Best Gaming Monitors Under $100 – 2018 Reviews and Top picks
We’ll be honest, it was much harder trying to find the gaming monitor under $100 than it was for other price ranges. That’s because, rather unfortunately, most of the sub-$100 monitors we found were kind of terrible.
So much so, in fact, that of the dozens of monitors we went through, we settled on the two that we’re covering in this article. If neither of these monitors are what you’re looking for, don’t worry- we’ll also cover how to find great refurbished and secondhand monitors later in the article.
We at The Great Setup don’t directly benefit in any way from you buying monitors outside of Amazon, but we also aren’t going to pad an article with bad displays or omit important information on how you can get a good viewing experience for under $100.
Keep reading to see our two recommendations for the best gaming monitor under $100. After that, we’ll dive into all the other stuff.
Breakdown of Best Gaming Monitors Under $100
AOC 12267FW IPS Monitor
- Screen Size and Resolution22-inch at 1080p
- Refresh Rate and Response Time60hz and 5ms
- A Pretty Good 1080p Monitor For Just Under $100
- IPS Panel For Superior Color Reproduction And Viewing Angles
- Small Screen Size
- High Response Time
Full disclosure: this monitor surprised me. Seeing an IPS monitor for under $100 took me by surprise because I legitimately assumed that didn’t exist, due to the higher pricing of IPS panels versus TN panels.
That surprise was pleasant surprise, though, because the AOC 12267FW is one of the most impressive budget monitors I’ve ever seen.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the benefits of IPS. IPS panels offer wider viewing angles and better color reproduction than other options, making them ideal for media consumption and enjoying cutting-edge graphics in your favorite games.
Secondly, just take a look at this beaut! It’s a small, frameless, slim monitor with minimal bezels. It looks beautiful and focuses all of your attention on the image you’re looking at, presenting a surprisingly refined, high-end aesthetic for a price range full of clunky, poorly-built monitors.
The only real downside that bothers me about this monitor at this price range is the smaller screen size. 1080p on a 22-inch screen will look sharp, but won’t give you as much room for productivity and viewing at a distance as other displays would.
If you’re only interested in buying new monitors, the AOC I2267FW is the best gaming monitor under $100. No question.
While normally IPS comes with compromises, the fact that no new monitors under $100 seem to offer response times below 5 ms or refresh rates above 60 hz means that this is still the best option out there for this price.
Acer G326HL Monitor
- Screen Size and Resolution23-inch at 1080p
- Refresh Rate and Response Time60hz and 5ms
- A Basic 1080p Monitor For Just Under $100
- Decent Screen Size
- High Response Time
- No IPS
Unfortunately, there’s really not much to say about this one. It’s one of the few serviceable monitors that we found for under $100 that fits the modern-day 1080p 5ms standard you expect from a display.
If you’re a gamer, though, the 5ms response time may put you at a slight disadvantage in competitive titles. If you want to compete against other gamers on equal footing, you need to minimize any form of input latency between you and them if you want a fair chance of winning.
While 5ms is roughly standard, gamers with $100 and up monitors are getting access to 1ms response times, higher refresh rates, and other display technologies that can give them a leg up over you.
Because of that, we can’t really recommend this as our best gaming monitor under $100. Our next contender is much, much more interesting to discuss.
IPS or No IPS?
If you do manage to expand the pool of monitors to pick from, perhaps by allowing refurbished monitors as well, you may want to know the difference between having IPS and not having it.
IPS offers wider viewing angles and better color reproduction.
Better viewing angles means that you don’t need to worry about your screen looking discolored at oblique angles. You’ve probably noticed this kind of discoloration quite a few times when trying to look at a monitor to your side.
Meanwhile, better color reproduction simply means that a wider spectrum of color will be displayed on your monitor, making everything look far more vibrant than it would without an IPS panel.
However, IPS doesn’t come without its downsides. While these downsides aren’t relevant for new monitors in the sub-$100 range, you may start noticing them when looking at used or refurbs.
