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, there have become more earbuds and in-ears designed for mobile gaming. 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 160 pairs of earbuds and in-ears so far and below are our picks for the best earbuds for gaming to buy. Unlike traditional over-ear gaming headsets, we haven't reviewed 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 best gaming earbuds with a wireless connection that we've tested so far are the Razer Hammerhead. These truly wireless earbuds don't enter the ear canal as deeply as most in-ears, which some people may find more comfortable. They have a unique 'Gaming Mode' which allows for outstandingly low latency when connected to mobile devices, making them a great choice for competitive gaming on your phone.
Their sound profile is quite bass-heavy and uneven, though this helps bring out the explosions and gunshots in your game. If you also use your headphones for listening to music, they'll be best suited for bass-forward genres like EDM or hip-hop, as they're likely too boomy and muddy for genres like rock or country. On the bright side, their dedicated companion app gives you access to a couple of EQ presets, so you can boost their treble or bass to better suit your personal taste.
Unfortunately, their microphone is rather disappointing, especially for headphones designed for gaming, and your voice will be muffled, lacking in detail, and difficult to hear in even moderately loud environments. Their 3.7-hour battery life is also sub-par for a pair of truly wireless headphones, though you can fully charge them in their case within an hour, which is great. Overall, these are a unique pair of truly wireless headphones geared towards gamers that offer outstanding low latency when paired to a mobile device.
The best wired gaming earbuds with a boom microphone that we've tested to date are the Turtle Beach Battle Buds. These unique wired in-ears have a detachable boom mic and are available in a wide range of colors, making them a great choice for casual day-to-day use, as well as for gaming. Their in-line remote gives a good amount of functionality, including volume controls and a mic mute/unmute switch.
Their sound profile is quite dark and muddy, making them best-suited for bringing out the explosions in games, or the bass in genres like EDM or hip-hop. Thanks in part to their wired connection, the microphone works well and your voice sounds bright, natural, and detailed. It also does a decent job of noise handling, since the boom mic sits close to your mouth, so your voice won't get drowned out in noisy environments.
Unfortunately, the headphones don't look or feel very well-built and are made from cheap plastic, which is somewhat uncomfortable in the ear. They also don't do a very good job of blocking out background noise, so they won't help to give you much peace during your daily commute or in the office. That being said, these unique inexpensive wired gaming earbuds help give you the benefits of over-ear gaming headphones without the bulky design.
The best gaming earbuds with a wired connection that use an in-line mic are the 1More Triple Driver. These wired in-ears have a traditional and casual look, with an in-line remote that houses their microphone. The controls are easy-to-use and give you a good amount of functionality, and the headphones feel decently well-built and durable.
Their sound profile is fairly well-balanced but has a bit of extra bass that will bring extra thump without being overpowering, making them well-suited to a wide variety of genres. Unfortunately, they can sound slightly muddy or dark with certain tracks. Their microphone sounds good, and your voice will be airy and natural but slightly lacking in detail and brightness.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that the in-line microphone sits fairly far from your mouth, your voice will easily get drowned out in even moderately noisy environments. They also don't block out much background noise, so they may not be the best choice if you're looking for some peace on your daily commute. Overall, if you prefer a more casual-looking pair of wired headphones that'll work well for gaming, they're a decent choice.
If you want something with a more neutral sound profile, get the Beats urBeats3 Earphones. These wired in-ears aren't as comfortable as the 1More Triple Driver but have a better-balanced and more accurate sound profile. Their microphone performs very similarly, and your voice will be clear, bright, and easy to understand, though your voice gets easily lost in somewhat noisy environments. Their in-line remote offers the same amount of controls as the 1More and is just as easy-to-use, though unfortunately, it's a bit more limited on some Android devices compared to iOS.
Overall, if you care more about a comfortable pair of versatile in-ears, go with the 1More, but if you prefer a more accurate sound profile that's better suited for a wider range of genres, get the Beats.
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 reviews for earbuds and in-ears. 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 do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.