5 of the Best Budget Gaming Monitors in 2024

Evan Shephard Avatar

Reviewed By

Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

320,550

Reviews Analyzed

Updated May 6, 2024 11:50 AM
best budget gaming monitor guide that shows the top best gaming monitor model

Our concise best budget gaming monitors buying guide cuts through the clutter of fake reviews and insufficient expert analysis by digging into data and real-world testing. We scrutinized 320,550 reviews (customer & expert) from 196 computer monitors, evaluating essential performance aspects like input lag and contrast ratio. Our research revealed that 71% of experts fall short in their testing, but we’ve identified the credible few. This meticulous process has allowed us to curate a list of 5 top-performing budget gaming monitors, giving you the confidence to make an informed decision based on reliable test data and genuine insights.

While this guide is focused on affordability, we also have selections for the best gaming monitor models regardless of price. Additionally, we have recommendations for top-tier monitors for various uses to ensure you find the perfect display for your specific needs and preferences.

Below is our list of the 5 best budget gaming monitors.

How Did We Rank the Best Budget Gaming Monitors?

We’ve redefined computer monitor buying guides, setting us apart from any other site on the planet. Our unique approach leverages a comprehensive dataset from 200+ trusted sites, focusing on key testing metrics (2 required, 1 nice to have) and 1 specification to rank the top-rated budget gaming monitors and ensure our recommendations meet your specific needs. Our commitment to unbiased reviews is powered by our ‘True Score’ system, targeting low quality and fake reviews. When you shop through our links, you’re backing our mission. Dive deeper to see how.

?️ Minimum Specifications

  • Must have FreeSync or G-Sync

? Test Criteria

  • Input Lag: An input lag of less than 15 milliseconds ensures a highly responsive gaming experience with minimal delay between action and on-screen response.
  • Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1 or higher (or infinite), offering deep blacks and bright whites for an exceptional viewing experience.

? “Nice To Haves”

  • Fast Response Time: 13 ms or less, ensuring smooth transitions without motion blur.

Latest Updates

  • 05/06/2024: Republished the list to include the best budget gaming monitors based on our True Score system.

Top Budget Gaming Monitors For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    HP OMEN 27QS

    • Best For PS4

    The HP OMEN 27QS is a budget-friendly powerhouse with a high refresh rate, low input lag, and vibrant visuals. It is ideal for competitive gaming and versatile multimedia use.

    HP OMEN 27QS Review →

    True Score

    84
    84
    4

    Experts

    91
    930

    Customers

    $245.97
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell S2421H

    The Dell S2421H offers budget-friendly gaming performance with low input lag and FreeSync compatibility. Its versatility extends to multimedia and productivity tasks, making it a solid choice for various uses.

    Dell S2421H Review →

    True Score

    82
    81
    2

    Experts

    91
    986

    Customers

    SAVE $40
    $159.99
    $119.99

    Did you know 71% of computer monitor reviewers are untrustworthy?

    Our research found only 33 of 110+ computer monitor reviewers as of June 2024 can be trusted. This is why Gadget Review is committed to calculating the most accurate product scores on the web.

    To do this, we give every computer monitor review site a Trust Rating, which measures how trustworthy the site and their testing claims are. We then leverage AI & a machine learning model to combine and calculate the Trust Rating with data from experts and consumers to deliver the True Score, the web’s most accurate product quality rating.

    320,550

    Monitor Reviews Analyzed

    196

    Total Products Analyzed

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    MSI Optix G27C5

    The MSI Optix G27C5 offers affordability, impressive performance, and versatility. Its immersive curved display, low input lag, vibrant colors, and high refresh rate make it an excellent choice for gaming and beyond.

    MSI Optix G27C5 Review →

    True Score

    82
    80
    4

    Experts

    90
    90

    Customers

    SAVE $31
    $200.48
    $169.71

    DON’T SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?

    For professionals, the best computer monitors for work offer high resolution and adjustable ergonomics to reduce fatigue during long hours at the desk. The top curved gaming monitors also provide an immersive experience, with their curvature helping to maintain comfort for extended gaming sessions.

    Meanwhile, the best ultrawide gaming monitor enhances multitasking capabilities with its expansive display, enabling multiple windows to be open simultaneously. When choosing a monitor, be mindful of image retention, as this issue can lead to permanent ghosting, affecting display quality.

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell S2722QC

    • Best For 4K Gaming

    The Dell S2722QC offers 4K gaming without breaking the bank. Its commendable performance, vibrant visuals, and compatibility with G-Sync and FreeSync make it a top choice for budget-minded gamers.

    Dell S2722QC Review →

    True Score

    81
    81
    3

    Experts

    88
    2k

    Customers

    SAVE $80
    $399.99
    $319.99

    Category Snapshot

    Computer Monitors

    • Total Brands/Products Tested

      27 Brands, 196 Products

    • Top 2 Brands

      Dell, HP

    • Price Range (Budget-Premium)

      $100-$1,500

    • Average True Score

      74.46

    • Important Test Criteria

      Brightness (cd/m2)
      Contrast Ratio (1000:1)

    • Most Trusted Testers

    • Top Monitor Experts

      Samuel Breton, Chris Eberle

    • Typical Warranty

      2 years

    • Covered by Insurance

      Yes – AKKO

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Dell G2724D

    The Dell G2724D’s exceptional brightness and responsive performance make it an excellent budget gaming monitor for bright environments. It is versatile for gaming, multimedia, and productivity tasks alike.

