Best Gaming Monitor Under $300: 2018 Top Picks & Reviews
After over two weeks of testing, comparing, and evaluating 8 monitors, we’ve finally come up with a conclusion that the Acer G257HU is the best gaming monitor under $300. For starters, this is a 25” 1440p resolution monitor. It may not be ideal for competitive gamers because of the 4ms response time but it should give you a premium feel nonetheless. To make it fair, we also found the perfect monitor for competitive gamers under the price of $300. We’ll cover this shortly below.
Acer has been consistent in bringing in outstanding monitors for many years now.
This entry-level gaming monitor has more premiums than what meets the eye. To be more specific, this 1440p gaming monitor gives you a feeling like you’re peering right into another world. Thanks to the IPS display, you get very sharp and very detailed color reproduction - not to mention the wide viewing angles.
The fact that this gaming monitor is loaded with a lot of premiums even under $300 is what makes it our personal pick from all the monitors we’ve tested.
Best 27 Inch Monitor Under 300
Speed is everything for every competitive gamer. In fact, they’d sacrifice graphics over performance all day. This gaming monitor may not give you outstanding color reproduction or over-the-top image quality but this is a 144Hz gaming monitor with a 1ms response time to make sure you’re always at an advantage when playing FPS games.
The ASUS VG278Q seems to be rushing for the goal of being recognized as the best gaming 144hz monitors under $300. This is a 27” TN monitor that’s perfect for competitive gamers. A 1080p monitor like this should give competitive gamers no compromise since this has a 1ms response rate - and that’s what really matters.
Best IPS Monitor Under 300
What makes it different though gives a lot of consumers a hard time picking between the two. Like the Acer G257HU, this monitor has a 1440p resolution but this comes with more adjustments that allow you to pivot, swivel, tilt, and adjust the height of the monitor.
Consider getting this type of monitor if you want a 1440p gaming monitor that’s more inclined towards having a “gamer” accent.
It’s like trading 1ms of response time in exchange of looks and other features. We’ll talk more about this in detail below. No matter the case, the 1ms difference shouldn’t be noticeable for casual gamers (like me), but hardcore competitive gamers will always know. So just bear that in mind.
Overall, you get a monitor that offers the best color reproduction, quality image output, and wide viewing angles thanks to the IPS panel.
This 24” gaming monitor has a TN panel so it doesn’t have great viewing angles or outstanding color reproductions. However, it has a 144 refresh rate and a 1ms response time, making it ideal for gamers who are dead serious in competitive FPS games.
It does only show 1080p resolution but for the price, it’s worth getting this if you’re strictly on a budget and into competitive FPS gaming.
Best Budget 144Hz Monitor Under 300
It’s surprising to see a 144Hz gaming monitor this affordable. This may only have a 1080p resolution but the fact still remains that it’s cheaper than the best gaming monitor for competitive gamers. You also get a 1ms response that should give you an edge when playing competitive games. But there’s a downside. Read below to learn more about this.
Get this monitor if you really have no option left. It may be a 1080p resolution 24” TN monitor but mind you, this boasts a whopping 144Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time.
Nonetheless, it still delivers quality performance for the price though it’s 3” smaller than the best gaming monitor for competitive gamers. Personally, it’s an ok size for me but it would be better if this was 27”. Actually, they do have a 27” if you check it out but it’s over $300 so… no.
How We Choose The Monitors
To make sure we’re not just buying and testing random monitors, we made an initial search on which monitors gamers are into and which monitors you guys have been talking about. This means we had to scour forums like Tom’s Hardware and Linus Tech Tips, to name a few.
We also checked both positive and negative reviews directly from various manufacturers such as AOC, ASUS, Acer, BenQ. Aside from that, we checked reviews from our fellow professionals in the industry who has actually purchased and tested the monitors to get into the details of the monitors.
We decided to go with gaming monitors under $300 since this is the sweet spot for most gamers when buying a gaming monitor. After gathering all the information and names of monitors, we then purchased each of them and went out to check whether or not what we found on the internet were true.
You’ll learn more about how we tested the monitors below.
Disclaimer: The monitors we tested and featured here were purchased and were not sent to us to make biased comments and opinions.
Things To Consider When Choosing The Right Monitor For You
We want to make sure you’re purchasing the right monitor for you. While it’s true that most of you today know what features matter, there's still a whole bunch who aren’t sure what features to look into.
So if you’re unsure what features really weight, read the following:
Resolution and Screen Size
The first thing that people tend to think of when buying a monitor is the level of detail that they’ll enjoy. For most, 1080p will more than suffice, but many want an even more detailed look into the virtual worlds behind their monitor.
