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Best Cheap Gaming Monitors To Buy In 2018

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As we grind toward 2020, which stills seems like a fake futuristic year, good gaming monitors are getting more affordable. Now, affordable is a relative term, but I think it's safe to say $200-$300 is cheap compared to some of the top-tier $1,500 screens out there. While these lower priced screens won't have all the bells and whistles, chances are one of them will have the specs to upgrade your battlestation while still fitting in your budget.

Below are our favorite budget gaming monitors. Take a look at these specs to pick the best gaming monitor for you...Or just jump to the monitors if you already know what you want.



4k vs 1080p



If your system can support 4k, and you have a little extra cash, picking up a 4k monitor is the way to go for obvious reasons. Not only is 4k absolute eye candy for gaming, but it will future proof your setup. In a few years when 4k games are as common as a Rattata, you'll be glad you're already rocking a 4k monitor.

For you console gamers out there with an Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, or Xbox One S, a 4k monitor is essential to get the best experience. While the One S doesn't natively support 4k gaming, it can scale the 1080p content to mimic 4k, and it does a pretty impressive job.

Keep in mind that resolution only matters for bigger screens. Smaller screens already have more pixels per inch at 1080p, and at some point you won't be able to percieve a difference in resolution. A 4k 21” monitor looks almost exactly the same as a 1080p 21” monitor, but a 4k 27” monitor looks a lot better than a 1080p 27” monitor. Our 4k monitor recommendations below are 24"-28", stay on the high side of that for the most value.



Panel Type: IPS vs TN



LCD gaming panels aren't all created equal. IPS (in plane switching) displays bring better viewing angles, more accurate color reproduction, and are great for slower paced RPG or strategy games. One of the major knocks on IPS screens is a slow refresh rate. If you are playing fast-paced FPS games or doing competitive gaming, NP screens (twisted nematic field effect) are the jam. While they don't have the color of an IPS display, the response time can get down to 1ms compared to 4ms for the fastest IPS screens. That quicker refresh can make all the difference when that scrub is trying to quick-scope you. Annoying.



Adaptive Sync: FreeSync or GSync



If you're a serious gamer, don't consider any monitor without either FreeSync or GSync. They allow the screen to refresh at the same frame rate as your computer. If you upgrade your GPU, you won't need a new screen to match the specs. Traditional monitors have a fixed refresh rate, so it'll cap your computers graphics performance, or even worse cause ghosting or screen tearing which will make you want to vomit:

pc gaming screen tearing


FreeSync & GSync use adaptive sync to avoid any refresh issues, but do it in different ways. There are plenty of pros and cons for both types, which you can read about here. Getting a GSync enabled screen will ensure an awesome monitor, but will be more expensive. FreeSync models have advantages over Gsync, but vary in quality, so make sure to do your research before choosing one.

All the screens recommended below have either FreeSync or GSync. You're welcome.

We could drone on about aspect ratio, HDR, and curved displays, but at this point your probably ready to pick out a damn monitor already. Here are our cheap gaming monitor recommendations, broken out into a 4k and 1080p category.



Cheap 4k Gaming Monitors


Entry Level 4k: LG UD58-B

For entry-level 4k at a great price, take a look at the LG UD58-B.


cheap 4k gaming monitor

Quick Specs:
  • Price: $290 for the 24" or $326 for the 27"
  • Resolution: Full 4k
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • Adaptive Sync: FreeSync
Pros:
  1. High-quality 4k picture, crisp & clear
  2. Great colors, ideal for slower-paced games & movies
  3. Sharp black text
  4. Preset gaming modes with advanced on-screen controls
  5. 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon
Cons:

1. IPS Panel

If you are a competitive gamer, the major flaw of this monitor is the IPS screen type that isn't good for fast-paced games. The refresh rate is pretty good for an IPS monitor at 5ms but look at a TN monitor for competitive or other fast-paced gaming.

2. Small Monitor Stand

If you want a tall, adjustable stand, then these aren't the droids you are looking for. The stand is pretty tiny and won't keep the screen from shaking when you rage quit Overwatch because Genji is on a rampage with his sword (or am I the only one?). Consider mounting this screen on your desk for better stability & flexibility. It has VESA holes and is ready to mount.

Bottom Line:

For a solid entry-level 4k gaming monitor, the LG UD58-B is a good choice. Competitive gamers, look elsewhere. Performance of this monitor is similar to the upgraded $499 LG model, so you know it's a good value. You can see the test results here.

Or head over to Amazon to take a closer look at the LG UD58-B 24" or 27" gaming monitor.



