While many assume that all gaming accessories are expensive, you can get a decent pair of gaming headphones for under $50. Many headphones in 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 some may lack 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 770 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best budget gaming headsets. Also, check out our recommendations for the best gaming headsets, the best PS4 headsets, and the best Xbox One headsets.
The best headset we've tested in the budget range is the Logitech G432. These wired headphones have a 1/8" TRRS cable, which allows you to connect them to most consoles via analog. Their USB adapter offers very low latency, so your audio and visuals stay in sync while gaming. They're decently well-built with a comfortable and lightweight fit for longer gaming sessions. Plus, they're more than suitable for multi-player games thanks to their boom microphone, which ensures your voice sounds clear, even in moderately noisy environments.
Their sound profile lacks bass, which can make action-packed games seem less immersive, but dialogue still sounds present and clear. Their companion software offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you tweak their otherwise balanced sound. Unfortunately, they're prone to inconsistent audio delivery, so you must adjust their fit and positioning to get the same sound every time you use them. The Logitech G335 are around the same price and have a more consistent sound delivery. You might prefer them because they're more comfortable and durable, but they reproduce even less low bass and don't have an app or sound customization features.
The Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P is an even more affordable gaming headset. Their simple and plasticky design is a step down from the Logitech G432, but they're still worth considering if price is a major factor. Their cost varies depending on what color you get, but all models will work with any device with an AUX port. Their large ear cups are well-padded and decently comfortable for longer gaming sessions.
Due to their wired design, their boom microphone delivers better overall performance than the similarly priced Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless, which is great if you want to communicate with teammates. Your voice sounds clear and easy to understand, even if you're gaming in a moderately noisy environment. Their sound also has an intense boom in the bass range, which can accentuate sound effects like explosions in gameplay. That said, the extra bass overwhelms and muddies dialogue and instruments. They don't have any sound customization features to adjust their sound to your liking, which isn't ideal but could be a fair trade-off if you're shopping on a budget.
While it can be hard to find wireless options at this price point, the best gaming headset under $50 we've tested with this design is the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless. These are worth considering if you don't want to worry about a cable, and they're designed for people with smaller heads, so their fit is tighter than other gaming headphones. You can find the Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P at a similar price, but these are better built with a more comfortable fit for most people.
You can easily pair these headphones to PCs and PlayStation consoles using the dongle, or you can use Bluetooth with your Nintendo Switch and smartphone with decently low latency. They also support Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth wireless, meaning you can use them while gaming or even during your daily grind. However, their integrated mic struggles to separate speech from background noise, especially compared to the Turtle Beach, so they're not quite as good for multi-player games.
On the upside, their warm sound profile is well-suited for gaming. The extra warmth and boom help draw attention to sound effects like footsteps while dialogue and instruments remain clear. They lack sound customization features. If you want wireless headphones to tweak to your liking, you'll need to jump to a higher price bracket. The Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless are more expensive but still under $100. They work with the Logitech G HUB software, which includes a graphic EQ and presets so you can adjust their sound profile. They also offer a longer continuous battery life and lower latency via non-Bluetooth wireless.
If you're looking for an affordable headset with a strong mic performance, look at the Astro A10. These headphones are the previous generation of the Astro A10 Gen 2 and offer an even better mic performance at a lower price. Their boom mic makes recorded speech sound clear, detailed, and full-bodied. It does an impressive job of separating your voice from background noise, including loud noise like a busy street outside your window, so your teammates will hear you clearly no matter where you game.
These headphones are well-built and decently comfortable, with a detachable audio cable that's easy to replace if damaged. As for sound, they bring a little extra punch and boom to emphasize sound effects like footsteps. However, dialogue and instruments are pushed to the back of mixes, and there aren't any EQ presets to customize their sound. If you don't mind buying a more expensive model, the Astro A20 Gen 2 Wireless headphones have a more balanced mid-range, so elements like voices are more present in the mix. However, their mic performance isn't as strong, and they also lack an app with customization tools.
The best gaming headset under $50 with a detachable mic we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis 1. A detachable mic is especially handy if you're looking for a headset that works for casual use since you can remove the mic to listen to music while at the office or on your commute. Although these headphones are an older model that's slowly being phased out, you can still find them online through some retailers. They're also more expensive than the Logitech G432 but offer a more comfortable fit and a better-balanced sound profile, with a bit of extra boom that can help emphasize sound effects. They don't have an app or sound customization features, however.
Their mic has excellent recording quality, so your voice sounds clear when gaming online. It also does a good job of separating your voice from background noise, although it's not ideal if you often play in a noisy place. The headphones don't isolate you from much ambient sound, though. Their build quality feels plasticky and not particularly durable, but on the plus side, their onboard controls are easy to use and include a mic mute switch on one ear cup.
It's not easy to find a sturdy-feeling headset at this price point. Our top pick has an okay build, but if you want something more durable, look at the HyperX Cloud 3/Cloud III instead. They're more expensive, but you can often find them on sale below the $100 mark, and they have a better build quality than any headset we've tested below that price point. They're the next generation of the popular HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II and feature compatibility with the HyperX Ngenuity app, where you can access a graphic EQ and presets. They use an analog connection and come with a USΒ dongle that provides low latency with PCs and PlayStation consoles, giving you more features like channel mixing and virtual surround sound.
Their detachable mic's recording quality is better than the Astro A10's, making your voice sound clear and full-bodied. They do a better job of separating your voice from background noise but are quite a bit more expensive, so the Astro headphones are still the best choice if you're looking for great mic performance at a low price. While they have a superbly detailed mid-range reproducing dialogue with great clarity, their bass response is lacking, so explosions lack rumble and boom. That said, you can always adjust the sound profile in the companion app.
Feb 05, 2024: We've replaced the HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II with the HyperX Cloud 3/Cloud III as our most durable budget headset pick due to price changes. We've also checked to ensure all other picks remain in stock.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headsets in the budget and cheap range 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's 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.