Best Monitor Size For Gaming

Last Updated on by Nicholas Frost

We have all fantasized about having a big screen TV that covers the wall, with bean bags in front to play video games from. While it may seem super epic, it’s not necessarily the best way for gaming. You may think a large monitor means a better-quality gaming experience, but that’s not always true. Gaming monitors can come as small as 22″ or as large as 43″. Of course, you can always use a TV as your monitor, which would allow you to go even more prominent. Your specific gaming style partially dictates the best monitor size. The same goes for which games you play and the resolution you need for the best experience.

In this guide, we will help you choose the best monitor size for your gaming experience. You will find out the strengths and weaknesses of each size and what functions they are most suited to. It will give you an excellent idea of how to pick your ideal gaming monitor, as well as an example of each to start you out on your shopping journey.

You’ll firstly need to prioritize your wants and needs regarding gaming experience. What are your non-negotiables? That way, you can enter into your search, knowing what you want from your monitor. Are you planning on gaming in 4K and need a high-resolution monitor to support amazing cinematics? Or are you a first-person shooter gamer that needs the fastest response time possible when making game-changing shots? You might have received a new desk and chair as a gift and need a monitor that will fit comfortably on top. Regardless of what your priorities are, make a list of them and keep it handy as you work your way through our buyers’ guide.

How Do You Measure Monitor Size?

Monitors, much like televisions, are measured diagonally. The measurement diagonally from corner to corner will also tell you about how wide and tall the monitor is as well. For the formula to find this out, we will use a 22″ monitor as an example to work off. A 22″ monitor will have a width of 18″ and a height of 10″. If you size up to 24″, it will be 20″ wide and 12″ tall. Each size up you go, you will also add an inch to all the measurements. You can then use the width and height to find out the total surface area of the monitor if you’re curious about that.

Before we talk about all the monitor sizes available, we will first touch on monitor resolution. Not only will you encounter monitors of various sizes, but each will have a set resolution. More so even than the size itself, it will dictate the quality of the image you will see on screen. Certain games will require higher resolution than others, so it’s essential to know which resolution you need before you start your search for a monitor. Of course, the higher the resolution, the higher the price, so you’ll need to identify what your priorities are.

What is Monitor Resolution?

The resolution is one of the most important specs to consider when choosing a monitor beside the size itself. The resolution refers to the visual dimensions of your monitor. Where you measure the size in inches, you measure the resolution in pixels. They are displayed as the width and height, meaning how many pixels wide and how many pixels tall.

When you’re looking at monitors, you’ll notice that they typically categorize monitors by the pixel height. You’ll need to look at the specs themselves to see the full expression of both width and height. For example, the resolution you will often see is 1080p. It means that the height of the monitor is 1080 pixels.

The higher the resolution of your monitor, the more precise the image will be. That is because higher resolution means more pixels that make up the image. The monitor resolution isn’t the only thing that will impact the picture, though. Even if you have a high-resolution monitor if the production of the game was at a lower resolution than the image will display low res. It’s important to consider what type of games you’re playing, or the content you intend to view on your screen. If you’re playing games at a lower resolution, then you may not require a high-resolution monitor anyways.

What is a Pixel?

We know the number of pixels dictates the resolution of our monitor, but what exactly are pixels? Pixels are the building blocks that make up the picture you see on your screen. If you consider the image like a puzzle, each piece slots together to create a larger image. The lower the resolution, the larger the puzzle pieces. It also means fewer puzzle pieces are used to compose the image. So, if your image is composed of more parts, it can have more detail.

Though the screen changes in size, if you have a 1080p monitor, that means each one only has 1080 pixels that make up the height. As the monitor size gets bigger, you’ll need a more significant number of pixels to have a clear image. For this reason, a small monitor, like a tablet or phone, will not need as many pixels to have a smooth and perfect picture. Though people universally recognize 1080p as an HD pixel rating, if you’re viewing the image on a projector screen, it won’t be as clear.

Now that you know the science behind resolution and pixels, let’s talk about the different available resolution options.

