Finding good headphones can be tough. Finding good headphones that are both cheap and good is even tougher. But finding the best budget headphones for gaming is no doubt the biggest challenge.

Good thing we happen to have numerous years of experience in both gaming and peripherals. We've already done all the research for you, so, why don't you take a few minutes of your time to check out our top picks?

Headphones VS Headsets: Learn the Difference

Before we get started, it's worth keeping in mind that headphones and headsets are not the same thing. Long story short, gaming headsets come with an attached microphone while headphones do not.

Gaming headsets also often offer "gaming features" such as virtual surround audio, onboard controls, and other things like that. Many people argue that these are nothing but gimmicks, but, in the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

If you want our take on it, the best solution is to grab a decent pair of headphones and a cheap lavalier microphone.

Lavalier microphone

This is going to deliver a much better value and a better overall experience for both you and most likely also the ones who have to listen through your microphone.

Contrary to popular belief, some of the most popular headsets can barely compete with the best headphones – be it for gaming or anything else. After all, there's no such thing as "gaming audio". You either have good sound or not.

But it's worth noting that certain headsets or headphones that deliver a wider soundstage and more accurate imaging will deliver a better overall gaming experience. Having a wider soundstage is better for casual gaming while accurate imaging can give you an advantage in competitive titles. More about that later.

The funny thing is that most headphones that deliver the widest soundstage are not even targeted towards gamers – such as the Sennheiser HD 599. Again, more about that later.

Naturally, headsets are still a great choice for those who want something that's easy to use right out of the box. That's why we are going to be including plenty of headsets as well – even if the title of the article mainly focuses on headphones.

For now, let us jump right into the reviews!

Quick Peek:

Wanna jump right in? Here are the basic pros and cons for each of our picks in a nutshell:

  1. HyperX Cloud 2: Best overall. Works everywhere without setup and complications. But it also doesn't have a removable cable and the closed-back design may be uncomfortable for some
  2. Sennheiser Game One: Can't go wrong with it if you wish to try out open-back options. It offers a wide soundstage and great sound – but lacks bass and noise isolation due to its open-back design
  3. Sennheiser HD 599: A great entry into the audiophile world at a relatively low price. But it's worth keeping in mind that you'll need a dedicated mic and that you get no noise isolation due to the open-back design
  4. Philips SHP9500: Another superb option for budget audiophiles with the same downsides as Sennheiser's offering. But it's also much cheaper with more bass if you use an equalizer
  5. Razer Kraken Ultimate: Great headset if you like having noise isolation and strong bass at the expense of losing balanced sound and soundstage
  6. HyperX Cloud Alpha S: All-around a decent successor to the Cloud 2s – but also slightly pricier
  7. Philips SHP9600: A more bassy alternative to the SHP9500. If you like open-back headphones but with a bit more bass to them, these ones are worth checking out
  8. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: Probably your best bet if you like studio closed-back headphones
  9. Corsair HS70 Pro: A decent wireless pick for the money with decent audio but mediocre noises isolation
  10. AKG K240: The cheapest open-back pair of headphones that you can get. Just keep in mind that they come with little to no bass

1: HyperX Cloud 2: Best Overall

Looking for something that is cheap, high quality, and gets the job done as easily and quickly as possible? Then it's hard to go wrong with the HyperX Cloud 2!

  • Type: Headset
  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Compatibility: PC and consoles (But without the onboard controls)
  • Features: Onboard controls (PC only) and removable microphone
hyperx cloud ii

It's sturdy, good-sounding, comes with a removable microphone, two sets of earpads, and even onboard controls for those of you who are on PC. All that while asking for less than $70. So, again, if you want something that just works out of the box without spending a lot of money, we can hardly think of a better choice.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't have any downsides. For one, the audio cable is not removable – but the good news is that it never failed us even though we used it for 3 years before selling it and it's still going strong.

It's also worth keeping in mind that the audio card only works on PC.

