Finding a gaming headset isn’t an easy task, let alone finding an affordable one. Besides, with each company promoting their own headsets, users get thrown off and end up buying models that are different from what they need only because the company made them sound like better options.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, and because you’re on a tight budget it’s only fair to know where you’ll be putting your money, so I made sure to get into the details of 7 of the best gaming headsets under $100.
There are key features that you should consider when buying a gaming headset, and I’ve gathered them in the comparison table below so that it’s easier for you to keep track of the reviews and hence, easier to decide which model is better for you. Let’s get right into it.
|Headset||Wired / Wireless||Design||Surround Sound||Noise Cancellation|
|HyperX Cloud II||Wired||Over-ear||Supported||Supported|
|SteelSeries Arctis 5||Wired||Over-ear||Supported||Supported|
|Corsair VOID RGB Elite||Wired||On-ear||Supported||Not Supported|
|Razer Kraken Pro V2||Wired||Over-ear||Not Supported||Supported|
|EPOS Sennheiser GSP 300||Wired||Over-ear||Not Supported||Supported|
|HyperX Cloud Stinger Core||Wireless||Over-ear||Supported||Supported|
|Astro Gaming A10||Wired||Over-ear||Not Supported||Supported|
The 7 Best Gaming Headsets Under $100 in 2021
1. HyperX Cloud II – Editor’s Choice
The HyperX Cloud II is among the popular headsets that many gamers opt for when looking for an affordable option with solid performance. It comes with large 53mm over-ear drivers and a 3.5mm non-detachable cord that’s about 1m long, but can be extended to 2m.
The audio quality while gaming is pretty impressive, especially with first-person shooter (FPS) games, thanks to the 7.1 virtual surround sound that’ll help you locate your opponents. Moreover, the drivers are designed to offer passive noise cancellation to stay undistracted while gaming.
Unlike the cable, the microphone is detachable and can be replaced easily with a higher-end option, though I don’t think that would be necessary. It features noise-cancellation, and the voice is clear enough for the microphone to get certified by both Team Speak and Discord (The best Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services) as one of the best for utmost clarity during in-game communication.
Additionally, the HyperX Cloud II is compatible with multiple gaming platforms from PCs and Macs to Xbox, PS4, and even mobile phones. Durability is guaranteed with the aluminum frame, and the foam-padded ear cushions are exceptionally comfortable to use for many hours of continuous gaming without experiencing any heat or itchiness.
- Premium audio quality
- Durable with a strong build
- Supports 7.1 virtual surround sound
- Excellent boom mic performance
- Compatible with a variety of gaming consoles
- The cord isn’t detachable
For a budget option, the HyperX Cloud II surely has a lot to offer in respect of performance. It doesn’t support Bluetooth connectivity, but it comes with a USB card adaptor that functions as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which is a great add-on for gamers who like to enjoy some music on the side.
2. SteelSeries Arctis 5 – Best Design
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is a comfortable gaming headset and comes in a sleek design with flexible headbands that can be adjusted using the expandable rods on both sides. The 40mm drivers are tailored for a perfect over-the-ear fit.
The RGB lightning circumferentially covers the ear cups and gives the headset a more expensive finish. Out of the box, the lightning changes in color every 10 seconds, but you can customize it through the Engine 3 Software.
Although the cable is detachable, I wish it was a little shorter, because, at 3m, it gets tangled too easily. The 3.5mm jack and USB Type-A connector make the headset compatible with various devices, including smartphones.
Gaming with the SteelSeries Arctis 5 is a blast in virtue of the V2.0 surround sound with DTS (Digital Theater Systems), offering an accurate sound experience that comes in handy while pinpointing your enemies, giving you the edge for winning.
The microphone is retractable, and it can be muted using a button on the earcup. Moreover, it features noise-cancellation that can be adjusted using the application in addition to adjusting the sidetone. The feature allows you to set how loud you can hear your own voice during chats to avoid yelling.
