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Best Overall: BENGOO G9000 Stereo Gaming Headset at Amazon
"Get ready to love your favorite game even more."
Best Overall Runner-up: SADES Stereo Gaming Headset at Amazon
"High-quality audio...for better in-game communication."
Most Versatile: Mpow EG3 Gaming Headset at Amazon
"The immersive sound environment lets you hear enemies."
Most Sensitive Sound: ONIKUMA Gaming Headset at Amazon
"Incredible sensitivity of these headphones will blow you away."
Best for PS4: BlueFire Professional PS4 Gaming Headset at Amazon
"The padding around the ears...helps to ensure comfort."
Best Style: Arkatech Gaming Headset with Mic at Amazon
"An affordable but very cool-looking gaming headset."
Gaming accessories across the board have been improving in leaps and bounds over the last few years, so it's a perfect time to be shopping for one of the best gaming headsets for under $50. Spending less doesn't mean you have to settle for trash-tier quality, and in many cases some of these less expensive headsets can compete with even the best headphones for music lovers in terms of features and functionality. A lot of times the major sacrifice you're making is in brand name: some of the best headsets for gaming are produced by lesser-known manufacturers, which often translates to a lighter impact on your wallet.
So what should you prioritize when you're shopping gaming headsets? If you play a ton of multiplayer games and aren't just looking for a more intimate listening experience, a great microphone is key. That doesn't mean audio quality isn't important, however, so you should also consider how balanced the sound a pair of cans produces is, and how well it does with positional and environmental audio. We've evaluated a swath of the best, affordable headsets available so you want have to come with grips with any crippling buyer's remorse.
Courtesy of Amazon
Great audio quality with booming bass
Not the highest volume
Get ready to love your favorite game even more, thanks to the immersive sound provided by the BENGOO G9000 Stereo Gaming Headset. This headset is compatible with most gaming platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, laptop, Mac and even phone games. With a high-precision, 40mm magnetic neodymium driver and booming bass, these headphones provide clear sound that enhances your experience whether you’re just enjoying the soundtrack, chatting with team members or losing yourself in the shocks and sounds of your favorite game.
The noise-isolating, omnidirectional microphone helps messages come through nice and clear even amidst the most chaotic action, while the extra-soft over-ear pads will keep you comfortable during marathon gaming sessions. Use the convenient built-in controls on the cable to instantly control volume or mute your microphone. Plus, these headphones cost less than $30 and can also be used for video chatting or conference calls, too.
Premium omnidirectional mic
Adapter required for compatibility
The SADES SA807PLUS stereo gaming headset is an excellent, well-rounded choice for a player looking to improve his or her gaming experience with high-quality audio and a microphone for better in-game communication. The headset comes equipped with a premium omnidirectional microphone that picks up audio from 360 degrees, making it perfect for staying in touch with teammates or video chatting. The mute button and volume controls are designed for convenient hand control.
Enjoy three-dimensional stereo sound to help you stay motivated and alert no matter what game you love. This gaming headset is ready to go right out of the box; simply plug and play to get started, no driver needed. With the included adapter, this headset works with PlayStation 4, new Xbox One, PC, Nintendo 3DS, laptops, PSP, iPad, iPod, MP3/MP4 players and smartphones. The retractable headband is ergonomically designed and comes with soft over-ear pads that help redirect sound and block out distracting outside noises.
Awesome 50mm neodymium drivers
Virtual surround sound
Lightweight and comfy
Requires additional software for customization
No matter what platform you love, the budget-friendly Mpow EG3 gaming headset will probably work for you; these headphones are compatible with PCs (Windows 7, 8 and 10), PlayStation 4 and any devices with USB audio support. Advanced 50mm neodymium drivers provide a surround sound-like effect to help you really get into your gaming experience. The immersive sound environment lets you hear enemies before they sneak up on you and ensures that you don't miss any loot drops.
