Shopping for a gaming monitor used to be a simple affair. At one point every monitor was just rectangular-shaped and ran at 60Hz, so it was just a question of how big of a monitor could you afford and whether you wanted a 1440p display to be extra fancy. Those days are long gone now though.Today there are almost too many options when looking for a gaming monitor. Now you’ve got displays that offer high refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, 4K resolution, and high-dynamic-range (HDR) as basic features. It’s a lot to figure out, and that’s without mentioning curved gaming monitors or ultrawide displays, but I’m here to help.

IGN has reviewed a smorgasbord of gaming monitors, and with that data, I’ve created this list containing only the top-scoring monitors from each category for your easy consumption. Whether you’re looking for a 4K HDR screen to play Gear 5 in all its glory or a 240Hz display to help you win in Apex Legends, you’ll find the right gaming monitor for you here.

TL;DR – These are the Best Gaming Monitors:

1. Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

Best Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Asus ROG Swift PG348Q

On Walmart

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The Asus ROG Swift PG348Q (read our review) has all the features I want in a PC gaming monitor. Its 34-inch with an ultrawide 3,440 x 1,440 picture that refreshes at 100Hz refresh. What’s more, it supports Nvidia G-Sync and its IPS panel can render the full sRGB spectrum, so it’s good for professionals as well as gamers.

There are other ultrawide gaming monitors with similar specs like the Acer XR382CQK, but this Asus model has some extra gaming flair—such as a ROG logo projector built into the monitor stand’s neck—that helps it stand out from the crowd. The Asus ROG Swift PG348Q also offers a few more practical touches like an intuitive joystick controller to thumb through menus and settings.

It’s fast, beautiful, accurate, and huge without being too huge. And in case you’re not a fan of ultrawide monitors or don’t have a GPU capable of running a display this large, there’s also the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q, a more standard fare 27-inch, 1440p display that looks awesome at 144Hz.

2. Acer Predator XB273K

Best 4K Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Acer Predator XB273K

On Amazon

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You can basically think of the Acer Predator XB273K (read our review) as the semi-HDR version of its older sibling, the Acer Predator X27. While it doesn’t hit a 1,000-nit peak brightness or feature Quantum Dot technology, it also doesn’t cost $2,000. Nope, instead, the Acer Predator XB273K is a refined 27-inch, 4K gaming monitor designed to give you the sharpest 144Hz gaming experience for a little more than a grand.

This monitor still meets the HDR400 specification (up to a 400-nit peak brightness), so it’s still a bit brighter than your typical gaming monitor. Colors are also on-point. The Acer Predator XB273K can tap into 100% of the sRGB and 90% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum. Just know that to get the best colors out of this display, you’ll have to select 98Hz as your maximum refresh rate due to the bandwidth limitations of the DisplayPort 1.4 standard.

3. Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

Best 1440p Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Asus ROG Swift PG279Q

On Amazon

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The Asus ROG Swift PG279Q is what I call a “sweet spot” monitor as it offers a 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 panel with a 144Hz refresh rate (overclockable to 165Hz). Most modern high- to mid-range graphics cards can run AAA titles at that resolution and still render them at high frame rates.

It also supports Nvidia G-Sync, is fully adjustable, and has super-thin side bezels. Despite its red-on-black paint scheme, this gaming monitor is one of the more sophisticated- looking models thanks to its clean, angular lines. For most gamers with an RTX 2070, RTX 2060 or GTX 1660 Ti, this is the 1440p gaming monitor to get right now.

4. Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor

Best 1080p Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor

On Amazon

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The Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (read our review) excels in all the areas you’d want in a gaming monitor with great color and a perfectly sharp 1080p picture. However, this Full HD display’s greatest feature is its incredibly high 240Hz refresh rate. Most modern gaming PCs and graphics cards can render 1080p gaming at well above 60 frames per second (fps), and the Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor takes advantage of all that extra rendering horsepower to show you every single frame of animation.

Aesthetically, its tripod-style base and RGB lighting on the back of the chassis absolutely scream Alienware. It’s a beauty as long as you can find it on-sale. The FreeSync model’s original $500 sticker price is a bit extreme, luckily though you can usually find it for about $349 or less. A G-Sync model is also available, but it’s a little bit more expensive.

5. AOC C27G1 Curved Gaming Monitor

Best Budget Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

AOC C27G1 Curved Gaming Monitor

On Amazon

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AOC has been building solid budget-range monitors for years and the AOC C27G1 Curved Gaming Monitor (read our review) is one of its best offerings yet. This monitor’s 27-inch curved panel serves up a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate, and AMD FreeSync to eliminate screen tearing. As it uses an excellent Vertical Alignment (VA) panel you can expect a balanced experience with great colors and quick response time.

