Gaming headsets can get expensive very quickly, but there’s a growing number of gamers refusing to spend hundreds on a headset. While that once meant a compromise in build, sound quality and features, that’s no longer the case.
Here, we take a look at some of the best budget gaming headsets on the market, with a limit of £100/$100.
Best budget gaming headsets 2022
Razer BlackShark V2 - Best Overall
- THX spatial audio support
- 50mm drivers
- USB sound card
- Some features exclusive to PC
It might not offer wireless connectivity, but Razer’s Black Shark V2 offers something unique when compared to other budget headsets in our chart; THX support. THX spatial audio simulates positionally-accurate sound that allows you to pinpoint, with accuracy, the direction and origin of gunshots, footsteps, voices and anything else you notice when gaming.
It’s an incredible thing to experience, offering a more immersive gaming experience than most other budget headsets, and Razer's set to take that further with the release of THX Game Profiles. Game Profiles offer game-specific audio enhancements for supported games. There was over 30 at launch, with more being released all the time.
That experience is powered by Razer’s all-new 50mm drivers, the TriForce Titanium, sporting titanium-coated diaphragms to allow for better audio separation. It's the first in the Razer collection to sport the new drivers, and offers a noticeable upgrade over our previous first-choice, the Razer Kraken TE.
The THX smarts and improved HyperClear Cardioid microphone all powered by a small USB sound card, compatible with PC. That sound card also allows you to tweak the audio output via Razer Synapse (for PC) to either focus on immersion or spatial awareness, depending on the gaming experience you want. The 3.5mm jack makes it compatible with PS4, Xbox One and other consoles, but you won't get the advanced audio tweaking capabilities.
And, as is the case with most of Razer’s headsets, it’s an absolute joy to wear over long periods without a hint of pressure build-up. The full-ear enclosed cup design provides unmatched comfort, complemented further by soft-touch memory foam and a leatherette finish.
Simply put, it’ll keep your ears cool and comfortable during even the most intense gaming sessions, and that's something that many can appreciate.
Roccat Elo 7.1 Air - Best wireless headset
- 50mm drivers
- Multi-platform wireless connectivity
- Comfortable fit for glasses-wearers
- Microphone arm not stiff enough
- Creaky plastic build
Gaming headsets under £100/$100 that are both wireless and surround sound are difficult to find, but that's what the Roccat Elo 7.1 Air looks to offer.
It doesn’t have Bluetooth, but the 2.4GHz connection is solid via the USB-A transmitter and, importantly, the large 50mm drivers offer excellent sound quality. The surround sound really gives you a great sense of spaciousness and will help you determine where an enemy is in games like first-person shooters.
Mic quality is also very good, making this a great headset for team games where chat is essential. We’d just like the microphone (which is removable) to have a stiffer arm as it can be difficult to adjust it to exact positions.
A Mic Monitoring dial on the headset allows you to control how much of your own voice you can hear in order to avoid shouting due to the noise isolation of wearing the headset.
It’s a very comfortable over-ear fit and dual foam earpads (aka the ProSpecs Glasses Relief System) help anyone wearing glasses with a softer section where they make contact. The Elo 7.1 Air is lightweight, has RGB logos on the earcups and a self-adjusting headband.
It comes in black or white, but the plastic build can be a little creaky at times. This is made up for somewhat by USB-C charging and long 24-hour battery life.
As well as PC support, you can use the Elo 7.1 Air with PlayStation 4/5 (although master volume control isn’t supported) and Nintendo Switch when the console is in docked mode.
Razer Nari Essential - A solid wireless alternative
- Very comfortable to wear
- Great wireless performance
- 40mm drivers
- No RGB lighting
As you might expect from Razer, this stretches the limits of ‘budget’ ever so slightly, but if you want a relatively affordable entry point into Razer’s wireless gaming gear, this is a great starting point.
The stellar features here are build and comfort: the basic design is the exact same as you’ll find in Razer’s much more expensive flagship headsets, which are among the most comfortable on the market.
This is undeniably bulky, but deceptively lightweight, thanks to a combo of light materials and a headband that does a great job of distributing the weight.
