144Hz vs 240Hz – Which Refresh Rate Should I Choose?

The higher the refresh rate, the better. However, to take full advantage of a high refresh rate, you'll also need to output equally high frame rates. Here's a handy guide to help you choose.

Answer:

The higher the refresh rate, the better. A higher refresh rate means lower input lag and if it’s accompanied by high frame rates, you also get smoother motion clarity provided that the monitor’s pixel response time speed can keep up.

Thinking about replacing your 144Hz gaming monitor with a 240Hz one? Or are you considering going straight to 240Hz from your old 60Hz display?

No worries, we’ll help you decide whether 240Hz is worth it.

In short, 240Hz makes fast-paced gaming incredibly smooth and fluid. However, keep in mind that the jump from 144Hz to 240Hz is not nearly as noticeable as going from 60Hz to 144Hz.

240Hz will give you a small advantage over other gamers playing at a lower refresh rate and it will make the gameplay more enjoyable and immersive, but it won’t make you a better player!

A 144Hz monitor can show 144 unique frames per second with 6.94ms between each frame, whereas a 240Hz monitor shows 240 frames with 4.17ms between each frame.

This means that a 240Hz monitor can show a new image 2.77ms faster than a 144Hz display. While this difference is a lot smaller than the difference between 60Hz and 144Hz (9.73ms), in competitive gaming, every millisecond counts!

So, even if you’re only getting 144FPS on a 240Hz monitor, you will still get lower input lag as opposed to 144FPS on a 144Hz display.

However, to notice a difference in motion smoothness, you will also need a higher frame rate. In this case, 144FPS will look the same on 144Hz and 240Hz monitors.

240Hz vs 144Hz Monitors

Dell S2522HG Monitor

When buying a high refresh rate gaming monitor, there are additional things you need to consider, such as the panel type and screen resolution.

Apart from the refresh rate, the most important specification for competitive gaming is monitor response time, which determines how fast pixels can change from one color to another. A faster response time means less ghosting behind fast-moving objects.

Nowadays, the price difference between 1080p 144Hz and 1080p 240Hz monitors is not that big. In fact, the Dell S2522HG with a 240Hz refresh rate can sometimes be found for just $150, which is cheaper than some 144Hz gaming monitors!

In case the Dell S2522HG is not on sale, 240Hz monitors usually go for ~$250, while the cheapest 144Hz monitor with a fast pixel response time speed (a fast IPS or TN panel) can be found for around $150.

So, if you can afford it, we recommend getting a 240Hz monitor since besides a higher refresh rate, most models also have a faster response time speed. In case your PC rig cannot output more than 144FPS and you don’t plan on upgrading your system anytime soon, a good budget 144Hz monitor might suit you better.

The price difference between 144Hz and 240Hz models at 1440p resolution is a bit higher. For instance, the Acer XV272UV goes for $250, while the cheapest 240Hz model is the Gigabyte M27Q-X at ~$450. Considering that 1440p 240Hz also requires a beefier GPU, we only recommend it for those with powerful PC rigs.

Finally, you should consider getting a monitor with a good MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) implementation, which can further reduce perceived motion blur at a cost of picture brightness.

We recommend checking out the ViewSonic XG2431 and the Acer XV252QF and Aopen 25XV2QF (with a 390Hz overclockable refresh rate), both of which can be found for ~$300.

Conclusion

So, what is the bottom line?

If you are a hardcore or a professional FPS player, you’re probably willing to take any improvement you can to up your game, in which case a 240Hz monitor is a worthy upgrade.

On the other hand, for casual gamers, a 144Hz refresh rate is most likely sufficient, especially after considering how demanding games at 240FPS with decent settings can be.

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.