Incorporating a cheap gaming monitor into your setup is one of the best immediately-enhancing things you can do - and it just won't break the bank. Cheap gaming monitors are so good now that they can offer a visual upgrade that is tangible and noticeable, even if they don't offer all the bells and whistles that their more expensive brethren do.
Nowadays, the reality is that manufacturers are probably catering to the bargain and entry-level screen market better than you expect, and even those budget, entry-level models will perform better than you might originally expect. Yes, of course, there might be some reduction in features or flashiness, panel tech, but you can still expect stellar screens for Full HD, 1440p, and even 4K at different form factors.
It's now no longer the case that you need to splash out in excess to get something that looks and runs great. The best cheap gaming monitors aren't just reserved for 1080p resolution at 60 FPS, either. We've started to observe an uptick in affordability of the best gaming monitors as well as other monitor models that utilize high refresh rates and high resolutions to make gaming a joy all well under the $300 mark.
Below you'll find our top picks for the best cheap gaming monitors by resolution, refresh rate, and form factor to give you as many choices as possible. If you're interested in casting a wider net, and maybe have a budget that can stretch a little, however, then we recommend checking out our best 4K monitors for gaming and best curved gaming monitors buying guides, too.
And remember, the upcoming Black Friday gaming monitor deals are nearly here and present the best opportunity of the whole year - of any year - to save money on gaming monitors.
The best cheap gaming monitors in 2022
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For its price point, this monitor features all the essentials needed for effective PC gaming in Full HD. This is due in part to the inclusion of support for AMD FreeSync Premium - which prevents screen tearing at low response latency for a smooth overall gaming experience.
At the same time, it's got a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response rate - essential for competitive and fast gaming where every millisecond of delay matters. Due to its inexpensive nature and thin bezels, this monitor would be ideal as part of a dual - or even triple - monitor setup stretched out across your desk.
Spend a bit more and you can bump the screen size and resolution up with all the same low latency, anti-screen-tearing technology, dual HDMI 2.0 ports, and - fortunately - a DisplayPort to make the most of Ultra HD gaming at 60FPS.
28-inch is a somewhat unconventional size for a monitor of this quality - not that we're complaining - as it's a fair amount of real estate to take advantage of the HDR technology and stellar colors that this panel can pump out. The only concession is in the refresh rate - you won't be able to get above 60 fps - if you're content to have higher fidelity visuals at the cost of a capped frame rate, this may be what you're been after; ideal for a dual monitor setup too.
We're stretching the definition of the word 'cheap' with this Asus high refresh model, but given that it features a 280Hz fast IPS-panel for just over the $300 mark, it very much is affordable given what similar brands are asking for at that kind of display speed.
For those of you interested in competitive gaming, with its display rate being twice that of 144Hz, you're sure to have the best frame advantages possible in games such as Valorent and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and still benefit from HDR and a rich color gamut thanks to the IPS panel, something which is rarely seen on 240Hz+ monitors even double the price of this one.
Viotek has seemingly done something that's lesser seen from other monitor brands: built a competitively priced curved ultrawide with a 120Hz refresh rate. It's worth enforcing just how promising the form factor is - even if it's only limited to Full HD - for both gaming and working on with the added screen real estate.
That's normally the trade-off for having just a twitch-happy level of snappiness when considering the MSRP compared to similar offerings from Samsung and LG in their gaming ranges. If high frame rates and a wider screen are worth it for you, then this is difficult to beat.
The star of the show with this curved gaming monitor from Z-Edge is its 165Hz refresh rate. That's not to say that this panel's a slouch when it comes to other gaming-specific functions and specs: there's a 1ms response time, and support for the premium version of FreeSync which adds support for 120Hz and HDR while also reducing ghosting and screen tearing.
The form factor of the display is something to note as well; yes, it's curved but it also features very minimal bezels which means it's ideal for a dual monitor battle station setup too.
If all you're interested in is 1080p gaming at 60 fps then this ASUS monitor has all the essentials to provide a pleasant, no-frills experience with its 1ms response time and inclusion of AMD FreeSync support to rid the visuals of any screen-tearing when the action on-screen gets a little crazy.
