Top 5 Best Headsets For Gaming Under $200


Audio makes up a great amount of a video game and it sometimes takes a great gaming headset will in order to truly experience the beauty of a game’s score, sound effects and dialogue. In addition, a headset will also allow for easy communication between players when playing online.

Top-performing headsets help us to immerse ourselves more deeply into a game and even to gain an advantage from superior audio. The best headsets are also very comfortable and can be worn over longer periods of time.

There are plenty of superb options under $200 USD. To pick the top 5 in this price range is a tough task and this article aims to do just that.

The top 5 best gaming headsets under $200 are:

Any of the above options would be a fantastic choice. Let’s get into why that is.

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?


What Makes A Gaming Headset?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great gaming headset.

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone especially for longer gaming sessions. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort.
  • System compatibility: though you may only use one gaming system, it’s important that a top-performing gaming headset be compatible with numerous gaming systems in order to suit a greater number of gamers.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.
  • Number of audio channels: many games are designed with surround sound. Even though headsets only have two ear cups, they can still be designed in such a way that gives the illusion of surround sound.
  • Wireless: wireless capability is a benefit as it further improves the functionality and general comfort of the headset and rids of any cords that could get in the way during playing.
  • Microphone quality: a great headset must have a great microphone. An electret microphone with clear pick up is typical of a high-end gaming headset.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best gaming headsets under $200!


SteelSeries Arctis 9

First on the list is the SteelSeries Arctis 9. There are actually two versions of the Arctis 9:

SteelSeries Arctis 9X

The Arctis 9 and 9X are part of SteelSeries successful Arctis line of gaming headsets. At just under $200 USD, these headsets are among the best of the best for gamers. Just be sure to pick up the model that works with your console!

Other than the compatibility, there are slight differences in the microphones and in the wireless range of the two headsets. The rest of the specs are pretty much the same. I’ll discuss the Arctis 9 in this section and mention differences with the 9X if necessary.

Note that, with wireless gaming headsets, there will nearly always be issues with connecting to both PlayStation (and Nintendo Switch) and Xbox. This is due to the fact that wireless headsets require firmware to operate property with their base and Xbox and PlayStation consoles do not offer the same firmware compatibility.

To learn more about wireless headphones and headsets, check out my article How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless.

The Arctis 9 combines high-performance 2.4 GHz wireless transmission between the console and headset with the convenience of simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity for other devices. Connect both types at the same time in order to easily take calls, listen to music, or VoIP chat while gaming.

The wireless range of the Arctis 9 is 40 feet (the 9X is 20 feet), which is more than enough for the vast majority of gamers.

An optimized battery provides an industry-leading 20+ hours of non-stop wireless usage.

The 9 produces the same signature Arctis sound that has made this line of gaming headsets so popular. Experience incredible sonic detail from subtle and critical in-game sounds to the most powerful effects.

The 40mm dynamic drivers use rare earth neodymium magnets. A fantastic frequency response includes detailed mids, non-fatiguing highs and a solid low-end.

If you’re using the headset on PC, take full advantage of DTS Headphone:X v2.0, when available, for incredibly accurate surround sound and positional cues to improve your performance and further immerse yourself into the game at hand.

This headset is durable and comfortable, nailing two factors that can really make or break a gaming headset.

The ski goggle headband is made of durable steel and is well-padded. It’s adjustable with velcro straps to fit it perfectly on your head.

The Airweave ear cushions are breathable, helping to keep the ears cool while also completing the seal of the closed-back earcup design.

The bidirectional electret microphone is Discord-certified with a frequency response of 100 – 6,500 Hz (the 9X has a wider 100 – 10,000 Hz). This ClearCast microphone offers superb noise-cancellation and allows for clear communication online.

For more info on bidirectional microphones, check out my article What Is A Bidirectional/Figure-8 Microphone? (With Mic Examples).

The mic is also retractable, allowing us to put it away when not in use without removing it from the headset. The boom arm is flexible enough to position the mic in the best position and stiff enough to stay in that position.

The Arctis 9 offers on-ear headphone controls to mute/unmute the mic.

The ChatMix feature (only available with PC) allows gamers to adjust the mix of game and chat audio to a perfect user-defined level. This can be done easily without needing to pause the game or even take your eyes off the screen.

Other controls include answer/end call; play/pause music; next/previous track though these have to do with the Bluetooth headphone application rather than the gaming headset application.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB SPL
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 4.1
  • Microphone: Electret|Bidirectional|100–10,000 Hz|-38 dBV/Pa

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

SteelSeries is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headset Brands (Gaming, Aviation, Communication).


