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Best gaming earbuds 2020: top in-ear headphones that are perfect for gaming

best gaming earbuds
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for a decent pair of headphones can be tricky at the best of times thanks to all the different models out there, but if you've come this far, you've narrowed down your choice to a pair of the best gaming earbuds. It's a good choice. In-ear buds offer a number of benefits over their over-ear counterparts; they're lightweight, easily portable, and you can wear them for prolonged periods of time without any of the discomfort you might otherwise run into from heavier headphones. In other words, they're perfect for marathon gaming sessions.

Yes, there are a few cons. Generally speaking, they don't pack the same level of sound quality as a bulky pair of headphones, which can result in a less-immersive experience. However, you're likely to get more use out of the best gaming earbuds than you would with top-of-the-line headphones. Namely, you can take them with you on your commute, or use them with a range of other devices. Ultimately, they could save you a lot of money compared to a dedicated gaming headset that's not going to get much use outside of your sessions. 

Earbuds also tend to be less ostentatious than over-ear headphones, so much so that even the offerings from gaming brands are subtle and stylish, which can't be said for their headphone counterparts.

So if versatility, affordability, portability, and comfort are as important to you as quality sound, we've rounded up a few contenders that are the perfect candidates for the job. Ranging from affordable to expensive, there's an option for every budget, with a mix of wired and wireless earbuds depending on your preference.

If you're still on the fence, take a look at our pick of the best gaming headsets before settling on anything.

best gaming earbuds: Bose QuietComfort 20

(Image credit: Bose)

1. Bose QuietComfort 20

Best gaming earbuds for noise cancellation

Battery life: 16 hours on a single charge | Connection: 3.5mm | Noise cancelling: Yes | Weight: 44g | Compatibility : Android, PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC | Mic: Yes

Noise cancellation
Great battery life
Secure fit

The QuietComfort 20 earbuds are the first in-ear noise cancelling headphones from Bose, which means that you'll need to charge them up if you want to get the benefit of the feature. The built-in rechargeable battery offers a generous 16-hours of listening time, but you can of course carry on gaming with passive mode if you forget to juice them up.

While drowning out your surroundings so you can focus on the action is a definite plus, if you're at home with a bustling household, you may need to tune into what's going on from time-to-time, which is where the Aware mode comes in handy; with the touch of a button, two of the four noise-cancelling microphones will allow the sounds of your environment to pass through to your ears, so you can stay immersed while having the guarantee of not missing out on anything important. 

What's more, the QuietComfort 20 earbuds are super comfortable to wear thanks to the soft StayHear+ tips that you don't need to cram into your ears to ensure a secure fit.

If you're after a good pair of noise-cancelling earbuds for gaming or your commute, that also let you easily tune into the world around you when you need to, the Bose QuietComfort 20 is our top pick. They're some of the best gaming earbuds around. 

best gaming earbuds: Turtle Beach Battle Buds

(Image credit: Turtle Beach)

2. Turtle Beach Battle Buds

Best gaming earbuds for playing on the move

Battery life: n/a | Connection: 3.5mm | Noise cancelling: No | Weight: 108.86g | Compatibility : Android, Switch, Xbox, PS4, PC | Mic: Yes (detachable)

Affordable price
Perfect for mobile gaming
Detachable mic included
Sound is pretty basic

Super portable with a price that's easy on the wallet, the Turtle Beach Battle Buds are aimed at mobile gamers and those on Nintendo Switch. Of course, the price point means there'll be some inevitable trade-offs but if you're using these earbuds on the go, you shouldn't have too much to complain about.

While the bass isn't fantastic, and they suffer with relaying the hubbub of an open-world game on the PS4 or Xbox, if you're diving into a game of Fortnite on the way to school, or watching Netflix on your commute, they do a fine job.

With no noise cancellation and the weight of the awkwardly-shaped housing for the 10mm drivers (compounded by the added weight of the boom mic), they won't be snug enough to offer an immersive experience. However, they won't fall out of your ears thanks to the ear grips, and you can switch up the rubber tips to find the perfect fit.

