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The best cheap gaming headsets

Buying a gaming headset can be an expensive proposition, but it doesn't have to be.
By
November 1, 2022
JBL Quantum 50
By JBL
The JBL Quantum 50 wired earbuds in white against a white background.
8
Check price
Positives
Price
Comfortable
Sound
Negatives
Microphone
The Bottom Line.
These gaming earbuds are cheaper than just about every other option on the market, and sound better than anything you'll find this far below $100.Read full review...
Razer Kraken X
By Razer
7.1
Check price
Positives
7.1 channel surround sound
Eyewear channels alleviate temple pressure
Cross-platform compatibility
Onboard control
Negatives
Ear cups don’t rotate
Surround sound exclusive to Windows 10
The Bottom Line.
If you need a functional gaming headset that gets the job done without draining your wallet, the Razer Kraken X is a promising option. It features the familiar all-black design we've come to recognize from Razer and supports 7.1-channel surround sound.Read full review...
Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer
By Puro Sound Labs
6.8
Check price
Positives
Price
Best option for kids
Works with everything
Negatives
Ear pads can get hot
The Bottom Line.
It's a couple years old, but there's still no better gaming headset for kids on market. It's cheap, sounds good, and won't ruin your child's hearing—what's not to love?Read full review...
Best console
Turtle Beach Recon 70
By Turtle Beach
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 in black and green against a white background.
7.5
Check price
Positives
Accurate mic
Decent audio quality
Built for console compatibility
Price
Negatives
Quiet microphone
The Bottom Line.
For the price, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 offers very good audio, a really accurate mic, and a straightforward construction—what more could you want?Read full review...
Best premium-cheap
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
By SteelSeries
8.2
Check price
Positives
Great sound
Good Value
Great battery life
Comfortable
Multiplatform
Negatives
Mic struggles with bass
More expensive than other budget options
The Bottom Line.
A great bang-for-your-buck option if you want something wireless that nails the basics and lasts a long time.Read full review...

The gaming headset occupies a somewhat odd position in the audio market. Sure, there are all sorts of great products out there, and many come at completely reasonable prices, but price often isn’t a reliable indicator of quality. Plenty of $150-plus headsets advertise best-in-class features and sharp audio, but end up a bass-boosted mess.

Sometimes all you want is something straightforward and affordable. Don’t worry! There are plenty of perfectly decent cheap gaming headsets—here are some of the best.

Editor’s note: This list was updated on November 1, 2022 to include the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 in the notable mentions and to include microphone demos for some headsets, as well as to update formatting.

If you want the best audio in a cheap gaming headset, grab the JBL Quantum 50

JBL’s Quantum line of gaming headsets really covers a wide swath of prices and use cases, but if any one product among them is the most compelling, it’s the JBL Quantum 50. These wired gaming earbuds don’t come with bells and whistles. There’s no virtual surround sound or even an incredible microphone. Instead, you get a comfortable, sturdily built pair of earbuds that sound excellent and work everywhere for $30 USD.

JBL Quantum 50
8
A man wears the JBL Quantum 50 while playing Nintendo Switch.The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a white shelf with a red light shining in the background.The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a fabric surface surrounded by an Xbox One controller, a Nintendo Switch, and a PlayStation Dualsense controller.The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a wooden table

The JBL Quantum 50 features a two-part ear tip design, to fit securely in the shape of your ear. It’s got a braided tangle-free cord, and in-line controls for volume and microphone muting, as well as a multifunction button. Its microphone doesn’t sound incredible, but very few in-line earbud mics do—again, this is a $30 USD option. The Quantum 50 sounds better than options twice or three times the price, and it never needs recharging.

JBL Quantum 50 microphone demo (ideal conditions):

JBL Quantum 50
JBL Quantum 50
Decent sound • Affordable wired earbuds • Comfortable grip
Best for budget-conscious gamers and people whose phones still have headphone jacks.
The price, audio, and comfortable design make the JBL Quantum 50 a great deal for anyone looking to save money without sacrificing good sound.

You don’t need to break the bank to have a good time

A photo of the cheap gaming headset HyperX Cloud Alpha on a desk, flanked by a gaming mouse and mechanical keyboard.
A gaming headset can cover all the bases if you need solutions for every part of a gaming audio setup.

