The best gaming earbuds are perfect for those looking for a lightweight and portable alternative to the traditional gaming headset proposition. You can also wear them for prolonged periods of time and use them with a range of other devices as well - not something all gaming headsets can do, especially wireless ones.
While you're more likely to get regular day-to-day use out of the best gaming earbuds than you would with top-of-the-line headphones, 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. However, admittedly, many of the best gaming buds don't pack the same level of sound quality as the larger best gaming headsets, which can result in a less immersive experience especially given the lack of virtual surround sound.
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.
Still unsure of whether earbuds are for you? Don't forget to take a look at our recommendations for the best wireless gaming headsets. These let you cut the cord but don't skimp on sound quality.
The best gaming earbuds 2023
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The EPOS GTW 70 Hybrid wireless gaming earbuds focus on offering a high-end audio experience for Switch and mobile gaming.
These earbuds boast the sort of audio quality you’d expect from the team at EPOS, whose hardware is on our best gaming headsets list, with deep bass, rich mid-tones, and fantastic directional audio making them as impressive playing games on your Switch or PS5 as they are listening to your favourite tunes through your phone. Plus, a charging case comes with the GTW 70 Hybrid that can give the earbuds up to a total of 20 hours of battery life.
They come with a USB-C dongle, allowing you to plug them into your Nintendo Switch and PS5, as well as a cable that will allow you to plug the dongle into a PS4. On top of that, they also support Bluetooth, so you can sync them with any device that supports it.
While they do come with an in-built microphone, this only works when you’re connected through Bluetooth, rather than the USB-C dongle. That’s because the dongle is focused on providing low-latency audio, so there is minimal disruption between what’s happening in your game and what you’re hearing. However, it does mean that you won’t be able to communicate with team-mates online.
Read more: EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid 70 review
Although they were originally created to go up against Nintendo Switch headsets, the HyperX Cloud Earbuds will work very nicely indeed with anything featuring a 3.5mm jack. Want to swap over to mobile or the Steam Deck? No problem... especially because the red cable is tangle free and won't get too wrapped up around itself. The jack being at a 90-degree angle is also pretty handy, all things considered.
As far as the in-line mic goes, it's not bad for online play and we found it doubled up well for video meetings on the work laptop too. For such a cheap price, we were surprised at just how much bass you get with the HyperX Cloud Earbuds, but the mids and highs leave a little bit to be desired, especially if you want to use them for music as we found some of the higher frequencies way too sharp to stick with.
A neat carry case and multiple eartips make this a really good value proposition overall. The tips are really solid too and won't be falling apart any time soon. Even the smallest ones are pretty big though, so we'd pass on these if you have smaller ears.
Looking for a few extra features for gaming on the go? How about some (admittedly quite light) Active Noise Cancelling. That's not something you see on gaming earbuds, especially without forking out way over a hundred.
You're getting a decent mic here too, which is handy for playing a bit of online multiplayer on the Switch. The in-line control unit is nice and easy for adjusting volume, pausing tunes or activating the ANC/ambient modes.
The 10mm drivers are surprisingly boomy for bassier elements and the smaller details don't get lost either. Earbuds can be a tricky fit, but with four different sized tips and wings, the ASUS ROG Cetra will suit various users.
The Turtle Beach Scout Air gaming earbuds are the brand's first entry into the truly wireless space (console-specific Recon Air pieces notwithstanding). The Scout Airs are fairly comfortable at $99.99 / £89.99, with a solid soundstage that will suit wider open world games and the twinkly melodies of a Super Mario Sunshine run and an impressive per-bud battery life that just edges ahead of industry average.
We were a little let down by the cheaper feeling build quality of the plastic case and the materials of the earbuds themselves, though. While lightweight, products this close $100 / £100 should be offering a slightly more premium build quality - though to their credit we never had any issues with scuffs or scratches on the Scout Airs in our testing.
Each earbud offers touch-sensitive controls with hassle-free playback controls, and a notably long stem to hold the dual-mics present. We wouldn't put too much stock in those mics though, we found them particularly weak at picking voices out from a busy background and overall the sound quality here was muffled on both chat and video calls.
Running the Turtle Beach Scout Airs on lighter soundtracks like Crash Bandicoot and Hand of Fate 2 yielded some impressive results. There was plenty of detailing across the mids and high ranges in our testing, and a commendable balance during more intense moments of gameplay. However, the bassier ranges are particularly flattened here - something we noticed quickly when switching to a heavier gun in Doom on Nintendo Switch and Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC. This dampened bass persisted through to bass-heavy music as well.
At $99.99 / £89.99, though, the Turtle Beach Scout Airs really do work hard to bring you an untethered gaming earbud experience without breaking the bank. At $129.99 / £129.99, RGB lovers and those in the market for noise cancellation should be seeking out the Razer Hammerheads, but if you're up against a strict budget there's plenty to love here.
Building on the first Razer Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds, the Gen 2 variants offer some serious performance for gaming-focused earbuds, while still remaining affordable without compromising on sound quality.