HyperX Cloud 2

Comfort-wise, tens of thousands of people have been saying that this is the most comfortable headset they've ever tried. But we personally find them to be a bit wearisome for long gaming sessions.

And it's not necessarily about tightness on the head/temples. It's probably the lack of breathability and the closed-back design that make them weird – as is the case with most closed-back headphones for anyone who can't handle noise isolation.

Then again, if noise isolation is on your priority list, this is going to be a big pro for you.

Pros:

  • Comes with a removable microphone
  • Works as it is out of the box (No need for a dedicated microphone or drivers)
  • Very sturdy
  • The free set of earpads is a welcome addition
  • Great noise isolation for indoor usage (But the lack of ANC makes it a tough buy for traveling)

Cons:

  • Non-removable audio cable
  • Onboard controls only work on PC
  • Lack of breathability can make it feel uncomfortable at times

Check it out on Amazon

2: Sennheiser Game One: Best Budget Open-Back Headset

Sennheiser is no doubt the most popular manufacturer when it comes to audiophile headphones. So, when they make a gaming headset, you better pay attention to it.

  • Type: Headset
  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Compatibility: Everything that comes with a 3.5mm jack
  • Features: Removable microphone, lift-to-mute, and removable audio cable
Best Budget gaming headphones

This is probably the most comfortable headset we've ever tried. It clamps about as tight as the Cloud 2s but at the same time it's much more breathable thanks to the open-back design.

Then again, the problem with this type of enclosure is that it delivers zero noise isolation. If you live in a noisy environment, start looking into other alternatives and you can basically wipe open-back headsets and headphones off your list.

Best budget gaming headphones

Interestingly enough, the microphone is surprisingly good. We'd say it rivals affordable lavalier microphones. So, for the current price of $136, it's hard to go wrong with it unless you want an alternative with noise isolation. In which case, maybe go for the Cloud 2s or the ATH-M40x and a mic.

The sound is generally great but lacks a bit of base – which is worth keeping in mind for fans of bass-heavy genres.

Build quality is okay if only a bit plasticky. While it comes with a metal frame, the Sennheiser Game One just doesn't feel as solid as the HyperX Cloud 2s.

Pros:

  • Wide soundstage
  • Lift-to-mute feature and the onboard volume control are both welcome additions
  • Probably the most comfortable headset out there

Cons:

  • Zero noise isolation by design
  • Lack of bass may be a deal-breaker for some

3: Sennheiser HD 599: Best Budget Audiophile Headphones for Gaming

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no such thing as "gaming audio". There is good audio and there is bad audio. Audiophiles generally consider balanced sound signatures to be ideal. So, if that's what you are after, the Sennheiser HD599 are probably your best bet!

  • Type: Headphones
  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Compatibility: Everything that comes with a 3.5mm jack
  • Features: Removable audio cable
Sennheiser HD 599

First things first, it's worth keeping in mind that this is a pair of headphones. There is no microphone or fancy features that come with it. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the HD 599, affordable as they may be, are still more expensive compared to most of our picks here.

Not to mention that you get no noise isolation thanks to the open-back design. So, right off the bat, these are no doubt some serious downsides. If you are willing to get past them, though, you get what is possibly the best sound on this list.

Sennheiser HD 599

And that's really all you get. Just a pair of headphones that sound great and all-around balanced. Though, it's worth keeping in mind that if you want a stronger bass kick while keeping the open-back design, then the Philips SHP9500 are going to be a better and cheaper choice.

Make no mistake. The HD 599 sound reasonably warm. But they just don't kick as hard with or without an equalizer.

One thing that can end up being a downside for some people is build quality. While there are some metal parts, the overall build of the HD 599 feels a bit fragile. We'd recommend treating them with care.

