Only the best high refresh rate monitors will give you the smoothest pictures for gaming, productivity, and spreadsheet browsing. That's right, you can appreciate fast refresh rates no matter how mundane a task may seem. Of course, it is in games where you'll see the most benefit, and we know how important it can be to people, regardless of what they're playing.
From ensuring your adventures across open worlds don't happen with stuttering or jumping, to ensuring a car can glide around corners uninterrupted, and, importantly, to smoothing out and speeding up first-person shooter action to give you a clear advantage over other players. The best high refresh monitors are some of the best gaming monitors going, and have multiple benefits no matter what you play - and increasingly, no matter what you play on.
With the advent of HDMI 2.1 and the PS5 and Xbox Series X being able to tap into those higher refresh rates (relatively speaking of course), it means that the concept of the best high refresh rate monitors has changed slightly. There are now more competitors in this arena than ever. However, it is on PC where you're going to unlock, unleash, and get the most out of the best high refresh rate monitors, and all our picks represent that.
Now, we know that everyone's idea of 'high refresh rate' and the exact number that qualifies for it will likely be different, but we're thinking of those monitors with at least 144Hz - though almost all of our picks go way beyond that. And, of course, like all our carefully chosen guides, we'll be updating this as we test more and more of the best high refresh monitors throughout the year.
The best high refresh rate monitors 2023
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Yup, it just so happens that the best high refresh rate monitor you can get right now also happens to be our pick for best gaming monitor. And it's almost as simple as registering (again) all that makes the Alienware AW3423DW and then checking the refresh rate numbers: "yup, that's a high refresh rate, and yup that makes this the best one".
However, with a refresh rate of 175Hz, this is clearly a speedster. But it also offers superb pixel response speeds too at just fractions of milliseconds. No other non-OLED screens can do this, high refresh rate or not.
Elsewhere, this ultrawide monitor has better contrast and a faster response than any LCD panel we’ve ever seen. Moreover, it looks richer, more convincing, more immersive - all on top of being an absolutely speed demon that looks sharper and clearer than anything else. It really does do everything.
Of course, it's not the highest refresh monitor going - though that characteristic wouldn't ever be just enough to top this list. Those with more Hz will offer better latency, and you could find fault with the pixel density if you wanted to nit pick. Of course, this also isn't good for the new-gen consoles which can't embrace the resolution. (Yet?)
Read more: Alienware 34 AW3423DW QD-OLED review
Also providing a superb cheap option generally as well as a great gaming panel, the AOC 24G2 makes a superb case for best high refresh rate monitor, sitting just on our minimum rate of 144Hz.
If you are limited to a smaller budget, or just don't want to spend a bucket load, then we think this could be a top gaming monitor for a lot of folks. The AOC 24G2, and its closely related AOC 24G2U sibling, have a nippy and brilliant IPS panel that's the main feature here, and can be a simple one-and-done solution in your search.
Of course, there are compromises: the 24G2 / 24G2U are mere 24-inch monitors with a modest 1,920 by 1,080 resolution (1080p). Oh, and the difference between the two is that the 24G2U adds a USB hub. There's also no HDR capability of any kind, but many that claim to offer it don't come good anyway, so at least this high refresh rate monitor is being honest.
Overall, the 24G2 is a good package that comes with a zappy 1ms pixel response and both variable refresh rate support and a low input lag mode, which means the 144Hz is easily achieved. The 1080p resolution also works to its advantage, in a way, as fewer pixels means more frames and lower latency which might just give you that critical edge in your Battle Royale or team-based shooter of choice, be that Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Battlefield 5, or Overwatch.
Read more: AOC 24G2 review
Now, this Dell monitor could hit all the sweet spots for those looking to bag a high refresh rate monitor that does a lot of everything well.
The S2721DGF slots firmly in the middle of Dell's range - and the wider market, arguably - offering top gaming performance at 1440p on a sizeable 27-inch monitor that's supported by a bank of rock-solid specs.
In particular, the refresh rate and response time are sweet: the S2721DGF offers a 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms respectively - both confirmed to us through testing. Another attraction is the IPS panel, which is excellent and contributes to the bang-to-buck value that the monitor offers. The monitor is covered in a matte, all-black finish, with thin, flat bezels around the edge, making it a brilliant choice for anyone looking for a double or triple-monitor set-up.
