If you enjoy gaming on your phone, a traditional gaming headset is likely too bulky to take you everywhere. Luckily, as mobile gaming has risen in popularity, more earbuds and in-ears are designed with that in mind. Generally, you want a gaming headset with a good microphone, a comfortable fit, and a well-balanced sound profile, so all explosions and dialogue sound how they should. 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 280 pairs of earbuds and in-ears, and below are our picks for the best options for gaming. Unlike traditional over-ear gaming headsets, we haven't tested nearly as many earbuds suitable for gaming yet, but we'll update this list as we test more. You can also check our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best earbuds, and the best earbuds with a mic.
The EPOS GTW 270 Ηybrid Truly Wireless are the best earbuds for gaming that we've tested. These wireless earbuds are very well-built and have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming sessions. Their bass-rich sound profile can help bring out sound effects in action-packed games and can also be customized with a graphic EQ and presets in the headphones' companion app. They also support Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound, which can help make your game audio more immersive. Their integrated mic makes your voice sound clear and natural, although people may have trouble hearing you if you're talking in a noisy environment.
They support aptX-LL codec, which ensures low latency with Βluetooth-compatible PCs. They also have a USB-C dongle that provides a fairly low-latency connection with PlayStation consoles and PCs. However, users have reported connectivity issues using the dongle after updating to the latest firmware. Unfortunately, this same firmware also lowered their original advertised battery life, and we measured just over three hours, which is pretty short. Their carrying case supplies three extra charges, and they have a 15-minute quick charge feature that delivers up to one hour of playback time.
The KZ AS10 are the best mid-range gaming earbuds we've tested. They don't feature Bluetooth like our top pick, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless, but their wired connection ensures low latency when gaming on PC and consoles. The buds are made of durable plastic, and the cables wrap over the top of your ears to make them more stable. However, they can get in the way if you wear glasses, and the buds' bulky build can become fatiguing over time. Fortunately, the cable is replaceable, so you won't need to buy an entirely new pair of earbuds if it gets damaged.
Their sound profile is bass-heavy, which gives sound effects like gunshots and footsteps thump and punch. Dialogue and music sound clear, intense, and bright but slightly pushed back. Once you find which of the three included sizes of ear tips works best for you, their in-ear fit makes a great seal and, in turn, results in great passive noise isolation, so you'll want to pick these up if you have noisy housemates or siblings. They also do a surprisingly good job of keeping out noise from rumbly bus engines, making them just as versatile if you want to wear them out on the town.
The best budget gaming earbuds that we've tested are the Logitech G333. Like the KZ AS10, their wired design keeps away latency and ensures a better overall sound quality than Bluetooth buds. Since they're intended for gaming, they have a few features the KZ don't have by default, like in-line controls to change the volume and a microphone. The mic has a decent recording quality, so your teammates will understand you during online games, but its noise handling isn't good, so your voice could be drowned out if you're playing in a noisy area.
These buds have a comfortable fit and feel sturdy. Their very bass-heavy sound profile also adds a lot of punch and boom to the audio. It can help emphasize sound effects in action-packed games but can make other types of content, like music or dialogue, sound muddy or cluttered. Unfortunately, they don't have an app or sound customization features. On the plus side, they come with a USB-C adapter for the 1/8" TRRS cable, so you can use them with phones that don't have an audio jack.
The MOONDROP Aria put sound front and center. These in-ear monitors (IEMs) have a fairly neutral sound profile with a touch of extra boom to draw attention to sound effects like footsteps without muddying or obscuring dialogue. Their wired design also ensures a latency-free gaming experience. Even though they don't have a mic, thanks to their swappable cable design, you can purchase a cable with an in-line mic separately.
These buds are comfortable and come with several pairs of ear tips to help you get the best fit. They're not designed to block out a significant amount of ambient sound, but they can help reduce sounds like ambient chatter around you, which is great if you're gaming in a noisy living room. These buds are also well-built overall, although some users have reported that the included audio cable can fray or curl up, and the paint job of the buds can chip off over time.
If you're looking for earbuds to ensure you're heard clearly when gaming with others, you'll want to check out the SteelSeries TUSQ. These wired buds stand out from the other picks on this list thanks to their detachable boom mic. It sits closer to your mouth than an integrated or in-line version, making your voice sound clearer and more full-bodied than the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless' mic. Their wired design also provides a latency-free connection with PCs, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles.
They have a very bass-heavy sound profile that adds intense thump, punch, and boom to your audio. It helps make sound effects like footsteps and explosions seem more immersive, but elements like voices and instruments sound muddy. Unfortunately, they lack sound customization features. They're also best suited for quiet areas since they don't isolate you from much sound, and the mic has mediocre noise handling. If that's an issue, the Turtle Beach Battle Buds have a boom mic that can separate your voice from ambient sound decently well, so you'll be understood even with some noise in the background. They have a very muddy profile and aren't as well-built.
If you tend to game on the go, consider the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021, the best wireless earbuds for gaming with ANC we've tested. Unlike the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless, these buds have a noise cancelling (ANC) system to help reduce ambient sound. Although these two headphones have similar noise isolation performances, the Razer are better for tackling bass-range sound like bus engines. If you're looking for more unique features, these buds also stand out from other picks on this list as they have RGB lighting that you can fine-tune using the Razer Chroma app.
They have a very bass-heavy sound profile out of the box with extra punch and boom. Even though it can overwhelm dialogue and instruments, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can customize their sound to suit your tastes. If you're worried about latency, they also have a 'Gaming Mode' setting that helps lower audio lag within acceptable levels, ensuring your audio and visuals stay in sync. Unfortunately, their 4.7-hour continuous playback time is short if you want to game throughout the day, but on the upside, their carrying case supplies four additional charges if you need it.
Jun 06, 2023: Moved the MOONDROP Aria to be our pick for the 'Best Sounding Gaming Earbuds' and replaced them with the KZ AS10 as our pick for the 'Best Mid-Range Gaming Earbuds'.
Apr 06, 2023: We've checked our picks for accuracy and availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Feb 01, 2023: We've updated our recommendations for product accuracy and clarity. However, there hasn't been a change in our picks.
Nov 10, 2022: Replaced the 1More Triple Driver with the Logitech G333 because of their better build quality.
Jun 30, 2022: Replaced the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless 2021 with the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Truly Wireless as the 'Best Earbuds For Gaming' because the EPOS are back in stock. Made the Razer the 'Best ANC Earbuds For Gaming' and added the MOONDROP Aria as the 'Βest-Sounding Earbuds For Gaming'.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best in-ear gaming headphones. 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.