If you're on the hunt for the best gaming monitor for you, then you've likely asked yourself if a high refresh rate really matters when it comes to making your selection.
And you wouldn't be alone in asking, especially if you're after the smoothest gameplay experience you can find.
Here's everything you need to know before you make your choice.
What Is Refresh Rate?
Refresh rate is the speed at which a monitor can change its image and is usually measured in Hz.
Typically you're looking at 60hz, 120hz, 144hz, 240hz, and 360hz refresh rates with monitors.
A higher refresh rate means that an image can change quicker, and what that means is that you'll be able to see more frames per second (depending on your chosen console or PC).
Since higher frames per second are generally achieved at the cost of resolution, you'll find most monitors at 144hz and up tend to be QHD or FHD resolution.
However, with the introduction of HDMI 2.1 monitors, we're now seeing 144hz, 4K displays become a popular choice for gaming on PS5 or Xbox Series X.
There is another spec in monitors worth looking into alongside the refresh rate...
How Does Response Time Factor In?
You've likely seen a number in milliseconds listed next to many of our best gaming monitor buying guides, and it's an important one to take note of.
Response time is how fast a pixel on the display can change colour, and for it to work well the refresh rate has to be high enough to keep up.
Most monitors nowadays have around a 1ms response time making them great for fast-paced gaming, but there are still some amazing monitors with 4ms response times that are great for most people.
Does A High Refresh Rate Matter?
Honestly, yes, but it depends on what type of gaming experience you're after.
Generally speaking, if you find yourself playing competitively, especially with FPS, then you'll want to lean more towards a higher refresh rate monitor.
On the other side, if you're more into high res graphics and more cinematic titles, then a lower refresh rate at 4K may be more than enough.
To put things into perspective, many titles on PS4 can hover around 30fps and they still look great.
What you will find, however, is that when you experience higher frames per second, coming down can be a bit jarring, as was my experience when testing out Cyberpunk 2077 on various settings.
We'd say go for a monitor that ticks more than just the refresh rate box, especially if you're using it for more than just gaming.
Consider what the best monitor size is for you, the best monitor panel type, and also if you're using it for work and gaming, as while some gaming monitors are great for work, they can lack some quality of life features, such as USB-C connections or speakers, that can save you some hassle later down the line.
See More: Best USB-C Monitor - Our Top Picks
Best of luck on your search and be sure to check our top monitor picks for the month right here for some inspiration!
Read More: Gaming Monitor vs TV, Which Should You Buy?