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The best cheap gaming headsets in 2022

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. Another model from the brand worth checking out is the Arctis 3, a perfectly good headset with high-quality sound and solid comfort.

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.

The Astro A10 is another solid selection, which comes available for all gaming platform and boasts a sleek design to complement your high-end gaming rig, PlayStation 5, or Xbox Series X/S.

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)
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)
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)
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: SteelSeries)
High-quality sound at a low price

Specifications

Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 120 Hz - 22000 Hz
Wireless: Yes (optional)

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable fit
+
Great sound quality
+
Clear mic
+
Ideal for both gaming and music

Reasons to avoid

-
Hard to customize
-
Music sounds great only on PC

While not as revered as its siblings – the Arctis 5 (opens in new tab) and Editor’s Choice Arctis 7 (opens in new tab) – the Arctis 3 is still a reliable gaming headset that offers solid performance for a low price. A pliable headband and plush padding make it a comfy and cozy wear. When playing video games, dialogue, sound effects, and soundtracks are all balanced out pretty well. The mic also delivers rich, clear sound.

You’ll want to limi/t music listening to a PC, as the midrange takes a dive when playing tracks on a mobile device. Also, customizing the headset can be frustrating since you’re required to jump through several hoops via SteelSeries Engine 3 software. Once you get past the process, you can tweak equalization and surround-sound profiles. A Bluetooth version (opens in new tab) is available for purchase, though it’s a bit pricier at $145.

Read our full SteelSeries Arctis 3 review and SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth hands-on.

(Image credit: Razer)
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.

The Roccat Elo 7.1 USB in black and orange

(Image credit: Roccat)
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.

The Turtle Beach Recon 70 connected to a laptop

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
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: Corsair)
A no-frills wired gaming headset that masters the basics

Specifications

Compatibility: PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, mobile, PC
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible microphone stalk that detaches when not required
+
Good driver response in bass to middle frequencies
+
Comfortable, lightweight fit for long play sessions

Reasons to avoid

-
No USB connectivity
-
Microphone tinny and crunchy

For $25, the Corsair HS35 does everything you need it to do to enjoy multiplayer gaming sessions online without bleeding your wallet dry. The drivers on these bad boys handle booming sound effects like explosions and loud rumblings with precision, while also delivering clear stereo separation to hear enemy fire during combat missions. A lightweight and pliable design ensure long-term comfort for hours on end. Being able to position the mic anywhere you need it or detach the mic stalk when it isn’t required offers some convenience, depending on your needs.

Some will argue about the headset’s foibles, including the weak mic and lack of USB connectivity. Then again, these are forgivable drawbacks when talking about an affordable, fully functional, and competent model like the HS35. 

Read our full Corsair HS35 Stereo Gaming Headset review.

The HyperX Cloud Core 7.1 with remote

(Image credit: HyperX)
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.

The Astro A03 In-Ear Monitor in red

(Image credit: Astro)
The best wired gaming earbuds

Specifications

Compatibility: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, mobile
Drivers: 9mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No

Reasons to buy

+
Good gaming sound
+
Bold color schemes
+
Compatible with almost everything

Reasons to avoid

-
Imperfect fit
-
So-so music performance

Astro is responsible for some of the best gaming headsets (opens in new tab), and it turns out they have a great in-ear model as well. The A03 isn’t going to replace your A20 Gaming Headset Gen 2 (opens in new tab) when jumping on a home console, but it makes for a sweet audio companion when going portable with a Nintendo Switch or aux-cable-compatible smartphone. In each bud lies not one, but two drivers, something rare in the cheap earbuds space. We’re also fans of the two different color schemes: Blue/Red and White/Purple.

Expect clear treble with surprisingly rich bass when gaming, though sound is mediocre when switching to music. Its no-frills presentation makes for a seamless plug-and-play setup, but the trade-off is that you get no extras such as EQ options, surround sound mode, or software customization.

Read our full Astro A03 In-Ear Monitor 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 is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.