120 Hz vs. 144 Hz Monitors: Difference?

Herz or Hz is the refresh rate of a monitor.

Refresh rate refers to how many times per second your monitor can display a new image.

Your decision largely depends on your budget and how serious you are about gaming.

So if you want to learn all about the difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz monitors, then this article is for you. Plus we will share our top picks!

Let’s get started!

What About 120 Hz and 144 Hz Monitors?

Do you consider yourself an avid gamer?

If so, you may want to evaluate what kind of Hertz gaming monitor you require.

Whichever model you choose largely depends on your budget and how serious you are about gaming.

A 120 Hz monitor shows a new image every seventh millisecond, while a 144 Hz monitor shows a new image every eighth millisecond.

For most people, it isn’t easy to point out the differences between 120 Hz and 144 Hz monitors. 

However, there are still some things to consider. 

Below, we have gathered some helpful tips and information on the differences between 120 Hz vs. 144 Hz monitors so you can determine the right monitor for your gaming needs. 

What Is Hertz?

Hertz (Hz) is the refresh rate or the number of images displayed per second in basic terms.

It’s important to note that this has nothing to do with color, accuracy, or resolution. 

Refresh Rate and Frame Rate

Your monitor’s refresh rate refers to how many times per second it can draw a new image.

A 120 Hz monitor delivers 120 images per second, and a 144 Hz monitor delivers 144 images per second. It seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Well, there’s more.

The higher the number of Hertz, the more images displayed on the computer screen and, therefore, the monitor’s higher quality.

The higher quality means a smoother and more fluid gaming experience. 

Side view of an excited cybersports team playing a game.

That said, it’s also crucial to point out that the refresh rate is not the same as the frame rate.

While the refresh rate is an attribute of the monitor, the frame rate is an attribute of the monitor’s information.

The frame rate is the number of frames a system can produce in a second, and the refresh rate is that rate at which your monitor can refresh the display. 

Screen Tearing

Refresh rate and frame rate are also directly correlated to what’s called screen tearing.

Since both are separate from one another, they can often result in an inconsistent visual display. 

According to Digital Trends, screen tearing results when a computer’s video card releases frames at a rate “well beyond the refresh rate of the monitor connected to it.” 

As the monitor cannot handle the number of frames being rendered, sometimes half-frames show up together on the screen.

This is a clear split between the two portions, and neither lines up correctly with the other. In essence, the screen “tears.”

The Controversy

Many initially thought 60 Hz monitors to be top-notch quality until manufacturers designed 120 Hz monitors.

With each new monitor, gamer’s are still surprised at the changes in quality. 

However, each gamer has his or her preferences.

Some claim that 144 Hz monitors are more challenging to use because they’re so smooth, and instead, they prefer using a 120 Hz monitor. 

Scientists claim that human eyes cannot see past 60 Hz. “The eye transmits information to the brain, but some characteristics of the signal are lost or altered in the process,” says Forbes

This scientific fact has caused some to ask why we even need 120 Hz or 144 Hz monitors.

But here’s the truth.The same article explains that the brain does the seeing, not the eye.

Each person has a different “refresh rate” of images they can see, and our visual field responds differently to rapidly changing light. 

All scientific facts aside, 120 Hz and 144 Hz monitors exist, and manufacturers believe we can see the difference between a 120 Hz vs. 144 Hz screen.

What Is the Easiest Color on the Eye on a Monitor?

Ever wondered what’s the easiest color on the eye on a computer screen?

Then you’re in the right place. Colors in the middle of the visible spectrum are easy on the eyes.

Examples are red, orange, and yellow. Blue is the most difficult color to look at.

Blue light is a primary color that tends to flicker more frequently than other primary colors such as oranges or reds, and its wavelengths reach farther into the eye.

Learn all about the easiest color on your eyes on a monitor here.

What Is the Difference Between 120 Hz and 144 Hz Monitors?

Despite the differences being small, gamers still take notice of every little detail.

Gamer plays game with large dual monitors.

Every difference plays an integral role in the competitive gaming experience. It’s not so much the difference in “quality,” but rather, fluidity.

Here is a list of our top 4 monitor for gaming!

120 Hz Monitors

As we mentioned earlier, a 120 Hz monitor displays 120 images per second.

Compared to their predecessors—60 Hz monitors—the change in output is significant. 

While the difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz is minute, many gamers stick to the 120 Hz monitors because they’re much more affordable.

Buying a 144 Hz monitor is considerably more expensive and should be carefully considered beforehand. 

On the other hand, a 60 Hz monitor is a choppy and shallow quality. Before manufacturers released 120 Hz monitors, gamer’s were often troubled with screen tearing and slow responsiveness due to the low frame rate.

Buying a 120 Hz is a considerable step up, especially for the following FPS (Frames per Second) relying games:

  • Valiant
  • Overwatch
  • PUBG
  • Battlefield
  • CS:GO
  • Fortnite

A 120 Hz monitor has the most optimum refresh rate, resulting in smooth visuals and a seamless gaming experience. 

