A PC gaming headset can give you a chance to connect with other players from your living room or keep other people in your home from hearing the blasts and bleeps from your game. It should be comfortable, flexible and portable and have good sound quality.
Find out more about choosing a useful budget PC gaming headset:
Features To Look For In A PC Gaming Headset
The sound emitted by a computer is not of the highest quality unless you have a superior speaker system. The visuals may be excellent, but it’s difficult to engross yourself in an intense video game if the sound is subpar. A PC gaming headset provides a more authentic experience by delivering sound that makes you feel as though you’re part of the action. A headset with a microphone allows you to interact with other gamers across the globe.
Find out about the various features that might be important to you while you immerse yourself in your game:
Comfort and Usability
A PC gaming headset should fit comfortably or you won’t be likely to wear it for long hours of play. Polyfoam headsets typically fit better than those made of other materials. A lighter but more padded headset won’t create uncomfortable pressure points after long hours of play.
Most PC gaming headsets have a circumaural design. Circumaural headsets completely surround your ear. This helps to drown out background noise from your environment, but the closed design can make your ears hot. Superaural earphones leave space between the ear piece and your ear. This allows background noise in.
Plush ear pieces may be more comfortable, but some types of padding absorb certain sounds. This can take away from the richness of your audible gaming experience. Removable pads can be replaced with new ones, eliminating the dirt and smell that can build up over time.
Frequency response indicates the ability of the headphones to deliver sound across the entire perceptible spectrum. Most manufacturers deliberately calibrate the headphones to provide the best sound at the typical range that the human ear picks up. Because everyone hears sound frequencies differently, you may have a personal preference when it comes to frequency response.
According to earHero, a wider frequency is not necessarily better, and this is not the most important feature to look for when purchasing a headset. More important than the range is the smoothness of the frequency response. You don’t want to have to turn down the volume every time the bass thumps a little too hard.
Surround sound makes the gaming experience more realistic. When I play FPS games, I can tell what’s going on by the direction from which the sounds are coming. That gives me an advantage over other players who just have stereo headsets. Most headsets have either 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. Digital Trends explains that the standard for surround sound is 5.1, but a headset with 7.1 surround sound will provide even richer nuances.
The thickness, quality and length of the connection cable are important. Gamers who move around a lot can damage the cables by stepping on them or rolling over them with a chair. If you can snap the cables on and off, you’ll be able to replace them if they become damaged. A USB connection is more adaptable than a 3.5 mm audio jack. With a USB connection, you can choose for music to play through your computer speakers and player’s voices to come through the headset.
The alternative is to use a wireless headset. These typically transmit sound up to 150 meters. Make sure that a wireless headset is compatible with your gaming platform before you buy one. Other devices in your home can interfere with wireless headsets, but a dual-band headset operates on a different channel than your tablet or smartphone. With a wireless headset, you’ll also need to make sure that you have batteries available if the product goes dead in the middle of a gaming session. Many wireless headsets come with a recharging station, however.
If your headset doesn’t have an incorporated microphone, you’ll have to buy it and set it up separately if you want to communicate with other players. Headsets with removable microphones are beneficial because you can replace the microphone if it breaks. A better microphone will filter out excess noise and transform your voice into a clear signal.
Force feedback allows the headset to buzz or vibrate to enhance the gaming experience. When a gun goes off or a car speeds away, the slight motion in the headset will allow you to feel it.
Tuan Nguyen from PC Gamer believes that you should buy the best headset that you can afford. You don’t have to spend more than $150 on a PC gaming headset, however. Budget headsets can still deliver comfort for hours of playing and quality sound options.
Budget PC Gaming Headset Reviews
HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset
This headset gives you a detailed audio experience while gaming. Voice chat optimization allows you to hear your team members just as well as the game play. It connects to computers via a USB cable. You can also use it with a PS4 or Xbox One with its stereo 3.5 mm input. The product advertises that it offers 7.1 surround sound, but it doesn’t sound much different than other headsets with 5.1 surround sound. Depending on the game, it can sound worse.
- Noise-canceling microphone transmits clear voice sounds.
- Echo-canceling properties prevent frustration and confusion.
- The wide frequency response range of 15 Hz to 25 KHz picks up more subtle sounds, making the game feel like real life.
- Memory foam ear pads are comfortable for long periods of time.
- Extra Velour ear pads can be interchanged for variety in sound and texture.
- Compatible with Skype, Mumble and Ventrilo.
- Can be used to listen to music.
- Detachable microphone has its own volume control.
- Thin padding on headband can become uncomfortable during long periods of use.
- Ear cups are not large enough to fully surround bigger ears.
- Poor USB adapter can result in crackling and popping sounds when specific audio frequencies are played.
- Microphone must be used with the included splitter.
- The built-in sound card requires you to reconfigure the sound output on your computer every time you use the headphones.