1. 1080p Resolution

1080p resolution has a height of 1080 pixels and a width of 1920 pixels. 1080p is the most common HD resolution you’ll see daily. Whether you’re watching videos on Youtube or playing games with high-graphics quality, 1080p is the high standard for the best visuals.

If you’re gaming in 1080p, you’ll want a monitor roughly around 24″. It will produce the best quality of imagery at this resolution. It will translate to approximately 91 pixels per inch on a monitor of this size. If you go any more substantial in dimension than you will risk sacrificing the quality of the image. Even going up to 27″ can still dramatically impact the pixelation of the image, leaving it blurry with noticeable pixels.

As a general rule, the farther away from a monitor you sit, the cleaner the image looks. So even if you go up a size, you can always sit farther back and game via wireless controllers or peripherals. It’s not always an option, though, and you will struggle when needing to read any text on the screen. Especially if you’re gaming at a desk, you’re best off to stick the proper size monitor for resolution. You’ll get a better gaming experience all around. Plus, if you’re gaming in 1080p, you’ll save some money since you won’t need to buy a more expensive monitor.

2. 1440p Resolution

1440p resolution is the step up for 1080p. At this resolution, you will have a pixel height of 1440 pixels and a width of 2560 pixels. It displays the best on a 27″ monitor. On a 27″ monitor, you will get about 108 pixels per inch, so an even better-quality image than the 1080p on a 24″. That said, if you up the monitor size, you will lose some of the quality. It will bring it down to about the same as you would get on a 24″, 1080p monitor. While that’s still pretty decent, a larger monitor, such as 32″, can prove difficult for gaming since you’ll have to crank your neck quite a bit when viewing the screen. You’ll find that there are many 1440p, 32″ monitors on the market. Be aware of how close you intend to sit to the screen when you’re looking at these options.

1440p resolution will also provide a high refresh-rate, meaning it’s great for those who need fast speeds. Whether you’re playing FPS games, racing, or even just high-stakes Battle Royale, a 1440p resolution will bring the goods.

3. 4K Resolution

4K is Ultra HD. If you have games that support 4K, you’ll get an incredible visual experience at this resolution. Unfortunately, not all do. For that reason, even you have a 4K monitor, you won’t get optimal use of it. Games will have to scale from their programmed resolution to fit onto your 4K screen, which could make everything look small. It can especially be a problem if the game relies heavily on text or there is a lot of reading. Also, any minute details will be harder to see clearly.

You can find 27 or 28″ 4K monitors that produce super detailed imagery. But you might want to go for an even larger monitor as the details will be much smaller. You’ll also need to consider your graphics card if you plan to run 4K. If you don’t have a graphics card that can produce a 4K output, then having a 4K monitor will be pointless.

While there are many other components to consider if you want to game in 4K, it can be worth it. If you are a hardcore gamer and willing to invest in it, then you’ll be thrilled with the gaming experienced achieved from a 4K monitor.

Those are the three main resolutions you will come across when purchasing a gaming monitor. Once we go through all the size options, you’ll be able to narrow down exactly which size is going to be the best fit for you. There are many factors to consider, and we will break them all down for you. While one size monitor may be great for one gamer, it may not be the best for you. Let’s dive into the different sizes so you can identify which is the best monitor size for gaming for you.

Quick Reference on Resolution

When choosing a screen resolution, you can follow these guidelines.

  • 1080p should not be present in more massive than 24″ monitors
  • 1440p is perfect for 27″ monitors
  • 4K is best on 27-32″ monitors

1. 24″ Monitors

If you’re gaming at a desk or less than three feet from your monitor, then a 24″ monitor is your best bet. With proximity this close to the monitor, you really won’t want to go any bigger. This size of the monitor will allow you to have the most immersive gaming experience possible at a short distance. At three feet or less, you’ll be able to see the whole 24″ screen easily and without having to crack your head left to right to view the game.

