The Best Budget Gaming Headsets in 2023
The days of budget gaming headsets being all flimsy, with poor sound quality and horrendous microphones are over. Today, there are tons of budget headsets that offer a lot for the money. But how to find the best budget gaming headset?
Well, for starters, we’ve covered six amazing budget gaming headsets in this piece. These are all wired models that have lots of positives. Next, we prepared a detailed buying guide on what to look for when looking for your next budget gaming headset.
Read our list and then our buying guide and we’re sure you’ll find an excellent gaming headset that falls into the budget category. Let’s start with our selection of best budget gaming headsets.
- Over-ear fit
- 53-millimeter drivers
- Detachable noise-canceling microphone:
- 7.1 Surround Sound capability
The HyperX Cloud II headset has been on the market for a long time (since 2015) and has slowly turned from a premium 100$ headset to a budget-friendly 50$ option for gamers in need of a pair of decent cans.
There are a couple of reasons for the longevity of these headphones but the simplified version is that they don’t sound that bad (a bassy, low-frequency rumbling sound that has becomes quite synonymous with “gamer/gaming sounds”), they offer a durable build that also provides comfort (aluminum frame, deep memory foam pads) and the mic is actually usable for in-game comms.
You can also argue about the 7.1 Surround Sound capabilities but many have found that it is primarily a gimmick and the raw sound coming from the Cloud II is more than respectable and offers a decent amount of spatial queues.
In short, although old, the HyperX Cloud II headset is still a great budget option for people hunting for good tech since only the headset’s price has decreased, not the quality of the product.
- This headset can survive a good thrashing and their build quality is quite impressive at times
- This is not an audiophile product but the bassy sound signature and neutral mids are quite to the liking of gamers
- The microphone with noise canceling and a pop filter cover is quite serviceable for Discord and in-game voice comms
- The clamping force is quite strong so if you wear glasses this might not be exactly comfortable
- Not the most consistent audio experience – but once again this is not exactly a headset people pick for analytic listening
Razer BlackShark V2 X
Made From the Ground up for Gamers
- Over-ear fit
- TriForce 50mm Drivers
- 7.1 Surround Sound
- HyperClear Cardioid Mic
Razer is known for making excellent premium-tier devices, but for a while now they have also occupied the budget market with solid options like the Razer Viper Mini for the mouse market and the Razer BlackShark V2 X for the headset market.
When purchasing the BlackShark V2 X you need to understand exactly what you are getting – a gaming headset that was built to do exactly that. The reason you should know about this is because you should not expect exceptional sound from the BlackShark V2 X since it comes with the usual bassy, scooped mids, gamer sound.
What you are getting though is a very comfortable and adjustable headset, with a cardioid mic, that is designed for long gaming hours. The deep and soft cushions and the headband foam make it so you can wear these comfortably with glasses and the cardioid mic makes sure it picks up your voice and not the constant background gamer noise (a very good mic for a 50$ headset).
Overall the BlackShark V2 X shows remarkable persistence in the budget headset segment with it being one of the most popular options to this very moment.
- A very comfortable headset that has a decent audio quality for gaming
- The microphone on this 50$ headset has no business being this good
- Solid build quality that can survive the test of time (remember this is a budget entry in the 50$ category)
- Some splitter cables are too loose and can lead to disconnects, signal noise, bad mic/audio quality
- There might be slight variations in the extension/adjustment mechanism
A Minimalist Design With Quality Touches to It
- Over-ear fit – 282g
- 50mm neodymium audio drivers
- SonarWorks SoundID Technology
- Multi-Platform Compatibility
The Corsair HS65 is an exciting budget headset in that it doesn’t really feel or look like one. If you were to hand this headset to most gamers they would all notice how incredibly subtle the branding is and how overall the HS65 does not even really look like a gaming headset with its minimalistic approach.
The comfort of the HS65 is great, the build quality is good with metal being used for the band and the earcup adjusting mechanism. The sound of the HS65 is best described as neutral or flat out of the box, making it either a good choice or a bit of a bland choice for some. Luckily you can EQ the HS65 with SoundID to make it sound more to your liking. Overall this is a good approach to sound since you offer people a blank sheet and they can customize their sound signature, compared to just handing them a sound profile they might not enjoy. Another big win for the HS65 is the microphone quality and usability with its flexible rubber arm and flip-to-mute motion. This microphone is pretty much good for everything like gaming, streaming, work calls, etc.
Considering you can get the Corsair HS65 headset for as little as 50$ there is absolutely no reason to not purchase it as it does everything a proper gaming headset should.
