Best Gaming Headsets Under $100 for 2021

Best Gaming Headsets Under $100

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Looking for a New Gaming Headset Under $100? Look no further.

If you plan on playing video games for hours on end, it’s a no-brainer that you need a decent set of gaming headphones. A gaming headset in 2021 can either make or break your gaming experience, and cheap, low-quality headsets perform noticeably worse.

Ear pain, poor performance, bad audio quality, or even a complete breakdown after a month of use… We’ve all been there, and we don’t want to go there again.

The trick to finding the best gaming headset is knowing the critical features to look out for. Ideally, you want to pick a comfortable headset built with high-quality materials and audio drivers. It must also be compatible with the system(s) you’ll be playing on. Connectivity is another thing to consider — it has to work for you, keeping in mind the technology used as well as its range and strength. 

Budget is another thing. Staying under $100 might seem tricky when some gaming headsets can cost as much as $300. Fortunately, there are many great models that won’t break the bank — all you have to know is what to look for.

We’re here to make shopping for a new headset easier for you. Keep reading below for our comprehensive guide to finding the best headset for gamers — complete with some of our favorite recommendations!

Related Article: Best Wireless Gaming Headsets Under $200

An Overview of the Best Gaming Headsets Under $100

Brief overview: what matters in a quality headset?

When shopping for a headset — or any other gaming peripheral, for that matter — knowledge is power. It’s important to know what to look for and to understand what makes a headset good. We’ve highlighted some of the most important factors in any headset that you should be mindful of.

Compatibility

The first thing you want to look at is compatibility. Are the headphones compatible with your system? It seems a bit obvious, but it is an important point to go over to avoid mixups. As an example, the Corsair HS70 Pro headset is only compatible with desktops and PS4 consoles, so it won’t work on the XBOX. Not all headsets work with all systems.

Drivers

The next thing to consider is the quality of the audio drivers. A good rule of thumb is to get custom-tuned drivers as the manufacturers usually set those up for high-quality output. If that’s not an option, those above 50mm are usually a safe bet quality-wise.

The drivers determine the quality of the audio output so they are certainly an important part to consider. The ability to hear everything and to tell apart the highs and lows lets you properly hear enemy footsteps and the surrounding environment. It’s an important factor in fully immersing yourself in the game.

Connectivity

Do you want a wired or a wireless headset? Each variation has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, wireless headsets are more comfortable and ergonomic as you don’t have a cord that gets in the way. On the other hand, some of them suffer from latency issues, not-so-great sound quality, or poor battery life. On the flipside, wired headsets don’t have battery issues and can have great sound quality, but are limited to use a few feet from your desk. It’s an apples or oranges situation and you have to pick what works for you.

Build Quality

Finally, the build quality of the headset is important too. The materials and build quality will determine how long your headset will last you and how much abuse (everyday use) it can withstand. The headband, microphone, and cushion materials are arguably the most important to look at. These are areas with high wear and movement, so they’re more likely to suffer from wear-and-tear.

Comfort

Building off of the previous point, comfort is just as important as to build quality. If you’re going to be wearing your headset for a few hours in a row (and let’s not kid ourselves — you are going to), you need it to be comfy. Breathable air cushions, an adjustable headband, and soft earpads go a long way in keeping your ears happy as you wear your headset.

Microphone

Headsets differ from headphones in one major way — they have a microphone. For gamers, this is a must. Talking with your friends on Discord or another voice communication program is often half the fun. In order to not torture your friends with poor sound quality, look for a headset with a proven microphone.

Headset mics can be unidirectional or omnidirectional. Unidirectional microphones only pick up sounds from one direction, while omnidirectional mics will pick up sounds from all around you. In most cases, we recommend the former (uni mics) for gaming.

Another good feature of a microphone is noise cancellation. A good mic will quiet all the noise around you and deliver nothing but your voice. In addition, you might want to consider getting a headset with a detachable microphone for extra comfort.

A Deeper Look at the Best Gaming Headsets Under $100

You now know what to look for, but why bother searching? We’ve got you covered. Check out some of our recommendations for the best gaming headsets under $100.

  • Corsair HS70 – Best Build Quality
  • HyperX Cloud Stinger Core – Best Budget Gaming Headset
  • SteelSeries Arctis 1 – Best Audio
  • Alienware 7.1 PC Gaming Headset – Best Value for the Money
  • Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero – Best Battery Life

1. Corsair HS70 Pro Wireless Gaming Headset

When it comes to features, quality, and construction, the Corsair HS70 doesn’t disappoint. It’s packed full of bells and whistles, it’s hard to believe it’s only about $90. Corsair HS70 also has a fancy finish that makes it look way above its relatively budget price range.

Corsair HS70 Pro Wireless Gaming Headset

Specs:

  • Connectivity – 2.4GHz Wireless connection via USB
  • Battery life – 16 hours
  • Audio drivers – Custom tuned 50mm, neodymium drivers
  • Sound – 7.1 Surround sound
  • Compatibility – PC, PS4, PS5
  • Microphone – Removable
  • Earcup material – Memory foam

The Corsair comes with high-quality custom-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers. It has a removable microphone, memory foam earpads, and a thick high-quality headband. It comes with a USB dongle that keeps you safe from annoying latency issues.

