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The best gaming monitors in 2021

Included in this guide:

best gaming monitors
(Image credit: LG)

The best gaming monitors significantly improve your PC gaming experience. 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? The best gaming monitors can display crisp images, vivid colors, high resolutions and fast framerates, and they can do so with easy-to-navigate menus and tons of options to optimize gameplay. Some of them are even curved, which can help keep every inch of the monitor within optimal distance from your eyes.

To compile our list of the best gaming monitors we've researched some of the best-selling 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. Read on to find out how!

Best gaming monitor Black Friday deals

Black Friday deals are happening now through the end of November, making this one of the best times of the year to buy a new monitor if you're looking to save some money. Right now is a great time to snag this awesome ultra-wide Samsung gaming monitor for $150 off at Walmart, for example.

The best deals go in and out of stock, and won't always last long, so keep an eye on our Black Friday monitor deals page for the most up-to-date savings. 

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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous display+Smart design+Straightforward menus
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive compared to others on this list-Requires USB-C for customization

The Razer Raptor 27 is currently our pick 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: Acer XFA240

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Acer XFA240

The best gaming monitor under $200

Specifications
Dimensions: 22.3 x 2.4 x 13.2 inches
Screen Size: 24 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive compared to the competition+Good color quality+Easy, straightforward design
Reasons to avoid
-Menus are a pain-"Game mode" can make graphics worse

The Acer XFA240 demonstrates that excellent full HD monitors don't need to cost a ton of money. 

For less than $200, this 1080p monitor delivers accurate colors and more extra features than you'd expect, including a full vertical mode that makes it invaluable as a second screen. The monitor works well for both gaming and productivity, with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a variety of ports, including a DVI input for older machines.

The XFA240 has a few drawbacks, which are normal enough in its price range. Its built-in speakers aren't worth using, its menus are confusing and its construction feels a little cheap. On the other hand, it's more than worth its asking price, considering how well it displays games, and how pretty the colors are once you do a little tweaking.

Read our full Acer XFA240 review.

best gaming monitors: Samsung Odyssey G9 review

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung Odyssey G9

The best when you absolutely, positively, need the biggest curved gaming monitor possible

Specifications
Dimensions: 45.2x21.2x16.4 inches (with stand)
Screen Size: 49 inches
Resolution: 5,120x1,440
Refresh Rate: 240 Hz
Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB
Reasons to buy
+Excellent color reproduction+Display gets quite bright, especially in HDR mode+Wide array of powerful gaming features+Good performance overall
Reasons to avoid
-Large desktop footprint-Extraordinarily expensive-No integrated speakers-Not all games make full use of unusual aspect ratio

Samsung's curved 49-inch Odyssey G9 Gaming Monitor is a strong overall performer, but its unwieldy design and sky-high price do not make it ideal for everyone.

Boasting top-notch functionality and impressive performance along every metric, the Odyssey G9 is worthy of serious consideration from anyone who can make full use of it. So if you have a high-end graphics card, a spare $1,700 or so, an excess of desk space (or a sizable hunk of wall), a stuffed-to-bursting game library you want to apply a unique (and not always completely complementary) visual spin to, and not much desire to use the monitor for everything else, you probably won’t be disappointed.

Read our full Samsung Odyssey G9 review.

Best gaming monitors: Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2421HGF

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2421HGF

The best 24-inch gaming monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 20.8 x 12.1 x 23.8 inches
Screen Size: 24 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI
Reasons to buy
+Reasonable price+Decent frame rate+Small profile
Reasons to avoid
-Inaccurate colors-Tedious interface

Dell produces rock-solid gaming monitors at every size and resolution. If processing power and desk space limit your monitor choices, the Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2421HGF is a good choice, providing crisp 1080p resolution and a workable 144 Hz refresh rate. This is a no-frills gaming monitor, and the price reflects that, at less than $200.

Still, there's a lot to like about the S2421HGF, from its slim, space-conscious design, to its handful of pretty presets. The colors are admittedly not as accurate as they could be, and navigating Dell's monitor menus can be tedious, at the best of times. But not every gaming peripheral needs to be a top-of-the-line, bank-breaking accessory. If you want a small, solid, simple monitor that just works, the S2421HGF is the way to go.

Read our full Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2421HGF review.

Best gaming monitors: ViewSonic Elite XG270QC

(Image credit: ViewSonic)

5. ViewSonic Elite XG270QC

Best curved QHD monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 24.2 x 22.5 x 10.4 inches
Screen Size: 27 inches
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 165 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-A, 3.5 mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful screen+Vibrant colors+High frame rate
Reasons to avoid
-Takes up a lot of space-Expensive compared to the competition

The ViewSonic Elite XG270QC is a large curved monitor with an extremely bright screen. While it will take up a lot of your desk space with its tasteful triangular base, the tradeoff is well worth it. You get a vibrantly colored 27-inch 1440p screen, with a refresh rate of 165 Hz. For gamers with powerful GPUs, this means quad HD gaming with the potential for more than 100 frames per second in each game.

Aside from the XG270QC's price and size, there's very little to recommend against. It has comprehensive menu options, plenty of ports and a variety of handy presets for many different types of games and applications. Whether you need to play the latest games or enjoy a large library of streaming media, the XG270QC's bright, bold, beautiful screen is the right tool for the job.

Read our full ViewSonic Elite XG270QC review.