    Dell G2724D Review →

    True Score

    81
    81
    2

    Experts

    88
    126

    Customers

    SAVE $70
    $299.99
    $230.00

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Budget Gaming Monitors?

By focusing on these criteria (2 required, 1 nice to have), anyone can quickly and easily compare these computer monitors and how they’ll perform. This helps you make an informed decision and purchase the best budget gaming monitor!

CRITERIARANGEREQUIREDDEFINITION
Contrast Ratio>1000:1YesThe difference in brightness between the whites (lit sections) and blacks (dim or unlit sections) of a monitor panel.
Input Lag< 15 msYesThe time it takes for the monitor to register inputs from the user and process them as action.
Response Time< 13 msNo (Nice to have)The time it takes for a pixel to change from one color to another.

Our Trusted Data Sources

We looked at 110+ computer monitor reviewers and found that 33 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Rating). The three we have listed below are our most trusted for computer monitors.

  1. Samuel Breton – Rtings, MuckRack
  2. Chris Eberle – Tom’s Hardware, LinkedIn
  3. Tony Hoffman – PC Mag, MuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every computer monitor review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Ratings from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Computer Monitor Test Data & Results

1. Contrast Ratio (as ratio, x:1) Test Results

Contrast ratio is responsible for making images appear “dynamic” and “dramatic.” By having a good contrast ratio, a monitor is able to recreate dramatic differences between light and dark spots in scenes, images and games accurately.

At a minimum, we recommend a contrast ratio of 1000:1, as this will do a good enough job at allow for detail in dark scenes and images. If contrast ratio gets too low, the picture quality suffers, and the monitor performs worse across the board, no matter the lighting condition. By getting a monitor with a sufficiently high contrast ratio, you can ensure the picture quality doesn’t suffer, and dramatic scenes with stark shifts in lighting, whether they be in games or videos, are created as accurately as possible.

Contrast Ratio (higher is better)

2. Input Lag (ms) Test Results

Input lag is more of a concern when it comes to gaming, but if you plan on using a monitor for a bit of gaming when you aren’t focused on productivity, editing or other tasks, lower values help improve responsiveness. High input lag means your actions take longer to register on the monitor, effectively introducing an artificial delay to your reactions.

It’s for this reason that we generally recommend an input lag under 15 ms. This ensures the delay that’s introduced has minimal impact on your reactions to what’s happening on screen. It’s important to note that a high input lag won’t have any real effect on anything that isn’t gaming, so it can be safely ignored if you don’t plan on gaming on your monitor.

Input Lag (in ms; lower is better)

3. Response Time (ms) Test Results

Response time measures how long it takes pixels to change from one color to another, often gray to gray. Low response times means the monitor is able to keep up with constant shifts in colors, and helps prevent motion blur from being introduced whatever you’re watching.

We generally recommend a response time that is 13 ms or less, as this will keep motion blur to a minimum, but if you don’t watch a lot of very high intensity videos or play fast-paced games, response time isn’t going to matter much. It’s important to note that monitors will often advertise a 1ms or 2ms or 5ms response time, to name a few, but response time tests measure full color to color shifts, as well as overshoots, which produces different times than what the monitor often claims on the box. This is why response time is a listed spec, but also a testable criterion.

Response Time (in ms; lower is better)

Best Budget Gaming Monitors: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Ignoring Refresh Rate and Response Time: Even on a budget, prioritize monitors with a high refresh rate (ideally 144Hz or higher) and low response time (1ms or lower) for smoother gaming performance with reduced motion blur. If you’re a competitive gamer, consider exploring top-tier 240Hz gaming monitors if your budget permits.

  2. Skimping on Panel Type: While TN panels are generally more affordable, consider IPS or VA panels for better color reproduction and viewing angles, enhancing your gaming experience without breaking the bank.

  3. Not Considering Connectivity: Even budget monitors should offer essential connectivity options like HDMI and DisplayPort to accommodate various devices. Lack of connectivity can limit your gaming setup’s versatility.

  4. Ignoring Size and Resolution: While 1080p is standard for budget monitors, consider your preferences regarding screen size and resolution. Opting for a 1080p gaming monitor instead of a 1440p or 4K option will save you money without significantly compromising gaming performance.

The Best Budget Gaming Monitors Tests Compared

Product
True Score
Brightness
Contrast Ratio
Color Gamut (DCI P3)
Color Gamut (sRGB)
Input Lag (ms)
Response Time (ms)
Reflections %

HP OMEN 27QS

  • Best for PS4

84
  • 389.5 nits

  • 389.5:1

  • 94.35%

  • 100%

  • 8.5 ms

  • 4.2 ms

  • 4.8%

$245.97

Dell S2421H

  • Best for 1080p

82
  • 250 nits

  • 1,126:1

  • 0

  • 95.9%

  • 8.9 ms

  • 7.2 ms

  • 5.1%

$119.99
$160
$40

MSI Optix G27C5

  • Best for 144Hz

82
  • 287 nits

  • 287:1

  • 0

  • 97.2%

  • 9.3 ms

  • 6.6 ms

  • 5.4%

$169.71
$200
$31

Dell S2722QC

  • Best for 4K Gaming

81
  • 339 nits

  • 339:1

  • 82.9%

  • 100%

  • 9 ms

  • 8.3 ms

  • 4.6%

$319.99
$400
$80

Dell G2724D

  • Best for 120Hz

81
  • 432 nits

  • 432:1

  • 86.35%

  • 100%

  • 9 ms

  • 4.3 ms

  • 4.8%

$230.00
$300
$70

Budget Gaming Monitor Questions (FAQ)

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