room or want a premium monitor that can double as a great TV, Alienware's mammoth screen is uniquely qualified to do the job. Remember: A computer can stream almost anything, so you'll be able to watch, listen to or play whatever you want.

Read our full Alienware AW5520QF review.

How to choose the best gaming monitor for you

The best gaming monitor for your needs comes down to three major factors: resolution, refresh rate and price.

How much resolution you need depends on how powerful your PC is. Extremely powerful machines can run games at 4K resolutions (3840 x 2160 pixels), which means you'll probably want to pony up for a more elaborate monitor. Cheaper machines pair better with 1080p monitors, while those in-between can run at quad-HD resolutions.

Refresh rate is similar, in that more powerful machines will need monitors with higher refresh rates. While refresh rate and frames per second are not exactly the same thing, it's useful to think of them in the same terms when choosing a monitor. Is your PC powerful enough to get 60 frames per second during gameplay? 120 frames per second? More? The higher the refresh rate, the higher number of frames per second the monitor can support.

Price is pretty self-explanatory. Just remember that more expensive monitors will be useful for longer periods of time. A good screen can last for a decade or more, and if you decide to buy or build a new machine in the future, you may not need to replace a monitor that's sufficiently advanced.

How we test gaming monitors

To test our best gaming monitors, we employ a colorimeter and benchmarking software to measure a monitor's color accuracy, contrast and brightness. A monitor's brightness refers to how many nits of luminosity it can output; its color accuracy (or Delta-E) measures how lifelike its colors are; its color gamut represents how great a variety of the spectrum it can display. We can also measure a monitor's latency, and try to push it to its limits in terms of game frame rates.

Qualitatively, we run each monitor through both productivity and gaming tests. You’re not going to switch monitors each time you need to open a word processor, watch a video or send an e-mail, so every monitor on this list must be sharp and responsive for everyday use. As far as gaming goes, we run each monitor through games in a variety of genres, including FPS, RTS, MOBA, RPG and MMO, in order to ensure that it doesn’t favor one genre at another’s expense.

  • Computered
    This has some solid choices on it though I would disagree with two of them. The high end Acer ultra-wide has been plagued among consumers with quality control issues for both the Freesync and Gsync model. The monitors sent to reviewers are with more research starting to appear to be cherry picked which means Acer had some awareness of the issues. For the cost a certain level of quality control is expected. Hard to see how anyone can suggest them to consumers right now.

    As for the Freesync chose The Asus monitor is a good choice but my experience with both has shown the Benq XL2730Z delivers a better experience.
    Reply
  • narsos
    The link to amazon for the Best Over Gaming Monitor BENQ XL2420G links to the XL2420Z. A difference of no G-Sync and about $400 between the 2.
    Reply
  • DFWallace
    At the 27" size reference point, IMHO, the Acer Predator XB271HU and the Asus PG279Q are the two best choices... WORD...
    Reply
  • Ghork
    None of these are 16:10 the traditional computer widescreen format, unfortunately Console gaming made TV formats popular, but 16:9 is TERRIBLE for computers, there's too little vertical space/or if big enough it's too wide so you'll miss stuff at the sides for gaming. So all these monitors are basicly worse than 10 year old monitors in my book, wish someone would take note and actually make a 16:10 gaming high refresh rate monitor
    Reply
  • axlrose
    This is the first I've heard anything solid on the 4k 144hz front. Where is the Q3 info from? That's the monitor I'm waiting for.
    Reply
  • javidali
    hi which monitor will b perfect for the xbox one x...would the x34 be worth it for dat?
    Reply
  • Sam Hain
    19837187 said:
    hi which monitor will b perfect for the xbox one x...would the x34 be worth it for dat?

    The "X" is an HDR capable machine, therefore you'd want to invest your budget into an HDR capable display.. The only monitors at the moment (on the U.S. market that I know of) that purportedly support HDR are made by Samsung:

    https://www.samsung.com/us/computing/monitors/gaming/s/_/n-10+11+hv22x+zq2jk/

    All would be more cost-effective options to a 4K TV obviously BUT may not have built in speakers, which to be honest, most monitor audio is horrid to be polite. If you already own an audio solution, you're set... Otherwise, you'd need to invest in a soundbar, 2.1, surround system etc.

    Option two: Nab a 4K 120Hz HDR TV within your budget with a screen-size that will work within your desired mounting-space/location for it.


    Reply