The Best Gaming Earbuds of 2020 & 2021: Gaming Earbuds & Earphones

Everything you need to start earphone gaming

gaming earbuds

Buying the best gaming earbuds may sound a bit peculiar to some, however, with esports becoming larger by the day, earbuds have managed to creep their way into the gamer specific category. Whether it’s because over-ear gaming headsets are too warm, or you’re just looking for something slightly more incognito, there is an in-ear headphone offering that will suit your needs.

In the following article, we sit down with what we believe to be the best gaming earbuds available in today’s market. We have a bunch of different options that range from the affordable all-round gaming earbuds to the more premium, feature-packed alternatives.

Let’s dive straight into our best gaming earbuds guide and take a look at our round-up.

Our Top Picks

Editor's Pick

WePC Editors Choice Badge

The Best Gaming Earbuds

Runner Up

The Next Best Gaming Earbuds

Best Gaming Earbuds: First Look

Editor's Pick

The Best Gaming Earbuds
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Editor's Rating
4.4/5

You get premium feels and quality bass response from these high-end gaming earbuds. Cooler Master has done a fantastic job on both audio out and design. A great set of earbuds with all the little extras you need to use these across a variety of platforms.

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One of the higher end, gamer specific earbuds in this guide come in the shape of the Cooler Master Masterpulse MH710’s.

These earbuds come to the table with a ton of cool features and benefits which we feel justify its high price tag. FocusFX 2.0, superbly comfortable ear inserts, high build quality, and newly enhanced 10mm Neodymium drivers are just some of the perks we can look forward to in these buds. 

Runner Up

The Next Best Gaming Earbuds
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.4/5

Great all-round earbuds that will guarantee solid in-game audio output whilst still providing decent music listening capabilities.

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The Bose QC20 earbuds may not strictly be for gaming but they come with enough features to keep you happy in any environment while playing. These have some of the best noise cancellation on our roundup, a good sound profile, a mic, and reliable build quality.

A very solid option, with hardware controls too but you may need a splitter for PC.

IEM Pick

Cheaper Alternative Gaming Earbuds
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0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.3/5

Linsoul delivers affordable IEM’s here with an inline mic. These may not be the best earbuds for gaming but they are well built, sound great, and are very stylish.

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These IEM’s from Linsould come with a mic and some of the best build quality on this list. This affordable gaming earbud option is available in a variety of colors, features an amazing design, has great audio performance, and a detachable copper plated cable. Durable with a capital D.

Sound-Isolating Pick

Brilliant IEM's For Single Player Gaming
0 /5
Editor's Rating
0.3/5

You buy IEM’s because you want quality and usually longevity. Shure’s SE215-CL earbuds are a fantastic example of both these traits thanks to brilliant dynamic drivers and superb build quality.

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The sound-isolating earbuds from Shure come to shelves at the higher end of the price spectrum, but with that offer excellent audio output and fantastic comfort for hours of endless gaming sessions. It is worth noting these do not have a microphone, so these are best for the single players out there.

Budget Pick

Best Budget Gaming Earbuds
0 /5
Editor's Rating
4/5

The HyperX Cloud earbuds come with a wide range of sound and organic bass responses on top of a tangle-free wire and vibrant design.

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Everything about the HyperX Cloud Earbuds screams “gamer”.  The design is loud and the tangle-free cable is a brilliant addition. It has an in-line microphone that provides solid voice pickup even in the loudest gaming scenarios, making these a top choice for those on a budget looking to play on Nintendo Switch. 

How We Choose

Buying a new pair of gaming earbuds can be a little daunting, they tend not to perform as well as their over-ear counterparts and have been deemed unreliable in the past. All this before having to sift through the wide range of options!

Making sure you get the right gaming earbuds for your needs is crucial, the last thing you want to do is waste your cash on a product that doesn’t fit the bill. This process can often require a lot of research and time but this is where WePC comes in. We will sift through online comparisons, competitor and user reviews to narrow down our search.

Once we have our selections we bring them all into one place to make your life easier.

How We Test

Testing the products we recommend is one of the most important aspects of our best-of-guides, and something the team and I take extremely seriously. We don’t just want to recommend the most popular products; we want to recommend the best products, regardless of reputation or brand. 

How we do this is by physically going out and purchasing the products we recommend. Once we’ve acquired a shortlist of recommendations, we start by doing our independent in-house tests to make sure they live up to our standards. We use gaming earbuds in real-life scenarios, whether it’s gaming or music. We then whittle down our shortlist into a final five, which becomes our best. 

Numerous team members will test each set of earbuds to provide a consensus instead of just one person’s opinion. This will hopefully give a more rounded and accurate representation of what each product offers.