While this factor is a massive advantage for any gaming, it’s especially useful for Battle Royale or shooter games. In these games, you need a good overview of exactly what is happening on the map at all times. The limited spectrum of view can be the factor that leads to your demise in the game. In these types of games, there is a lot of useful information that you can find in the corners of the screen. These can include your health and stamina bars, mini-map, and other valuable pieces of information. For this reason, the entirety of the screen must be entirely in view throughout the game.

As we mentioned earlier, the optimum resolution for a 24″ monitor is 1080p, which will deliver Full HD. You can get higher resolution, such as 1440p or even 4K on a 24″ monitor. 1440p is not necessary, and 4K is going to view small on a 24″ monitor. At 1080p, you will get a smooth and clear image and won’t run into any compatibility issues. Most games are compatible with 1080p, while only limited titles are compatible with 1440p or 4K.

24″ monitors are generally quite affordable, and for that reason, there’s no reason to go smaller. At least not with a 1080p resolution. Most gamers will want at least 1080p resolution for the ultimate gaming experience, which you can achieve on a 24″ monitor. You can get smaller, but any text will prove more challenging to read. Your best bet for desk gaming is going to be a 24″ monitor.

24″ Monitor – Dell S2417DG

The Dell S2417DG is one of the best 24″ monitors you can get. There are no issues with lag, no ghosting, and no dreadful screen tearing issues. The imagery is super smooth, creating an immersive gaming experience. It comes in the middle of the price-range spectrum: not too expensive, not too cheap. For the price, it offers better performance then some of the more expensive models you can get.

It features ULMB, which is Ultra Low Motion Blur. It ensures that you experience no motion blur while you’re gaming. The 165Hz refresh rate pretty much means you wouldn’t likely experience motion blur anyways, but it never hurts to have coverage. It comes with a QHD resolution, which is 1440p. While we mentioned it’s not necessary on a monitor of this size, it’s a little extra treat. The bezel is only 6mm, which allows more surface area for the image.

For desktop gamers, the Dell S2417DG is going to be one of the best 24″ monitors you can get.

2. 27″ Monitors

If you’re going to be gaming between three and four feet away from your monitor, then a 27″ will be the best option for you. If you’re going to be sitting closer than three feet, you’ll find you may struggle to see the monitor in its entirety. You’ll have to avert your eyes to look at different corners of the monitor or physically turn your head. It’s going to be very distracting when gaming to do so. For this reason, make sure to only go for a 27″ monitor if you intend to game from three or four feet away.

If you’re an RPG gamer or tend towards highly cinematic games, then a 27″ monitor may be the best monitor size for gaming. If you like to play games like Final Fantasy, Skyrim or Dragon Age, you want a screen that delivers high-quality imagery. With a ton of detailing in these types of games, whether it’s in the environment or the characters, a 27″ monitor will ensure you don’t miss any of it. The games have been designed to play in a higher resolution, with epic cutscenes and extreme attention to detail.

While refresh-rate is still essential, the image quality is the draw in these monitors. The resolution of the monitor determines refresh-rate. For a 27″ monitor, we recommend going with 1440p resolution. It will give you the best image quality possible with a high refresh-rate. Typically, you can expect a refresh-rate of about 144Hz on a 27″, 1440p monitor. If you want to game in 4K, be aware that the refresh rate will drop substantially. You can expect about a 60Hz refresh rate on a 4K 27″ monitor. For a 27″ monitor, your best bet is to stick to 1440p. It will give you an insane image quality with a decent refresh rate to match. With that refresh rate, it can still keep up to fast-paced shooter games, while also excelling for RPG and strategy games.

As well, many RPG and story games rely heavily on text, whether that’s in subtitles or character specs. A 27″ monitor will provide large enough text that is extremely clear and easy to read. The details in images will be much more visible, which is helpful when searching for unique items and loot. 27″, 1440p monitors are a versatile and high-performing option.

27″ Monitor – Asus ROG Swift PG279QZ

The Asus ROG Swift PG279QZ is a 27″ monitor with 1440p resolution, the perfect match. It is possibly one of the best 27″ monitors you can get for gaming purposes. The screen is big, yet high-enough resolution that the image stays bright and smooth. The monitor also doesn’t require a high-performing GPU to produce quality images and a decent refresh rate. The monitor has a refresh rate of 144Hz, with overclocking capabilities of up to 165Hz.