Pros:

  • Very balanced sound. Especially for the money
  • Extremely comfortable after you stretch them out a bit over time
  • Removable cable and the included adapters are both welcome additions

Cons:

  • No noise isolation by design
  • Bass, although warm, doesn't kick that hard
  • No microphone since we are talking about headphones

4: Philips SHP9500: Best Audiophile Alternative

A cheaper alternative to the Sennheiser HD 599 is no doubt the Philips SHP9500! They are just as good in most aspects and we personally find them to be even better on the bass department. After all, you can get a stronger kick out of them with the help of an equalizer.

  • Type: Headphones
  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Compatibility: Everything that comes with a 3.5mm jack
  • Features: Removable audio cable
Philips SHP9500

This is another pair headphones, so, if you are into multiplayer games, you are definitely going to have to invest into a lavalier microphone. This has been our daily setup for more than a year now, it asked for less than $100, and it's no doubt the best gaming experience we've ever had.

That's simply because they offer the best comfort levels we've witnessed so far, great sound, and decent build quality in an affordable package. Of courses, the downside is that they offer zero noise isolation and a plasticky feel. We'd recommend being careful with them as they don't feel that durable.

Best budget gaming headphones

As you can see in the image, they are absolutely huge as well. And that can be both a pro and a con, depending on the size of your head.

Last, but not least, the removable cable is a welcome addition. But, other than that, there are no features to speak of. Just great sound.

Pros:

  • Balanced sound
  • Probably the most comfortable headphones we've ever used
  • Very wide soundstage

Cons:

  • Zero noise isolation
  • Mediocre build quality
  • No microphone

Check it out on Amazon

5: Razer Kraken Ultimate: Best Bassy Headset

Open-back headphones may be what most audiophiles are going for. But that obviously doesn't mean that everyone should do it. Most people out there seem to prefer bassy audio, and if you find yourself to be in that category, definitely check out the Razer Kraken Ultimate!

  • Type: Headset
  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Compatibility: PC
  • Features: Retractable microphone
Razer kraken ultimate

Much like the HyperX Cloud 2, this is another headset that includes everything in one package. Both the onboard controls and the retractable microphone come included with the headset.

If you are into it, there is RGB lighting as well. The only problem with it is that brings the price up without bringing much to the table since you won't be able to see the RGB anyway.

Best budget gaming headphones

Speaking of downsides, the closed-back enclosure brings much more bass and noise isolation to the table. But, in exchange, it also kills most of the soundstage and reduces comfort. It can make things sound more into your head rather than an open environment, but it's worth noting that some people prefer that kind of sound anyway.

On a positive side note, the microphone sounds great and the build quality is pretty good as well. But it's worth keeping in mind that unfortunately, the Kraken Ultimate is a USB headset that only works on PC.

Pros:

  • Bassy sound (Can be a con if you prefer something more balanced)
  • Good build quality
  • RGB is a welcome addition
  • Retractable microphone
  • Decent noise isolation

Cons:

  • Narrow soundstage
  • Comfort can be a bit of a hit or miss depending on how you fair with the noise isolation and lack of breathability

Check it out on Amazon

6: HyperX Cloud Alpha S: Best Balanced Closed-Back Headset

They say that, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But we'd say that if there's room for improvement, why not take advantage of it? That's what the Cloud Alpha S is – basically an improvement over the Cloud 2s in every single way.

  • Type: Headset
  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Compatibility: Everything with a 3.5mm output jack (But the USB audio card only works on Windows)
  • Features: Removable microphone/audio cable, USB sound card controls
HyperX Cloud Alpha S

First things first, the audio card includes controls for balancing the audio between game volume and chat volume, two more buttons for general volume control, a 7.1 surround sound toggle, and a dedicated mic mute button as well.

Having all these buttons separated from the headset and in front of us is a great design choice. But it's worth keeping in mind that these controls only work on PC. Thankfully, the headset itself should work just fine on consoles if you only plug in the 3.5mm cable that, by the way, is fully removable.

Best budget gaming headphones

Since we are talking about a closed-back headset, the soundstage is naturally going to narrower compared to open-back options. However, thanks to it, you are also getting much more noise isolation and stronger bass.

