Gaming is an expensive hobby—but it’s actually getting less expensive over time, as a relatively free market in the tech sector cranks out ever-better products at ever-declining prices.
There are so many awesome gaming monitors under $150 out there that the hard part isn’t finding one, it’s picking one. 🖥️ 🎮
After much deliberation, we’ve settled on five gaming monitors under $150 that we think deserve serious attention. (Note that prices on Amazon fluctuate regularly; as of this writing, all of these monitors were less than $150.) Whether your latest (totally healthy) obsession is Apex Legends, Devil May Cry 5, or Warhammer: Chaosbane, there’s sure to be a display here that will make your favorite games look and play great.
Top 5 Gaming Monitors Under $150
No matter what, when you set a modest upper limit on what you’re willing to spend on a gaming monitor, you’re going to be sacrificing some features. 10+ years ago, that would have almost invariably meant you would be getting a lower-quality monitor, but that’s no longer the case. You won’t find any MLG-tier 4K displays at this price point, but you can absolutely get a perfectly serviceable gaming monitor that functions well and reliably.
We’ve picked out five displays between $99 and $150 to accommodate most budgets. We’ve also put together a value-packed buying guide to help you narrow down what’s most important to you in a gaming monitor. Finally, we’ve got an FAQ section at the end that answers the most common questions about cheap monitors that gamers are currently typing into Google.
Best Choice: ViewSonic VX2476
Pros & Cons
- Nice price
- 178° viewing angle
- Excellent 3-year warranty
- Flimsy stand
ViewSonic is well-known for its wide selection of fully decent, budget-friendly monitors. The VX2476 is one of their best.
- Slim and lightweight
- Built-in blue light filter
- HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA inputs
ViewSonic VX2476 Review
The 22-, 23-, and 24-inch versions of the ViewSonic VX2476 monitor are all currently about the same price on Amazon (around $125). For what you get, though, you’d expect to pay more. The full HD frameless screen looks great at almost any angle thanks to the IPS panel, which is also resistant to fingerprints and smudging.
There’s also a built-in blue light filter to reduce eye strain at night, which is a nice extra you don’t often find on monitors in this price range.
As far as stats go, the VX2476 is a solid B+ gaming monitor, with a 4ms response time and a 75Hz refresh rate. The colors look ever so slightly washed out to us, but only on some games and under certain lighting conditions; it’s probably not even worth mentioning.
The only other downside is that the stand is moderately flimsy. It’s fine for daily use by cautious owners, but it seems liable to snap if you’re not consistently gentle with it. At the end of the day, if you’re looking to get the most all-around value in your next sub-$150 monitor, the ViewSonic VX2476 is one of the best gaming monitors for its price.
Premium Pick: BenQ Zowie RL2455
Pros & Cons
- 1ms response time
- Preset game mode features are handy
- 60Hz refresh rate
- Prone to dead/stuck pixels
If you’re willing to accept a bit of risk when it comes to quality control, the BenQ Zowie RL2455—which packs a surprising number of features into a budget-friendly monitor—would be a good bet.
- Customizable Color Vibrance technology
- Useful RTS, FPS, and fighting game presets
- Flicker reduction technology
BenQ Zowie RL2455 Review
BenQ is a rather polarizing name among PC gamers. Some love their affordable, feature-packed products, while others criticize them for frequent (or at least more frequent than average) quality control problems. The RL2455 gaming monitor has one big potential drawback to be aware of—it’s prone to stuck and/or dead pixels—but it’s otherwise a great display.
The RL2455 offers a 1ms response time (yay!) but only a 60Hz refresh rate (meh). The picture quality on the 24-inch screen is superb, though. Images are crisp, colors are rich, and the preset display modes (for RTS, FPS, and fighting games) that quickly switch between optimal settings for each genre are surprisingly useful.
There’s also a feature called Custom Scaling, which allows you to easily change the display area without messing with the resolution.
Even though the RL2455 is more likely than it should be to ship with problems or defects, BenQ does offer a comprehensive 3-year warranty, so at worst, you might be temporarily inconvenienced while you wait for repair or replacement. For $149, you could do a lot worse.
