TL;DR – These are the Best 4K Gaming Monitors:
1. Acer Predator XB273K
Best 4K Gaming Monitor
Acer Predator XB273K
This premium 27-inch 4K IPS panel (see our review) boasts a bright picture with gorgeous colors along with gaming goodies such as a 4ms response time, 144Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync. With 400-nit brightness, it meets the HDR400 specification for a more dynamic image. For gamers, this primarily means greater details in shadows. This spendy panel pairs well with a spendy GPU that can power games a 4K and 144Hz.
2. LG 27UL500
Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor
The LG 27UL500 is a great IPS 4K monitor made for gaming. It’s pretty much as standard fare as these Ultra HD screens get with a 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time, plus minimal HDR10 support with a 300nit brightness—but that’s exactly how this monitor sells for a little more than $300. It features great color reproduction. You also get a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports that support 4K at 60Hz, so you can plug in your PS4 Pro or Xbox One X and get a full Ultra HD gaming (but not HDR) experience.
3. Acer Predator XB271HK
The Best 4K G-Sync Monitor
Acer Predator XB271HK
It’s hard to call this Acer Predator XB271HK (read our review) “cheap” but a 4K, 60Hz monitor that uses IPS technology for better color and has a 4ms pixel response time…that’s the kind of thing you usually pay around $1,000 for. This monitor has great color reproduction and pretty good response times for an IPS panel. A couple of its USB ports can be a little hard to reach, and the on-screen display for adjusting settings is awkward. But for great visual quality and performance at a reasonable price, you can’t beat it.
4. BenQ EW3270U
Best FreeSync 4K Gaming Monitor
Are you ready for some pleasant sticker shock? You can get a 32-inch, 4K monitor with FreeSync, at over $200 less than the price of our favorite 4K G-Sync display. The BenQ EW3270U (read our review) monitor uses a VA panel that offers great color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and a slightly nontraditional 76Hz refresh rate. It also comes with a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports that support 4K at 60Hz, so you can also plug in a pair of game consoles and still have a DisplayPort 1.4 left for your gaming PC.
5. ViewSonic XG3220 Gaming Monitor
Bigger is Better 4K Gaming Monitor
ViewSonic XG3220 Gaming Monitor
If you want a really want to take advantage of a 4K monitor it’s better to go big. However, going up screen size usually also means spending more money. Luckily the ViewSonic XG3220 (read our review) is a large 32-inch display that gives you a large, crisp Ultra HD picture for a reasonable $500 price. This big 4K gaming monitor has a lot going for it with vividly realistic colors and outstanding black levels.
There are some caveats with this reasonably priced 4K gaming monitor though, namely HDR is underwhelming due to a lack of true 10-bit color. High-speed, action-packed scenes also don’t do so well on this display with some obvious blurring and ghosting. But for a large 4K monitor, the ViewSonic XG3220 Gaming Monitor is a great starting point for users who just bought a powerful enough gaming PC on a budget or one of the latest consoles.
6. ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ
Best 4K HDR Gaming Monitor
ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ
If you’re looking for a feature-packed gaming monitor, one that also costs a whole lot of money, then the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ is for you. This display actually preceded Nvidia’s 20-series cards, so before they released, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to try and squeeze 144 fps out of your 4K games. With all the 20-series and 16-series cards out now, and powerful, the world is your oyster when it comes to frame rates. No matter which graphics card you end up using, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ is an incredible monitor and a true sight to behold. If you have the money and the hardware, it’s worth a look.
7. Acer Nitro XV273K
Best Budget 4K HDR Gaming Monitor
Acer Nitro XV273K
4K HDR monitors usually break the bank, but the Acer Nitro XV273K (read our review) is the one good display we’ve seen going for under a grand. Not only does this screen render sharp details at a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, it’s also HDR 400 certified, so it hits a 400-nit peak brightness and displays 10-bit color too.
