What is the best gaming headset for under $100? With any gamer, professional or otherwise, there is a dilemma that arises. The majority of us don’t have the budget for a gaming headset that has all the bells and whistles.
Even with limited funds, you still need something that at least has the basic audio and comfort features that you need to game solid. Thankfully, there are ample gaming headsets out there to suit your needs, and all of them are well under $100.
How To Choose The Best Gaming Headset Under $100
No matter what you are going to be using your gaming headset for, how can you tell you’re getting your money’s worth? Let’s go over some important features to consider when making the decision of which headset to purchase.
Most gamers, including myself, tend to get sucked into a game for hours on end. Usually spending well over six hours or more in a single session. If you’re this kind of person, it’s imperative that your headset is utterly comfortable.
I have found that memory foam or cooling gel-infused cushions are ideal for gaming into the wee hours of the night. Also, make sure the ear cups are larger than your ear, which will decrease pressure on your ears, provide maximum comfort, and minimize distracting outside noise.
Some people prefer leather, even though I find leather has this tendency to hold in sweat against my head and build up heat in a short amount of time. Stiff plastic or vinyl coverings will do the same thing, and depending on the quality of the material, are prone to falling apart.
Whatever you decide, pick what will work for you. You’re the one that will be wearing them!
When thinking about a gaming headset, you will want to consider the type of audio output that you need it to deliver. For some games, death comes to those who can’t hear a pin drop in the virtual room.
Great sound quality will assist in immersing you in the game and give you a vital edge in competition.
The majority of headsets are coming out with 50mm drivers that deliver 7.1 surround sound that allow the player to hear every single little movement in the game and tell exactly where it’s coming from. This also affects the way your fellow gamers hear you through the microphone, if you choose to use one.
Some headsets provide extra audio controls to improve your experience. Even without the extras. Some players will argue that 7.1 surround sound is overkill for the price. Personally, I think it makes a huge difference if you want the full cinematic effect.
New games come out almost every single month. Whether they are for a console, or the PC, you need to make sure you have a gaming headset that will be compatible with whatever you are going to play on.
Most gaming headsets are compatible with the PC, and playstation or nintendo consoles, considering it has the ability to read USB and a 3.5-mm jack for connection.
I will warn you Xbox players out there that with all the competition from PS5 and virtual gaming, headsets that are compatible with Xbox are getting harder to find. Look for a headset that has an Xbox adapter, which tends to use the 3.5-mm jack.
Wired vs Wireless
What you intend to use your headset for determines if you would prefer wired or wireless.
If you prefer to play in a group, then I suggest focusing on a headset that is wireless. That way, if you need to get up to get something you can do so without interrupting the intense conversation you’re having with your friends.
Wireless headsets are also great for people who can’t stand having a lot of wires dangling around to get tangled up yet. On the flip side, they’ve yet to produce a cord that will stretch all the way to the kitchen.
A wired headset is great if you use them for work or listening to music. They may also provide the option of charging while in use, and there is less chance of audio interference. Personally, I tend to use a wired headset because I don’t play often with other people.
Sometimes a headset can find itself thrown across the room in a fit of rage. We all have done it from time to time, whether we like to admit it or not.
If you’re a habitual headset-tosser, you will definitely want a gaming headset that is durable enough to take a beating. The key thing to look at is the material of the headband and the adjusting joints. Are they hard plastic, aluminum, steel, or made of cheap materials?
Personally, I find that using a headset that has a combination of some kind of metal and plastic gives the headset amazing durability.
Communication is a key component to any game that is multiple-player. You want a microphone that is going to cancel out the noise around you so that all your teammates hear is your own amazing voice.
The best microphone to use is one that is highly flexible. With a flexible mic you can bend it to where it catches your voice just right.
Just be careful with microphones that detach from the headset itself. They are nice but can be lost easily if you are anything like me. My favorite type of mic is the one that retracts into the headset, which makes it easier to use the headset for more than just gaming with friends.
The look of your headset can make an impression on anyone you meet, including your audience, if you’re a streamer. When it comes right down to it, your choice of style boils down to what sort of vibe you want to display to the community.
What do you want your headset to say about you when you wear it? Some styles are more “professional”: simplistic monotone colors with a splash of color.
Now that more ladies are joining the gaming world, more headsets are coming out that are cute and utterly adorable. Then you have the flashy kind, with plenty of lighting effects to set just the right mood. Personally, I enjoy a simplistic version – nothing fancy, but completely functional.