The earbuds get tested in gaming scenarios, music audio playback, microphone clarity, comfort, and price.

Things To Consider

It is unfortunate that not everyone can enjoy the comfort and quality of gaming headsets and over-ear headphones but regardless of your needs, we want to make this process as simple as possible. What makes a pair of earbuds the best for gaming comes down to a few, easy to understand factors.

Gaming Earbuds Vs. Regular Earbuds

It is important to know that some gaming earbuds may be marketed as such but they are simply branded earbuds in disguise. There is little to differentiate between the two, with the more established audio brands usually offering higher quality experiences. If you enjoy gaming with your earbuds and need a set that features a microphone then by all means upgrade but if you play with your current earbuds and they work fine, maybe consider saving your cash or going for a gaming headset.

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Gaming Earbuds Vs. Gaming Headsets

While gaming headsets are still behind in terms of sound quality compared to audio headphones, they still offer a much more balanced and well-rounded gaming experience over earbuds. Sound and mic quality is better but sometimes they can be a little bulky and less desirable for anything other than gaming.

While gaming earbuds are going to be cheaper and more portable, with wireless technology being as good as it is right now, you could always pick up a wireless gaming headset instead. Of course, for some, a headset is a no-go area, with some favoring the lightweight, compact earbud alternative.

It is worth noting that you may lose some of the immersion and audio quality when using gaming earbuds from the more cinematic games out there but this is all rather subjective to what is important to you.

Drivers

In headphones, speakers, and other sound systems, “drivers” refer to one of two things: the software component that allows the device to be used with a computer and the hardware component that produces the sound in the headphones.

Larger headphones typically have multiple drivers per-ear, each used for different frequency ranges. The more drivers you have, the “cleaner” your sound should be since you won’t have just one driver being over-stressed with too many things to do.

Because of the smaller, cheaper nature of earbuds, though, many units will only come with one driver or two. In general, the larger the driver and the more there are, the better your listening experience will be.

Adapter And Mic

In this context, we’re referring to an adapter that you can use to split your single headphone cable into two; one for your mic, and one for your headphones. This is because most PCs won’t be able to take both of those inputs from just one input, unlike most smartphones.

Having this adapter included is a great feature that saves the user money spent on workarounds or just buying it themselves.

Of course, a mic is also important for the purposes of communications. While you can also look into our collection of best microphones for gaming if you’re serious about that, having a mic in your gaming earbuds is much more convenient overall.

Compatibility

Most, if not all of our earbud selections feature a 3.5mm jack meaning they will work in your console controller, with your Nintendo Switch, and mobile phone. There are Bluetooth options available but they are not latency-free like the wired options you see here.

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Sweat Resistance

Generally, earbuds are worn when out and about and generally being active so they are naturally a bit more durable and weatherproof than other types of audio equipment. It’s because of this that they are also sweatproof and can keep your ears cooler for longer when compared to bulky gaming headsets. For the masses, a sweaty head is a bit of a none issue but there are plenty of gamers out there who struggle with comfort from all types of audio hardware.

The Best Gaming Earbuds

Editor's Pick

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Runner Up

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IEM Pick

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Sound-Isolating Pick

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Budget Pick

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Editor's Pick

The Best Gaming Earbuds
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Pros

Excellent design and aesthetics

3 varying-size ear inserts

Nice comfortable fit

Solid build quality

Included gaming microphone

Cons

On the expensive side for earbuds

Only 1 style of ear insert

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Cooler Master is better known for their range of excellent cases and fans, however, they’ve developed some cool keyboards, mice, and now gaming earbuds for the consumer to get their teeth into.

They have a cool design that offers a sleek metallic finish with three different sized ear inserts to accommodate all types of users. The braided cable feels robust and light and has the ability to adapt to different device platforms which include PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices.

The audio output is very pleasing and works excellently in-game to give pinpoint spatial awareness in games such as fortnight, CS:GO, and PUBG. A fantastic feature Cooler Master has implemented is the new FocusFX 2.0 switch, which when pressed alters the audio output from stronger bass to a more balanced, cleaner sound.

The microphone works well and provides solid voice output, it does pick up some background noise but nothing too crazy.

They come to shelves in the mid/high price range but we feel they justify that pricetag and offer decent value for money, as far as gaming earbuds go.

You can check out our full in-depth review of the Cooler Master Masterpulse MH710 Earbuds right here.

Runner Up

The Next Best Gaming Earbuds
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Tech Specs

Drivers

Single dynamic driver

Frequency Response

N/A

Extras

Microphone, Noise cancellation, hardware controls

Noise Cancelling

Yes

Pros

Great Sound Quality

Good Bass

Microphone Included

Noise cancelling

Hardware Controls

Cons

Very expenisve

May need a splitter for PC

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The Bose QC20’s may not compete with the likes of gaming headsets and in-ear monitors but they offer a decent sound quality with excellent noise cancellation, for paying in loud environments on the go or at home.