Namely, IPS monitors have higher response times than the default TN monitors, and are typically more expensive for the same refresh rate as well. While they offer an undeniably better viewing experience, they can still hurt you in terms of speed and pure performance when compared to other options on the market.
Keep this in mind when shopping for your new monitor, whether it’s fresh out of the factory or otherwise. Up next, we’ll talk about used and refurbished monitors.
Consider Used/Refurbished Monitors
Why Bother With Used/Refurbished?
Because in this price range, you’re going to get really good deals on used displays, a number of which will be better than either of the options that we’ve offered above.
While it may be a tough sell for many to buy monitors that aren’t brand new, compromising with used or refurbished monitors on a budget can often pay off by granting you access to higher refresh rates, lower response times and lower prices for acceptable 1080p monitors.
Because we at The Great Setup want to make sure you have a great gaming experience, even if you’re on a tight budget, we aren’t going to skim over this.
Where To Buy
If you’re in the market for refurbished monitors, the best places to look are Newegg, Microcenter and BenQDirect. These three outlets provide the best deals you’ll find on refurbished monitors, with BenQDirect offering high-end BenQ monitors with a 1-year warranty.
If you’re buying used...eBay and Craigslist are your best bet, but we recommend sticking with local Craigslist listings if you’re buying used. This is because if you’re buying used, you typically want to request a live demo before dropping your money on a monitor.
Worst-case scenario with a used monitor is one that doesn’t work. Your usual expectation may be some backlight bleed or minor cosmetic damages. The best case scenario, and the rarest, is one where there’s simply nothing wrong with it- but these do happen, usually when people are buying a replacement and haven’t had it for very long.
If you do choose to use eBay for used monitors, be sure to only buy from reputable sellers with good reviews.
What You Want
When shopping for used/refurbished monitors, try to find ones with better specs than new monitors in the same price range. If you’re settling for used/refurbished, you should get something to compensate for that.
One thing to look for is a 75hz or higher refresh rate. This will make your games feel smoother and more responsive than they would otherwise.
Another thing to look for is 1-2ms response times. These are surprisingly common for refurbs under $100, and will minimize input latency between you and your monitor.
Other things you may appreciate include IPS support, 24 inch+ monitor sizes, more adjust features...or just a monitor that looks really nice.
Issues To Look For
Buying refurbs are usually fine and covered under warranty for any on-arrival problems. Used monitors, however, typically have at least a few issues. From least to most severe, here’s what to look out for:
- Mild Cosmetic Damage - Mild scratches to the bezels and screen, or a dirty screen. These can be ignored or cleaned, respectively.
- Dead Pixels - Dead pixels refer to pixels that are stuck on one color, like white, and do not change in accordance with the rest of the screen. Typically there will only be one or two dead pixels on a screen, since it’s a manufacturing defect, amd while it can mostly be ignored it can drive you crazy if you pay attention to it.
- Backlight Bleed - Backlight bleed occurs when either a backlight is too powerful, or other parts of the monitor are starting to fail. This will result in weird differences in brightness on different sections of the screen, especially noticeable in dark rooms.
- Flickering - Flickering is a common reality of CRT monitors, but it can happen to LCD monitors too. Not only is flickering annoying, but in the long-term it can cause headaches or nausea to those who are particularly sensitive to it.
- Burn-In - When an image is simply burned into the screen. Usually manifests as an afterimage on the screen, most often seen in common taskbar locations at the top, bottom or sides of a display.
- Major Damage - Cracks in the screen, loose power connectors, etc. If you notice any of these issues, do not buy.
Making Your Choice
Ultimately, what you go for in the sub-$100 range is up to you.
As far as new monitors go, the AOC I2267FW is the best gaming monitor under $100. The only real competition it has are used/refurbished monitors, which we recommend you take a look at if you want the absolute best bang for your buck.