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Looking for gaming headsets for your Discord chats?
Not into online voice chats?
Even if you’re more of a single-player kind of person, a gaming headset can seriously enhance your gaming experience.
Imagine your character wading through a puddle, the sound of your boots squelching reverberating in your ears. For some reason, your feet feel wet.
It’s amazing what good sound can do to convince your brain what you’re feeling.
That’s what a good gaming headset can do for you – add realism to your game.
Let’s have a look at the best gaming headsets under $200.
Quick List: Top 9 Gaming Headsets Under $200
- SteelSeries Arctis 7 – Best Wireless
- Razer Kraken Tournament Edition – Best For PC Gaming
- Sony Playstation Platinum Wireless Headset – Best For PS4
- SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless – Best For Xbox
- HyperX Cloud II – Best Overall
- Sennheiser Game One
- Astro A40 TR
- Turtle Beach Stealth 700 (Xbox One)
What We Wanted In A Gaming Headset Under $200
With a budget of up to $200, you’ll see more options for your gaming headset. Bear in mind that “expensive” does not necessarily equate to “great”.
But we digress. What did we want to see in a gaming headset that cost under $200?
First, we expected good sound and possibly the availability of surround sound. Any gaming headset that has a three-figure price tag should have some surround sound capability, in our opinion anyway. We wanted to experience clear audio and effects, and good directional audio.
Secondly, comfort is a must for gaming headsets. It just won’t rock if you can only wear it for 10 minutes. How far in a game will you get if you’re annoyed with the way a headset sits on your skull? It can be pretty frustrating when you’re looking forward to escaping into that alien landscape on a quiet weekend.
Third, was the “extras”. Mics with clear chat fall here, because not every gamer gets onto a multiplayer team session. Some of us happily single-player with our NPC sidekicks. Looks fall here too. We’re not concerned if we don’t look good in the headset, but hey, if they’re sexy they get a plus!
If you are on a super strict budget you might want to read our article on the best gaming headsets under $100.
The Best Gaming Headset Under $200 in 2020
1. SteelSeries Arctis 7 Gaming Headset– Best Wireless
- Designed for gaming, the 2.4g connection delivers rock solid, lossless wireless audio with ultra-low latency and 0 interference
- Widely recognized as the best mic in gaming, the discord certified clear cast microphone delivers studio quality voice clarity and background noise cancellation
- Sound is your competitive advantage with the s1 speaker drivers, engineered to produce ultra-low distortion audio so you hear every detail
Don’t want the hassle of cables? Try the SteelSeries Arctis 7 with lossless wireless audio and super low latency.
✔️ What we like: Ability to mix chat audio with regular audio.
❌ What we don’t like: Ski-band design for the headband which can be uncomfortable.
👌 Standout Features:
- Crisp sound
- Lossless wireless
- Retractable mic
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 comes with 2.4G wireless via USB. So, if you’re worried about having a laggy connection, you don’t have to be concerned with these. This is dedicated wireless, not your usual Bluetooth.
On the downside, yes, they’re not Bluetooth. They won’t hook up to any regular Bluetooth device. If you want the Arctis 7 to talk to your phone, you’ll need to use the 3.5mm analog plug.
The Arctis 7 comes with a Discord-certified mic with background noise cancellation. If you’re hankering for clear in-game chat with your mates, these will work just fine. It’s retractable too, so you can just sort of hide it when it’s not in use.
Since we’re talking about audio, let’s touch on the sound. The Arctis 7 has a nice balanced sound quality, which is expected from a good pair of gaming headsets. The drivers punch out crisp, clean audio. If you want to play around with the sound profile, you can download the SteelSeries Engine software to get some neat EQ presets.
Also, these headsets support DTS surround which gives some very precise positional audio. So if that’s what you need, you’ll get them from the Arctis 7.
We like the ability to channel-mix, so if you’re stuck in a monotonous conference call, you can always jazz things up for yourself with some cool tunes.
What about comfort?
