I’m kind of picky about what goes into my body. This goes for the food I eat to the music I listen to (and how I listen to it). It has little to do with choice and more to do with me being lactose intolerant and having sensitive ears.
As an audiophile, I still buy records and CDs. If I download music, I make sure that it’s in a high resolution, lossless format. My digital library is littered with ALAC, FLAC and WAV files. I only stream music to preview it or as a last resort. It might sound hipster-ish, pretentious and overly pedantic but I can tell the difference and if I’m going to go deaf while listening to music, it better be some high-quality stuff where every note feels fully actualized.
The quality of the music itself means nothing if it doesn’t have the right equipment to showcase it. I can’t count the number of headphones, earphones, and speakers I’ve been through in this lifetime. I have different earphones and headsets for every occasion.
But in this guide, we’re going to cover the best earphones for one of my most favorite occasions – gaming! 🎧 🎮
5 Best Earbuds for Gaming
There was a time when there was a clear distinction between earbuds and in-ear earphones. Now the term ‘earbuds’ is inclusive of in-ear earphones, canal phones, and classic earphones.
In this guide, you’ll find a mixture of different earbuds in various different styles. Since these earbuds are for gaming, it was important for us to not only test the sound quality of their speakers but also the recording ability of their microphones.
You have to be able to hear your teammates clearly and be heard as clearly. This is assuming that they have good headsets on their end. Durability and material were also important factors. You don’t want them to suddenly quit on you during an important gaming session. You’ll also find that most of the earphones in this guide are multifaceted.
You can use them for gym, casual music listening, park strolls, etc. That’s one of the advantages of using earbuds – their portability. However, if you would rather wear large cans over your ears, you can always visit our best headphones guide, where you can go over our top 10 picks.
Best Choice: Klim Fusion Earbuds
Pros & Cons
- Portable and easy to travel with
- Durable build quality
- Memory foam makes them extremely comfortable and reduces ear fatigue
- Affordable price
- Comes with a five-year warranty
- The cable is a bit long – it’s prone to entanglement
- Can be a bit heavy on the bass when listening to music
- Frequency Range: 15 – 21000 Hz
- Sensitivity : 118dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.1 %
- Earbuds weight: 20 grams/0.044 pounds
- In: 3.5 mm Jack
- Cable length: 170cm
- Compatibility: PC, Consoles, Android Phones, and older iPhone models
- Utilizes memory foam earbud tips
- Built with a noise isolating design
- Includes an in-line microphone and volume control
- Comes with 4 removable earpiece extensions, 1 travel pouch, and 1 audio splitter
Klim Fusion Earbuds Review
The first thing you’ll notice about the Klim Fusion Earbuds (besides their affordability) is that they come with a five-year warranty. This confidence is surprising for a company whose first product was a laptop cooler.
They are relatively new to manufacturing headsets and earphones but I have to say, they did an amazing job with the Klim Fusions. In terms of aesthetic and design, the Fusion earbuds are non-descript. It isn’t apparent that they’re gaming earphones even if they’re marketed and sold as ones.
Which means you can use them anywhere. They’re compatible with most devices that have a 3.5 mm jack as an input. They have surprisingly good audio quality for their price range.
They use memory foam tips, instead of silicon or rubber-like most in-ear earphones use. This increases noise isolation, prevents sound leakage, ensures comfort and minimizes ear fatigue. This is ideal for those long gaming sessions. However, they can be bacteria traps. So I suggest you clean them out and soak them in alcohol from time to time.
Although they claim to have full noise cancellation, they only provide passive cancellation. If you’re looking for gaming headphones with active noise cancellation, try looking through our guide on the best noise-canceling gaming headsets.
The in-line mic has decent recording quality. I found that I could make calls and chat online with minimal feedback and static. The earphones are also magnetized which makes them easy to store and manage. They also come with an audio splitter, a travel case, and different earbud tips. From the accessories you get with them to the sound quality, they’re basically a steal at this price.
Premium Pick: TUNAI Drum Hi-Resolution Earbuds
Pros & Cons
- Have an above average sound quality
- Great for exercise and gaming
- Decent bass
- The microphone is highly sensitive
- Provides poor noise isolation
- Sound quality can be dependent on fit and seal
- Frequency Range: 10k – 40k Hz
- Earbuds weight: 0.048 pounds
- In: 3.5 mm Jack
- Cable Type: OFC
- Compatibility: PC, Consoles, Android Phones
- Includes inline Microphone
- Comes with matching protective carrying case
- Uses an open-back enclosure design
TUNAI Drum Hi-Resolution Earbuds Review
This is one of Tunai’s least affordable options. Some readers may recognize them as the gaming version of other popular Tunai headphones which are slightly more expensive and have a sealed acoustic design to increase sound isolation and maximize audio quality.