Speaking of bass, an interesting feature that this headset comes with is the option of physically adjusting how much air can escape from the headset. This is very useful for managing bass strength not through software, but hardware.

Pros:

  • More lightweight than the Cloud 2s yet just as durable
  • Overall pretty comfortable if you don't mind the closed-back feeling
  • Removable microphones and audio cables are always a welcome addition
  • The option of removing the sound card makes the headset usable with both consoles and PCs
  • Bass sliders are a welcome addition

Cons:

  • Relatively narrow soundstage by design

Check it out on Amazon

7: Philips SHP9600: Best Bassy Open-Back Headphones

Open-back headphones generally offer more soundstage and breathability along with more comfort as well. The only downside apart from poor noise isolation is that they also lose a lot of bass due to that design – which is also the case with the SHP9500.

The Philips SHP9600 aim to fix this issue by increasing the bass, and pushing back the mids while also reducing the highs as well.

  • Type: Headphones
  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Compatibility: Everything with a 3.5mm output jack
  • Features: Removable audio cable
Philips SHP9600

You are obviously still not going to get the boomy bass that a pair of closed-back headphones can deliver. But this is still an improvement over the SHP9500.

Just keep in mind that this doesn't necessarily mean that the SHP9600 is an upgrade over the previous generation. It's just a different sound signature and it all comes down to personal preferences.

Best budget headphones for gaming

If there's one small improvement that's definitely the clamping force. The SHP9600 clamps tighter than its predecessor – but just enough to the point where it's not going to slide around.

In terms of features, there are none. This is a basic pair of headphones with no mic, onboard controls, or other goodies like Surround Sound or RGB lighting. And that's no doubt a downside for some people.

Pros:

  • Relatively wide soundstage
  • More bass than the previous generation (If you are into that kind of sound)
  • Probably the most comfortable pair you can ever get
  • Removable cables are always a welcome addition

Cons:

  • Zero noise isolation by design
  • No microphone or other features

Check it out on Amazon

8: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: Best Affordable Studio Headphones

If you are a fan of flat audio but you prefer closed-back headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x should definitely be one of your first go-to options.

  • Type: Headphones
  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Compatibility: Everything with a 3.5mm output jack
  • Features: Removable audio cable
Audio-Technica m40x

So, let us start by saying that bass lovers are going to hate these. Much like the Clouds, the ATH-M40x are mostly flat for studio use and rather un-exciting. That is why they are often used for monitoring.

The comfort levels are generally okay. But some may find them a bit too tight. But it's not that they clamp too strongly per se. It's more like the stock earpads are a little bit rigid – which can be solved by using softer, 3rd party options. Just don't forget that the earpads' size and material also affect the sound.

Best budget headphones for gaming

One thing we love about these headphones is that they come with a standard 3.5mm jack and a casual design. This means that you can easily use them on most devices indoors or outdoors and not just for gaming.

But, obviously since we are talking about headphones, there is no microphone included. You'll have to either use a dedicated lavalier mic or a V-Moda Boom Pro mod.

Pros:

  • Casual design
  • Flat sound signature (May be a con if you prefer something more "Colorful"
  • Swiveling ear-cups are a welcome addition
  • Okay noise isolation

Cons:

  • Mediocre comfort levels
  • No microphone or other features

Check it out on Amazon

9: Corsair HS70 Pro: Best Budget Wireless Headphones for Gaming

"Budget" and "Wireless" are two keywords that we normally wouldn't recommend. But if you need a good budget headset, it's hard to go wrong with the Corsair HS70 Pro!

  • Type: Headset
  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Compatibility: PC, PS4, and PS5
  • Features: Wireless, onboard controls, and removable cable + mic
Corsair HS70 Pro

One of the main reasons why we don't usually recommend budget wireless headphones for gaming is due to the lag that Bluetooth introduces audio delay. That's usually not a problem for listening to music or watching videos – but it's a massive deal breaker for gaming.

