The best monitor size for gaming in 2024

Pick a screen size, any screen size. We've sized up top displays to help you pick the best gaming monitors.

Best overall

ViewSonic ELITE XG320U

ViewSonic Elite XG320U

See It

Best 27-inch

Samsung Odyssey G7

See It

Best budget

ASUS TUF Gaming VG27AQ1A

Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ1A

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

It’s easy to go into a store and get seduced by the biggest, brightest screen in the room, but the best gaming monitor varies from person to person and setup to setup. There are very good reasons to limit yourself to a smaller display and plenty of valid reasons to go extra large and ultrawide. The important thing is that you adjust your expectations for your monitor’s performance and price to match the size you’re looking for. We’ve looked at every shape and size, rating them by resolution, form factor, and function. If you need a quick recommendation on the best monitor size for gaming, we’ve got you; and if you want a longwinded explanation for why certain specs work better for some monitor sizes than others, we can help with that, too.

How we picked the best gaming monitor by size

We here in Popular Science’s gear department spend a lot of time thinking about screens—particularly TVs and monitors. In the last year, we’ve published dozens of recommendation lists like this one about gaming monitors. I’ve personally teased out, concentrated, and absorbed countless hours of testing and research about the nuances of display technology, as my primary background as a critic is gaming and gaming hardware. Before contributing to PopSci, I reviewed games and peripherals for PCMag, IGN, Gamespot, GamesRadar, LaptopMag, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and more. Needless to say, I play games every day and scrutinize them closely.

The best gaming monitors, by size: Reviews & Recommendations

If you were on the fence about what size monitor you wanted, I hope my brief rundowns helped you narrow down your choice. Now that we theoretically know what we want, here are the monitors that take the best advantage of their size. From a small, speedy 24-inch esports display to a massive TV-like monitor, we have an option for each of the major screen sizes. If you’d like to drill a little deeper and check out a wider range of monitors by resolution or utility, we’ve put together many types of monitor recommendations.

Best overall: ViewSonic Elite XG320U

Best Overall

Gotta Go Fast

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon, eBay

Why it made the cut: ViewSonic’s Elite XG320U offers a fast refresh rate with very few compromises.

Specs

  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Refresh rate: 150Hz
  • Panel type: Fast IPS
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: HDR600
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0 x 1, HDMI 2.1 x 1, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.2 with upstream, USB 3.2 with battery charging, USB 3.2 x 3, Audio line out, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • High resolution and high frame rate
  • AMD FreeSync support
  • Wide port selection

Cons

  • Price

In 2022, we selected ViewSonic’s Elite XG320U as the best gaming monitor you can get, which is why it was the natural choice for this guide, too. This 4K display has a 150Hz refresh rate, which offers the best balance of resolution and refresh rate for most gamers. Console gamers can play the latest games at their maximum settings, while most PC players will have their needs satisfied. The only gamers who need a monitor with a faster refresh rate are those who play first-person shooters on a competitive level—nobody else will feel constrained by this display’s refresh rate.

We’re also pleased by the XG320U’s generous port selection. This display can be connected to one PC (via DisplayPort) and two consoles (via HDMI ports) simultaneously. Devices connected to this display’s DisplayPort and HDMI 2.1 port will be able to take full advantage of its high resolution and refresh rate due to its higher bandwidth. Meanwhile, this display’s assortment of USB-A ports turns it into an accessory hub.

The XG320U’s performance requires a pretty hefty up-front investment, but it’s absolutely worthwhile if your PC’s monitor is your primary gaming screen.

Best 24-inch: Dell Alienware AW2521H

Best 24-Inch: Alienware AW2521H

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon, eBay

Why it made the cut: The Alienware AW2521H offers the fastest possible refresh rate you can get right now, with the fewest compromises.

Specs

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Refresh rate: 360Hz
  • Panel type: Fast IPS
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: HDR10 (400 Nits)
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.2 with upstream, USB 3.2 with battery charging, USB 3.2 x 3, Audio line out, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • Extremely high refresh rate
  • Fast IPS panel gives you high speed and better color gamut
  • Lots of extra USB ports

Cons

  • Expensive for a 24-inch display
  • Low max brightness

There are only a handful of 1080p monitors that can run games at 360Hz, which is the fastest refresh rate available from a monitor right now without overclocking. (There is a 500Hz gaming monitor on the way, though.) Of the current displays offering that arguably overblown spec, the Alienware AW2521H has the most polished look and balanced performance. Thanks to a “Fast IPS” panel, you’ll see brighter colors than other 360Hz displays, which feature fast but muted TN panels. 

