You may be setting up your first gaming rig – welcome to our world! Or, perhaps you are a seasoned connoisseur of the gaming world and you are just looking for a bit of a change in your setup – it’s a good life we lead, brother. Either way, if you’re asking yourself, “what is the best monitor size for gaming?” you’ve come to the right place.
Considering the variety of monitors on the market nowadays and how widely they vary in size, resolution, and price, this is certainly a question that warrants some deliberation. There are several situations in which choosing the wrong monitor could have a significant and negative impact on your gaming experience. But be of good cheer! There are also scenarios that can enhance your gaming experience to levels you’ve never imagined!
Before purchasing a new monitor, you’ll want to consider a few things. Of course, logistical questions need to be addressed, such as how much physical space you have for your monitor and how close you want to sit to the monitor. There are also some technical questions like whether your current graphic card can handle the higher resolution necessary on a larger monitor, what types of games you generally play, and how immersive an experience you will need to be satisfied.
I’ll walk you through the advantages and pitfalls of each monitor and get you to the point where you are well-informed and confident in the monitor size that is right for your gaming experience!
If you’re currently looking for a new gaming monitor, make sure to check out our top 10 gaming monitors of 2020!
It is common to assume that bigger is better when it comes to gaming monitors, but that is not necessarily the case for several reasons. A smaller monitor, such as a 24-inch monitor, is great for gamers who like to sit closer to the screen and this smaller screen size tends to be preferable when it comes to competitive action games like Overwatch, Fortnite, CS:GO, etc.
Reason being, the more limited viewing area allows you to be able to more easily watch things like your health bar and resources while playing. A smaller 24-25 inch monitor also allows for a more manageable resolution. While 1440p or 4k resolution offers a better visual experience in general, a 24-25-inch monitor typically only requires a resolution of 1080p for excellent, sharp graphics.
With not much noticeable change from 1440p or 4k in visual quality, 1080p resolution on a 24-inch monitor tends to be easier on your graphics card than the higher options in resolution. Obviously a pitfall to these smaller monitors would be minor effects to efficiency, limited ability for picture-in-picture, and less screen real estate in general.
Since you will be working with less screen space, you might be scrolling a bit more often, but the ability to watch your necessary game elements as well as avoid an upgrade to your graphics card might outweigh this pitfall for you. The final advantage to purchasing a 24-inch monitor is, quite frankly, the price. 24 inch monitors tend to be the most affordable and you can pick up a solid one for anywhere from $90 to $250+.
If you generally sit a bit further back from your screen, a 27-inch monitor may be a better choice for your needs and, like the 24-inch monitor, is ideal for competitive action games. At this size, you obviously have a bit more screen real estate to work with than you would with a 24-inch monitor, so you will tend to scroll around a bit less.
It is recommended on this size monitor, however, to opt for a higher resolution of 1440p in order to avoid your visual experience being impaired by visible pixels. A 27-inch monitor with 1440p resolution will mean that you have generous screen space with higher resolution for an almost perfect PPI (Pixel per inch density) at a pretty affordable price.
This means you will need to scroll less, your PPI will be perfect, and you will have some pretty sharp graphics. Also, your graphics card will be able to handle the combination, saving you some dollars on a GPU upgrade.
Have you ever heard of the “sweet spot” for gaming monitors? This refers to the best combination of screen size, resolution, and price. This one just may be the sweet spot for you (as it is for many other gamers). Right now on Amazon, you can find great options on this setup priced between $250 and $500.
If you’re more into turn-based games or atmospheric games like Blade Runner or Assassin’s Creed, you may be looking for a bit more screen space to maximize your viewing experience. While a 32-inch monitor would definitely give a more immersive experience than that of a 24 or 27-inch monitor, there are some factors to consider before opting for a larger screen size.
Have you ever seen the Mona Lisa up close? Not very impressive, right? The same concept applies here. As you get into some of the larger options for gaming monitors, it should go without saying that you will need to start sitting further back from the screen to find the best viewing distance. If you are a gamer that likes to lounge further back from the screen, a 32-inch monitor may be right for you.
It’s worth noting, however, that while a 1440p resolution is offered at this monitor size and may give you an adequate visual experience, a 4k resolution is definitely preferable for a 32-inch monitor in order to achieve optimal PPI ratio. Remember, though, that, in turn, a higher resolution may ultimately require an upgrade to your graphics card in order to ensure a smooth gaming experience and acceptable rate of frames per second.
You will need to weigh out the necessity and the cost of doing so to determine whether it’s worth it for you to go with the 32-inch monitor. Currently, 32 inch monitors generally cost anywhere between $180 and $500.