Value 4k TN Monitor: ASUS VP28UQG

For competitive 4k gaming, this is an awesome (albeit more expensive) monitor.


competitive 4k gaming monitor

Quick Specs:
  • Price: $399
  • Screen Size: 28"
  • Resolution: Full 4k
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Adaptive Sync: FreeSync
Pros:
  1. Incredible 4k clarity with UHD capability
  2. Lightning fast TN panel with 1ms response time
  3. Perfect for competitive gaming & FPS games
  4. Easy to optimize video settings with consoles
  5. 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon
Cons:
  1. Higher price point than entry-level 4k gaming monitors
  2. Another small-ish stand that can cause monitor wiggling
  3. Not a huge volume of reviews (8)
Bottom Line:

Finding a fast, quality 4k monitor under $500 is tough. This screen delivers on all the critical specs, without any glaring weaknesses. Feel confident using this monitor in your /r/battlestations post. Check out the ASUS VP28UQG here.



Cheap 1080p Gaming Monitors


1080p monitors are getting crazy cheap now that HD technology has matured. You can get a high-performance monitor at a great price. Here are some top 1080p gaming monitor options:


Do-It-All 1080p Monitor: Acer XFA240

This is our pick for the best cheap gaming monitor. For a slammin' price & smooth performance, look no further. This affordable monitor is ready to take your gaming to the next level.


1080p cheap gaming monitor

Quick Specs:
  • Price: $229
  • Screen Size: 24"
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Adaptive Sync: FreeSync
Pros:
  1. TN LCD monitor with 1ms response time, ideal for competitive gaming
  2. 144Hz refresh rate
  3. Adjustable stand for comfortable, extended play time. Height, pivot, swivel, and tilt adjustments are all built in.
  4. VESA mounting compatible
  5. 4.1 stars on Amazon
Cons:
  1. Not the best colors, but acceptable for a TN screen at this price point
  2. Frame is cheap looking
  3. Requires some tinkering with the video settings
  4. Low-quality built-in speakers...not that you should plan to use stock speakers for a gaming setup anyways.
Bottom Line:

Affordable gaming doesn't mean bad gaming. With all the specs you need in a competitive gaming monitor, the Acer XFA240 is an all-around solid choice. To get the best monitor for under $250, pick this one.Take a look on Amazon.



A Tried & True Gaming Monitor: ASUS VG248QE

For a popular, time-tested monitor with excellent specs, without the fluff.


best 1080p gaming monitor

Quick Specs:
  • Price: $229
  • Screen Size: 24"
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Adaptive Sync: G-Sync ready, requires adapter
Pros:
  1. TN panel has an awesome 1ms response time
  2. 144Hz refresh rate
  3. Built-in tilt, swivel, pivot, & height adjustments
  4. VESA mounting ready
  5. Supports 3D gaming
  6. 4.5 stars on Amazon
Cons:
  1. Older tech doesn't support Adaptive Sync without an additional adapter. You might not need it, though, with native 144Hz refresh rate.
  2. Colors are too bright for some users, especially the whites
  3. Questionable longevity
Bottom Line:

If you need a heavily reviewed gaming monitor on a budget, this checks those boxes. While the color quality and lack of built-in Adaptive Sync are negatives, at this price point, you can't complain. Learn more on Amazon.



Surprisingly Affordable Curved Monitor: Samsung C27F591

For immersive gaming with awesome color. Best for slower paced games.


curved pc gaming monitor

Quick Specs:
  • Price: $268
  • Screen Size: 27" curved
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Panel Type: VA (like IPS with better color but worse viewing angles)
  • Adaptive Sync: FreeSync
Pros:
  1. That curve though! Beautiful, immersive display
  2. VA panel delivers awesome, deep colors
  3. Decent built-in speakers
  4. Sleek design with slim bezels
Cons:
  1. Wobbly stand
  2. Requires VESA adapter to mount to eliminate wobbling
  3. Slower response time (4ms) not ideal for fast-paced action
Bottom Line:

If you want to try a curved display without selling your car, check out the Samsung C27F591. While it isn't perfect for all gamers, slower paced strategy game lovers will fall in love with the immersive curve & deep colors on this display.




Gaming monitors keep getting better, and cheaper by the year. After you figure out what specs are important for your setup, getting a good monitor for a few hundred bucks is pretty easy. These are some of our favorites. Share your setup, or let us know what value gaming monitors we missed by commenting below.



Bonus: Echogear Gaming Monitor Mounts


If you're looking for a great way to enhance your gaming setup, we just released some awesome gaming monitor mounts. Upgrade your 1, 2, or 3 monitor battlestation. You'll get extra screen adjustments to play more comfortably, more desk space for your accessories, and customization options that stock stands just don't have. We'd love to hear what you think. Join our beta, take 20% off by using promo code ECHOBETA at checkout on Amazon or Echogear.com & be one of the first gamers to use an Echogear gaming mount. Check out our full lineup here, and feel free to reach out with any quetsions or suggestions to make them even better. We want to know what you think.

gaming monitor mounts

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