Razer Nari Ultimate

Next up is the Razer Nari Ultimate. Like the aforementioned SteelSeries Arctis 9, there are actually two versions of the Nari Ultimate:

Razer Nari Ultimate

By the fact that Razer had to make two versions of this headset, we can tell that it must be wireless! Let’s discuss the regular version (for PC, PS4/5, Switch and Bluetooth) but note that the specs are pretty much the same for the two versions. The main differences are the connection type, virtual sound encoding and the Xbox version has slightly better microphone specs.

THX Spatial Audio gives the Nari Ultimate advanced 7.1 surround sound with pinpoint positional accuracy to help immerse gamers further into the game and offer them a competitive advantage. Note that this is only available with PC. Use the THX Spatial Software to calibrate and EQ the sound to your desired specifications.

The 50 mm dynamic drivers utilize rare earth Neodymium magnets to produce accurate sound reproduction and superb bass with a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz. The closed-back design helps to further improve the bass response but also acts to close-in the soundstage. That being said, the headset sounds great (note that the vast majority of headsets are closed-back).

In addition to the superb sound, the Nari Ultimate features Razer HyperSense. This intelligent haptic technology converts sound signals into dynamic touch-sensory feedback in real-time. With this tech, the headset picks up the shape and frequencies of game audio and transforms them into rich, life-like haptic effects. Stereo vibration effects follow audio cues are coming from in the game, giving gamers a heightened awareness of their in-game surroundings.

The high-fidelity gaming audio is combined with 2.4 GHz wireless transmission. The lag-free wireless connection offers an impressive range 12 meters.

The headset lighting can be adjusted for a customized aesthetic. A full charge gets us 8 hours of battery life with Razer Chroma lighting and HyperSense engaged and an excellent 20 hours without these features.

The Nari Ultimate also offers a wired mode. This allows for cross-platform compatibility via a 3.5mm audio jack. This means that, so long as we’re using cables, we can use both the aforementioned models on any console.

Related article: Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks.

The frame of the Nari Ultimate is made of lightweight durable aluminum. Its frame and earcups clamp firmly but comfortably to your head and the ultra-soft headband padding sits nicely on top. The headband is auto-adjusting for fuss-free comfort and the earcups swivel to ensure a proper fit.

The ear cushions of this Razer headset are infused with cooling gel to reduce heat build-up, a common issue with closed-back headset during longer playing times. This cooling gel is housed within a heat-transferring fabric that causes faster sweat evaporation and soft memory for a comfortable fit that maintains superb sound isolation.

The Discord-certified electret microphone is retractable and has a cardioid/unidirectional polar pattern. Its boom is easily adjustable and its noise-cancellation allows for clean and clear communication. When the mic is not needed, simply push it into the earcup and do without it.

To learn about cardioid microphones, check out my article What Is A Cardioid Microphone? (Polar Pattern + Mic Examples).

Volume up/down and mute controls are available on the earcup for distraction-free adjustments. There is also an on-ear Game/Chat balance control that allows gamers to fine-tune the mix between game and chat volume.

Razer offers a 2-year warranty and reliable tech support. Purchase directly from RazerStore and get a 14-day risk-free return period.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 107 ± 3 dB 
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/open-back
  • Weight: 432 grams
  • Wireless/Wired: Wireless USB Transceiver / 3.5mm analog 
  • Microphone: Electret|Unidirectional|100 – 6.5 kHz|-42 ± 3 dB 

Razer is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headset Brands (Gaming, Aviation, Communication).


EPOS Sennheiser GSP 500

EPOS|Sennheiser GSP 500 (link to check the price on Amazon): compatible with Mac OSX, PS5, Xbox Series X, PC / Soft phone, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

EPOS Sennheiser GSP 500

The GSP 500 is a wired headset, allowing for cross-compatibility between all gaming modern consoles. Purchase of the headset includes exchangeable cables for console and PC.

Unlike most gaming headsets, this EPOS/Sennheiser has an open-back earcup design. This is a big part of the headset’s natural sound and wide soundscape. The open-back design also keeps gamers’ ears cooler by allowing the earcup to breathe. Note that sound will escape from the headset and some amount of environmental noise will enter (they’re not noise-cancelling headphones).

For more information on open-back headphones and headsets, check out my article The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones.

The high fidelity audio reproduction of the GSP 300 delivers an immersive game experience.

2-axis metal hinge allows adjustments to different head sizes and shapes for a superb fit. The ear cushions are made from a cooling fabric-covered foam that feels great over long periods of time and helps, along with the open-back design, to keep the ears cool.

The headset features a microphone with a lift-to-mute flexible boom arm and high wearing comfort.

The unidirectional electret microphone picks up sound with crisp clarity for easy communication and is designed into a flexible lift-to-mute boom arm. Muting the mic is as simple as moving it upward toward the top of the headset.

