How do I pick a good Xbox budget headset?
Best answer: Microphone quality should be your top priority if buying a headset for party chat. Our headset reviews include voice recordings where possible so you can hear the difference. Beware of cheaper headsets skimping on their mics.
Wireless headsets must be compatible with Xbox and usually include short charging cables, so your second consideration should be convenience. A wired headset could be more convenient but can still connect to a controller that may also need charging.
It can be tempting to grab the cheapest Xbox headset and dive straight into some multiplayer action, but it's critical to consider microphone quality. For the sake of everyone in your party chat, don't be tempted by budget models with woeful mics. Unfortunately, manufacturers don't go out of their way to demonstrate how your voice sounds through their headsets, and it can be tricky to dig through the jargon.
Thankfully, we take testing very seriously at Windows Central and strive to provide audio recordings where possible. It's not enough to be told how a microphone sounds; you need to hear the proof, so always listen to any clips provided. Some headsets on the higher end of your budget might tick plenty of boxes for their quality in other categories but fall short on the mic, and you might be surprised at some of the results.
The clip above was taken from our Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 review, a wireless headset that slips into the higher end of budgets at $100. Besides a few minor hiccups on popping audio during playback and a limitation on detecting quieter voices, the quality is superb. Recordings of this caliber are perfectly suitable for recording voice-overs for your game clips or narrating a live stream.
Pushing for a high-quality microphone lends your headset more versatility than just party chat. Practically any Xbox headset can connect to a Windows PC, albeit sometimes needing an official Xbox Wireless Adapter if they're exclusively wireless. Still, a budget headset with a microphone good enough to use on other devices will offer far more value than saving a few dollars to be lumped with inferior components.
Wired or wireless?
The nature of aiming for headsets on a budget can restrict your options when deciding between wired or wireless models. Cutting the cables often pushes prices up, so models with a dedicated 3.5mm jack connection sometimes offer superior microphone quality and have money to spare to improve other areas. Wireless headsets that rely solely on Bluetooth will not be compatible with Xbox, so ensure any wireless options are compatible.
A detachable microphone can help with portability and storage, allowing wired headsets like the fantastic HyperX CloudX to double as a pair of standard headphones for easy listening outside of Xbox. You'll lower your chances of running out of battery in the middle of a game with wired variants, but remember to keep any wireless controllers charged since they'll be connected to the headset.
For an ultimate budget Xbox setup, you could pair a wired headset with a similarly tethered controller like the Turtle Beach Recon with built-in audio enhancements. The Superhuman Hearing mode features post-processing effects, including a compressor to boost quieter sounds and balance out the louder end. It's a clever way of saving money on a more affordable headset while enjoying some of the premium perks.
Comfort and monitoring
Fitting a new headset into your budget doesn't mean sacrificing comfort, especially if you're planning to play for several hours. Some of the most luxurious models, like the LucidSound LS35X, have enjoyed significant price drops below $100 since release. The inclusion of cooling gel directly into the ear cups makes them the absolute best pick for comfort, and the detachable mic sounds great though it lacks monitoring volume control.
The larger the cups on your headset, the harder it becomes to hear your own voice, which can lead to unnecessary shouting that your party chat might not appreciate. Some headsets include microphone monitoring, also known as sidetone, to feed your microphone back into the speakers with as little delay as possible. Try to find a headset with dedicated monitoring volume to find the right balance between the sidetone and game audio.
How to pick a good Xbox headset on a budget
Some of the best Xbox headsets can be found for less than $100 during sales or as their starting MSRP. With our tips, you can maximize value for money and make an informed choice since there are hundreds to choose from at any one time. The most common need for headsets is to engage in multiplayer party chat, so prioritize microphone quality and a dedicated sidetone volume control to monitor your voice.
If you're looking for a wired headset, we suggest the HyperX CloudX as an excellent guideline. It's one of the cheapest models that doesn't skimp on quality, and you can push your budget upwards from here. For wireless headsets, the LucidSound LS35X takes the crown for comfort and backs it up with high praise in every other category.
A versatile wired headset with a detachable microphone that doubles as a pair of comfortable headphones.
LucidSound's LS35X is a stunning product that delivers on all of its promises. Gorgeous wireless sound in a premium package.
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Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @email@example.com to ask questions or share opinions.