They come in five different colors which include charcoal, energy green (my favorite) and power red. The mic works decently in quiet settings but it might pick up too much background noise in louder areas. Sadly, they aren’t waterproof, so you should be careful if you tend to sweat too much or have long hair.
TUNAI Drum Hi-Resolution Earbuds have poor noise isolation. Although the ear tips are very comfortable, they’re prone to let in ambient noise and let out a little sound. In terms of output (sound) and input (recording), these earphones work better in a quiet setting.
With that being said, if you’re looking for a pair of high-quality earphones from a great brand that is excellent for gym and play, these are definitely worth considering.
Best Value: Marsno M2 Wired Gaming Earbuds
Pros & Cons
- Extremely affordable
- Material, as well as adjustable fit, makes them exceptionally comfortable
- Versatile – can be used for gym, casual music listening and gaming
- Comes with an extension cord as well as a splitter
- Provides you with decent noise isolation
- They have questionable durability – May not last long
- Mic recording ability leaves a lot to be desired
- Frequency Range: 20 – 20000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 102 + 3db
- Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.5 %
- Earbuds weight : Unspecified
- In : 3.5 mm Jack
- Cable length: 160 cm (220cm with extension cord)
- Compatibility: PC, Consoles, Android Phones, Older iPhone models
- Comes with inline microphone and remote
- Earbud tips are built with memory foam space material
- Comes with splitter and extension cable
- Earbuds can be adjusted to accommodate three different fits and placements
Marsno M2 Wired Gaming Earbuds Review
The most unique aspects of the Marsno M2 Wired Gaming Earbuds is their adjustability. They can be adjusted to suit three different fit styles. They also come with removable hooks that can be used to secure the earbuds to your ears – which is great, particularly for jogging and exercise.
While the earphones are cheap, they don’t seem to be cheaply made. The cables are flat and the earbud backs are magnetized to reduce the chances of entanglement.
They come with a bunch of accessories including a small storage case, splitters, and an extension cord. The ear tips are made with a blend of cheap memory foam and cotton. They fit in comfortably and help reduce external ambient noise but they may start to feel a little itchy after a while of wearing them.
Sound quality is pretty decent for earphones at this price. Mic sensitivity and recording quality are a bit substandard. You would be better off buying the best microphone for gaming separately. The volume and mic control panel is a bit flimsy. Although it has decent functionality, you can tell that it isn’t going to last long.
If you’re looking for some decent multipurpose earphones but you’re working with a very limited budget, these could be a great temporary option until you save up for the best wired gaming headset.
Best Wireless: Somic G618Pro
Pros & Cons
- They’re wireless!
- Great for gaming, exercise and casual listening
- 8 hours operating time on a full charge
- Uses a thermoplastic elastomer based material which makes it sweat proof and tangle resistant
- You can use both microphones in unison to increase the earphones voice recording quality.
- Charging time takes up to two hours or more
- Not great for bass-y listening
- Removable Mic isn’t adjustable and its recording quality could be better
- Frequency Range: 2402-2480 Hz
- Earphone Sensitivity: 100dB +/- 3 dB
- Detachable Mic Sensitivity: -40 +/-3dB
- Total Harmonic Distortion: Unspecified (estimated to be around < 0.1%)
- Earbuds weight : Unspecified (estimated to be around 22 Grams)
- In: 3.5 mm Jack
- Cable length: 0.6m
- Additional Connecting interface: 3.5mm,Micro USB
- Battery: 120mAh Rechargeable lithium battery
- Compatibility: PC, Android Phones and PS4 if you use a Bluetooth Dongle
- Bluetooth 4.1 Connectivity
- Detachable Microphone
- Inline Microphone and remote control
- 8 hours of usage on a full charge
Somic G618Pro Review
Somic has been producing audio products and headsets since the late 90s. Although they may not be very famous or well-known to the common consumer, they are one of the earliest headphone manufacturers of headphones in China.
Somic’s G618Pro are very similar in design to the Vogek E-Sports Earbuds. They share the same cone-like design and an open back. The G618Pro’s have a tiny honey-comb part that serves to aid in ventilation as well as heat dissipation.
It the ear-tips are made out of standard silicone and they’re very generic so you can replace them with others if they don’t suit you. It also comes with a set of removable ear-hooks which can assist in earphone stability, particularly if you plan on using the earbuds while you exercise.
The detachable microphone isn’t as malleable as the Vogek E-sports mic and on our tests, we found that it would pick up some static from time to time. We advise that you use it in unison with the inline microphone when you can.