This is where it gets iffy. Some users find them super comfy. Others just can’t get along with a ski-band styled headband. Different heads, different fit, so comfort is a real toss-up in this case. If they do work for you, then you’ll find the long battery life more than sufficient for your gaming needs.
If you need a great pair of wireless headsets, give the SteelSeries Arctis 7 a spin.
2. Razer Kraken Tournament Edition Headset – Best For PC Gaming
- The #1 Best-Selling Gaming Peripherals Manufacturer in the US: Source - The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Keyboards, Mice, PC Headset, PC Microphone, Gaming Designed, Based on dollar...
- THX 7.1 Surround Sound Capable: Provides industry-leading audio realism for in-game immersion by providing accurate spatial audio information beyond standard 7.1 surround sound directional cues
- Sound Built for Immersive Gaming: Outfitted with custom-tuned 50 mm drivers
Razer headsets are loved for a good reason. They look cool, they have good sound and the price is reasonable. Let’s bring the Kraken TE in for a closer view.
✔️ What we like: Great sound with THX spatial audio
❌ What we don’t like: Not much to complain about
👌 Standout Features:
- THX spatial audio with Razer Synapse
- Retractable, noise-canceling mic
- Durable, aluminum build
PC gamer, want a good gaming headphone with a great mic? Don’t stray too far from the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition (which we shall call the Kraken TE).
With your PC, you have access to Razer Synapse, the key to making these already good headsets, great. The Kraken TE supports THX Spatial Audio (Windows 10, 64-bit only), which is going to give you some pretty awesome 3D sounds and positional accuracy.
You’ll need the supplied audio controller to team up with Razer Synapse. The audio controller connects to the headset via the 3.5 mm jack and then outputs to your PC through USB. It has controls for volume, mic mute, bass, a knob to balance game & chat sounds, and the toggle for THX spatial audio. On a PC, you can fully utilize all of these.
With Razer Synapse, you can customize your mic and audio to get the correct balance and clarity. The retractable mic is already clear on its own, so the ability to adjust is plus.
Note that you can still use the headset without the audio controller, but you won’t be able to take advantage of THX Spatial Audio.
As for sound quality, the Kraken TE is a monster – for gaming (please don’t compare with audiophile quality music-focused headphones). Deep, punchy bass with clear mids and crystalline highs. Those 50mm drivers don’t hold back. Even without spatial audio, the stereo soundstage is well-mapped.
The light aluminum frame and cooling gel-infused earcups will keep your ears comfy for decently long periods.
The Kraken TE headset is compatible with other gaming platforms, but we think it’s best for the PC because of its ability to work with Razer Synapse. At under $100 (at the time of this writing), these are headsets that you really shouldn’t give a miss.
3. Sony Playstation Platinum Wireless Headset – Best For PS4
- 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound: Experience rich, highly positional virtual surround sound powered by revolutionary 3D audio technology
- 3D Audio: In select PS4 games that fully support 3D audio, hear and feel an amazingly rich audio experience with surround sound emanating from all directions, including above and below you
- Multi-device Compatibility: Connect wirelessly to your PS4 and personal computer. Connect to a PlayStation VR headset or mobile device with the included 3.5mm audio cable
With the popularity of the PS4 console, it would be strange for Sony, an electronics company, not to have a gaming headset for its gaming platform. Hence, we get the Sony Playstation Headset. For this review, we’re looking at the Platinum version.
✔️ What we like: Amazing clarity with a great soundstage.
❌ What we don’t like: Clamping pressure on the earpads can be tight.
👌 Standout Features:
- Great sound quality
- Made primarily for PS4
- Built-in mic
When you look at the Sony Playstation Platinum headsets, you’ll notice a certain lack of signature “gamer” aesthetics – you know, neon colors, aggressive shapes, lighting. Instead, the Platinum headsets have a certain stylish aura about them that you could bring anywhere.
The Platinum headsets support 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound, which you’ll get to hear if your PS4 game produces it. The soundstage is very good, with excellent sound separation and positional accuracy. Hear the snap of twigs from one direction, a gunshot crack from another. It all comes through with crystal clear clarity.