After purchasing these headphones, you can download the Mpow gaming software in order to fully customize the sound profile, and even create different sound profiles for each of your favorite games. Made from lightweight metal, these headphones were designed with comfort in mind, thanks to tension controls that allow you to adjust the tightness of your headphones based on what feels good to you. Plus, memory foam earpads feel cool and soft on your ears even after you’ve been wearing them for hours.
Anti-static, noise-canceling mic
Comfortable for long sessions
Are you playing a game where you need to hear which direction sounds are coming from to stay one step ahead? With the Onikuma gaming headset, you’ll enjoy surround sound that helps you track both friends and enemies. The 50mm driver and incredible sensitivity of these headphones will blow you away — it can pick up sounds from 20Hz to 20KHz. Thanks to the cutting-edge anti-static design the noise-canceling microphone provides smooth in-game communication.
The ear cups are made from soft, durable memory foam smoothed over with a bionic protein cushion coat and the over-ear design promotes long-term comfort. Plus, the ONIKUMA gaming headset is compatible with many of the most popular gaming systems, including Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, Windows PCs, Mac OS PCs, iOS devices, Android devices, PS4, PS Vita and PSP. With additional accessories, it can also work with the Xbox One.
Great for PS4
Immersive surround sound
Convenient in-line controls
If you are looking for an affordable gaming headset for your PS4, the BlueFire Professional 3.5mm gaming headset is just right for you. This gaming headset is specially designed for PS4 gamers, but it can also be used with a PC, iMac, laptop, tablet, PSP and Xbox One. The high-precision 40mm neodymium magnetic driver provides immersive surround sound, and convenient in-line controls allow you to quickly adjust volume or mute your microphone, which comes with a convenient 3.5mm jack and is also adjustable and removable.
Though this headset isn’t wireless, you won’t be chained to your screen because the long, soft, braided cord gives you more than seven feet of freedom. Even after hours of gameplay, the padding around the ears and on top of this headset help to ensure comfort, too — all for under $20.
Almost universal compatibility
Lightweight and well padded
Stylish, futuristic aesthetic
Mic can be a bit quiet
If you like to live stream your games and are looking for an affordable but very cool-looking gaming headset, the Arkatech is a good choice. First of all, it is widely compatible with many systems, including PS4, new Xbox Ones, PCs, laptops, Nintendo Switch, PSP, tablets and mobile phones (if you have the old Xbox One you’ll need a Microsoft adapter to connect). The lightweight, padded headband easily adjusts to fit heads of all sizes, whether for adults or children.
The skin-friendly, over-ear earpads are super soft and permit a lot of air-permeability for long-wear comfort. But the coolest thing about this headset is its stylish, futuristic appearance featuring a breathing LED light effect with seven colors that automatically change as they glow. Plus, the noise-canceling microphone can be fixed at the right angle for you or can be folded away when not in use.
If you're looking for a fantastic, slick-looking all-around gaming headset but aren't keen to spend a bundle, the BENGOO G9000 is a fantastic choice, offering great audio quality and a killer mic at a ridiculously low price. The SADES SA807PLUS is an excellent alternative, with its high-quality omnidirectional mic, handy controls, and three-dimensional stereo audio.
Patrick Hyde has been covering tech for a number of major outlets for more than four years now. He specializes in headphones and earbuds (as well as Android devices and other consumer electronics), and was a perfect fit for our best affordable gaming headphones roundup.
Audio quality - Regardless of how you plan to use them, audio quality should always be a critical consideration when you're picking out a new headset. The drivers powering the audio output are one of the most important elements in sound reproduction, and you'll also want to look for a set that's well-balanced across low, mid, and high tones.
Microphone - Mic quality can make or break a gaming headset, particularly if play with others online a ton. If you game a lot in a really noisy environment, be sure to prioritize a headset with a noise-canceling or noise-isolating mic (like several of the models on our list).
Fit and comfort - If you're like the staff at Lifewire, chances are you're prone to marathon gaming sessions, in which case a cozy pair of cans is key. For extended play, you want something that's built of lightweight materials and padded and plush enough to sit comfortably on your dome while you frag bad guys.