The only thing I find a little lacking is it’s a bit dimmer than other monitors—brightness maxes out at only 250-nits. But its shortcomings are easy to overlook thanks to this monitor’s sub $300 sticker price and pretty great specs. The AOC C27G1 isn’t going to blow your mind, but it’s an affordable gaming monitor that all PC gamers should consider.

6. Viotek GFT27D

Best Budget 1440p Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Viotek GFT27DB

On Amazon

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The Viotek GFT27DB (read our review) is the perfect cheap monitor to go with if you want a 1440p that’ll stick to your budget. Priced at just $300, this QHD monitor also delivers a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time (with Overdrive) thanks to its TN panel. Colors and contrast on this display are surprisingly not half bad despite its TN panel.

It also supports FreeSync for the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. as well as AMD-powered gaming PCs and gaming laptops. What’s more, I can confirm that the Viotek GFT27DB is G-Sync Compatible even if it technically isn’t on the list of supported gaming monitors.

7. Acer Nitro XV273K

Best Budget 4K Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Acer Nitro XV273K

On Amazon

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The Acer Nitro XV273K (read our review) is one of the few 4K gaming monitors you can find for less than a grand and what a gaming monitor it is. It’s tack sharp with a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution and it meets the HDR 400 specification to produce colors that pop and inky blacks.

Just be sure to game with HDR enabled on this gaming monitor as colors and grays can look dull in standard dynamic range mode. Overall, this is a great 4K gaming monitor that costs only $900.

8. AOC AG322QC4 Curved Gaming Monitor

The Best Curved Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

AOC AG322QC4 Curved Gaming Monitor

On Amazon

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If you want a monitor larger than 27-inches, you should start looking at curved gaming monitors. Curved gaming monitors like the 32-inch AOC AG322QC4 (read our review) are a bit easier on the eyes. Rather than having to keep looking away to the edges of a large screen, they come to you as a curved screen is designed to wrap itself around your peripheral vision.

Beyond the novelty of its curved panel, the AOC AG322QC4 is one of the best displays I’ve seen. It offers up a QHD (2,560 x 1,400) resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync2 HDR support. There’s also a decent selection of ports here including two DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0, and one VGA—just know that only the HDMI ports support HDR. Not too shabby overall for a monitor that costs less than $600.

9. Samsung CHG90 QLED Gaming Monitor

Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Samsung CHG90 QLED Gaming Monitor

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While most ultrawide displays are around 35-inches with a 21:9 aspect ratio, my pick for the best ultrawide gaming monitor is actually a 49-inch, 32:9 screen. Meet the Samsung CHG90 QLED Gaming Monitor (read our review), it’s a massive 3,840 x 1,080 resolution display with enough screen real-estate to make any multi-tasker cry tears of joy. On top of its impressive wingspan, this ultra-ultrawide display has an equally long list of specs including Quantum Dot technology, FreeSync 2 HDR support, and a maximum 144Hz refresh rate.

It caters to productivity as much as gaming as the screen can act as two completely separate Full HD displays for two different systems. Alternatively, you could have the majority of the screen act as a 21:9 display for games and movies, while reserving the rest of the monitor for work or email. It’s no surprise that an ultrawide monitor like this spurred other manufacturers to produce their own versions like the LG 49WL95C and Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ.

10. Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

Best HDR Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

On Amazon

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Ever since 4K gaming came onto the scene people have been waiting for the “next level” of performance, and the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ (read our review) is it. It was the first monitors to combine a 4K resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, G-Sync, and HDR up to an insane peak brightness of 1,000nits. Under the hood, it uses a 27-inch vertical alignment panel enhanced with quantum dots and 384 individual backlight zones. It is the Holy Grail of gaming monitors (for Nvidia GPU owners, at least).

There are some drawbacks though, namely with its $2,000 price. Secondly, it can’t actually do everything it promises at 144Hz because DisplayPort can’t handle the combined load of 4K resolution and 10-bit HDR color streaming at 144Hz. Expect to drop down your refresh rate to 98Hz for the true HDR experience. If you find the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ’s starship aesthetic a little overbearing, you may want to consider the more practical-looking Acer Predator X27, which offers all the same specs, plus slightly better colors and an included display hood.

