While many people assume that all gaming accessories are expensive, you can get a surprisingly decent pair of gaming headphones for under $50. While they may lack some features like wireless connectivity or customization options that you'd find on more expensive pairs, there are many decent options you can use with your consoles or PC that won't blow a hole in your budget.
We’ve tested over 480 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets under $50 to get in 2020. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets for PC, the best PS4 headsets, and the best Xbox One headsets.
The best gaming headset under $50 that we've tested so far is the HyperX Cloud Stinger. These wired gaming headphones feature a pretty conservative look for a gaming headset and feel fairly well-built, although their plastic construction isn’t necessarily the most premium-feeling. On the bright side, they have a very comfortable fit, thanks to their lightweight design, generously-sized ear cups, and relatively soft padding.
Their sound profile is fairly excited, with overemphasized bass that should provide a bit of added oomph to action-packed scenes and explosions. One of their greatest assets is their non-detachable boom microphone, making your voice sound full-bodied and clear, even in the most hectic of gaming tournaments.
On the downside, if you wear glasses or have long hair, they don’t offer the most consistent listening experience, especially in the bass and treble range. Still, this is the best Xbox One headset under $50 that we've seen so far, and it offers a surprisingly great microphone considering its price.
If you want gaming headphones with a good microphone that can be detached, get the SteelSeries Arctis 1. These wired gaming headphones aren't as comfortable as the HyperX Cloud Stinger and feel quite a bit cheaper overall, but their excellent boom microphone is detachable, making them better for more casual use. Their sound profile is slightly better-balanced than the HyperX, though some may find they lack a bit of detail and presence. They can be used with both Xbox One and PS4, but unfortunately, they don't have an in-line microphone or swappable cable, so you can't use them for phone calls when you detach the boom microphone.
If you want gaming headphones that feel better-built and more comfortable with a great microphone, get the HyperX, but if you want something with a detachable microphone so you can use them on your daily commute as well, go for the SteelSeries.
The best gaming headset under $50 for customization that we've tested is the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset. These wired headphones are comfortable thanks to their lightweight design and large, spacious ear cups coated in a well-padded pleather material. They work with both Xbox One and PS4 by plugging into the controller and also come with a USB dongle to use them on your PC.
They're compatible with Logitech's G HUB software, which works very well and gives you access to a fair amount of customization options. You can fine-tune their sound profile through a graphic EQ or presets, which is good as they lack a bit of bass and treble by default. Their microphone is excellent, and your voice will sound full, detailed, natural, and easy to understand, even in very loud environments.
Unfortunately, they have a very bulky and gamer-centric design that some people may not love, and their large boom microphone can't be removed, so they may not be the best choice to take out of the house. They also don't feel the most durable and premium, as they look and feel very plasticky. Overall, these gaming headphones perform surprisingly well for the price and give you a ton of customization options.
If you're looking for a better-built, more premium-looking customizable gaming headset, consider the Corsair HS60 PRO SURROUND. While their out-of-the-box sound profile is bass-heavy and not as neutral as the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset, these headphones are very durable, well-built, and have a comfortable fit. Thanks to their companion software, you can easily adjust their sound profile using the graphic EQ and presets. You can also access the 7.1 virtual surround sound feature via the iCUE software, though we don't test for this. Unlike the Logitech, their boom microphone is detachable, which is convenient, but unfortunately, it doesn't perform as well and can make your voice sound thin. These headphones also sometimes retail slightly above the $50 price range.
If you prefer headphones with a more neutral out-of-the-box sound profile and a better microphone performance, choose the Logitech, but if you want a more premium-looking headset and can spend a bit more, go with the Corsair instead.
The best cheap gaming headphones that we've tested so far are the Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P. They aren’t as comfortable or durable-feeling as the HyperX Cloud Stinger, but they can be found for a lower price and have a similarly impressive microphone. They're compatible with your Xbox One, PC, and PS4 through a wired connection, so you won't have to worry about latency.
Overall, their average sound profile is decently well-balanced, with reasonable treble accuracy, although low mids are overemphasized, so they might sound a little cluttered and muddy. They have great, extended bass, so you'll be able to feel the deep thump and rumble from explosions and action-packed scenes. The detachable boom microphone performs well, too, so your voice will sound natural, clear, and full-bodied, even in noisy environments.
On the downside, like many other bulky gaming headphones, it’s tricky to get a consistent fit if you wear glasses or have long hair, so different users will likely have a completely different listening experience, especially in the bass range. That said, if you’re looking for gaming headphones with an excellent microphone on a tight budget, these are a good choice.
09/01/2020: Replaced the Corsair HS60 with the HyperX Cloud Stinger as Best Overall to reflect changing availability. Added the Corsair HS60 PRO SURROUND as Better-Built Customizable Alternative. Added the Razer BlackShark V2 as a Notable Mention.
07/03/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy; no changes in product picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headsets under $50 for most people to buy. 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 headphones. 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