To learn more about electret microphones, check out my article The Complete Guide To Electret Condenser Microphones.

An intuitive volume wheel on the right ear cup allows for quick adjustments while gaming.

The GSP 500 is compatible with the EPOS GSX 1000/GSX 1200 PRO/GSX 300 amplifiers. These amps offer 7.1 surround sound; equalizer adjustments; game and chat audio separation, and much more.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 28 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 117 dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 0.6 pounds (285g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Proprietary wireless technology
  • Microphone: Electret|Unidirectional|100-3,600 Hz|-41 dBV/Pa

Sennheiser is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World and Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World 2020.


Astro Gaming A40 TR

Next up is the popular Astro Gaming A40 TR (link to check the price on Amazon).

Astro Gaming A40 TR

Though there are different versions for PC, PS4/5 and Xbox, each model is priced the same and is compatible with the other consoles. The 3.5mm jack provides compatibility with nearly any device including mobile phones and tablets with headphone jacks.

All Astro headsets are designed specifically for gaming. The company’s proprietary ASTRO Audio V2 provides a neutral, smooth and extended frequency spectrum for detailed, true-to-life imaging. This technology is included in the A40 TR.

From tight distortion-free bass to crystal-clear mids and an untiring high-end, the A40 TR delivers a balanced sound that is sure to give gamers a competive advantage.

The dynamic drivers produce a full-spectrum frequency response and accurately reproduce everything from the score to minute details to the biggest effects in the game.

For more information on dynamic drivers, check out my article The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones.

The high-sensitivity cardioid microphone offers excellent noise-cancellation to minimize background noise and put your voice in focus. It’s detachable and can be positioned on either side of the A40 TR headset.

The lightweight yet durable build of the A40 TR is highly adjustable and wonderfully comfortable. Premium ear cushion feature soft cloth backed with synthetic leather for superb comfort, fit and acoustic performance. Adjust the headset to your liking and enjoy a pressure-free fit that keeps outside noise out and keeps your head comfortable during game play.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 48 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 360 grams without cable
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired
  • Microphone: Electret|Unidirectional

Astro is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headset Brands (Gaming, Aviation, Communication).


HyperX Cloud Flight S

HyperX Cloud Flight S (link to check the price on Amazon): PC, PS4™, and PS4™ Pro ready

HyperX CloudX Flight (link to check the price on Amazon): Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

The Cloud Flight S version has several additional features over the CloudX Flight including Qi Wireless Charging, 7.1 Surround Sound and Customizable Controls. Let’s discuss the Cloud Flight S in this section.

HyperX Cloud Flight S

The HyperX Cloud Flight S is a 2.4 GHz wireless gaming headset with an impressive 30 hours of battery life. HyperX takes wireless a step further, making their Cloud Flight S the first-ever free-standing Qi-charging headset. Yes, even the charging is wireless!

Each earcup has a closed-back design with a 50 mm dynamic driver and neodymium magnets. The headphone drivers reproduce incredible sound with superb low end (even below our range of hearing with a frequency response of 10 Hz – 20,000 Hz) and transparent mids/highs.

To learn more about headset and headphone frequency response and driver sizes, check out my articles What Is Headphone Frequency Response & What Is A Good Range? and What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones? respectively.

Activate the headset’s custom-tuned virtual 7.1 surround sound for an even more immersive experience relative to the already excellent stereo output.

The 7.1 on/off control is made accessible on the left earcup. Other controls include game/chat balance and volume controls.

Additional control and button configuration are made available with the user-friendly HyperX NGENUITY software.

The Cloud Flight S has a detachable microphone that is TeamSpeak and Discord certified. This bidirectional electret mic offers great noise-cancellation and convenient muting. Simply attach the mic (with its flexible boom) when needed and remove it when it’s not needed.

Game for extended periods without ear fatigue or discomfort. The Cloud Flight S features HyperX’s signature comfort. The ear cushions are designed with extra plush memory foam and breathable leatherette to keep gamers’ ears cool and comfy. The 90° rotating earcups and durable steel sliders allow the headset to be perfectly fitted and the durable construction easily withstands regular wear and tear.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 99.5dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 320g with mic (310g without)
  • Wireless/Wired: 2.4GHz wireless
  • Microphone: Electret|Bidirectional|50 Hz – 18 kHz|-40.5dBV (1V/Pa at 1kHz)-40.5dBV (1V/Pa at 1kHz)

HyperX is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headset Brands (Gaming, Aviation, Communication).


Honourable Mentions

The market has plenty of great gaming headsets below $200 USD. Here are a few more examples that didn’t quite make the top 5 but are still certainly worth checking out:

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