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Best Gaming Earbuds [2019]

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 20
The QC20’s are loaded with technology. The noise-canceling technology paired with the on/off Aware Mode switch makes these a pair you have to have. Bose components have an affinity for being some of the best sounding, most technology driven in the industry and these earbuds are no exception.

Bose QuietComfort 20

  • TriPort Technology
  • Active EQ
  • StayHere+ Tips

Budget Pick: Philips SHE3595BK
Not everyone has $100+ to shell out on the best gaming earbuds, which is why this is such a good pick. For the budget conscious, you can get these for under $20 and you’ll still get a microphone and decent sound profile.

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Philips SHE3595BK

  • Inline Microphone
  • Budget-Friendly Price
  • Decent Sound Profile

Premium Pick: Westone W40
Sometimes you just know you’re abusive to your gaming equipment. And if you need something that can stand the test of time, then you need the W40’s. The detachable cord will definitely save you from having to buy another pair in the future and the sound profile is comparable to the QC20’s.

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Westone W40

  • Detachable, Reinforced Wired Cord
  • Ultra-Balanced Sound Profile

How We Picked

Gaming headphones are great – until they get hot, sweaty, and/or heavy! When this happens, it can make any gaming session less enjoyable. So, what are you supposed to do – call it off because your headphones SUCK?

Nope!

Instead, start using gaming earbuds which are definitely lighter, won’t make your ears all sweaty, and they’ll still sound great.

Gaming earbuds have improved noticeably over the past few years and now they’re almost as good, if not just as good, as headphones. If you’ve been looking for a lighter, more compact version of your headphones, or you’re tired of dealing with hot, sweaty ears, then it’s time to consider gaming earbuds.

And, we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve put together a list of the ten best gaming earbuds for 2019. Each of these works great for gaming, and they’ll easily meet your needs and/or wants without breaking the bank.

Are you ready to see what you’ve been missing?

#1 Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20 microphone and controls

Specs:

  • Wired
  • noise-canceling
  • Inline Microphone
  • 10KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

Bose has been around for a LONG time and they’ve established themselves as pioneers in the audio/video industry. As such, it’s not a big surprise that they’re on our list of gaming earbuds worth your time and money.

Bose QuietComfort 20 bag

The QuietComfort 20’s (QC20’s) feature Bose’s noise-canceling technology (Aware Mode), which is unrivaled. With the flip of a switch, you can absolutely turn off the world around you. You’ve probably seen a commercial where the wearer decides they don’t want to hear anything and they flip “the switch” – that’s Aware Mode and it’s that simple. And when you want to hear something, just flip Aware Mode off.

The QC20’s have a very balanced sound profile. Instead of heavy bass and/or strong highs, everything is even, which is expected from Bose. The bass isn’t overwhelming, and yet the highs don’t make you squint either.

Bose QuietComfort 20 accessories unboxed

To get that great sound, they have an inline microphone/module that handles all the sound processing. It is battery powered and charged via USB. It only takes two hours to fully charge and it will provide up to 16 hours of playing time on a SINGLE charge. If the batteries die, you still get great sound quality but lose the microphone and digital sound processing features (Active EQ + TriPort Technology).

Bose QuietComfort 20 outdoors

Bose uses their StayHere+ tips to make sure that your earbuds don’t fall out, no matter what you are doing. The inserts are silicone bases and help to provide a gentle resistance (slight) to keep your earbuds in place.

Bose QuietComfort 20 unboxing

What We Like

The QC20’s fit so well, it’s crazy. The silicone tips are great at providing a snug, secure fit while not being stiff and/or uncomfortable. The attached ear inserts are soft and easily hold the QC20’s in place without any slipping – once they’re in, they’re in until you want them out. Not to mention, the inline DSP module/microphone makes the audio almost immersive.

Overall

When comparing headphones, we want the BEST. And the QC20’s are some of the best you can find. With the Active EQ + Triport Technology cleaning up and providing some of the best audio output even an audiophile will enjoy, there’s no doubt that you’ll love these headphones. Of course, these are some of the most expensive earbuds, but the technology that Bose has managed to shove into the QC20’s is absolutely worth it.

Bose QuietComfort 20

  • TriPort Technology
  • Active EQ
  • StayHere+ Tips

#2 Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2

Specs:

  • Wired
  • Noise Isolating
  • Inline Microphone + Remote
  • 10KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

If the Bose QC20’s are a little out of your budget, then you might prefer the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 (C5S2’s). While they don’t have as much technology shoved into them, they provide an audio experience that audiophiles love.

