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Having an avid PC gamer in your life can make gift giving a little difficult. Even when you know what they’re passionate about, it’s hard to figure out the best gifts for gamers. While many might think that the best answer is a Steam Wallet Gift Card – a gift card for more games – there are several other gift ideas for gamers that will surely be appreciated. You can contribute to their pastime in a meaningful way by being a bit savvy about what they want or need.

Having an avid PC gamer in your life can make gift giving a little difficult. Even when you know what they’re passionate about, it’s hard to figure out the best gifts for gamers. While many might think that the best answer is a Steam Wallet Gift Card – a gift card for more games – there are several other gift ideas for gamers that will surely be appreciated. You can contribute to their pastime in a meaningful way by being a bit savvy about what they want or need.

Gaming Monitors

The gamer in your life has probably already invested a lot of time and money into building and perfecting their gaming PC. But they don’t just need a great gaming rig – they also need a monitor that can display all that gaming goodness. There are dozens of good options on the market, but there are a few specifications you’ll want to pay attention to while you shop.

Look for monitors with good color and contrast, as well as high resolution. Gaming is a visual medium, and every pixel counts. The display should also be responsive with minimal lag, so watch for monitors that offer fast pixel response. In terms of size, look for a monitor that’s larger than 20 inches but smaller than 40 inches – if the monitor is too large, it’s too difficult to keep an eye on everything on the screen.

Another great feature is support for NVIDIA’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync. Both technologies are offered by their respective graphics card manufacturers and aim to eliminate tearing, which are the jagged artifacts that ripple through the screen whenever the monitor’s refresh rate doesn’t match the framerate produced by the graphics card. NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync match the two for seamless rendering, but they aren’t compatible with each other, so find out the brand of graphics card your gamer uses and choose the technology that matches.

For a more in-depth discussion of monitors, check out our top 10 monitor reviews.

Gaming Mice

You might think that a mouse is just a mouse, but to an avid gamer it is a weapon. It is their sidearm, their enchanted sword and their magic wand. Everything they do goes through a mouse or keyboard.

Gaming mice do a few things very well. They are optimized for gaming with more comfortable grips; better and faster button switches; and great connectivity, whether wired or wireless. They also have a lot of visual flair, but don’t get too distracted by colored lights and technical-looking designs. Functionality comes first, flair second. There are several varieties of gaming mice specialized for different types of games.

One popular subcategory is FPS Mice, which are used for first-person shooters. These mice feature high-performance sensors for accurate tracking and a DPI switch to alternate on the fly between fast and slow tracking. This is invaluable when switching between rapid melee fighting and tight, controlled sniping. On the virtual battlefield, that’s enough to mean the difference between winning and losing.

Other online gamers will be interested in MOBA mice and MMO mice. Made for games filled with numerous spells or weapons, these mice do more than just aim or fire. They include additional buttons and sometimes even a full numeric pad on the side of the mouse. Putting that functionality on the mouse gives your gamer an edge when rapidly casting spells or the like.

Get the lowdown on the best gaming mice you can buy in our gaming mice review.

Gaming Keyboards

Like gaming mice, the keyboard is the second half of the hands-on gaming experience. It’s an excellent gamer gift, since a good keyboard is comfortable and also gives a competitive edge. The best gaming keyboards are mechanical keyboards, usually using Cherry MX switches. These mechanical switches offer audible and tactile feedback for each keypress and are made to allow more actions per minute, letting the player rip through multiple commands far faster than when using a generic keyboard with silicone membrane switches.

Plenty of keyboards have fancy features like customizable backlighting, additional macro keys for programmable functions and even built-in displays with a variety of unique functions. These extras can all be useful, but that usefulness generally comes down to the user’s style of play.

Learn more about picking the best keyboard for gaming in our gaming keyboard reviews.

Game Controllers

While the majority of PC games rely on a keyboard and mouse, a good number of them use controllers like you see with an Xbox or PlayStation. Why? Because many of the games played on these consoles are also available for PCs, but they are still best played with a controller.

Long story short, look for a controller that connects over USB, Bluetooth or a similar wireless connection. Avoid anything that seems like too good of a bargain, since cheap construction and shoddy manufacturing are rampant in the gaming accessory space. Look for good button quality, smooth moving thumb sticks and construction that will hold up over time. If a given product looks far cheaper than competing products, there’s a good chance the manufacturer cut a few corners when making it, so look for solid brands with standard replacement warranties.

Check out all of our game controller reviews to learn more.

Gaming Headsets

A gaming headset combines both headphones and a mic so gamers can hear the game and communicate, whether they’re coordinating with teammates or trash talking opponents. These headsets also let your enthusiastic gamer get the full audio experience of a game without the whole house hearing it.

There are plenty of good gaming headsets on the market, but watch for high-quality audio, low impedance, and support for 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound. Wired models tend to be a bit more affordable, while wireless options give users more freedom of movement. Other features to watch for include removable microphones, included carrying cases and built-in controls.

Treat your gamer’s ears well. Read about the best gaming headsets.

Don’t settle for any gadget with a fancy paint job. Whether you want to give a gift that is loved or upgrade your gamer’s gaming experience, there are plenty of great products you can safely give. Whether it’s a monitor, mouse, keyboard, gamepad or headset, you can buy with confidence knowing that it will be used and enjoyed. Give the gift of gaming gear, and your resident gamer will love you.

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