Although most gaming headsets tend to have a reasonable price-to-performance ratio, especially when compared to more casual headphones, it can still be quite difficult to find a good budget headset. While cheaper gaming headsets generally have less features like wireless compatibility or customization options, there are still some good choices that are well worth their asking price. Whether you’re looking for gaming headphones that you can also use casually or a dedicated gaming headset with the best microphone around, 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 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headphones under $50 to get in 2020 for gaming. See also our recommendations for the best gaming headsets for PC, the best wireless gaming headsets, the best gaming headsets under $100, the best PS4 headsets, and the best Xbox One headsets.
The best gaming headset under $50 that we’ve tested is the Corsair HS60. Although these headphones are inexpensive, they certainly don't feel cheap. The build quality is impressive, the design is understated, and the microphone is detachable, making them great for casual everyday use. That said, commuting or traveling with them may not be ideal, as they have very poor noise isolation and leak quite a bit, even for over-ear closed-back headphones. On the upside, if you're mainly using these for gaming, the microphone is decent. Speech is understandable and the mic can separate voice from background noise in a moderately noisy environment.
Their default sound signature is decent, but the bass sounds a bit boomy and the treble can sound piercing at times. Corsair's iCUE software does let you tune the sound to your liking with several presets as well as a graphic EQ, but you'll need to use the included USB dongle to access it, and the software is only available for Windows.
In full disclosure, the regular price of these headphones is slightly above $50, but they do go on sale quite often, which is why we recommend them. For such a competent pair of headphones, it's worth keeping an eye out for any discount.
If you like having tons of customization options without spending a fortune, take a look at the Logitech G432. Their gamer design and the plastic construction may not please everyone, but these headphones perform well above their price point. They're comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions and they sound good out of the box, with a mid-centric profile that greatly emphasizes vocals and leads. Of course, Logitech's G Hub software will let you customize the sound to your heart's content, either with presets or with the graphic EQ. You can also activate the DTS 7.1 virtual surround sound feature through this software.
Unfortunately, these headphones can only be used wired and the microphone isn't detachable. Additionally, they have very poor noise isolation, so it's best to use them in a quiet room. You can use these headphones with other devices such as a gaming console, but the USB dongle is only compatible with the PS4, while Xbox One users will need to use the 1/8" TRRS connection. Lastly, the microphone is superb on this headset. Speech comes across full and natural, and the mic has no issues separating voice from ambient noise.
Overall, these headphones may not have the best build quality, but Logitech's user-friendly software is one of the best on the market and they'll surely satisfy most gamers.
If you play a lot of online multiplayer games and are looking for the best mic quality you can get, go for the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They have one of the best boom microphones we’ve tested so far and provide great value for their price. They have decently padded ear cups and a relatively lightweight design, so they’re comfortable enough to wear for hours. They don’t have the same premium feel as other HyperX headphones like the HyperX Cloud II, but for their price, they're pleasantly well-made with a well-balanced sound profile that should satisfy most listeners.
They have an outstanding microphone that delivers impressive recording quality and remarkable noise handling. Their sound imaging is excellent and you should be able to hear and locate the footsteps of your allies and attacks of your enemies with great precision.
Unfortunately, these headphones don’t come with a Y-splitter and aren’t customizable like the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset. You also can’t detach their boom microphone, which makes them less versatile for casual use. That said, the HyperX still provide a lot of value, and budget-conscious gamers looking for good sound reproduction and an even better microphone in a comfortable and sturdy design are sure to love them.
If you want a gaming headset with a good mic that's also removable, go for the SteelSeries Arctis 1. They aren't quite as comfortable as the HyperX Cloud Stinger and they don't feel as well-built, but their microphone is removable so you can use them as day-to-day headphones when you aren't gaming. While their sound reproduction is good overall, it varies significantly across users, so different people may notice very distinct sound profiles. Their microphone performs as well as the HyperX, but unfortunately they have a cheap, plasticky build and shallow ear cups which some people may find fatiguing after a while.
If you care more about comfort and durability, go with the HyperX, but if you like the versatility that having a detachable mic provides, get the SteelSeries, one of the best Xbox One headsets under $50.
If you spent all your money on an excellent gaming TV or monitor but still want a gaming headset with an impressive microphone, get the Turtle Beach Recon 50X. They're less comfortable than the HyperX Cloud Stinger and feel significantly cheaper built, but they still have great microphone performance and are usually quite a bit cheaper. Their sound reproduction is decent, though it tends to be a little bass-heavy. Unfortunately, like the SteelSeries Arctis 1, they seem to be quite inconsistent, with significantly uneven bass response among different users. They have a great microphone which sounds full and detailed and does a good job at separating speech from background noise, but their low price point comes across in their build quality, which feels quite cheap and plasticky.
If you're a little rough on your headphones and want something that feels better built, go for the HyperX, but if you want something cheaper that still has a great microphone, go with the Turtle Beach, one of the best PC headsets under $50.
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 that are good for gaming. 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 do not care about having a microphone or wireless features.
01/08/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
11/1/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.