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What features make the best earbuds for gaming? It starts with sound quality; you need earbuds that can deliver powerful, clear, and crisp audio quality that rivals larger over-the-ear headphones. They should also do a good job canceling out ambient noise so that you can focus on the game.
Whether wired or wireless, earbuds for gaming should be comfortable enough to wear for an extended period and secure enough so that they don’t interrupt the quality of your experience. Finally, just like the best gaming headsets, a top-notch pair of earbuds should deliver minimal lag, keeping up with fast-paced games.
While many gamers use over-the-ear headphones, earbuds are a little less obtrusive and easier to carry. Current wired and wireless models are more convenient for mobile gaming than most wired gaming headsets. Thus, mobile gamers, in particular, may want to consider the wireless option.
Keep reading to learn more about choosing the perfect set of earbuds for gaming.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: These earbuds have powerful 10mm speakers that deliver incredible bass and sharp, high tones. They feature an inline and removable boom mic, enhancing in-game communication and phone calls.
The Turtle Beach Battle Buds gaming headset was precisely engineered for exceptional gaming performance. This headset has a removable high-sensitivity boom microphone that captures even whispers. The device also has an inline mic for use on the go. With 10mm speakers, this headset delivers powerful sounds with incredible bass. It works with a wide variety of devices, including PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox. However, this model lacks noise-canceling abilities.
This Turtle Beach Battle Buds gaming headset is lightweight and suitable for all-day wearing. Featuring three different sizes of ear tips and stabilizers, these earbuds fit a wide variety of people. The buds feature an in-line controller for volume control, muting, and other functions. This Turtle beach headset is made from high-quality materials and long-lasting. It’s portable and fits in a purse or shirt pocket for transportation.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset produces powerful sounds that will delight users with small consoles. An in-line mic facilitates in-game communication, while a multifunction button enables hassle-free control.
The HyperX Cloud gaming headset features a bright red palette that stands out. This headset has soft silicone ear tips that provide comfort and stand up to the elements. An in-line mic delivers crystal-clear in-game commands. These earbuds are optimized for great performance on Nintendo Switch. This headset features a 90-degree angled plug and is great for gaming in handheld mode. However, the ear-canal-shaped ear tips on this model are uncomfortable for some people.
This HyperX Cloud gaming headset has a tangle-free cable that’s easy to use. The device has a multifunction button for answering calls and managing streaming. The headset comes with three different ear tip sizes, so it fits smaller and larger individuals. This system comes with a high-quality travel case for safe transportation and storage. The headset features premium parts that stand the test of time and works with devices with standard CTIA connectors.
Award: BEST MICROPHONE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset features a detachable, flexible boom mic that captures a wide range of sounds to facilitate communication in multiplayer games. The headset has powerful speakers, delivering great sounds.
The Hori Earbuds Pro gaming headset is a top-grade system for gaming. Licensed by Nintendo, this device performs superbly on Nintendo Switch. It features in-line controls for muting and remote control, offering intuitive operation. The device comes with an in-line mic for simple on-the-go use. It also comes with a detachable, flexible arm-type boom mic that offers excellent sound quality. However, the ear hooks on this model are uncomfortable for some people.
This Hori Earbuds Pro gaming headset for Nintendo Switch has brilliant Neon Red or Neon Blue flat cables, which offer visual appeal. The cables resist tangling, so they are great for use in the office, home theater, or gym. This device has an optional mixer operated via the Nintendo Switch app. The earbuds feature hard-wearing materials, so they stand the test of time. In addition to Nintendo Switch, they work great for other consoles and computers.
Award: BEST FOR NOISE CANCELLATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Thes earbuds are built from premium materials, so they stand up to the rigors of daily use. They have a decent set of microphones and produce great sounds with good bass.
The BlueFire gaming headset is a versatile device for use on Playstation, Xbox, and mobile devices. Featuring memory foam earbuds, this gaming headset is very comfortable. It comes with a desktop adapter, providing compatibility with computers. The speakers on this model deliver powerful bass. This device’s microphone has a noise-isolating design to refine in-game communication. However, the mute button doesn’t have an indicator, so it’s not easy to know when it’s muted.
This BlueFire gaming headset has a long 7-foot cable, giving users some flexibility. It comes with three pairs of inner loop and silicone earbuds, so it fits a wide variety of people. This unit comes with a heavy-duty casing, which cushions it against impacts and shocks during transit or storage. It’s made of premium materials that offer lasting durability. The buds are available in a wide variety of bright colors that capture attention.
Award: BEST FOR VIRTUAL REALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This headset is specially designed to work with select virtual reality headsets, bringing an outstanding auditory experience to gamers. It has a premium metal chassis that provides durability.
The Logitech G333 gaming headset was specially designed for Oculus Quest 2. This headset has a 3.5mm connector, providing compatibility with Quest 2 headsets and other devices. These earbuds feature separate dedicated drivers for highs/mids and bass, delivering incredible sound quality. They come with three soft silicone tips, so it’s easy to find the right fit. However, the cable on this model is a bit short for some individuals.
This Logitech G333 gaming headset features sturdy aluminum housing that provides a sophisticated look and ensures durability. These earbuds are compatible with Oculus Quest 2 headsets and controllers (sold separately), simplifying integration with gaming systems. The cables on this device and the connectors are designed to reduce latency, delivering impressive audio in real time. These earbuds have a premium design that brings a sophisticated look to any gaming room.
Award: BEST LIGHTWEIGHT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This has a specialty cable to connect to certain virtual reality headsets. It has a dynamic 10mm driver with 3-dimension sounds, delivering a rich auditory experience.
