While many people assume that all gaming accessories are expensive, you can get a surprisingly decent pair of gaming headphones for under $50. Many headphones at this price range can localize sound effects in gameplay well and have microphones with good recording quality, so you're heard clearly by your teammates. 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 645 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best console headsets under $50 and the best PC headset under $50. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best PS4 headsets, and the best Xbox One headsets.
The best headset under $50 that we've tested is the Logitech G432. These wired headphones come with a boom microphone that offers an excellent recording quality, so your teammates can hear you clearly even if you're gaming in a noisy setting. They're also compatible with Logitech's G HUB software, so you can adjust the mic level or customize their sound to enhance your gaming experience.
Out-of-the-box, these headphones have a pretty neutral sound profile that's suitable for most types of audio content, though they lack a bit of boom and punch in the bass range. They have a very comfortable fit, so you can enjoy long gaming sessions without feeling a lot of fatigue. Also, thanks to their wired design, they have fairly low latency, so the audio you hear is mostly in sync with the video you see on your screen.
Unfortunately, like most gaming headphones we've tested, they have poor noise isolation. You may be distracted by ambient noise, like people talking around you while you game. Also, they have a plasticky build and a tight fit on your head, which may not be ideal for all listeners. That said, if you're looking for dedicated PC gaming headphones or the best PS4 headset under $50, the Logitech offer a customizable sound and a solid mic performance that's sure to please most users.
If you're looking for sturdier headphones, you may prefer the HyperX Cloud Stinger. These wired headphones have a more basic design than the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset since they lack a companion app and don't have any sound customization features, but they have a much better build quality. Their boom mic makes your voice sound clear and full-bodied and does an excellent job of separating it from background noise. They have a much more bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump, punch, and boom to your audio, which some may prefer. Unfortunately, you can't customize it to suit your tastes since they don't come with an EQ or presets.
If you want headphones with a customizable sound profile, go for the Logitech, but try the HyperX instead if you want a better-built option and like a slightly bass-heavy sound.
The best gaming headphones under $50 with a detachable mic that we've tested are the SteelSeries Arctis 1. Their sleek design and removable boom mic make them a good choice for gamers looking for headphones that can transition to more casual use, like listening to music at the office. They feel light on your head and have a decently comfortable over-ear fit.
Their sound profile is warm, with a touch of extra boom that can help emphasize sound effects in action-packed games. The boom mic makes your voice sound full-bodied, clear, and detailed, and it does a good job of separating it from ambient sound as well. Their onboard control scheme is well-suited for gaming, with a volume wheel and a mute microphone button on one ear cup.
Unfortunately, they don't feel very well-built or durable. Also, their underemphasized treble response makes some voices and instruments a bit weak and harder to understand. However, they're also prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery, so you may have a different experience depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head. Otherwise, these wired headphones are a decent choice for gamers, especially if you want gaming headphones with a more low-key appearance.
If you're looking for gaming headphones with sound customization features, try the Corsair HS60 PRO SURROUND instead. Their default sound profile delivers a lot more rumble, punch, and boom than the SteelSeries Arctis 1, but they also have a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets that you can use to adjust it to suit you. The app also gives you access to a virtual surround sound feature. Their boom mic makes your voice sound thin but clear and does a good job separating it from background noise. These wired headphones have a much better build quality and a more comfortable fit, although they clamp onto your head more tightly. They're also sometimes priced a bit above $50.
If you're looking for a more neutral sound profile or a superior mic performance, go for the SteelSeries. However, if you want sound customization features, the Corsair are a solid alternative.
The Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P is the best gaming headset under $25 that we've tested. They have a simple design and a plasticky build, but they're a decent choice for gaming if you don't want to spend very much. Their boom mic makes your voice sound clear, full-bodied, and natural and does a good job separating it from background noise.
They have a wired design and simple in-line controls that allow you to easily mute and unmute the mic and adjust the volume while you game. Their sound profile delivers extra boom in the bass range, which can help bring out sound effects in action-packed games. They also have a reasonably comfortable and breathable fit, although their stiff padding can make them fatiguing to wear for hours at a time.
Unfortunately, they feel cheaply made, which is expected at this price point, and the audio cable isn't detachable, so meaning you need to replace your headphones if it's damaged. They're very prone to inconsistent audio delivery depending on their fit and positioning, and they lack sound customization features. That said, they offer a good overall mic performance and are worth considering if you're looking for an inexpensive option.
Dec 09, 2021: Changed the name of the category for the Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P from 'Best Cheap Gaming Headset' to 'Best Gaming Headset Under $25' to be more consistent with price categories in other recommendations for gaming headphones.
Oct 13, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available.
Aug 16, 2021: No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Jun 17, 2021: Checked the text for accuracy and product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Apr 20, 2021: Restructured the order of the picks to better reflect the needs of our users. No pick has been removed.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones 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 under $50, sorted by their gaming performance. 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.