Sound quality is where you this really differs from Razer’s more expensive headsets, with 40mm drivers – smaller than the 50mm of the Elo 7.1 Air – on offer, but the sound quality is still very solid and includes simulated surround sound. It also delivers wireless with a USB dongle, and sound quality over the wireless system is great too.
There’s also no support for Razer’s Chroma lighting, another con compared to Roccat's wireless headset, but that's not a major dealbreaker.
Xbox Wireless Headset - Best for Xbox gamers
- Perfect for Xbox gamers
- Exceptional audio quality
- DTS:X & Dolby Atmos support
- No 3.5mm jack
- Not compatible with PlayStation or Switch
Microsoft's Xbox Wireless Headset is the ideal option if you play on a recent Xbox console or PC, offering similar features and audio quality to headsets almost double the price, but the lack of a 3.5mm jack means it's a no-go if you also play on a PlayStation or Switch.
Still, if you are primarily an Xbox gamer, there's a lot to love about the new headset; aside from the simplistic, dongle-free wireless connectivity, the headset looks and feels the part, complete with green highlights and rotating outer cups to adjust overall volume and chat/game mix on-the-fly. There isn't a proper boom microphone like most alternatives, but we've not found this to be a problem during testing.
Most importantly, the audio quality is exceptional. Sporting 40mm drivers, the bass response is strong, feeling the oomph from explosions and the rev of a red-lined engine, but that doesn't detract from the clarity, allowing you to pick out finer details like the footsteps of approaching enemies. That's enhanced further by support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, but both require a separate subscription for use.
Essentially, the Xbox Wireless Headset's compelling combination of features and value make it a no-brainer for Xbox gamers.
Read our full Xbox Wireless Headset review
Gioteck TX70 - Best cheap wireless headset
- 50mm drivers
- Built-in EQ
- Multi-platform support
- Middling 15-hour battery life
- 3.5mm-only on Xbox
If you like the idea of a wireless headset like the Roccat Elo 7.1 or Xbox Wireless Headset but don’t want to pay the premium price, the Gioteck TX70 is a solid performer that comes in at just over half the price of the other wireless options in our chart.
The TX70 offers the same 2.4GHz connectivity as the more premium options in a compact black-and-blue package, complete with a plastic build and thick, soft-touch cushioning on both the headband and earcups. there’s a small flip mic available here too, making for a cleaner look when not chatting with your party.
Crucially, audio performance is great, with 50mm drivers providing an immersive experience with a decent balance between powerful bass and reproducing high-frequency sound, and there’s a built-in EQ mode that’ll allow you to enable or disable the bass boost depending on what game you’re playing.
The battery will last around 15 hours on a single charge before needing a top-up via micro-USB, and you’ve got 3.5mm connectivity as a backup too.
The TX70 is designed for use with the PS4, PS5 and PC, meaning those on Xbox will have to look elsewhere – unless you’re content with using the 3.5mm cable.
EKSA E910 - Wireless multi-platform connectivity
- Multi-platform wireless support
- 50mm drivers
- Retractable adjustable mic
- No 3.5mm headphone jack
- 10-hour battery life
- On the quiet side
The E910 is a relatively inexpensive way to deliver a well-rounded gaming audio experience, and with comfortable thick leatherette cushioning and LED-emblazoned earcups, it looks the part too.
The highlight of the EKSA E910 is the sound quality on offer. The built-in 50mm speakers deliver a well-rounded, deep sound with more than enough bass for an immersive gaming experience. Importantly, the bass doesn't overpower the mids and highs, allowing you to still pick up on smaller details like approaching footsteps in an FPS.
The only real complaint about audio is that it's not quite as loud as we'd like, even at top volume, therefore lacking that impact needed at times.
The retractable microphone packs ENC to quieten the background during tense mid-game team chats, and while it's not the best quality we've heard, it'll suffice for most day-to-day gaming.
The E910 features wireless connectivity, but unlike most, it utilises 5.8GHz Wi-Fi for faster data transmission. There is still a slight 15ms delay, but we didn't notice it during testing.
You can't lose the dongle at any cost though; despite coming with a 3.5mm cable in the box, there isn't a 3.5mm port on the headset, so it's 5.8GHz wireless or nothing. There isn't even Bluetooth available as a backup.