The Amavasion A200 gaming headset is an in-ear model with a vibrant white color palette. Specially made for Oculus Quest 2, this headset brings a rich listening experience during VR adventures. They have custom-length cables to integrate easily with headsets. The earbuds have high-quality 10mm, dynamic drivers, delivering deep bass and crunchy mids. They have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, delivering a wide range of sounds. However, this headset doesn’t have noise cancellation tech.
This Amavasion A200 gaming headset has a form-fitting design, fitting firmly into the ear and suppressing most outside noise. Featuring a single-channel design with separate right and left-calibrated earphones, these headsets support 3D 360-degree sounds. They are compact and lightweight, providing comfort. The cables are long enough to connect to Oculus Quest 2 headsets without causing clutter. They blend seamlessly with the headset, offering a seamless appearance.
In a basic sense, earbuds for gaming are in-ear headphones that you can use for sound playback when playing games on various platforms. They can be part of wired gaming headsets, or they can be wireless. Wired sets usually connect with a 3.5mm aux cable or USB-C adapter, whereas wireless gaming earbuds use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Higher-end gaming earbuds can come with features like dynamic drivers and active noise cancellation to generate a balanced sound profile and filter out background noise. For sophisticated online games, like the best CS:GO headsets, a good set might employ head tracking and virtual surround sound to help produce the effect of localized, lifelike sound.
Unless you already know which gaming headset to choose, you might be interested in earbuds. Like dedicated gaming headsets and gaming headphones in general, a good pair of gaming earbuds will deliver powerful sound and intuitive, easy-to-use controls that don’t take your eyes off the screen.
Like a good wired gaming headset, wired earbuds for gaming minimize lag and provide a reliable, stable connection. Compared to standard earbuds, the most comfortable gaming earbuds should be more secure for hours-long competitive gaming sessions and perform more responsively and without noticeable latency. Check out our roundup of the finest earbuds for Xbox One if you’re sold on earbuds.
Unlike over-ear gaming headphones, wired and wireless earbuds don’t have a headband that links them together. This can make them more comfortable for some users. They are also slimmer than full headphones, and some streamers may prefer the unobtrusive look of wireless earbuds compared to more bulky headphones.
Gaming earbuds are more likely than headphones to have a built-in rechargeable battery and come with a wireless charger. An in-ear headset may also have some advantages for mobile gaming, since a pair of gaming earbuds are more portable and may not require a USB-C dongle or USB adapter.
Plus, many of the greatest gaming earbuds can also double as high-end gaming headsets for glasses wearers.
Gaming earbuds connect to an audio source such as a PC, laptop, mobile phone, or game console, and play sound through small earphone speakers designed to fit comfortably in the user’s ears. The in-ear design means the speaker elements can be smaller and draw less power for equivalent quality of sound. Higher-end models may use neodymium drivers to get more sound quality while keeping a compact design.
In-ear earphones for gaming can use wireless connections or wired connections like other game audio devices. Typical models come with a 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C or USB cable, or Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Many gamers prefer wired earbuds for less latency, although the most recent wireless headphones have less lag than before. Budget models typically use a micro USB charging cable, while higher-priced models use wireless or USB-C fast charging.
If you’re looking for gaming audio with excellent sound but in a smaller and more convenient form, you might want to consider a gaming earbuds. The fact that they’re lightweight also makes them less distracting for some gamers.
You might also want to consider a set of quality gaming earbuds if you find that your current earphones lack the quality of sound you want for competitive games. Newer models of in-ear earphones offer surprisingly powerful sound and a comfortable design, often at an affordable price.
For competitive games, you’ll want clear, directional audio and at least decent noise cancellation. Depending on your gaming setup, you might also find that earbuds are more convenient than traditional over-the-ear headphones. Earbuds are also more portable and easier to carry, so they might be an excellent choice for traveling gamers.
If you’re considering trading in your old headset in favor of earbuds for your PS4, you’re in luck. Excellent platform compatibility is another reason to consider this option. Unlike a traditional pair of headphones, you won’t have to worry about a headphone jack adapter for each gaming platform and mobile device you use.
As with most gaming peripherals and audio equipment in general, the lifespan of gaming earbuds varies greatly according to use case, type of earbuds, and storage conditions.
Earbuds last, on average, around one to three years. Battery-powered wireless earbuds have a shorter expected lifespan than wired headphones, primarily due to the charge cycle limits of the small built-in rechargeable batteries.
The speakers can lose high or low frequencies as earbuds wear out, and controls such as volume wheels can get laggy or unresponsive. On wireless models, the batteries may lose around a quarter to a third of their capacity after two years.
Wired earbuds can last longer, but the wires can also get loose and break. 3.5mm audio cables and micro-USB cables can vary widely in quality. For wired gaming earbuds, you may want to look for a braided cord in the interest of durability.
Various factors come into play when choosing the best gaming earbud set for your needs. You’ll likely want to consider what kind of games you play, what consoles and platforms you use, and whether you also use them for listening to music or taking phone calls.
Most gaming earbuds and headsets deliver plenty of audio quality for the average game soundtrack, but musicians and audiophiles may have more discerning standards for the richness and clarity of sound. If you plan to use the same earbuds for listening to your favorite songs, make sure they have enough range for music, too.
Competitive online gaming presents unique demands on audio equipment. Regular wireless earbuds will work fine for most casual and mobile gaming, but for more competitive and fast-paced PC games, you’ll want specialized gaming earbuds with minimal latency.
Your preferred platform and devices may also affect which pair of earbuds is right for you. For example, if you often use a mobile phone or newer laptop computer that lacks a built-in 3.5mm audio jack, you might find it inconvenient to use 3.5mm wired earbuds.
A good quality microphone is essential for live streaming and some online games. If you plan to use the mic with a gaming headset, the microphone’s capability becomes a factor. On the other hand, you may not need the headset microphone if you use a separate desktop mic.