These are very well designed earbuds, with a comfortable fit and durable construction. The sound is decent for gaming and with the included inline mic and noise cancellation, they perform well. These are quite versatile and feel stable enough to enjoy at the gym or while playing sport, with the shape keeping them in your ears.

These feature a low latency connection for gaming and will the microphone isn’t the best, the noise isolation is superb, offering a bit of immersion.

These barely leak and will block out a decent amount of external noise, making these a very good option for gamers looking to pick up a pair of earbuds.

IEM Pick

Cheaper Alternative Gaming Earbuds
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Tech Specs

Drivers

1pcs dynamic driver + 4pcs balanced armature

Frequency Response

7Hz-40000Hz

Extras

Microphone, detachable cable, hardware controls

Noise Cancelling

No

Pros

Great Sound Quality

Good Bass

Detachable cable

Affordable

Cons

May need a splitter for PC

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The Linsoul Kz Zs10 are actually in-ear monitors, not earbuds but they are an incredibly comfy pair and deliver great sound in many environments. These are a very affordable option and are a great addition for anyone looking to play single-player games.

There is a mic included with these but you may need a splitter to get these working without PC (depends on your PC). Furthermore, they can plug straight into your console controller or phone. The design with these is one of the best on the list, with that twisted wire look, see-through casing, and detachable cable, they look superb. These are quite compact and easy to carry around, making them a better choice for mixed usage than others on this list.

Thes are a very durable pair but they do lack hardware controls, which could be an issue for some gamers out there.

Sound-Isolating Pick

Brilliant IEM's For Single Player Gaming
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Tech Specs

Drivers

Single Dynamic Driver

Frequency Response

22Hz – 17kHz

Extras

No out of the box extras

Pros

Cool aesthetic design

Very light weight

Solid audio output

Decent bass

Cons

Quite expensive

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The Shure SE215-CL earbuds signify the start of the premium offerings in this best of guide. They are the first of the IEM’s (Inner ear monitors) which provide superior audio playback and comfort over the gamer specific choices.

The professional series comes in a clear shell that shows off the intricate inner technology nicely. The cable is also clear creating a really unusual design that we loved here at WePC.

The single dynamic driver helps produce great sound output which is brilliant for both in-game audio and music playback. They provide excellent sound isolation to help users become immersed in their gameplay. Crucial for tournament-level gamers.

Unfortunately the mic these headphones have been equipped with can only be used alongside phones meaning you would have to purchase a standalone microphone for gaming purposes. What you lose in microphone accommodation is made up for with superior audio playback and comfort.

With great sound and comfort naturally comes a higher price tag, however, for IEM’s this is considered good value.

Budget Pick

Best Budget Gaming Earbuds
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Tech Specs

Drivers

2 14mm Drivers

Frequency Response

20Hz – 20kHz

Extras

In-line microphone

Pros

Nice in game spatial awareness

3 varying ear inserts

Comfortable

Perfect for the Nintendo Switch

Cons

Mic isn’t compatible on PC without splitter

Longevity is questionable

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HyperX is a household name when it comes to gaming headsets and audio devices. What we have today, however, is their latest offering in the earbud category.

The Clouds, as we like to call them, come to the table with a bunch of features and benefits which allow for effortless sessions of gaming. They have a 90-degree angled plug and tangle-free cable which allows for obstructive free gameplay which is always welcomed.

The design is strictly red with black accents around the controls and earbuds. The patented silicone ear inserts come in 3 different sizes helping to cater these buds to all consumers. We found them particularly comfortable but we prone to slipping out occasionally.

The built-in mic worked very efficiently and provided excellent audio playback with mid/low outside noise pickup. The actual sound output is pretty decent offering good high’s and bass respectively, whereas spacial awareness which was pretty decent, was ultimately nothing to write home about

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget set of earbuds with decent audio output and a solid built-in mic, the HyperX cloud’s could be the pick for you.

You can check out our full in-depth review of the HyperX Cloud Earbuds right here.

Final Word

There we have it, the best gaming earbuds. With the rise in mobile gaming, the popularity of gaming earbuds is only going to grow. These are the most portable option out there and offer refuge for gamers in hotter climates during peak summer.

The best gaming earbud option overall was the MH710’s from Cooler Master. This set of buds brings all the connectivity you need to get that audio working across a variety of platforms.

What do you consider to be the best gaming earbuds out there? Would you ever consider using them on your daily commute or would you prefer to stick to a gaming headset? Let us know what earbuds you’ve gone for down in the comments or head over to the WePC community and start sharing!

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