The C5S2’s utilize noise isolation technology through a secure, snug silicone earbud tip. Very little noise makes it through if you’ve chosen the proper fitting tip (three tips are included – small, medium, large).

And while they do let a little more ambient, external noise through, they still manage to have a very well-balanced sound profile. As with the QC20’s above, these aren’t bass-heavy at all, managing to keep all frequencies even.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 and bag

The C5S2’s do have an inline microphone, but it is VERY basic. While it works, you’ll most likely prefer to stick to an external microphone. Don’t get us wrong, it works, but there are better microphones with other brands.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 controls

Keeping the C5S2’s in your ear shouldn’t be hard, but if you need a little more support, they do come with an adjustable loop that helps to secure them in place. While they aren’t sweatproof, they stay where they are supposed to, especially with the adjustable ear loops. And the silicone tips are extremely comfortable so long gaming sessions won’t be a problem with these.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 in box

What We Like

First off, the sound profile is amazing! For an unassisted (non-DSP) pair of earbuds, it’s amazing how clean these sound. In fact, it makes older music sound WORSE (due to the quality of the recording, not the earbuds). The included adjustable ear loop makes it easy to keep these in place, no matter how active you get.

Overall

The C5S2’s are a great competitor to the QC20’s from Bose mentioned above. While they don’t include the same technologies as Bose, they manage to get one of the cleanest sound profiles out there (unassisted). If the budget of the QC20’s was a little off-putting, then the C5S2’s are a great second option.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2

  • Adjustable Ear Loops
  • Super-Balanced Sound Profile
  • Microporous Filter For Cleaner, Purer Sound Output

#3 Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless

Specs:

  • Wireless
  • Noise Isolating
  • 2-Hour Playback From A 5-Minute Charge
  • 20KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

Stepping away from the wires for a minute, let’s look at something from a Dr – Dr. Dre to be exact. Everyone knows that the Beats brand BEATS, and the BeatsX Wireless (BXW’s) are a great wireless option with a great sound profile.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless earbud tips

The BXW’s are not noise-canceling headphones, but instead use small silicone earbud tips to keep ambient sounds at bay; of course, you’ll need to make sure you have the right size earbud tip in place. As the body of the earbuds is smaller than some of the tips, there isn’t much there to add with noise reduction. Even so, the BXW’s perform well keeping most of the ambient sounds out.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless and accessories

The sound profile of any pair of beats is a little more bass-heavy than other comparative earbuds. Even so, the bass isn’t so overwhelming that it drowns out the other frequencies. However, the highs do suffer a little and they aren’t as crisp as some of the other earbuds either. If you want a little more thump, the BXW’s will do the job and still sound good.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless controls

The BXW’s do have an inline microphone, although it is fairly basic. Even so, it still does a good job of picking up your voice well as it isn’t far from your mouth.

And the BXW’s do a good job of staying in your ears, even though they don’t have an insert to help provide a little more support/resistance. The silicone tips fit well in most ears and the lightweight design of the BXW’s keeps from pulling them out.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless on table

As these are wireless, they do have an internal battery that dies after some time – eight hours of battery life to be exact. So, unless you’re going to do an all-nighter, there’s a good chance that these will do the job just fine. And if you find yourself in a pinch for power, just charge them for five minutes and they’ll be ready to go for another two hours.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless earbuds close-up

What We Like

As a gamer, we love the extra “punchiness” that these have. While the audio isn’t perfectly even, it’s a welcome change and helps to add to the explosions and gunfire. The other aspect that we like was the 2-hour quick charge feature as it works flawlessly, making it easy to get back into the game when the earbuds lose power.

Overall

When we saw these, we knew they would be a competitor. The sound profile is a little bass-heavy, but we like that and it actually sounds good. No, these aren’t QC20’s or C5S2’s, but they don’t have the same price tag either. If you want a GREAT pair of wireless gaming earbuds, this should be your one of your first choices.

Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Wireless

  • 8-Hour Battery Life
  • 5-Minute Quick Charge
  • Slightly bass-heavy Sound Profile

#4 Samsung Level U Pro

Samsung Level U Pro front

Specs:

  • Wireless
  • Noise Isolating
  • 9-Hour Battery Life
  • 20KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

When Samsung introduced the Level’s a few years ago, they weren’t anything special. In fact, they were ho-hum at best. But, there’s been a lot that’s changed over the past few years and now the Level U Pro’s are worth a look.