While there’s plenty of crap out there, there are also plenty of quality options in the affordable gaming headset space. There are just a few things to figure out before buying a new headset.

The first thing to figure out is what you’re actually looking for. If you’re not into multiplayer games, it might be worth asking if you even really need a gaming headset in the first place. A lot of people feel the best gaming headset you can buy will always just be the best headphones you can find. If you just need something decent to keep the sound in, we’ve got plenty of recommendations.

Similarly, if you’ve already got a great pair of headphones, but you lack a microphone, it might be worth just looking for that. If you’re playing on PC, a USB microphone could be great—they’re generally easy to set up, they can reach pretty reasonable prices.

However, plenty of people aren’t interested in mixing and matching different peripherals to cobble together a solution. Getting a cheap gaming headset is ultimately the simplest solution. There are just a few things to keep in mind when shopping around.

What do you need in a cheap gaming headset?

The Razer Kraken cheap gaming headset leaning against a PS4 controller with the headband facing the lens to show the Razer logo.
The Razer Kraken X will work just fine on PC and consoles, but some of its surround sound features are locked to use with Windows 10.

Gaming headsets on the cheaper end of the spectrum tend to have more limited feature sets. It’s hard to find something that really covers every base for under $60—this is also true of more typical headphones, there’s just also a few other things to consider for gaming. There are plenty of great options, but you’re going to need to get a little specific.

What kind of games do you play? If you’re really into multiplayer games like Fortnite or Call of Duty, finding something with surround sound and a microphone is probably a good idea. That’ll be easier if you’re looking of a PC peripheral, as features like surround sound often don’t make the leap to console, even if the rest of the headset works.

The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a fabric surface surrounded by an Xbox One controller, a Nintendo Switch, and a PlayStation Dualsense controller.
If it’s got a 3.5mm headphone jack, it works with the Quantum 50.

Pay attention to whether a gaming headset is designed for a platform, or merely compatible with it. Plenty of gaming headsets use 3.5mm connections, and therefore work with most devices. That doesn’t mean they all work perfectly on those devices. Usually, your best bet is to look for something tailored to the platform you use. Odds are, you’ll have a better time with a gaming headset made specifically for the console you own, rather than one made for PC that also works on the PlayStation 4.

It’s also important to pay attention to the physical design of the headset. Does it look like a pair of headphones with a mic attached, or does it look like an LED-riddled UFO? The headsets that add a lot of odd angles and edgy designs often do so using cheap plastic—especially at lower prices. Ones with straightforward metal frames are usually more durable.

I’ve always found that simpler designs often indicate higher quality—there’s less to distract from how a headset will sound. Ultimately, it’s probably better to keep the flashing lights and gaudy futuristic-looking tech in your games, rather than on your head.

The Razer Kraken X has features to spare

The Razer Kraken X brings a lot of value to the table, with 3.5mm connectivity and 7.1 surround sound, all for around $50. This option really walks the line between “good value” and downright cheap.

Razer Kraken X
7.1
The headphones angled away from the camera resting on a black surface.The included cables on a black surface.The Razer Kraken X headphones angled on a computer stand with the microphone bent slightly upward.The Razer Kraken X leaning against a PS4 controller with the headband facing the lens to show the Razer logo.

The headset has a lightweight design, with a headband made of durable thermoplastic. The headphones’ memory foam pads feature slight gaps to alleviate pressure if you wear glasses. Its attached microphone is flexible and offers clear audio. All in, this is a comfortable headset, and the volume and mic controls on the left headphone add even more convenience. The 7.1 surround sound only works with Windows 10, but you won’t find a better gaming headset for $49.99. If you want to save a little cash, the Razer Kaken X Lite is available for $10 less, offering a slightly lighter build with no onboard controls.

If you’re willing to shell out some extra cash, take a look at the Razer BlackShark V2 X. For around $20 more than the Kraken X, it features great isolation, 7.1 surround sound, and one of the most neutral-sounding sound profiles we’ve ever tested in a gaming headset. At under $100, the Razer BlackShark V2 has all the same features as the X-variant, in addition to THX Spatial Audio for better in-game spatial awareness, compared to traditional virtual surround sound.

