That Good Gamer Sound: Best Gaming Headphones Under $100
If you’re serious about gaming, you’d better be serious about your headset. I know I am, and that’s why I have tested dozens over the past couple years to provide the strongest options available.
Gaming-specific headsets include two key components: headphones and a microphone. When comparing the specs of different models, your priorities for these components may vary based on the type of games you play. For role-playing games, you might be looking for a high-quality microphone to ensure your commands are clear and easy to follow. If you favor first-person shooter action, then you’ll be seeking rich, three-dimensional surround sound to help you identify your targets and avoid your enemies. Some models manage to fulfill both needs adequately, but most tend to outperform in one category but underperform in the other.
A quality gaming headset can give you an edge over your opponents and create a next-level playing experience, but it can also break the bank if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, I’ve done the homework for you and identified the best wired and best wireless gaming headsets on the market today at a price point you can live with—$100 or less. Here is my list:
Wired Gaming Headphones
- HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset
- HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset
- Razer Kraken Chroma V2
- Corsair Void Pro RGB
- Steelseries Arctis 5 RGB
- Sennheiser GSP 302
- Logitech G231 Prodigy
Wireless Gaming Headphones
- Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless
- Logitech G533
- ASUS ROG Strix
Wired Gaming Headphones Under $100
This sleek headset comes in three color options: black, white and silver. Made from a combination of lightweight leather and memory foam, the HyperX Cloud is easily one of the most comfortable headsets on the market. Tipping the scales at just 9.6 ounces, they won’t weigh you down, even after hours of play.
The Cloud offers a high-quality 7.1 surround-sound experience that has made it a favorite of professional gamers across the globe. Its dynamic high-low frequency response balances rich bass with sharp treble, while the 53-millimeter drivers pick up sounds many other models don’t.
The headphones do a solid job canceling out external noise, working to minimize distractions from the action on your screen. Inline mute and volume controls make the sound easy to adjust based on your playing environment, and the detachable mic gives the headset added versatility, eliminating the need to carry a second set of headphones with you for listening to music or podcasts.
The HyperX Cloud headset is compatible with all gaming systems, and manufacturer Kingston includes a two-year warranty for good measure. This is easily one of the best gaming headphones under $100.
BEST UPDATE: HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset
This update to the popular Cloud model pairs the impressive functionality of the original with a redesigned USB sound card audio control box for enhanced sound quality detail. The new USB card also offers enhanced noise and echo cancellation as well as automatic gain control, resulting in an even better sound experience for just a few additional dollars, while still coming in under the $100 mark.
The Razer Kraken delivers customizable virtual 7.1 surround sound and a high-quality mic at a very reasonable price point. The aluminum headband provides flexibility, but may not be as comfortable as the softer materials of the HyperX Cloud models. It’s also a little on the heavy side at 12.2 ounces.
The headphones offer a wide frequency response (12 Hz – 28 kHz) for crystal-clear sound in low, high and mid-tones. The retractable microphone includes active noise cancellation to keep you focused on your competition. The headset comes with expansive, plush round ear cushions with special in-mold channels to accommodate players who wear glasses. Users who prefer an elliptical shape may want to invest in the oval-shaped ear cushion option, which is sold separately.
The basic black model of the headset will run you well under $100, but gunmetal grey and mercury (silver) units are available for an additional $20 or so.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Corsair VOID PRO RGB is its atypical design—the ear cushions are a slanted trapezoidal shape as opposed to the more common round or oval cushions. The unique look seems to be entirely cosmetic, as the headset’s components stack up squarely against the in-class competition.
Like the Razer Kraken, the VOID PRO uses a USB connection for its RGB lighting. Weighing in at 13.8 ounces, the headset is among the heaviest I tested, which may push the limits of comfort during extended play.
The VOID PRO eschews the typical polyurethane/leather ear cup for breathable mesh fabric, which helps keep players cool and dry during hours of competition; however, the material doesn’t offer the same butter-soft feel that the leather models do. Your priorities will drive your preference here.
Overall, the sound quality is good, but not outstanding, powered by 50-millimeter speaker drivers and a unidirectional noise-canceling microphone. Still, Corsair’s solid functionality and good value earn it a spot on my list.
MOST COMFORTABLE: SteelSeries Arctis 5 RGB
The SteelSeries Arctic 5 RGB has a lot of things going for it. The sound quality is excellent, the retractable mic is highly sensitive, and it’s one of the most comfortable headsets you can find for less than $100. However, it does have a few weaknesses that shoppers should consider before making it their headset of choice.
The highly sensitive mic mentioned before may be a bit too sensitive at times. The bidirectional design promises studio-quality sharpness and background noise cancellation, but I also found that it sometimes picks up noise from basic movement or an inadvertent bump of the hand.
The cable design also leaves something to be desired, as the rubber material and bulky DAC tend to catch on things. This is a relatively minor inconvenience that most users will probably be able to overlook, but it still warrants mention.