- Authentic design
- Supports DTS surround sound
- High-quality microphone
- The cable is too long
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is a widely used headset, and with the exception of wireless connectivity, I dare say that it offers the same performance offered by the newer Arctis 7 model.
3. Corsair VOID RGB Elite USB – Best Value for Money
I chose this headset from the two RGB Elite models by Corsair because it has a lot to offer for its price range. In addition, the USB model is better for gaming since it’s wired, whereas the Elite Wireless model is pretty average when compared to other wireless headsets with the same price range.
The Corsair VOID Elite’s design isn’t that flattering, but it’s lightweight, and the headband is well-padded for comfort. Besides, it’s marked on both sides to allow the user to evenly adjust it for a better fit around the ears. That being said, the headset is suitable for different head sizes with decent clipping action.
The 50mm drivers provide a loud sound that’s quite stable across different frequencies, also, with the 7.1 surround sound, you should expect some advantages in terms of precision and accuracy.
However, the sound is a bit too artificial with some games. The surround sound can be disabled from the iCUE app, not to mention, you can use the app for other purposes like tweaking the audio EQ, sidetone, and the RGB lighting of the logo on each earcup.
Unfortunately, the mic isn’t detachable, so replacing it isn’t an option. But, on the bright side, it transmits your voice clearly and it’s long enough to stay at an appropriate distance from the mouth.
The on-ear design contributes to some sound leakage, especially with louder sounds. Yet, it’s nothing to worry about if you have a gaming set-up in your bedroom rather than the living room. The cable is 1.8m, which is a good length to avoid tangles without restricting your movement.
- Stable sound
- Comfortable padding
- Adjustable headbands
- Decent microphone
- Reasonable cable length
- User-friendly application
- Sound fidelity could be improved
- The microphone isn’t detachable
- Some sound leakage
The Corsair VOID RGB Elite is a premium headset despite looking a little cheaply made. Also, the application has been updated to avoid previous bugs when it came to saving different audio profiles, so you can rest assured you’re opting for a friendly interface.
4. Razer Kraken Pro V2 – Most Durable
The Razer Kraken Pro V2 has a humble design with a strong, aluminum build and 50mm on-ear drivers. The paddling is thick enough to guarantee comfort during prolonged gaming sessions.
Meanwhile, the aluminum frame makes it one of the most durable headsets on the market that can withstand some serious mistreatment without impacting its weight. The cable is 1.3m, which isn’t the longest out there and not the shortest either.
The headset is an excellent option for competitive gamers who play games like Rainbow Six Siege and Gear of War 4. This is because the virtual surround sound is quite sensitive when it comes to hearing your enemies’ footsteps and accurately locating them. Nonetheless, the headset didn’t fail to impress me with games like Rocket League and Thumper, where sound effects and authenticity are the main concerns.
Additionally, the microphone features noise-isolation with an excellent voice quality without worrying about any ambient sounds in the background. It comes in a retractable design, and it’s flexible enough to adjust its position and keep it at a suitable distance from your mouth to avoid sibilance.
What will you be compromising when settling for this cheaper model rather than the more expensive Kraken 7.1 V2 model? As the name implies, the 7.1 V2 features built-in 7.1 virtual surround sound, whereas the former is compatible with surround sound through Razer Surround.
- Durable with a sturdy build
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Features noise-isolation
- Compatible with multiple gaming consoles
- Excellent sound quality
- No build-in surround sound
Although it might seem like the Razer Kraken Pro V2 isn’t as good as the 7.1 V2 model, I can argue that it’s more versatile than the 7.1 V2 model because it can be used with a variety of platforms including mobile phones. On the other hand, the 7.1 V2 model is only compatible with PCs and PS4.