One major complaint I hear about is how uncomfortable the ear cups can be after prolonged use. The Corsairs have a strong clamping force that forces the drivers to touch your ears. This becomes uncomfortable after a few hours of wear and a lot of users have to take them off to give their ears a break. This doesn’t bode well if you’re going to use them for hours on end, but might not be that big of a deal if you use them sparingly.

Finally, the HS70 has minor issues with how the bass comes across, it can sometimes sound abrupt, but this varies between users and might only be a music issue. However, these sound quality issues are prevalent amongst most wireless headphones, and the Corsair is still better than many other wireless models. You can only ask for so much from a budget model too. In this price range, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pair of headphones for gaming.

Pros

  • Excellent build quality.
  • Removable mic.
  • Excellent drivers.
  • High-quality finish.

Cons

  • Uncomfortable after prolonged use – hard on the ears.
  • The bass sound doesn’t come across strongly.
  • Battery life could be better.

2. HyperX Cloud Stinger Core

Coming in at about $80, the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core is one of the best headsets under $100. It’s the affordable variable of the Cloud Stinger lineup. HyperX lets you choose between wired and wireless models. The wired model is significantly cheaper and will work better for tighter budgets, but this wireless variant grants you some extra freedom without compromising on quality.

HyperX Cloud Stinger CoreSpecs

  • Connectivity – 2.4GHz Wireless connection via USB
  • Battery life – 17 hours
  • Audio drivers – 40mm driver
  • Sound – 7.1 Surround sound
  • Compatibility – PC, PS4, Xbone
  • Earcup material – Foam and cloth
  • Microphone – Retractable, noise-canceling

The Stinger Core comes with impressive battery life. It excels at comfort and you could use this headset all day without any strain. The combination of foam and breathable cloth is quite comfortable and it doesn’t hurt your ears during prolonged gaming sessions.

Other points of merit are the mic. The microphone delivers a crisp sound and doesn’t pick up any background noise. It also has a fun feature that makes it easy to mute yourself whenever you want — simply swivel the mic to silence it.

Not everything is quite perfect with the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core.  Some people have had issues with using the dedicated HyperX software. The compatibility software that manages the 7.1 surround sound doesn’t add much to the experience apart from producing a rather hollow sound. You’d be better off not using it in some cases.

The overall audio quality can be disappointing too. The highs and lows aren’t super defined, and this is not too surprising given the 40mm drivers. A wireless headset and 40mm drivers aren’t the wisest combination, and whilst models like the Arctis 1 below pull it off, the HyperX falls flat. That said, you can pick up a model of these with a 50mm driver, but those do cost a bit more.

For the money you pay, you could certainly get a better quality headphone with the other models on this list. The Arctis 1 below is a good alternative though a bit pricier. If you must pick the HyperX, the wired model offers better value for the money.

Pros

  • Price – affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable ear cups made out of soft fabric
  • The microphone is quite good for the price

Cons

  • 40mm drivers – not the highest quality
  • The sound quality is weaker than expected
  • 7.1 surround sound is poor

3. SteelSeries Arctis 1

For under $100, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 is impressive. It features an impactful sound system, is compatible with most gaming platforms, and is comfortable enough for long hours of use. It delivers on the most important features, and it has some nice extras too.

SteelSeries Arctis 1

Specs

  • Connectivity – 2.4GHz wireless connection via USB; 3.5mm AUX cable for Xbox
  • Battery life – 20-25 hours
  • Audio drivers – 40mm Neodymium drivers (custom-tuned award-winning sound system)
  • Compatibility – PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
  • Earcup material – Foam and cloth
  • Microphone – Detachable, noise-canceling

Just shy of that $100 mark, the Arctis 1 are some of the most expensive headsets on my list. They’re made by SteelSeries, so you know you can expect quality, and they’re decked out with some impressive components.

I like that they come with a 3.5mm jack. It makes them compatible not just with Xbox, but also compatible with the majority of plugged devices available today. I also personally prefer a wired connection over a wireless one for music, and I like the option to switch back and forth with these.

The long 20-hour battery life is impressive too. These headphones last longer on a full battery charge than both the Corsair HS70 and HyperX Cloud Stinger Core above. That said, the Arctis 1 costs are a little bit more than both.

It is disappointing to see Arctis 1 only has a 40mm driver. You’d think that this was a mistake in such a high-quality model, but it turns out that it’s not such a bad choice. A lot of users have said they like the sound profile and the quality. This is interesting and just goes to show how important the overall sound design is over the quality of the audio driver. It’s easy to pick up on both highs and lows with Arctis 1, and it’s equally easy to make distinctions between sounds.

The microphone is impressive too. Featuring a ClearCast noise-canceling microphone, the Arctis delivers a crisp sound that doesn’t pick up any background noise.