Samsung Level U Pro earbuds

The Level U Pro’s (LUP’s) aren’t true noise-canceling earbuds (they do have some echo cancellation), but they primarily use noise isolation to keep unwanted sounds at bay. Using one of the three supplied earbud tips, you should be able to seal out most of the noise.

The LUP’s sound profile is fairly balanced, with a little more emphasis on both the bass and treble. What we mean is that the mids seem to be ignored a little, so if you want the sound profile to be balanced, you’ll need to lower the bass and treble. For many gamers, this is not an issue unless you’re an audiophile – then you’ll go nuts.

Samsung Level U Pro on wooden table

The LUP’s do have a built-in microphone that’s able to pick up audio VERY well. As this is a Samsung product, designed primarily for Samsung phones, it has to work great – and it does. The microphone is not muffled and the quality is comparable to higher-end, external microphones.

Even though the LUP’s don’t have an added ear insert to help keep them in place, they stay without much of an issue. The silicone tips seem to stay where they need to, but the earbuds themselves are a little heavier than others in the same category. Due to the added weight of the 13mm drivers, the headphones do tend to slip out a little if you’re VERY active.

Samsung Level U Pro outdoors

The LUP’s provide up to 9 hours of battery life on a single charge. So, these will last through most of your gaming sessions without any problems. However, they are not equipped with any of the Samsung fast-charging features so you’ll need to give them time to charge fully.

What We Like

Using these, you will notice that they are focused on bass more than treble, though the treble isn’t bad – it’s just very defined (almost too defined); there is a little “ting” to the highest of highs. We really liked the weight of the neck rest and the built-in microphone. The microphone is crystal-clear and easy to use.

Samsung Level U Pro side

Overall

We weren’t convinced that a phone-first pair of earbuds would be so effective for gaming, but we were wrong. These are great, high-quality headphones with a solid sound profile. Plus, they work well with Samsung phones and other mobile devices too. For the price, they are more than capable of becoming your go-to pair of gaming earbuds.

Samsung Level U Pro

  • 9-Hour Battery Life
  • Oversized 13mm Sound Drivers
  • UHQA Audio For Increased Sound Performance

#5 JayBird X3 Sport

JayBird X3 Sport

Specs:

  • Wireless
  • Noise Isolating
  • 8-Hour Battery Life
  • 20KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

The JayBird X3 Sport earbuds (JBX3S’s) were designed for athletes first, but rest assured, they work great for gamers too. While you may not be running any marathons, you can definitely enjoy an all-nighter thanks to the 8-hour internal battery life.

JayBird X3 Sport earbuds close-up outdoors

The JBX3S’s don’t use noise-canceling technology but focus on a fairly custom, snug fit using either silicone earbud tips or comply (composite-foam) earbud tips to contain the outside noise. And focusing on the multiple tip options, they also have multiple earbud inserts to help keep everything in place, with options for over/under the ear as well. The JBX3S’s are built for comfort and fit.

JayBird X3 Sport earbud close-up

When you have the right earbud tips in, the JBX3S’s sound great with an almost perfect balance – almost. When properly fitted with silicone tips, the sound is balanced. When properly fitted with comply tips, the sound is slightly tilted for greater bass response. Plus, the comply tips are better for those who might deal with a little extra sweat when the days get hotter.

JayBird X3 Sport on white table

The microphone in the JBX3S’s is super clear, picking up very little outside noise and avoiding any echoing issues that some other earbuds experience. The internal battery of the JBX3S’s can last for up to 9 hours on a single charge, and they can be quick-charged in 15 minutes for an additional hour if needed.

JayBird X3 Sport charging port

What We Like

We really like the super small design paired with the multiple tips (comply and silicone) AND the multiple ear inserts AND the over/under wearing option. Simply put, this thing has OPTIONS! The other major aspect that we like is the microphone as it was so crisp. When using the microphone, you might expect some muffling and/or ambient noise pickup, but it stays crisp and clear, with no added noise from the background.

Overall

We almost overlooked the JBX3S’s, but we’re glad we didn’t. For a wireless option, these are hard to beat. They were designed for athletes, but gamers will appreciate some of the same features – even if it wasn’t designed initially for gamers. If you want a truly “custom-fit” wireless earbud, then the JBX3S’s are perfect for you.