If you're interested in picking this panel up for use on PC, it's important to note that there is no DisplayPort - just a pair of HDMI ports and VGA; something that seems like an oversight for a unit released in 2016. With that said, if you're still gaming on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Xbox Series S and you want something cheap that looks the part - it's a good option for those systems.
For less than $200, there's an awful lot that this gaming monitor gets right. Offering a 1ms response time and a 165Hz refresh rate, there's also AMD FreeSync Premium support as well as built-in speakers.
It's worth noting that this is in fact a TN display, as opposed to the brighter IPS tech, but that's the trade-off with entry-level, budget monitors, and particularly those that offer a high refresh rate. That's not to count out the colors on this thing, unlike some other 165Hz monitors, there are virtually no reports of ghosting or greying (where blacks aren't dark enough resulting in mediocre contrast) to speak of.
If you're looking for an affordable screen to add to, or build, a multi-monitor HD gaming setup with then this could be what you've been searching for, especially given those ultra-slender bezels which make up the 'edgeless design'. Two or three of these things on a desk would be unbeatable.
Note: You rarely find Sceptre monitors available outside the US, so if you're not a US resident, you may want to check out the others on this page.
If you've been searching for something that's affordable and does the job for casual gaming, web surfing, and watching movies then this could be the right display for you. Or for a spare bedroom or as part of a dual/triple monitor setup.
With its 75Hz refresh rate, you can be sure that the screen won't ghost or cloud up under intense conditions - that's afforded by FreeSync as with some other panels in this roundup. For its size and price tag, the bevels are relatively thin, with the stand being adjustable as well.
While it came out a few years ago and isn't BenQ's latest 4K contender for a cheap gaming monitor, the EL2870U is still one of the best, most cost-effective, affordable 4K gaming monitors you're likely to find. With its price often around or under the $300 and £200 mark, the bang for buck ratio with the BenQ EL2870U is extraordinary. The picture quality and crispness are as good as a lot of its more expensive contemporaries and is some of the best seen we've seen on a TN screen. Each environment type in games is handled really well with good contrasts, colors, and shades presenting whatever is asked of it; a really good balance in terms of what it's able to show.
It's got a speedy 1ms response rate, but it is, rather predictably, limited to the usual 60Hz refresh rate and doesn't offer G-Sync (though FreeSync is present), so it's not got all the bells and whistles - but we are in budget waters here so you have to trade off a few things.
You'll also get some neat BenQ-exclusive features with this monitor that others will not be able to offer: Brightness Intelligence + (B.I.+) changes the brightness and color temperature of on-screen images relative to the monitor's surroundings; and the Low Blue Light Technology is part of the company's eye-care tech that removes the harmful blue light. These aren't just clever-sounding features either, and one can definitely feel the benefit over long periods of use - I certainly found it out when I reviewed it for one of our sister sites.
A caveat for the EL2870U now however is that it isn't being actively made or promoted by BenQ and is essentially a legacy model. You can still buy it from retailers though and if you see it, it really is worth considering - if you pick it up this monitor offers a wonderful deal for its price tag; genuine gaming specs on a great 4K screen for gaming that is crisp and clear, that won't break the bank.
Good image quality. High refresh. Fast pixel response. All for a price you can afford? Yup, the Gigabyte G27F ticks some very important gaming boxes for a cheap gaming monitor. Of course, at this price point, you can’t have everything. Most notably, you can’t have all eight million pixels that come with full 4K; this is a 1080p model.
This does mean that the lower resolution leads to faster frame rates which can be critical in online shooters and battle royale games, including the likes of Fortnite, Warzone, and CS:GO, where low latency is king in a very competitive environment.
There's no HDR support here, but it's worth remembering that an awful lot of supposedly 'HDR' monitors are nothing of the sort. In fact, hardly any monitors are capable of true HDR visuals, so, the Gigabyte G27F’s lack of HDR is largely academic. And it’s not as if it implies poor panel quality: Gigabyte says the G27F is good for 95 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut, which is better than some content creation panels.
If there is a weak spot, it’s likely to be the response time. Gigabyte claims 1ms pixel response, but courtesy of the MPRT metric. The best IPS monitors achieve 1ms via the more demanding gray-to-gray standard. Still, the Gigabyte G27F is hardly a slouch and, for the money, it’s very appealing for those looking to get the most for their money in the form of an IPS panel.