You may still be set on the idea that bigger is better for your personal gaming preferences. Hey, you do you, boo! If you’re big on atmospheric games and are looking for even more immersive play than can be found in some of the aforementioned sizes, you could definitely find satisfaction in a 34-inch monitor.
Again, this larger size monitor is not ideal if you sit fairly close to your screen as this will result in visible pixels and poor viewing angles, but if you’re a sit-back-and-lounge type of gamer, this monitor is a good fit for you. These monitors typically come with a 3440×1440 resolution and a curved screen for a beautiful visual experience, but at this screen size, you will need to consider that your gaming will definitely be more demanding on your graphics card so an upgrade may be unavoidable.
The cost of these monitors is currently between $400 and $2000 so with the graphics upgrade combined with the higher price of the monitor itself, this setup can get a bit pricey. With a typical aspect ratio of 21:9, however, another great benefit to these monitors is that they can be multipurpose and are great for watching movies, etc. so you don’t need a TV in addition to your gaming monitor. Two birds, one stone, right?
If you have the physical space for this set up and are willing to spend a bit more cash for the enhanced visual experience, the 34-inch monitor is a great option that will provide a gorgeous and immersive experience.
49″ Ultrawide Monitor
Hello, immersion!!! If you’re looking for the biggest and the baddest in a monitor, you may have found it in an ultrawide, 49-inch monitor. Best for atmospheric and racing games, these monitors are curved for great viewing angles and increased immersion, and their sheer size makes them great for general use as well.
With a typical aspect ratio of 32:9, using picture-in-picture and having multiple windows open is effortless with these beasts. There are some significant drawbacks, though. As with the 34-inch monitors, a higher resolution is a must (3840×1600 resolution is recommended for the larger ultrawide screens) which may require a GPU upgrade to avoid negative gaming impacts like delays and lower response times.
In addition, these larger, ultrawide monitors are not the best option for all gaming genres. There are some games that do not support the 32:9 aspect ratio so black bars would be present in these situations, which sort of defeats the purpose of the extra screen real estate, right?
You will also need significant working space to accommodate the physical size of the monitor. If, however, a highly immersive experience is among the most important aspects to you in your gaming and you’re willing to fork up the cash for this beast (currently priced between $800 and $1200 on Amazon), these pitfalls might be of less consequence to you. If that’s the case – go for the big guns when it comes to your purchasing decision!
What Do Professional Gamers Use?
With all of the above factors reviewed, you might now be wondering what the pros use when it comes to monitor size. In a situation where several decisions are made every second in the game, each second understandably counts – big time!
When it comes to competitive play, professionals tend to use a smaller monitor size, like the 24 inch, when competing. A smaller screen size requires more limited head and eye movement which helps to reduce reaction time for these hard-core gamers.
Since high speed is of utmost importance in competitive gaming, high resolution is not necessarily a preference for the pros. High resolution and a larger monitor can result in a higher demand on the graphic card which will ultimately result in a reduction in frame rate and response time. This risk to their overall performance causes professional gamers to put less importance on visual experience and more on speed.
Some pros go for a screen resolution as low as 720p to ensure quicker frame rates and higher reaction time. If you are looking to break into competitive, professional gaming and your main goal is to reduce response time as opposed to enhance your gaming experience, you may want to consider the aforementioned adjustments to your rig.
However, if you simply enjoy the game and the experience it provides, base your monitor purchasing decisions not on what the pros use, but on what’s best for your gaming preferences and needs.
Get the Right Monitor Size For Your Gaming Needs
When it comes to your current gaming philosophy and specific gaming needs, the type of monitor you choose will have a significant impact your gaming experience. If you’re a hard-core competitive gamer looking primarily for speed and high performance, your needs will be different than if you’re a laid back Weekend Warrior who is simply looking for a beautiful and engaging experience.
The amount of physical space you have available for your rig, the abilities and condition of your current PC components, as well as the types of games you prefer to play will all need to be considered before ultimately settling on your monitor purchase. In general, keep in mind that the cost of your new monitor (and the impact it has on your upgrade needs) will raise with the size of the monitor, so your budget is also an important item to consider.
As for your gaming philosophy an overly generalized rule of thumb is: smaller screens and lower resolution are more conducive to highly competitive game play and action games due to speed and performance demands.
Larger screens and higher resolutions are more conducive to atmospheric and experience-driven games due to the enhanced visual quality. However, that is not to say that you can’t perform either type of play on the opposite set up or somewhere in between.
At the end of the day, your gaming needs are unique. Make your decision based on your specific preferences and cost limitations and you will find the best monitor for your gaming setup. Happy gaming, hero!