It uses Bluetooth 4.1 which offers decent connectivity without leaching on power. That’s why the earphones can last up to 8 hours on a full charge. However, it takes about two hours to fully charge them.
All in all, they’re a good pair of low to mid-range wireless Bluetooth earphones. If you’re looking for something a little more high-end, you should give our guide of the best wireless gaming headsets a try.
Best for Mobile Gaming: Hyper-X Cloud Earbuds
Pros & Cons
- Surprisingly Affordable
- Comes with additional silicon earbud tips and a carry case
- HyperX’s proprietary tips are very comfortable
- Made out of tangle free and sweat resistant material
- Made with handheld devices in mind
- Inline mic recording quality could be better
- The inline control panel does not come with a volume control
- Frequency Range: 20Hz–20 000Hz
- Earphone Sensitivity: Unspecified
- Inline Mic Sensitivity: -42dBV
- Total Harmonic Distortion: < 2%
- Earbuds Weight: 19 g
- In: 3.5 mm Jack
- Cable length: 1.2 m
- Driver: Dynamic 14mm with neodymium magnets
- Compatibility: PC, Consoles, Android Phones, Older iPhone models
- Optimized for handheld devices
- Features an in-line microphone for chat
- Features a rubberized tangle-free flat cable
- Features HyperX’s proprietary silicon tips
Hyper-X Cloud Earbuds Review
You’d be surprised to find out that at the time of writing this article, the highest selling console in Japan was the Nintendo Switch. Yet, it’s probably one of the most underappreciated consoles on the market. The conversation has always been trained on Xbox vs PlayStation. Nintendo needs a little love too.
The Hyper-X Cloud Earbuds were made for Nintendo Switch gamers in mind. They’re also compatible with mobile phones, PCs, Consoles and any other device that takes a 3.5 mm jack. The earphones are made of a sweat and tangle resistant material and design. The silicone ear-tips are surprisingly comfortable but tough. They’re made with Hyper-X’s proprietary design.
The sound quality on these earphones is pretty decent. They generate great base and have clear lows, mids, and highs. They use a 90-degree jack that’s ideal for mobile devices, especially if the mobile device in question spends a lot of time in your pocket.
The earphones are built with long term use in mind. They come with a 2-year warranty which includes technical support. The Hyper-X Cloud Earbuds falter in one major department: the inline microphone has some very substandard recording quality.
The mic is prone to crackle and send out a bit of echo while you’re chatting and playing. The inline control panel doesn’t come with any volume controls. Instead, it comes with a large single button that can be used to pause and play your music.
Despite these shortcomings, they’re still worth the purchase. They’re easy to store and decently priced. You can probably find a pair of earphones that are cheaper but they probably won’t give you the same sound quality.
Gaming Earbuds: Buying Guide
An advantage that earbuds and earphones have over large headsets is their portability. Earbuds tend to be generally less expensive than headsets too. This is great for gamers who are working with a tight budget.
Instead of buying different earphones for the gym and study, you can purchase a pair of inexpensive earbuds that will work for both. However, there are a few things to consider. If you haven’t made your mind up about which earbuds will suit you the best, the following guide will help you with any indecision. You’ll also be able to identify what to look for when you’re out shopping for your next pair.
Material: Your earphones build quality
This one of the most overlooked aspects of earphone shopping. While the inner earphone conductors in cables are commonly made from braided copper wire, the material of the outer jack varies from earphone to earphone and brand to brand.
Quick note: Most earphones don’t really disclose the purity of the inner copper wire and in most cases, it’s irrelevant. The outer material of your earphone cable will determine how long it will last. Cheap earphone cables are usually made from thin plastic or rubber. The truth is most earphones are made with a rubber or plastic blend.
Decent sweat-resistant earphones are generally made of thermoplastic elastomers which are a mix of plastic and rubber. When you’re buying earphones, you need to pay close attention to the thickness of the cable. A well-rubberized cable is better than a thin cable. Thicker cables will just last longer.
Some cables are also coated and fortified with extra fabric for durability. Cables that use a flat design to make them tangle-resistant are preferred over those that don’t. The more your earphones bend and tangle, the more wear and tear the inner copper materials suffer over time.
In terms of connectors, it is believed that Rhodium connectors give listeners a sound that is more ethereal and spacious than gold connectors. Silver connectors are a bit brighter when it comes to the lows. A silver and copper blend gives off a better-rounded and balanced sound.
Comfort: How Well Your Earphones Fit
Comfort is important because it determines how long you can wear the earphones before they start causing you any strain or discomfort.