Sony PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset
This headset has a sleek and stylish appearance and convenient wireless functionality. Removable faceplates allow you to customize the headset. Use it wirelessly with your home computer, PS3 or PS4. You can use it wherever you are by plugging the 3.5 mm input into a mobile device. The 7.1 surround sound is extremely realistic, and the circumaural ear cup design cancels out extraneous noise. The headset folds into a travel case, making it easy for you to play games anywhere. Because it is so lightweight, the construction of this headset may feel inferior. However, these headphones stand up well to careful adult use.
- The battery typically lasts for at least 7 hours before it needs to be recharged.
- Hidden microphone makes the design more streamlined and compact.
- Simple plug-and-play setup.
- Several buttons allow for comprehensive adjustment of different sound settings.
- Lightweight headset is comfortable for long wear.
- Ear piece height can be adjusted for a better fit.
- Connects well to multiple platforms.
- Short USB cable makes it difficult to play while charging the headset.
- Sound adjustment buttons are hard to locate by touch.
- Your ears can get hot because the faux leather on the ear cups is not breathable.
- Your voice through the microphone can sound tinny.
- Does not transmit strong bass.
- The width of the headband is not adjustable and can lead to cracking.
Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage Wireless Gaming Headset V2
This headset’s wireless USB transmitter delivers real-time sound with unprecedented realism. The frequency response ranges from 100 Hz to 6.5kHz, delivering even the softest sounds to your ears. The heavy padding underneath the headband is comfortable, and the unit is built to withstand heavy use. The long-lasting battery gives you plenty of time to play before recharging. It can be wirelessly connected to a PC, Mac or PS4 system. Illuminated ear cups glow with 16 million colors and can be modified to your personal preferences, making it fun to play at night.
- Powerful drivers in the ear pieces produce accurate, 3-dimensional sound.
- Use VoiceFX to change your voice so that it sounds more like your game character.
- Does not use proprietary cables, so you can switch out the cables if they stop working.
- Steel construction is heavy duty.
- Ear cups adjust up and down for a comfortable fit and stay in place well once adjusted.
- The microphone can be detached when you don’t want to use it.
- Battery lasts between 9 and 12 hours.
- Installation can be confusing.
- Steel construction makes the headset heavier than plastic alternatives.
- The mute button doesn’t work when you’re using the headset with a cable connection.
- Can take several uses to break in to the point where it’s not too tight.
- Because the microphone isn’t positioned in front of the mouth, it may not pick up your voice well.
Plantronics GameCom 780 Gaming Headset with Surround Sound
This product offers some of the best sound quality available in a budget headset. The noise-canceling microphone allows your team members to hear you clearly above the sounds of the game. The high-quality cords are extremely durable, and the headset construction is comfortable. You can adjust the volume using buttons on the ear pods so that you never have to take your eyes away from the game.
- Microphone delivers clear and accurate sound even when it’s not directly in front of your mouth.
- Microphone can be tilted up when not in use.
- Can be used to make voice calls or listen to music and movies.
- Dolby 7.1 surround sound immerses you in your experience.
- Background noise and static are minimal.
- The microphone cannot be removed when not in use.
- Ear cups are smaller than average.
- The settings default to 5.1 surround sound when you turn the headphones on.
- No wireless compatibility.
- Can only be used with a computer.
Sennheiser PC 320 Gaming Headset
This is one of the most comfortable PC gaming headsets. It has automatically adjusting ear cups and an intuitive design. The circumaural ear cups block most exterior noise. They also keep the ears cool with breathable padding. The wires on this headset split into two. One plugs into the headphone jack, and the other plugs into the microphone jack. The stereo sound is high quality, but the bass is lacking. The benefit of that is that you can hear other players over the sounds of explosions.
- The microphone mutes quickly by twisting it up.
- Other players can hear you clearly because the microphone cancels out ambient noise.
- Slim design keeps your head cool.
- The volume on the ear piece is easy to adjust.
- The sound is crisp and realistic.
- Includes separate chat and game volume controls.
- The headset doesn’t deliver strong bass.
- The ear cups could be larger to maximize comfort.
- Setup is not intuitive.
- Multiple cables are cumbersome.
With a PC gaming headset, you can crank up the sound of your game without bothering anyone in the room. PC gaming headsets make the most of your performance and experience. Comfort depends on your personal preferences, but the more padded products tend to be cushier. The biggest disadvantage of budget PC gaming headsets is that they tend to break after a year or two of use.
The Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage wireless gaming headset features some of the best sound available at the under-$100 price point. Although the microphone’s sound transmission isn’t as clear as that of the Plantronics GameCom 780, the fact that the headset is wireless and can be used with the PS4 makes it a winner. The comfort level is on par with most of the other options, and this headset seems to be the most durable of the group.