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JayBird X3 Sport

  • 9-Hour Battery Life
  • Super Small Design Style With Reinforced Cabling
  • Multiple Size Tips + Multiple Material Tips + Multiple Sized Inserts

#6 TaoTronics ANC

TaoTronics TT-EP03

Specs:

  • Wired
  • noise-canceling
  • Built-In Microphone
  • 20KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

Alright, so let’s get back to some wired headphones again. TaoTronics might not be Bose, but they’ve got some bragging rights on their own too.

The TaoTronics have active noise-canceling (ANC) technology to help reduce more than 70% of ambient noise in almost any environment. Using the Aware Mode slider, you can instantly switch between conversations and gaming by clicking one button.

TaoTronics TT-EP03 buttons

The sound profile of the TT-EP03’s is comparable to other high-end brands such as Bose, Klipsch, Sennheiser, and other reputable brands, but for a whole lot less cash. While these aren’t AS good as some of the highest, most expensive earbuds, they definitely do well blending all the frequencies. AND … they still manage to get a little kick to them – it’s not earth-shattering, but you’ll feel the beat.

As for size, they are relatively small with three earbud tips and three unattached ear inserts to keep everything in the right place. The earbud tips are made of silicone so they stay where they need to, but they can let sound slip by if you get a little sweaty.

TaoTronics TT-EP03 accessories

What We Like

For the price, we can’t believe these have noise cancellation technology built in. The 70% metric is accurate and the outside environment pretty much disappears. As far as sound, these are very comparable to the C5S2’s mentioned above. We do like the extra little UMPHH that these have.

Overall

If you want a great pair of gaming earbuds that can keep up with the higher priced competitors, while still retaining other technologies such as noise cancellation, then the TaoTronics should be on your list. It’s amazing what TaoTronics was able to put into these for such an affordable price.

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TaoTronics ANC

  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) Technology
  • Aware Mode At The Push Of A Button
  • 15 Hour ANC Battery Life
  • Multiple Size Tips + Multiple Material Tips + Multiple Sized Inserts

#7 Klipsch R6i

Klipsch R6i

Specs:

  • Wired
  • noise-canceling
  • 10KHz – 19KHz Frequency Range

Are you ready to really experience your games? Before now, you were just hearing them, but that’s going to change when you get a pair of Klipsch R6i’s (KR6i’s). They may look basic, but it’s not the exterior that we’re so impressed with.

The KR6i’s don’t use any type of noise-canceling technology, instead using their silicone earbud tips to keep what you want in and what you don’t want out. The earbud tips are not circular like most other earbud tips, but rather they are oval, trying to fit the ear canal with a better seal than their competitors.

Klipsch R6i earbud

The sound profile of the KR6i’s is bright, and CLEAR, with no audible distortion at the highest of sound levels. Because of this attention to the highs, the bass levels leave a little to be desired. Even so, it’s not so noticeable that you’ll care. The biggest takeaway is the drivers don’t distort no matter how hard you push the KR6i’s.

Klipsch R6i accessories controls

These are very simple and small in design. Klipsch didn’t spend a lot of money on the exterior and put everything they could into the auditory experience instead. They look BASIC but perform phenomenally. As for comfort, the oval tips are more comfortable than the circular tips which can place added stress on certain parts of your ear/ear canal.

Klipsch R6i accessories

What We Like

No matter how hard the KR6i’s are pushed, they’re not going to distort (provided you have a clean audio source). The oval tips are MUCH MORE comfortable than oval tips and they give you four different sizes to choose from.

Klipsch R6i packaging

Overall

Klipsch has proven themselves in the audio industry for years, and their KR6i’s are proof of their dedication. They’ve never been an over-the-top company when it comes to design, but audiophiles have figured out that they have some of the best sounding equipment in the world. If you want an ultra-clear gaming experience, you cannot afford to leave the KR6i’s off of your list.

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Klipsch R6i II

  • Oval Earbud Tips
  • Non-Distorting Drivers
  • Tangle-Proof Wired Cable

#8 Shure SE215-K

Shure SE215-K

Specs:

  • Wired
  • Noise Isolating
  • 22KHz – 17.5KHz Frequency Range

Want something that the professionals and road warriors trust? Want something that can handle a little EXTRA abuse? Then the Shure SE215-K is SURE to keep you in the game – without fail.

