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A gaming headset with good sound output is not enough; a headset should be comfortable for long gaming sessions, should have a good mic and a chat mix dial to balance between game and chat audio, and should include other essential features. There is no right model for everyone; thus, we have reviewed the top 5 best gaming headsets under $100.
Common Audio Terms You Should Know
If you read headset or speaker reviews, you need to know frequently used audio terms’ meanings to understand the in-depth reviews. We have mentioned 6 audio terms in easy-to-understand language, so you understand their meaning when you read them in our review.
Bass: Even if you are not an audiophile, you probably know about bass. Bass is the low-end frequencies of the sound. Headsets should have clear and crisp bass, and it should not be too boomy.
Highs: Highs are frequencies that can start at above 2000 Hz; some examples of highs are soprano, violin, flute, etc.
Mids: Mids are frequencies between 250Hz and 2000Hz. It includes vocals and instruments such as violin, flute, and guitar.
Balance: The term “Balanced” is used for audio output that does not let frequencies dominate other frequencies.
Crisp: Crisp is usually used when each tone is accurate and when audio output sounds clear and on point.
Muddy: The term muddy is used as a descriptor for distorted frequencies.
1.) Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 – White headset for Xbox One and Xbox Series X
The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 is a lightweight wireless headset for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. It has a solid frame, flip mic, and offers excellent performance and comfort at a reasonable price.
Design and Features
The headset is made of matte plastic, and it’s available in black or white colors. The left earcup has a USB-C port, an equalization mode button, a volume wheel, a chat mix dial, a power button, and the foldable mic; the right earcup has nothing on it. The headset’s black version has green highlights on both earcups, the headband is nicely padded, and the earcups have plush foam which feels comfortable even after hours-long gaming sessions.
The headset has no way to adjust earcups for people who wear glasses; other Turtle Beach models provide the ability to remove the earcups and set the channel size. On the upside, it uses Turtle Beach Audio Hub software, which lets you change presets, set microphone pickup patterns, and more.
The Stealth 600 Gen 2 performs equally well on PC and consoles. The audio output is clear and well-balanced, but the base is not as good as we thought it would be; you can use its audio modes: Bass Boost, Vocal Boost, Bass and Treble Boost, and Signature Sound to slightly change the quality.
Footsteps, gunfire, and other combat sounds are easy to determine where they are coming from. You can also use it for listening to music, but if you are a bass-head, you might not like it. On the upside, the sound does not distort even on max volume.
- Reasonable price
- Well-balanced audio
- Works with PC and latest consoles
- Weak bass
- Average quality mic
- EQ options are not that practical
2.) Razer Kraken 7.1 v2 – Headset for PC Gaming
The Kraken 7.1 v2 is an excellent headset for competitive and single-player PC gamers. It is incredibly comfortable to wear, provides an immersive gaming experience, and has a retractable microphone with digital noise-canceling. If you are looking for a gaming headset under $100 without compromising audio quality, the Kraken 7.1 v2 can be a good pick.
It works on PS4, but Razer’s 7.1 protocol does not work, and this model has a USB; Xbox does not support USB headphones; thus, it is not meant for gaming consoles.
Design and Features
The headset has a thick aluminum frame and leatherette earcups. It has an RGB Razer logo on both sides with multiple effects and color options. Razer headsets are usually bigger than other gaming headsets, and this one is also big and is not very portable. It weighs 11.4-ounce, and when it comes to its size, it’s slightly smaller than Razer ManO’War.
The Kraken 7.1 v2 fits almost any head size, it comes with removable earpads, and there are other earpads available with different shapes for different ear sizes (Not Included). As mentioned before, it has a retractable microphone on the right side, and both sides have metallic mesh, which makes it look like it’s an open-back headset, but it’s not. The model is available in three variants, black, white, and gray.
The overall design is not as good as its competitors, but it’s the most comfortable headset you can get under $100.
After completing the Razer Synapse 2.0 software calibration process, you can access: surround sound features, bass boost, and customizable EQ. The headset does not favor any particular genre; you can play Overwatch, The Witcher 3, CS:GO, StarCraft II, or any other game; it will not disappoint you. You can also use it to listen to music; it’s pretty good at balancing audio profiles and offers multiple equalization presets for music.
- Music presets
- Impressive sound quality
- No 3.5-mm option
- No headset buttons
- No gaming preset available
3.) HyperX Cloud II – Detachable Microphone
HyperX Cloud II is another comfortable wired gaming headset; it has low latency, provides well-balanced audio, and comes with a detachable microphone. The lack of software can be a dealbreaker for gamers who like to customize their headset, but its design, audio quality, and comfort is impressive.
Design and Features
The Kingston HyperX Cloud II is available in black & red and black & gray Gunmetal option; it has a leatherette-coated aluminum metal frame and memory-foam padded ear cups with the HX logo on both sides; the earcups are attached with metal forks and can be adjusted up and down. It features a detachable 6 inches mic with a foam tip and 3 feet long braided cable connecting to a 3.5mm audio jack that connects to a different 3 feet cable with an audio controller and sound card with a USB port on its end.