When looking for a budget headset – which is no doubt why you’re reading this – you want to make sure you’re getting the best for money’s worth. As the saying goes “you get what you pay for.”
For the most part that is true. However, looking at the product details you can assess if it is truly worth the price, especially for the headsets on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Majority of the time you are paying for the brand name, so considering lesser known brands can be a better choice. Find out what features you absolutely NEED, and which ones you would LIKE. It helps to be prepared to be a little flexible on your wants in order to keep your purchase within your budget.
For the best gaming headset for call of duty, you can check this article.
Gaming Headsets vs Regular Headphones
Should you go with a gaming headset, or will regular headphones work for you? Like I’ve mentioned earlier, a lot about this choice depends on what you want to do with the headsets or headphones and what you want out of them.
Headsets and headphones both have their pros and cons. Here are just a few examples of their differences:
- Designed for comfort and extended use
- Audio controls included
- Functional microphone
- LED RGB lighting effects
- Superior sound quality
- Simple design
- Less bulk
- Mics tends to be of lower sound quality
- Easier to transport
Stereo vs Surround Sound
There’s a big difference between stereo and surround sound effects. In my experience, most gamers I know prefer stereo. So, what does “stereo” and “surround sound” mean? What’s the difference?
Stereo means the sound that comes from two channels – left and right. The two speakers in each ear cup work together to give the illusion of hearing movement by adjusting the sound independently.
For example, if you were to listen to the footsteps of a person walking past you, you would hear the footsteps grow louder in the right ear speaker (assuming the “person” is coming up on your right, here), then as they walked in front of you, the left speaker starts to get louder. As the person walks to your left, the right speaker starts to fade out and the left one gets louder, eventually fading to create the illusion that the person is walking away from you.
Here are a few facts about stereo that you might consider when making a choice:
- Creates an illusion as if you are inside the game/movie
- Enhancing stereo sound is dependent on surroundings, so upgrading is limited
- Best for concerts, music, and live videos
- Sound can dull out and/or power of volume could decrease
Surround sound utilizes the use of multiple speakers around the user to create a very cinematic listening experience. Surround sound contains both virtual and true sound elements, and for this is preferred by many professional level gamers.
Surround sound drivers come in two formats – 5.1 and 7.1. These numbers indicate how many speakers are installed into the headsets. There is some debate on weather or not 7.1 is superior to 5.1, as not all platforms support the added drivers.
Personally, I feel my 7.1s are superior to my previous pair of 5.1 headsets, but to each their own. A few additional facts about surround sound:
- 5.1 surround sound – 5 individual drivers placed in significant positions in both ear cups, with an additional driver for bass (a.k.a., the subwoofer)
- 7.1 surround sound – Similar to 5.1, but with a driver dedicated to left and right channels
- Greater amount of immersion with cinematic effects
- Price point can be higher
- Many need software to take full advantage of the surround sound features
Gaming Headsets vs Gaming Earbuds
Gaming headsets have several designs to choose from. You can get regular over-ear headsets or in-ear earbuds. Both are similar in that they are made for gaming. Here are some differences to take into consideration when deciding which is best for you:
- Over-ear comfort
- Noise cancellation
- Easily accessible audio controls
- Flexible or removable microphone
- Designed for long game play
- Compact and portable
- Reduces sweat around ear
- Less noticeable
- Easy to lose
- May cause ear issues or discomfort if worn for extended periods
We also have an article for the top 5 best Tozo earbuds that you might be interested in.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality in order to find a great gaming headset for under $100. There are so many options to choose from that feature all the tech and style you could want or need.
When looking for the right headset that will fit your budget, consider what you will be using your headsets for, what platforms you intend to use them with, and what comfort features are an absolute necessity for you.
Do you need a mic to communicate with your team? Is noise-cancellation an absolute must? Do you want to have to take them off to make a bathroom or kitchen run? Are you a streamer looking to impress your patrons with cool lighting effects?
If you’re addicted to the thrill of complete immersion, want the full cinematic experience, or are a hard-core pro, I recommend a headset with surround sound. If you’re a casual or semi-pro gamer who doesn’t want the hassle of dealing with downloading an audio app or you don’t play on a system that supports surround sound, you’ll still be quite satisfied with a classic stereo headset.
Before you take a look at my top suggestions for gaming headsets, it helps to make a list of features that are most important to you, and which ones you are willing to compromise on for the sake of remaining under budget. You’ll be surprised at what you can get for under a bill!