While video games are a primarily visual medium, the experience can only be enhanced by sound; imagine Halo without its iconic theme, or Mass Effect’s epic soundtrack. Or, try playing Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, or Valorant without hearing any of the footsteps. While playing with speakers is fine, it puts you at a disadvantage when you’re playing competitive video games.
Since not all of us are rolling in cash Scrooge McDuck style, some of us have to settle with what they can afford. But before you put those run-of-the-mill cans in your Amazon cart, take a look at our list and see if you meet the best budget gaming headset for you.
|1||HyperX Cloud Alpha||Wired||50mm|
|2||Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset||Wired||40mm neodymium|
|3||Razer Man O' War||Wireless||50mm neodymium|
|4||Corsair HS35||Wired||50mm neodymium|
|5||SteelSeries Arctis 1||Wired / Wireless||40mm neodymium|
The best budget gaming headsets at a glance:
1. Overall Best Budget Headset: HyperX Cloud Alpha
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is our clear favorite in the budget gaming headset category. Don’t let the brand name scare you, because while HyperX is known to release expensive high-end gaming headsets, they sure didn’t skip on the important things when they decided to release this lower-priced model. It’s comfortable, durable, and best of all: it sounds damn good. Featuring native 7.1-channel surround sound, 50mm neodymium drivers, and earcups that light up – you’d be surprised that it only costs that much.
This closed-back gaming headset is a great way to completely isolate yourself from the rest of the world, absorbed in a very sweaty match of Fortnite. The natural noise-canceling feature comes from its thick ear cups, which form an almost vacuum-like seal around your ears, making sure that you only hear what you need to hear. If you want any better, you’ll have to invest in cans that provide active noise canceling. Another good thing about the HyperX Cloud Alpha is how the earcups prevent any sound leaking through. So if you’re using this in an office setting, you don’t have to worry about your boss hearing “Monster Kill” from your desk as you dunk on DotA 2.
Sound isolation is great between 200Hz to 1000Hz, which is surprisingly good for a gaming headset, let alone one at this price range. This means that you’d have to try really hard to let annoying interference or audio masking prevent you from hearing even the tiniest details when you’re gaming or listening to music. What this basically means is that you’ll have no problem hearing footsteps in PUBG from a mile away – and we all know how hard it is to hear footsteps in that game.
Frequency response is also great down to 4kHz, which means the HyperX Cloud Alpha won’t be muddling the audio from your games, movies, and music. It lets you listen to the audio the way the audio dudes meant for you to hear. It’s the kind of frequency response that studio headphones aspire to hit, which says a lot given that the HyperX Cloud Alpha is 100% a gaming headset.
Let’s talk about the bass, mids, and highs: the HyperX Cloud Alpha’s engineers knew how to respect them all. The bass, while clearly audible, isn’t the kind that makes your head hurt. It’s nice and punchy without being obnoxious, which lets low sounds like footsteps very audible without it sounding like your enemies are running on the hardwood with tap shoes on. Trying on the mids, this gaming headset surprised us with its clear balance, so dialogue and music sound very clear, letting you distinguish individual elements with ease. Now for the highs – that annoying little dip at the 4kHz range actually does a lot when it comes to toning down poppy p, v, b sounds, as well as cymbals, xylophones, and ringing, allowing for a much more balanced soundstage overall.
On the microphone: it’s not really anything to write home about. It may be a Discord-certified microphone, but don’t expect studio-grade quality from this mic. While it does hit all the right notes and is louder than most, this shouldn’t be your go-to microphone if you want to stream with it. The microphone does shine when it comes to videoconferencing or Discord calls, with a quality that’s nice and crisp for a gaming headset microphone.
Finally, we’d like to turn your attention to build quality. For a cheap gaming headset, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is a tough little puppy. While the cans themselves are made of thick plastic, it’s supported by solid metal bands and forks, giving it a weight that feels secure. The comfort of the ear pads is decent enough, allowing you to keep them on the whole day with not much pain around the ear – a plight many gamers have to contend with. Best of all, damaging its microphone or the cables is no problem – they’re detachable, and you can buy replacements for them for a few extra bucks. So go ahead, throw this baby across the room – it’ll forgive and forget, and still deliver the sound quality it promises.