The 27-inch panel sports a tight 1500R curve for that immersive, wrap-around feel and is based on VA technology. The implications of VA tech include outstanding static contrast of 3,000:1, plus punchy colours and good viewing angles. VA technology used to suffer from poor pixel response. But the latest generation of panels is much improved. Consequently, ViewSonic reckons the VX2768-PC-MHD is good for 1ms response times.
The kicker, of course, and the key enabler of high frame rates is the 1,920 by 1,080 as opposed to 4K native resolution. It is a significant step down versus 4K when it comes to detail and sharpness. But 1080p is still two million pixels and for fast-paced games, the improved response and buttery smooth frame rates are arguably more important than the pixel count.
You don’t get HDR support either. But then true HDR was never going to be available at this ultra-aggressive price point. In short, this monitor represents an awful lot of high-refresh, curved fun for the money.
Best cheap gaming monitors: buying advice
We've been PC and console gamers for many years and like to think that we know a thing or two when it comes to what makes the best cheap gaming monitors worth it. With that said, we've applied our knowledge to answer some of the more frequently asked questions online right now.
Are cheap 144Hz monitors worth it?
Cheap 144Hz gaming monitors, at the very least, will offer a decent color gamut and a higher frame rates than what's available on a 60Hz panel. With the speed of this refresh rate at a cheaper price, you're more than likely going to either have a TN or VA display, as opposed IPS, with the latter option providing better overall picture quality.
Is a 60Hz monitor good for gaming?
Gaming at 60Hz is the standard that you want to aim for regardless of resolution you're playing in. Fortunately, hitting 60Hz in 1080p isn't too intensive on entry-level and mid-tier GPUs, but to achieve this in 1440p and 4K you will need a more powerful graphics card. With that said, rock-solid 60FPS is good for gaming regardless of platform, as gameplay will be smooth as needed.
Should I go for an IPS, TN or VA panel?
If you have the budget for it, we would always strongly recommend opting for an IPS panel for your next cheap gaming monitor as the contrast and colors will be far more vivid. However, as we've seen through some high refresh rate cheap gaming monitors, VA displays can look comparable in some cases, too, so keep that in mind when choosing your next display.
Is a 23-inch monitor good for gaming?
While there's an argument to say that all sizes of monitor are 'good enough' for gaming, we would probably put 23-inches just outside the ideal range and minimum bottom line. 24-inches and above are perfect for gaming and at that size still don't take up too much room even in the smallest of city apartments. (Though, this is all subject to each particular scenario of course.)
We prefer bigger screens but there's a case for 24-inches as a particularly good size as it offers enough space for gaming, and everything on-screen is neatly in your vision by default, meaning you don't have to move your head as much. This size isn't brilliant for immersion, but if speed is your thing then a smaller monitor can be great.
Is 75Hz good for gaming?
The perennial number-throwing of refresh rates is one of the most consistent points of discussion when it comes to the best cheap gaming monitors. (As you can see from this FAQ and buying advice section!)
However, with a broad brush, we would say that, yes, 75Hz absolutely works and is good for gaming! Unless you're really chasing the slightest of advantages in super competitive play, then 1080p or 1440p particularly at 75Hz will do you just fine and provide you with a great, solid gaming experience.
Are Hz and fps the same?
Yes, but also no. While 'Hz' refers to a monitor's refresh rate - how fast it can refresh an image every second - 'fps' refers to how fast your machine and graphics card can produce images and frames on the screen each second. They are directly and intimately related - having a graphics card powerful enough to pump 100 frames per second is easily compatible with a 75Hz monitor, for example, even though there's extra headroom not being capitalised on - but are separate in their own rights, for sure.
Is 165Hz better than 144Hz?
There did seem to be a brief time when everyone thought that 165Hz would be the new 144Hz - but it hasn't stuck around, and certainly didn't replace or budget the 144Hz standard mark. Anyway, that's because, for us, there's basically no difference (apart from the literal one) between the two, and if it means you can save a bit more money and go for a cheap gaming monitor that has 144Hz instead of 165Hz then that's definitely worth it in our eyes.
Have you been looking for that perfect gaming companion for your new console? If so, our guides to the best 120Hz 4K TV, the best gaming TV, and the best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X may help you find the right choice to make the most out of the current generation's full capabilities.