These headsets are good enough to be picky about your music too. If your audio source is poor, those 50mm drivers are going to show it in the sound output. Don’t blame the headsets.
However, the wired sound mode does seem somewhat better than wireless. Sometimes in wireless mode, the sound separation is compromised. Loud sounds from different sources can get a little muffled during gaming.
The built-in mic works fine for chatting and calls. Note that the mic is built-in, nothing is going to stick out near the side of your mouth. So make sure you put them on facing the right way (with right and left on correctly). Some users comment on poor mic performance. This could possibly be because the headphones are on backward.
The one con is the clamping pressure, which can be a little tight. You might not be able to keep them on for very long hours. However, comfort is very subjective, so this may not necessarily be a minus.
The Sony Playstation Platinum headset is an excellent headset for PS4 gaming. Made for PS4, but they’re compatible with PC and any device that takes a 3.5mm plug. You can fold them up to make them more compact for transportation. Neat right?
4. SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Headset – Best For Xbox
- Microsoft certified – Compatible with Xbox One and the upcoming Xbox Series X consoles
- Integrated Xbox wireless - connect directly to your Xbox just like a wireless controller, and start gaming in seconds with no cable or dongle required
- Bluetooth - simultaneously connect to Bluetooth and Xbox TO mix in music and take calls while gaming, or use wirelessly on the go with your mobile device
SteelSeries has a wide range of headsets for gaming, but when looking for headsets specifically for Xbox gaming, the 9X popped up. Let’s take a closer look.
✔️ What we like: Great sound quality.
❌ What we don’t like: Some connectivity issues over wireless.
👌 Standout Features:
- Integrated wireless for Xbox
- Excellent sound output
- Retractable, ClearCast mic
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X is made for the Xbox. It has integrated Xbox wireless, so you don’t need a dongle. Pairing is easy. It works just like a wireless controller.
It also connects to PC via Bluetooth or using an Xbox Wireless adapter from Microsoft. With Bluetooth, it’ll work any mobile Bluetooth device too, and here’s the neat part. The Bluetooth and integrated wireless are separate channels, so you can game on your Xbox and play music or take calls from your phone simultaneously.
Sound quality is nothing to complain about. Clean mids, crisps high with good, punchy bass. The Clearcast bidirectional mic is very clear for chatting and can be retracted when not in use. You can also press a mute button on the headset to silence it for snack breaks. A red LED indicator will conveniently remind you that the mic is off.
Comfort and build quality are good. You should be able to put in hours of gaming in these with no headaches. Speaking of hours, the battery life on the Arctis 9X is excellent. It’s dependent volume-level but it should be enough for your gaming sessions without the distractions of having recharge midway.
One issue often mentioned is regarding a loss in wireless connectivity. If this happens to you, take note of the proximity of your other wireless equipment (eg. Router, modem) from the Arctis 9X, especially the ones that are using 2.4GHz signals. This could affect the signal strength between your headset and Xbox.
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X headset is a great option for Xbox gaming. Even better if you’re looking for one that will work on your PC too. They’re comfortable, look good and sound great. Some wireless connectivity issues do crop up, but it’s resolvable. So, why not give these a try?
5. HyperX Cloud II Headset– Best Overall
- Designed for comfort – Exceptionally comfortable memory foam ear cushions and padded leatherette headband help keep you focused on gaming
- Supreme audio quality – Large 53 millimeter drivers provide high-quality audio. Hear in-game details better and get the in-game advantage on your opponents
- 7.1 virtual surround sound – Truly immerse yourself in your games with hardware-driven virtual 7.1 surround sound for precisely located audio
HyperX is another company with a large selection of headsets for gaming. We’re looking at the very popular HyperX Cloud II, to see what makes it such a favorite.
✔️ What we like: Comfortable with great sound and an excellent mic.
❌ What we don’t like: Nothing that stands out.