The monitor is hugely adjustable. You can change the height via the monitor stand, as well as tilt and pivot the screen to the exact position you’d like it. It can eliminate any strain you may experience in your back, neck, and shoulders from having your body at an unnatural angle to view the screen. It also has tons of ports, including an HDMI 1.4, Display Port 1.2, and two USB 3.0 ports. It’s not incredibly cheap but delivers a bright and sharp image in a sturdy build that will last you.

If you’re in the market for a 27″ monitor to play story or RPG games on than the Asus ROG Swift PG279QZ is a solid bet.

3. 32″ Monitors

A 32″ monitor will take your gameplay to a whole new cinematic level. Similar to a 27″, the 32″ is best suited for those who are into story and RPG games that rely heavily on razor-sharp graphics. The difference with a 32″ is that you want to be at least five feet away from the screen. You’ll need to be gaming with wireless controllers or keyboards that give you a decent distance between yourself and the monitor. A 32″ monitor is an excellent option if you play a lot of local multiplayer. It’s because it’s large enough to play split-screen comfortably. It will allow both you and the other player to see what’s going on.

What it isn’t great for is fast-paced and competitive gameplay. Since the screen is so large, even sitting five feet away, you’ll still have to move your head quite a bit to take in everything that is happening on screen. Again, for valuable information that’s in the corners of the display, or if you’re moving fast through visually intensive terrain, it’s not great. They are best for games that you play on a console, with designs for televisions.

If you get a 32″ monitor, you will want 4K resolution. For a monitor so large, the only way to get a pixel count that provides a quality image is to go for 4K. You’ll be sitting farther away, and the screen is much bigger, but you still want to be able to see all the detailing. It has the capability of producing some seriously great cinematics if you get the right one. It’s important to note that the games you play will need to be 4K compatible; otherwise, you won’t get the high-quality imagery that you’ve paid for. These monitors won’t come cheap, so if you’re investing, then you want to ensure you get what you wanted. There is an increasing amount of games, especially story and RPG, that have been coming out with 4K compatibility. You won’t struggle to find some fantastic titles that will offer a cinematic and immersive experience on a 32″ monitor.

You can find 32″ monitors that come with 1440p resolution, but we’d recommend steering clear of them. They will offer about the same pixel density, as you will find in a 24″ Full HD monitor. While it isn’t terrible, you’ll be spending a lot more money for it. Don’t get a 32″ with 1080p unless you’re happy with looking at heavily pixelated images all the time.

32″ Monitor – LG 32UD99

If you’re feeling a 32″ monitor, the LG 32UD99 is one of the best you can get. While they don’t market it as a gaming monitor, it comes equipped with AMD FreeSync, which is a godsend for screen tearing. It has 4K resolution, which is Ultra HD, and the best option for a 32″ monitor. The high resolution produces a quality image at a 60Hz refresh rate. It might not seem like a lot, but it’s about the best you can get in that size. As gamers are craving a higher resolution and still want fast refresh rates, we are likely to see the technology improve in years to come.

The cost, considering it’s 32″, it pretty reasonable compared to others of similar specs. It also performs better than many others in this category as well. The contrast is incredible, so the images pop. It’s got a broad spectrum of colors, so you can expect the detailing in games and other media to be top-quality. It doesn’t feature the ability to swivel adjust monitor, so you’ll want to make sure you set it up in the proper position for where you’re playing. You may need to tailor your seating arrangement so you can comfortably view the monitor while keeping your neck and back in a neutral position.

If you’ve got your heart set on gaming on a 32″ monitor, then the LG 32UD99 is an excellent option.