2. Best for E-Sports: Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset
The Logitech G Pro line of mice, keyboards, and headsets are a top-of-mind choice for many gamers. And that’s no surprise; Logitech is a trusted name in the PC peripherals scene, and the G Pro line was created with pro gamers as consultants, making sure that the line was made for gamers, by gamers.
First of all, let’s get these out of the way: the Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset features 40mm neodymium drivers, a frequency response from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, a 2-meter cable, and a detachable mic. It doesn’t have RGB lighting (boo), and doesn’t have any extra features on its inline controls, featuring only volume controls and a mute button for your mic. It’s as minimalist as you’ll ever get, but that’s totally okay if you value performance over looks – and it delivers.
The Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset is just as good as its big brother, the pricier G Pro X, in delivering decent sound performance. The bass, while not as punchy as bassheads would like, perform very well. Lows ranging from explosions to gunshots to bass drops sound great, without assaulting the ears. This also means that footsteps are nice and audible, especially in a tense 1v1 situation, giving you a clear edge against your speaker-using opponents.
The mids are clear and crisp, giving dialogues and vocals justice. The highs are great as well, letting you hear that annoying tinnitus sound when a flashbang blows up in front of you clearly, but without being annoying. All in all, decent performance from the 40mm neodymium drivers they sport. This kind of performance is helped along by the G Pro’s acoustic chamber. Logitech decided to suspend the driver in the middle of its cup, providing a very nice soundstage that can’t disappoint anyone looking for the best cheap gaming headset.
As far as isolation goes, well, it’s okay, I guess. The earcups help a lot, and the Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset does a pretty okay job, but you will hear a bit of background noise, especially if you’re in a noisy room. For a pair of closed-back headphones, you’d expect them to keep sound out a bit better, but it’s the best it can do. However, that doesn’t mean it’s unusable. Used in a loud environment, background sounds were barely noticeable and were not distracting at all while sweating in League of Legends.
On to the issue of the microphone, which is incredible, to say the least. Where else can you find a gaming headset microphone that filters out background noise as a studio mic would? The microphone really brings out the best features of anyone’s voice, enhancing the lows very well giving your voice a quality that can only come from streaming microphones. In fact, forget an external mic completely – just use these and you’re golden.
The minimalist design of the Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset does not make it look like the best cheap gaming headset around, because it just looks so good. The sleek, angular curves look gamer as all heck. The earcups are nice and wide and provide a great seal while not being too tight, which might explain the “just okay” sound isolation – and the sound leaks, too, which isn’t that much of a problem unless you’re in an office or library setting. The comfort level is great, as the headset isn’t that heavy at all despite its power. It’s great for extended gaming sessions or 24-hour streams!
3. Best Headset for Low-Budget Setups: Corsair HS35
Corsair has always been a great option for those who like to go the middle route. Their entry into the budget gaming headset sphere is the Corsair HS35. Corsair really cares about the aesthetics of all its products, and while the Corsair HS35 is definitely a cheap gaming headset, it looks really, really sexy.
Featuring 50mm neodymium drivers, standard frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000Hz, the only thing that might disappoint is the lack of 7.1-surround sound. Yep, it’s a stereo headset, but what else did you expect for the cheap gaming headset?
Performance-wise, for a pair of stereo headphones, it’s actually not that bad as long as you’re gaming. The Corsair HS35 is one of those “e-sports ready” headsets, where mids and highs are sacrificed in favor of lows. The reasoning behind this is that many games rely on the lows to simulate explosions, gunshots, and footsteps, so if you’re playing a game where audio cues are very important (such as first-person shooters), then you’ll have no problem hearing them clearly from these cans. However, it offers stereo sound first and foremost. Needless to say, directional audio is going to be a problem for many when using this. It’s a lot more challenging to figure out where footsteps are coming from, but for the price point, it’s definitely not bad.
That’s not to say it completely sucks. Games with lively soundtracks such as My Friend Pedro or Osu! sound really great with these headphones. The bass may be a bit muddled sometimes, and the highs and mids really struggle to keep up. But it’s not a deal-breaker at all, and the Corsair HS35 still provides good quality audio, especially for the price. At high volumes, you’d be surprised to know that this baby won’t give you a hard time like many other headphones at this price point.
