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The best gaming headset: Earbuds edition

The best gaming headset doesn't have to feature over-ear headphones. Fortunately, brands like Razer, HyperX, and Asus offer high-quality gaming earbuds for PC and console gaming.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

Gaming earbuds are a godsend for anyone who finds full-sized headsets uncomfortable or difficult to use. With an in-ear design, earbuds offer a secure fit to keep them in place even while you're out and about. Earbuds are also a great option for anyone who prefers mobile or VR gaming, since they're easier to store during travel and convenient to integrate into your VR setup. You can choose either wired or wireless earbuds, depending on whether or not you want to deal with charging batteries; wired earbuds are also much more affordable than their wireless counterparts, making them perfect for more modest budgets.

Wireless options tend to be on the more expensive side, but they also offer premium-grade features like active noise cancelation, Bluetooth connectivity, and even DTS or THX audio. To help you decide which gaming earbuds are best for you, I've put together a list of the 5 best gaming earbuds you can buy. I've broken down their connectivity options, major features, and price points to help you find the best fit for your gaming needs and budget.

Also: The 5 best PC gaming headsets: Premium audio, no drops

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Active noise cancellation
  • THX-certified audio
  • Built-in mics
  • Quick charge
cons
  • Expensive
  • Somewhat short battery life
More Details

Tech specs: Connectivity: Bluetooth | Platform: PC, Android, iOS, Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 | Battery life: 20 hours | Microphone: Dual omni-directional | Noise canceling: Active 

The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro earbuds are some of the best you can buy for gaming. Not only do they connect to any device that supports Bluetooth, but they also have some top-notch active noise-canceling technology. With THX-certified audio, you'll be able to focus on your game and Discord chat rather than your neighbors mowing their lawns or roommates chatting in the next room. 

Each earbud also has an omnidirectional microphone to pick up your voice in Discord calls and in-game chat for crystal-clear communication. Each earbud also has intuitive touch controls to easily change the volume or mute on-the-fly. On a full charge, you'll get about 4 hours of use out of the Hammerhead TW Pro, and the included charging case gives you an additional 16 hours of play. And if you're in a hurry to join a raid or lobby, just 15 minutes of charging gives you about 3 hours of playback.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • USB-C adapter included
  • In-line mic and controls
  • Dual audio drivers
  • Aluminum earbud housings
cons
  • Not noise canceling
More Details

Tech specs: Connectivity: 3.5mm AUX/USB-C | Platform: PC, iOS, Android, Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 | Battery life: N/A | Microphone: In-line | Noise canceling: No 

Anyone who regularly uses a VR headset like the Oculus or HTC Vive knows that a traditional gaming headset can get uncomfortable. The Logitech G333 earbuds are designed for use with VR headsets to give you excellent audio while keeping you comfortable. They connect with a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, or you can use the included USB-C adapter for more options. 

An in-line microphone allows you to chat with friends over Discord or in-game, while each earbud sports an aluminum housing for durability as well as a stylish finish. Dual audio drivers give you a great balance between high and low tones for clean, rich audio. And integrated controls let you start and stop music and change volume on-the-fly.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Excellent battery life
  • Dual connectivity
  • DTS Headphones: X
cons
  • Not noise canceling
More Details

Tech specs: Connectivity: 2.4GHz/Bluetooth | Platform: PC, Android, Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 | Battery life: 33 hours | Microphone: Dual omni-directional | Noise canceling: No 

HyperX has finally introduced Bluetooth to their audio options with the Cloud Mix Buds, and they are some of the best wireless gaming earbuds you can buy. With Bluetooth, you can wirelessly connect to your PC, mobile device, and gaming console for more freedom of movement. But if you want less latency, the earbuds also come with a 2.4GHz USB-C adapter for a more reliable connection. The Cloud Mix Buds feature DTS Headphone: X audio for virtual, 3D audio so you can pinpoint footsteps, shots, and other audio cues to give you an extra edge in online and solo play. 

On a full charge, you'll get about 10 hours of play, and with the charging case, you can get up to 33 hours of use. This means less recharging and more time racking up wins. I do wish that the Cloud Mix Buds had some sort of ANC technology to make it easier to focus on your game or chat, but the audio is good enough to drown out most background noise like chatter and fans or vents.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Great audio
  • 90-degree headphone jack
  • In-line mic
  • Multi-platform support
cons
  • Not noise canceling
  • No in-line volume or mute controls
More Details

Tech specs: Connectivity: 3.5mm AUX | Platform: PC, iOS, Android, Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PS5 | Battery life: N/A | Microphone: In-line | Noise canceling: No 

Getting your hands on great gaming earbuds doesn't mean you have to empty your wallet. The HyperX Cloud wired earbuds are around $30 and offer excellent audio as well as cross-platform compatibility. With the 3.5mm headphone jack, you can quickly and easily connect to console controllers, your Nintendo Switch, PC, or mobile device. And the in-line mic gives you clear in-game and Discord chat. 

