A few years ago, finding a decent gaming headset under $100 was tough. At best, you’d have to sacrifice tons of features and sound quality for an uncomfortable hunk of junk.
But now there are all kinds of headsets for gamers on a budget, and many of them aren’t that bad—much better than what used to be available, that’s for sure. You just have to know where to look, what to look for, and be willing to settle for less than perfect.
What to Look for in a Gaming Headset
A headset is a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone. There are no practical differences between a gaming headset and a regular headset except physical design and appearance. However, some features are more important than others.
Over-ear vs. on-ear vs. in-ear: For the most part, over-ear headsets are the only ones worth buying at this price level. On-ear headsets tend to cost more due to their refined designs, and in-ear headsets won’t have the sound or microphone quality that you need when gaming. Learn more about headphone terms and considerations.
Physical weight: A massive headset can feel good… five minutes at a time. Any longer than that and you’ll be dying to take them off, either because they’re pushing down on your ears or they’re tiring out your neck. Light and comfortable is what you want, especially for long gaming sessions.
USB vs. 3.5mm: USB headsets include their own sound cards, which means they’re less prone to radio frequency interference, but 3.5mm headsets are more versatile and better for console gaming. For PC gaming, go with USB whenever possible.
Stereo vs. surround sound: Surround sound in gaming headsets is a sham. Not only do most so-called “surround sound headsets” lack the driver count to produce true surround sound, but surround sound is meant to take advantage of room acoustics—something that doesn’t happen in a headset.
Wired vs. wireless: You won’t find good wireless gaming headsets for under $25. There’s a reason why wireless headphones are more expensive than wired headphones: it’s hard to produce a set that sounds good.
Build quality: At this price, don’t expect anything to feel great in your hands or on your head. Ear pads won’t feel luxurious, metal components will be rare, plastic components won’t be robust, and cables will feel flimsy. Expect these headsets to last 6-12 months, or slightly longer if you can take good care of them.
Brand names: You won’t find any Razer, SteelSeries, Corsair, or Sennheiser products this far down the barrel.
So is it possible to find a gaming headset that fits all of the criteria above without spending more than $25? Not really, but you can get close enough. It depends on what you’re willing to compromise on.
Here are the best cheap gaming headsets we’ve found.
1. Mpow 071
The Mpow 071 is the cheapest headset we’d ever recommend, whether you’re gaming or doing something else, because it offers some of the best quality and value in this price range. For those on a budget, no other headset offers as much bang for your buck.
Why do we like it? Because the microphone sounds great, the microphone arm can be bent in any direction, the headset comes with both USB and 3.5mm connections, it has inline volume and mute controls when using USB, the ear pads are comfortable for long-term wear, and the headset itself looks great.
Honestly, it’s surprising that a company was able to fit this much goodness into such a cheap headset. Don’t expect it to be magical, of course, but there’s really no better headset for gaming at this price level.
2. Logitech H390
Logitech is one of the most trustworthy and reputable brands you’ll ever come across. They have several “gaming” product lines, but they aren’t a “gaming brand” so to speak. This particular headset is a general-use headset—but it’s good and we recommend it even for gaming.
The Logitech H390 is an on-ear headset that features comfortable ear pads, a rotating noise-canceling microphone, and a volume control with a mute button. And thanks to its understated design, you won’t be embarrassed wearing it in the presence of company. Overall, it’s probably the best option if you don’t want to look like a gamer.
3. BENGOO G9000
Bengoo is a recently-established Chinese off-brand manufacturer of various PC and mobile peripherals. Their wares include external DVD drives, portable fans, selfie sticks, and audio equipment. They make good products—as good as a budget product can be, anyway—and their gaming headsets stand out as one of their best-rated products.
If you’re thinking of getting the BENGOO G9000, be aware that you get what you pay for. In this case, you’re paying for a lack of quality control. It looks good and feels okay, but will it make it to one year? Cross your fingers and hope you get one from a good batch!
Be careful when reading the reviews for this one. According to ReviewMeta and FakeSpot, a bunch of the reviews are fake or suspicious. However, when you exclude the bad reviews and adjust the product rating, it still has 4.2 stars out of 5. Not bad at all.
4. Sades A60/OMG
To this day, Sades remains a hit-or-miss brand. They specialize in budget gaming peripherals, and pretty much all their products can be had for under $30. Even so, their products tend to have surprisingly good ratings—even after adjusting for fake reviews.
If you’re committed to getting a gaming headset in this price range, you’ll probably be happy with this one.
The Sades A60/OMG has a sleek design, sensitive microphone, volume and mute controls, and above-average sound drivers (compared to others in this price range, that is) that produce excellent sound quality for how much you’re paying. The comfortable cups also have a bit of noise isolation.
Consider Saving Up for a Better Gaming Headset
If you’re absolutely strapped for cash, then the headsets listed above will do in a pinch. But really, there’s no point in wasting money on a budget gaming headset if you can wait a bit and save up for a proper one. In that case, we definitely recommend looking into these wireless gaming headsets!
Read the full article: The 4 Best Budget Gaming Headsets for Under $25