Impressively for a wireless headset, EKSA claims the E910 is compatible with all platforms, but there's a caveat; to use it on your Xbox or Switch, you'll have to rely on your TV's USB/headphone output rather than the console. That's not a given on every TV, so we think it's best suited to PC and PlayStation users, which it supports natively.
Battery life is a little lacklustre at just 10 hours - likely a knock-on from the LEDs on the earcups - but it should suffice for most gaming sessions. It charges via USB-C, and can go from flat to full within a couple of hours.
Astro A10 Gen 2 - Best wired PlayStation headset
- Lightweight design
- Great audio performance
- In-line volume controls
- On-ear rather than over-ear
The follow-up to the popular Astro A10, the A10 Gen 2, is an enhancement of the gaming headset with a refined design, improved audio performance and great colour options to fit most users’ needs – all for less than £50/$60.
Compared to its predecessor, the Astro A10 Gen 2 headset is lighter at just 240g, with a more ergonomic design that doesn’t clamp down on your head over longer gaming sessions, although the on-ear design of the cups may not appeal to everyone.
Those earcups are smaller than before, but with decent 32mm drivers at the heart, the audio experience is just as impressive for the price. The closed-back headphones are great for competitive FPS games, picking up on minor details like incoming footsteps sometimes missed by open-back counterparts, with a decent soundstage making for an overall immersive experience.
There’s also a boom mic with flip-to-mute technology for convenient chat functionality. In fact, the only thing that isn’t convenient about the headset is the volume control, opting for (harder to find) in-line volume controls in place of a volume rocker on the headset itself.
Audio performance aside, the Astro A10 Gen 2 is among the most durable headsets we’ve tested, able to withstand a complete twist of the headband without snapping or losing its shape. That’s coupled with replaceable earcups and headband foam to make the A10 Gen 2 last longer than much of the competition, especially at the budget end of the market.
It’s wired, and comes with both a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for console use and a splitter cable for PC, making it compatible with most platforms and consoles.
Trust GXT 310 - Great entry-level headset
The GXT 310s are one of the cheapest dedicated gaming headsets you can buy, and in return, you get a surprisingly complete experience.
The design is functional if a little basic, but the all-plastic build means the headset can remain lightweight and portable. As on-ear headphones, it can take a bit of adjustment to get the right fit, but once you do the GXT 310s are particularly comfortable. The padded headband and ear cups mean wearing these for extended gaming sessions shouldn’t be a problem.
However, sound quality is the true star of the show here. It’s extremely impressive to see 7.1 surround sound at this price point, and the GXT 310s benefit hugely as a result. Audio is rich and full-bodied, with a nice balance to the sound on offer. This is particularly apparent when gaming, with the headset making for a truly immersive experience.
If we had one complaint here, it would be that the bass is slightly lacking, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most people. A more important factor here is that there is relatively little sound leak, even at high volumes. You can therefore enjoy your gaming session without disturbing people nearby.
The low price does mean you’re missing a few premium features, most notably the lack of a wireless option. Connecting via the included 3.5mm headphone jack could be an issue if you’re planning on using the headset with modern smartphones. There is also no inline remote or controls on the ear cups themselves, so everything will have to be controlled from the connected device.
However, it’s easy to look beyond these gripes when they sound so good and cost so little. If you’re a regular gamer and looking for an easy way to upgrade your experience, the GXT 310s are a no-brainer.
ADX 7.1 Gaming Headset - 7.1 on a budget
- 7.1 surround sound
- Braided cable
- Large button to display mic mute
- Hit-and-miss audio quality
- 3.5mm & USB sold separately
The ADX AFSH0419 7.1 gaming headset is no-thrills, but that’s not a bad thing; rather than focusing on branding and other aspects that don’t really matter, ADX has focused on providing core headset features usually exclusive to headsets double the price.
The headline feature is virtual 7.1 surround sound support, providing 360-degree directional audio that helps you pinpoint the location of enemy players and other interesting elements in your environment, be it the dripping of water on a concrete floor or the intense roar of a helicopter above. It’s an immersive feature that makes all the difference to gameplay, allowing you to proactively prepare for enemy contact before you actually see them.
There is admittedly a lack of clarity in the high-end, meaning sharp, high-pitched sounds like the clink of ammo hitting the floor seem a little more muted than other gaming headsets, but that’s an acceptable compromise for a headset that costs so little.
