What’s the Best Monitor Size for Gaming?

Written by Alex Dulcianu
Published on September 19, 2020

If you are having trouble picking a gaming monitor in 2020, you are not alone. There are many factors you need to consider, and the size of the panel is also dependent on what kind of specs you want to go for. Furthermore, there are many different models to choose from, each one of which has its pros and cons.

The most important thing to note is that monitor size goes hand-in-hand with the resolution, and you should consider both. Some monitors are too small for their resolution, which means that you have to sit closer to them in order to read text or make out certain UI elements in your favorite video games.

Other monitors are actually too big for their resolution, which means that the pixels become visible if you are sitting too close. Lower pixel density can make images appear less sharp, which can be distracting and annoying.

In order to answer the question of what’s the best monitor size for gaming, the best thing to do is to split the issue into multiple categories. This is because there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution unless you want to compromise in terms of image quality. As such, here are the best monitor sizes for all the different resolutions that are still relevant for gaming in 2020:

Best Monitor Size for 1080p Gaming - 24 inches

1080p gaming is still relevant in 2020, even if the new wave of GPUs makes this gaming segment a bit obsolete. Even so, if you want super high refresh rate gaming and triple-digit frame rates, 1080p monitors are still the way to go, especially since 360Hz displays are already a thing at this resolution.

As far as the best size is concerned, 24 inches seems to be the sweet spot in terms of pixel density, and it’s also the diagonal size used in most eSports tournaments at the moment. You can also probably get away with a 27-inch screen in some cases, but you may have to sit a bit farther away from the monitor in order to avoid seeing the individual pixels in certain cases.

Best Monitor Size for 1440p Gaming - 27 or 32 inches

With an increased resolution you can also enjoy slightly bigger screens without compromising in terms of pixel density. 1440p gaming is pretty much the new standard in 2020, especially since the new 3000 series from Nvidia can comfortably push most games beyond 100 FPS in many cases.

The choice between 27 and 32 inches is up to you because it’s really easy to make a case for both options. You get sharper images at 27 inches, but a much bigger screen area with 32 inches and the pixel density is not too bad either.

It’s also a lot easier and cheaper to get a high refresh rate 1440p monitor, which is not quite the case for 4K monitors yet. The only downside is if you also want to watch movies on it because you have to choose between 1080p or 4K. It’s a pretty small inconvenience, on the other hand, especially if gaming is your primary focus.

Best Monitor Size for 4K Gaming - 32 inches and above

4K gaming is also doable in 2020, even though there are some exceptions - like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, for example. Thanks to AI upscaling technologies like Nvidia DLSS, however, it’s surprisingly easy to achieve respectable frame rates even in newly released triple-A games.

As far as the size is concerned, 4K doesn’t really have an upper limit at the moment because it’s very difficult to run into pixel density issues at this resolution. This is also the reason why many companies have released so-called BFGDs (Big Format Gaming Displays) recently, which exceed 50” in terms of diagonal size.

With that being said, a TV-like gaming monitor is a bit of a problem if you plan on using it as your daily driver for web browsing or work since you can’t really sit in front of it at your desk. For those cases, something like a 32-inch display is the sweet spot, although you can probably be happy with 27 inches as well if you fiddle with the UI scaling on your operating system of choice.

High refresh rate 4K monitors for gaming are also readily available nowadays, although you do have to pay a hefty sum in order to get one. Prices are slowly coming down and will continue to decrease in the future, but it’s definitely not a budget option at the moment.

Best Monitor Size for Ultrawide Gaming - 32 inches and above

Ultrawide monitors do not yet rival 4K displays in terms of pixel count, but they are not that far off either. However, the horizontal resolution is obviously a lot smaller on ultrawides, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to provide those ludicrous aspect ratios.

This is also the reason why big diagonals make sense in this case. Small ultrawides are not even a thing anyway since you probably can’t get anything under 29 inches. The important thing to remember is that resolution is very important in these cases - especially in terms of horizontal pixels.

Many cheaper ultrawides provide you with a 1080p vertical resolution, which can be a bit too low for sizes that exceed 32 inches. In addition, curved monitors are also pretty much a necessity in the realm of ultrawide gaming, otherwise, you are going to have a hard time keeping an eye on the edges of the screen.


Is a Bigger Monitor Better for Gaming?

The answer to this question depends on the resolution of the monitor in question. A bigger monitor can indeed be better for gaming if the resolution is on par with the diagonal size, but there are also cases where too big of a screen can do more harm than good.

Is a 32-inch Monitor Too Big for Gaming?

The short answer is no, a 32-inch monitor is not too big for gaming. However, a 1080p 32-inch monitor can indeed be too big, since at that size you will have to deal with a very low pixel density. Anything above 1080p should be OK at 32 inches.

Is a 27-inch Monitor Too Small for 4K?

In most cases yes, 27 inches is a bit too small for this resolution. The main issue that you have to deal with in these situations is UI scaling, since the high pixel count will make everything appear much smaller on the screen, including the text. As such, you should aim for something that's at least 32 inches.

How Far Should You Sit From a 27-inch monitor?

The recommended sitting distance when it comes to 27-inch monitors depends on the resolution as well, so here are all three cases:

  • 27-inch at 1080p: 3.4ft (105cm)
  • 27-inch at 1440p: 2.6ft (79cm)
  • 27-inch at 4K: 1.7ft (52 cm)

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