It's never a bad time to consider one of the best cheap gaming headsets - and we know that a lot of folks are sharing and feeling that sentiment right now as we lead up to the holidays. With that, it's a great time to research a headset that is going to offer solid performance, a reliable build quality, and a robust mic with a great-value price point.
We always think that an audio upgrade is worth it in gaming, as the advancements are real, and the edges you can gain are tangible. That goes for both single-player games, as well as playing online - here it is just as important to be heard cleanly and clearly when the action on-screen gets intense.
While you may not see these sets across the internet's 'Best Of' lists, a lot of them still come from many respected brands and manufacturers that know how to squeeze as much quality tech and audio into a budget set as possible.
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That's right, it isn't just the lesser-known brands creating the best cheap gaming headsets, as everything from Razer, SteelSeries, and Corsair are covered below, with affordable options based upon boutique models of the more premium ranges that share a lot in common with the cheaper builds.
The one thing that you won't typically find with the best cheap gaming headsets, compared to the best entries topping our best gaming headsets, is wireless functionality, and that is a feature that is typically reserved for pricier offerings. If you're interested in cutting the cord, then we recommend checking out our buying guides for the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best cheap gaming headsets in 2022
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It's the most simple and straightforward of the Arctis line, but it's built with seamless compatibility with consoles in mind. Similar to how the BlackShark V2 X borrows tech from pricier models, the Arctis 1 features the same audio drivers as found in the Arctis 7 headset - which retails for three times as much.
The commitment here is about being as clean-cut as possible without impacting the core features of what makes a quality gaming headset. This time, the microphone features active noise canceling - and can be detached - as well as muted with a physical slider onto the side for ease of access.
Broadly speaking, there are only really minimal differences that separate the X variant from its full-fledged counterpart. Compared side by side, the first thing to note is the variability in terms of sound quality, but rest assured - while the X model doesn't quite sound as rich as its sibling, it's still a great sounding headset with, arguably, a better microphone - save for the fact it cannot be detached.
The important thing is the 7.1 surround sound, which just works; it's as simple as that. It all comes down to the 50mm 'TriForce' drivers at the end of the day - the levels of audio distinction are clear and layered, and the microphone sounds as you would expect.
I've personally sworn by the Kraken line for a while now. While it isn't the most advanced or blissfully brilliant sounding headset on the market, for the asking price - especially as they're almost always on sale - they're a tough act to follow.
The same principles align well with the budget X rendition; 7.1 Surround sound with the 40mm drivers included. It's also a fair amount lighter than just about any other Razer-made headset of its elk, ideal if you don't want to feel chained to your chair.
If you spend a lot of your gaming life in virtual chatrooms and lobbies, these cans could be for you. Tested with Discord servers, they're designed out of the box to be ready to jump in calls with your friends and party members alike - if you play on PC.
Console gamers are in luck too, as this headset works with Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S - though the Xbox platforms require the Microsoft 3.5mm adapter to operate. In such a case that you are an Xbox user, it may be best to find a headset tailored for your system of choice instead of spending a surplus. The bottom line, however, these headphones won't set the world alight, but they're unlikely to fail on you either.
The Razer Barracuda X is often the best cheap wireless gaming headset. This is because of two notes that we need to add right at the beginning. First, we are almost solely talking about the 2021 model of the Barracuda X here - this is slightly older by definition but still just as excellent (and only misses a couple of tiny features that the 2022 version has). Secondly, and as a result of the first point, the 2022 refresh model means that the 2021 variant is regularly discounted and is having its price driven down. It's at this point that this becomes the best cheap wireless gaming headset.
More generally, this is still an excellent gaming headset: it gets your wireless, has audio quality, and is really comfortable, while also can be deployed with almost every platform. This is up there with our favorite gaming headsets not only because it offers all that quality at a low price point, but it does so without sacrificing any features that players might be looking for.
The design is also subtle enough to fit into a commuting or travelling scenario, with an understated design that won't blind your fellow passengers with garish RGB or take up half the carriage with huge cups.
In fact, at just 250g, these are some of the lightest cups on the market right now - beating the Logitech G733 which is often touted as one of the most comfortable options. That means you'll be able to dive into particularly long play sessions without feeling the strain. That's because there's a nicely padded headband and plump cushioning on either side, which makes for a nice temperature without crushing your ears.
Read more: Razer Barracuda X review
If you glanced at the Arctis 1 and found it a little lacking for your taste, then a minor bump in the asking price with its successor may be more your speed. Not only does this iteration feature a detachable cable, but also passive noise reduction and native support for Dolby Digital.
