Once you go wireless, you never go back. Many gamers can agree with this statement. While wired peripherals work quicker with next-to-no input lag or latency, wireless peripherals have jumped leaps and bounds and have caught up throughout the last few years.
When it comes to wireless gaming headsets, they usually cost a bit more due to the near-instantaneous wireless technology included with them, and the last thing anyone wants is delayed sound. Bluetooth headsets have come down in price dramatically throughout the last few years as they have become almost a staple in our everyday lives, however, Bluetooth headsets carry a bit of latency with their sound, especially in the gaming realm. However, there are some solid, high-quality, and performing wireless headsets out there that won’t break the bank at under $100.
These headsets bring all the thrills of top-quality headsets without forcing you to pay top-quality price… and won’t force you to use wires.
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Steelseries Arctis 1 Wireless ($100)
The Steelseries Arctis 1 Wireless probably could be the gold standard when it comes to budget wireless headsets due to its versatility, simplicity, and most importantly its stellar sound quality all for just $100.
The Arctis 1 Wireless works through a small, USB-C dongle that’s compatible with USB-C phones (so Androids), Playstation 4 and 5, PC, and Nintendo Switch. There is also a separate Xbox-specific model that works with Xbox’s proprietary signal along with the aforementioned consoles that I would personally recommend over the standard Arctis 1 Wireless because it works with literally everything. The Arctis 1 Wireless also comes with its own 3.5mm-to-micro USB wire for it to work as a wired headset, giving it full range of use. It features the same drivers that the more expensive Arctis 7 and Pro features, and a detachable microphone.
The only issue with the Arctis 1 Wireless is its clamp and top band. Steelseries headsets have become known for their ski-band type headbands, making it feel as if the headset is floating on your head. The band on the Arctis 1 Wireless is your standard, durable plastic band with a small cushion that you will kind of feel puts some pressure on the top of your head. The ear cushions, while comfortable and breathable, aren’t as thick as the 1’s higher-priced cousins and your ears could touch the drivers. Otherwise, the Arctis 1 Wireless is a great pickup despite its potential fit issues.
Xbox Wireless Headset (2021) ($100)
The Xbox Wireless Headset could easily fly under the radar as one of the top gaming headsets out in the market, let alone one of the top budget wireless headsets out there. It was much anticipated after the release of the Xbox Series S/X and it did not disappoint one bit.
The Xbox Wireless Headset may be designed specifically for the new Xbox consoles, however, it is also compatible with PC via low-latency Bluetooth, a rare Bluetooth headset that can be recommended for PC gaming. While it sounds surprisingly good (maybe better than most would’ve originally thought), the Xbox Wireless Headset is incredibly feature-rich. It features dual connectivity between Xbox and your phone to allow you to use Discord on your phone while still getting game audio as well, all wirelessly. As a Bluetooth headset, it works on various devices except Playstation consoles (because of course).
If you are an Xbox-heavy user, this is the headset to get over most everything else, and it won’t come close to breaking the bank. Best $100 you could spend on your new Xbox console.
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HyperX Cloud Stinger Core Wireless ($80)
It should come as no surprise whatsoever that a HyperX headset made a budget gaming headset list of any kind. HyperX’s products are high-quality peripherals at very accessible prices. The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless headset is no exception to the rule, bringing the much-beloved qualities of its wired sibling to its wireless self.
The Cloud Stinger Core Wireless is just like its older wired version that was probably nine out of every 10 gamers’ first gaming headset. It features a 17-hour battery life and the same 40mm drivers as the original, wired Cloud Stingers, except the wireless version, also includes HyperX’s software-enabled 7.1 surround sound, which is okay at best, but could be better considering how it’s advertised. Its microphone also is the same as the wired version, with the ability to flip it up to mute.
It may not be the best overall wireless gaming headset on the market, but that’s okay. It’s still a very reliable wireless gaming headset that runs well south of $100 that will work on just about everything and bring you the quality sound you are looking for in a game.
Alternative: HyperX Cloud Flight: If you have a few extra bucks to spend, or find this on sale or on Amazon for under $100, the Cloud Flights are a fantastic wireless headset that is a step above the Cloud Stingers in just about every way imaginable.
Razer Barracuda X ($100)
When Razer shadow-dropped the Barracuda X’s, most thought that this was Razer’s version of the Steelseries Arctis 1 Wireless, and with good reason. The Barracuda X’s feature literally almost everything that the Arctis 1 Wireless does: a small USB-C dongle, mesh ear cups, and a similar design to the Arctis 1 Wireless (kind of). It also has the same sized drivers as the Arctis 1 as well, along with a detachable mic. In short, this should be the Razer Arctis X. Right?
Well, somewhat. While there are similarities to the Arctis 1 Wireless in nearly every fashion to the common eye, the Barracuda X actually improves on a few things that the Arctis 1 Wireless lacks. The Barracuda X actually provides cleaner sound quality thanks to its 40mm TriForce drivers, the same drivers that are found in Razer’s other more premium headsets, thicker mesh ear cups, and a thicker and fuller leather plush headband. It feels a bit more lightweight than the Arctis 1 Wireless with a friendlier clamp that you can wear for long gaming sessions and not get uncomfortable.
The Barracuda X is perfect for mobile and Nintendo Switch, and works very well with Playstation 5’s 3D audio as well. The difference between this and the Arctis 1 is its sound quality, which is superb for a budget $100 headset. Unless you simply don’t like Razer, this actually gets the edge over the Arctis 1 Wireless in my opinion.
Roccat Elo 7.1 Air ($100)
Roccat has really started to make some big waves with their peripherals ever since getting acquired by Turtle Beach in 2019. The Elo 7.1 Air Wireless headset is their top-end wireless headset coming in at just $100 and features the best both Roccat and Turtle Beach have to offer, which makes for one hell of a budget wireless headset.
The Elo Airs feature Turtle Beach’s signature ‘superhuman hearing’ 7.1 surround sound which is surprisingly effective and not as gimmicky as you would think. You will hear what you need to hear and where you need to hear it, from location to distance. It features 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers that produce pretty solid sound and the mic is surprisingly clear, at least for a budget-friendly $100 wireless headset. There’s software available to customize both the RGB lighting on the sides and its equalizer, which is recommended to get the sound leveled as you want it to be.
The biggest gripe with the Elo Airs is its fit. It’s not entirely the most comfortable headset out there. It has a solid clamp on your head that prevents any kind of slippage, but after a long session, you may feel that clamp a bit more than you would want. But for $100, from Turtle Beach’s traditional, quality sound and functional ‘superhuman hearing,’ these are a bit of a steal if you can find it.
Alternate: Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen. 2 ($100): If the Roccat Elo 7.1 Airs seem to be too tight on your head, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 is a worthy alternate. Despite its chunky, unapologetically gamer design, it offers the high-quality sound that we’ve come to expect from Turtle Beach with bigger, more plush earcups. It also works with Xbox surround sound and Playstation 5’s 3D audio.
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