You often hear that famous streamers and pro players use high refresh rate monitors.
The general assumption is that they’re expensive, and while that’s true to an extent, you can find some of the best gaming monitors under $300.
I’ve experienced what it’s like to game on second-hand 60Hz monitors, but when I finally decided to upgrade my monitor to a 240Hz monitor, there is no way I’ll be going back.
The good news is you can find 144Hz - 240Hz monitors for under $300, which is affordable for the budget gamer.
But picking a gaming monitor based on its specifications like refresh rate or response time is not enough.
You need to know what you’re looking at before you buy.
Below is a list of gaming monitors that I would recommend if you have a budget cap of $300.
Let’s dive in!
Sceptre is the first to have started the trend of budget monitors, ever since 1080p gaming was made possible.
And this time, it's their C305B 30-inch Full-HD ultra curved-screen (2560 x 1080) curved gaming monitor with FreeSync technology.
It has a fast response time of just one millisecond, and the screen refreshes at a frequency of 200Hz.
This frequency makes games perform smoother.
This ensures no in-game motion goes unnoticed on screen, making it perfect for fast-paced games Doom Eternal and CS GO.
Spectre has added a Picture-In-Picture or PIP mode that shows two inputs on-screen simultaneously.
A great feature if you want to record and do ‘Walkthroughs’ for consoles or other devices. If you play on consoles, you may encounter a glitch where FreeSync will stop your console output from getting stretched to fill the screen.
It is a minor convenience, but other than that - the display is faultless.
While the display outputs a wide range of colors for gaming and general purposes, the screen does not cover this sRGB color space is not wide enough to produce vivid colors that are essential for editing color-accurate photos and videos.
This blemish is compensated with an impressive contrast ratio.
Games like Battlefield 1 and W3: Wild Hunt looks fantastic, especially during in-game night cycles.
The display has three HDMI ports that output 75-180Hz; this allows you to connect three monitors and experience refresh rates up to 180Hz.
If you wish to go above this, you will have to use the DisplayPort that outputs at 200hz.
For sound, the display has a convenient 3.5mm audio jack.
The Optix MAG is a pro-competitive gaming monitor that offers the standards of a large 30-inch display with Full-HD ultra-widescreen screen resolution with G-SYNC.
A fast response time and high 200Hz refresh rate are what make it perfect for gaming.
Games like CS GO, Doom Eternal, and Valorant take full advantage of these features.
However, unlike the Sceptre, this display has no Picture-In-Picture or PIP mode; however, it does let you access higher 120Hz rates on consoles by changing the cable to display port.
The display has a sizeable sRGB color space, making it perfect for gaming and editing color-accurate photos and videos.
The monitor will suit you if you care more about color richness than VA contrast levels, but at least there's no black smearing or ghosting.
Games like DMC5, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Death Stranding look colorful.
However, games like Outlast and Tomb Raider look more washed out due to low contrast.
MSI has done a great job with the HDR; at times, games have a sense of realism, making them look more impressive than their original settings.
It goes to show how much a well-integrated technology can improve a game's visual eye candy.
MSI does not skim in the back with ports either.
The display houses two USB ports, 2 HDMI ports that output 180Hz, a DisplayPort that outputs 200hz, a Kenzington lock, and a 3.5mm out for audio devices.
The MAG301RF hits all the boxes as the most feature-packed $300 display.
The LG 29WK600 is a gaming monitor that offers a large 29-inch display with QHD resolution (2560 x 1080) and FreeSync technology.
Its one millisecond response time for gaming or watching action movies means the colors on screen slide faster for color transition without ghosting.
If you like gaming in HDR, then you’ll be happy to know, unlike other monitors, the HDR is plenty bright on the WK600.
This monitor is a good choice for a relaxed and bare essential gaming experience where you don’t have to worry about ghosting and high frames on consoles and PC.
The screen covers 99% of the sRGB color space, ensuring accurate colors while editing streaming footage for compilation videos, also making it an excellent secondary display choice.
This gaming monitor has two HDMI ports, DisplayPort for multi-monitor setups, and a USB Type-C port for easy connectivity to gaming devices.
The BenQ EL2870U gaming monitor is one of the best UHD gaming monitors under $300, primarily for the price's viewing angles, versatility, and response time.
The 28-inch display has 4K resolution, HDR color support, and AMD FreeSync technology for smooth gameplay at higher than HD resolution and videos without tearing or stuttering.
The 4K resolution is a gaming experience like no other - you will experience crisp, high-quality images that provide an immersive gaming experience.
The gaming monitor also comes equipped with two HDMI ports to add a secondary monitor.
A DisplayPort is also available to take full advantage of the 60, and a USB Type-C port for easy connectivity options to gaming consoles and other devices.
The Philips 278E1A 27” is an excellent LCD gaming monitor of choice for gamers, officials, and creatives alike.