The headphone jack features a 90-degree design to reduce damage to wires and prolong the life of your earbuds. And while they aren't noise canceling, the Cloud wired earbuds come with an array of silicone tips to give you a comfortable fit that helps drown out background noise.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Excellent battery
  • ANC
  • IPX4 water resistant
  • Fast charge feature
cons
  • Design might not be comfortable for everyone
  • A bit pricey
More Details

Tech specs: Connectivity: Bluetooth | Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, PS5 | Battery life: 27 hours | Microphone: Dual omni-directional | Noise canceling: Active

If you prefer wireless headsets and earbuds, you know that battery life can make or break your gaming session. Nothing is worse than having your earbuds die in the middle of a mission. The Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless earbuds have one of the best battery lives you can get, giving you 5.5 hours of play on a full charge. Plus, the included charging case gives you a total of 27 hours. 

If you need to quickly top up, just 10 minutes of charging gives you up to 90 minutes of play, which is perfect for when you want to squeeze in a few rounds of Apex with friends but forgot to charge overnight. And when you consider that the ROC Cetra TW earbuds feature active noise cancelation technology as well as Bluetooth connectivity, the battery life becomes even more impressive. They also have excellent audio quality with 10mm drivers for crisp high and mid tones as well as rich bass notes. The earbuds are also IPX4 rated for water resistance, so you won't have to worry about sweat, rain, or spills ruining them.

What are the best gaming earbuds?

My choice for the best gaming earbuds are the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. Not only do they feature active noise cancellation to let you focus on your game rather than traffic outside, they are also THX-Certified for rich audio even at lower volumes. They also feature an on-board mic for in-game or Discord chats as well as touch controls for easy volume changes or mic muting. They give you up to 4 hours of use on a full charge while the charging case gives you an additional 16 hours. Plus, just 15 minutes of charging gives you up to 3 hours of play.

Gaming earbuds

Price

Connectivity

Noise canceling

Razer Hammerhead TW Pro

$110

Bluetooth

Active

Logitech G333

$47

3.5mm AUX/USB-C

N/A

HyperX Cloud MIX Buds

$150

2.4GHz/Bluetooth

N/A

HyperX Cloud wired earbuds

$30

3.5mm AUX

N/A

Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless

$100

Bluetooth

Active

Which are the right gaming earbuds for you?

Once you've finalized a budget for a new pair of gaming earbuds, the most important thing to consider is comfort. Since gamers tend to play for at least an hour or so at a time, it's important to have a pair of earbuds that fit correctly so as not to cause any pain. A correct fit is also important for keeping earbuds, well, in your ears. Fortunately, many earbuds now come with several sets of silicone tips to help you get a better, more comfortable fit. 

You should also consider battery life for wireless earbuds, since nothing is worse than suddenly losing audio in the middle of an important raid or chat with friends. And connectivity is key since not every console supports Bluetooth connectivity for headsets.

Choose these gaming earbuds

If you want…

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro

A well-rounded, wireless pair of gaming earbuds

Logitech G333

An affordable and comfortable pair of earbuds for VR gaming

HyperX Cloud MIX Buds

Wireless gaming earbuds with dual connectivity options

HyperX Cloud wired earbuds

A pair of budget-friendly gaming earbuds

Asus ROG Cetra True Wireless

True wireless gaming earbuds with a great battery life

How did we choose these gaming earbuds?

I specifically chose a variety of both wireless and wired earbuds to cover different personal preferences and budgets. I chose brands that are well-known for providing high-quality gaming accessories that are not only worth the money but also built to last.

What's better, a gaming headset or earbuds?

It really comes down to personal preference. Earbuds aren't comfortable for everyone, especially if you have trouble finding a good fit. Even if a set of gaming earbuds comes with different silicone tips, they still might not give you a comfortable or secure fit. Headsets tend to have an over-ear design that, well, fits over your entire ear to reduce discomfort, especially during longer play sessions. But headsets can be heavy and uncomfortable for anyone who wears glasses or has a larger head.

Can I use normal headphones for gaming?

You can absolutely use a regular old pair of earbuds or headphones to play games if all you want is to avoid annoying your roommates or neighbors. But if you care about things like audio latency and other high-end sound tech jargon, it's better to invest in a pair of dedicated gaming headphones. Especially if you switch between PC and consoles since you'll want something that works across multiple platforms.

Why are gaming earbuds so expensive?

Gaming earbuds don't have to be expensive, but if you want true wireless or premium-grade models, you should prepare to fork over some cash. This is because the technology needed to create Bluetooth and premium-quality earbuds is expensive in and of itself, which means that the final cost will be high. That doesn't mean that every pair of TW earbuds is going to be outrageously expensive or that cheaper pairs can't have quality builds. 

If you're willing to do a bit of research on your own, it's easier than you think to find quality wired and wireless earbuds without having to empty your bank account.

Are there alternative gaming earbuds worth considering?

No matter your budget, there are tons of gaming earbuds on the market to choose from. Here's a short list of other options that are also worth considering:

Editorial standards

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