5. EPOS Sennheiser GSP 300 – Most Convenient Headset
Just like all Sennheiser headsets, the GSP 300 has an ergonomic design with over-ear drivers coming at 40mm. The headband is adjustable, and the cable is 2m long, which is slightly longer than needed, but not long enough to get frequent tangles. It can’t be used as a wireless headset, yet it features USB connectivity.
Moving on to the gaming performance, I was a little disappointed to know that the Sennheiser GSP 300 doesn’t support surround sound. And though I didn’t expect much, when I tried the headset, I was blown away by the sound quality.
The EPOS Pioneering Audio technology is underestimated, and it’s safe to say that the headset provides sound quality that’s as good as any budget model, if not better.
The sound is crisp and highly detailed with no distortion whatsoever, and the volume wheel allows instant sound adjustment according to your personal preference. Also, the boom microphone shines through as one of the most functional options at this price range.
It supports noise-cancellation, and you don’t have to reach for a button to mute it, just flip it upwards and it’ll be muted automatically.
The headset can be used with any gaming device that features a 3.5mm audio port, including PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PCs, and others. It’s comfortable not only because of the adjustable headband but also because of the thick padding. Regardless, it’d have been better if the padding were continuous.
- Crisp and highly-detailed sound
- Features EPOS Pioneering Audio technology
- Microphone features noise-cancellation
- Comfortable and stylish
- Can be used with multiple consoles
- Doesn’t support surround sound
- Padding isn’t continuous
Using the Sennheiser GSP 300 is pretty straight forward with no need to connect to any apps. It’s quite versatile, and this is why it’s still available on the market despite the newer model. Going through the specs, you wouldn’t expect such an immersive gaming experience.
6. HyperX Cloud Stinger Core – Most Affordable Wireless Headset
For the sake of versatility, I thought I should talk about an affordable wireless headset that offers decent gaming performance. In comparison to the Cloud II model reviewed earlier, there isn’t much to say regarding the design, almost all HyperX Cloud headsets share the same appearance with very little differences between various lines.
The drivers are smaller (40mm) than the ones that come with the HyperX Cloud II, and the microphone isn’t detachable. Instead, it comes in a swivel-to-mute design to be more convenient. On top of that, it features noise-cancellation to allow the user to stay focused during different games with crystal-clear in-game chatting.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger Core is originally built for PS4, yet, it offers similar performance with other platforms. Though many gamers fear using a wireless headset because they’re not as stable as wired options, I prefer wired headsets as well, but I can’t deny that this is one of the few good options at this price range, especially when compared to models like SteelSeries Arctis 1.
The 7.1 Virtual surround sound is implemented to enhance the gaming experience with intense combat sounds as well as different effects. Not to mention, the technology is the best in terms of accuracy and sound integrity. Lastly, you should note that the padding isn’t per se the thickest, but it’s thick enough to offer high levels of comfort.
- Clear and balanced sound
- Excellent microphone
- Supports 7.1 surround sound
- 17-hour battery life
- Compatible with many gaming consoles
- Lacks a 3.5mm audio jack
Despite being such an affordable headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless is a durable option that can offer an immersive gaming experience. My only concern is that it doesn’t feature any customizable options, so having a personalized audio profile isn’t on the table.
7. Astro Gaming A10 – Best Headset for Xbox
Astro is one of the most trusted brands that make high-quality headsets; I was a little surprised to find such an affordable model, you know since most of their models lie on the other end. Nevertheless, the headset offers solid performance, so I’d definitely recommended for those looking for a premium, yet affordable headset.
One of the things you’ll appreciate about this headset is that it’s not so different from the more expensive counterparts in terms of design, which makes it look more expensive than it actually is. The drivers are 40mm, and it comes with a detachable cord that’s 2m long. The microphone, on the other hand, isn’t detachable, but it’s reliable and mutes automatically when flipped up.
Furthermore, it features a built-in noise-isolation technology that keeps you immersed in the game with excellent sound quality, despite the price. This makes it an entry-level headset not only for those on a budget but also for beginners and occasional gamers.
