You have this new, exciting game.
All is well until that awesome cut scene loads, and that’s when your headset decides to bail on you.
Or worse, it dies just before some dude smacks you from behind with a frying pan.
Ever felt like crying because your first run-through of a scene got spoilt by a glitchy earpiece?
So we’re pointing you in the direction of some of the best gaming headsets under $100, that might ward off all that potential drama.
Quick List: Top 5 Gaming Headsets Under $100
- BENGOO G9000 Gaming Headset
- RUNMUS K2 Gaming Headset
- Razer Kraken Gaming Headset
- Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum Headset
- Corsair Void RGB Elite Wireless Headset
What We Looked At In Gaming Headsets Under $100
You want something that rocks, but not all headsets are made equal, just like not all cookies are crunchy.
When Skyhold was revealed in Dragon Age Inquisition 2014, the scene was so memorable because of the rousing, goosebump inducing music that accompanied it.
It wouldn’t have been as effective with squeaky, flat-toned speakers. As gaming sounds get better, headsets have to keep up to deliver.
There are plenty of good headsets out there, as well as the contrary. In our quest for what works, we looked at questions like:
What are the best cheap gaming headsets?
What is the best-sounding gaming headset?
What is the best wireless headset?
Sound is often a matter of preference, but we think most of us can agree on cost, form, and function.
The Best Gaming Headsets Under $100 In 2020
1. BENGOO G9000 Gaming Headset Review
So what makes these headsets a little different than the others in its price range? Dual-drivers, instead of the usual single driver per ear.
✔️ What we like: Sturdy build and sound quality for the price
❌ What we don’t like: The USB cable for the lights is too short
- Solid build
- Good sound
- Clear mic
The Bengoo G9000 headsets come with 30mm and 40mm drivers in each earpiece, which means you get 2 extra drivers compared to many other headsets. That’s like having 4 speakers as sound sources, instead of the usual 2.
Is that a good or a bad thing?
Apparently good, since the surround sound works well, lending a fair amount of positional audio to help you figure out the direction of the action.
Music and movie sounds are clear, just try not to maximize the headset volume. Tweak from the source instead. The 4 drivers do their job in delivering frequencies from the lows to the highs. Noise isolation works fairly well though some external sounds still bleed in.
If you want to immerse, just knock up the volume a bit to counter the outside.
The noise-canceling on the mic is another bonus. Clear chat is super important if you’re in the middle of serious team play, or just talking to your other half, or your boss… the flexible mic on these Bengoo gives you that.
The build is sturdy, implying a certain amount of durability (especially if you’re concerned about them being handled by less-than-gentle youthful hands). The metal cylinders on the sides allow for adjustment of different head sizes, and the headband has a comfortable cushiness.
The LED lights on the earcups are controlled separately by a USB connection, which unfortunately is too short unless you’re working on a PC.
It’s the same length as the 3.5mm plug which goes into your controller, so you’d either have to sit very close to the console (so you could plug the USB in), or try running the lights off a power bank—that is—if having lights are important. They’re just aesthetics but we would have liked the cable design to have been more practical.
All-in-all, these Bengoo headsets are a great entry-leveler that delivers all that a headset should do.
If you’re not into splashing too much moolah, they’re a pair to consider.
2. RUNMUS K2 Gaming Headset Review
In a market saturated by low-to-mid range gaming headsets, the RUNMUS—like its name—sneaks in and runs off as a winning budget buy. Curious?
✔️ What we like: Awesome quality at a budget price
❌ What we don’t like: USB lighting cord could be a little longer?
- Great sound for gaming
- Comfortable for long wear
- Robust build
Sometimes you’re just not ready to invest in one of the big-boy gaming brands. Sometimes you just like saving money. Regardless, you’d still want something that works, and this is where the RUNMUS K2 shines.
First off, it’s comfortable. Really comfortable, even for smaller heads. It’s not the lightest of headsets but the solid construction means it ought to endure quite a bit of wear and tear.
You’ll probably feel the weight after an extended gaming session, but the excellent padding on the headband helps keeps that from becoming burdensome. The breathable cushioning around the ears is great for many hours too, though, like most headsets, it can’t escape the heat.
Sound-wise, these headsets deliver surprisingly well with good noise isolation. Nice bass, clear mids, loses some of the highs but that’s OK. You might start noticing game sounds that weren’t apparent on your speakers. Surround sound works fine too if you need to hear that brigand coming at you from behind.
Even for pure music and TV use, these produce great audio. It might not make an audiophile happy (and we say, might not), but most gaming headsets have to compromise somewhere.
The mic filters out noise fairly well to provide a clear, accurate chat, and that’s more than can be said for lots of cheap mics out there. Setup is simple for both consoles and PC, just plug and play. An adapter to split audio and mic for the PC is provided. The LED lighting does need a USB connection to work.
With all the checks that it manages to tick, it’s no wonder that these headsets have made many happy users.
