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 625 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 want gaming headphones with a customizable sound profile, try the Corsair HS60 PRO SURROUND instead. Out of the box, they bring a lot more thump, punch, and boom to game audio than the SteelSeries Arctis 1, but they have companion software that includes a graphic EQ and presets, so you can customize their sound profile to suit you. Their boom mic has an alright recording quality, so your voice should sound clear but a bit thin. It does a good job of separating your voice from background noise, so teammates should be able to hear you even if you're talking from a moderately noisy environment. They have a comfortable fit, with well-padded ear cups, although they're tighter on your head than the SteelSeries. Also, their price sometimes rises above $50.
If you're looking for a better mic performance or headphones with a more neutral default sound profile, go for the SteelSeries, but try the Corsair instead if you want a better-build or more customizable option.
The best cheap gaming headset that we've tested is the Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P. Although they have a simple design, their boom microphone does an excellent job of recording your voice, so you sound clear, full-bodied, and natural. It also offers a good noise handling performance, so your teammates shouldn't have a problem hearing you, even if you're talking in moderately noisy environments.
These headphones have a boomy sound profile that can help emphasize sound effects in your gameplay. While they lack more robust controls, their in-line controls allow you to quickly adjust the volume and mute their microphone. They have a fairly comfortable and lightweight fit, although some users may find them fatiguing to wear for long gaming marathons.
Unfortunately, they have a cheap and plasticky build, which is expected at their price point. Their audio cable isn't detachable, so you need to purchase a new pair of headphones if it gets damaged, and they're prone to inconsistencies in their audio delivery. However, they offer an even more affordable audio experience without sacrificing too much on performance.
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.
Feb 19, 2021: Removed the Corsair HS50 and the Cougar Immersa from Notable Mentions as they aren't widely available. Minor changes to the text for accuracy; no changes in product picks after verifying their availability.
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.