It also features numerous quality-of-life features, including a thoughtful and suitably sci-fi-inspired design, as well as a shocking number of connection options, including five USB 3.2 ports. The AW2521H’s only glaring flaw is its poor brightness, which isn’t sufficient for playing games with HDR. That said, most players who prioritize the highest possible frame rate over everything else won’t lose sleep over the loss.

Best 27-inch: Samsung Odyssey G7

Best 27-inch

A Curve For All Players

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon

Why it made the cut: The Samsung Odyssey G7 hits all the right specs, including an esports-grade refresh rate and an extra-bright QLED panel.

Specs

  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Panel type: QLED (VA)
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: VESA DisplayHDR 600
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4 x 2, USB 3.0 x 2, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • 27/1440p is a good size/resolution pair
  • QLED-enhanced panel
  • HDR-ready brightness
  • 240Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • Curved displays may not be for everyone

The Samsung Odyssey G7 is one of our favorite monitors. It’s our top curved monitor, our top 240Hz monitor for esports players, and popped in many other conversations. Why? Well, we love a 27-inch, 1440p monitor: It’s a great baseline spec for most players who have a mid-range or powerful gaming PC bought or built in the past few years. It’s fast, hitting a competition-ready 240Hz. It’s bright, topping out at an HDR-ready 600 nits. The Odyssey G7’s panel features a 1000R curve, which comes close to fully encompassing your field of view. Not all players love curved displays, particularly deep curves like this one, but it is a perfect fit for those who do. And if you’ve never tried one? Well, you may as well start something that nails all the other specs. (After trying it in a store, of course.)

Best 32-inch: Gigabyte M32U

Best 32-inch

4K With All The Trimmings

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Gigabyte M32U has nearly every feature you’d want in a 4K gaming monitor, and it doesn’t even cost that much.

Specs

  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K)
  • Refresh rate: 144Hz
  • Panel type: Fast IPS
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.0 x 3, USB-C, USB-B, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • Affordable for size and resolution
  • Built-in KVM Switch
  • Strong color gamut
  • Supports USB-C connection
  • Multiple HDMI 2.1 connections

Cons

  • Low max brightness
  • USB-C video connection doesn’t charge laptop

Gigabyte’s M32U isn’t the flashiest 4K monitor by the most coveted gaming peripheral brand, but specs speak louder than branding. The 32-inch 4K display features a fast IPS panel that achieves a 90 percent DCI-P3 wide color gamut for bold, vivid color. It also features a tremendous range of connection options, including two HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing you to play compatible PS5 and Xbox Series X games in 4K at 120Hz. It also works as a USB-C monitor thanks to DP Alt mode support, though it doesn’t deliver power so you’ll have to charge your laptop separately. Twitch streamers with day jobs will appreciate its built-in KVM switch, so you can plug your keyboard and mouse into the monitor’s USB ports and automatically switch them from device to device when you change inputs.

Though 4K monitors aren’t as exorbitant as they once were, it’s still very impressive to find such a fully featured monitor for less than $1,000. Even with a few flaws, like a poor max brightness of 400 nits, you’re getting incredible value here.

Best 40-inch or larger: Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

Best 40-inch or larger

Like Two Monitors in One

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The 49-inch super ultrawide Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is the height of curved ultrawide decadence.

Specs

  • Resolution: 5120 x 1440 pixels (32:9)
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Panel type: VA
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: DisplayHDR 2000
  • Ports: HDMI 2.1 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.0 x 2, PC in, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • Gigantic curved ultrawide display
  • Mini-LED backlighting provides immense brightness.
  • Esports-ready 240Hz
  • Deep 1000R curve

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • You may have trouble fitting it on a desk

For curved ultrawide obsessives, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is a grail display. It’s an absolutely massive 49-inch, 32:9 panel that somehow manages a 240Hz refresh rate. (Such speed is usually reserved for smaller monitors.) With Quantum Mini-LED backlighting, it achieves TV-level brightness that’s perfect for HDR. Obviously, such a large monitor comes with some eccentricities: It’s big and very bright but features a 1000R curve that demands you sit very close to it to stay in the sweet spot. Also, at 49 inches, it may not even fit a smaller, more compact desk setup. On the other hand, it’s big enough to replace two 27-inch monitors. If you’re willing to build/adjust your setup to accommodate it, the Odyssey Neo G9 is an extremely curved ultrawide gaming experience.