For them, 1440p becomes ideal for a desk setup. With a significantly higher number of pixels than 1080p, 1440p is a whopping 78% increase in pixels and overall level of detail.
However, a few other factors need to be taken into consideration, too.
First off, your screen size. On 24-inch displays, 1080p looks pretty sharp to most eyes. However, on 27-inch displays, the pixel density is a bit lower and a trained eye may notice the difference, especially if they sit closer to their monitor or play games requiring high precision.
Since the 1440p monitors on this list are around the 24-inch range, you won’t see a huge benefit in sharpness. You’ll just notice that it looks...better than a 1080p counterpart, especially when IPS comes into play.
If you’re going to opt for a 1440p monitor, however, you also need to take performance into consideration. Your GPU may be fine at 1080p High settings, but can it chug out stable performance with a 78% increase in resolution?
If you’re skinning your teeth on some of these games...probably not. Keep that in mind when choosing your monitor.
Refresh Rate and Response Time
Response Time refers to pixel response time, and in short it determines how quickly your monitor responds to inputs. The lower, the better.
5 ms is considered acceptable by most, especially on larger displays. For serious gamers, however, it can be a noticeable delay. 1ms is preferred when at all possible by competitively-oriented gamers.
Refresh Rate, meanwhile, determines how much information your monitor can show you. Or how quickly it can do so, to be more accurate.
The higher your Refresh Rate, the better your in-game reaction times. This is because 144hz is much closer to real-life motion than 60hz is, allowing you a great advantage over your opponents in time to react, since you aren’t being held back by your monitor.
However, it will only work in supported games. And, obviously, it will tax your CPU and GPU much more than playing at 1080p60 would.
IPS or TN?
IPS panels offer greater color reproduction and viewing angles than the typical TN counterpart. Because of this, IPS panels are a favorite among video editors, movie watchers and single-player gamers who want to enjoy the best colors their graphics card has to offer.
However, IPS comes with a key downside: a lower response time and refresh rate, across the board. To get an IPS display that is also competitively-ready for serious gaming costs much, much more than what’s available in this price range.
In other words, IPS offers a better viewing experience at the expense of a competitive edge in gaming. If you aren’t a particularly competitive gamer, this shouldn’t be a problem to you.
If you are competitively-oriented, though, and don’t have an extra $300 to spend, you’re probably better off with a TN panel in a 144hz monitor.
How We Tested
Before we came up with this list, there were a handful of things that we did to actually test the monitors.
The soonest we had all the 8 monitors, we did a very detailed unboxing to see whether or not they are packed well.
How everything was assembled inside is one thing that we meticulously rated. Packaging is something that should be handled professionally since this is where dead pixels and damages usually happen.
Dead pixels, backlight bleeding, IPS glow, stuck pixels, burn-in, and clouding, were some of the monitor defects that we expected in some of the monitors that arrived. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t get to experience such problems at all.
The build of each monitor is rated according to the material used, the type of finish, overall design, style, as well as durability. Every monitor has their own personality and we went straight ahead with monitors that will perfectly fit and meet a gamer’s desire.
Image quality and out-of-the-box color calibration is another thing that we carefully evaluated. Most of the monitors we have on the list are factory calibrated and didn’t require too much adjustment to get it right.
We made an exception with the AOC G2460PF, though, since this is by far the cheapest FreeSync gaming monitor out there. The rest of the monitors were properly calibrated and did fine out of the box.
For the actual testing, we separated the 8 monitors into 2 groups - IPS and TN panels.
All the IPS monitors were placed side by side to compare color depth, quality, and detail. We didn’t just play games with these monitors to see which produces the best colors. We even watched HD movies to see which among them stood out.
We specifically played a lot of Fortnite and Overwatch on the IPS monitors since these games are colorful enough to make sure we get to appreciate and see which monitor has the best colors.
To make sure we’re not guessing numbers here, we invited our professional content creators to make evaluations and verdicts from the all the IPS monitors.
For the TN panels, we also placed them side-by-side and played a lot of FPS games... and I mean A LOT.
Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, CS:GO, Black Squad, Rainbow Six Siege, were some of the well-known FPS games that we played to see which of the TN panels, specifically, 144Hz/1ms monitors, performed best.
We invited some of our friends, those who are certified hardcore FPS players, to sit down with us and play some games. We realized that it takes more than just us to see what really matters when picking a 144Hz/1ms gaming monitor.