4. 34″ Ultrawide Monitors

If you’re a “go big or go home” type of gamer, you’ve likely been enticed by the vast 34″ Ultrawide monitors. While there are Ultrawide monitors in other sizes, the most common is 34″. An Ultrawide monitor can create an even more immersive gaming experience than their regular-sized counterparts, but they aren’t for everyone. The type of gamers who will benefit from this type of monitor are those who play heavily detailed games that have quality 360-degree view integration. Games like DOOM and Assasin’s Creed have been designed to be incredibly immersive and put you in the mind of the character. When you look around in-game, it feels realistic, and an Ultrawide monitor will enhance the experience even more so.

Four feet away from this monitor is going to be the optimal distance. Since it is a widescreen, many opt to sit closer to get the full immersive experience. If you’re planning to play any racing games or shooters on this monitor, you will likely want to sit closer. Most 34″ Ultrawide monitors will have 1440p resolution. With the size of the monitor, that will be about 109 pixels per inch, which is pretty decent.

A bonus to these monitors is the ability to have multiple screens open at once or play games on a split-screen. Local multiplayer allows both yourself and the person you’re playing with to get some decent real estate on the screen.

We wouldn’t recommend going any more substantial than this size for a gaming monitor. Not only will larger monitor reduce the quality, but you will also need to be farther away to avoid pixelation. It’s not ideal sitting so far away from your monitor when gaming for a few reasons. Firstly, it will be harder for you to read any texts or see smaller details of the game. Secondly, you will lose the immersive experience the farther you are away. Even a 34″ Ultrawide will take up a decent amount of space on a desk, so you’ll want to consider your gaming surface before you buy. If you go any bigger, you’ll have to forgo gaming on a desk.

To compare these types of monitors to a regular size, a standard monitor has a 16:9 aspect ratio, whereas an Ultrawide is 21:9. One last tip. If you’re going for a 34″ Ultrawide, do not get a 1080p resolution. Yes, it’s Full HD, but you’ll need to sit quite far away from the screen to get a quality image and lose the level of immersion.

34″ Ultrawide Monitor – Alienware AW3418DW

Alienware is a reputable name in the gaming community. They create components with gamers in mind, and their AW3418DW 34″ Ultrawide Monitor is no exception. It is hands down the fastest gaming monitor you can get within these specs. It has a refresh rate that is even better than you can find on a 32″ 4K monitor. When overclocked, it can hit 120Hz. For the most immersive gaming experience possible, on a wide variety of games, you won’t be disappointed with this monitor. That said, it comes at a price. Alienware, in general, charges a pretty penny for their products. Since they are so well-known and trusted in the community, serious gamers are willing to pay the price for the guaranteed quality.

The monitor has many gaming-specific features, including G-Sync, which will help to eliminate any screen tearing and is essential on a good gaming monitor. Alienware components also look super cool. They are designed for gamers and therefore are slick and funky looking. The monitor is complete with their alien head logo, backlit in blue.

If you’re going Ultrawide and have no limit on budget, then the Alienware AW3418DW is a no-brainer. It will give you the most immersive experience possible when gaming.

5. Curved Monitors

Curved monitors are available in a range of sizes and specs. They take gaming to a whole new dimension creating an almost 3D like experience. If you want realistic and immersive gaming that makes you feel like you’ve jumped into another planet, then a curved monitor may very well be the way to go.

There are more benefits to a curved monitor than just high-quality gaming. A curved monitor will reduce visual distraction and also prevent glare or reflection from windows or lights. It will make the image appear crisper and more precise. On top of that, all the light from the monitor is directed straight at your eyes. Unlike flat monitors, it won’t escape on either side of your head. It will reduce any distortion in the image and look pretty awesome in general.

With all the apparent benefits of a curved monitor, you would think all gamers would have one. Unfortunately, they are often above budget. A curved monitor will set you back a whole lot more than a flat-screen monitor. For that reason, many still opt to go flat. As the market is getting more competitive, we will hopefully see reductions in curved monitor prices in the future.

If you are considering mounting your monitor somewhere, bear in mind that a curved monitor will not be so easy. It’s not recommended to install a curved monitor to the wall as it will significantly restrict the angle from which you can view your screen.

