With great pixels comes great image quality. So it’s not surprising when PC gamers drool over monitors with 4K resolution. A panel packing 8.3 million pixels (3840 x 2160) makes your favorite games look incredibly sharp and realistic. In addition to being the highest resolution you can get in a good gaming monitor these days, going 4K also offers the ability to expand past 20-inch screens. With that loaded pixel army, you can stretch your screen size well past 30 inches without having pixels so big that you can see them. And the new graphics cards from Nvidia’s RTX 30-series and AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series make the move to 4K even more tempting.
But that image quality comes at a steep price. Anyone who’s shopped for a 4K monitor before knows they’re not cheap. Yes, 4K is about high-res gaming, but you’re still going to want solid gaming specs, like a 60Hz-plus refresh rate, low response time and your choice of Adaptive-Sync (Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync, depending on your system’s graphics card). And you can’t forget the cost of the decently beefy graphics card you’ll require to game properly in 4K.
If you’re ready for high-res gaming (lucky you), below are the best 4K gaming monitors of 2021, based on our own testing.
When seeking the best 4K gaming monitor for you, consider the following:
- G-Sync or FreeSync? A monitor’s G-Sync feature will only work with PCs using an Nvidia graphics card, and FreeSync will only run with PCs carrying an AMD card. You can technically run G-Sync on a monitor that’s only FreeSync-certified, but performance may vary. We’ve seen negligible differences in mainstream gaming capabilities for fighting screen tearing between the two. Our Nvidia G-Sync vs. AMD FreeSync article offers an in-depth performance comparison.
- 4K and HDR go hand-in-hand. 4K displays often support HDR content for extra bright and colorful images. But for Adaptive-Sync optimized for HDR media, you’ll want a G-Sync Ultimate or FreeSync Premium Pro (formerly FreeSync 2 HDR) monitor. For a noticeable upgrade from an SDR monitor, opt for at least 600 nits brightness. You can learn more from our glossary page on HDR and our buying guide for picking the best HDR monitor.
The Best 4K Gaming Monitors You Can Buy Today
With speed, accurate color and high contrast, the LG 27GN950-B is the best 4K gaming monitor and our top recommendation. There’s tough competition on this page, but the 27GN950-B stands out with some of the best input lag scores we’ve seen of a 144Hz monitor (tying with the Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ below) while also keeping up with its rivals in our response time testing.
Image quality is also a sight to hold. With an edge array backlight with a local dimming feature, the 27GN950-B doesn’t quite hit FALD-level HDR but still brought stellar performance with 8,475.3:1 contrast ratio. LG also implemented its Nano IPS panel, the answer to Samsung’s Quantum Dot tech, to achieve massive color coverage (94.5% of DCI-P3 and 133.9% of sRGB after our recommended calibration) that really made games pop.
Read: LG 27GN950-B review
The Asus ROG Strix XG27UQ is the best 144Hz 4K gaming monitor and may be cheaper than you expect. We’ve seen it listed for $800, but as of writing we’re seeing it for $884. It doesn’t have a premium FALD backlight for beautiful HDR; however, HDR performance is still impressive, with thanks due to an effective edge-array backlight and the monitor’s Dynamic Dimming feature.
The ROG Strix XG27UQ stacked up well in our testing when it came to both response time and input lag. In the input lag test, it outperformed other 144Hz monitors, including the Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, which went for about $2,000 each. And while the XG27UQ is listed as a FreeSync monitor, we were able to run G-Sync on it successfully.
A little more affordable than the other 144Hz options on this page, the Acer Predator XB273K is the best 4K gaming monitor at that ideal refresh rate for value-seekers. During fast-paced games with settings maxed, there was no blur. G-Sync worked successfully–with both standard and HDR content– to fight screen tearing when paired with an Nvidia graphics card. The monitor kept up well with other 144Hz displays during our testing and even beat the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ and Acer Predator X27, which are about $2,000 monitors, when it came to input lag.
In terms of image quality, the Predator XB273K delivers with pro-level color accuracy and contrast that reached over 4,000:1, according to our testing, and over 2,000:1 after our calibration. HDR doesn’t look as good as it does on monitors with FALD backlights, but we consider the Predator XB273K the next best thing.
You don’t often see the word budget associated with a 4K monitor, but the Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q isn’t just affordable, it’s a great gaming monitor too. Despite being available for $349 as of writing, it offers a great amount of performance, making it a fantastic value for gamers looking to get to 4K without breaking the bank. We’ve even seen 4K monitors at the $400 mark offer lesser gaming performance.
There was no ghosting when we gamed on the VG289Q, and overdrive successfully helped eliminate motion blur. SDR titles looked extra colorful, but there was hardly any improvement when moving over to HDR games.