- Neutral sound that can be tuned to your preferences
- Amazing microphone quality
- Solid build and comfort for a budget headset
- Sound signature might be bland out of the box – requires EQ/tuning
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1
SteelSeries Comfort in a Budget Headset
- Over-ear fit – only 236g
- High Fidelity Drivers
- 360° Spatial Audio
- Bidirectional Noise-Canceling Mic
Buying a budget headset usually means you are trading off certain benefits for certain downsides, and with the Arctic Nova 1 you are trading comfort and adjustability for audio/mic quality. This is not to say that the audio quality is absolutely garbage, but you are getting the usual compressed, bassy, gamer sound you would expect from a budget headset.
The mic quality is also not the best since it picks up a lot of background noise and white noise while in use. This does not make the mic unusable since with some tuning and gain value editing you can get this mic to sound pretty good for the money. You can also EQ the headset but to a lesser degree since the sound signature is already set by the drivers and factory tuning.
The best thing then about the Arctis Nova 1 headset is the comfort – the 236g weight combined with soft AirWeave ear cups and a lot of adjustability for the earcups/headband make the headset comfortable from the very first try.
In short, the Arctis Nova 1 has decent audio for gaming, an ok mic, and excellent comfort for long gaming sessions – an all-rounder for a budget gaming headset.
- Great comfort and fit straight out of the box
- The audio is decent for casual music and gaming
- Can be used on any device you own
- Compressed, bass-heavy audio
- All-plastic build
- The white-noise reduces the mic quality and usability by a lot
Comfort and Style
- Over-ear fit – only 240g
- 40 mm neodymium drivers
- PC and Console Compatible
- Flip-to-mute mic
Logitech is known for making solid quality peripheral devices for all price ranges and since we are looking at budget options for headsets we need to take a look at their G335 wired gaming headset as well.
The G335 is interesting because it is not necessarily the best-sounding headset, but it has a unique look and it is a comfortable headset designed for multiple hours at the PC/console. The extra comfort is due to the light build of the device (240g), the memory foam earpads, and the suspension headband combined with the right amount of clamping force.
The sound is mostly focused on the treble (potentially to improve footstep audio queues in games) which makes it quite harsh in certain games with high-pitched or loud noises (AK sounds in CS:GO will make your ears bleed on high volume). At the same time it is exactly games like Valorant and CS:GO that will benefit most from these headphones since the sound engines are simple and the audio queues will be clear.
In short, this pair of headphones prioritized comfort, then the design, while sound quality and tuning were left for last place. For a budget pair of headphones though this is generally a good philosophy and approach since most people interested in a pair of G335 do not own AMP/DAC combos and they do not care about pristine sound reproduction – they want to game and want to be comfortable and the G335 does just that.
- The G335 offers unique aesthetics
- The comfort on these headphones is the main attraction
- Decent audio quality for competitive gaming
- Audio/mic quality could be tuned better
- The mic feels flimsy with the wobbly arm
How To Choose A Budget Gaming Headset
So, you want to get a new gaming headset but you’re on a tight budget. No worries since there are many great budget headsets out there. You can get the best budget headset there is and not spend more than, let’s say, $100.
The quest for the best budget gaming headset is similar to overall process of buying a new gaming headset. The only major difference is sticking to your set budget and not going over it. Let’s cover the most important points everyone should focus on when in the market for a new budget gaming headset.
Set Your Budget
This is the first and foremost thing you should do. As is the case in other markets, gaming headsets come in gazillion shapes and sizes with a huge number of different features, with prices starting at a couple of dozens of bucks and reaching four-digit numbers.
Getting lured into buying an expensive headset can be pretty easy since price differences are so slender that you can go way over your budget in a minute. One minute you’re looking at some cans that are $10 over your budget and the next you’re eyeing some 7.1 RGB wireless headset with detachable mic and a built-in DAC that’s way better than your sound card, which costs $400.
So, before you start looking set your budget and leave some leeway (about 20 percent max, if you can afford) in case you find an excellent headset that’s just out of your budget.
Which Gaming Platforms You Need The Headset For?
Many gaming headsets support multiple platforms but some of them, especially wireless models, support just one or two platforms. Remember that the best PC budget gaming headset doesn’t have to be the best one for PS4 or Xbox One simply because the said model maybe doesn’t come with console support.
If you’re gaming on more than one platform look for headsets that support both. If you’re gaming on all consoles and a PC, look for a model that supports all of them. There’s a ton of different models on the market and there are lots of models with support for PC and all major gaming consoles.