Affordable with a solid build, why don’t you give the RUNMUS K2 a run?
3. Razer Kraken Gaming Headset Review
The Kraken has a large family, with the Kraken X, Kraken Tournament, Kraken Kitty to mention some editions. We’ll be looking at the middle ground, balanced, Kraken (used to be Kraken Pro V2).
✔️ What we like: Simple, elegant design with incredible audio
❌ What we don’t like: A freewheeling volume knob that’s too loose
- Good looks with simple lines
- Great sound quality
- Lightweight for long wear
First impressions of these headsets draw you to its simple, clean lines. On top of that, there are several colors to choose from so you don’t necessarily have to go with Razer’s flagship neon green or the basic black. Not that looks are the most important factor in audio gear.
But still, on the design… the aluminum construct is solid and light on the head. The earpads have a cooling gel layer that helps channel off eventual heat from wear. We can’t say if it works, it’s not built-in aircon, but the ears do stay comfortable quite long.
There’s a hidden channel in the earpads to relieve your glasses from being pressed into your skull, which should keep many four-eyes happy.
Noise isolation is good. Sound quality is superb. These headsets have large 50mm drivers that push a nice bass and clear trebles that pick up footsteps, explosions, wingbeats quite neatly.
If you’re running on a PC with Windows 10 64-bit, you can get the 7.1 surround sound and experience some awesome positional audio in-game. Splitters are supplied for when your PC needs a separate mic input and speaker output.
The noise-isolating mic performs well, for the most part, filtering out even keyboard noise. Note that retracting it will not auto-mute. The in-line volume dial is also a bit too freewheeling. It could be a little tighter to stop it from changing the volume on its own at every slight brush.
Some like the funky, alienesque appearance of gaming headsets, but the Kraken has a symmetrical elegance to them that is balanced by its neat performance.
Anyone want kitten ears?
4. LOGITECH G633 Artemis Spectrum Headset Review
Artemis was the Olympian goddess of the hunt. Harnessing these headsets might draw some of her mojo and give you that little extra when you’re off in-game ‘hunting’. We kid.
✔️ What we like: Great surround and audio mixing capability
❌ What we don’t like: Fiddly build around the earpiece joint and headband
- Great overall sound
- Multi-source audio mixing
- Flip-up mute mic
Barring any special mythical powers Artemis might grant, the Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum is quite a spectacular headset for its price. Supporting 7.1 Surround in Dolby and DTS formats, it produces a beautiful crisp sound on a wide soundstage that should make any gamer happy (OK, we’d like to emphasize PC gamer here).
The positional audio is awesome. We like hearing that huge whatchamacallit running towards us, thank you.
Back to why we said ‘PC gamer’. 7.1 Surround is only available via the USB connection to the PC. For consoles and mobile devices, you get stereo. The sound is still great in stereo, don’t get us wrong. For music, it’d probably be better to run in stereo anyway.
Having two separate connections allows for some versatility. You can game on your console and play music on your PC, or game on your PC and receive calls from your mobile, for example.
You don’t have to stop gaming. The volume is separate. Dropping your game volume won’t drop your call volume as the source is different.
The mic is very clear via USB connection but performs a little weaker on the 3.5mm plug. It does have that neat auto-mute function when flipped up. These headsets also support sidetone, so you can hear yourself talking.
Sound profiles and RGB lighting is adjusted using Logitech’s G-HUB software. And oh, the lighting is seen from the back, so don’t bother looking at yourself in the mirror with them on.
Now to the build, which is not so great after longer use. It’s all plastic with rather bulky cups. The hinge the earcups swivel on are quite fragile and the cushioning on the headband is known to loosen. However, the earcups are comfortable with fair noise isolation.
They can feel a tad tight in the beginning, what with not all heads being of equal size.
To take advantage of all the extras, the G633 Artemis Spectrum performs better with the PC.
But if you like the idea of being able to have multiple audio sources, take a look at these headsets.
5. Corsair Void RGB Elite Wireless Headset Review
While there are quite a few wireless headsets out there under $100, there aren’t too many that boast low latency, which is a need for wireless gaming. This Corsair just sits a fraction under that number.
✔️ What we like: Solid build with great sound and low latency RF
❌ What we don’t like: No aux cord for a wired option
- Great sound
- Low latency on USB-RF
- Flip-up mute mic
Connecting via USB-RF dongle, this Corsair Void Elite headset has virtually no latency issues that may be associated with a Bluetooth connection. That said, the RF dongle is compatible with only PS4 and PC. So if you game on an Xbox, you’ll have to give these a miss.
There’s no auxiliary cord to run the headsets as a wired option. The USB-RF dongle means they’re not very portable (you can’t use them with your mobile’s Bluetooth), but you probably wouldn’t want to anyway, considering the heavier form factor.
These Corsairs have a very sturdy construction, with memory foam earcups that are undeniably comfortable. They are somewhat top-heavy, though. The headset sits more on the top of the head, with less clamping on the earcups.