With the VG289Q priced so low, it’s not surprising that its refresh rate is limited to just 60 Hz (FreeSync works down to 48 Hz). Hardcore gamers will want more Hz, but casual players can make due with fast-paced scenes showing sufficient detail and great pixel density.
For more low-priced 4K screens, check out Best Budget 4K Monitors list.
If you’re looking for a 4K gaming monitor that’s big but still able to fit on your desk, the Acer Predator CG437K is a great fit (pun intended). In our time with the monitor, we found it big enough to fill our peripheral vision from 3-4 feet away. Plus, you get a remote in the box. Ultimately, the Predator CG437K like having an ultra-wide without the curve but with the extra height you crave.
Its gaming credentials are out of this world too. The Predator CG437K comes with G-Sync Compatibility from 48-120 Hz. The monitor can also hit 144 Hz with overclock –but only if you have two DisplayPort cables and don’t need G-Sync or HDR. With a big-screen VA panel boasting 4,000:1 contrast, games looked lifelike and proved a different experience than when using other premium displays, including the 4K Acer Predator X27 and 3440 x 1440 Acer Predator X35.
The lines separating the monitor needs of gamers and professionals keeps blurring. Besides that, there’s nothing wrong with a photo editor wanting to game during their free time, right? The Acer ConceptD CP271K is the best 4K gaming monitor for professionals because it boasts impressive gaming specs coupled with accurate color space coverage.
Creative professionals can get work done with the monitor’s 110% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, although the very meticulous will find that to be slightly too colorful. You can, however, reduce color with a software look-up table. You also get great HDR output with a FALD backlight that reaches 1,000 nits.
At the same time, the ConceptD CP271K offers gamers accurate sRGB coverage (96.3%), as well as powerful performance that kept up with 144 Hz gaming monitors in our response time and input lag benchmarking.
We loved the Asus ROG Swift PG43UQ when we first saw it in June, but it’s been hard to find online ever since. We reviewed it at $1,500 but have seen it sell for more. If you can find this massive screen at the right price, you won’t be disappointed.
At 43 inches, the ROG Swift PG43UQ is juggernaut that makes for a great TV replacement — it even has a remote. From a 4-foot distance, it lends to a highly immersive experience that rivals a curved ultra-wide. And with DisplayHDR 1000 certification, HDR movies pack a punch. Games looked incredibly realistic and warm in HDR and also natural and vibrant in SDR.
Most importantly, the PG43UQ is specced for high-performance gaming. Response time competed well against other 144 Hz screens in our benchmarks, and input lag was better than the Acer Predator CG437K on this page.
With a massive 55-inch panel and OLED technology that provides the deepest blacks around and amazing contrast, the Alienware AW5520QF is the best 4K gaming monitor for sticking in your living room and turning on your favorite HDR games or movies. The first real OLED gaming monitor, it delivered the best image quality we’ve ever seen, boasting immeasurable blacks and, therefore, theoretically unlimited HDR and SDR contrast.
But the Alienware OLED still isn’t perfect. Max brightness with regular SDR content is just 130 nits, while HDR only bumps it up to 400 nits. That means its potential is best realized in a darker room. But keep in mind that with its large size, 150 nits with SDR would’ve been acceptable, so the monitor is only a little bit short. But the AW5520QF’s also expensive–even by OLED TV standards. And for better audio, consider the HP Omen X 65 Emperium below.
If you’re a couch gamer, you need a monitor that’s fit for replacing your TV. With a 64.5-inch display, the HP Omen X 65 Emerpium is amply equipped to do just that. This juggernaut of a gaming monitor offers larger-than-life gaming. In testing, performance matched its high price tag with zero gaming hiccups and high frame rates at high settings.
HP also included some unique bonuses that make this monitor even more fitting for the living room. An included soundbar featuring four 4-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters and two passive radiators add to the feeling of immersion. The monitor also comes with Nvidia Shield Android-based streaming interface, which means gaming, TV and movie-streaming options are built right into your gaming display. A remote completes the living room package.
And if you’re into HDR, the Omen X 65 Emperium would make a great HDR display with high contrast, according to our tests, and certification to play HDR at a minimum brightness of 1,000 nits.
Discounts on the Best 4K Gaming Monitors
Whether you’re shopping for one of the screens that made our list of best 4K gaming monitors above or something else, you may find savings by checking out our best monitor deals page, along with our lists of Dell coupon codes, Lenovo coupon codes, LG coupon codes, HP coupon codes, Monoprice coupon codes and Newegg promo codes.
MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
MORE: How We Test Monitors
MORE: All Monitor Content