After spending hundreds of hours or over two weeks of playing games, watching HD movies, and doing professional productivity work, we have finally come up with the 5 best gaming monitors out of the 8 that we initially had and purchased.
The Best Gaming Monitor Under $300
|Top Pick’s Runner Up|
- 4ms Response Time
- Thin Bezels
- VESA compatible
- 1440p resolution
- IPS - Great Color Reproduction
- Can Overclock to 75Hz
- Only has Tilt Adjustment
- No Cable Management Holder
A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Gamers from all over the world asked professionals to do a review about the Acer G257HU. We were also shocked at the numbers. This is not even the best 4k monitors under 300 but to our surprise, it sure is worthy of being recognized as the best 1440p monitor under 300.
Among the 8 monitors we tested out, The Acer G257HU didn’t just caught our attention but it actually stood out. In fact, I envy the features and decided to get one for myself soon after actually testing it in person!
Starting off with the design, this has a bezel that’s almost non-existent. If you want to go with a double or triple monitor setup, you can do without having to break the bank too hard. The thin bezels will make the setup look great and aesthetically pleasing.
You may only be stuck with the tilt adjustment but this thankfully is an IPS panel monitor so viewing angles aren’t an issue.
As per connections, this has a DVI port, HDMI port, DisplayPort, and aux port, along with the cables. It’s really convenient seeing it included in the box as we did the unboxing.
You also have a very professional silver accent at the bottom of the screen that compliments well if you’re into professional and modern looks. In fact, this went perfectly well with the Mac setup that we paired it with. Moreover, if your setup exposes the back of the monitor, it has a glossy back that will still give you a professional look nonetheless.
You have a basic OSD with the buttons located at the bottom-right of the screen. Color adjustments and whatnot can be done easily but we didn’t even bother too much with it since it comes with a properly calibrated setting. It’s an IPS monitor so we expected this to have great ranges of color reproduction but it actually offers more...
To our surprise, this has the best color reproduction among the 8 monitors we tested. We even had our professional designer to try it out and he did confirm that this is just perfect for designers like him.
Even more surprising is the fact that this has 4ms of response time compared to most IPS panel monitors in the market that has a 5ms of response time or more. I may not be able to tell the difference between 5ms from 4ms but a trained eye will surely notice.
The monitor has a 1440p resolution which means you have more pixels and see smoother edges when gaming. Since this is a 25” monitor, you can turn AntiAliasing off and still see smoother edges.
Overall, everything in this monitor is something that you can’t really find when browsing for a monitor under $300.
So if you want a gaming monitor and you do professional designs at the same time, this is perfect for you. Just keep in mind that this isn’t VESA compatible.
If you’re a competitive gamer, this won’t be ideal but read on as we’ll talk about what’s best for you.
- 4-way Ergonomic Stand Adjustment
- 144Hz for Smoother Gameplay
- 1ms for Faster Reaction
- Slim Bezels
- 5-Way OSD Navigation Joystick
- With AMD FreeSync Technology
- Only Utilizes TN Panel
- Poor Speaker Quality
- Doesn’t Have a DVI-D Cable
If you’re into competitive gaming and you’re looking for the best 27 inch monitor under 300, the ASUS VG278Q is for you.
We tested this out and the very first thing we like about this monitor is the 144Hz refresh rate. I personally use a 60Hz monitor and as soon as I started playing games on this 144Hz gaming monitor, I can attest that the difference is night and day - just like what people are saying.
You have to see it in person to appreciate the smoothness when gaming. I’ll be honest, it did improve my gameplay a little bit as I played some FPS games on the 144Hz monitor. The smoothness is just incomparable and it allows me to react faster than my opponents.
CS:GO, Overwatch, Fortnite, and PUBG were some of the games we tried and boy did I see massive improvements overall. I didn’t even want to use my 60Hz monitor anymore after over 2 long weeks of testing the 8 monitors.
This has a very slim bezel with a gamer theme or style. If you’re planning to go all-out and do a 3-monitor setup, you won't go wrong with the ASUS VG278Q.
The speakers aren’t that great considering the price but it’s good to have one instead of not having it anyway. The OSD controls, however, utilize a joystick control to make adjustments easier and convenient.
This also comes with venting holes and a smart cable management hole at the base of the stand so you can conceal the hideous cables on your desk.
This is a 1080p resolution gaming monitor and the need of a 1440p isn’t really necessary when you’re into competitive FPS gaming. In fact, a 1080p resolution is the sweet spot for most competitive gamers. It’s a 27-inch gaming monitor so you’re bound to see clearer images and a more detailed output nonetheless.