Still, the athletically-inspired overall design is strong, with ear cushions made from AirWeave performance fabric and a suspension headband patterned after ski goggles for a snug yet comfortable fit. It’s also lightweight at just under 10 ounces and is available in a variety of colors (royal blue, red, white and grey) that run a few dollars more or less than the baseline black model’s lower price tag. Regardless, this remains one of the best headphones for gaming under $100.
BEST SOUND: Sennheiser GSP 302
True audiophiles will recognize the Sennheiser name as one of the world’s top manufacturers of premium sound equipment. Their products have been featured on my Best Bass Headphones and Best Studio Headphones lists. The esteemed company has entered the highly competitive gaming headset market, and this model reflects the legendary sound quality on which they built their reputation.
The GSP 302 is a closed-back headset with an attached microphone. The thick headband can feel a bit bulkier than other models, but it’s plenty comfortable, as are the oversized memory foam ear cushions. It also doesn’t look quite as sleek as some of the other models, if appearance is important to you.
Sound quality is where this headset truly shines. The purists at Sennheiser opted to leave out the 7.1 virtual surround sound, but you’ll never miss it. The GSP 302 combines exceptional bass performance with razor-sharp acoustic clarity, and the noise-canceling microphone delivers the kind of performance you’d expect in a broadcasting booth.
The GSP 302 offers an astonishing level of quality for this price point, and Sennheiser also throws in a two-year warranty to guarantee their work.
BEST BARGAIN: Logitech G231 Prodigy Gaming Headset
This 9-ounce headset may be a lightweight in terms of price, but it punches above its class when it comes to performance.
The G231 Prodigy is as versatile as pricier models, offering compatibility with a variety of gaming consoles as well as PCs, tablets and smartphones. Its lightweight, sleek design includes swivel earpieces for a custom fit and a boom mic that folds away when not in use. The ear cushion covers are made from sport performance cloth to keep you cool and dry during long gaming sessions. They’re also removable and washable.
In the sound department, this headset lacks the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but still gets the job done. The mic does tend to pick up a fair amount of background noise, and the unit doesn’t offer users much in the way of audio customization. Still, if your price range is limited, it’s hard to beat the value of the G231 Prodigy.
Wireless Gaming Headphones Under $100
Like its wired counterpart, the VOID PRO Wireless offers an impressive mix of design and sound quality at a reasonable price. It offers up to 16 hours of continuous play before it needs to be charged, and the 40-foot range means you won’t be locked into a single spot during a marathon session. The unit connects to multiple platforms, including most gaming consoles, PCs and mobile devices.
The ear cushions are made of breathable microfiber fabric and memory foam for maximum comfort. As with the wired model, the sound is powered by 50mm speaker drivers and a noise-canceling microphone with a modest frequency response range of 100Hz to 10kHz. These are easily some of the best wireless gaming headphones under $100.
Best Wireless Overall: Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset
Coming in at just under $100, this wireless Logitech model represents a significant quality upgrade from the wired Prodigy model described earlier. Its immersive 7.1 digital surround sound creates a surprisingly realistic sense of depth and space with its rich bass and crisp midtones.
The G533’s mic delivers sharp sound quality, thanks to its effective pop filter and noise-canceling function. Logitech’s software also enables the user to customize the EQ and program the headset controls for a personalized experience.
Design-wise, the G533 is sleek and convenient. Its retractable mic folds into the rectangular ear cup when not in use, and the ear cushions themselves fold flat for easy storage and portability. The cushions are also extremely comfortable thanks to generous padding and sweat-wicking mesh covers that can be removed for washing.
The headset provides 15 hours of use on a single charge and a somewhat modest 15-meter range. While the Logitech G533 bumps up against the category’s $100 price cap, gamers looking for a well-rounded sound and design experience will find this headset is worth every penny.
While this model technically doesn’t fall into the “under $100” category, it’s close enough to warrant a mention, especially considering the relative dearth of wireless models at this modest price point.
The ROG STRIX is visually striking, with a cosmetic design that can best be described as inspired by “Angry Birds”—when not being worn, the orange circular markings on the ear cushions bear an uncanny resemblance to an owl’s intense gaze.
Distinctive appearance aside, the headset passes the performance test for high-intensity gaming. Its 7.1 digital surround sound provides an immersive audio experience, while the intuitive Sonic Studio software allows users to create custom audio profiles, adjust EQ, balance speaker levels and more. The bass depth is especially notable, but may be too intense for some users’ preferences.
Comfort-wise, the ROG STRIX is roughly on par with its competitors. There’s plenty of cushioning around the headband and ear cups, but they’re a little on the heavy side at 12.8 ounces. The comfort level won’t be a deal-breaker, but neither is it a major asset for this model.
Players will get 10 hours of use from each charge—definitely an opportunity for ASUS to improve this model. However, the 50-foot range is at the high end of wireless headsets in this category. If you’re willing to stretch your budget slightly into the triple digits, the ROG STRIX is worth a look.