Best gaming monitors: Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521H

(Image credit: Alienware)

6. Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521H

The best high 360 Hz gaming monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 21.9 x 20.7 x 9.9 inches
Screen Size: 25 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Refresh Rate: 360 Hz
Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-A, 3.5 mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Impressive refresh rate+Solid colors and brightness+Elegant, straightforward design
Reasons to avoid
-Very high price for what you get-Some inconvenient features

The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521H has the fastest refresh rate of any gaming monitor we've reviewed, at a blistering 360 Hz. If you have an extremely powerful gaming PC, this means that you could very feasibly run games at frame rates exceeding 300 frames per second. Aside from that, the AW2521H also features a bright, colorful screen, and a design that's pleasantly futuristic.

There are only two major downsides to the AW2521H: its high price, and the fact that its resolution maxes out at 1080p. Most modern PCs, whether you build or buy them, can run games in at least QHD resolutions, with fairly high frame rates. But if you want the fastest frame rate possible, for esports or other competitive multiplayer games, the AW2521H can and will deliver it.

The Alienware Gaming Monitor AW2521H won a "highly recommended" honor for "best gaming monitor" at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

Read our full Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor AW2521H review.

Best gaming monitors: HP Omen 27i

(Image credit: HP)

7. HP Omen 27i

The best 165 Hz gaming monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 24.1 x 10.1 x 20.6 inches
Screen Size: 27 inches
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 165 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-A, 3.5 mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Fast refresh rate+Beautiful quad HD screen+Wide color gamut
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive compared to other quad HD monitors-Glitchy profile system

The HP Omen 27i is, in many ways, a perfect midpoint. Its quad HD screen is the perfect midpoint between full HD and UHD; its 165 Hz refresh rate is a perfect midpoint between 60 Hz and 240 Hz; its design is the perfect midpoint between a gamer aesthetic and a more subdued productivity model. For the gaming crowd, the Omen 27i offers fluid frame rates; for graphic designers, the monitor offers accurate colors. It's an elegant, functional monitor that's equally at home playing the latest games or editing a photo roundup.

Bear in mind that the HP Omen 27i is pretty expensive, as flatscreen quad HD monitors go, and its profile software can get a little glitchy. Otherwise, though, there's a lot to like in its straightforward design, high-resolution screen and excellent gaming capabilities.

The HP Omen 27i won "best gaming monitor" at the Tom's Guide Award 2021 for gaming.

Read our full HP Omen 27i impressions.

Best gaming monitors: Dell S3220DGF Gaming Monitor

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Dell S3220DGF Gaming Monitor

The best 32-inch gaming monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 28.0 x 18.5 x 9.8 inches
Screen Size: 32 inches
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate: 165 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, 3.5 mm audio
Reasons to buy
+Bright, colorful screen+Helpful presets+Easy to set up and disassemble
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive compared to the competition-Takes up a ton of space

The Dell S3220DGF Gaming Monitor is enormous — and if you're in the market for a 32-inch gaming monitor, that's a good thing. This massive curved model features an extremely bright screen, fantastic color accuracy and support for HDR. TV shows and movies look good, but games look absolutely gorgeous — particularly action and adventure games with rich color palettes The curved screen makes most titles feel more immersive, and there are lots of pretty presets for your preferred genres.

Just bear in mind that even as 32-inch monitors go, the Dell S3220DGF is both large and heavy, so you'll need a strong desk to support it. The monitor's size and brightness also make productivity work fairly difficult, making this a gaming model first and foremost. But it's easy to set up, provided you can lift it.

The Dell S3220DGF won a "highly recommended" honor at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.

Read our full Dell S3220DGF Gaming Monitor review.

Best gaming monitors: LG 38GL950G

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

9. LG 38GL950G UltraGear Gaming Monitor

The best ultrawide gaming monitor

Specifications
Dimensions: 35.3 x 21.7 x 11.3 inches
Screen Size: 38 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 1600
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort
Reasons to buy
+Bright, vivid 38-inch curved display+Sharp 3840 x 1600 resolution+Low response time, high refresh rate
Reasons to avoid
-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 monitors: Alienware AW5520QF

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

10. Alienware AW5520QF 55-Inch OLED Gaming Monitor

The best gaming monitor for consoles

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful, polished design+Superb OLED panel+DisplayPort and multiple USB 3.0 ports
Reasons to avoid
-Crazy expensive -- we're talking $4K-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.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165

(Image credit: Corsair)

11. Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165

A great gaming monitor for the 1080p crowd

Specifications
Dimensions: 28.8 x 23.9 x 12.4 inches
Screen Size: 32 inches
Resolution: 2,560x1,440
Refresh Rate: 165 Hz
Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB Type-C, USB Type-A
Reasons to buy
+Excellent brightness, color+Easy-to-navigate, clutter-free on-screen interface+Integrates with other Corsair, Elgato peripherals
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Stand requires Phillips screwdriver to attach-Does not support full HDR-Not 4K resolution

The Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 represents the component and peripheral manufacturer’s first foray into gaming monitors—and it’s a creditable one. The 32-inch Xeneon is loaded with gamer-friendly features, such as a high (165 Hz) refresh rate, a low (1 ms) response time, and support for both AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync adaptive sync technologies. It offers wide-ranging extensibility with other Corsair products. And, perhaps most important, it also delivers sterling performance by any metric.

With a list price of $799.99, the Xeneon is on the expensive side; its HDR functionality is limited to support for VESA DisplayHDR 400; and if the gaming features don’t mean a lot to you, you’ll probably miss the lack of support for 4K resolution now and in the years to come. But the Xeneon does what it does well enough to make it one of the best gaming monitors you can buy.

Read our full Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 review.

How to choose the best gaming monitor for you

Determining 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.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

  • 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