Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through them. Our content is not influenced by commissions.
As technology improves, we are quickly moving away from 1080p 60hz monitors being the norm. Modern computer components are now capable of running monitors with higher resolutions and higher refresh rates, however you will often have to choose between a crisp, clear picture and a silky smooth experience.
In this guide, we will take a look at whether you should choose a 4K monitor or a 144hz monitor, and then look at some of the best monitors for each of these categories.
Things to Consider
Neither 4K or 144hz is objectively better. It all comes down to personal preference and what you will use the monitor for. Below are the four main things you need to consider when deciding between 4K and 144hz.
Better Picture or Smoother Experience
When choosing between 4K and 144hz, essentially what you are choosing between is a better, clearer picture quality or a smoother experience. If you are a gamer that likes to play competitive and fast-paced games (mainly first-person shooters), I would recommend a 144hz monitor. If you play slower paced and immersive games or will use the monitor for photo and video editing I would recommend a 4K monitor.
The next most important thing to consider is your hardware. Running a 4K monitor requires a powerful computer, especially if you plan on playing highly demanding games. Before purchasing a 4K monitor, head over to Game Debate to get an idea of what your rig is capable of running. Unless you have at least a GTX 1070 or equivalent, you’re going to struggle to run most AAA games at 4K whilst keeping decent FPS.
If your rig isn’t quite powerul enough to run 4K, a 1440p monitor is a good compromise.
The third thing you need to consider is the screen size. For larger monitors, you will want a higher resolution to keep the pixel density which prevents the screen from looking pixelated. A good rule of thumb is:
- 24″ for 1080p
- 27″ for 1440p
- 32″ for 4K
Of course, a high resolution on a smaller monitor will look good (e.g. 24″ at 4K) but the difference won’t be that noticeable on a smaller monitor. However I wouldn’t recommend larger monitors with a lower resolution (e.g. 27″ at 1080p) as the picture will be quite pixelated unless your sitting quite far back from the screen.
Finally you need to consider your budget. Generally speaking, 4K monitors are quite a bit more expensive than 144hz monitors at 1080p, and usually more expensive than 144hz at 1440p so you may want to bear that in mind if you are working to a tight budget.
144hz Monitors – 1080p vs. 1440p
If you decide to go with a 144hz monitor, you will need to choose a resolution. The two most common are 1080p and 1440p. The primary factors which should determine which you choose are your hardware, budget and the monitors screen size.
Hardware – If you rig is capable of running a 1440p monitor at at least 90 FPS, I would go with a 1440p monitor. If your rig isn’t capable of achieving 90FPS at 1440p, I would recommend a 1080p monitor to get the most out of your computer build and the monitor. Obviously the games you play and graphics settings will determine the FPS you will be able to achieve at each resolution, so head over to Game Debate to get an idea of the FPS you are likely to expect.
Budget – Generally speaking, 1080p monitors are cheaper than 1440p monitors, so this might be a deciding factor if you’re on a tight budget. However, if you have a really high end computer, do consider that you will be wasting a lot of it’s potential going with a 1080p monitor if your rig is more than capable of running 1440p.
Screen Size – As I mentioned before, you want to choose a higher resolution if you want a larger screen size. A general rule of thumb is 1080p for a 24″ monitor and 1440p for a 27″ monitor.
Best 4K Monitors
Best 1080p 144hz Monitors
Best 1440p 144hz Monitors
Last update on 2021-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API