To cut it short, there’s nothing to complain about here except that it can be a little tight, so gamers might struggle a bit with longer gaming sessions. Perhaps this isn’t the best option for a hardcore gamer, but all in all, the sound fidelity will amaze you, so I think it’s worth it.
- Outstanding sound quality
- Premium design
- Decent microphone
- Built-in noise cancellation
Although this headset is compatible with multiple gaming platforms, it’s a better option for those using Xbox, merely because they can connect it to the MixAmp M60 of the controller. This gives the user extra adjustments when it comes to different EQ modes for a better game/chat audio balance.
How to Pick an Affordable Gaming Headset
Tech terminology can be a little tricky, and for many gamers, some of the aspects on the box don’t make any sense, so I decided to clarify things for you so that you can make a better decision regarding which of these gaming headsets is worthy of your money.
Let’s be honest, if you’re on a tight budget, the last thing you’re going to do is buy two headsets to use with different platforms. Instead, you can invest in a headset to use with all the gaming consoles you already have or might even get in the near future. Fortunately, all headsets come with a compatibility label, so make sure to check it out before making any decisions.
Buying a wireless headset is tempting, and it usually seems like the more convenient option, but trust me, it’s not. I wish I could say that that’s because the wireless connectivity won’t be that stable when buying a headset under $100, but it doesn’t stop there. Even with the most expensive wireless headsets, a wired option that’s just as expensive will offer much better quality, especially with gaming.
Moreover, you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery in the middle of the game right before you score that last goal or make your final strike. Even if the battery life is long enough to last through the entire day, using a wired headset and letting the charging process slip out of your head sounds more convenient.
The trick here is to find the right cable length that gives you enough space to move as much as you want, without the unnecessary extra length that doesn’t only crowd you but gets tangled as well.
Surround sound is a game-changing feature that makes your game way more immersive. It creates a 3-dimensional illusion of where the sound is coming from, giving you an advantage over your opponents so that your enemy doesn’t sneak behind you and take you by surprise.
The level of realism with surround sound is mind-blowing, and the fact it’s now supported by cheaper headsets makes it possible for anyone to enjoy a high-end gaming experience without breaking the bank. Should you settle for a mono sound headset? Only if the ones that support surround sound aren’t available, otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a lot!
If you’re looking for ways to increase immersion, then you should absolutely throw noise cancellation into the mix. The technology isolates you from your surrounding by creating a tight seal that prevents any ambient background noise from reaching your ears. Accordingly, the people around you won’t hear any disturbing noises from the headset.
The design of the headset might not seem like the most important thing to think about, yet you shouldn’t take it out of the equation because it does impact your gaming experience.
For instance, I’ve met a lot of gamers who think that the driver’s size and earcup style aren’t that important when choosing a gaming headset, and later on struggle with the sound range and fitting the headset on their heads.
Anyways, the larger divers’ sizes are always louder. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily clearer, but it means there’s a better chance your ears will catch more details if the headset is clear enough.
Meanwhile, you should keep the style of the earcups at the back of your head. With the over-ear models, the sound is more concealed, which makes the game more engaging. Contrarily, on-ear headsets allow some sound to leak and some of the background noise to get into your ears.
The best way to make an informed decision about the perfect headset is to go through the different aspects of each headset and look for the specs you need.
In my humble opinion, the HyperX Cloud II is the best choice because it has the largest driver size, it’s wired, and it supports both 7.1 surround sound and noise cancellation. The SteelSeries Arctis 5 offers the same features, but the driver is much smaller, so it’s the second-best option.
If you’re looking for the best gaming headset under $100 to use with your Xbox, I’d recommend the Astro Gaming A10. It doesn’t support surround sound, but it was specifically built for Xbox with multiple versions that are compatible with other gaming platforms as well.
That said, it should be easier for you to pick an affordable headset knowing exactly what to expect when it comes to performance, quality, and accessibility.