Best Value: Acer KG221Q
Pros & Cons
- Amazing specs for the price
- Acer EyeCare actually reduces eye strain
- Limited input options
- Needs manual calibration
- Limited viewing angle
Simply put, the Acer KG221Q is one of the best and most competitively priced full HD gaming monitors we’ve seen in recent memory.
- 21.5-inch full HD TN panel (other sizes available)
- AMD Freesync
- Dual 1-watt built-in speakers
Acer KG221Q Review
Somehow, the Acer KG221Q doesn’t show up on every single list of the best budget gaming monitors (only about half of them). It comes in 21.5-, 23.6-, 24.5-, and 27-inch varieties, with the smallest size currently selling for $99. Seriously, I feel like I need one of those wacky inflatable arm flailing tube men over here.
The KG221Q is anything but a cheap piece of junk. Boasting a 1ms response time (!) and a 75Hz refresh rate, it beats out a solid 90% of monitors that cost three times as much when it comes to the essentials. It also comes with AMD FreeSync, ensuring a smooth, tear-free experience for AMD GPU owners.
For those who use the same screen for both work and play, the built-in Acer EyeCare technology reduces blue light and does wonders to relieve eye strain. This monitor does look a little flat when it comes to the range and richness of colors, though; whether or not that has anything to do with the blue light filter is hard to say.
Our biggest complaints about the KG221Q are all pretty minor in comparison to its strengths. It’s only got two video inputs (one HDMI, one VGA), and its factory default settings are moderately terrible. The latter problem is easily solved with a bit of manual tuning, though. (Several Amazon users helpfully suggest changing the color mode to sRGB, Black Boost to 0, and turning Overdrive off.)
Finally, it’s got a TN panel, which means that the viewing angle is fairly narrow (about 50° in either direction). In closing, we’ll just remind you once more that this monitor is only $99. For that price, it’s crazy how good it is.
Best Adjustability: ViewSonic VX2457
Pros & Cons
- Good core stats
- Black stabilization feature is nice for dark games
- FPS, RTS, and MOBA presets
- So-so colors
If you’re wondering what the main difference is between the ViewSonic VX2476 and the comparably excellent VX2457, here it is in a nutshell: the former is a better multipurpose display, while this one is slightly better as a dedicated gaming monitor.
- AMD Freesync
- Flicker-free technology
- Blue light filter
ViewSonic VX2457 Review
With a 2ms response time and a refresh rate of 75Hz, the ViewSonic VX2457 is already a good deal for just $125 (for the 24-inch version). To sweeten the pot, ViewSonic has thrown in a bunch of extra nice-to-have features.
AMD Freesync, flicker reduction technology, and blue light filters are steadily becoming more common—even in relatively low-end gaming monitors—but at least for now, it’s still somewhat uncommon to find all of them included at this price point.
On top of its respectable core gaming stats, the VX2457 has something called a “black stabilization function” that we’ve found to be pretty nifty. It somehow makes it easier to track movement and identify shapes in very dark games without making the game look less dark (horror aficionados rejoice).
Like the BenQ Zowie RL2455, the VX2457 has visual presets for various genres of games (RTS, FPS, and MOBA in this case). Those presets are customizable, too, so if you happen to prefer a little less motion blur in your shooters, you can update the appropriate profile quickly and easily.
This monitor’s biggest drawback is its mediocre color accuracy. For a $125 monitor, it’s pretty reasonable, but it’s noticeably funky to some people and in some games. You definitely wouldn’t want to do professional photo or video editing on it, but it’s a quality gaming display.
Best TN: Dell SE2417HG
Pros & Cons
- 2ms response time
- Excellent viewing angle for a TN panel
- Sturdy aluminum base
- No built-in speakers
- No VESA mounts
The current low price for the 24-inch version of the Dell SE2417HG on Amazon is just $148, so it definitely deserves the silver medal for “premium” category here, especially in light of its 4½-star average across 890 reviews.
- 1x VGA and 2x HDMI 1.4 inputs
- 1000:1 contrast ratio
- Dell Advanced Exchange Service expedites warranty service
Dell SE2417HG Review
The Dell SE2417HG starts strong out of the gate with a 2ms response time and excellent viewing angles for a TN panel (about 160°). The 60Hz refresh rate is all well and good, but it may not satisfy some gamers who demand maximum frames, especially since it’s now fairly easy to find 75Hz refresh rates in this price range.