Razer Kraken X
Razer Kraken X
7.1 channel surround sound • Eyewear channels alleviate temple pressure • Cross-platform compatibility
Good gaming headsets don't have to cost a small fortune.
When gaming in the comfort of your own living room, you’ll want to feel relaxed so you can game on your console for hours on end. Enter the Razer Kraken X for Console. Ultra-light at just 250g with superior gaming audio. Sit tight and play for hours—your console gaming marathons are about to be a breeze.

The Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer is the best option on the market for kids

If you’re a parent interested in protecting the hearing of your children, Puro Sound Labs will likely be a familiar name. The company has been one of the only players in the audio space consistently putting out headphones with volume limits designed to eliminate the chance of noise-induced hearing loss, something to which children are especially susceptible. The fact that the PuroGamer is also a cheap gaming headset is just icing on the cake.

Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer
6.8
A man wears The Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer while sitting at a PC running League of LegendsA closeup of the side panel of The Puro Sound Labs PuroGamerThe Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer laying on a table in the sun next to a Playstation 4 Dual Shock controller and a Nintendo Switch
Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer
Buy now
See review
See review

This stereo gaming headset supports both 3.5mm and USB connections, with a split cord that terminates in both plugs. Despite its $45 price tag, this gaming headset is made almost entirely of metal, with sturdy hinges and soft, thick leatherette ear pads. It also happens to have a very accurate microphone for a gaming headset. As we mentioned above, the PuroGamer limits audio volume, so no sound will come through louder than 85dB—it’s not even all that quiet, but it wont damage anyone’s ears.

Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer
Puro Sound Labs PuroGamer
Prevents hearing loss • Affordable • Simple to connect
Puro Sound Labs is back with a new volume limited device aimed at the young gamers in your household
Puro provides a volume limit to protect children's ears during gaming with the Labs PuroGamer. This stereo gaming headset offers accurate sound and a good microphone at an affordable price.

The best budget console headset is the Turtle Beach Recon 70

Turtle Beach makes gaming headsets for all kinds of price ranges and needs, but if any of the company’s product fill the entry level console niche, it’s the Recon 70. For under $40, you get a straightforward wired audio experience, with decent sound, a very accurate microphone, and on-ear controls.

Turtle Beach Recon 70
Turtle Beach Recon 70
7.5
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset plugged into an Xbox One controller.The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset on an off-white surface.The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset ear cup and microphone.A man wears The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset sitting at a PC.The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset's ear cups which are lined with a green material that matches the headband.The Turtle Beach Recon 70 gaming headset lays on a black surface with its volume dial and microphone in focus.
Turtle Beach Recon 70
Turtle Beach Recon 70
Buy now
See review
See review

There’s not a whole lot more to say, really—You plug it in, and it works. The microphone flips up to mute, and there’s an audio volume dial on the side of the left ear cup. If you’re playing on Xbox One, this headset also supports Windows Sonic surround sound, which is pretty neat.

Sure, this isn’t the HiFi audio solution for discerning music lovers and competitive gamers, but if you’re in the market for something in this price range, you know what to expect. For such a low price, this is a damn good headset.

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Gaming Headset
Turtle Beach Recon 70 Gaming Headset
Price • Mic output • Multi-platform compatibility
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 offers the basics for not much money, plain and simple.
The Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a solidly executed, garden variety gaming headset. It handles the basics well and doesn't offer any frills for very little money. Bassheads won't be satisfied here because of the quiet sub-bass response. Still, this kind of sound shouldn't be much of a hindrance since explosions are typically mixed to be the loudest sound in a game anyway.

