The best gaming monitor 2021: the 10 best gaming screens of the year

It’s not that simple picking out the best gaming monitor. But, it is worth the time and energy. That’s because a truly excellent monitor will help you get the most out of your games and the Nvidia RTX 3000 series GPU that’s powering your gaming PC. You’ll benefit from useful features like a wide aspect ratio, faster refresh rate, high resolution, and even curvature.

Don’t just go for the most expensive or most feature-rich one you can afford, however. Just like with the best gaming mouse and the best gaming keyboard, the best gaming monitor for you depends on your gaming needs. If you’re into expansive open-world games, a 4K monitor might be the most ideal option. However, if you’re into Esports, a speedy monitor with quick refresh rates is the way to go.

Run-of-the-mill computer monitors are good enough if you’re working on non-gaming computers. However, for gaming, only the best gaming monitors will do, no matter if you have the best budget gaming PC or a top-of-the-line behemoth. If your productivity or creative workflow is a priority, consider looking at the best monitor for MacBook Pros. Gaming on the go? Check out the best gaming laptops instead.

Best gaming monitors at a glance

  1. LG UltraGear 38GN950
  2. Samsung Odyssey G7
  3. Samsung CRG9
  4. Alienware AW3418DW
  5. AOC Agon AG352UCG6
  6. BenQ PD3200U
  7. Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27
  8. MSI Optix MPG341CQR
  9. Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q
  10. Acer Predator CG7 

LG UltraGear 38GN950

(Image credit: LG)

1. LG UltraGear 38GN950

A killer ultra-wide gaming monitor

Screen size: 38-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 1600 | Brightness: 450cd/m² | Response time: 1ms | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: DCI-P3 98% | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Weight: 20.3 lbs

160Hz refresh rate
Super-responsive
Expensive
HDR can’t compete with high-end TVs

It’s hard not to be impressed by the LG UltraGear 38GN950. If you’re looking for the ultimate gaming monitor, this is certainly the one to beat, with a 144Hz refresh rate that can be easily overclocked to 160Hz, 1ms response time, spectacular image quality, and many other gaming features like G-Sync, an ultra-wide aspect ratio and DisplayHDR 600. If you’re serious about gaming and want lots of screen real estate, then this is the best gaming monitor to get – if you can afford it, that is.

Read the full review: LG UltraGear 38GN950

Samsung Odyssey G7

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Odyssey G7

Best of both Worlds

Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Brightness: 350 nits | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178°(H)/178°(V) | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1 | Color support: 95% DCI-P3

Speedy refresh rate
Quality HDR
G-Sync and FreeSync
Awkward assembly
Needs to be calibrated
No USB-C

The best gaming monitors typically fall into two camps: fast refresh rate or high resolution. But, they almost never do both. With the Samsung Odyssey, that’s not the case. It manages to pack a 1440p resolution in the same display as a 240Hz refresh rate as well as excellent HDR, making this an ideal choice for any gamer that likes to play Esports one day and jump into an immersive open-world game the next. It’s not perfect as it does take some work getting it up and running, but the Samsung Odyssey G7 is an ideal choice for gamers who have some variety in their gaming libraries.

Read the full review: Samsung Odyssey G7

Samsung CRG9

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung CRG9

How big is too big?

Screen size: 49-inch | Aspect ratio: 32:9 | Resolution: 5,120 x 1,440 | Brightness: 600cd/m2 – 1000cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178°(H)/178°(V) | Contrast ratio: 3,000:1 | Color support: 1.07B

Great screen size
HDR
Menu can be tricky
Needs tweaking out of box

It may be very expensive and requires a killer gaming PC setup to run, but the Samsung CRG9 is completely worth it if you’ve got the extra cash laying around. This bigger-than-average 49-incher boasts bezels thinner than most gaming monitors and a picture by picture mode feature that lets you use two different inputs, simulating a dual monitor setup in a single monitor. And, that’s without mentioning that the Samsung CRG9 produces an out-of-this-world image right out of the box.