The wired nature of the headset may put some off, but the long, braided USB-A cable should stand the test of time. You’ll also find in-line controls not only for volume but the microphone and LED effects too, allowing you to control just about every aspect of the headset in one place.
There is what looks like a large button to mute your mic, but much to our surprise, it only displays whether the mic is muted or not - the actual mute button is located on the side of the control unit. It’s an odd design choice, but again, it’s not a dealbreaker at such a competitive price. The only real annoyance is the microphone; it can’t be retracted or removed when not in use, and gets in the way when we’re not playing multiplayer games.
The decision to include USB connectivity limits the AFSH0419 to PS4, PC and Mac, although there is a 3.5mm variant available too.
Trust Carus GXT 323W - Affordable PS5-inspired headset
- PS5 styling
- Long 1.2m cable
- 50mm drivers
- Close driver placement
- Sound leakage issues
- Cheap build
The Trust Carus GXT 323W (catchy, we know) is a cheap and cheerful gaming headset designed to complement the PS5, sporting the same black-and-white design as the next-gen console and accompanying DualSense controller – even the 1.2m braided cable is black and white.
While the chunky design is hard to miss, the headset is lightweight due to an entirely plastic build – even the metallic elements are made from plastic. This does bring down the overall build quality compared to some headsets in the chart, and it means there’s a surprising amount of sound leakage, but it’s fairly common in the budget end of the market.
There’s thick padding around the headband that helps alleviate the build-up of pressure over longer gameplay sessions, and you’ll find the same on the earcups too. The problem is that the earcup cushions aren’t quite thick enough, meaning your ears will likely be touching the drivers of the headset when worn – and that’s not the greatest for comfort.
But if you can overlook the earcup issues, the 50mm drivers deliver a decent stereo audio experience with powerful bass, although without any kind of adjustment, it can overpower high-end detail that really immerse you in the game. There’s also a boom mic for party comms, with a switch to mute on the left earcup.
Despite the obvious PS5 inspiration, the 3.5mm headphone jack means you can use it with practically any console or PC, and it’s available in a few different colour combinations too. The cable is a little on the short side for PC users though; it’s better suited to controllers like the DualShock 4 that offer a built-in 3.5mm jack.
If you can overlook the cheap build and have smaller ears than this writer does, the Carus GXT 323W is a decent entry-level choice for PS5 gamers (and everyone else too).
What should I consider when buying a budget gaming headset?
Whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, the design of the gaming headset you purchase is very important; it can sound incredible, but if it’s uncomfortable to wear over long periods, chances are you’ll ditch it fairly quickly. There’s already enough going on when gaming without having to worry about the dull ache at the top of your head, or sweaty ears.
Though overall comfort can vary between manufacturers, we’d recommend opting for headsets made from soft, breathable materials. If you’re a glasses wearer, it’s also good to keep an eye out for headsets with dedicated eyewear channels to alleviate the pressure of your glasses against your head when worn. Adjustable earcups and length-adjustable headbands are always a plus too, allowing you to find the perfect fit.
You’ll also have to decide whether you want a wired or wireless gaming headset, as this can have an effect on other factors too. With regards to budget gaming headsets, you’re more than likely going to get a better deal with wired headsets when compared to wireless headsets.
The budget price tag means that, generally speaking, manufacturers will skimp on other features to accommodate wireless connectivity. If you really want the best sound and performance available for your budget, we’d generally recommend a wired headset. You can get amazing wireless gaming headsets that do everything you’d need and more, but these can cost upwards of £150/$150.
You should also make sure that the headset you want to buy is compatible with the PC or console you want to use it with. Generally speaking, any PlayStation, Xbox or Switch headset should also work with PC, but it’s not the case when going from PC to console due to different connection methods amongst Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo’s consoles.
The good news is that you can avoid compatibility issues by opting for a headset with a standard 3.5mm output. This is supported not only by every console and PC on the market, but smartphones, tablets and anything else that offers a standard headphone jack. If you opt for a USB-powered or wireless headset, be sure to make sure you’ve got the right version for your setup.
For a look at more premium headsets on the market, check out our selection of the best gaming headsets.
Find out how we test audio.