The only place we think this high refresh rate monitor trips up is in HDR performance, especially when reproducing darker content and areas. The contrast is a bit low, which means the boundary between blacks and greys is quite hard to determine or see - however if you're using this primarily for gaming and not movie-watching, it's not too big of a deal. This is one of the best 1440p screens you can get and definitely one of the best 1440p high refresh rate monitors going too - it really can do everything very well.
Read more: Dell S2721DGF review
Looking to pull out the stops in your search for a 144Hz+ high refresh rate monitor? Then the ASUS XG27UQ is probably our pick for best 4K monitor for gaming that can offer sumptuous speeds of refresh too.
Thanks to the launch of the 30 and 40-series cards from Nvidia, and AMD's RX series equivalents, 4K with fast refresh rates is finally within the grasp of 'most' normal folks and gamers.
It has a lot of bells and whistles and will still require an investment, but it's a great panel for those aiming high without compromise. It's so good in fact, that we think that the ASUS XG27UQ is like a gaze into what PC gaming will be like for everyone in a few years' time. With ray tracing on, Cyberpunk 2077 had my jaw on the floor, with stunning lighting effects and texture detail throughout Night City. As did Assassin's Creed Valhalla, as its sunrays split through the treetops.
If you have a rig capable of it – seriously, don't upgrade to 4K if your graphics card is a few years old – then you will not be disappointed with this premium high refresh rate monitor.
Read more: ASUS XG27UQ review
Those looking for the best high refresh monitor for gaming may already be focused on a 1080p resolution as this, by default, lends itself to faster refresh rates.
And for those such folks, we present the Acer Predator XB253QGX - our pick for best 1080p high refresh monitor for gaming. Perfect for speed demons, esports aficionados, and anyone looking to get the edge over others in online play, this monitor prioritises frame rates and response.
In terms of screen size, it's only 1080p from a 25-inch panel, but it clocks in at fully 240Hz and is good for an ultra-low MPRT pixel response time of 0.5ms (GtG response is 1ms claimed), while also offering Nvidia G-Sync. The HDR support is entry-level stuff in the form of DisplayHDR 400 certification, but there's a decent peak brightness of 400cd/m2. This is bolstered by the IPOS panel which makes for more accurate and vibrant colours than an equivalent TN screen.
Overall, however, this monitor is blazing quick. For online shooters right through from Counter-Strike: Source to Call of Duty: Warzone, this panel is a peach. It’s very quick and blur-free and feels super responsive. If speed is what you demand, the Acer Predator XB253QGX does that better than most while not entirely giving up on image quality.
Read more: Acer Predator XB253QGX review
The combo of 1440p, 27 inches, and decent refresh rates has for a while - and contues to be, for us - the sweet spot for PC gaming. And the MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD likes to think this too, and adds a top speed of 165Hz to the mix, making for a very attractive 1440p package overall.
It'll even play a solid role as a PS5 or Xbox Series X monitor: the screen has a compatibility mode that allows a 4K input from the PS5 to run at 2.5, which means it offers a different edge that its competitors on this list can't.
But anyway, back to it, as this MSI panel still has a lot going for it. For starters, that 165Hz rate is excellent, the IPS panel is superb and high-quality, and there's a great level of color accuracy here that’s well above the norm for a gaming monitor. Arguably even more important, is the fact that this monitor was seriously fast in our testing. Rated officially at 1ms response, it’s one of, if not the, fastest LCD gaming monitors we’ve ever seen. It’s also feature-packed, including G-Sync compatibility, plus USB-C connectivity (albeit limited to 15W of charging power).
That speed, and the all-round package on offer, make it great for all kinds of PC gaming and a particularly great pick for a high refresh monitor.
Read more: MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD review
Sony's first venture (properly) into the gaming monitor world brought us the beautiful Inzone M9: a gorgeous monitor boasting a 27" 4K HDR screen and a sleek PS5-inspired design that looks oh-so-good next to your Sony console. What's more, it also boasts a brilliant 144Hz refresh rate making it one of the best 4K high refresh rate monitors going. Especially for multi-platform setups.