Read the full review: Samsung CRG9

Alienware AW3418DW

(Image credit: Alienware)

4. Alienware AW3418DW

The fastest ultrawide yet

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 26 pounds

Highest refresh rate in an ultrawide
Alienware design and build quality
Expensive
Takes up a lot of space

The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few gaming monitors that deliver a level of immersion that only a 21:9 aspect ratio can, while also offering up a high refresh rate. With a dense 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, ridiculously fast 4ms response times and a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, this ultrawide monitor gives you the best of both worlds. All these features don’t come cheap though, so budget-minded gamers might want to look elsewhere or start saving up. 

Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW

LG UltraGear Ergo 27GN88A

(Image credit: LG)

5. LG UltraGear Ergo 27GN88A

Pro meets gaming

Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 350cd/m² | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Color support: DCI-P3 98% | Weight: 8.1 lbs

Nice 1440p 144Hz IPS panel
Excellent response
No USB-C
Not a true HDR panel

Ergonomics and extended color coverage meet gaming in LG’s newest offering. The UltraGear Ergo 27GN88A may target a niche market, but it ticks all the right boxes for many, especially those that want to enjoy fast 1440p gaming without getting something that’s heavy and takes up a lot of space. Plus, having something that clamps on to a wide range of surfaces as well as offers both extensive adjustability and clever cable management will ensure you can game for hours on end.

Read the full review: LG UltraGear Ergo 27GN88A

BenQ PD3200U

(Image credit: BenQ)

6. BenQ PD3200U

A large 4K screen for your desk

Screen Size: 32-inch | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Response Time: 4ms | Viewing Angle: 178/178 | Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1 | Color Support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 19 lbs

4K UHD resolution
Large Screen
Inexpensive relatively
Design is a little bland
Professional tools are niche
Takes up a lot of space

While originally made for CAD professionals, the BenQ PD3200U is also great for gaming. This is mostly thanks to its rock-solid focus on graphic design so it’s able to offer incredibly wide viewing angles, which means that your friends can watch your game in comfort. And, unlike most 4K monitors on the market, you won’t have to mess around with the settings to get the best picture, since every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before shipping. This is definitely one of the best gaming monitors out there, even though it wasn’t actually designed for gaming.

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27

(Image credit: Porsche )

7. Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27

Fast 1440p monitor

Screen size: 27-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Brightness: 550 nits | Refresh rate: 240Hz | Response time: 0.5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2500:1 | Color support: 16.7 Million | Weight: 8.9Kg

Built for speed
Beautiful performance
That 1000R curvature is a dream
RGB might be too subtle for some
Basic HDR

If you’ve got the need for speed – in your gaming, that is – then you have the need for this Porsche-inspired monitor by AOC. Abandoning the usual tapered red-on-black look that many gaming monitors have, this one comes with racing car design elements so that spectators know exactly that when it comes to speed, it doesn’t mess around. Just take a look at its specs of 240Hz refresh rate and 0.5ms response time. It also comes with DisplayHDR 400 support, classy RGB lighting, and a 1000R curvature.

Read the full review: Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27

MSI Optix MPG341CQR

(Image credit: MSI)

8. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

MSI’s hot new 34-inch gaming monitor

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 400 nits | Refresh rate: 144Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 3000:1 | Color support: sRGB 105% | Weight: 21.16 pounds

Punchy VA panel
Great gaming performance
Really strong overall feature set
This class of monitor is expensive

While all of its extra frills make the MSI Optix MPG341CQR an even more appealing selection for potential buyers, it does an outstanding job of standing out on its own. The use of VA rather than IPS panel technology, for one, is a welcome advantage, offering punchier colors and better contrast. Plus, its super-wide 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh certainly give gamers an edge. The best part might be that this display is also reasonably priced, making it one of the best gaming monitors to consider in 2021.

Read the full review: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

(Image credit: Asus)

9. Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

4K meets affordability

Screen size: 28-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 | Brightness: 350 cd/㎡ | Response time: 5ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 90% color gamut, 1073.7M (10bit) | Weight: 7.6 kg

Incredibly affordable
Extremely flexible in viewing positions
Gorgeous, accurate colors
Some stuttering at higher settings
Not true HDR

With the Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q, you’re getting a lot of value for your money – especially considering the small price of entry. One of the most affordable 4K gaming monitors right now, this 28-incher can swivel, pivot and tilt practically however which way you need it (within reason, naturally) to serve your purpose. It also has deliciously thin bezels and a nifty cable management solution, as well as a few display settings to boost your viewing experience. Thanks to its rich vibrant colors, super sharp image quality and a design that is only subtly gaming-centric, this is among the best 4K monitors not only for gamers but for regular users who consume a lot of visual media as well.