👌 Standout Features:
- Excellent sound output
- Robust build
- Detachable, noise-canceling mic
First, sound quality. The HyperX Cloud II comes with extra-large 53mm drivers that have no problem producing all the details you’d need for a gaming session.
Add 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound (on PC and Mac) to that, and you’ve got yourself set up for a fine soundstage that’s going to have you hearing every rustle, every trickle in your gaming environment. Not to mention that tell-tale footstep that could follow through with an unpleasant frying-pan blow to your head (in-game, that is. Please, no frying-pan fights in real life people!). Even in stereo mode, the Cloud II has excellent sound separation with crystal clear audio.
The Cloud II isolates external noise very well, which can be good or bad. Good if you want to cut distractions and immerse yourself in your game. Bad if your significant other is trying to talk to you and you can’t hear (yes, the isolation is kind of that good). Cue frying-pan fight session—we hope not.
What about the mic? The mic is detachable, noise-canceling, and produces a clear chat with minimal pick up of stray sounds. It’s TeamSpeak and Discord certified, so you can be assured that unless something went very wrong, you’ll be getting a good chat quality.
With a flexible and durable aluminum frame, the Cloud II was built to endure. They’re comfortable, with a snug fit and cushy headband padding. The memory foam ear cushions are fairly breathable, to keep your ears cool.
The Cloud II supports 7.1 surround sound on PC & Mac. Stereo for PS4, Xbox One (with Microsoft headset adapter), Switch, and mobile. The supplied USB surround sound card works only on PC, Mac & PS.
With great sound quality and comfort, and little else to complain about, we think the HyperX Cloud II deserves a Best Overall tag.
6. Sennheiser Game One Headset
- SIGNATURE SOUND DYNAMICS -Engineered for incredibly natural and accurate, high fidelity sound, the proprietary speaker system delivers the bass extension balanced with the other frequencies to deliver...
- NOISE-CANCELING MICROPHONE - The flexible boom arm easily adjusts for best voice pick-up positioning and the microphone design minimizes background noise for acoustic clarity and crystal-clear...
- OPEN ACOUSTICS - The classic high-end open acoustic gaming headset is designed for extremely natural, spatial sound. It delivers sonically accurate hifi audio that reveals the details and dynamic...
Sennheiser has produced some very nice gaming audio peripherals in recent years. The Sennheiser Game One is the open-backed sibling to the Game Zero. Open-back gaming headsets aren’t very common, so we thought the Game One deserved a look.
✔️ What we like: Open soundstage for gaming
❌ What we don’t like: Volume button doesn’t completely silence
👌 Standout Features:
- Accurate, precise sound
- Open soundstage
- Very comfortable
The Sennheiser Game One fills a rather unpopulated spot in the gaming headset space – the open-back headset. Sure, there are plenty of regular open-back headphones out there, but not the ones built with gaming specifically in mind.
And how well does the Game One do in that spot?
With aplomb, of course. The open acoustics for Game One offers an airy, expansive sound experience. Rich, clean trebles and a well-balanced bass have a natural feel to them. The output quality is neutral enough that you’re likely hearing the game the way the designers meant you to. If you want to get an even better sound, you can run the Game One through an aftermarket soundcard.
Controls are convenient. The volume button is on the right earcup, but here’s where one minor con appears. The volume won’t drop down to zero. We think that’s rather strange but Sennheiser probably has some reason for it, that we’ll probably never get to know.
We like the boom mic. It mutes automatically when raised and you’ll hear a little click to let you know it’s been muted. Since the design is open-back, you won’t have a problem hearing yourself talking. There’s no need for side-tones here. Sounds are still going to leak in from the outside if you’re in a very noisy place, so better use them where it’s quieter.
The Game One has a lightweight, durable, all-plastic construction. A braided cord keeps it tangle-free. As for comfort, the best part with an open-back headset is its breathability. Your ears should stay cool for a long time. Add some cushy velour earpads for a comfy gaming session.
