TL; DR – These are the Best Budget Gaming Headsets:
1. SteelSeries Arctis 1
Best Budget Gaming Headset
The SteelSeries 1 (read our review) delivers impressive and immersive audio for both PC and console gaming with its large 40mm drivers. Those large speakers afford it a large sound stage and plenty of flexibility to tweak the EQ to just how you like it. It’s proven itself to be just as capable for capable for music playback on an iOS or Android phone as it is for gaming.
Strengthening our recommendation is the fact that the SteelSeries 1 also happens to be one of the most comfortable gaming headsets we’ve ever worn. The SteelSeries 1’s Airweave fabric covered ear cups are plenty breathable so your ears will never get sweaty. Meanwhile, the cushioned headband ensures the headset never weighs too heavy on your head, making long gaming sessions uncomfortable.
2. Corsair HS35
Best Ultra Cheap Gaming Headset
Corsair launched its very first ultra-cheap gaming headset, the HS35 (read our review), recently and it’s extremely good, especially for its $35 price. It’s only a stereo headset, so there’s no fancy surround sound, but you can’t really ask for more from this extremely low price point.
It fully cross-platform though, so you can use it on PC, consoles, and even your phone/tablet. Its large 50mm drivers deliver an expansive soundstage. Its flexible boom mic also delivers great sound quality and it’s Discord Certified too. That all said, the audio balance of the HS35 is only so-so due and the bass can be a little too heavy for my taste. There’s some give and take, but you won’t find a cheaper quality gaming headset than this.
3. Razer BlackShark V2 X
Best Wired Gaming Headset
The Razer BlackShark V2 X is the more affordable version of the BlackShark V2 (read our review), as it cuts about half off the price off, but it doesn’t sacrifice too much in design or features. The BlackShark V2 X offers up a wired headset with a wider frequency response range than you’d typically find on a budget headset. And, even though it lacks the THX Spatial Audio of its premium sibling, it does still provide 7.1-channel surround sound through software for Windows devices.
This headset is designed with serious gameplay in mind, and that means it has to keep distractions at bay. So, in addition to its over-ear design that provides sound isolation, the design also has to remain comfortable through long play sessions. To that end, Razer has added thick padding to the headband and dense memory foam into each ear cup.
4. Corsair HS70 Pro
Best Budget Wireless Gaming Headset
The Corsair HS70 (read our review) was one of the first cheap wireless gaming headsets, and it’s only gotten better with the upgrade to the HS70 Pro. You can use it for both PS4 and PC, with support for 7.1-channel surround sound on the latter.
You’re getting a well-crafted headset with a headband and ear cups that are both made of an incredibly plush memory foam material, so you won’t find many gaming headsets more comfortable than the Corsair HS70 Pro. If you want to go wireless and stay on budget, this is the best option for you.
5. Plugable HS53
Loads of Features for Little Money
The Plugable HS53 (read our review) is ever so slightly more affordable than most of the budget gaming headsets on this list—with a price hovering around $45—but it has some niceties we wouldn’t expect from a peripheral this cheap. For one thing, the frame connecting the memory foam ear cups is made of brushed metal. It also has a retractable boom mic, which is always handier than the detachable ones.
In terms of audio quality, Plugable went with slightly larger 53mm drivers that offer punchy, extremely bass-forward audio. This set of cans also features a “True 2.0 Stereo” mode, which pushes directional game audio to a surprisingly convincing level.
6. SteelSeries Arctis 7X
Best Multi-Platform Budget Gaming Headset
Short of using a wired connection, it can be pretty hard to get a good headset that’ll play nice with both sides of the console market. But, the SteelSeries Arctis 7X (read our review) will do just that. It’s not going to be as cheap as some of the other headsets on this list, but it’s nearly doing the impossible by supporting both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 – wait for it – wirelessly. Yep, that’s right. The SteelSeries Arctis 7X supports a wired connection if you need it, but the USB-C dongle will let you connect to the next-gen console of your choice wirelessly.
That alone is some serious value for a headset to offer, but the SteelSeries Arctis 7X doesn’t stop there. You’re also getting support for Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac. That’s thanks to a wide variety of connectivity options. Depending on which platform you’re on, you can even get virtual surround sound. All that, and it offers a comfortable design and a 24-hour battery life. (Note: the near-identical Arctis 7P does not support Xbox Series X.)
7. PDP LVL50 Wireless
Wireless Audio on the Cheap
With the PDP LVL50 (read our review), we’ve come to another affordable wireless gaming headset option. It’s a stand out $80 headset that’ll work with the Xbox One, PS4, and PC thanks to its dedicated wireless dongle that makes setup easy.
