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 450 pairs of headphones and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets under $50 to get in 2020. 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 versatile enough for casual use that we’ve tested so far is the Corsair HS60. These wired gaming headphones are comfortable and feel very well-built, thanks to their sturdy metal build with a well-padded headband and ear cups. They'll work with either PS4 or Xbox One by plugging them directly into the controller, and they come with a USB adapter for PC as well. It's worth noting that we tested the regular version that's slowly being discontinued, and while we'd expect the cheaper PRO V2 model to perform similarly or better, we haven't reviewed it yet.
They have a detachable boom microphone, so they can double as your day-to-day headphones as well, which is great. Their sound profile is fairly well-balanced, with a bit of extra bass that's good for gaming and will likely please fans of EDM or hip-hop, though they should be balanced enough for most other genres. However, like with many bulky gaming headphones, their sound reproduction isn't the most consistent, so people with glasses or long hair may experience their bass response differently.
Unfortunately, while the microphone quality of these headphones is decent, your voice will sound a bit thin and bright. Their cable also doesn't have an in-line microphone and can't be swapped out for one that does, meaning if you use them out and about without their boom mic, you won't be able to take phone calls on them. Overall, they're a very good choice for using with any console and are the best PS4 headset under $50.
The best gaming headset under $50 for customization that we've tested to date is the Logitech G432. These wired gaming headphones are comfortable thanks to their lightweight design, with large and 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.
These headphones are 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.
The best gaming headset under $50 for mic quality we've tested so far is the HyperX Cloud Stinger. These wired gaming headphones feature a pretty conservative look for a gaming headset and feel decently well-built, although their plastic construction isn’t necessarily the most premium feeling. On the bright side, they should be comfortable enough to wear through the longest multiplayer raids, thanks to their lightweight design, generously-sized ear cups, and relatively soft padding.
Their sound profile is fairly excited, with overemphasized bass that should provide a bit of added oomph to a game’s score or to explosions and gunshots. One of their greatest assets is their non-detachable boom mic, which makes your voice sound full-bodied and clear, even in the most hectic of gaming tournaments.
On the downside, while they simply plug into an Xbox One or PS4 controller, they ship without a USB dongle, which could be an issue for certain PC gamers. Also, if you wear glasses or have long hair, they don’t offer the most consistent listening experience, especially in the bass and treble range. Still, this is still the best Xbox One headset under $50 we've seen so far and it offers a surprisingly great mic considering its price.
If you want gaming headphones with a good microphone that can be detached, get the SteelSeries Arctis 1. These wired gaming headphones aren't as comfortable as the HyperX Cloud Stinger and feel quite a bit cheaper overall, but their excellent boom microphone is detachable, making them better for more casual use as well. Their sound profile is slightly better-balanced than the HyperX, though some may find they lack a bit of detail and presence. They can be used with both Xbox One and PS4, but unfortunately don't have an in-line microphone or swappable cable, so you can't use them for phone calls when you detach the boom mic.
If you want gaming headphones that feel better-built and more comfortable with a great microphone, get the HyperX, but if you want something with a detachable microphone so you can use them on your daily commute as well, go for the SteelSeries.
If you’re looking for a back-to-basics gaming headset but can’t afford to skimp on the quality of your microphone, then it’s tough to beat the Turtle Beach Recon 50X. They aren’t as comfortable or durable-feeling as the HyperX Cloud Stinger, but they can be found for a lower price and have a similarly impressive microphone. The boom microphone is outstanding, as your voice will sound natural, clear, and full-bodied, even in noisy environments. Like many other bulky gaming headphones, it’s tricky to get a consistent fit if you wear glasses or have long hair, so different users will likely have a completely different listening experience, especially in the bass range. That being said, their average sound profile is somewhat well-balanced, with good bass and reasonable treble accuracy, although low mids are overemphasized, so they might sound a little cluttered and muddy.
If you’re looking for gaming headphones with an excellent mic and don't mind spending a little more on something more premium-feeling, get the HyperX. However, if you’ve blown the budget on a new gaming TV or monitor but still want a headset with a good-quality microphone, then the Turtle Beach are a good choice.
07/03/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy; no changes in product picks.
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 all 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