These are fine headphones for gaming. Compatible on PC, Mac, consoles, and mobile, the Sennheiser Game One gaming headset offers excellent sound quality and comfort for a price tag under $200.
7. Astro A40 TR Gaming Headset
- Tuned with ASTRO Audio V2 - Tuned for Gaming, ASTRO Audio V2 delivers pro quality audio for gamers when they need it most, whether live streaming to competitive play in the pits of a pro tournament.
- Superior fit and finish - The A40 TR features lightweight yet rugged construction with premium materials for a pressure-free fit that won’t overheat your head. The ear cushions feature cloth for...
- Swappable boom microphone - Highly sensitive uni-directional mic that focuses on your voice and minimizes background noise. It can be positioned on either side of the A40 TR headset.
Astro is a name that has made rounds in the competitive gaming circles. The Astro A40 TR is a headset that comes with some interesting swapping and modding features.
✔️ What we like: A fine soundstage for added gaming realism
❌ What we don’t like: Mod kit is sold separately
👌 Standout Features:
- Clear, defined sound
- Good soundstage
- Swappable boom mic
The Astro A40 TR is a chameleon in the gaming headset family. At first, they seem of a closed-back design, but they’re not. They’re open-back. The speaker tags (that piece that covers the back of the earcups) are attached magnetically and are raised to create an air gap for the drivers to breathe.
So why do we say A40 TR is a chameleon?
Those speaker tags are customizable. You can use interchange them for different looks and designs. With a modkit that’s purchasable separately, you can turn these open-back headsets into a closed-back design (with sealed earcups) if that’s what you need.
But as they are, the A40 TR performs like an open-back headset. They have an airy soundstage that works well for FPS games. Accurate positional audio and sound separation capture the little nuances in a game. The sound output is crisp though the bass may feel lacking because of the open-back design. You won’t get booming vibrations. We think that’s a fair exchange for getting a more natural sound quality that adds to the realism in a game (RPGs and adventure genres will thrive with this).
A good pair of gaming headset should be fairly comfortable, and here, the A40 TR doesn’t fail. They’re light, and the open-back design will reduce the heat in your ears, though it’s at the cost of noise isolation. Don’t wear this in a noisy environment, unless you plan to switch them into closed-back mode (with the mod kit).
The swappable boom mic is another great feature. It’s nice to be able to wear the mic on whichever side you want. Chat quality is good, nothing to complain about there.
The Astro A40 TR has great sound quality with neat modifiable features. They’re a good option if you want to try an open-back design.
8. Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Headset (Xbox One)
- Xbox direct wireless: Enjoy a direct connection from your headset to your Console; No wires; No base station; No adapter needed; Just turn on your headset and start playing; Stealth 700 works with...
- Windows Sonic Surround Sound : Windows Sonic for Headphones delivers powerfully immersive virtual surround sound for your games, movies and music
- Active noise cancellation : block out unwanted background distractions and stay fully immersed in your games; Enjoy Hearing Pure game and chat audio; And nothing else
Turtle Beach is another familiar name among gamers. For this review, we’ll take a look at the Stealth 700 that was built for Xbox One.
✔️ What we like: Xbox direct wireless with simultaneous Bluetooth use
❌ What we don’t like: Can sound iffy without a software update
👌 Standout Features:
- Xbox direct wireless
- Active noise cancellation
- Channel mixing
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 comes with Xbox direct wireless. This means you get a direct connection to your console, no adapter or base station needed. The Stealth 700 works with Xbox Series X.
These headsets support Windows Sonic for Headphones, which will give you immersive virtual surround sound for your games. Need to hear footsteps? Check. Gunshots in the distance? Check. Monsters coming from behind? Run.
The Stealth 700 produces clear concise audio with good bass levels that’s great for your gaming sessions. And it has active noise cancellation. This will keep most of those distracting ambient sounds out of your game world.
It also supports Bluetooth at the same time. Meaning, you can game and listen to your favorite EDM if the music in the dungeon you’re crawling is just way too boring (or creepy). Pick up calls from your significant other in the middle of a shootout. With the separate controls for game and chat, it shouldn’t be a problem adjusting which sounds you need to hear more.