The microphone is surprisingly decent, gaining a Discord certification. Voices are clear and well-modulated even without actual modulation. It’s got great noise-cancellation, blocking out annoying background sounds like your PC’s fans, or your human fans in the background, cheering you on.
Besides its sleek million-dollar looks, one of the feathers in this cheap gaming headset’s crown is its build quality. Sure, it’s all plastic all around, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough. Thick matte plastic comprises the entire headset, making the whole thing very lightweight. Comfortable memory foam earpads make sure your ears are nice and cozy, while keeping sound securely locked in. There’s hardly any sound leak with this pair of headphones, and that’s something you wouldn’t expect at this price point.
The Corsair HS35 has earned this spot in the hunt for an afforadable gaming headset. It’s spartan yet high value engineering, and a mic that doesn’t disappoint for the price. It’s a definite buy if you’re really going for the absolute cheapest headset, but if you’re looking for a bit more out of your cans, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
4. Best Budget Wireless Gaming Headset: Razer Man O’ War
Everyone knows who Razer is: they’re the brand non-gamers think of when they think of gaming gear. And their popularity isn’t all about hype and marketing, they definitely do come up with great PC peripherals, from mice to keyboards to headsets. And while many of their products are unreasonably expensive, they did manage to come up with an afforable gaming headset: the Razer Man O’ War.
The Razer Man O’ War packs 7.1-channel surround sound, 50mm neodymium drivers, a Discord-certified microphone, on-ear controls, RGB, and a 14-hour battery life. Wait, hold up. Battery life, you say?
Yes, the Razer Man O’ War is wireless. It’s a cool little feature to have, and definitely one you’d love if you hate cable management. It transmits and receives audio through a proprietary 2.4Ghz wireless USB dongle. The Razer Man O’ War will not experience any delay in audio like their Bluetooth counterparts do. So if you’re worried about sound delay when gaming, you’ll be happy to know that the Razer Man O’ War will never disappoint you in that regard. Of course, this will work better if you plug it into a free USB 3.0 port, but a 2.0 will do just fine.
Regarding that 7.1-surround sound functionality, don’t be surprised to find out that it’s all virtual. It only features two large 50mm drivers compared to multiple ones, but it simulates surround sound so well that only the audiophile-est of audiophiles can ever distinguish it. You’ll have no problems with directional audio; you’ll be able to pinpoint sound cues wherever they may be, putting you at a clear advantage over stereo headphones plebs.
Its performance is stellar, which is to be expected from a Razer product – even if it’s cheaper than most of their other offerings. There’s a decent blend of thumpy lows that are great for explosions and bass, crunchy mids that do justice to dialogue and for picking out individual instruments in a track, and crisp highs that never assault your ears with extremely high-frequency shrieks. The Razer Man O’ War really shines when you’re playing RPGs or other single-player games. where soundtracks really up the ante when you’re in a heated battle. There’s nothing like the rush of hearing the Skyrim Main Theme as Alduin himself breathes fire down your puny mortal form. Never has a dragon battle sounded this good.
For the price point, you’d expect the Man O’ War to have a decent microphone; and it does. The microphone is crisp and clear, without the crackling sound many gaming headsets’ mics suffer from. We’d even go so far as to say that you could even use the mic for streaming because it’s just so damn good. It’s Discord-certified, so your teammates will hear you better over your other friends who use jet engines for mics. You know the type.
It wouldn’t be a Razer product if it weren’t customizable to the nines, and you can totally do so with the Synapse app, one of the most robust customization apps out there. If you’re sporting a full Razer peripheral setup, you can customize the RGB on your headphones, mic, and keyboard to always be in sync, and we think that’s pretty neat. Other options in the Synapse app include microphone levels, an equalizer, boost and gain options, and even tweaks to the surround sound. So if you’re a tryhard audio geek, you’ll have the time of your life optimizing the Razer Man O’ War to your heart’s content.
Razer really outdid themselves with these cans as the Razer Man O’ War headphones are absolute units indeed. They’re a bit on the heavy side, but are by no means uncomfortable. The memory foam earcups form a comfortable seal around your ears, providing decent noise cancellation without actually being active noise cancellation. You will barely hear any background noise with these on, which is a problem if you want to use them outside during your daily commute. If hearing background noise is a priority for you, don’t get these. But if you’re looking for a Razer brand pair of headphones that are also budget friendly, then this is definitely a clear buy.