Thankfully, most gaming headsets, including the Corsair HS70 Pro Wireless, come with a dedicated, low-latency adapter. That's why we recommend this specific headset instead of standard Bluetooth headphones.

Best budget headphones for gaming

Their sound is overall balanced but also a bit exciting. The bass kicks a bit more compared to flat headphones while the highs are also sharp.

Onboard controls for volume adjustment, the microphone mute button, along with the power button are all welcome additions – and so is the removable mic and audio cable.

The overall build quality is great. But there have also been complaints about certain parts of the headset breaking, so, we've got mixed signals about that one.

Pros:

  • Wireless
  • Great build quality
  • Fairly balanced – if only a bit exciting

Cons:

  • Mediocre noise isolation despite the closed-back design
  • A bit tight on the head
  • Some complaints about the headset breaking down are a bit worrying, to say the least

Check it out on Amazon

10: AKG K240: Cheapest Open-Back Headphones

Open-back headphones are usually not cheap. But if you are looking for budget options, the AKG K240 are literally the cheapest semi-open back headphones that you can get!

  • Type: Headphones
  • Enclosure: Semi-open
  • Compatibility: Everything with a 3.5mm jack
  • Features: Removable audio cable
AKG Pro Audio K240

Of course, at this price point, you can't expect to get much in return. Like many other picks on this list, the K240 are aiming for a flat audio signature. But the bass is basically non-existent.

Comfort, on the other hand, is almost top-notch. While the ear-pad material doesn't feel that good and is rather rigid, the headphones put very little pressure on your temples. That said, with very little clamping force, comes very little stability.

Best budget gaming headphones

Build quality isn't that good. There are a lot of moving parts that don't feel particularly strong. So, we'd recommend treating these headphones with great care.

The removable cable is always a welcome addition. But since we are talking about a pair of headphones and not a headset, it goes without saying that no microphone is included in the package.

Pros:

  • Cheapest pick on our list
  • A semi-open back design at this price point is good to see
  • "Chill" sound
  • Pretty comfortable

Cons:

  • Very weak bass – even by open-back standards
  • No noise isolation by design
  • Mediocre build quality

Check it out on Amazon

FAQ

How Much Should I Spend on Gaming Headphones?

As you already saw from our picks, we wouldn't go any lower than $65 to $69 or so. Most of the cheaper headphones that we've tried boost the bass and mids just to cover the fact that they reproduce little to no detail.

So, in our experience, going any lower than the $60-70 mark means that you are butchering audio quality just to save 20 to 40 bucks. It's just not worth it.

The sweet spot is hovering around $80-140 or so, though. Go higher and you start seeing diminishing returns. Go lower and quality starts dropping drastically.

What is the Best Gaming Headset Under $50

We really wouldn't recommend going that low. But if you really want a $50 headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is one of the best out there. Just keep in mind that for $20 more you can get the Cloud 2 – which is one of the best headsets out there.

How do I Connect a Wireless Headset with my PC?

Most wireless headsets come with their own dongle/receiver. All you have to do is plug that dongle to your PC and turn on the headset. Installing the appropriate software is also highly advised and a frequent necessity.

Bluetooth headphones can be paired just like any other Bluetooth device via your computer's settings.

Is There any Difference Between Wired and Wireless Sound Quality?

Generally speaking, most wired headphones and headsets are going to sound better than their wireless counterparts. And that's especially true for lossless audio formats such as FLAC.

However, it's worth noting that premium offerings are pretty decent nowadays. Just keep in mind that even flagship headphones like the HD 800S are still wired.

Which is Safer? Wireless or Wired Headphones?

While many people seem to worry about the health risks of wireless devices, there is absolutely no evidence that wireless devices that operate in the radio-wave spectrum are any more of a risk to our health than the wired counterparts.

Best Budget Headphones for Gaming: Wrapping Up

These are our top picks for now. Wanna make any more recommendations? Got anything to ask? Then let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!

Like what you see? Then feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, reviews, listicles, apps, games, devices, how-to guides, and more!

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Option 3
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