Flip up the mic to mute. The Stealth 700 also comes with mic monitoring, so you can hear yourself talk. A 10-hour rechargeable battery will ensure you have more than enough juice for an extended gaming session. If you do run out of battery, you can still use them while charging.
One comment that has come up often is that the Stealth 700 doesn’t sound good out of the box. The remedy for that is to update the software and tune your sound setting. All will be fine.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 headset is comfortable to wear and has a decently durable build. With direct wireless, they should fall into your radar if you’re looking for something to pair with your console. There’s a version for PS4 too!
A Guide to Choosing Gaming Headsets Under $200
So your budget goes up to $200. Yay! That means more options to pick from. Does your selection criteria change with an increase in budget?
Not really. The basic things you should look at are still the same – sound, comfort, cost, and so on. Keep reading and we’ll clue you in.
Headsets just have to handle many things (audio output, mic input, platform compatibility, etc). Lower end gaming headsets tend to suffer in sound, due to budget limitations in manufacturing. Sound quality will get reduced from having to use cheaper drivers and related components. But this shouldn’t be the case for anything that falls around the $100 range. So you can expect a fairly good sound output.
Also, have a look if surround sound is available. Many games support 3D surround, and it’s especially useful for FPS games. Having surround sound would make a lot of difference to a gamer needing accurate positional audio (hello, Fortnite and PUBG gamers!).
Audio Isolation and The Need To Shut Out The World
It can get hard to immerse in a game if you keep on getting interrupted by the sounds around you. So, many gamers opt for good noise isolation when they can get it. This gets more important if you’re a tournament player who needs to hear your teammates chat.
But, for most of us mere mortals, it depends on whether you live in a noisy place or not. If you don’t, you can consider an open-back gaming headset. They’re a little less common, but might give you a very different listening experience in your game world with their more natural and wider soundstage capability.
Going wireless is becoming a much more common option these days. If you want to go wireless, pay attention to the wireless technology used. Wireless usually come as Infrared, Radio Frequency (RF) or Bluetooth. Bluetooth is the most common for headsets and headphones.
Most Bluetooth codecs have some latency issues, but wireless gaming headsets usually have this issue covered. Wireless gaming headsets tend to have dedicated wireless connections (usually with a dongle) to ensure minimal lag.
Comfort and Styling
Gaming headsets tend to have a particular look. Notice the aggressive shapes with strong coloring, sometimes resplendent with flashy RGB lights. Some of them are really fun, some may be too garish (and not meant for outdoor wear). Regardless, don’t worry too much about the style unless you’re running a headset fashion show at a LAN party.
Pay attention to comfort. You’re going to have these babies stuck to your head likely for hours. They have to be comfortable. If you’re picking an open-back style, you’re already giving your ears heat-relief. If it’s closed-back, then look for materials that can help cool your ears. Do they have nice padding on the earcups and headband? Is the headband easily adjustable?
Here’s something we may overlook, assuming that gaming headsets support all platforms. Most of them do, at least the PC and console anyway. But if you’re out to get something with surround sound, pay attention to which platforms can give you that. Sometimes, special effects like surround sound may only be supported on PC. Take a glance at the small print, because that’s where that conditional asterix will often sit.
If you chat a lot, you’ll want a good gaming mic – one that gives clean vocal input so everyone can hear you at the other end. Noise cancellation can help optimize your input signals. If you are happy to game without a mic we have a great article on gaming headphones without a mic that is worth a read.
Closing Thoughts On Gaming Headsets Less Than $200
At the end of the day, you need to know how you’ll be using your gaming headset, and that is what should drive your purchase.
We still harp a lot on sound and comfort, because you’re likely to be listening and wearing them most of the time.
This article has given you a view of some of the best gaming headsets under $200. But what’s been listed certainly don’t define the limits of what’s available.
Go ahead, find your ultimate headset, and get your gaming on!