Built to go with a PS5, there are some PS5-exclusive features such as autoswapping between cinema and game modes and automatically optimizing HDR settings upon booting up the console. This is perfect for deploying this with a PC as well, as it means you won't have to fiddle with any settings on your monitor when going between the two. However, the specs and performance are where the real meat and potatoes are - this is a stunning monitor with incredible picture quality, sharpness, and clarity, and the super smooth refresh rate that can make it a joy to use in any scenario.
This is perfect for new-gen console and PC owners combining both in a setup, and is undoubtedly the best high refresh rate option that can be slotted into a setup as a PS5 monitor or Xbox Series X monitor.
Read more: Sony Inzone M9 review
Looking to go absolutely, ridiculously large in your search for the best high refresh rate monitor for gaming? Then Samsung's Odyssey Neo G9 beast is where it's at.
This massive 49-inch ultrawide curved gaming monitor sports a 240Hz refresh rate (somehow), seven million pixels, a crazy 1000R curvature, and a 1,000-nit brightness level. It can even up the latter to a slightly silly 2000 nits, too. Arguably more important, isn’t the peak brightness but the fact that the old 10-zone edge-lit backlight has been ditched in favour of a cutting-edge 2,048 zone mini-LED backlight. In theory, that’s a huge upgrade. In practice, it’s a bit more complicated. This is a big screen, and so even with that many zones, the granularity of the backlight control is actually quite crude. But when it's performing at its best, the Neo G9 puts on a spectacular HDR show that few, if any, monitors can match.
For pure PC gaming and high speeds, the Neo G9’s wrap-around immersion and spec list are awfully hard to beat.
Read more: Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 review
Is 240Hz better than 144Hz?
When you get above 144Hz the differences between each 'level' do get harder and harder to discern for the human eye. At 144Hz games are going to look buttery smooth and unbelievably good - at 240Hz they will definitely be even smooth and tear-free, but you may struggle to tell the difference between 240Hz and, say, 200Hz in practical application. But, nevertheless, from an objective performance standpoint, yes, 240Hz is 'better' than 144Hz as it means games are running nearly 100 frames per second faster and smoother. However, that doesn't mean that you should aim solely for that refresh rate or that that level is the best for you and the games you play - that's why we have plenty of other options on this list.
Which monitor has the highest refresh rate?
A lot of monitors will claim to offer a blistering pace and the highest refresh rate. In terms of sheer numbers and amount of Hz flowing through a screen, you will find the likes of ASUS' 360Hz panels, and Alienware's recently-announced 500Hz monitor. This is almost certainly ridiculous, and almost certainly far too many herz for the human eye to take in and make the most of.
As a result, the real question you need to answer is which monitor has the right highest refresh rate for you. We concentrate on monitors above the 144Hz mark in this guide, and we reckon that the sweetspot for those chasing biug numbers but without going too nuts is somewhere between 144Hz and 240Hz.
Is 144Hz good for gaming?
In short, yes! For the vast majority of folks 144Hz - and therefore 144 frames per second - is easily fast enough, and thus good for gaming. In fact, if you're regularly experiencing 144 fps in games, then it'll be a great gaming experience.
While the differences between 30Hz/frames per second and 60Hz, and then up to 120Hz can be actively noticeable, once you get above the 144Hz mark, the differences can be much harder to notice in most, especially casual, play sessions. As a result, 144Hz is definitely good for gaming! (Of course, those looking for advantages in online or competitive play will desire faster speeds.)
How we test gaming monitors at GamesRadar+
We've tested all the monitors on our best high refresh rate monitor for gaming list and we wouldn't aim to have it any other way. Between our on-team hardware writers and editors, and a crew of expert freelance writers and reviewers, every screen we get to see is subject to thorough scrutiny to get to the bottom of its good bits, and not-so-good bits.
And when we do test and review screens, we spend hours and hours with them, doing our very best to recreate the sense of living them, using them for work and play, that you are likely to envisage should you go on and buy one yourself. We test monitors' work and productivity functionality to give you an idea as to whether you can rely on it for the more mundane things, and then we play and run a big batch of games on the screens to ensure it provides good performance, no matter the price point or feature set. When it comes to games, we test single-player expansive games like RPGs and strategies to examine their detail, colour, and image quality, while also ensuring we test them with online and competitive shooters to see how they hold up when speed is key.
If you're after something that's speedy and TV-shaped then head over to our best 120Hz 4K TV guide as well as our best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X for console-focused players, and best OLED TV guide for those near instant pixel-response big screens.