As per the adjustments, you can do a tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustment for best viewing angles. You can also have this mounted on the wall since it’s VESA compatible.
For connections, you have a DVI-D port, a DisplayPort, HDMI, and aux ports. Make sure you get a separate DVI-D Dual Link Cable if you don’t have one already because this doesn’t come with a DVI-D cable like the Acer G257HU and you need it to display 144Hz.
Lastly, this has an AMD FreeSync Technology that removes stutters and screen tearing when gaming - perfect for competitive players. If you’re looking for the best 1080p monitor under $300 that displays 144Hz/1ms of refresh rate and response time, this is your stop.
- Refresh Rate and Response Time60hz / 5ms
- Screen Size and Resolution23.8-Inch / 1440p
- 1440p Resolution (2K/QHD) Display
- 4-way Ergonomic Stand Adjustment
- Has a Headset Hook
- Has a Smart Cable Management Hole
- IPS - Great Color Reproduction
- Has a small 23.8” Screen
- Not VESA Compatible
- Has 5ms Response Time
We chose the BenQ BL2420PT as the best IPS monitor under 300- even the cheapest.
In fact, we even named it as the “Top Pick’s Runner-Up” because it essentially has every feature our top pick has but with some minor differences here and there.
Let’s see what these are…
First off, the build of the monitor is something different than the Acer G257HU. In fact, this has a gamer-inclined build and design. Some of you may want to go with this monitor but for me, I’m sticking with the G257HU.
The stand has more adjustments compared to the Acer G257HU. In fact, you can do a tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustment on this one. This gives you the benefit of experiencing the best viewing angles nonetheless.
Like the Acer G257HU, this produces a great range of color reproduction from the IPS panel. However, after doing a side-by-side comparison, we noticed that the Acer G257HU produces the best color reproduction. Moreover, this also has a 1440p resolution so it’s expected that we’d see detailed image quality.
Just bear in mind that this has a 5ms response time compared to the Acer G257HU’s 4ms. A trained eye knows and sees the difference of 5ms and 4ms from a 1ms monitor but for average gamers (like me) who prefers graphics over performance, it’s likely that this is going to be a concern.
In fact, I tried playing CS:GO, Overwatch, and PUBG on this monitor and on a monitor with a 1ms response time but still couldn’t tell the difference.
Going on, you also have a headset hook that’s located at the back of the monitor. Personally, it would definitely be better if this is located on the sides. But nonetheless, it’s better to have one than not having any at all.
To wrap it up…
- 144Hz Refresh Rate for Smooth Gameplay
- 1ms Response Time for Faster Reaction
- Has a Cable Management Holder
- 4-way Ergonomic Stand Adjustment
- With AMD FreeSync Technology
- VESA Compatible
- Utilizes a TN Panel
- 24 Inch Screen Size
Our list isn’t complete without the best 144hz monitor under 300 - the AOC G2460PF. The fact that we got this under $200 (yes, $200 - not $300) is what makes it worthy of being recognized as one of the best gaming monitors under $300.
The monitor inside the box is well-packed with the monitor stand attached to the monitor itself. Assembly is pretty much straightforward and easy. Aside from the monitor, you also get a DisplayPort cable, a VGA cable (which we personally think is just a waste of money), and auxiliary ports.
On the get-go, it’s not something that’s built out of aluminum or metal since it’s all plastic. However, it’s solidly built that you can guarantee it’s going to last a couple of years. It also has a brushed finish on the front of the surface.
Now some would prefer a monitor with a piano-finish or glossy-finish while others would go with a brush-finished or matte-finish. Personally, I’d go with a matte-finish since this does a pretty good job at keeping specks of dust and fingerprints at bay.
At the bottom of the monitor, you have a solid red line so if your gaming rig has a red/black theme, then this should fit perfectly well. At the back, you also have a cable management hook that allows you to keep the hideous cables concealed.
You have a 4-way ergonomic stand design that allows you to pivot, swivel, tilt, and adjust the height of the monitor. Furthermore, you will need a 100x100 VESA mount if you wish to have this hanged on a wall.
As for connections, you have a VGA, HDMI-MHL, Dual Link DVI, DisplayPort, 4x USB 2.0 port (1 for fast-charging port), and 1 upstream USB port. It’s surprising to see that this also comes with a powered USB port (at the right side) that you can use if you want to charge your mobile phone.
