We’ve picked out the best headsets for when you want to get your head in the game without breaking the bank
The best budget gaming headsets offer both great sound and comfort, which is all you need to have fun playing alone or with friends. More expensive headsets might have flashy lights, extra buttons on the side or features you didn’t know you needed, but that doesn’t mean that cheaper gaming headsets are lacking.
We know because we’ve tested a huge number of gaming headsets and have narrowed the list down to the very best. What you pay for in the more expensive models, such as wireless connectivity and surround sound, can often be procured at a bargain if you know where to look.
Fortunately for you, we do. In this guide, you can find our pick of the best cheap gaming headsets to buy. You might be an aspiring pro or just a casual gamer on a budget; either way, we’ve done the tests to help you find the perfect gaming headset. And if you don’t know where to start, you can find our detailed buying guide right below.
Best budget gaming headset: At a glance
How to choose the best budget gaming headset for you
Why choose a gaming headset?
You might be thinking, “why buy a cheap gaming headset when I can just use my old headphones and invest in a cheap microphone of some kind?” It’s a valid point. But what gaming headsets can offer is an all-in-one package that’s hard to come by in other ways.
First, gaming headsets are made to be worn for hours at a time without causing discomfort. The days of getting your hair pulled out from being stuck in cheap plasticky headphones are gone.
Gaming headsets also often have closed-back earcups, shading you from the noises of the outside world. Not everyone has the luxury of sitting in the countryside listening to birdsong while playing games, and you might be living in cramped spaces with other people who want to watch TV or play games themselves.
The microphones that these headsets come with are often designed with the same idea in mind – they will pick up your voice, but not much else. You can often tuck the mics away when not in use, or detach them completely for a hassle-free experience.
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Are cheap gaming headsets just as good?
Mostly, it comes down to convenience. Some headset manufacturers charge extra for what is essentially the wireless version of a cheaper gaming headset, for instance.
Other times, what you’re paying for in the more expensive model is the ability to control volume, mute your microphone or enable an equaliser with buttons on the sides of the ear cups. Sure, if you’re aiming for audiophile-type headphones you’ll get a different sound to the normally more bass-heavy gaming headsets, but they often come without microphones attached, and separately bought microphones can both cost quite a bit and struggle more with background noise.
Sometimes, the more expensive gaming headsets come with various surround-sound technologies such as DTS or THX Spatial Audio, which can offer a more immersive experience. But this all depends on the sound mixing in the game and what type of support it offers. It can also tend to sound shallow and a bit false compared to the immediacy of stereo sound.
Wired or wireless?
Wired headsets are usually the cheaper option and often come with convenient features such as volume controls and mute buttons connected to the wire or USB sound card. They’re great for when you’re sitting in front of a desk or a TV where nobody has to cross in front of you or you’ve got enough space to tuck cables away safely when not in use.
Conversely, wireless headsets means zero cable management (except for when charging), which means you’re free to move around with the headset on and stay in touch with your mates on Discord while you grab a mid-game snack.
Although they tend to cost more than wired models, the audio quality of wireless headsets is just as good as their wired counterparts, and they’re often packed with useful features, such as noise-cancelling microphones and equalising software. The downside is that you’ll have to make sure you don’t run out of charge in the middle of an important match.
READ NEXT: The best wireless gaming headsets
What about comfort?
Many people associate cheap with uncomfortable, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Even the various budget gaming headsets on our roundup are designed with comfort in mind – although this doesn’t mean they’re all created equally. It’s therefore worth considering things such as the materials used in the construction of the ear cups (mostly foam and faux leather), as well whether they are replaceable and if the headband is adjustable. We assess these things in our reviews.
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How we test cheap gaming headsets
We thoroughly test every gaming headset that we include here. Our testing process consists of two main parts: firstly, we inspect the headset, subjecting the headband and ear cups to stress tests to assess their durability. We take note of the number and type of buttons and ports; evaluate the materials used in construction; consider the size and weight of the product; and determine whether the volume and microphone controls are conveniently positioned. Additionally, we examine how easy it is to connect the headset to your PC or console, with wired headsets usually performing better in this aspect.