The main difference comes down to the build quality is slightly better on the Arctis 3 headsets, as you would expect considering they are a touch more expensive overall. If you've got a little more cash, and consider its construction and extra inclusions to be worth it to you - you may very well find that the Arctis 3 line will serve you proud - on your PC or console of choice.
Keeping it simple but maintaining some quality too, we think the Corsair HS35 is right up there with the best cheap gaming headsets. It bucks the trend of a lower price tag usually meaning far less quality; even though you're looking after the pennies, doesn't mean you should have to forgo all the delicious sound goodness. In our eyes, the HS35 is a thoughtfully designed piece of kit, with a sturdy yet comfortable build and some impressive audio qualities.
Thanks to memory foam ear-cups and a comfy headband, in our testing the Corsair HS35 proved itself to be snug without being uncomfortable after several hours of play, but also tough enough to withstand being pulled on and off your head without too much care, and withstand the odd accidental fall or bump.
Putting it through our rigorous test, we know the audio won't win awards, but it's on a par with most mid-range headsets and manages some snappy treble, the mic is clear and detachable, and there's a color-coded cable that plugs into any 3.5mm connection. Simple, easy, and very affordable.
Read more: Corsair HS35 review
A slightly newer and updated version of the Kraken X above, the V3 X refines the headset and ensures that the latest iteration of the headset is potentially an even better proposition for those looking to get maximum quality and performance from a limited budget.
The V3 X enhances its predecessor in every way and takes advantage of some of the latest advancements that Razer can offer - and packages it into a value-busting proposition. Distilling that down even further, it's the microphone and the drivers which get the most attention. Both features are upgraded to almost be in line with Razer's top dog headset, the BlackShark V2: the microphone is the now Razer's Hyperclear Cardioid mic, with greater speech pickup and noise cancellation; and the drivers are now Razer's own excellent TriForce beasts, offering improvements across the sound spectrum.
In everyday and gaming use and testing, we found the sound to be terrific and worthy of that Kraken mantle, and the 7.1 still shines on PC. And that's a key factor to consider as while this is a great cheap gaming headset for PlayStation (utilising that USB connection) this is a PC-first gaming headset still and it's here you'll see the best performance. The mic is also an excellent upgrade, though it being non-detachable will irk some folks. However, for the cheap, entry-level price, this is an excellent gaming headset, particularly for those looking to get into the pc gaming headset game, and it features all the hallmarks of Razer's audio excellence.
It's a name that's lesser-heard these days when cheap headset discussions come up for consoles, but - in the 7th generation - it seemed that Turtle Beach was everywhere. Not only are these the cheapest headsets on our list, but they're also designed with Xbox Series X - and by extension PS5 and Nintendo Switch - in mind.
With 40mm drivers, it's a little smaller than everything mentioned above, but the sound quality should be more than serviceable when running straight through an Xbox controller for chatting to friends whilst on a raid or participating in a battle royale. It's rudimentary through-and-through, and unlikely to turn many heads, but for the asking price - you could certainly do worse.
Cheap gaming headset: buying advice
We've been using gaming headsets of all sizes, styles, and budgets over the years and have learned a thing or two along the way. If you're on the fence about investing in a cheap gaming headset, then we've answered some of the more prevalent questions around to help you decide if they are right for you.
How much should you spend on a gaming headset?
We think that you can get a fully-featured cheap gaming headset for around the $50 mark. If you desire active noise canceling and wireless functionality, you're going to have to spend a little more, but if you're okay with being plugged in, then that budget can certainly go a long way.
Which is the best cheap gaming headset?
There's no one particular brand that stands above them all, but we would say that Razer, SteelSeries, and Corsair tend to make the best cheap gaming headsets, as these companies are no strangers to forging phenomenal sounding headsets at the upper level. It ultimately comes down to what features you're looking for, however.
Are gaming headsets good for listening to music?
While cheap gaming headsets aren't necessarily designed first and foremost with music in mind, we've listened to countless musical genres (everything from pop to extreme metal) through many gaming headsets over the years with genuinely pleasing results. Now, your mileage will vary depending on driver size (50mm and above sound the richest), but generally speaking, cheap gaming headsets sound good enough for music.
Which is the number 1 gaming headset?
This is more complicated a question than you might think as now, more so than ever, there is no single best headset, and the best one for you is unlikely to be the best one for everyone. Yup, a bit of a copout answer but this is the world we live in now, filled with options depending on your platform of choice, audio priority, games that you play, and, of course, budget. There absolutely is a number 1 headset out there for you, and these cheap ones on this page are a cracking place to start without breaking the bank.
Looking to spend a bit more cash? Then check out our best PS5 headsets, and best PC headsets for gaming guides. And we've also rounded up the best cheap gaming monitors and best cheap gaming keyboards if you've wanted peripherals at more wallet-friendly prices.