A 120 Hz also produces reduced latency and displays visuals without blur, stuttering, or ghosting, which you would typically experience on a 60Hz monitor.

Smooth visuals are essential in ensuring the quality of small details and sharp edges, particularly in fast-paced scenes.

It is also common in the gaming world for gamer’s to receive motion sickness from motion blur, especially from 60Hz monitors.

However, on a 120 Hz screen, a lot of those fast-paced blurs are resolved because the screen can handle the refresh rate. 

120 Hz monitors also experience a significant reduction in lag.

Game responsiveness depends on the relationship between the input lag and refresh rate of a monitor.

Gamer’s who use 120 Hz monitors experience far less lag and a much smoother response than a 60Hz monitor. 

144 Hz Monitors

A 144 Hz monitor displays 144 images per second.

While the difference between a 60 Hz and 144 Hz monitor is very significant, there are no noticeable changes between a 120 Hz and a 144 Hz screen. 

144 Hz monitors have become standard for most competitive gamer’s. Manufacturers keep coming out with various models to suit different gaming needs. 

But while a 144 Hz monitor is technically better than a 120 Hz monitor, it may not be worth buying one since the differences are so small. 

Some users also experience more tearing with 120 Hz G-Sync vs. 144 Hz. G-Sync is a frame-syncing technology aimed at preventing screen tearing.

However, technologies like G-Sync contain their side effects and additional requirements. 

A 144 Hz monitor can refresh at a higher framerate.

In this case, gamer’s recommend purchasing a 144 Hz monitor, which reduces tearing and allows for a more streamlined gaming experience and smoother visuals. 

The differences between these two are small, and it takes an experienced gamer to tell apart a 120 Hz vs. 144 Hz laptop. 

For a 144 Hz monitor, the screen updates every seventh millisecond, while a 120 Hz monitor updates every eighth millisecond—a practically unperceivable alteration. 

In general, a 144 Hz monitor produces a smoother visual output compared to a 120 Hz monitor. 

Should You Choose a 120 Hz or 144 Hz Monitor For Gaming?

Regarding which monitor you should choose for gaming, the decision is entirely up to the gamer’s personal preference. 

Though the differences are small, a 144 Hz monitor is slightly superior to a 120 Hz monitor.

When both compare to a 60 Hz monitor, the differences are much more significant.

But when compared to each other, it takes a keen eye to notice all the little differing details. In most cases, the decision comes down to price. 

144 Hz monitors are more expensive than 120 Hz monitors, and some gamer’s don’t have a flexible budget to buy a new 144 Hz monitor.

However, with the more recent launch of 240 Hz monitors, 144 Hz monitors are starting to drop.

144 Hz monitors are now available for just under $200.

The decision also depends on what exactly you’re doing on your machine.

Competitive gamer’s prefer fast and accurate visual displays. Sharp movements won’t go unnoticed by a gamer. 

Even the smallest glitch or delay can result in a loss—which is why most choose a 144 Hz monitor.

On the other hand, you won’t notice much change in web browsing or watching videos or movies. 

Young woman having fun while eating popcorn and watching movie on a computer.

If you don’t consider yourself a full-time gamer and enjoy casual playing, you may want to stick with a 120 Hz monitor; a fast-refresh rate monitor isn’t necessary unless, of course, you have the financial means to upgrade.

But most casual gamer’s don’t even notice the difference between 144 Hz vs. 120 Hz monitors. 

Is a 144 Hz Monitor Better Than a 120 Hz Monitor?

The question of which monitor is better isn’t necessarily a one-word answer.

Contrary to what most inexperienced gamer’s believe, just because one number is higher than the other doesn’t mean it’s necessarily “better.”

Every gamer has their preferences, and experience plays a significant role in the decision, too. 

So, what’s the bottom line here? 

The key takeaway is: if you’re a professional gamer who loves fast, accurate, and responsive equipment, there’s nothing more ideal than a fast-refresh rate monitor.

But it’s worth noting whether or not your PC can handle such an advanced upgrade.

If you’re serious about gaming, this is a small price to pay. 

The difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz is not significant, so it’s hard to say whether one is necessarily “better” than the other, especially considering the gamer’s priorities. 

Over the past few years, the gaming world has grown, and so has the market for monitors.

You’d be surprised at all the new features each monitor claims to have.

Whether it’s a higher resolution or more input, there’s bound to be a monitor on the market that suits your every need.

What Does a Blinking Monitor Light Mean and How to Fix It?

Don’t be surprised if your monitor light starts blinking.

Here’s what a blinking monitor light means and how to fix it.

Fixing a blinking monitor light can involve a lot of different possibilities and steps. 

The goal is to isolate the root of the problem and then make your repairs based on that isolation. 

In order to do that, you can test the monitor, cables, and any adapters with a computer you know is working to try to root it out.

Learn all about the meaning of a blinking monitor light and how to fix it here.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

    View all posts