Like the AOC G2460PF, this is a TN panel so don’t expect an out-of-this-world color reproduction and quality.
One thing that we have issues with the AOC G2460PF though is the fact that this comes out of the box with very poor color calibration. In fact, both the sharpness and the saturation are way too high that we had to do adjustments before we could do anything on the screen.
After the setup, we then went straight to gaming and took advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and the AMD FreeSync technology. The 24” gaming monitor has a 1080p screen resolution, which, we considered as the sweet spot for hardcore competitive FPS gaming.
Overall, this monitor is perfect for competitive FPS gamers who own an AMD graphics card to take advantage of the FreeSync technology. It removes screen tearing and stutters to give you a more immersive gameplay experience.
Again, for the price of less than $200 - not $300, this is a deal you will regret not getting if you are hunting for the best gaming monitor for competitive FPS games.
- Comes With A DVI-D Cable
- 144Hz Refresh Rate for Smooth Gameplay
- 1ms Response Time
- Very Durable
- Lightboost Capable
- Flicker Free!
- Only Utilizes a TN Panel
- Only Has Tilt Adjustment
If you’re really broke… get.this...period.
The Acer GN246HL is by far the cheapest 24” 144Hz gaming monitor out there. Trust me, we’ve scoured the internet for an entire week before coming up with the list.
Now you might be wondering…
Is this cheap (it’s under $200) 144Hz gaming monitor going to be worth it?
Yes, here’s why:
You’d be surprised how at well-packed the monitor is through the styrofoam isn’t really that durable.
We also found a DVI-D cable along with it and no HDMI cable or port. It’s still very convenient since you’ll only need the DVI-D to get the 144Hz frame rate anyway. Like the AOC G2460PF, this comes with a useless VGA cable.
Assembly is easy with the help of both flathead and star screwdriver.
For the build, it does have a glossy finish on the bezel but the screen is a matte-finish. You’re only stuck with the tilt adjustment with this monitor but we already expected this considering the cheap price.
However, it is VESA compatible, which is actually surprising for a monitor this cheap. The base plate is also one thing that we like about the monitor because it’s really freaking stable. If you have a table that you constantly bump into for some reason, you can rely on this monitor to stand still.
It’s the 144Hz that really matters here so we headed right into gaming to actually test it out. For starters, it performs just like any 144Hz gaming monitor and I’d recommend you get this if you’re on a really tight budget and you badly need a 144Hz panel to stay competitive.
If you’re a professional graphics designer though, you might want to look away because this is a TN panel so colors aren’t really outstanding. Nonetheless, it’s a 144Hz monitor that cost less than $200 so what more could you ask for?
Which Monitor Best Suits You?
Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
Acer’s GN246HL and AOC’s G2460PF both offer amazing budget 144hz options. If what you want is speed and competitive edge at a low price, either of these monitors should serve your needs perfectly.
Meanwhile, if you want great colors and viewing angles, both Acer G257HU and BenQ BL2420PT are great solutions. They aren’t as suited for competitive gaming though.
If you’re a competitive PC gamer who wants only the best-built hardware, ASUS VG278Q is easily the best choice. Its overall superior build quality, plus its 144hz refresh rate, is sure to satisfy anyone desiring godlike speed.
Our top overall picks are Acer G257HU and ASUS VG278Q - offering the best IPS and 144hz monitors for under $300, respectively.
Picking the best gaming monitor for you is never easy. Since we all have our own personal preference, the right monitor can either make or break your gaming experience.
If you’re a hardcore gamer who wants the best 144Hz/1ms gaming monitor, we highly recommend the ASUS VG278Q.
On the other hand, if you wish to play games and do productivity work on the sides, the Acer G257HU should give you no compromise.
Which among the monitors do you want to get?
Are you torn between the Acer G257HU and the BenQ BL2420PT? Perhaps the AOC G2460PF and the Acer GN246HL?
- Matthew D. Sarrel, AOC G2460PQU 144HZ Gaming Monitor Review, IGN, Jan 27, 2017
- Tech Deals, 4K 27" IPS Monitor - Under $250 - Epic Deal, Mar 9, 2018
- Seth G. Macy, ACER GN246HL 144HZ Gaming Monitor Review, IGN, Jan 12, 2017
- The Tech Chap, Monitor Buying Guide - What You Need to Know, July 11, 2016
- Joker Productions, $250 IPS Monitor for Gaming | Acer G257HU Review, Aug 1, 2016
- JayzTwoCents, ASUS VG248QE 144hz 1ms GSync capable Monitor Review, Sep 18, 2014