The SE215K’s aren’t priced high because they don’t use noise-canceling technology. Instead, they use noise isolating earbuds that are able to block out up to 37db of external noise. Even better, you get a choice of either silicone or foam earbud tips to help keep everything you want in, but everything you don’t want out.

Shure SE215-K earbud internals

For the price, these are some of the most balanced earbuds we’ve heard. And while the frequency range doesn’t quite hit the 20KHz range, these earbuds sound AMAZING! The clarity across the whole range is phenomenal, with no real spikes at any point in the frequency range. The bass is punchy and the highs are clear (without shrieking).

Shure SE215-K and accessories

The SE215K’s have an around the ear design to keep everything in place. Where these really shine is the detachable cord that is KEVLAR reinforced. If for some reason you do need to change the cord, you can in a snap – literally.

Shure SE215-K detachable cable

What We Like

If you can’t tell, we really like the detachable cable. When these aren’t in use, you don’t have to keep the cord attached (goodbye tangles). Also, we love how clean the sound is – these are perfect for gaming.

Overall

While Shure products are designed more for musicians, they’ll do great in your gaming rig setup. They are extremely clear, comfortable, and durable. Is there really anything else you need?

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Shure SE215-K

  • Detachable Wired Cord
  • Well Balanced Sound Profile
  • 37db External Noise Reduction

#9 Westone W40

Westone W40

Specs:

  • Wired
  • Noise Isolating
  • 22KHz – 17.5KHz Frequency Range

Now, do you want something that handles anything you throw at it while being able to CUSTOMIZE your sound too? Then you’re going to love the Westone W40’s.

Westone W40 detachable cable

The W40’s leave out the noise-canceling technology in favor of noise isolation, but it’s so they can focus on the auditory experience. Even still, the noise isolation is great and there’s little external sound leakage.

Westone W40 different color cases

The sound profile of the W40’s is phenomenal – here’s why. The W40’s have four balanced armature drivers with an actual three-way crossover to help separate all the audio frequencies properly. What does that mean for you? Amazing highs, deep bass, clean midranges – the most immersive gaming experience you’ve ever heard – you’ll hear the breath behind you so real you might turn to see who’s hiding behind you.

Westone W40 accessories

And the W40’s stay in place with an around the ear design to make sure they don’t fall out at the worst possible time. The cord is detached and reinforced for added durability and portability.

Westone W40 packaging

What We Like

We didn’t know much about Westone before this, but we’re happy to say that we love the W40’s. They are extremely clear, with no audible distortion. The bass is punchy and deep, while the highs are clear and bright. There is no noticeable peaking at any point in the frequency range and you won’t need to adjust your sound settings to compensate for frequency failure. The cord is reinforced and detachable and it’s STRONG.

Overall

If you were SURE about the Shure SE215K’s, then you’ll really be sure about the W40’s. While they do cost more, they’re absolutely worth it. The sound profile is easily comparable to the QC20’s from Bose, but with more durability.

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Westone W40

  • Detachable, Reinforced Wired Cord
  • Ultra-Balanced Sound Profile

#10 Philips SHE3595BK

Philips SHE3595BK

Specs:

  • Wired
  • Noise Isolating
  • 20KHz – 20KHz Frequency Range

And rounding out our list of gaming earbuds, we couldn’t leave out a nice pair of budget-friendly earbuds. While these aren’t as nice as the QC20’s and the R6i’s, they’ll do the job.

The SHE3595’s don’t have noise-canceling technology, but they do have noise isolation. The noise isolation comes from one of three earbuds (small, medium, large) and they work pretty well. They aren’t going to block out too much sound, but they’ll keep a fair amount of external noise out.

Philips SHE3595BK earbud tips

As far as the sound profile, these are good for gaming. They’re not going to impress everyone with their ultra-high clarity or ear-shattering bass. You will feel a slight BOOM when an explosion happens, and the missiles will be clear, but that’s it.

Philips SHE3595BK controls

The SHE3595’s do have an inline microphone which works pretty good considering the price. No, you aren’t going to be ultra-clear, but if you needed to talk to your friends/foes while gaming, you can and they’ll hear everything you have to say.

Philips SHE3595BK plug

What We Like

We went into this knowing that these were BUDGET earbuds. And for the price, they work extremely well, and even if you end up damaging them somehow, you could just buy another pair without breaking the bank.

Overall

If you want a simple, easy to use, budget pair of gaming earbuds, these are the perfect option for you. They aren’t going to win any sound-quality awards, but they’ll do what you need while still providing you with an inline microphone.