This is an IPS panel, meaning it lacks display brightness, but has the excellent color quality and gets zero image burn.
If you leave a static image on the screen, it will return to normalcy in a couple of hours.
The Philips 278E1A offers a screen size of 27 inches with 4K resolution; unlike 1080p displays at 27 inches, the pixel density is extensive and provides detail at a budget price tag!
While the IPS panel needs more power than its TN counterparts, brighter and more economical, Philips has compromised the refresh rate and port connectivity for a higher brightness level, which is a fair trade-off.
The gaming monitor has only one HDMI and DisplayPort and headphone jack for connectivity options but is still capable of a two-monitor setup.
It also comes with some gaming-oriented features like GamePlus mode for FPS games that helps to increase visibility in low light conditions or when playing against enemies wearing camouflage uniforms.
The AOC CQ27G2 curved gaming monitor is an excellent choice for gamers looking for a balance of high resolution and refresh rate in a thin frame design.
The monitor has a resolution of 2560 x 1440p at 144Hz on a budget.
On paper, these specs are excellent value for money - an affordable monitor you don't see every day.
It offers a standard one-millisecond response time like most gaming monitors with AMD FreeSync support to eliminate tears and stutters during gameplay at the cost of visual glitches.
It comes with a plethora of ports - two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, a VGA input, 4 USB, and built-in speakers for the ultimate multi-monitor setup perfect for sim racing and sim gaming.
The monitor offers better contrast values than others on the list; however, for all of its benefits out of the box, the monitor requires a lot of tweaking and jumping in and out of settings from desktop and games to make it look the best a VA panel can be.
This is further compounded due to a lack of profile selection and, most importantly, a user manual.
The MSI Optix MAG27CQ curved gaming monitor for under 300 dollars is an excellent gaming monitor choice for gamers.
This MSI gaming monitor offers a 1440p resolution at a 165hz refresh rate, which in my opinion, is the bare minimum for gaming.
You will see an immediate difference upgrading from 60Hz to 165Hz.
Your gameplay will be a lot smoother and will feel more responsive - it's subtle, but it's there.
It also supports FreeSync technology via HDMI or DisplayPort connections to help reduce stuttering when playing games on the go.
The Gigabyte G27Q is another 144Hz 1440p resolution monitor with excellent results despite its low price point.
It ticks everything off my criteria; an IPS panel, FreeSync/G-SYNC compatibility, 144Hz refresh rate, 1440p resolution, low input lag, and fast response time.
These features mean that it has excellent viewing angles, screen tearing is non-existent, will feel smoother, and has a large enough screen for a decent amount of real estate.
And it's more responsive, making it easier to get those juicy kills when in-game.
Unfortunately, the downside to this monitor is the low contrast ratio. If you watch dark scenes in a dark room, the black will look more greyish.
It's not much of a deal-breaker, but something to be aware of if you're considering this monitor.
Who would've thought that you could grab a 240Hz monitor for under $300?
Yet here we are!
If you value your performance over image quality and screen size, then the XF250Q will be up your alley.
The monitor comes in a 24.5" screen size, which is small if you've experienced 27" monitors or higher.
But what you get in return is a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and a monitor that's G-SYNC/FreeSync compatible.
On paper, this is one of the best performances in a monitor you can buy at this price point; just note that you'll be compromising image quality along the way for frames and response time.
The games that it does well in outperforms other displays but with dull colors.
Out-of-the-box media and text look terrible; you have to tweak this by adding a color profile, using Clear Type settings for Windows, and adjusting the on-display settings for the colors to look reasonably compelling.
It offers performance due to a zero input lag, faster refresh rate, and a response time; however, this is not enough to make up for the bad viewing angles and dull colors.
For gaming specifically, it's an excellent pick, but for any multimedia or work use, you may want to look for another monitor with an IPS panel instead.
If you're the type of gamer who uses your monitor for other purposes like schoolwork, watching movies, or working, then choosing a 1080p monitor may be better.
Where you lack higher resolution, 1080p monitors make up superior features, such as having an IPS monitor that provides vibrant colors.
The MOBIUZ EX2510 includes various gaming features, including FreeSync/G-SYNC and motion blur reduction through ELMB (Extreme Low Motion Blur); this eliminates blur by turning off the backlight during frame refreshes.
Say goodbye to screen tearing and blurring when playing your favorite fast-paced games.
Another perk is that the EX2510 comes cheaper than most monitors on this list, ranging at around the ~$210 mark, and possibly even more affordable if you can find it on sale.
The ASUS VG278QR is a 1080p monitor with an excellent ergonomic design and many gaming features.
If you're looking for a monitor that's aimed specifically for performance, this is it.
The monitor offers smooth performance and features such as GamePlus (FPS counter, times, and custom crosshairs) and GameVisual, pre-calibrated picture presets.