The Arctis 1 is a well-engineered headset, and beyond having excellent components, it’s been properly tuned.  It even outperforms headsets with higher-quality parts. However, whilst the ear cups are comfortable, the band and overall finish are lacking in quality. The finish on the HS70 above is slightly better.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable to wear for many hours
  • High sound quality

Cons

  • Price – a higher price on the list
  • Quality/finish – both could be better
  • Sound drivers – only 40mm, but it doesn’t hurt the sound quality

4. Alienware 7.1 PC Gaming Headset AW510H-Dark

As expensive as the Arctis 1 above, the Alienware headset stays true to its name coming with an out-of-this-world finish. 

Alienware 7.1 PC Gaming Headset AW510H-Dark

Specs

  • Connectivity – Wired USB; 3.5mm AUX cable for Xbox and other devices
  • Sound – 7.1 Surround sound
  • Audio drivers – 50mm Neodymium drivers
  • Compatibility – PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
  • Earcup material – Memory foam and leatherette
  • Microphone – Retractable, noise-canceling

This headset looks sleek, stylish, and is sure to turn heads. The design is minimalistic and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s the best looking headset on this list. Known for making high-quality gaming hardware, Alienware does not disappoint with this gaming headset.

A strong point of this headset is the noise-canceling feature of the headphones. Other headsets on this list don’t have very strong noise canceling, letting in background noise — even if it’s minimal. Alienware cancels a substantial amount of unwelcome sound, and this ultimately improves overall sound quality. 

Paired with the 50mm drivers, these headphones deliver both distinct highs and lows. Some users found that the sound quality in this headset improved their gaming performance. This is because accurate sound reproduction makes it that much easier to hear enemy footsteps.

Another strong point is the comfort of the ear cups. The leatherette and memory foam combo makes for a pleasant wearing experience. These are very comfortable to use for extended periods, which is an important factor if you use headsets for more than a few hours at a time.

Some might argue that the lack of a wireless option makes this headset undesirable. However, being wired brings the ultimate price point of this headset down below  $100 from the $150 range. If you truly want quality on a budget, this is the one to go with. You get the components of $150 headsets while staying in the $100 price range. It’s a no-brainer option for me. Understandably not an option if a wire is a deal-breaker for you.

Pros

  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Very comfortable to wear for long hours
  • Great sound & microphone quality

Cons

  • Price – one of the most expensive on the list
  • Wired connection

5. Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero

The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero, another headset with an amazing design. They look nice enough to be impressive but don’t stand out enough to become an eyesore.

Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero

Specs

  • Connectivity – Wireless for PC; wired for consoles
  • Battery life – 30 hours
  • Sound – Waves Nx 3D Audio
  • Audio drivers – 50mm Nanoclear Speakers
  • Compatibility – PC, PS4, Xbox. Nintendo Switch
  • Earcup material – Gel-infused memory foam and leatherette
  • Microphone – Noise-canceling

Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero has been designed around PC gaming, with some features only fully available when you’re using a PC. One of these features is the wireless connection. You can’t use the wireless feature if you’re playing on a console. If you’re primarily a console user, this is a big negative. But if you’re a PC user who sometimes uses consoles, this might not be much of a problem.

A big positive for this headset is the comfort of the ear cups. If you need a headset you could wear all day, this the one to pick. However, if you have really big ears, you might want to check out the Alienware headset above instead. 

The audio is quite impressive. Unlike a headset like the HyperX above, the audio on these comes across clearly and the bass is quite defined. Paired with the Turtle Beach control studio software, you can play around with the audio and mic levels to find something that suits you. This is a great option to have, but less audio savvy users might feel overwhelmed with all the control options. Mind you, you don’t have to use them — the headset is good to go right out of the box. 

Whilst all the components and extra features are really good, the Atlas Aero suffers on build quality and finish. A cheaper model like the Corsair above is of a better build and quality.

Finally, it is disappointing that they can’t be used wirelessly on consoles.

Pros

  • Control studio – user-friendly software that lets you tailor your audio experience
  • Comfortable to wear for many hours in a row
  • Good fit for users with glasses
  • Great microphone quality

Cons

  • Price – the most expensive on the list
  • No wireless compatibility for consoles
  • Build leaves a bit to be desired

What do you think? Which gaming headset is right for you?

If you want to go with a wireless headset, then the Arctis 1 is my pick for you. It features a few fun bells and whistles but still doesn’t fail to deliver on the most important features. The audio quality and comfort of wear are both top-tier. You simply can’t go wrong if you pick the Arctis 1.

However, if you can overcome your desire for a wireless set, the Alienware AW510H is an excellent choice. It’s easily the best choice on my list, bar being wired. The audio quality is so good, it will actually improve your gaming performance. Aside from the increased gaming immersion, you’ll also be able to enjoy movies and music to your heart’s content.

No matter if you go with the first or the last pick on my list, all of the headsets I’ve recommended are sure to help you take your gaming to the next level. Go back up to the selection if you need a refresher, and let me know if you’ve got any questions!

About dg

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

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