Prefer a flatscreen and saving up to a grand? The 43-inch Odyssey Neo G7 offers a 4K UHD, 144Hz, 1ms, VESA Display HDR600 with Quantum Matrix Technology, AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and Samsung Gaming Hub access.

Best ultrawide: Dell Alienware AW3423DW

Best ultrawide

The Future is Now

See It

Why it made the cut: Dell’s first QD-OLED offers refined sharpness and bold color in a curved ultrawide form factor.

Specs

  • Resolution: 3440 x 1440 (21:9)
  • Refresh rate: 175Hz
  • Panel type: QD-OLED
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: DisplayHDR TrueBlack 400/1000 nits
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0 x 2, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream x 4, USB 3.2 Gen 1 upstream, Audio line out, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros

  • QD-OLED screen generates incredible color, brightness, and contrast
  • Speedy 175Hz refresh rate
  • Lots of USB ports

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No HDMI 2.1

Until 2022, companies haven’t really offered OLED gaming monitors. OLED TVs have occupied store shelves for years, and we’re seeing companies put OLED displays in phones, game consoles, and laptops. Still, dedicated monitor manufacturers have held off on making the jump. Alienware is the first of a handful of manufacturers to do so this year.

The AW3423DW features a hybrid QD-OLED technology, which combines the color-enhancing “Quantum Dot” layer found in QLED TV panels with the backlighting technology of the OLED screen, where each pixel features its own independently controlled backlight. The combination, in theory, enhances the inherently low brightness of the ultra-sharp OLED display.

As such, the AW3423 can generate an incredibly vibrant picture, with an unprecedented 99 percent DCI-P3 wide color gamut for tremendous color accuracy and some of the best contrast you can get in a gaming monitor. That alone makes it worthy of special consideration, but it’s also a well-rounded display, with a high 175Hz refresh rate and a whopping five USB ports for extra connectivity. Since this is a “first” for gaming monitors, the AW3423 is tremendously expensive, and some users may want to wait until a wider range of QD-OLED monitors launch later this year to see if there are any kinks in the technology. Still, we expect (read: hope) that this could be the first step toward a “quantum” leap for high-end gaming monitors in all shapes and sizes.

Best budget: Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ1A

Best budget

27 Inches On The Cheap

See It

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ1A gives you a well-balanced, 27-inch, 1440p monitor that can hit 170Hz for less than $400.

Specs

  • Resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • Refresh rate: 170Hz
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Response time: 1ms
  • HDR/brightness: HDR10/350 nits
  • Ports: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack

Pros 

  • Great value
  • Strong balance of screen, resolution, and refresh rate
  • Lots of adjustability options

Cons

  • DisplayPort 1.2, not 1.4
  • Low max brightness

A perennial pick when you want strong core specs on a tight(ish) budget, the TUF Gaming VG27AQ1A gives you great value with well-balanced core specs for a lot less money than our other picks. The 27-inch IPS panel delivers decent color performance, with 99% sRGB coverage, and a great trio of core monitor specs: 27-inch screen size, 1440p resolution, and 170Hz refresh rate. Since this is an older model display—Asus makes a newer version—it is missing a couple of things we’d like, including up-to-date HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort connections. That said, if you don’t want to splurge on a killer monitor, this one will give most players what they need for an affordable price.

What to consider when buying a gaming monitor

Clearly, the size of your gaming monitor is important, but it is actually just one of many specs that make a gaming monitor good or great (or terrible). In fact, you should pick your monitor by balancing screen size, resolution, price, and several other factors. I bet you’ve already got your heart set on a specific size, so rather than running you through a crash course in what each spec means, I’ll provide some general insight into why you might want to pick each individual size.

If you’re interested in some deep dives into PC display specs, please check out some of our other monitor-focused explainers, such as the best cheap gaming monitors and the best monitors for color grading.

Size

There are thousands of gaming monitors on the market, but most fall into three sizes: 24, 27, and 32 inches. Our guide reflects that, although there’s a larger display available if you need—or have room for—an ultra-wide monitor.

Resolution

Your display’s resolution has the biggest impact on how good (clear) a game will look on the screen—assuming we’re talking about a modern game designed with the latest graphics. A 1080P (HD) screen will look fine, but 1440p and 4K screens will look even better. On the other hand, you’ll need a very powerful PC to play modern games in 4K, so it may make sense to get a screen with a lower resolution but a higher refresh rate.

