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The best cheap gaming headsets in 2021

best cheap gaming headsets
(Image credit: SteelSeries)

The best cheap gaming headsets can deliver all the exciting sound and clear microphone performance of more expensive peripherals. Unlike most of the best gaming headsets overall, however, these models will leave you with more spare cash to grow your games collection or invest in new PC upgrades.

There can be a worry, when buying on a budget, that you’ll end up with some poorly-made piece of bargain bin garbage. But don’t fret, as we’ve tested all these headsets ourselves, and can attest that they stand up on sound quality and comfort. Often, both. Read on and find out what the best cheap gaming headsets are right now.

What are the best cheap gaming headsets?

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is our pick for the best cheap gaming headset overall, delivering a sleek and comfortable design that features the same great audio drivers you'll find in SteelSeries' more premium headsets. We've also long been fans of the HyperX Cloud Stinger, which has a supremely comfortable and durable design that belies its affordable price tag.

Other great headsets in this price range include the Astro A10, which takes some design cues from the more premium A40 and A50 while delivering great sound with a set of lightweight and soft earcups. We also really like the PDP LVL50  Wired Stereo Headset, which comes in PlayStation and Xbox-branded varieties but works nicely with just about any platform thanks to its universal 3.5mm connection. 

Ready to immerse yourself in your favorite games and dominate online? Here are our picks for the best cheap gaming headsets to buy now.

The best cheap gaming headsets you can buy

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

1. SteelSeries Arctis 1

The best cheap gaming headset overall

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 40mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Good sound+Comfortable to wear+Removable mic
Reasons to avoid
-Imperfect fit-Subpar mic quality

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 delivers nearly everything that's great about the rest of SteelSeries' excellent Arctis line at just $50. This headset packs a simplified version of SteelSeries' signaturely sleek headset design, with soft fabric earcups and the same rich drivers you'll find in higher-end Arctis models. We found the Arctis 1 dependable for just about every game genre, and it held up especially well when playing online competitive shooters like Overwatch.

And with its removable mic and handy 3.5mm connection, it makes the perfect gaming companion whether you're on the road with your Switch or at home with your PC. While it doesn't offer the same world-class, auto-adjusting comfort as its pricier siblings and could have a better mic, the Arctis 1 offers some of the best performance you can find at this price range.

Read our full SteelSeries Arctis 1 review.

(Image credit: HyperX)

2. HyperX Cloud Stinger

The best cheap gaming headset design

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 18 Hz - 23 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Very comfortable design+Handy controls, affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Sound gets blown out at higher ranges

The HyperX Cloud Stinger features a very sturdy design, soft padding and large ear cups that keep the set truly around your ears rather than pressed on them. It is the most comfortable set of the bunch. The on-ear audio control is an intuitive slider that's easy to use while worn, and the wire ends in a splitter for headphone and mic usage without needing a USB pass-through.

Unfortunately, the audio was really blown out at higher ranges, and a bit painful at times to experience, which may be the fault of the onboard volume controls pushing things out too far at max volume. Still, if comfort is your main priority, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is among the best cheap gaming headsets you can buy.

Read our full HyperX Cloud Stinger review.

(Image credit: Astro)

3. Astro A10

The best cheap gaming headset for style

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 40mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Slick, durable design+Impressive audio performance+Clear microphone+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-A little snug

The Astro A10 is proof that Astro can deliver more than just expensive high-end headsets. The A10's slick design takes some cues from its more premium siblings such as the A40 and A50, offering a surprising level of style and sturdiness for a peripheral that costs less than $50.

The headset's lightweight frame and soft memory foam ear cushions are ideal for long sessions, though its earcups can get a bit snug for folks with big ears. Most importantly, the A10 delivers great sound for the price, with crisp highs and meaty lows that make it easy to hear the competition coming.

Read our full Astro A10 review.

(Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Kraken X

The best cheap gaming headset for serious sound

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 40mm
Frequency Response: 12 Hz - 28 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Sleek design+Comfortable fit+Good in-game sound
Reasons to avoid
-Obnoxious mic-Subpar music performance-Surround sound not too different from stereo

The Razer Kraken X is a very solid budget headset, packing good sound into one of the best-looking designs that Razer's produced yet. A far cry from the bulky chassis of previous Razer headsets, the Kraken X is sleek, subtle and lightweight, with leatherette ear cups that are comfortable to wear for hours on end. 

The headset's 3.5mm connection works seamlessly with consoles and PCs, and offers well-balanced sound for competitive and immersive games alike. We wish the headset had better music performance and a removable mic, but this is a great overall gaming headset for the price.

Read our full Razer Kraken X review.

best cheap gaming headsets: Roccat Elo 7.1 USB

(Image credit: Roccat)

5. Roccat Elo 7.1 USB

An affordable PC gaming headset with great sound

Specifications
Compatibility: PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Good gaming sound+Lots of software options+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Stiff earcups-So-so mic

Like other models from the PC accessory brand, the Roccat Elo 7.1 USB is a fairly priced, reliable gaming headset with solid audio performance. Dialogue comes in loud and clear, while gunfire, explosions, and other rumbling effects sound loud and clear during intense action gameplay. This headset also doubles as an adequate pair of headphones that delivers superb treble and vocals. The Roccat Swarm software lets users pick from different audio presets for different gaming genres, switch between stereo and surround sound, adjust mic sidetone, and select different voice-changing filters. 

You’ll want to be mindful not to wear the Elo 7.1 USB for too long since it doesn’t sit comfortably on the head; it’s very narrow and thin. The mediocre mic doesn’t bring much to voice chat either, due to distortion issues.