If you're on a budget, or are after the best gaming earbuds for kids, these are a great option, particularly for mobile or handheld gaming. 

best gaming earbuds

(Image credit: Razer)

3. Razer Hammerhead True Wireless

Best gaming earbuds for an AirPods alternative

Battery life: 4 hours (12 with charging case) | Connection: Bluetooth (up to 10m / 30 ft) | Noise cancelling: No | Weight: 45g | Compatibility : PC, Android, iPhone, | Mic: Yes

Amazing value
Impressive sound quality 
Sleek design
Iffy touch controls

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are reminiscent of Apple's AirPods design, with angled tips and a thin stem, but they offer a more affordable alternative without compromising on sound quality.

While they don't have any kind of noise cancellation, or an in-canal seal, you'll get a surprisingly impressive balance offset with robust bass, at a good volume to let you crank it up for an old fashioned approach to blocking out the world.

The mic does a great job too, whether you're taking a call or discussing tactics for your next multiplayer match.

One of the niftier features is the touch sensitive controls on the earbuds; while there's a number of touch commands that can get easily mixed up if you enter them incorrectly (and there are so many to remember that it's likely to happen often), they're very responsive. 

It's a small criticism, especially when the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless offer a low-latency gaming mode with 60ms input latency. That's faster than Apple's AirPods. When matched with the sound quality, it results in a strong contender for the best gaming earbuds.

If you don't want to shell out for AirPods, these are a great alternative and ideal for gaming at home or on the go. 

best gaming earbuds: Razer Hammerhead Duo

(Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Hammerhead Duo

Best gaming earbuds for balanced sound

Battery life: n/a | Connection: 3.5mm | Noise cancelling: No | Weight: 17g | Compatibility : Android, PC, PS4, Xbox | Mic: Yes

Dual drivers for balanced sound
Quality build
Comfortable fit
High frequency sound lacking

The Razer Hammerhead Duo are a fairly basic-looking pair of earbuds that utilise quality materials for a sturdy build that won't have you worried about tossing them in a bag, or on the living room table if you want to take a break from your game or whatever medium of content you're consuming. Made of aluminium with a braided cable (which transitions to rubber tubing where it splits), they don't feel cheap.

The star of the show is the dual driver technology that can separate deep bass from mid and high frequencies, although they do struggle at the higher end, which can get a little shrill. Meanwhile, the inline mic and controls are basic but easy to use, with a button each for volume up, volume down, and play/pause, so you won't have to rip out your earbuds or fiddle about with the volume control on your console or smartphone before you can have a conversation with someone.

For the price, the Razer Hammerhead Duo are a steal with balanced sound, easy-to-use controls, and a quality build. Some of the best gaming earbuds out there. 

best gaming earbuds: 1MORE Triple Driver

(Image credit: 1MORE)

5. 1MORE Triple Driver

Best gaming earbuds for fantastic sound at a great price

Battery life: n/a | Connection: 3.5mm | Noise cancelling: No | Weight: 18g | Compatibility : PC, PS4. Xbox, Android | Mic: Yes

Sleek and stylish 
Amazing sound quality 
Great value
Microphone isn't great

The 1MORE Triple Driver earbuds are a delightfully stylish pair of earphones that offer an impressive quality of sound and build for an affordable price. The triple drivers for which they're named give a balanced sound at high and low ends, with enough bass so as not to overwhelm – which is great for both gaming and music. What's more, the in-line remote with volume control is compatible with Android and iOS, which is handy for on-the-go gaming as well as on the couch.

With a slew of silicon tips, you'll also be able to find a size that will give you a comfortable fit, and seal out any ambient noise, but as with a lot of the earbuds on this list, there's no active noise cancellation. 

As far as the sound quality and price goes, though, the 1MORE Triple Driver is a winner in our book, and the design tips it over the edge. With aluminium earbuds and a braided cable, the build quality is sturdy, and there are a couple of different colour options to give them a touch more pizzazz, like the rose gold colorway. 

If you're looking for the best gaming earbuds at an affordable price, you should give these a closer look.

Shabana was born looking like a girl wearing a Pikachu hoodie, so when such things became popular, she fitted right in. She writes guides, reviews and features for GR+ when she isn't screaming at Dark Souls 2 on YouTube.