Finding the best gaming earbuds can be a bit of a minefield. While buds for music listening and sports are two-a-penny, with wireless earphones and true wireless earbud options the norm, gamers usually find that only over-ear headsets are regularly being designed by manufacturers to suit their needs.
If in-ear design are a must for your gaming sessions, how do you spot the best gaming earbuds for you?
That’s where this quick guide comes in. Though there are fewer picks to choose from than with other categories when it comes to the best gaming earbuds of 2021, our selection below, including options from Turtle Beach and EPOS, should have enough styles to suit all needs.
While we’ve tried to pick the best dedicated gaming earbuds out there, very few come up to our exacting standards. So it’s only the Turtle Beach and EPOS options that we’re recommending in that regard below. Thankfully, however, PCs, the Nintendo Switch and modern PlayStation and Xbox controllers, including those for the PS5 and Xbox Series X, all can accept 3.5mm jack input. So we’ve been able to suggest a few stellar earbud options from the music world that do a great job for gamers, too.
Compact, portable and easy to use, these are our top picks for the best gaming earbuds out there.
Our top gaming earbud picks
The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds could top this list for one virtue alone – they’re the only true-wireless earbuds on the market with the dedicated gamer in mind.
It’s a form factor we love for mobile devices, and we’re surprised more manufacturers haven’t followed EPOS’s lead with true wireless gaming buds. With a USB-C dongle connection for consoles, and Bluetooth 5.1 for basically everything else, they could be the one set of earbuds you need for all listening purposes in your life. They’re not class-leading in sound terms, but they’re pretty darn good all the same.
Our main gripe? When using the dongle connection, the earbuds’ microphones are knocked out, preventing in-game chat. We realize this is a pretty big caveat, but the premium build of the earbuds, plus the convenient form factor, still make them a top choice for most gamers – particularly those who prefer to play solo.
Read more: EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid Earbuds review
The cable-packing 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones are the best wired earbuds you can buy in 2021, giving you lush sound simply by plugging them into the headphone jack on your controller or PC. After long testing periods spent with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones and the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones we were taken aback by the value of each set of earbuds, given their relatively low price points. They punch weigh above their weight.
For a mere $100 / £100 (around AU$168), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more sonically pleasing pair of earbuds than 1MORE’s Triple Driver. Those that want a little more luxury from materials in their earbuds can look further down this list for the Quad Driver version – though expect to pay roughly twice as much.
The triple drivers tick pretty much every box though. The rubber cable can tangle a bit, and the remote is a bit plasticky, but it’s hard to find real fault at the price here.
Read more: 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone review
If you’ve got the cash to splash, the 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones are the best-quality, pound-for-pound, buck-for-buck, wired headphones out there. 1MORE delivered a smashing flagship pair of wired earbuds, with the Quad Driver set, thanks to their balanced sound build quality, smartphone compatibility, and price. These in-ear headphones will make mobile audiophiles very happy, and really do justice to modern gaming’s 3D audio and virtualized Dolby Atmos settings.
The Quad Driver’s main competition comes in fact from 1MORE’s own cheaper Triple Driver sibling which costs half the price (which ride high at the number two spot on this list).
In terms of value, the 1MORE Triple Driver headphones are the winner, but if you’re willing to spend a little more on build and sound quality, the 1More Quad Drivers are among the best earbuds you can buy.
Read the full review: 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones
Lightweight, portable, and ready to play with as soon as you plug them into a controller’s headphone jack, the Turtle Beach Battle Buds are a Nintendo Switch player’s best friend.
Offering great value for more, these basic-looking wired buds are as good as it gets at the entry-level end of the market.
They’re not going to deliver the sound quality of pricier buds on this list, but they’re comfortable to wear, easy to travel with and offer a detachable boom mic that’s sensitive and commanding in the heat of battle.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach Battle Buds review
Another great budget option, the E11Cs offer a brilliant design, and felt comfortable even during long gaming or music-listening sessions.
These are by no means earphones for audiophiles – the separation between the different frequencies just isn’t good enough – but with the easy connection of a 3.5mm headphone jack, a clear mic and solid (if not exemplary sound) they’re a perfect partner for your gamepad.
The passive noise isolation here is excellent too, and while not using nifty active noise cancellation techniques do well through their seal alone to block out external sound.
Read the full review: SoundMagic E11C review