Why Don’t Gaming Monitors Have Speakers?

With today’s fancy display cables that carry audio, it’s sometimes a letdown when monitors don’t have built-in speakers. This is specifically true for gaming monitors. 

So the question becomes: why do gaming monitors not have speakers? 

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The short answer is that manufacturers can provide better screen specifications for gamers (refresh rate, resolution, response time) at a lower price if they remove features that most gamers likely won’t use, i.e. built-in speakers. 

Most gamers will use gaming headsets instead of built-in monitor speakers. Also, we found that around 41% of gaming monitors still come with speakers! Keep reading to see how we got that number. 

Key Takeaways

  • Gaming monitors are less likely to come with speakers because most gamers use gaming headsets. Gaming headsets give you a more immersive audio experience and have microphones so you can talk with other gamers online. 
  • Speakers that come built-in on monitors are typically very poor quality. Almost any external speaker set can surpass a built-in speaker’s audio quality. 

Most Gamers Don’t Use Built In Monitor Speakers

Let’s talk about a couple of reasons why gamers don’t use built-in monitor speakers. 

Games Have Directional Audio

First and foremost, games have directional audio. That means you can hear if someone is coming from behind you, the right side, left side, far away, etc. 

This immersion is mainly possible when using a gaming headset. Headsets have a lot more control over what exact sounds you hear compared to some low-powered speakers hidden inside of a monitor body. 

When you use built-in monitor speakers,  you lose all of the carefully designed audio experience that the game creators intended. 

Most Gamers & Streamers Use Microphones

Many gamers play with friends, stream their games, or play online. These typically involve using a microphone to speak with others.  

If you want the benefits of using directional audio that we talked about above with a headset, why not use a headset that has a microphone too? Turns out this is what most gamers and streamers do. 

Some use a dedicated microphone as well if they like providing higher-quality audio, but that is usually a more expensive route. Chances are, if you have a taste for higher-quality audio with a dedicated microphone, you are not likely to be using built-in monitor speakers. 

Speakers Add Cost or Reduce Monitor Specs

When you purchase a monitor with built-in speakers, you are paying for those speakers. This is a pretty obvious statement. 

What’s less obvious is that when you go for a monitor with speakers, you automatically chose lesser monitor display specifications. 

Instead of 100% of your purchasing power going to a monitor with a superior display (fast refresh rate, nicer panel, minimal response time), you had a percent of your purchase go toward the integrated speakers.

Built-in speakers are not a “free” add-on. They come at the expense of your monitor specs unless you decide to pay more. 

No Monitor Speakers Is A Blessing

Personally, I believe not having monitor speakers is a blessing. I have never used built-in monitor speakers. 

They are typically very underpowered, they do not produce much bass, and the sound quality is overall terrible. 

When you have a gaming monitor without speakers, you are forced to use external speakers, which will almost always have better sound quality.

Plugging in some headphones to your computer or purchasing a super affordable speaker set like the one below will always result in a better audio experience. 

Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speakers, Black
  • 2.0 stereo speaker system
  • Compact size that delivers high quality audio without using too much space
  • Response Bandwidth: 50Hz 20KHz
  • 2.2 Watt, nominal Output Power
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If you spend a bit more cash, you can even get a 2.1 speaker system that has a subwoofer for some really nice bass. 

Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers – Easy-access Volume Control, Headphone Jack – PC, Mobile Device, TV, DVD/Blueray Player, and Game Console Compatible, Black
  • 80 WATTS OF BOLD SOUND -80 Watts Peak/40 Watts RMS power delivers maximum loudness via two satellite speakers and a large subwoofer. Enjoy rich, clear, bold sound. (Small...
  • STRONG BASS - The front-facing subwoofer produces rich bass, adding another dimension to your videos, games and music. Experience strong bass you can hear and feel.
  • VERSATILE SETUP – Connect up to two compatible devices via the 3.5 millimeter and RCA inputs. No need to disconnect when switching between audio sources.
  • SIMPLE CONTROLS - Easily access power, volume and the headphone jack using the wired control pod. Adjust the bass level with the dedicated control knob on the back of the...
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For the hardcore gamers out there, stick to gaming headsets. There are super affordable options out there. I own the one below which works just fine and has all the directional audio benefits. 

Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset - Lightweight over-ear headphones, built-in mics, 18h battery, compatible with Dolby Atmos, PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Mobile - Black
  • Headphones fit type:Over-Ear.Frequency Response: 100Hz-8KHz
  • Total comfort: Breathable fabric earcups keep your ears cool during long play sessions, and the comfortable memory foam padding helps absorb sound waves to improve...
  • Lightweight: With a lightweight construction, this wireless gaming headset weighs only 5.8 oz (165 g), making it comfortable to wear all day long
  • Superior voice quality: Be heard loud and clear thanks to the built-in dual beamforming microphones that eliminate the need for a mic arm and reduce background noise
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Do All Gaming Monitors Lack Speakers?

To check this, we looked at RTINGS’ best gaming monitor list and checked each monitor to see if they had speakers or not.

Here’s a list of their top 6 gaming monitors:

NoMake & ModelDoes It Have Speakers?
1 NO
2LG 27GR95QE-BNO
3Gigabyte M32UYES
4Gigabyte M27Q XYES
5 YES
6 YES

You can tell that four out of six of these monitors actually have speakers built in! This is good news for those who actually want some convenience speakers to use. 

Six monitors is a pretty small list though. To get some better data, I went to B&H Photo Video and looked at their huge list of monitors. They specifically have an “Application” filter where I can choose “Gaming Monitors. 

I narrowed down the monitor list from 1,132 monitors down to 542 monitors that BH Photo considered “gaming”. After isolating the gaming monitors, I further isolated monitors that featured speakers.

 The filter shows that 220 gaming monitors out of 542 actually came with built-in speakers! 

That tells us that 41% of gaming monitors on the market at the time of writing actually have speakers. The majority (59%) of gaming monitors do not have speakers. 

Though this is not entirely accurate as BH Photo makes mistakes on its monitor designations, it’s a decent picture that illustrates the gaming monitor market generally well. 

So if you like built-in speakers on gaming monitors, you definitely have options available to you, though they are a tiny bit less common. 

Get Sound From Monitors Without Speakers

If you end up getting a monitor without speakers and want to extract some audio, we have a dedicated article on how to get sound from monitors without speakers

We cover the best ways to get audio from your computer to a set of speakers. This involves using the AUX port on a monitor, the AUX port on your computer, HDMI audio extractors, and even Bluetooth. 

Check out the article linked above for more info!

Consider Gaming Sound Bars For An Alternative

These sound bars are not like typical TV soundbars. 

They are specifically designed to sit under a monitor on your desk. This is perfect for those who want a headphone-free experience without hugely sacrificing audio quality. 

If you love desk accessories, check out our article on the best functional desk accessories for gamers.

Here are some popular options.

LG Ultragear GP9 - Portable Gaming Speaker with DTS Headphone:X, Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Microphone for Voice Chat, 5 Hour Battery Life, Hi Resolution Audio, Bluetooth
  • 【3D GAMING SOUND FOR FPS & RTS】LG's Exclusive Gaming Sound Specialized in FPS, RTS
  • 【DTS HEADPHONE:X】Instantly Upgrade Headsets or Earphones to Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound
  • 【BUILT-IN HI-FI QUAD DAC】ES9038 Pro DAC revitalizes music and gaming sound with Hi-res Audio
  • 【VOICE CHAT】Built-In Microphone for Clear Voice Chat
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Dasun

I'm a big time workspace enthusiast who is constantly experimenting with my setup. Sharing along the way to help people make their own desk setups more functional and inviting, whether it be for productivity or play!