If you enjoy gaming on your phone, a traditional gaming headset is likely far too bulky to take around with you everywhere. Luckily, as mobile gaming has risen in popularity, more earbuds and in-ears are being designed with that in mind. Generally, for a gaming headset, you want something with a good microphone, a comfortable fit, and a well-balanced sound profile, so all your game's explosions and dialogue sound the way they're meant to. Latency can also be very important, as many Bluetooth headphones introduce noticeable lag, which can be an issue when gaming online with others.
We’ve tested over 220 pairs of earbuds and in-ears, and below are our picks for the best earbuds for gaming to buy. Unlike traditional over-ear gaming headsets, we haven't tested nearly as many earbuds that are suitable for gaming yet, but we'll update this list as we buy and test more. You can also check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best earbuds, and the best earbuds with a mic.
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless are the best wireless earbuds for gaming that we've tested. These very well-built in-ears support Bluetooth aptX-LL codec and have low latency on PCs, making them well-suited for gaming. They also come with a wireless USB-C dongle for even lower latency. Although you can only receive audio using this dongle, and you can't use the headphones' mic, some users may like this design if you're gaming during your commute or while traveling.
These headphones have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming marathons. Thanks to their in-ear design, they can block out some background noise around you, and they don't leak a lot of audio at high volumes either. Their slightly bass-heavy sound profile helps bring out sound effects in games or the boom in genres like EDM and hip-hop. If you like to customize your headphones, their companion software offers a nine-band graphic EQ as well as presets so that you can find a sound that better suits your tastes. Their integrated mic also does a decent job of recording your voice.
They have a continuous battery life of around 5.7 hours, which may be limiting for some users. They also lack any power-saving features like an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use. Their USB-C dongle can only be used with PCs, PS4/PS5, and Nintendo Switch consoles, and it doesn't offer mic support. That said, if you're looking for wireless earbuds that you can use for gaming one moment and more casual use the next, they're a suitable choice.
The Turtle Beach Battle Buds are the best wired gaming earbuds with a boom mic that we've tested. These wired in-ears have a unique design thanks to their boom microphone, which you can also remove for a more casual look. Their microphone has a decent recording quality, so your voice is clear to your teammates, even if you're gaming in a fairly noisy setting.
They have a very bass-heavy sound profile, so you feel the deep thump and rumble in action-packed scenes. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume without really bothering those around you. Thanks to their wired design, they have negligible latency, and you can plug them into your PS4 or Xbox One controllers for full audio and microphone compatibility.
Unfortunately, they don't offer any sound customization features, and their boomy sound profile may be a bit overwhelming for some listeners. Also, while their build quality is okay overall, some parts of the build feel a bit cheap and plasticky. However, they're still a solid choice for gamers who like to keep in touch with their teammates.
The best wired gaming earbuds with an in-line mic that we've tested are the 1More Triple Driver. These well-built earbuds use an in-line mic that can capture your voice clearly. They also have easy-to-use in-line controls, and while they're not designed with gaming in mind, they're a bit more versatile for casual use.
They have a decently comfortable design and come with several differently-sized ear tips, including three foam pairs to help you find a fit that's best for your needs. They also have a warm sound profile with a bit of extra bass, so sound effects are emphasized in action-packed gameplay. They're balanced enough in the mid-range to keep vocals and lead instruments in cut scenes detailed and accurate.
Unfortunately, the in-line mic does a mediocre job of separating your voice from ambient noise, making it better suited for chatting in quieter areas. If you like to game while you're on the go, they also struggle to cut down bass-range noise like bus and plane engines, which can be a little annoying. Still, if you're looking for more causal-use gaming earbuds with an in-line mic, they're a suitable choice.
If you want a more neutral and accurate sound from your wired earbuds, consider the Beats UrBeats3 Earphones. While you can't use their mic on Xbox One consoles, and they aren't as comfortable as the 1More Triple Driver, The Beats have a more flat and even frequency response. Unlike the 1More, their treble range is very balanced; this ensures that vocals and lead instruments are detailed and present while sibilants are bright but not piercing. They can also block out more ambient noise like background chatter around you, and they don't leak too much audio. Their in-line mic does a better job of recording your voice clearly. However, some users have reported an audible loud hissing noise if you plug these headphones into a PS4 controller.
Try the 1More if you game with others and want microphone support from your headphones. If you prioritize a more accurate sound while you game, check out the Beats.
Apr 20, 2021: Replaced the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless with the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless, as the EPOS offer a better value to most users.
Feb 19, 2021: Minor updates to the text for accuracy; no changes in product picks after verifying their availability.
Dec 23, 2020: Added the Samsung AKG Type-C to 'Notable Mentions'.
Oct 30, 2020: Added the Razer Hammerhead USB-C ANC to 'Notable Mentions'.
Sep 01, 2020: Slight changes to the article for accuracy and clarity, no change in product recommendations.
Jun 11, 2020: Replaced Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless with Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless in Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbuds for gaming. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our in-ear and earbuds headphones reviews, sorted by their wired gaming scores. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.