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Philips SHE3595BK

  • Inline Microphone
  • Budget-Friendly Price
  • Decent Sound Profile

Buyer’s Guide To Find The Best Gaming Earbuds

Sound Profile

Have you ever heard that a pair of earbuds were “too boomy” or “tinny sounding”? What those descriptors were talking about is the sound profile of the earbuds. Earbuds that are bass-heavy will sound a little muffled when compared to balanced earbuds. And tinny sounding earbuds will lack a significant BOOM when the bass drops on your favorite tracks when compared to balanced earbuds.

Most users will want a balanced pair of earbuds that have a nice, smooth sound profile across the whole frequency range. However, some gamers really prefer bass-heavy sound profiles as it helps to immerse them a little more into the experience. Earbuds that sound tinny are generally considered cheap when compared to balanced and/or bass-heavy earbuds.

Frequency Response

Manufacturers are all looking for ANY advantage that they can gain over their competition, and some will resort to increased frequency response ranges. In general, most humans can hear frequencies from 20Hz to 20KHz. Some manufacturers will tout that their earbuds can reach down to 10Hz and over 25KHz – which doesn’t mean diddly.

However, there is a difference between a pair of earbuds that can cover a frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz and a pair of earbuds that can cover a frequency range of 40Hz to 15KHz. The first pair will cover all audible frequencies whereas the second pair has a limited lower and higher range (you won’t feel the BOOM and you might miss out on the SHRIEKS).

As long as the frequency range of the earbuds you are looking at cover the 20Hz to 20KHz range, you’ll be fine. Anything less than this, you should look elsewhere.

Noise Isolation / Noise Cancellation

While a lot of people criss-cross these two terms, they are not the same.

Noise isolation helps to isolate you from the outside world using a very tight seal in your ear and/or a muffler of some type. While this is somewhat effective, there is still some sound that will make it into your listening experience.

Noise cancellation uses advanced technology to hear the sounds of your environment and create a negative of that sound, therefore, canceling the sound from reaching you. This is much more complicated than can be explained (in brief) as it requires an external microphone, processing system, negative sound waves, etc…

Noise cancellation waves

As you can see, the green line represents the original sound wave, the red line represents the negative sound wave, and the light orange represents the melding of the two sound waves. That is how noise cancellations basically works.

Noise cancellation is MUCH MORE effective when compared to noise isolation but at a greater cost. In most cases, noise-canceling earbuds are more costly as they require more technology to block out the external sounds.

Comfort / Size

If every earbud was the SAME, then this would be a moot point. But, earbuds aren’t the same and therefore, some are more comfortable than others.

Size matters as we all have different sized ears and ear canals. For instance, while a small pair of earbuds will easily fit into your ear canals, could it be that the shape and/or size of the outer portion is a little too big and cumbersome?

Also, do the earbuds have an attached piece to help keep them in place? If they are constantly slipping out, they won’t be comfortable and/or practical. If they are oversized, they’ll slip out more if there isn’t an over-ear hook or retaining piece attached to the earbuds.

Wired / Wireless

With everything going wireless, you would expect that the BEST gaming earbuds would be wireless, but you could be wrong.

While wireless has made tremendous gains against their wired counterparts, they still have certain limitations including sound quality, battery life, and volume (based on power). If you must have wireless, remember that you’ll be sacrificing somewhere most likely.

Wired earbuds are able to produce sounds better as they aren’t being compressed, they don’t have to deal with battery life as the connection is the battery source, and they can get louder as they are only limited by the source signal (which can be boosted using an inline amplifier).

Wireless only wins the battle when it comes to freedom of movement as you can go anywhere in the room without having to have a cord extension or getting tangled up.

Voice Control / Microphone Access

While most earbuds are designed as one-way devices, some are equipped with built-in microphones so you can communicate in the games without needing an external microphone. Some are able to pick up your voice well while others might not do well. The microphone location and/or condenser will matter significantly as to how well others can hear you.

Compatibility

For the most part, this won’t matter, but not all gaming systems use the same audio connections. Make sure that the earbuds you want fit your primary gaming system. Again, this won’t matter too much, but it does come up from time to time.

Cost

And finally, how much do the gaming earbuds cost. Prices for gaming earbuds range from $20 to $250+. And while some are overpriced, they still offer more than the $20 pair. Even so, what you need might cost more than $20, but maybe not more than $100.