Color accuracy is pretty good, but this monitor is bright when it comes out of the box. If images look washed out to you, turn the brightness down a few clicks and it should look much better.
This monitor deserves recognition for addressing an age-old problem that the industry has historically been reluctant to even acknowledge: it has a nice, heavy aluminum stand that doesn’t feel like it’s ready to snap if you set it down too hard. It doesn’t have any VESA mounts though, which seems odd, given how popular they’ve become.
The SE2417HG also doesn’t have any built-in speakers, which 80% of you probably don’t care about, but it’s nice to have another option when your ears get swampy from eight continuous hours of headphone use. Still, this monitor’s shortcomings are minor and are far outweighed by its pluses, so we heartily recommend it.
If you want to a bit overboard on the monitor and love Dell, we recommend going through our review of the outstanding Dell S2716DGR. It's similar to the SE2417HG but more reliable.
Gaming Monitors Under $150: Buying Guide
There are many factors to weigh when shopping for a new gaming monitor, but some of them are more essential (to most people) than others. You don’t need to be intimately familiar with every aspect of monitor technology to make an informed buying decision.
For example, if you're looking for a great console gaming monitor, some of the specs that might be important to you will be different than usual.
In this buying guide, we’ll cover the most important things to be aware of: refresh rate, response time, resolution, aspect ratio, HDR, contrast ratio, and panel types. If you know what all of those things are and how to compare them at a glance based on your particular gaming needs, your shopping experience should be quick and painless.
Refresh Rate & Response Time
These, right here, are the essentials—the heart and soul of a gaming monitor. We’d advise looking for these two numbers first and prioritizing them when you’re comparing monitors—but hey, color depth and contrast ratio might be more important to you, and that’s just fine too.
A monitor’s refresh rate describes how quickly it can redraw images. It’s the same basic idea as the number of frames per second your GPU can put out, but they’re totally separate things. The refresh rate is an upper limit on the number of frames per second you’re ever going to get; even if your GPU is drawing 120 frames, you’re only going to see 75 of them if you have a 75Hz monitor.
When you’re shopping for gaming monitors under $150, don’t expect to see refresh rates better than about 75Hz very often. Manufacturers have to save money somewhere, after all.
The response time of a gaming monitor describes how quickly the results of input (a button press or mouse click) are displayed on the screen. If your display has a response time of 2ms and you click your mouse in a shooter, your in-game weapon will fire 2 milliseconds later.
Generally, response times of 5ms or less are considered ideal for gaming monitors. 6–10ms is acceptable (to most people), while anything slower than 10ms will result in noticeable delays.
Resolution & Aspect Ratio
Like refresh rate and response time, resolution and aspect ratio are related but distinct concepts. Their relationship is slightly more confusing and can stir up buyer’s remorse if you accidentally buy the wrong thing, so we’ll do our best to make sure the difference is clear.
Resolution is a measure of the total number of pixels in a display, expressed as width times height. A 1920 x 1080 (i.e. full HD) monitor is 1,920 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels tall. Pretty easy so far, right?
All resolutions—and there are a ton of them—have a certain aspect ratio, which is, on the most basic level, still a “width times height” expression of the number of pixels. However, the aspect ratio merely preserves the ratio itself, not the exact measurements.
1920 x 1080 is a 16:9 aspect ratio, because if you divide 1,920 by 16 and 1,080 by 9, you get the same result in both cases. 1920 x 1080 isn’t the only 16:9 aspect ratio, though—far from it. Some other common 16:9 resolutions include 1600 x 900, 2560 x 1440 (WQHD), 3840 x 2160 (4K), and 7680 x 4320 (8K). 16:9 is the most common aspect ratio in use today and probably will be for some time still.
Other common aspect ratios include 4:3 (super old, but still out there—you’ll almost never see this in a modern device); 21:9 (true ultrawide); and 16:10. There are others, but 95% of all computer monitors in 2020 will be 16:9, 16:10, or 21:9.
It’s worth noting that not all games natively support all resolutions and aspect ratios. Devil May Cry 5, for example, supports 2560 x 1440 (a 16:9 aspect ratio) but not 3440 x 1440 (21:9 ultrawide). It says it does, but it just pillarboxes the screen. Dammit, Capcom!