Secondly, we use the headset for a minimum of one week. During this time, we install and explore any companion app that may accompany the headset. We test the quality of the microphone by recording our voice on PC and seeking feedback from colleagues during video calls in loud and quiet environments. We also engage in gaming sessions and listen to various types of audio to assess the performance of the drivers. Since music and gaming require different frequency mixes (the latter necessitating powerful bass to faithfully reproduce the rumble of gunfire or the roar of car engines), we arrive at separate conclusions regarding the audio quality for each category. By wearing the headset for extended periods, we are also able to accurately gauge how comfortable/well-fitting the ear cups are.
The best budget gaming headsets you can buy in 2023
1. Venom Sabre: Best budget gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon
The best thing about this headset is that you can adjust its flexible headband very easily. Combine that with the well-padded earcups that create a comfy seal, and you’ve got a headset you can wear for hours without tiring.
Sound-wise, the mids and treble are detailed with no shortage of bass. It has a wide soundstage, which faithfully renders all the details of in-game sounds and lets you really escape into the game.
The retractable microphone can be shoved all the way back to fit inside the left ear, perfect for those days when you’re gaming alone. All in all, this is an excellent headset that does the job at a very reasonable price.
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile; Driver size: 50mm; Connection: 3.5mm; Surround sound: No; Noise-cancelling mic: No; Amp/remote: N/A
2. Trust GXT 488 Forze-B: Best budget gaming headset for PlayStation
Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon
Purpose-built for PlayStation gamers, this is not only an aesthetically pleasing gaming headset, but also a comfortable one, with plenty of padding and foam lining in the headband.
It has a bassy sound and comes with an impressively clear-sounding microphone. The mic folds away and is mutable via the in-line volume control.
There’s no surround sound, but for most games, that’s not an issue. This headset will suit gamers looking to have fun with friends just as well as those eager to perform optimally.
Key specs – Platforms: PS4, PS5; Driver size: 50mm; Connection: 3.5mm; Surround sound: No; Noise-cancelling mic: No; Amp/remote: Yes
3. EKSA E900 Pro Stereo: Most comfortable budget gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at Amazon
This is a superbly comfortable headset with plenty of features. You’ve got two connection options, either 3.5mm or USB-A, and the volume can be controlled on the left earcup.
The outside glows red when in use, great for when you want something to complement the rest of your RGB setup.
You can even get 7.1 surround sound with software drivers available on the company’s website, which will give you that extra edge when listening for footsteps on de_dust2.
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch; Driver size: 50mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: Yes; Connection: 3.5mm/USB-A; Cable length: 3.5mm cable – 1.8m + 0.25m splitter cable, USB-A cable – 1.8m
4. HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless: Best budget wireless gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £59 | Check price at Amazon
This is the lightest headset we’ve tested, weighing in at only 245g, and the fact that it’s also wireless means you might walk outside with it on and forget it’s there.
Jokes aside, this is a comfortable headset with breathable cushions and a flip-to-mute microphone for convenience. We found the sound quality very impressive in testing. Better yet, it complements the colour scheme of the PlayStation 5 perfectly. With its 17-hour battery life, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Key specs – Platforms: PS4, PS5, PC; Driver size: 40mm; Connection: 2.4GHz wireless; Surround sound: No; Noise-cancelling mic: Yes; Amp/remote: N/A
5. Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2: Best budget gaming headset for esports
Price when reviewed: £85 | Check price at Amazon
The combination of different EQ presets and superhuman hearing modes and the fact that you won’t have to worry about snagging a wire on anything makes this headset the perfect choice for competitive gaming and ranked play.
The foam earpads ensure a snug fit, and charging is via USB-C, which could mean even fewer wires and clutter on your desk. The 15-hour battery life should last you through a couple of intense sessions at the minimum.
With a clear microphone and a great sense of depth, this is a headset that will let you communicate with your teammates and hear everything going on around you in game.
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (version dependent), Nintendo Switch; Driver type: 50mm; Connection: USB (receiver); Surround sound: Virtual; Noise-suppressing mic: Yes; Battery life: Up to 15 hours