While you can get a curved monitor up to 34″, we’ve chosen a 27″ as the best option if you’re considering investing.

Curved Monitor – MSI Optix MPG27CQ

Where curved gaming monitors are concerned, the best one you can get is the MSI Optix MPG27CQ. Many of its features are incredibly beneficial to gamers, and it’s the perfect size to get the highest quality gaming experience. It’s got a fantastic spectrum of color output as well as a speedy response time that lends itself to a variety of games. The monitor is loaded with FreeSync technology to eliminate screen tearing and has some fun and flashy RGB features, as well.

The stand is adjustable, allowing you to customize the height and pivot it to suit your gaming needs. It fits well onto most desks and doesn’t look bulky or overbearing. The 27″ size is ideal for a gaming monitor and allows you to get the most from both the quality and speed. You wouldn’t want to go any smaller with a curved model. It also is one of the most affordable curved monitors you are likely to find, at least with such excellent performance.

The monitor has 1440p resolution, which is well-suited to one of this size and provides crisp and clear imagery. It will pick up all the small details in environments and characters well. The refresh rate is 144Hz, which is more than enough to allow you to play fast-paced games as well.

For an immersive gaming experience with a curved monitor that doesn’t have as high a price tag as others, then the MSI Optix MPG27CQ is an excellent option.

6. Television

Though you can get gaming monitors that will run at 4K resolution, you’re best off just getting a TV. To take advantage of 4K and experience the full benefits, you will want to have a larger screen. A 45-65″ television screen can provide you with the surface area required to see all the minute details of the game imagery. You can also sit far away and still be able to see text and enjoy gameplay from the comfort of your couch.

7. Multi-Display Setups

We would like just quickly to touch on multi-display setups. You may often see people gaming with a configuration of two or even three monitors. They can create an additional level of immersion, similar to a curved monitor, blocking out distraction and allowing you to get into the game. There is no specific monitor size that is best for this style of gaming, though you may need to opt for smaller monitors just for the sake of desk space. You can do some excellent multi-tasking with multiple monitors as you don’t necessarily need to use all of them for gaming at the same time.

So how do you know which monitor size is right for you?

There are two main deciding factors to determine your ideal monitor size. These are how far you’ll be from the monitor and what types of games you are playing. If you’re still unsure as to which of the above sizes is best for you, then let’s break these two factors down further.

Distance from the Monitor

As a good general rule, you’ll want to sit the same distance away from the monitor as its size. So, if you’ve got a 24″ monitor, you’ll want to be at least 24″ away from the screen. Using this rule will help you to significantly reduce the strain on your eyes as well as provide more comfort in general. It will also allow you to experience the best visuals possible while you’re gaming and the full spectrum of viewing potential.

If you’re gaming at a desk and quite close to the screen, then you’re going to want something around a 24″ or a 27″ curved monitor. For wireless gaming or with a mounted display, you can go a bit bigger. Assess your gaming setup and where you are planning to install your monitor. Then use these rules to dictate the right size for you.

Type of Gaming

The next primary factor will be your preferred gaming style. If you play first-person shooter games or anything fast-paced that requires quick reflexes and refresh rate, you’ll want a smaller monitor. Something in the range of 24-27″ will provide you with the speed you need to execute maneuvers quickly. If you prefer playing highly cinematic games with sharp detailing like a story or RPG games, then a 27″ monitor with at least 1440p resolution will deliver the best results. You’ll likely be ok with sitting a bit farther back and taking in the whole experience.

The best monitor size for gaming will vary depending on all the factors we’ve touched on above. Though 4K may be tempting, no standard size gaming monitor will do it justice, and you’re better off just going for a television. With gaming monitors, a 24″ monitor will give a tremendous Full HD output, and a 27″ delivers incredible visuals in 1440p. If you’ve got some coin, then maybe consider investing in a curved monitor. You will be the envy of your friends if you do. Regardless, consider all the different sizes and resolutions and what will deliver the most effective experience for you. Upgrading your kit is exciting, and you’re guaranteed to find a monitor that is the perfect fit for you.

 

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