Gaming headsets can massively improve your gaming experience.
Instead of getting a confusing blast of sound from your speakers, you get a personalized sound experience. This makes playing far more enjoyable, and can also give you an advantage in-game too.
The only problem with headsets is that they can be quite pricey. There are quality models available for good value, but working out which models offer value for money, and which are just overpriced isn’t always easy.
That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve been taking a look at a whole lot of headsets priced at under $100 this week.
We wanted to what was the best headset you could get for under $100.
After looking through a whole ton of different headsets, and playing with a load of them too (it’s a hard life), we’ve worked out which headset we like the most.
Our favorite is the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset.
It’s got clear audio, an excellent and responsive microphone and it’s comfortable to wear as well.
In this article we’ll talk about why we thought the Cloud was so great, and we’ll discuss some of the other headsets we looked at too.
Table of Contents
- 1 How we chose the Best Gaming Headset under $100
- 2 The five Best Gaming Headsets under $100
- 3 The most important consideration when choosing the best Gaming Headset under $100 is Audio Quality
- 4 Other considerations when choosing the Best Gaming Headset under $100
- 5 The best Gaming Headset under $100
- 6 The four other headsets we tested
- 7 The bottom line
How we chose the Best Gaming Headset under $100
To decide the best gaming headset, we had to do a lot of gaming,
Luckily, we’re all enthusiastic gamers, so we threw ourselves into testing the headsets and quickly decided what we thought were the most important features that a good headset should have.
We used this list of features to decide which headsets came out on top.
Here is the list of features in order of importance:
We determined this final list by taking the 5 headsets that performed the best overall according to our list of features.
The five Best Gaming Headsets under $100
Here’s a list of the five Best Gaming Headsets under $100:
|HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset for...||$96.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|SteelSeries Arctis 5 RGB Illuminated...||$99.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|HyperX KHX-H3CL/WR Cloud Gaming...||$79.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset...||$49.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Creative Sound BlasterX H5...||$104.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
The most important consideration when choosing the best Gaming Headset under $100 is Audio Quality
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer.
The whole point of headphones is that they give you quality, personalized audio. If they don’t, then you’re no better off and you may as well save your money.
Having good audio is particularly important when gaming. An advantage that some headsets offer is the ability to pinpoint where exactly sound is coming from in-game.
This means you won’t just hear an enemy approaching you, but through your headset you’ll be able to hear the direction they are coming from too.
As you can imagine this is a huge advantage when playing, and can give you a real edge over opponents who don’t have the same ability.
While not all headsets have that option, this is just one example of the importance of having good audio.
It’s also important because many of us like to listen to music using our headsets. Although we’re not expecting any headset under $100 to be studio quality, we do want good enough audio that we can properly enjoy our music if we just feel like chilling out.
All the headsets we look at here have excellent audio. If they have the ability to pinpoint sound in-game, then we’ll mention that when going through each one.
Other considerations when choosing the Best Gaming Headset under $100
One of the joys of online gaming is playing as part of a team. There’s nothing quite like storming into an enemy’s base with your teammates and capturing their flag, or just shooting a load of them at once.
This kind of coordinated team play requires your headset to have a clear microphone. Otherwise you won’t be able to talk to your teammates.
It’s not just shooting games where team play is important either. You can play pretty any game in multiplayer mode nowadays and being able to communicate with your team gives you a massive advantage over your opponents.
If you’re microphone isn’t up to scratch, you’re just as likely to distract and annoy your teammates as you are to help them. Obviously this isn’t what you want.
That’s why a clear microphone is so important.
Comfort is an underrated feature of headsets. It’s something that’s easy to forget about when the talk turns technical and everyone starts discussing the specs of their headphones.
But it’s so important, because if your headphones aren’t comfortable, then it doesn’t matter how good the audio or the microphone is, because you just won’t wear them.
Working out how comfortable a set of headphones is, is actually harder than you think.
You can’t just pop them on and say ‘They feel nice’ and then move onto the next pair. You have to spend several hours in them at a time, because it’s easy to make something feel comfortable initially, it’s much harder to make it comfortable after several hours of continual use.
This is another essential feature.
So many headsets work well initially, but suffer from reliability issues and eventually just stop working altogether.
When testing for durability it’s important not just to look at the build quality, but also to research the product thoroughly.
This way we can work out whether there are any longer-term issues with the headset, that wouldn’t come up during the initial testing.
So we carefully researched every one of the products we look at here. As well as personally testing them ourselves.
That way, we know they are extremely reliable and can recommend them to you in full confidence.
Everybody wants to look cool when they’re gaming.
Now, obviously not everybody shares the same opinion of what ‘cool’ looks like.
But pretty much everybody recognizes when a headset looks ridiculous, or like something out of a bad sci-fi drama.
So we made sure we only picked headsets that we thought were attractive.
Most of the headsets also come in different color options. So even if you don’t like the standard look, you’ve got the option to switch to more exotic colors.
The best Gaming Headset under $100
After looking through a load of different options, asking gamers for advice, researching, and spending hours playing in each headset ourselves, we decided that the best Gaming Headset under $100 is the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset.
The reason we all loved the HyperX so much is because it performs incredibly well in each of our categories.
Firstly, the audio is sensational. It’s crisp, clear and the volume is easy to adjust.
In some headphones, the high notes come out more clearly than the low notes or vice versa, but not in this case. The sound is consistent throughout the whole playing experience and none of the notes sound disproportionately loud.
The Cloud II comes with surround sound technology which allows you to pinpoint the direction sound is coming from in-game. Giving you a massive advantage over your opponents.