That’s all pretty spectacular for $900 and beyond looking great on paper, this 4K monitor wow with the ability to show the tiniest details like individual grains of sand in Assassin’s Creed Origins. There are some unfortunate shortcomings like oversaturated colors outside and cloudy black levels outside of HDR mode, but I’d happily overlook these small issues for all the resolution you’re getting.
8. Acer CB281HK
Best 4K Gaming Monitor for FPS Gaming
Acer CB281HK BMJDPR
This 4K monitor has plenty of features to entice you into buying: a 1ms response rate, a 60Hz refresh rate, great contrast, and an aggressive style that’s not too aggressive. If you want a gaming monitor with 4K resolution, but you don’t want everyone to know it’s a gaming monitor like with one of Acer’s Predator line, this is a great 4K display. It’s also significantly less expensive than its other Predator siblings.
9. Dell UltraSharp 27 4K
Best 4K Esports Gaming Monitor
Dell UltraSharp 27 4K
This UltraSharp from Dell isn’t a gaming monitor, per se, but it’s a fantastic screen nonetheless. Thanks to its higher contrast ratio and significantly wider color depth, 4K games look stunning on this display. Its response rate is a little on the slow side of 5ms, so you can blame the monitor when you get killed in an FPS, which is a bonus. Best of all, it pops up on Dell’s sales events pretty regularly, so you can often grab this one on the cheap.
What you need to look for in a 4K Gaming Monitor
Below I got into what the benefits of a 4K Gaming Monitor are and a few things you should know about Variable Frame Rate technology.
4K monitors are designed to show greater details for more realistic textures, especially on larger displays. While, you’d be hard-pressed to see a difference between a game at 1080p and 4K on a 27-inch monitor, at 32 inches and up, however, 4K begins to make a difference.
See as you go up in size the pixel density (measured in pixels-per-inch) of the display begins to fall, allowing you to clearly see the individual pixels. At a certain point, large screens no longer allow 1080p (or even 1440p) panels to pack enough pixels into an area to present a crisp, detailed image—once this happens, you’ll want to start looking at 2160p resolution display.
Don’t expect to see particularly high frame rates when playing at Ultra HD resolutions. For one thing, even the most powerful graphics cards like the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti can only manage to render some 4K games at 30-45 fps at best on its own. To really achieve 4K 60 and beyond, you may need to invest in two of the most powerful Nvidia Turing GPUs running in SLI.
Also be aware that most 4K monitors come with a 60Hz refresh rate, with the exception of a few pricey 144Hz models. In the end, a 4K monitor is a pricey addition to your rig that usually prioritizes pixel count over speed and smooth gameplay.
G-Sync vs. FreeSync
Normally, your graphics card draws a frame and then has to wait until the monitor’s refresh cycle before it can display it. When the timing of these two events isn’t in sync, you would see partially-drawn frames on the screen (called “tearing”). If you have a monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate, and your GPU just barely missed drawing the frame in 1/60th of a second, it momentarily drops down to 30fps instead of something like 57fps, as it waits for the next 60Hz monitor refresh.
Variable refresh rate monitors reverse this relationship to refresh the monitor’s display right when the graphics card is done drawing a frame. If the game finished drawing that last frame in 1/57th of a second, the monitor will run at 57Hz and the frame will be immediately displayed. VRR makes your games look a lot smoother and gives you more freedom to adjust the visual quality in games without worrying about causing about a jumpy frame rate, or else turning off V-sync and suffering from tearing. This is especially important if you’re an early adopter of 4K gaming since 4k / 60 FPS is still hard for even high-end rigs to achieve.
There are two such technologies right now, and they’re not compatible with each other… sort of. At CES 2019, Nvidia announced it’s testing existing FreeSync monitors for compatibility with G-Sync drivers released after January 15, 2019. So far, just a handful of FreeSync displays are compatible with the G-Sync driver, but with FreeSync almost always being a cheaper option, it might be worth looking into it.
For recommendations on pushing your PC into the 4K era, check out our guide to the best graphics cards. I also have guides to the best desks for gaming, the best gaming chairs, and if 4K is too expensive or your PC can’t handle it, I also have guides for the best cheap gaming monitors, too.