You don’t have to spend money on two or more headsets when one can do the job. The only case when you probably won’t find one headset for all platforms is if you want to get a wireless one. Just remember that even wireless headsets should work on all platforms if they come with a detachable cable.
Getting A Gaming Headset Or Hi-Fi Headphones?
The age-old question of whether to buy a gaming headset or a pair of Hi-Fi headphones and some cheap microphone. This is similar to the decision of whether to buy a pair of Hi-Fi computer speakers or some bassy set of gaming speakers engineered to deliver in games and movies but not made for playing music.
If you’re a fan of quality music listening experience and aren’t on a super tight budget get a pair of quality headphones and spend a couple of dozens of bucks on a separate microphone.
After all, budget gaming headsets come (in most cases) with poor quality microphones. If you have some extra money, go for the headphones + microphone combo. You’ll get a nice pair of cans with high-quality sound which you can use with your phone while outside, and you’ll have a solid microphone that can be tucked away when not gaming.
Last but not least, in case you own an Nvidia graphics card, get the RTX Voice app that filters out noise in real-time and can be extremely handy for in-game chat. And it can work on any Nvidia GPU. That’s basically a free upgrade for your microphone.
Sound Quality And Surround Sound
The sound quality in gaming headsets is usually shaped to offer thumping bass as well as some form of virtual surround sound, which can benefit the player in esports shooter games. Now, that bassy sound signature could be great in games and movies but if you want to listen to music on your gaming headset, look for one that has a more balanced sound signature.
Some budget models offer great sound for the price and sound good enough to enjoy most music genres. Again, if you care about sound quality and are a music fan, it’s better to get a pair of Hi-Fi headphones and a separate mic than a gaming headset.
Next, the surround sound is usually software-based. You have some gaming headsets that offer true surround sound but those are quite expensive. Budget models almost always come with virtual surround. And the software surround sound quality can vary greatly.
If you’re looking for a budget gaming headset with surround capabilities read reviews and, if possible, try out headsets you’re interested in. There’s no substitute for personal experience. Just remember that most budget headsets offer poor surround quality. You’ll have to do plenty of research to find a pair that comes with decent surround support.
Comfort, Isolation, and Build Quality
Flimsy budget headsets are thing of the past. You aren’t limited to poor build quality in the budget market anymore. Even cheap headsets can be sturdy and well-built. All you have to do is do your research. User reviews usually contain lots of reviews talking about build quality. If a headset is prone to breaking you can bet there’ll be lots of user reviews mentioning that.
Comfort is a subjective category, especially when it comes to earcups. Some of us have small ears and most earcups will fit just right. Others, with large or weirdly shaped ears, will have trouble with many models.
Headband comfort is less subjective but also different from person to person. It’s best to try out different headsets yourself to see if they fit your ears. If that isn’t possible well, there’s the whole internet filled with numerous reviews, tech forums, and Reddit discussions.
Sound isolation and its importance differ greatly on an individual basis. Some of us live in a quiet street without any noise. Others are listening to the metro every 15 minutes or have a house filled with noisy people.
If you really need isolation, forget about open-back headphones. Those are great and have the best sound quality but their isolation level is zero. Headphones with active noise cancelation can be found in the budget category and if noise cancelation is really important to you there are lots of budget models that don’t sound half bad and have decent ANC. Finally, most users will be satisfied with passive isolation offered by over the ear headsets.
You Can Go Wireless, Even In The Budget Market
Yup, wireless headphone tech went a long way in the last couple of years. Today you can get wireless headphones that are firmly set in the budget category. But yeah, most of the budget wireless headsets have mediocre sound quality.
You can get a wireless headset with decent sound but be ready to pay a little extra. For instance, if you have a wired headset that costs $50, a wireless headset with similar sound quality will set you back about $80. No strings attached is a premium feature that costs extra and there’s no way around it.
When in the market for a budget wireless headset look not only for sound quality but also for battery life. Many affordable wireless headsets come with a poor battery. Look for professional reviews and user reviews and what they say about sound and connection quality, and battery life. Those are the three most important things to look for in budget wireless gaming headsets.
Another thing to look for is audio lag. Some models come with noticeable audio lag that makes watching movies, TV shows, and YouTube videos practically impossible due to it.
Forget About RGB Features
RGB could be cool when you actually can see those flashy and colorful lights. But RGB effects on headphones are meaningless. RGB should be the least of your worries when looking for a budget gaming headset.
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