When shopping for your next gaming monitor, just make sure that your GPU is powerful enough to draw the number of pixels you want, that your favorite games support your preferred resolutions, and that you’re okay with letterboxing and pillarboxing if you choose a non-16:9 monitor (it’s going to happen at times if you do).
HDR, Contrast Ratio, & Panel Type
HDR, or high dynamic range, is an optional technology that’s becoming increasingly popular and affordable in gaming monitors. It basically photoshops each frame in real-time to enhance fine details in very light and very dark areas, enhancing your ability to see the image clearly without messing with the brightness or contrast too much. (That’s definitely an oversimplification, but it’s all that most gamers need to know.)
Contrast ratio describes the difference in intensity between the darkest blacks and the brightest whites in an image. There are two ways of measuring it (well, there’s really just one): static and dynamic contrast ratio. The latter is a meaningless marketing buzzword that mildly unscrupulous manufacturers throw around to make their product sound impressive.
Anytime you see “dynamic contrast ratio,” either look elsewhere on the internet for the static (i.e. real) contrast ratio or move on to another product. A static contrast ratio of 1000:1 is pretty standard (and pretty decent) in gaming monitors. Higher ratios look better to most people, while anything less than 1000:1 will result in images that look flat and have less vibrant colors.
A monitor’s panel type sets the stage for its strengths and weaknesses in various categories. There are four main panel types used in almost all consumer monitors: TN (twisted nematic), VA (vertical alignment), IPS (in-plane switching), and OLED (organic light-emitting diode).
In general, IPS displays are considered the best LCD/LED displays overall, especially for gaming. But if you care about some things way more than others, you may prefer a different panel type that has more pronounced strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a quick comparison chart we made just for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most asked questions regarding gaming monitors.
What Is the Best Inexpensive Computer Monitor?
If you skipped over our review of the awesomely affordable Acer KG221Q, go check it out. There are plenty of inexpensive gaming monitors out there, but to our minds, few can stack up to this one in terms of the value you get for your money.
Which Brand Monitor Is Best?
Your ideal gaming monitor is whichever one best meets your particular needs and preferences, and those vary widely among gamers. With GPUs, cases, and some other PC components, different manufacturers tend to cater more heavily to certain preferences, but that’s less true with monitors. Every major manufacturer makes a wide variety of displays.
The easiest criterion to objectively evaluate in this case is probably reliability since that’s something basically everyone cares about. As near as we can tell (because we do this for a living), ASUS, LG, and Dell seem to make the most well-built monitors overall, based on the fact that we don’t often see consumers complaining about defects and failures.
How Much Does a Good Computer Monitor Cost?
“Good” is a loose term, but if we take it simply to mean generally well-built and good at the things it claims to be good at, we’d recommend spending at least $99 ($150 is a safer bet) to ensure you get something that’s not a piece of junk.
Finding a monitor as great as the Acer KG221Q for just $99 is pretty rare, so if the price is a major sticking point for you, jump on that one soon!
What Size Monitor Is Best for Gaming?
For some, bigger is better, but that preference isn’t as common as you might think. There’s no objective technical reason for screen size to be a factor in how well or poorly a gaming monitor performs.
There’s a sense in which this might matter indirectly, and it’s related to your GPU. If yours is getting old—or was never a powerhouse to begin with—you’ll probably want a smaller monitor. Asking an outdated GPU to run Resident Evil 2 Remake at 60 frames per second might fly on a small 1920 x 1080 screen, but not on a huge 4K display (or even a significantly larger regular HD model).
What’s the Best Monitor for Gaming?
As far as budget-friendly options go, any of the gaming monitors we’ve reviewed here would be solid choices, especially the ViewSonic VX2457 or the BenQ Zowie RL2455. If you’re down to spend a little bit more, we’ve got some great guides to the best 4K gaming monitors or the best ultrawide gaming monitors.
If you take a moment to think about it, the fact that you can get a killer gaming monitor with a sub-5ms response time for $150 or less is nothing short of amazing. The fact that there are so many to choose from in 2020 is even more amazing.
Now that you’ve got our useful buying guide bookmarked (you do, right?), you should have everything you need to go pick out a great gaming monitor for under $150—and if nothing on this page caught your eye, take a minute to stop by our other guide to some of the highest-quality gaming monitors under $300.