11. Acer Predator XB321HK

Best G-Sync Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Acer Predator XB321HK

On Amazon

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Variable refresh rate technology makes modern PC gaming smoother, and if you have an Nvidia graphics card you really should take advantage of it with a G-Sync display. And while you’re doing that why not get one of the biggest, baddest G-Sync Gaming Monitors around, the Acer Predator XB321HK (read our review)? This 32-inch display produces a 3,840 x 2,160 picture with a silky-smooth 60Hz refresh rate, assuming you have a GPU beefy enough to do so.

The Acer Predator XB321HK doesn’t offer many other special features and it maxes out at only 300-nits, so it’s as basic as standard-dynamic range monitors go. Good news is though, you can get this big 32-inch, 4K monitor for about $800, which is not too bad considering the size and resolution of the screen.

12. Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD Tactical Gaming Display

Best FreeSync Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD Tactical Gaming Display

On Newegg

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The Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD Tactical Gaming Display (read our review) is one of the latest monitors that support FreeSync. This 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 display isn’t quite as sharp as our pick for the best Nvidia G-Sync gaming monitor, but it supports HDR with a maximum brightness of 400-nits. It also refreshes up to 144Hz, though, you’ll have to drop your frame rate down to 120 fps if you want the best 10-bit HDR colors. It also happens to be a little cheaper than the Acer Predator XB321HK at $570.

The Gigabyte Aorus AD27QD also offers a few gaming-specific features such as being able to enable an on-screen crosshair. Alternatively, the monitor can add an overlay to display your frame rate, CPU or GPU frequency, and the processor temperature (you’ll need a Gigabyte motherboard to enable the last one). This gaming monitor also features a built-in microphone to power its active noise-cancellation technology, which can remove the sound of your PC fans or you clacking away on your gaming keyboard while you speak over team chat.

13. BenQ EW3270U

Best Freesync Gaming Monitor for G-Sync

Our Pick

BenQ EW3270U

On Amazon

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Most modern gaming monitors support either Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, but the BenQ EW3270U (read our review) is one of the few displays that can take advantage of both. Even before this monitor was declared a “G-Sync compatible” display, it was one of the best 32-inch, 4K screens you could buy.

You’ll be able to enjoy silky-smooth Ultra HD gaming on this 60Hz display and the BenQ EW3270U even supports HDR with 10-bit colors and a peak brightness of 300 nits. The only thing I wished was better about this monitor was its stand, as height adjustment feels a bit lacking. If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, quicker, or just something different, I’ve also picked out the best FreeSync monitors for Nvidia GPUs.

14. MSI Oculux NXG251R

Best Esports Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

MSI Oculux NXG251R

On Amazon

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Those playing twitchy shooters, click-heavy arena battle games, and other Esports games are best played on high-refresh rate monitors and there’s almost nothing faster than the MSI Oculux NXG251R (read our review). Offering a blisteringly fast 240Hz refresh rate, this 24.5-inch monitor focuses on being as responsive as possible with a 1ms response time.

Sure its 1,920 x 1,080 resolution panel seems a bit pedestrian compared to the other 1440p and 2160p models I’ve picked out, but Full HD looks plenty sharp on a monitor this small. It’s also pretty affordable considering this display renders a bright picture with exceptional contrast, and it even boasts Nvidia’s G-Sync technology to eliminate frame tearing.

15. HP Omen X Emperium 65

Best Large Gaming Monitor

Our Pick

HP Omen X Emperium 65

On Best Buy

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Although the HP Omen X Emperium 65 (read our review) is technically a gaming monitor, it’s actually a 65-inch gaming TV that costs $5,000. It’s terribly expensive, but for your money, you get a fully loaded 4K gaming display with full support for HDR, G-Sync, up to a 144Hz frame rate, along with an integrated Nvidia Shield – so it can act as a standalone SmartTV. It even comes with a massive soundbar, which can simulate the wide dynamic range of a multi-speaker sound system.

This oversized, full-featured display is pretty much the end-all, be-all of gaming monitors. If you have the scratch to afford the HP Omen X Emperium 65, there really isn’t another gaming monitor as awesome as this.

What’s next for gaming monitors

Just when we though gaming monitors couldn’t get any faster than 240Hz, two 300Hz gaming laptops announced at IFA 2019 including the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 and Acer Predator Triton 500. We can’t imagine desktop PC gamers will take this lying down for very long, so it’s probably safe to assume we can expect a 300Hz gaming monitor will be announced in due time.

