best gaming headset under 200

What to Look for in a Gaming Headset

gaming headphones with a cellphone
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Anyone who plays a decent amount of video games knows the importance of having a good headset. Using the best gaming headset under 200 allows players certain advantages over players who don’t use headphones. For example, being able to tell which direction a sound came from, and being able to hear subtle sounds (like footsteps) louder and more clearly. Additionally, a mic is essential for talking to teammates, whether you’re just trying to casually chat with your friends while you play, or trying to give important callouts to your teammates during a competitive match. In either case, having a way to clearly communicate with other players is always a good thing. That’s why you’ll often see gamers wearing headsets whenever they play. The headset gives them high-quality sound for a gameplay advantage and a mic for easy communication with teammates.

The importance of picking the right headset

However, not all headsets are created equal. A gaming headset can cost anywhere from $20 to $200. Since gaming has become such a popular hobby, the gaming headset market is very saturated with all kinds of different headsets, geared towards different game genres, age groups, and demographics. Although you could just order any cheap headset and get some basic functionality, if you take gaming seriously it’s very important to find what headset is right for you. Some main points to consider are audio quality, build, and price.

Audio quality

man playing video games on a computer monitor with headphones
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Obviously, one of the most important parts of what to look for in a gaming headset is its audio quality. However, depending on what kind of games you play and how you play, it may not be the best idea to just pick whichever one has the best audio quality, but it’s still important to know how to tell whether a headset has good audio or not.

Surround sound

First, it’s important to know the difference between a regular headset and one with surround sound. Surround sound means that a headset can play a sound from any angle around your head, meaning a sound can appear to “come from” in front of you, behind you, or to a side or diagonal. This is an essential feature for competitive gamers since it means you can find enemies better and more accurately. However, people who play MOBA games or casually will be just fine with a regular stereo headset.


Another important aspect of a headset that reflects its audio quality is isolation. Isolation is how well the headphones keep out outside noise and prevent it from interfering with your game audio. If you’re looking for high-quality audio, make sure to look for a headset that has good isolation. If you game in a quiet space, then isolation isn’t as important, but it can be a lifesaver if you have roommates or live in a noisy area.

Mic Quality

Mic Quality is also extremely important. Even if you’re just chatting with friends, a better mic will mean cleaner audio with less noise. Talking to someone who has a garbage mic can be straight-up painful, so make sure you find something decent. Mic quality is especially important if you need to give out callouts to teammates, and need to make sure they perfectly understand what you’re trying to say.


Man holding headphones on his head
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Audio quality is just one factor of what to look for in a gaming headset, however. The build quality can literally make or break a good gaming headset. Obviously, durability is the first thing that comes to mind here; many cheaper headsets are made of cheap plastic, while more premium ones are made of higher quality materials. It’s very easy to drop your headset, so if you want it to last for a long time, make sure you get one that’s sturdy.


Another important part of the build of a headset is its comfort. For long playing sessions, comfort is an absolute must. It’s very difficult to enjoy playing a game when your headset is making your ears itch, so make sure you pick up a nice comfy headset that fits your head, ears, and glasses (if you have) well. How well the headset fits you affects its isolation as well, so a bad fit could even negatively impact its sound quality.

Wired vs. Wireless

It’s also important to decide if having a wireless headset is important to you. Although most regular headphones nowadays are wireless, gaming headsets — since gaming is a rather stationary activity and all platforms have headphone jacks — still have many high-quality, wired options. Wired headsets are usually cheaper than their wireless counterparts, and provide a simpler connection with marginally less input lag. However, they still add one more wire to deal with and can be really easy to trip over. If you want a clean setup and don’t want to have to worry about whether or not your headset’s plugged in, it may be worth going wireless.


Set of gaming headphones
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Finally, we’ve got the elephant in the room: the price tag. Since a high-tier headset can cost up to $200, it’s worth considering just how much you need that extra quality. There are a few factors you should take into consideration when deciding on your budget.

Game Genre

First, you must consider what kind of games you like to play, because different genres of games prioritize audio differently. For example, if you play a shooter like Apex Legends or Call of Duty, you will really benefit from having a high-quality headset, since being able to locate opponents based on the sound of their footsteps is an important skill in those games. However, for more laid-back games such as Minecraft and Animal Crossing, a good headset won’t give you much of an advantage, so spending a small fortune on a premium headset might be a waste.

Casual vs. Competitive

Another important factor to consider is whether you’re a casual or competitive gamer, i.e., how often and how seriously you play. Being a casual gamer means that you play games every once in a while just for fun, and winning isn’t as important as having a good time. If you’re a casual, then you probably shouldn’t consider premium options, since that extra competitive edge isn’t as valuable for you, and a more expensive headset doesn’t necessarily equal more fun.

If you’re a competitive gamer, on the other hand — meaning you play games often and try hard to win and improve your skill — you may want to look on the higher-end. A good headset can really give you an edge over other players. If you’re a competitive player, you should seriously consider checking out the higher price ranges to get something that will be really beneficial to your playing style.


Gaming headphones with Playstation game controller on a table
Photo by Man Shrestha on Unsplash

Hopefully, we’ve been able to help guide you through the vast world of gaming headsets, and what to look for in a gaming headset. Generally, anything above $60 should be enough for most people, but if you take all these factors into consideration, you should have a good idea of exactly what kind of headset is right for you.

Where can I start?

If you’re still confused, that’s ok. There are a lot of options out there, and even if you’ve decided what you’re looking for, it can be hard to find which option fits your needs best. Fortunately, we have a handy guide for the best gaming headsets under $200 if you still need to narrow down your options further.

Written by Zev Ross

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