While it’s hard to determine or measure comfort on a strict metric, we can look at attributes such as the material the ear tips are made of, the weight of the earphones, if the earphones are adjustable, if they come with ear hooks and how breathable they are. Breathability only affects headphones. Most ear-bud buyers don’t have to worry about this.
However, the open-back design is preferable to a closed-back design to allow pressure to escape your earphones. This won’t influence or affect the breathability as much as it will affect the sound and long term sound performance of your earphones.
A great determiner of comfort is the ear-tip material. With most earbuds, the ear-tips are replaceable but some are custom made or use a proprietary design for the ear-buds. The most common types of ear-tips include:
Silicone ear-tips: Silicone ear tips are popular because they’re easy to clean and by design, they cause very little irritation. They can become a little uncomfortable when used for a long time. They also become slippery with sweat when you’re working out, which makes them prone to slip out.
Rubber ear-tips: While rubber ear-tips are durable, they can be extremely uncomfortable. Rubber can also trigger allergic reactions from people with skin allergies.
Foam ear-tips: Foam ear-tips offer the most noise isolation and they are considered to be the most comfortable option.
Hybrid ear-tips: There are ear-tips that are made from a poly plastic and rubber blend. These are a bit rare and they usually come packaged with high-end or special earphones.
Furthermore, depending on your earbud architecture, you should consider different methods for cleaning your headphones.
Once again, I’d like to mention that comfort is subjective and relative. If you have dime-sized earholes, then what I find comfortable may not be comfortable for you.
Noise Isolation and Cancellation: How Well They Keep the Ambient Nose Out
In terms of marketing earphones, noise cancellation is such a popular buzzword. Some earphone manufacturers go as far as lying about their product’s abilities to block outside noise. There are three types of noise cancellation you’ll get with earbuds and they are as follows:
Passive noise cancellation: This is also known as noise isolation. The design of the headphone determines how well noise is isolated (the amount of noise that escapes and the amount of noise the headphone lets in).
Active noise cancellation (ANC): These utilize both the design of the earphone as well as a small built-in audio-processor which actively detects any ambient noise and disrupts it or cancels it out.
Adaptive noise cancellation: While some ANC earphones use static cancellation, adaptive noise cancellation earphones will analyze the amount of noise in an environment and will then adjust the strength of the noise disruption accordingly.
Foam ear-tips provide the best passive noise cancellation. They’re basically like earplugs with a hole in the middle. Active and adaptive noise canceling earphones more expensive than earbuds with passive noise cancellation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are earbuds good for gaming?
What makes earbuds good for gaming is their portability and noise isolating capabilities. They’re small and easy to store. Plus you don’t have to worry about breathability or your outer ear hurting due to long term use. They’re also easier to clean.
While I wouldn’t sit here and recommend a pair of earbuds over a best budget gaming headset, but you can get more usability out of earbuds. They’re not just good for gaming but they’re good at multi-tasking as well.
Why do pro-gamers use earbuds?
A prevailing image in e-sports is pro-gamers using large headsets as opposed to earphones. If you look closely though, you’ll notice that they’re wearing a pair of earbuds under their headphones.
The outer headset is actually used to muffle outside noise while also providing a mic. Pro-gamers use the inner earbuds to listen to the sounds from the game they’re competing in. This has been a mystery to most casual e-sports viewers. If you didn’t know before, now you know.
What’s the difference between earphones and earbuds?
The terms earphones and earbuds have become synonymous. With the introduction of in-ear (or canal) earphones, a distinction had to be drawn between them and classic earphones that rested outside of the ear canal.
In-ear earphones were dubbed as earphones while outside-canal earphones were understood to be earbuds (cause of their shape). Now there is no real difference between earphones and earbuds. It can even be argued that earbuds are a sub-category of earphones.
Are earbuds as good as headphones?
The answer to this question depends on your preferences and needs. While headphones may be bulky, they generally deliver better sound especially when it comes to balancing bass tones. In most cases, they also provide better noise cancellation.
Earbuds are lightweight, portable, cheaper and in some cases a lot more comfortable than earbuds. With that being said, I would still muse that earbuds are just as good as headphones and in some cases, better.
Personally, I’ll always prefer earbuds to headphones, especially during summer. In winter, I use headphones because they can also act as earmuffs. In this guide, we covered six of the best earbuds made for gaming. You have to decide what you want out your earphones and what you’re willing to pay for them.
Once you’ve decided which brand or model suits your fancy, it’s also important to use your earphones and/or headphones safely. Make sure you listen at no more than 60% of the volume for 60 minutes. Take breaks between listening – often. Never listen to music at 85 decibels or higher.
If you follow these rules religiously, you’ll be gaming and listening to music without having to constantly visit an audiologist (like me!) for years to come. Thank you for reading and happy gaming.