Read the full review: Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q

Acer Predator CG7

(Image credit: Acer)

10. Acer Predator CG7

An epic screen

Screen size: 43-inch | Aspect ratio: 16:9 | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Brightness: 1000 cd/m² | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 1ms | Viewing angle: 178°(H)/178°(V) | Contrast ratio: 4,000:1 | Color support: 16.7 Million

Responsive
G-Sync support
4K support
Expensive
Lacks some features
Too big for some, not big enough for others

An epic gaming experience awaits you with Acer Predator CG7’s 43-inch screen, 4000:1 contrast ratio, 1ms response time and 120Hz refresh rate. To be fair, there are bigger and badder gaming monitors out there, but for some people – particularly, those looking for a TV with gaming-level specs, this one’s a winner. It’s got some extra features as well – namely, a remote control, icons on that stand to encourage game controller storage, and RGB lighting that can sync to your music and games – so you’re getting your money’s worth, even if you are paying for a lot.

Read the full review: Acer Predator CG7 

How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2021

If in the market for the best gaming monitor 2021 has to offer, know that there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing which display should grace your desk.

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the following terms and specifications to help guarantee that you’re getting the best gaming monitor that’s most ideal for you. It also means you won’t have to pay extra for additional features that you might not actually care about.

Screen size: When looking for a gaming monitor, one of the most important things to consider is the screen size. Larger display sizes can lead to more immersive gaming experiences as the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll also have to make sure that you have the space to keep a large monitor. And, it goes without saying that the larger the monitor, the higher the price as well.

Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor helps determine the width and height of the display. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors have closer to a square format of 4:3 that might feel pretty out of date in 2021. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are rapidly growing in popularity, as they offer a wider view of your games, which is why many ultra-wides have made our list of the best gaming monitors 2021.

Resolution: One other critical factor to consider when searching for the ideal monitor for your needs is the resolution. The higher the number, the sharper the picture. You will, however, require a more powerful graphics card for anything over Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), even if many gaming monitors feature resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).

Refresh rate: When you’re mostly looking to play Counter-Strike and other first-person shooters like it, refresh rate is even more vital. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) the monitor can support, leading to a considerably smoother gaming experience. A 60Hz refresh rate is still the most common in 2021, but refresh rates of 144Hz and even 200Hz are becoming more prominent – not to mention, more and more necessary.

Response time: An excellent gaming monitor offers low response times, which means you’re getting fast and fluid actions, with little to no input lag. The lowest response time for TN monitors (we’ll get to this in the next section) is 1 millisecond, whereas the newer IPS monitors typically have slower 4ms response times. When you’re playing games competitively, it’s vital to keep this number as low as you can in order to avoid latency.

Panel type: This is where things get a little technical. The type of panel a gaming monitor uses will largely contribute to its response time and image clarity. TN (twisted nematic) panels, which are often more affordable, have the lowest response times but usually don’t come with great viewing angles. IPS (in-plane switching) panels, on the other hand, have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction, but usually have higher response times. Meanwhile, VA (vertical alignment) panels are between the two, although its slow response times makes these panels rare in the gaming world.

Viewing Angle: While most people play games right in front of their gaming monitor, this isn’t always be the case, particularly when there is an audience. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still make out a clear image. The closer these numbers are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.

G-Sync and FreeSync: You've probably noticed that many of the best gaming monitors in 2021 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes even both. These help keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combat screen tearing and minimize input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so it requires an Nvidia GPU. And, the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. FreeSync, on the other hand, was made by AMD. Since it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors that have them are usually more economical.

The best gaming monitors aren't cheap, so you'll want to make sure they are insured against accidental damage or theft. If you're in the UK, then you can shop around and compare contents insurance to keep your gadgets, including monitors and other gaming peripherals, protected.

Check out our HDR Explained video below.

Gabe Carey, Bill Thomas and Michelle Rae Uy have also contributed to this article.

  • Looking for a more general monitor? Check out our list of the best monitors

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