There’s a pro and con here. This top weight can make them uncomfortable after a while. Smaller heads are likely to suffer more as this is a matter of fit. But the lesser clamping of the earcups is good for eyeglass wearers.
Sound-wise, these headsets are fairly awesome. The 7.1 Surround is spot on for a balanced in-game immersion. The bass isn’t as punchy in the 7.1 Surround mode, so if you like your bass, it’d probably be better to run it in stereo. The 7.1 Surround mode only works on the PC, so don’t be surprised by the sound change if you shift to your PS4.
The mic mutes when you flip it up, which is super neat, and the chat audio is crystal clear. No worries about coordinating with your teammates there. The design comes with RGB lighting, but if you want to extend battery life, keep them off.
Speaking of which, the battery runs around 16 hours without the lights and you can charge up with the micro-USB (wish it was USB-C).
The Corsair Void Elite headset is may not be the ultimate wireless piece out there, but for its price, it does a fair job.
What To Look At When Choosing Gaming Headsets
Gaming headsets vs Normal headphones
Are they different?
Gaming headsets have evolved around the sounds that games can now produce, and that has a lot to do with surround sound. Most gaming headsets are capable of virtual surround to some level. However, they may not be your go-to for music. Sure, you could switch from surround to stereo, but the drivers on gaming headsets tend to be built on generating more bass. That could take away from some of the balance for regular music listening.
Do you need a mic? Most gaming headsets come with a decent mic for in-game chat and calls. Headphones for music purposes alone, usually don’t.
Do You Really Need Surround Sound?
Surround sound would appeal to someone needing accurate positional audio, say if they played Fortnite or PUBG. But that wouldn’t matter as much if you were into DOTA or WoW, even though it would make the game environment more interesting. Sometimes, stereo sounds better.
What’s Your Platform?
Not all gaming headsets are built to support multi-platform. The last thing you need is to buy one for PS4 only to realize it only works on Xbox. Albeit, most that have a 3.5mm plug will likely work on a PC (with a Y-splitter if necessary) even if it’s optimized for PS4—just that some platform-dependent functions might be missing. Take note of the small print. Sometimes that’s where this platform-dependent information is placed.
Do You Need Wireless Freedom?
With wireless gaming headsets, latency concerns aren’t so much of a big deal. Why? Because most of them have a dedicated RF wireless connection, which converts to almost zero lag. This is much faster compared to something running on Bluetooth.
Pay attention to the type of wireless connectivity being offered. Bluetooth will work if you’re just listening to music, but the lag between audio and visuals could be noticeable when running a game or movie.
Audio immersion: Noise Isolation vs Cancellation
Don’t let this confuse you. True noise cancellation requires an active circuitry to filter out ambient noise. This usually means a battery or some other source to power it, which translates to added cost. Headsets, especially the over-ear type that the gaming variety likes to come in, have natural noise isolation (also known as passive noise cancellation). It pretty much depends on how much your ears get sealed off from the outside world.
Looks and Comfort (We Go For Comfort)
Whether you want something with flashy neon lights or just cool basic black, comfort should come ahead of either. No point looking good if you can’t stand the headphones after 10 minutes of wear. That’s usually not long enough to run from the base, loot everything along the way, to get to the monster’s lair (ok, maybe you can teleport). If there’s a test pair, always give it a try just to have a sense of its weight and feel of the earcups.
Cost (Maybe This Should Come First)
When it comes to spending, you do need to think of how much you’d be using them. You don’t want to be the Bluebeard of Headsets, with all the abandoned, unused… dead… headsets stashed in a secret cupboard. You can get a very decent pair of gaming headsets without breaking the bank. In fact we wrote an article on our favorite gaming headsets under $200 that would be worth reading if you have a slightly bigger budget.
Great Gaming Headsets On A Budget
No, not really. This is not the sum of it.
This is where you get to decide if you want to further explore that expansive world of headsets and find one that works for you.
We’ve given you a little head start but that’s not the end of the road. You should, at this point, have a decent idea of what you need in a top gaming headset under $100. If you have finished an epic night of gaming and want a good nights sleep you should check out our post on the best headphones for sleeping.
We wish you luck in finding one that brings your gaming to new heights.
- Dolby Surround Sound vs DTS Headphone X (Whats the Difference?)
- Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones For Gaming (Which is Better?)
- Over The Ear vs On-Ear Headphones Compared – Which Is Best For You?
- 6 Best Closed Back Headphones Under $200 (Quality & Affordability)
- 5 Best Closed Back Headphones Under $500 (Quality & Value)
“Nasa is an amateur game enthusiast with an addiction to cinema soundtracks. She can be found warring on a mobile MMORTS as often as immersing in a PC RPG. She admits to dungeon crawling to the beats of Linkin Park or the sweeping sounds of Hans Zimmer.”