Refresh rate

A monitor’s refresh rate, which indicates how many times your monitor can update what’s happening on screen each second, sets the high bar for your games’ frame rate. A 144Hz refresh rate translates to 144 frames per second. That’s enough to allow most players to play many games at the highest frame rate their systems can handle.

Though a higher frame rate delivers diminishing returns to visual fidelity above 144Hz, splurging on a 1080p monitor with an even higher 240Hz, 300Hz, or even 360Hz refresh rate may generate an imperceivable but meaningful improvement to their reaction time. In the last couple of years, 240Hz monitors have shown up in larger sizes and higher resolutions, but you still need a smaller, lower-resolution monitor to unlock the highest possible refresh rate.

Ultrawide aspect ratios

In addition to conventional 16:9 displays, there’s a whole range of 21:9 and 32:9 ultrawide gaming monitors, which can extend your game out to the edges of your vision and enhance your immersion. Ultrawide monitors come in their own range of sizes and tend to trend larger to accentuate their expanded reach. A large ultrawide can take the place of two monitors, providing a similar amount of screen real estate for work, while allowing for a bezel-free experience in games, 

With curved monitors and ultrawides, we usually recommend buying the largest option that’s comfortable and compatible with your setup, as the overwhelming immersion is the selling point. Just make sure there’s room on and around your desk for it.

FAQs

Q: How much do gaming monitors cost?

How much do you want to spend? We’ve researched, tested, and reviewed gaming monitors that run the gamut, from under $200 to over $2,000. I’ve found that—when factoring in value for specs, but without anticipating anyone’s individual budget—many of our top picks range between $400-$1,300, depending on size, resolution, brand name, and other factors.

That said, there are many great options at every price point, so long as you set your expectations appropriately.

Q: Can I use a gaming monitor with a laptop?

Of course! It varies from model to model, but many gaming laptops feature an HDMI port on the side specifically to allow you to connect to a monitor or TV. If your laptop doesn’t have an HDMI or DisplayPort connector built-in, you can always buy a USB hub with an HDMI port.

Q: How high should I have my gaming monitor?

Ideally, you should position your gaming monitor so you’re staring directly at the top of the screen when sitting up straight. This lets you see the whole screen without twisting or craning your neck.

Most monitor stands feature some adjustability, including horizontal and vertical tilt, as well as height adjustment. We’ve found that the best way to position your monitor perfectly is to pick one that is VESA compatible and switch to an adjustable monitor arm (or even dual-monitor stand), which offers more fine control.

Q: Can I use a gaming monitor as a TV?

Technically, that depends on your definition of a “TV.” You can absolutely set up a gaming monitor in place of a TV in your living room or bedroom and plug a cable box into it via HDMI, so it fills the role a TV normally would. The one thing that a monitor can’t do, but a TV can, is plug into an older cable signal via coaxial cable. You won’t be able to use a digital TV antenna to get local channels over the air.

It’s also worth pointing out that a standard 24- to 32-inch gaming monitor won’t be ideal for most living room setups. When placing a TV (or monitor you plan to use as a TV), the ideal screen size is often based on how far away you sit from it. According to a TV distance calculator, you should sit approximately 3.5 feet away from a 24-inch TV or 4.5 feet away from a 32-inch TV. Considering that many people usually sit very close to their monitor(s)—myself included—I can’t imagine most people will be satisfied sitting further away than that.

Final thoughts on the best monitor size for gaming

Without knowing details like what kind of gaming PC you’re running and how much money you’re looking to spend, no one can really tell you what monitor size you should buy. You should make that decision based on what you have and how important it is that your games look their absolute best. It is very easy to overspend on a gaming monitor, especially if you’re into hardware, so the most important thing is to be honest and realistic with yourself.

And if that doesn’t help … a 27-inch, 1440p 144Hz monitor falls right in the middle. If it’s overkill, maybe it won’t be in your next system.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Share

Mike Epstein Avatar

Mike Epstein

Reviews Editor

As Reviews Editor, Mike Epstein helps shape Popular Science’s gear-focused coverage, including product reviews and roundups. He’s covered the consumer technology and video games industry for over ten years, writing reviews and service-focused articles for sites like IGN, Gamespot, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, PCMag, LaptopMag, Variety, and more.