Read our full Roccat Elo 7.1 USB review.

best cheap gaming headsets: Turtle Beach Recon 70

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Turtle Beach Recon 70

A cheap headset designed for each gaming platform

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 40mm
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Wireless : No
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable cups+Works with any system+Decent gaming sound
Reasons to avoid
-Rigid microphone switch-Cheap design

PC or PS5? Nintendo Switch or iPhone? The Turtle Beach Recon 70 is available for use on every current gaming platform, and in different colors. Comfort is a huge selling point, as each ear cup provides enough room and breathability for ears to rest pleasantly, as well as a proper fit to prevent slippage. Not all sound effects sound sharp, though we found the detailing on gun shots and footsteps to be impressive. You can also use the Recon 70 for music listening, but don’t expect it to replace your standard pair of wireless headphones

The mic also works well for communicating with other players via multiplayer, though moving it is disruptive since it vibrates every time you flip it into one of the predetermined positions. Aside from the attractive colorways, there isn’t much to the design either, which feels chintzy. 

Read our full Turtle Beach Recon 70 review.

(Image credit: PDP)

7. PDP LVL50 Wired Stereo Headset

Solid sound in an affordable design

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: N/A
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Decent gaming sound+Inexpensive+Works with any system
Reasons to avoid
-Plain design-So-so fit-Subpar mic

The PDP LVL50 Wired Stereo Headset offers solid, no-frills gaming audio for an inviting price tag. While it comes in distinct PlayStation and Xbox-branded variations, its 3.5mm cable makes it suitable for use with just about any platform or mobile device. 

The headset's earcups are decently comfortable, but we would have liked them to be a bit softer, and wish there were more precise adjustment options. Still, you'll get good audio performance for both competitive multiplayer games and immersive solo adventures from this headset. The LVL50 is a solid value, but we didn't find its fit or mic quality to be up to par with other budget competitors.

Read our full PDP LVL50 Wired Stereo Headset review.

(Image credit: Corsair)

8. Corsair HS50

Dependable no-frills sound

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable fit+Decent game audio+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Disappointing music performance-Dated design

The Corsair HS50 is a respectable entry-level headset, offering a cozy fit and decent game audio for the price. The headset's foam earcups stay comfortable during long play sessions, and swivel up and down to better adjust to your head. It's not got the looks of stablemates like the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE but hey, it's a fraction of the price.

The HS50's detachable microphone gets the job done for quick multiplayer sessions, and the headset's overall build quality is solid for a budget model. Our only knock against the HS50 is that it's incredibly plain, with a boring all-black design and no special extra features.

Read our full Corsair HS50 review.

Best cheap gaming headsets: HyperX Cloud Core 7.1 review

(Image credit: HyperX)

9. HyperX Cloud Core 7.1

The best gaming headset with surround sound

Specifications
Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: Not stated
Frequency Response: Not stated
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Good sound overall+Comfortable design+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-So-so console performance-Inconsistent mic

The HyperX Cloud Core 7.1 is a refresh of the HyperX Cloud Core II, one of the best cheap gaming headsets around. Like its predecessor, this headset touts comfortable leatherette earcups, intuitive inline controls and impressive overall game audio.

The Cloud Core 7.1 also supports virtual surround sound, making it easier to hear enemies better in competitive games and get more immersed in narrative adventures. The headset has a convenient removable mic, and it has both 3.5mm and USB connection options for use with any game console, PC or mobile device.

Read our full HyperX Cloud Core 7.1 review.

best cheap gaming headsets: Logitech G333

(Image credit: Logitech)

10. Logitech G333

Cheap gaming earbuds with a mic

Specifications
Compatibility: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Android
Drivers: 5.8 mm + 9.2 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Highly portable+Works with both consoles and phones+Good sound quality
Reasons to avoid
-Fit could be better-Limited customization

No, we haven't lost it — we really are including a pair of wired earbuds in a list of the best cheap gaming headsets. But unlike even the best wireless earbuds, the G333 is built specifically for gaming, and includes a microphone for voice comms. As such, it's functionally identical to a conventional over-ear headset, and is very affordable too.

By using a 3.5mm jack, and including a USB-C adapter, the G333 is compatible with a huge range of consoles, and is just as suitable for playing games on your phone. The cable probably won't be long enough for a lot of desktop PC setups, but if you want something portable, flexible and seriously cheap, the G333 could be a surprisingly effective alternative to chunkier headsets.

Read our full Logitech G333 review.

How we test the best cheap gaming headsets

In order to determine what the best cheap gaming headsets are, we use every model we review with a variety of games and genres. We generally test headsets with shooters to get a sense of directional sound for competitive games, as well as RPGs and action/adventure titles to evaluate more immersive, cinematic audio.

We also test all gaming headsets with a variety of music to see how well they double as everyday headphones. Additionally, we evaluate the quality of each headset's microphone via sound recordings and real-world play sessions. 

How to choose the best cheap gaming headset for you

There are a handful of key factors to consider when looking for the best cheap gaming headset for your playstyle. Here are some things to know before you buy.

Compatibility: Most of the best cheap gaming headsets connect via 3.5mm jacks, meaning they will work with just about any platform including PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC. Some headsets only connect via USB for PC and PS4, though, so keep an eye out for that.

Don't expect wireless: You're almost never going to get a wireless gaming headset for less than $60, so be ready to deal with cables. If you want to splurge for a wireless set, check out our overall best gaming headsets recommendations.

Consider your comfort: Most cheap gaming headsets have either faux leather or soft fabric earcups. The former is very comfortable and does a good job sealing sound in, but can get hot over time. Fabric cups are usually very lightweight and are better to wear for long stretches, but you won't always get the most immersive sound.

James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.