Wallet-and-ear friendly options.
Updated: July 2018
The HyperX Cloud Stinger (See it on Amazon) / (See it on Amazon UK) is the best budget gaming headset. Based on our PC and console gaming tests, along with an iPhone music playback test, it offers the best overall sound, comfort, and features for the money. All cheap headsets, which we’ve defined as a $40 -$70 price range, force you to make sacrifices. If you can spend closer to $100 for a midrange headset and you’ll be able to enjoy sweet features like wireless performance, and/or 7.1 surround sound. You’ll also get better build quality as you move up the price scale – less molded plastic and more metal. The budget headsets we reviewed are all wired units with stereo sound and composed primarily of plastic. With that in mind, anyone with at least $50 to spend can rest assured that the HyperX Cloud Stinger punches above its weight and won’t leave you wanting.
Of the models we tested, we found the build quality to run the gamut, between flimsy and cheap to super sturdy to the point of being almost too heavy. Although you will find scratchy fabric earcups on some models, you’ll also encounter smooth synthetic leather and soft fabric, too. And ample, memory-foam padding for a cushy, comfortable fit against your head.
Sound quality was impressive across the board, though the tendency we found across the category was to favor low frequencies instead of highs or mids. You’ll get cleaner highs and better separation between mid and low frequencies in the midrange or higher class of gaming headsets. Let’s get into the specifics.
Best Cheap Gaming Headset – HyperX Cloud Stinger
First and foremost, a headset must deliver impressive and immersive audio. The HyperX Cloud Stinger did just that on our PC and console gaming tests, and it proved to be more than capable with music playback on an iPhone. It’s a versatile performer, although the boom mic is not detachable, so you might elicit some stares walking down the street rocking out to your tunes.
Strengthening our recommendation is the fact that the Cloud Stinger also happens to be the most comfortable of the budget headsets we reviewed. It’s neither too heavy nor too light, so it feels sturdy without becoming uncomfortable during long gaming sessions. And the oval, synthetic leather earcups offer a great fit and feel. Further, it’s impressively on the lower end of the budget headset spectrum.
Another Excellent Gaming Headset Option – Corsair HS50
Corsair launched its very first budget headset recently, and it’s extremely good, especially for the price. We ever-so-slightly prefer the HyperX Cloud Stinger, but it’s as close as it gets in these type of comparisons. It’s a stereo headset so there’s no fancy surround sound, but that’s typical at this price point. It is cross-platform though, so you can use it on PC, consoles, and even your phone/tablet. Its large 50mm drivers deliver punchy, clean sound, and the equally large and plush earcups are all-day comfortable too. Its flexible boom mic also delivered the best sound quality of all the budget headsets we tested. The HS50’s performance is so close to the Cloud Stinger’s that you should just pick up whichever you can find at a better price.
Gaming Headset Also Worth Considering – Logitech Prodigy G231
The Logitech G231 is a another very good package with a low price-tag, making it excruciatingly close to our favorites. Its mesh ear covers are comfortable, the metal headband is flexible and resilient, and they deliver thumping sound with excellent clarity. The flip-up mic works really well too, making it a highly-functional set with only very minor flaws. Probably our favorite feature is the removable and washable earcups, but the inline control module is also perfectly placed and these puppies can get loud.
The Respectable Super Cheap Gaming Headset Option – Sades SA902 7.1
The Sades SA902 can’t match the headsets listed above, but it’s also half their price. If you’re looking for an ultra-budget headset with respectable build quality that’s going to get the job done, this are a solid option. Not only do you get virtual 7.1 surround sound, but they’re comfortable and have some crazy software too. It’s not the best for listening to music, but is totally fine for games, and for the price can’t be beat. Just adjust your expectations accordingly.
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