300Hz gaming monitors might seem even more ridiculous than 240Hz display, but they have their uses. The even faster refresh rare will make every frame of action look completely crisp without any bit of motion blur whatsoever.

What to look for in a gaming monitor

Below I go over the three essential things you should consider before buying a gaming monitor including screen size, resolution, and aspect ratio. I’ve also briefly explained a few of the more technical aspects of computer display such as panel types, refresh rate, and the variable refresh rate technologies available today.

Screen size: “How big?” Will probably be the first thing you’ll ask yourself when you go about buying a gaming monitor, and the answer really comes down to your unique situation. Are you in a tiny dorm with barely any room or are you looking to get a 43-inch gaming monitor to replace your TV?

How you answer that question will ultimately determine the display size you need. But if you’re looking for some basic guidelines on screen sizes, 24- to 27-inch gaming monitors will satisfy most gamers. Those looking for a more immersive experience might be interested in a 32-inch or larger screen. As with most things, gaming monitors will usually become more expensive as you go up in size, so think with your budget as much as your ambition.

Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of your monitor is closely related to its size because it determines which form factor your display will have. The majority of monitors fall into the widescreen category with their 16:9 aspect ratio. Ultrawide displays have been rising in popularity recently and these screens often feature the 21:9 aspect ratio you would typically see at the movie theater. If you can believe it modern gaming monitors have only been getting even wider and there’s a growing crop of 32:9 displays as well.

Screen resolution: This determines how sharp your gaming monitor will be and, for the most part, there are three choices: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440), and Ultra HD or 4K (3,840 x 2,160). Like screen size, as the numbers go up so does the price, plus they’ll require a higher-end graphics card if you hope to maintain a high frame rate.

Think with your budget as much as your ambition

Panel type: Although most monitors might look the same on the surface, there are a few different panel types that offer specific benefits and shortcomings. Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most basic and common panel you’ll come across as they deliver the fastest response times of 1ms often at the cost of duller colors, grayer black levels, and poor viewing angles.

In-Plane Switching (IPS) is the next most prevalent type of display and it’s basically the opposite of a TN panel. Rather than focusing on speed, IPS panels are known for rendering excellent colors and contrast while offering wider viewing angles in exchange for slightly slower response time, usually hovering around 3-5ms.

Lastly, Vertical Alignment (VA) panels are becoming increasingly common and they essentially split the difference between TN and IPS panels. They offer great image quality with decently quick response times. VA panels aren’t perfect, though, as sometimes fast-moving objects will give off ghosting effects due to the slower response time.

If you want a responsive gaming monitor, it’s best to pick one with a fast response time, which is a measure of how quickly a pixel can change from the brightest to the darkest (white to black) color.

Response time: Competitive shooters and MoBAs demand the quickest response times, so it’s best to play these types of games on monitors that offer a 1ms response time. Playing Indie games and most single-player experiences shouldn’t be a problem on a display with a response time between 3-5ms – and it’s pretty much impossible to find a gaming monitor that is slower than this.

Refresh rate: This is another important measure of how responsive a gaming monitor is, and it defines how often your screen can display a completely new image — so it essentially dictates your frame rate. 60Hz is the standard refresh rate for silky smooth PC gaming, but there’s a long list of gaming monitors that feature even higher refresh rates of 120Hz, 144Hz, and, so far, up to 240Hz.

Basically, the higher the refresh rates the more times the image on your screen will update every second, resulting in a smoother gameplay experience. Beyond the visual appeal of high refresh rate displays, they can be useful for gamers who need to keep up with the rapid movements competitive games demand. Generally, you’ll be at an advantage if you see your opponents and react before they do.

G-Sync vs FreeSync: Variable refresh rate (VRR) technology is a fairly recent invention and it basically ensures you have a consistently smooth and responsive gaming experience. Currently, there are two flavors of VRR, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, and they’ll require a prerequisite that you own a compatible graphics card from the corresponding brand. Nvidia does allow you to enable VRR on any FreeSync monitor, but your results will vary.

At the most basic level, VRR syncs your monitor’s refresh rate with the number of frames your GPU outputs. This prevents screen tearing caused by the graphics card feeding your display multiple frames while it’s is in the middle of refreshing its picture. If your graphics card is running your game at 60 fps, you’ll see your monitor refresh at exactly 60Hz with wonderfully smooth gameplay.

My only other piece of advice when buying a gaming monitor is to make sure your video card can handle the resolution and refresh rate of the display you’re considering. It would be a waste of money to buy a 4K gaming monitor when your GPU can only handle 1080p gaming.

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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

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