Its rich textured audio output is pretty impressive. While gaming, firing, explosions, and blade’s slicing noises sound crisp, its 7.1 virtual surround sound helps determine where gunfire is coming from. The HyperX Cloud II can be connected to your PS4, Xbox One, iOS, or Android device using the adapter, but you can’t use the 7.1 Surround Sound USB card. On the upside, you can use it for calls or music; it provides decent bass and crisp mid and high tones.
- Solid build quality
- Excellent sound quality
- Incredibly comfortable
- Attractive, lightweight design
- No software
- The cable isn’t detachable
4.) Logitech G533 – Wireless Gaming Headset
The Logitech G533 is one of the best wireless gaming headsets under $100. It has a long-lasting battery life, and it offers excellent performance for gaming and music. The G533 uses Logitech G HUB that lets you customize your headset and other Logitech peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, and speakers.
Design and Features
The headband is covered with matte plastic and has a layer of foam wrapped with mesh fabric that feels comfortable around the head; the headband can be extended, so no matter what the head size is, it should fit comfortably. The earcups have glossy back panels, and the large earpads are padded with the same material it has under the headband.
On the backside of the left earcup, the G533 has a power button, volume dial, micro USB port for charging, mic mute button, and the attached microphone that is adjustable.
You can use both surround sound or stereo, and it has various equalization options for different genres. Surround sound provides a great sense of where gunfire is taking place, and the combat sounds feel pretty thumpy thanks to its heavy-bass. It doesn’t produce a true surround experience because of limitations; it creates a virtual 7.1-channel surround sound with the help of 40mm drivers and their balance. On the downside, the G533 does not have a chat mix dial; thus, it’s impossible to adjust the balance between gameplay and chat audio without changing the levels.
- Great battery life
- Impressive wireless range
- No audio jacks
5.) SteelSeries Arctis 5 – For PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5
The SteelSeries Arctis 5 is one of the best-wired gaming headsets under $100. It supports the SteelSeries Engine application that lets you customize lighting effects, allows control over some features, and offers various presets for music and movies. It is compatible with MAC, latest gaming consoles, PC, and you can connect it with your gaming controller using USB Type-A or with your phone with a 3.5mm adapter.
Design and Features
The sleek headset comes in black and white color; it does not have a typical bulky design like most gaming headsets do. The design is outdoor-friendly, and you can use it while traveling, but the cords are too long; we think they are long because of console players who sit much further away.
The main headband is made of stiff plastic, and under it, it has an adjustable Velcro strap that feels comfortable. Around the backplates of earcups, you’ll find RGB lighting, which can be customized using the software. The left earcup has a mic-mute button, a volume wheel and a retractable microphone.
Whether you play Overwatch, League of Legends, or Battlefield, the Arctis 5 performs surprisingly good. The 7.1 DTS Headphone:X v2.0 surround sound is perfect for first-person shooter games that require clear directional noises. The surround sound can be turned off if you want to experience detailed sound. Music performance is as good as gaming performance, mids are crisp, and deep bass feels good. The overall audio output is detailed, and the sound does not distort even on max volume.
- Great audio
- Useful software
- Notably comfortable
- Outdoor friendly design
- Doesn’t perform as good with console or phone as it does with PC
Buying Guide For Best Gaming Headsets Under $100
This detailed buyer’s guide is useful for both tech geeks and people who don’t know anything about headphones. We have covered all the factors you should consider, and we have defined all the technical terms related to headphones and sound.
Gaming Headset Compatibility with PC, MAC, XBOX, and Playstation.
First, you need to decide whether you want a headphone for Console or PC. If you want a headset for both consoles and PC, make sure you check the official site for information related to compatibility. It’s easy to find a headset that supports PC, MAC, and the latest consoles such as Xbox series X and PlayStation 5. Once you find a headset that supports PC and console, make sure you check if you can use 7.1 with consoles.
You also have to consider the connection type. Headphones have multiple types of connection: USB, wireless USB, standard 3.5mm, dual 3.5mm, and Bluetooth.
Xbox one does not support USB headphones unless they are specially manufactured for Xbox. You are less likely to face connection issues with PS4 and PS5, but it’s better to check before making a purchase.
Wired VS Wireless Gaming Headset
Both wired and wireless headsets have pros and cons, and we cannot advise you which one you should buy. If you like a clutter-free desk, you can buy a wireless version, the latest wireless technology has improved a lot, and modern headsets usually don’t have latency issues. However, wireless headsets use a battery as a power source, so you need to charge it regularly.
Open back VS Closed Gaming Headsets
Open back headsets have natural sound output; they use perforated earcups that leak a lot. In simple words, people around you can hear what you are listening to; thus, they are not that outdoor-friendly.
Closed-back headphones have closed cups that isolate your ears from the noises around you. Closed-back headphones don’t have audio leakage, and they deliver loud and clear sound.
If you are spending 100 dollars or more, you should consider build quality. Avoid buying headsets made of cheap stiff plastic; look for a headset with a metal frame, and if you can’t find one, look for something made of flexible plastic.
Band Material: Some models feature plastic headband, and some come with metal headband covered with a layer of plastic. Both of them are good if the material is premium. The thing that matters the most is headband padding; the band should have good padding so you can use them for hours without any discomfort.
