What's the Best Budget Gaming Headset?
So, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a gaming headset but you still have high expectations for the product you’re buying.
Budget gaming headsets have come a long way in recent years.
It’s a competitive market and it’s a booming industry, and we expect to be impressed even when headphones are pitched at lower price points.
Research is important because there’s a wide range of choice. You might be spending £29.99 or £299.99, but it’s important to know what your priorities are before you buy.
What Kind of Budget Gaming Headset Do You Want to Buy?
- Gaming headphone or gaming headset?
You need to think about whether you want a microphone or not. Headphones don’t generally come with one or with a microphone slot. Grab a good pair of headphones and the immersion will feel amazing but you won’t be able to communicate with others unless you add a mic on separately which means additional cost.
- The sound quality on budget headphones is never going to be earth-shattering, but you can expect it to do a good job. Sound Guys recommend looking for headphones with surround sound as this will enhance your experience. User reviews are a good starting point. Even better if you go to a store and test them out.
- Open-back headphones give a clearer sound but they allow background noise to pass through so they’re not
ideal if want ambient sound blocked out when you’re playing. Closed-back headphones are better at isolating noise even if they don’t have active-noise cancelling technology included.
Add moisture-proof covers to the headset’s cushions if you sweat a lot when you play. Sweat damage makes headset cushions smell terrible and cause the material to crack and peel over time.
- You’ll want to make sure that the headset is compatible to the computer or system that you’re playing on. Many have cross-platform compatibility but not all.
- Even budget headsets should be robust enough to be worn and handled regularly. Look at the material they’re made from and at the manufacturer’s warranty. Online reviewers can be a good indicator of build quality, too.
- Comfort is everything if you’re playing for extended periods. Headsets and headphones often have some degree of pinching or clamping. On-ear headphones can be tough on the ears. Over-ears can be tough on the head. The cushioning, headband and adjustment range are important to consider before buying.
- Wireless or wired? That’s down to personal preference. Don’t assume that wireless is off the table just because you’re paying fewer pounds. Wireless technology has dropped considerably over the last few years.
5 of the Best Budget Gaming Headsets
- Soft and breathable fabric ear cups
- Clear Cast noise-cancelling microphone for clear communication.
- On-headset controls
- Removable microphone for the on-the-go as well as gaming.
- All-platform gaming headset
- Steel re-enforced adjustable headband
The SteelSeries Arctic 1 packs in a lot of features for a headset that’s below £50. The detachable mic means that you can wear it outside and away from gaming, too, making it even more competitively priced.
- Adjustable headband
- Swivelling earcups
- Flip microphone
- On-ear controls
- Reasonable sound quality for the price
- Multiplatform compatibility
Turtle Beach Recon 70 is a true budget headset but one that still provides key features at a genuine bargain price of around £29.
- THX spatial audio
- Custom-tuned 50mm drivers for enhanced soundscape
- Memory foam cushioning
- Cross-platform compatibility
- In-line audio controls
Probably more at the upper-end of a bargain range but it’s still sub-£100 and offers a superb immersion experience with its THX support allowing wearers to detect the direction and origin of sound in the game.
- Comes in multiple colours
- custom-tuned 50mm drivers
- Multi-platform compatibility
- Detachable microphone that reduces ambient noise
- Adjustable earcups
- Memory foam headband
The Corsair HS35 looks more expensive that it and has a playful design with different colour options. Retailing at around £40, it packs a punch despite its low price.
- Dual chamber drivers for surround sound
- Aluminium frame with adjustable headband
- Noise-cancelling microphone
- Multi-platform capability
- Leatherette cushions for comfort
- In-line controls
- Customisation accessories available
PC Gamer refers to the HyperX Cloud Alpha as having a “bomb proof design”, so these are ideal for anyone who’s a little heavy-handed when playing. Equally, the comfortable cushions are ideal for anyone used to wearing headsets for long periods.
There’s a huge range of budget gaming headsets and once you’ve figured out which features are important you it’s relatively easy to shop around and find something at your price point.
Buying cheaper does mean that you get to find out what your non-negotiable style and tech choices are ready for when you want to make a more expensive purchase.
Unimpressed by some of the designs of budget headsets? Headphone covers on the cushions add fun and colour to your gaming.