Additionally, the monitor comes at a 144Hz refresh rate with G-SYNC, FreeSync capabilities that synchronize the display, and GPU; both are the minimum standard, I would say.
But G-SYNC offers a glitchless better performance at a premium, whereas FreeSync is prone to visual artifacts.
The monitor includes a TN panel that's considered the most responsive of all three panels on the market.
The downside to TN panels is that they have narrow viewing angles, so it will be hard to see if a friend is trying to watch your game from a side angle.
The monitor comes in a 27" screen size, better than 24" - 25" monitors, but only at a 1080p resolution.
It isn't bad but won't blow you away.
On the flip side, since the pixel density isn't as much as 1440p monitors, it would make it easier to aim at enemies since pixels would be more prominent.
This is purely for FPS performance.
Those who play on old-school "stretched" or "black bar" resolutions for your games will benefit from this.
Note: Your graphic quality won't be as good, but if you value performance over image quality, the ASUS VG278QR may be an excellent pick for you!
If you're not a big fan of TN panels like the VG278QR has, you can opt for the VG279Q; the first IPS panel monitor to come at a 1080p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate.
The VG279Q comes in a 27" screen size at a 1080p refresh rate, which means the pixel density isn't great due to its larger screen size and leading to a lackluster visual experience.
Since it is an IPS panel, you would want sharper image clarity to take advantage of the vibrant colors that IPS panels provide.
Still, you can counteract the pixelation by using your game's "anti-aliasing" setting.
Just note that turning anti-aliasing on will consume more GPU resources which may cause a drop in FPS or additional input lag.
The VG279Q is unique because it was one of the first monitors of its kind - an IPS panel with a 1ms response time, so the premium price was justifiable.
But as the years have passed, there may be more cost-efficient monitors out there.
Still, the features and benefits you get from this monitor are undeniable and deserve a spot on this list.
If you can snag this baby up at a discount, I suggest you go for it.
You should be aware of a few different types of gaming monitor panels.
These gaming monitor panels include TN, IPS, and VA.
TN (Twisted Nematic) gaming monitors have great response times but poor viewing angles and somewhat inaccurate colors than other gaming monitor technologies such as IPS or VA panels.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
If you want to get the best gaming experience possible from your gaming setup, these gaming monitors also come with very high refresh rates.
High refresh rates can help reduce motion blur while playing games like CSGO at high FPS settings on a 144Hz display frame rate!
IPS (In-Plane Switching) gaming monitors offer better color accuracy than TN panels, so they're perfect for people who want their gaming setup to look good.
However, they do have slower response times which means these gaming displays might not be ideal if you're looking for something that has a high refresh rate and fast pixel transitions.
VA (Vertical Alignment) gaming monitors have better contrast ratios than other gaming monitor technologies like TN or IPS panels.
Still, at the cost of higher input lag/response time performance, we recommend using VA gaming monitors only when playing games on lower refresh rates like 60hz.
The refresh rate of a gaming monitor is the number of times it can refresh its image in one second.
There are three standard refresh rates:
A gaming monitor with a higher refresh rate will display more frames per second than an equivalent one with a lower refresh rate.
This means you'll get smoother gameplay and minor to no tearing on high-end games such as CSGO at high FPS settings when using 144hz gaming monitors versus 60hz ones!
Gaming monitors need to have low response times to avoid any input lag.
This is the time it takes for a gaming monitor to change from black to white and back again.
A monitor with a slower response time will be better suited for gaming than an equivalent monitor with a higher response time.
The resolution of your monitor is also an essential factor to consider when gaming.
A gaming monitor with a higher resolution will give you sharper and more detailed images than a gaming monitor with a lower resolution.
The size of the gaming monitor is another thing you have to take into account when choosing the best gaming monitor for your needs.
Some gamers prefer smaller gaming monitors because they can be placed in tighter spaces, while others prefer larger gaming monitors because they offer more real estate.
Suppose you are using an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card in your gaming PC.
In that case, it is preferable to go with a gaming monitor that supports Nvidia's G-SYNC technology because this helps improve both the image quality and an enjoyable gaming experience.
However, suppose you use an AMD graphics card in your gaming PC.
In that case, it is better to go with a gaming monitor that supports AMD's FreeSync technology instead because this will help reduce gaming visual artifacts and screen tearing.
Here's the deal - you don't have to drop tons of money for a quality monitor.
Your preferences are dependent on how high you prefer your image quality and how responsive you want your gaming monitor to be.
If you value performance over everything, you can opt for a TN panel monitor that emphasizes performance but comes with lackluster colors.
If you want a combination of vibrant colors and performance, you can grab a 24" IPS monitor, but you won't be able to upgrade to a 27" screen size.
Whatever the case may be, you will be able to find a gaming monitor that suits your setup.
If you have any questions or want more recommendations, don't hesitate to contact us directly or check out our recommended articles below!