Earcups Material: Most above average quality headsets use memory foam for earcups but if you are looking for something better and are willing to spend more, cooling gel-infused earpads are the best. Cooling gel earpads have a gel layer that reduces sweating and keeps your ear cool.
Microphone Material: The mic should be flexible, so you can bend it without breaking it. Some headsets feature retractable mic that can be bent easily and lasts years. So if you are spending a decent amount of money, the headset is most likely to have a good mic.
Cable Material: If you are buying a wired headset, a braided cable is ideal. Braided cables are durable, and they last longer than regular cables.
Bulky headphones feel uncomfortable, and they can cause neck-pain after long gaming sessions. If you want a comfortable headset, look for a lightweight headset.
Drivers are small speakers that translate electrical signals into sound. Drivers are made of three parts: the diaphragm, the magnet, and the voice coils. You need to stay away from small drivers, most decent quality headphones use 50-mm drivers, which are good but only the size is not enough. Driver tunning matters when it comes to sound quality; custom-tuned drivers are usually good. Choosing a model with proprietary drivers is also a good idea; proprietary drivers have better quality and are tuned better than other drivers.
Surround sound uses three or more channels and speakers to create realistic sound effects. It is popular among gamers because it enhances your gaming experience by improving your performance in some genres.
For example, if you play first-person shooter games, surround sound will provide clear directional noises so you can hear enemy footsteps and determine where combat sounds are coming from. Most headsets come with surround sound, so you should consider this feature; you can also turn off surround sound if you don’t need it.
Headset controls are essential for good User Experience, some headsets feature controls on the earcup, and some come with inline controls mounted on the power cord. The most common controls you’ll find are the volume dial and mute switch. Some headsets also include a chat mix dial that lets you balance the game sound and chat sound volume. Make sure the controls are easy to reach because you have to use them frequently.
Most modern headphones feature RGB lights, which can be customized using the software provided by the manufacturer. Some models come with multiple audio presets, or you can tune your audio output the way you want.
Noise-canceling headphones reduce ambient sounds and prevent sound leakage.
Which is better noise canceling or noise isolating?
Noise cancellation is better than noise isolating; noise cancellation blocks all the ambient noises by detecting them using one or more microphones.
Noise isolation does not use electronics; instead, it physically blocks ambient noises by creating a seal between your ears and headset earcups; it’s like sound-proofing for your ears.
Why can I still hear ambient sounds with noise Cancelling headphones?
Noise-canceling headphones are effective, and they block all the low-pitched noises. However, you can still hear some high-pitched noises if the volume is low, and it depends upon the quality too.
Is Noise Cancelling bad for your ears?
No, some people may hear a hissing noise when active noise cancellation is on, it can cause dizziness, but it’s rare and does not harm your hearing ability. Still, if you are experiencing dizziness because of ANC, avoid using it frequently.
Professional gamers and the headsets they use
What headset does Ninja use?
Ninja uses Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro; it is an open-back headset that delivers fantastic sound quality. It leaks a lot and does not block ambient sounds; thus, not everyone will like this model.
What headset does PewDiePie use?
PewDiePie uses Razer Nari Ultimate – PewDiePie limited edition; it is a comfortable but bulky wireless headset. It features Razer’s HyperSense, a haptic feedback system that enhances your gaming experience. The Razer Nari Ultimate has 5 hours battery life and has low latency.
PewDiePie also used Kraken Neon Pros and Razer Kraken Pro 2 before upgrading to Razer Nari Ultimate.
What headset does Shroud use?
Shroud uses Logitech G Pro X; it’s a well built and comfortable wired gaming headset that offers excellent sound performance and supports Logitech’s G Hub software for audio customizations.
What headset does SypherPK use?
SypherPK uses the JBL Quantum ONE; it is an expensive gaming headset that offers crisp sound and fits comfortably. The headset is compatible with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best gaming headset for small ears?
Steelseries has some great models for people with small ears.
What is the best gaming headset for large ears?
There are more options for large ear headsets than headsets for small ears, so you should be able to find some great models. We recommend the Razer Kraken series, it has comfortable headsets for big ears, and most of them have the latest features.
What is the best gaming headset for people who wear glasses?
Look for Turtle Beach headsets with ProSpecs functionality, which makes headsets easier to wear for people with glasses. You can buy Turtle Beach elite PRO; it has one of a kind eyeglass relief system that lets you remove the ear cushions that have a tab that controls eyeglass relief.
Can I use PS4 headphones on PS5?
Yes, most PS4 accessories work on PS5, including third-party headsets that connect via USB port or audio jack.
Do wireless headsets have latency?
Latency is the delay between the audio signal encoding and decoding process. All headsets have some latency, including wired ones. Wired headsets have an average 5-10 ms latency, which is pretty good; wireless headsets have 100-300 ms latency.
- Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 review, Soundguys.
- Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Review, Soundguys.
- Will Greenwald, Kingston HyperX Cloud II Headset, PC Mag.
- Will Greenwald, Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset, PC Mag.
- Marshall Honorof, SteelSeries Arctis 5, Tom’s Guide.