A high quality headset is one of the most overlooked parts of the gaming experience. Developers and producers spend hundreds of hours creating an audio landscape that complements the game in ways most gamers never experience. Even a great sound bar doesn’t compare to the intimate quality of equal-quality headphones.
That said, it can be tough to find just the right set that fits your needs. For competitive gaming, headphones need to fit comfortably (and stay comfortable) for hours on end, with a cable that sits out of the way or batteries that don’t have to be replaced constantly.
The sound should be clear, loud, and the microphone needs to slide out of the way when it isn’t needed. Sounds like a tall order? Maybe. But that’s why we’ve put together this list of the best gaming headsets under $50 and $100.
Related: The 8 Best Gaming Mice Less than $100
The Best Headsets Under $50
If your budget is really tight and typing “show me the money” doesn’t work, try one of these headsets.
HyperX Cloud Stinger (Amazon)
HyperX is known for producing great headphones at affordable prices, and the Cloud Stinger is no exception. This headset is compatible with PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices. You’ll find all necessary connectors in the packaging.
To mute the microphone, you just have to swivel it. Sound comes through clearly and allows you to hear even the quietest of footsteps. Avoid letting anyone sneak up on you in CS: Go ever again. The downside is that the wireless option costs an extra $30. The HyperX Cloud Stinger can be purchased for around $45.
Sades A60 (Amazon)
The Sades A60 is the best budget headphone for Harry Potter fans, if only for the “Spellond” written in the iconic font on the side of the headset. At just $24.99 on Amazon, this headset is within anyone’s price range, but it doesn’t sacrifice quality to be there.
The audio comes through clearly, without sounding blown-out or distorted. The mic attachment is secure enough to allow for adjustment without worrying that it will crackle. The earphones fit close to the head and cut out the majority of sound, but are soft enough that you can keep them on for those extended gaming sessions.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 (Amazon)
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 butts against the upper range of this price limit, but if you know anything about the company then you know they are worth it. SteelSeries is one of the most popular companies for gamer gear.
The Arctis 1 headset works with all major consoles and PC and features a detachable microphone for those times when you want to sit back and enjoy the soundscape of a game.
Corsair HS50 (Amazon)
The Corsair HS50 headset features on-ear controls for changing the volume and for muting the mic on the fly—no need to hunt for a poorly-placed mic control on your shirt. It works on all major consoles and PC.
The mic is unidirectional, which means it eliminates most ambient sound so all that comes through is your voice. At around $41 on Amazon, the Corsair HS50 servers as a mid-range low-budget headphone. While it won’t provide the same quality as a $400 headset, it’s great for competitive gaming.
Razer Electra V2 (Amazon)
It wouldn’t be an article on gaming headsets if Razer didn’t make an appearance somewhere, would it? The Razer Electra is a slightly older headset, but one that still holds up. The price has dropped to an affordable $35 from its original MSRP of $60.
The Razer Electra V2 works with all modern consoles as well as PC and Mac and provides 7.1 virtual surround sound. The lightweight frame won’t weigh down on your head and neck over long periods of time, which makes it more comfortable for those binge sessions of Overwatch.
Best Gaming Headsets Under $100
Headsets under $100 will be a major step up from sub-$50 headsets. While still not top of the line, these are the headsets the majority of gamers will invest in.
SteelSeries Arctis 5 (Amazon)
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is an improvement on the Arctis line of headsets. It retails at $99.99, but at the time of writing is available for $79.50 on Amazon. The headset claims DTS Headphone X 2.0 surround sound to provide you with the best advantage in competitive gameplay, as well as a ClearCast Microphone to cut out unwanted background noise while communicating with your team.
The headset works with Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. A dial makes it easy to control the volume on the fly. The major downside is that this isn’t a wireless headset, but the 10-foot cable gives you a degree of freedom and movement a short cable would not.
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 also has customizable RGB around the edge of the earpieces, allowing you to choose from 16.8 million different colors.
HyperX Cloud Alpha (Amazon)
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is available for $85 on Amazon and works with all major consoles. The microphone is detachable for those times when you want to game without a mic in your way, and the flexible frame makes it easy to adjust how close it is to your face when you do use it.
The aluminum frame is durable and lightweight, but does skew toward larger heads. The piece that rests atop the head might be too high for people with smaller heads.
The Cloud Alpha can put out a tremendous amount of volume with impressive bass. While it is not wireless, it has an adapter for use on consoles with only a single jack and two inputs for PC setups. (And it’s the author’s headset of choice.)
Corsair VOID Pro (Amazon)
Those of you on the lookout for a wireless gaming headset, rejoice. The Corsair Void Pro has 16 hours of battery life and a range of up to 40 feet. The downside is that this is strictly a PC-only headset; it won’t work with most consoles and requires you to have at least Windows 7.
The microphone cuts out excess sound and has an LED mute indicator so you’ll always know if you’re broadcasting or not. You can also push the mic up and out of the way when you don’t need it.
The VOID Pro also has RGB lighting on the sides for those looking to personalize their headsets a bit. And if you’re interested in purchasing a headset stand (also with RGB lighting), a combo pack is available for $119.98 on Amazon.
Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum (Amazon)
Logitech fans will be glad to see the company represented on this list. The Artemis Spectrum flies under the radar a bit, but provides 7.1 Dolby surround sound and is compatible with the majority of modern systems. You can also take input from multiple sources with both a USB and a 3.5mm jack. If you get a phone call while gaming, no problem—hear both your call and game audio without missing a beat.
The RGB lights scattered across the Artemis are fully customizable. The microphone boom can be folded up and out of the way. Doing so mutes the headphones so you don’t have to worry that you might still be broadcasting. For around $87 on Amazon, Logitech packs a lot of value into a small package.