This pair of cans push out some seriously loud audio, to the point that we had to keep the volume nob at 50% most of the time. There’s no fancy surround sound here, but positional audio was still pretty good even with just stereo. The only thing holding back this wireless gaming headset is its all plastic and sometimes creaky build quality.
8. Sony Pulse 3D
Best Budget PS5 Gaming Headset
You might expect a first-party product to cost extra, but the Sony Pulse 3D (read our review) headset is actually fairly affordable. At just $99, you’re getting a pair of wireless gaming headphones that are going to work seamlessly with your PS5. Considering wireless headsets aren’t too commonplace at this price point, these headphones become an even better offer.
The headset is designed for PS5 and will deliver Sony’s special blend of spatial sound through Tempest 3D audio, giving you a more realistic experience in games. The headset will also work with PS4, PC, and Mac wirelessly. With a 3.5mm audio cable and USB-C connection, it can support even more devices. With 12 hours of battery life, it may not be the most power-packed headset, but it should have enough juice to get you through a couple of long gaming sessions as long as you remember to recharge regularly. Of course, you can always just wire the headset into your controller if you run out of power.
9. HyperX Cloud Stinger Core 7.1
Best Budget Surround Sound Gaming Headset
HyperX’s Cloud Stinger design has become more affordable than ever with the new Cloud Stinger Core models, and you can top it off with virtual surround sound for a solid combination of comfort and audio. The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core 7.1 offers up a lightweight design at just 240 grams, so you’ll barely feel it on top of your head, but its 40mm drivers will make sure you hear it.
The headset can connect to almost any device using its 3.5mm audio cable, but that won’t give you the 7.1-channel surround sound experience. For that, you’ll need to connect to a Windows PC using HyperX’s USB dongle and turn on surround sound in the HyperX Ngenuity software. Then you’ll really be getting the most out of the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core 7.1. If you’re not gaming on PC, you can skip the surround sound and save a few bucks by going with the standard Cloud Stinger Core.
10. Corsair HS60 Haptic
Best Budget Haptic Gaming Headset
Headphones are great for getting full immersion in your games, particularly thanks to the positional audio you can get. But, most headphones lack the oomph to make you physically feel the sounds in the game – something a dedicated subwoofer can do in a speaker setup. Fortunately, haptic headsets are a thing, and Corsair’s HS60 Haptic is an affordable option.
This headset will connect to your PC over a USB connection and deliver the rumble from your games right into each ear cup with its haptic motors. Pair that with support for Windows Sonic surround sound, and you’ll get a bit of extra immersion that standard headphones wouldn’t offer. Corsair also takes pains to make sure its headsets are comfortable, and the Corsair HS60 Haptic has spacious ear cups and a headband with plenty of cushioning packed inside and a study build to help make sure this is a headset that’ll last.
Where to Get the Best Budget Gaming Headsets in the UK
Finding the right gaming headset can be a match made in heaven, but you don’t need to pay above and beyond to find your lucky set. Out of all the headsets we’ve tested on this list, every single one is available to pick up in the UK, and at a reasonable price. Whether it’s our favourite the SteelSeries Arctis 1, or the incredibly affordable Turtle Beach Recon 70, there is a headset ready and waiting for you. Don’t see the headsets below? Click here.
What to look for in a Budget Gaming Headset
We’ve picked out the cream of the crop when it comes to budget gaming headsets, but you can still run into a lot of bad apples. Here we’ll tell you about a few things you should expect from this market of cheap gaming headsets including build and sound quality.
Of the budget gaming headsets we’ve tested, we found that build quality can run the gamut between flimsy and cheap to super sturdy to the point of being almost too heavy. Of course, you’ll also get better build quality as you move up the price scale—less molded plastic and more metal. If you can check out these gaming headsets in store, be sure to not just put them on but give them a decent stretch (without snapping them in half!) and see if it creaks at all.
Although you will find scratchy fabric ear cups on some models, you’ll also encounter smooth synthetic leather and soft fabric, too. When it comes to leather vs fabric, it all comes down to your preference, but know that leather offers more sound isolation while fabrics are more breathable. Also be on the lookout for memory-foam padding as it offers the cushiest, most comfortable fit against your head.
Sound quality can be impressive across the board, though the tendency we found across the category was to favor low frequencies instead of highs or mids. You’ll get cleaner highs and better separation between mid and low frequencies in the midrange gaming headsets or higher class peripherals.
More Expert Tech Roundups