These Gen 2 earbuds this time offer noise cancellation, and an in-canal seal, so you're getting almost uninterrupted, unadulterated sound quality direct your ears and brain. The breadth of the sound is a huge improvement over the predecessors with a noticeable booming bass that is - somehow - genuinely delivered by tiny earbuds. It really is a thing to behold and enjoy. ElsewhereThe mic remains solid whether you're taking a call or discussing tactics for your next multiplayer match.
The Gen 2s do retain the touch-sensitive controls, and while these can be neat, there's a number of touch commands that can get easily mixed up if your finger bumps the earbuds incorrectly or by accident. The battery life is great too, and the earbuds are incredibly fast to charge.
The gaming focus comes through also in the buds' offering of 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.
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.
You’ll either love or hate the look of the Hecate GX07 gaming earbuds no matter how good we tell you they are. What’s great news is that these buds also deliver on audio quality, comfort, and ease of use.
The buds are lightweight (even if the case isn't) and up there with some of the most comfortable headphones out there. So much so that while using them throughout the day at work a few times we forgot we were wearing them. While parts of them seem large and unwieldy they actually fit very snugly in your ear. Long gym sessions or energetic runs will not dislodge these buds and trust us, we've tried.
Each bud has 8mm dynamic drivers with both AAC and LHDC audio codecs to ensure whatever you’re connecting to the sound is great. The highs are crisp and defined with bass sounding deep and impactful. The range of sounds is made even better by the expert balancing of the audio. Normally with any headphones, we have to delve into the app and play with the levels to get the audio just right, but we've not had to do that once with the GX07 earbuds, which has really impressed me.
There are some downsides: the size of the case is huge compared to the competition; and at $150 the GX07 also has a lot of competition from Apple, Sony, Samsung, Sennheiser, and many more recognisable brands. While none of these have the looks of the Hecate GX07s, at this budget folks might lean toward a more well-known brand.
Read more: Hecate GX07 review
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.
The Roccat Syn Buds Core are the perfect Nintendo Switch companion. There's a no fuss approach to these gaming earbuds, with an affordable price point and simple inline mic and volume controls. In the right soundstage, however, these buds shine far beyond their humble feature list. We were impressed by the handling of finer details in games with lighter, more delicate audio, with the bass and melodic trills of Super Mario Sunshine offering a particularly notable soundstage.
That $24.99 / £24.99 price point does show itself during heavier audio moments, however. The Syn Buds Core struggle to keep up with the messier soundscapes of Doom and can't quite position directional audio with the same precision of a more premium buy. However, for everyday on the go Nintendo Switch action, and considering you're not breaking $30, you're getting solid value for money in performance overall.
Not only that, but we were particularly struck by the overall comfort of the Roccat Syn Buds Core. These buds hold up well even during longer play sessions, never falling out or rubbing against the inner ear. It's surprising to see considering the cheaper price point here, and certainly welcome amongst the less durable models on the market right now.
Read more: Roccat Syn Buds Core review
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.
Read more: Turtle Beach Battle Buds review
Now that the Nintendo Switch accepts Bluetooth output, the AirPods Pros should be on the radar of any fans of both Apple and Mario. Not only are you getting a strong sound profile from these luxury true wireless earbuds, but pairing to Nintendo Switch is surprisingly quick and easy. Plus, you'll be able to enjoy all the Siri and Apple Watch integrations if you're already in the Apple ecosystem.
Unfortunately, these buds won't be useful when it comes to your PS5 or Xbox, but if you don't want to carry separate headphones for your Switch when travelling or commuting, this is an excellent all-in-one option. Plus, that active noise cancellation still shines through when gaming.
What earbuds do gamers use?
Well, the short answer is: anything on this very guide! Our best gaming earbuds article lists out the top earbuds you can get, no matter what you play on, and what games you play. And you'll find most big game audio brands represented here too: from Razer to EPOS, to HyperX.
As a result, you'll find gamers use a whole range of gaming earbuds, and you'll find all of the best for your consideration on this page.
Are gaming earbuds better than headsets?
Now this is not a totally straightforward answer, as each type have their pros and cons. And that's because earbuds and headsets offer wildly different solutions to wildly different problems and desire.
If you're looking for something super portable, geared toward mobile gaming or taking your Nintendo Switch out and about, then you can't beat gaming earbuds - they do have it over headsets in this capacity.
However, gaming headsets will offer superior audio quality, just because they can draw on larger drivers due to their larger, over-ear design. Earbuds just can't compete on this. Headsets can also offer more buttons and features because of this, and will often have better mics. This seems to make it a clear cut thing, but if you need something for pure mobile convenience then gaming earbuds will take the biscuit.
Can I use earbuds for gaming?
Well, the answer to this question is both yes, and no. As you've landed on this guide to the best gaming earbuds, the broad answer is a profound yes - and they can really be very good indeed. However, the more detailed answer is no, on some platforms. The ability to use earbuds on PlayStation and Xbox consoles is far less prevalent than on mobile devices, Nintendo Switch, and even PC. You'll just need to make sure that each set of gaming earbuds is compatible with the device you want to use, and then you'll be away!
If you're after some full-size alternatives, be sure to check out our guides to the best PS5 headsets, best Xbox Series X headsets, best PC gaming headsets, and best Nintendo Switch headsets to have you covered on all the major platforms.