Best bargain gaming monitors

The best monitors that don't break the bank.

Image via Acer

Gaming can be an expensive hobby. From consoles to controllers, the hardware costs add up. If you’re looking to save money, a budget-friendly gaming monitor is a great way to cut costs. Monitors are one of the most important parts of a gaming setup, but you don’t need the largest size or biggest brand name out there to enjoy your game. 

When looking for budget monitors, you will need to be willing to make some compromises in terms of size and performance. There are a lot of specifications to consider when looking at monitors. Two of the main factors to consider are refresh rate and response time. Refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) and examines how fast a monitor will refresh the image on the screen. Higher refresh rates are better for competitive gaming. Response time is related to refresh rate and measures how fast the monitor can shift between colors. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). There are several ways to measure response time, so take this measurement with a grain of salt. 

Aside from technical specifications, there are other important features to look out for when choosing a monitor. For instance, a gaming monitor that has a VESA mount on the back can be mounted to an arm or the wall. Some monitors add blue light filtering to protect the viewer’s eyes and reduce eyestrain. Most game-ready monitors come with either Nvidia’s G-Sync technology or AMD FreeSync to help reduce screen tearing when paired with the appropriate graphics card.

Here are some of the best monitors under $200.

Acer Nitro VG240Y

Image by Acer via Amazon

At a glance:

  • 23.8-inch display
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • 1ms response time
  • AMD FreeSync 
  • VESA mount compatible 
  • Panel Type: IPS

Acer’s Nitro VG240Y is more gaming-focused than the budget-friendly SB220Q. The Nitro sits a little under 24 inches and has a 144Hz refresh rate and a one-millisecond response time. This monitor will consistently reach over 100 frames, depending on your graphics settings. It also features AMD FreeSync allowing it to work with your graphics card to prevent screen tearing.

This monitor is VESA mount compatible, allowing it to be mounted on the wall or a desk-mounted monitor arm. 

There are a lot of additional features that will help this monitor shine. It features a sleek zero frame design, eliminating most of the bezel around the screen to maximize display space. The ComfyView display is “flicker-less” and low dimming to help protect against eye strain. This monitor also offers wider viewing angles thanks to its IPS display. 

Acer’s Nitro VG240Y is at the top of the price range, but it will be better for competitive gamers who need a higher frame rate. 

ASUS TUF VG24VQE

Image by ASUS via Amazon

At a glance:

  • 23.6-inch display
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • 1ms response time
  • Adaptive-Sync
  • VESA mount compatible 
  • Panel Type: VA

The ASUS TUF VG24VQE is one of the best monitors on the list for competitive gaming. It features a 165Hz refresh rate combined with a one-millisecond response time. The display is 23.6-inches in size, and it uses Adaptive-Sync instead of AMD FreeSync. Adaptive-Sync pairs with either Nvidia or AMD cards instead of limiting to just one or the other.

The monitor is also VESA mount compatible for those that want to mount it on a desk or the wall for the ultimate viewing and gaming experiences. 

If competitive gaming on a budget is your goal, this monitor’s refresh rate makes it one of the better choices for you. 

Dell S2421HGF

Image by Dell via Amazon

At a glance:

  • 24-inch display
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • 1ms response time
  • VESA mount compatible
  • Panel Type: TN

Dell’s S2421HGF monitor is a strong contender on the list. With a 144Hz refresh rate and a one-millisecond response time, it is worth the slightly larger investment. 

This Dell monitor is also more adjustable than the more cost-effective models on the list. The height and tilt angles are adjustable. It’s also VESA wall mount compatible, allowing the user to free up some desk space. The monitor is heavily focused on gaming and features three user-defined profile options and tools, including a frame rate counter and timer. The Dell S2421HGF uses a TN panel. These types of panels are known for a fast refresh rate but at the expense of color accuracy. While the color accuracy isn’t the same as the IPS panel, you’ll get a much fast refresh rate and response time. 

Dell’s S2421HGF is a good all-around gaming monitor. If you’re hoping to get into more competitive gaming, the higher refresh rate will provide a more comfortable experience.. 

MSI Optix G241VC

Image by MSI via Amazon

At a glance:

  • 23.6-inch display
  • 75Hz refresh rate
  • 1ms response time
  • AMD FreeSync
  • Requires MSI wall mount adaptor
  • Panel Type: VA

MSI makes some quality, low-cost monitors specifically for gaming. The MSI Optix G241VC is a 23.6-inch monitor with a 75Hz refresh rate and one-millisecond response time. The monitor’s refresh rate isn’t suited for the competitive scene, but it is more than enough for a comfortable, casual experience. Like many other monitors on the list, it has AMD FreeSync to pair with the graphics card to prevent tearing.

The G241VC uses a VA panel. TN panels are a happy medium between an IPS display’s color accuracy and the speed of a TN display. A big drawback to VA panels is that they can be prone to ghosting. 

For those looking to mount the monitor to a desk arm or on the wall, you’ll need an MSI-specific adaptor instead of the standard VESA mount. 

The MSI is one of two curved monitors on our list. Curved monitors can reduce glare and immerse the player in the game. While a curved monitor is not necessary for gaming, it is an increasingly popular choice. Plus, this monitor looks good both in-game and on the desk. Specifications should come before the overall design of the monitor but never underestimate the value of aesthetics.

This is a good middle-ground monitor that offers an immersive experience and a fast response time. 

Acer SB220Q

Image by Acer via Amazon

At a glance:

  • 21.5-inch display
  • 75Hz refresh rate
  • 4ms response time
  • AMD FreeSync
  • No VESA mount compatibility
  • Panel Type: IPS

The Acer SB220Q features an ultra-thin design and is the cheapest option on the list. It is a small monitor at only 21.5 inches. The smaller display keeps the price low, making it appeal to those on a tight budget. Acer makes this monitor in larger sizes, but the price increase pushes those models outside of the price range. 

This monitor might not be the best choice for competitive PC gaming. The 75Hz refresh rate is somewhat low when paired with the monitor’s four-millisecond response time. The combination of a lower refresh rate and response time means this monitor doesn’t work well for those hoping to jump into the competitive scene. 

Acer’s SB220Q works well with AMD cards thanks to the inclusion of AMD’s FreeSync technology. This technology allows your display to sync with your AMD graphics card to help prevent screen tearing. 

While this monitor isn’t suitable for competitive gaming, it has other strong features. It’s an ultra-thin HD monitor with a beautiful color display and a narrow, frameless bezel. Thanks to the IPS display, the screen looks good from multiple angles. The downside to the thin design is the monitor lacks a VESA mount support. Although it lacks a VESA mount compatibility, this monitor is still good for those that want an inexpensive monitor with a quality display. 

This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Dot Esports.