5. Best Headset for Small Heads: SteelSeries Arctis 1
SteelSeries has always been consistent with releasing great peripherals. Gamers all over have sworn behind SteelSeries’ mice, keyboards, and now headphones. The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is the company’s offer to gamers who don’t want to blow too much of their paycheck on a pair of gaming headphones.
At first glance, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 is a looker. The body’s made out of a matte black, solid plastic chassis, which may be a letdown for those used to heft in their other SteelSeries peripherals. It’s not a bad-looking headset, for sure – there are no sharp edges here, and the rounded corners really add to the comfort level as they fully nestle the soft earcups. As a bonus, we think the lightweight plastic is a good choice as it lets you wear this gaming headset for extended sessions. The only complaint we have is the steel headband they used, which makes for really awkward fits for big heads.
The Arctis 1 borrows a few features from its more expensive brother, the Arctis 3. On the left headphone rests its controls, which include a mic mute button, volume dial, and a jack for the removable microphone.
It’s a decent pair of cans for gaming, definitely. Its 40mm neodymium drivers, while nothing to write home about, do a good job in spatial audio. It’s very clear in simulating audio cues from various positions. We didn’t have any trouble hearing footsteps in Valorant, thanks to its good 20hz~20,000hz frequency response. However, probably because of its lightweight, the bass isn’t as thumpy as you’d expect. An artillery run in ArmA 3 did not give us the thundering booms we’re used to on higher-end headsets, but it’s not bad. Finally, it does pretty well in music, allowing us to really tell apart individual instruments during a cutscene.
It would’ve been nice if SteelSeries was kind enough to use the same Discord-certified microphone the Arctis 3 had in the Arctis 1, but lower prices mean more compromises. The mic fails terribly in noise correction because our keyboard presses were clearly audible through the voice chat. There was a weird huskiness to voice too, sounding almost crackly. But like we said – we’re not complaining about how cheap it is.
If you’re looking for a good, cheap gaming headset that doesn’t overpromise nor overdeliver, the Arctis 1 is your Goldilocks. It’s got a good design, decent performance for the price, and comfortable. Aside from the mic, this is definitely a huge contender for the best cheap gaming headset.
Jordan from 9-5 Toys offers a few great tips to make your gaming headset sound better when you’re gaming:
This lineup of the best budget gaming headsets out there was a tough one, to be sure. We had to play with a lot of factors that aren’t just about price: its performance, design, and general feel. However, after extensively using these headsets, we can clearly pick out a winner: the HyperX Cloud Alpha. Arguably one of the best cheap gaming headsets to ever come out of HyperX’s doors, the Cloud Alpha doesn’t disappoint in terms of style, sound, comfort, and overall performance.
If we were to rank the rest of them, it’d be like this:
- Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset: A reliable brand, Logitech has always been the home for affordable and aesthetically-pleasing products. The G Pro is a definite buy because of its good performance and decent price range.
- Razer Man O’ War: It’s Razer, and definitely one of its best releases so far. If you can forgive the bulkiness, the Man O’ War is a listening experience that won’t quite compare to anything else in the market today.
- Corsair HS35: A winner by price alone, the HS35 is a buy if you want to be a little stingy with your gaming headset but still want good performance from your purchase.
- SteelSeries Arctis 1: SteelSeries hasn’t disappointed us before, and it still won’t with the Arctis 1 – if you can forgive the lackluster microphone. However, it’s a definite buy as it’s cheaper than most SteelSeries headsets while not sacrificing a lot of what makes the brand great.
In the end, all of these options would be great selections. Personal preference would be the deciding factor, and you’ll have to take into consideration the style, the mic performance, and the sound performance that you want. Pick any one of these and complete your gaming setup so you can start dunking fat dubs on your competition!
Recap: 5 High Quality Bugget Headsets for Gaming
- HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset – Overall Best Budget Headset
- Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset – Best Budget Option for Esports
- Razer Man O’ War Tournament Edition Gaming Headset – Best Budget Wireless Gaming Headset
- Corsair HS35 Stereo Gaming Headset – Best Headset for Low-Budget Setups
- SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wired Gaming Headset – Best Budget Gaming Headset for Small Heads