Don’t get duped into buying the hype or the branding, but rather the features that meet your needs. If you just have money to burn, then buy the most expensive pair of earbuds you can find so you’ll impress your friends. But, if you don’t have money to burn, use this buying guide to help you find the BEST earbuds for you – not your friends.

In-ear Gaming headphones

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are wired earbuds better than wireless earbuds?
A: Wired earbuds tend to have a better sound quality than their wireless counterparts. Wireless technologies use compression codecs that can degrade the sound quality, albeit minimally. But, wired earbuds have cables that connect them to your audio source, which limits the distance you can move around freely and/or leaves room for you to get tangled up too. Wireless earbuds are powered by internal batteries which lose power after a certain amount of time, and therefore aren’t good for long gaming sessions and/or multiple gaming sessions.

While we prefer wired earbuds, there are some great benefits to using wireless gaming earbuds too. It all depends on your preference and willingness to accept a slightly lower audio quality.

Q: Are noise-canceling earbuds better than noise isolating earbuds?
A: All too often, these two terms get used interchangeably when they absolutely aren’t the same. Noise isolation only isolates you from the sound (meaning that environmental sound leakage can occur) whereas noise cancellation actually cancels out the environmental sounds and no leakage occurs.

If you don’t want to hear any sounds from your external environment, then noise-canceling earbuds are the better of the two options.

Q: Do earbuds have sound leak issues?
A: Headphones tend to have sound leak issues as they can’t create a perfect seal around the ear and/or face. And earbuds can have sound leak issues too, especially if they are turned up very high. As they don’t have near the material of their headphone counterparts, there isn’t as much sound-absorbing material to keep the sound in.

While most of the sound will stay trapped inside of your ears, some might leak out if the volume is cranked up.

Q: I have small ears. Can I still use gaming earbuds?
A: Yes. Most gaming earbuds come with different sized tips to accommodate different ear sizes. While you might have small ears and/or ear canals, there’s a good chance that they’ll include an earbud tip that will fit your ears.

If they don’t, there are aftermarket companies that create earbud tips in odd sizes, so there’s a good chance you’ll find the right tip either from the manufacturer themselves or through an aftermarket company.

Q: The earbuds don’t fit my ear, what can I do to fix this?
A: As we answered above, if the earbuds don’t fit you out of the box, check to see if there are some other tips that you can try out. If not, there’s a good chance that you can find an aftermarket earbud tip that will fit your ear.

Q: Do all the gaming earbuds come with a built-in microphone?
A: No. While you would think this would be common in 2019, it isn’t. Most gaming earbuds do include a built-in microphone, but budget offerings may not offer a built-in microphone. If the games you play require in-game communication, you absolutely need to make sure you have a built-in microphone.

Q: Is there a mute button on the earbuds so I can go “silent” when I want to?
A: Most earbuds don’t have a mute button on them as they probably don’t have a built-in microphone. And the ones with a microphone generally don’t have a built-in mute button either. Gaming earbuds are stripped down versions of their BIGGER counterparts (headphones). If you need to mute the earbuds, you can disconnect them and/or remove them from your ears (doesn’t fully mute them).

Some may have a button that can be long-pressed for muting, but most do not have a mute feature at all.

Q: Will gaming earbuds fall out of my ears if they get sweaty?
A: Generally speaking, this depends on if you using the right earbud tip or not. If the fit is wrong, they’ll fall out, especially if you’re gaming session has you a little sweaty. Some earbuds have over-ear hooks and/or inserts that help to keep your earbuds in place in any situation.

Q: What do I do if the wired cable is not long enough?
A: If the wired cable for your earbuds isn’t long enough, then you’ll need to get a headphone extension cable. But, make sure that the extension cable you are purchasing is built for stereo and not mono as mono is only single channel (no left/right audio). Most gaming earbuds are stereo (left/right audio), but the wrong extension cable can make them operate as though both sides are only one side.

Conclusion

Gaming earbuds are not the same as gaming headphones. Earbuds are much more compact, smaller in design, easier to transport, and don’t weigh near as much.

The perfect pair of gaming earbuds will check off all of your “need” boxes while matching most, if not all, of your “want” boxes too. And we believe the ones we’ve picked will fit within your needs and wants. Of course, we might have missed the mark – which is why we included the buyer’s guide. Equipped with all this information, you should have found a pair of gaming earbuds that are perfect for you.

With that said, did you find the perfect pair of gaming earbuds?

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API