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 540 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 HyperX Cloud Stinger is the best gaming headset under $50 that we've tested. While they have a very simple design, these wired gaming headphones are decently well-built, with spacious ear cups and comfortable padding so that you don't feel too much fatigue during long gaming sessions. They also offer an excellently performing boom microphone at an affordable price.
Their non-detachable boom mic can capture voices clearly, even in loud environments like a gaming tournament. They have a somewhat excited sound profile with a thumpy, overemphasized bass that can help bring out the intensity of sound effects in your favorite video games. Thanks to their 1/8 inch TRRS cable, they're also fully compatible with your PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Unfortunately, they're prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery, especially if you wear glasses or have thick hair. They're also very low in extra features and only offer a volume slider. That said, if you like to chat with your friends while you play, these headphones offer a great mic, and they're even one of the best Xbox One headset under $50 that we've tested too.
If you want gaming headphones with a removable boom microphone, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 1. These wired gaming headphones are less comfortable than the HyperX Cloud Stinger and aren't as well-built, but their boom microphone can be detached to give them a more casual appearance or to make storing them a little easier. This boom mic also delivers slightly superior recording quality and does a marginally better job of isolating speech from background noise. While they leak less audio than the HyperX, they do an even worse job of blocking out ambient chatter.
Get the HyperX if you want a more comfortable pair of gaming headphones, but get the SteelSeries if you want something that can be made to look a little more casual.
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 Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P is the best cheap gaming headset that we've tested. Despite their budget-friendly price, these wired gaming headphones are equipped with a high-quality boom microphone that makes your voice sound full-bodied, natural, and mostly free of background noise, so your teammates should have no trouble understanding you even if you're in a noisy environment.
These headphones have a slightly boomy sound profile, which should emphasize the thump and rumble of sound effects in action-heavy games. While they aren't the most subtle-looking of headphones, you can detach their boom microphone to give them a more casual appearance. Their in-line remote is decently easy to use and provides good feedback, allowing you to adjust volume and mute your mic quickly and intuitively.
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly given their price, these headphones feel quite cheap and fragile. Their audio cable is thin, and since it's non-removable, the entire unit needs to be replaced if it gets damaged. They also block out very little noise and aren't especially comfortable. Still, if you're looking for cheap gaming headphones but still want a high-quality boom mic, these aren't a bad choice.
12/21/2020: Slight changes to the text for accuracy and clarity; no change in main product recommendations.
10/28/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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.
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