When you want cheap, but not that cheap, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless

Cheap can mean a lot of things, and while $100 is still plenty to spend, it’s downright reasonable compared to a lot of options on the market. The HyperX Cloud Alpha occupied this spot on the list for long time, and it may do so again one day, but right now it’s pretty hard to get one for a decent price, given the state of international shipping and shopping. If you can’t find one for a reasonable price, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless. Like the Cloud Alpha, the Arctis 1 Wireless is only $40 more than the next most expensive entry on this list, and offers comparable audio quality to headphones twice or even three times its price.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
8.2
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless rests on a Nintendo Switch with the USB-C dongle plugged into it on a wooden table.A man sits on a couch playing a Nintendo Switch with the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless gaming headset.The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless gaming headset on top of a Nintendo Switch.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
Buy now
See review
See review

This is the first wireless gaming headset to connect using a USB-C dongle (there’s an adapter for devices with regular USB ports), which means it can connect a PC, smartphone, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch—even when it’s undocked.

Sure, the Arctis 1 Wireless doesn’t offer the breadth of features found in the premium space, but in the no-frills budget arena, it hardly seems like a no-frills experience. It offers rock-solid audio output, stellar battery life, and it works on almost every platform wirelessly—even an undocked Switch.

The attached microphone is a little wonky, with underemphasized bass that can make deeper voices sound a little tinny. However, it handles voice chat without issue. Like other SteelSeries Arctis headsets, the Arctis 1 Wireless is Discord certified, so it works very well with the service. It won’t be podcast-ready any time soon, but voice chat is no problem.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless: microphone demo

The headset doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as something like the Cloud Alpha, but it’s plenty comfortable. The headband is made of plastic, but clamps down tightly. The ear pads feature cushions in the SteelSeries’ Airweave fabric which is really comfortable and manages heat very well. Basically, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is as close to a premium wireless experience as you can get for under $100.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
Price • Sound Quality • Connection options
The first USB-C wireless gaming headset is here! How does it stack up to the competition?
If the Arctis 1 was twice the price, it would still merit consideration. That it's not only solidifies that this is a headset worth switching too.
$72.95 at Amazon
Save $27.04

The best cheap gaming headsets: Notable mentions

The ROCCAT Elo X Stereo headset on a person's head, while they look at a computer screen.
The Elo X Stereo is rare for its under-emphasized bass response.
  • HyperX Cloud Alpha: It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but the Cloud Alpha is still one of the best wired gaming headsets on the market. It sounds great and feels great, and it’s under $100 USD.
  • ROCCAT Elo X Stereo: There’s nothing too special going on here, except for that $34 USD promotional pricing. If you want a cheap gaming headset with a pretty good mic, the Elo X Stereo is a fine use of your money.
  • SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1: If you’re a fan of the style of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless then you might also be interested in the updated, wired version of that same headset. It has the same level of comfort with a slightly updated design and same good build quality.
  • Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gen 2For just $59 USD, you get a solid wired gaming headset with a good microphone and comfortable fit that accommodates most head sizes, small and large. Things get a little wonky with this headset because the bass response is either too quiet or too loud without much in between.
  • Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2: It doesn’t work on as many platforms as the Arctis 1, but this $99 USD wireless gaming headset is a real contender for people moving between PC and either PlayStation or Xbox consoles. It’s got a great microphone, great battery life, and decent sound, plus it’s comfortable.
  • Roccat Syn Buds Core: These gaming earbuds don’t sound quite so good as the JBL Quantum 50, but if you see them when on the hunt for a decent cheap audio solution, know they’re reliable. No extra features, and a pretty mediocre microphone, but $25 USD is $25 USD.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (in a good way, somehow), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review gaming headsets, and why we have lists like this. After testing and reviewing dozens of options, we know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.

Frequently asked questions about cheap gaming headsets

Between the two headsets, the Razer BlackShark V2 is arguably a better choice. It boasts great sound quality, best-in-class isolation performance, THX Spatial Audio, and a very comfortable design. However, it costs twice as much as the Kraken X. If you’re willing so stretch your budget to just under $100 USD, the BlackShark V2 (or the cheaper BlackShark V2 X) is definitely worth considering. Otherwise, the Kraken X is still a great value for under $50 USD.

Well, the answer is a bit of a mixed bag. For roughly $20 more than the Recon 70, the Turtle Beach Recon 200 features a better build quality and more accurate frequency response. However, its inclusion of a bass boost and amplified audio means that users will have to charge the headset, which can be inconvenient for some. That’s why we believe that the Recon 70 is a much better value for money, since you’re getting good sound for $40, without having to deal with the hassle of recharging your headset.