The HyperX’s microphone makes your voice easy to hear during team games. While being quiet enough not to deafen your teammates. It’s also noise cancelling, so annoying background noises won’t distract your team.
In terms of comfort, the Cloud II is brilliant. Its squashy memory foam pads fit snuggly over your ears without being too tight. And it comes with a range of different ear cup options, so you can pick the one’s that fit your head the best!
As discussed, durability is a little harder to test. We had a look over the headphones, pulled them a bit, and dropped them a couple of times just to see if they worked after.
Then we got serious. We called up a couple of hard core gamer friends and asked them about the durability of the Cloud II.
Basically, we wanted to know whether they would last longer term. Or just be good for a couple of months.
We got extremely good feedback regarding the build quality of the HyperX.
We also had a look over a ton of online reviews to see if reliability was a common problem with the Cloud II.
They’re widely regarded as being extremely durable and reliable, and we feel very comfortable recommending them to you.
Whether you like the look of the HyperX is going to be completely down to personal preference.
But we couldn’t really find anything to dislike. They’re not the fanciest looking pair going, and only come in two colors (Gun Metal & Red), but both those options look great and we think most gamers will love them.
All this meant the Cloud II really stood out to us. And it was definitely the best headset we looked at.
The four other headsets we tested
In many ways the Arctis 5 is very similar to the Cloud II. Like the Cloud it offers fantastic, super-clear audio. Along with a surround sound feature that gives you a huge advantage while gaming.
It also comes with an excellent noise cancelling microphone which allows you to talk clearly to your team, while at the same time cutting out distracting background noises.
Obviously, having a clear microphone is essential for gaming, and the SteelSeries’s mic is about as good as it gets.
In terms of comfort it performs very well too. One of the key features of the Arctis is a suspension band that ensures the weight of the unit goes evenly over your head.
This makes it seem even lighter that it already is, and means that the unit puts no strain on your neck whatsoever. Even after hours of play.
The product has a great reputation for durability, and held up very well during our in-office tests.
We also loved the look, with most of the office preferring the white with orange color scheme.
As I’m sure you can tell, we all really liked the SteelSeries as well. We just thought the Cloud II was a touch better overall. But there wasn’t much in it.
- Exclusive ClearCast mic delivers studio-quality voice clarity and background...
- Detachable USB soundcard with ChatMix allows you to adjust the balance between...
- S1 speaker drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound on PC (stereo audio...
This is essentially the little brother of our winning headset, and while it’s a great option, it’s definitely beaten out by the Cloud II.
In terms of audio, the HyperX performs well. Everyone in the office thought the sound quality was great, and we couldn’t detect any difference in sound between this and the Cloud II.
What this headset lacks though, is the surround sound features. This is the kind of thing where you only realise how great it is to have, when it’s taken away from you.
We experimented by playing a round with the Cloud II, and then another with this headset.
We did this a couple of times.
Every round, without fail, went better when the player was wearing the Cloud II.
Surround sound is just that much of a game changer, and having had it, you really miss it when you don’t.
Apart from that, this is a brilliant headset. But it’s difficult to compare to the Cloud II or the Arctis when it’s missing this crucial feature.
- Extremely comfortable light weight headset with leatherette memory foam ear cups...
- Over-the Ear headphone with noise isolating ear cups and detachable microphone
- 53mm hifi capable drivers with 15-25khz frequency response
This is another excellent headset from HyperX. But for our money loses out to the models we’ve just looked at.
The audio on the Stinger is very solid. It does lack the surround sound features that can be so useful in-game, but it’s also a bit cheaper than some of the other headsets we’ve looked at, so it might be a good option if you’re a little short for cash.
We thought the noise cancelling microphone was pretty good. But wasn’t quite as clear as some of the other models.
However, it’s still excellent and we didn’t have any communication issues while trying it out.
They’re a very comfortable set, which is obviously so important when playing for long periods, and like most of the HyperX models the Stinger is well made and durable.
- Lightweight headset with 90-degree rotating ear cups.
- 50mm directional drivers for Audio precision.
- Hyperx signature Memory foam. Adjustable steel Slider.
The BlasterX is the final option on our list and comes with super smooth audio, but unfortunately lacks the brilliant surround sound feature, that helps so much when gaming.
It has a fairly good microphone. But we noticed while playing that it wasn’t quite as clear as some of the others we looked at. Probably not enough to make a difference, but why would you pay the same money for a lower quality mic?
What I will say is the H5s are very comfortable. I personally wore them for 5 hours throughout the whole day and I didn’t suffer the slightest bit of discomfort.
So they get full marks for that.
It’s also a good looking headset, and while it doesn’t stand out particularly, it’s not going to draw any negative comments either.
Unfortunately, the build quality did appear to be lacking a little.
The BlasterX just didn’t seem as well made as its competitors, and when we asked some industry insiders we knew, they confirmed that the H5s aren’t known as the most reliable headset available.
So even though they’re comfortable and pretty, we rate them as the poorest set we looked at.
- Powerful 50mm Neodymium Drivers for Massive Bass and Astounding Clarity
- Includes award winning proprietary Sound BlasterX Acoustic Engine Lite Audio...
- Lightweight and durable frame with memory foam ear cushions for the ultimate...
Of all the headsets we looked at, we definitely liked the Cloud IIs the best.
They’ve got fantastic audio, a great microphone and they feel great on your head as well. If that wasn’t enough they’re stylish and have an excellent reputation for durability too.
So they’re 100% the best pair here.
The other four are good pairs though, and apart from the BlasterX you wouldn’t go wrong with any of them.