​2019’s ​​Top-Rated Virtual Reality Headsets under $50

VR headsets can do some amazing things, from enhancing gaming to letting you experience the Grand Canyon in all its 3D glory while sitting on your couch. VR headsets can also get pretty expensive, but they don’t have to be.

In fact, you don’t have to spend more than $50. Whether you want to get your VR feet wet and don’t have a ton of cash or you want to buy an awesome gift for a friend without breaking the bank, here are the best VR headsets under $50.

What to Look For in a VR Headset?

There are a lot of VR headsets on the market and even more features. Between the variety of options and techy language, it can make it difficult to figure out what the best VR headset will be for your situation.

In this article, I’ll talk about what features you need to look for as well as give you my top 5 picks for low-cost VR headsets.

You Will Need a Smartphone

First, when looking at good VR headsets under $50, you need to understand that they will not have their own screens. Your smartphone will be the screen. This means you aren’t looking into specs like resolution, CPU speed, and game compatibility for the VR headset.

All that is based on your phone. What the headset will provide are:

  • A way to hold the phone in front of your face
  • Lenses for 3D viewing
  • A way to block out light and peripheral distractions
  • Possibly headphones

These Aren’t the Lamborghini of Headsets

As we look at the features of these headsets which are under $50, keep in mind that you will not be getting all the bells and whistles that you get with a $500+ headset. Don’t think, “Hey, I can spend $45 and get something that’s pretty much the same as an Oculus Rift S or PlayStation VR.

There is some tracking, but it’s based on your phone’s ability to track movement, not the intricate movement tracking of the high-end headsets.  There are also fewer applications and less elaborate apps for these headsets.  These low-priced VR headsets are a great way to get into VR without spending a ton of money.

They are also a great way to give your kids a VR headset and not have to freak out when they accidentally drop it down the stairs.  Even with fewer and less elaborate apps, there are still some great apps that you’re likely to find very entertaining.So, what, specifically, should you be looking for?

The Most Important Features

  • Comfort – If anything can pull you out of an immersive VR experience, it’s discomfort. This device will be strapped to your head and sitting on your face. So, it’s important that the strap be adjustable and able to conform to the shape of your head. In addition, the strap needs to take the weight off your nose and prevent the headset from slouching during prolonged use. Also, the foam that forms the padding around the eye cuffs needs to be reasonably thick and breathable, and the fabric over the foam needs to be soft and durable.
  • ​Adjustable Lenses – Some people’s eyes are further apart than others. Some people are farsighted or nearsighted. A good Virtual Reality headset under $50 will allow you to adjust both the distance between the lenses as well as the distance of the lenses from your eyes (the focus). Without this adjustability, the image won’t be as clear, and it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • ​Universal Phone Adaptability – You don’t want to have to buy a new VR headset just because you upgraded your phone. Make sure the headset is able to adjust to fit any phone size. As a bonus, if you can fit your phone with its case in the headset, that can keep you from having to take your case off every time you use the headset.
  • An Opening for Your Phone’s Camera – Augmented reality apps use your phone’s camera. If you want to run AR-based apps while using your headset, you need to make sure the headset has an opening for your phone’s camera.
  • Immersive Audio – Some headsets have built-in headphones for immersive audio and others don’t. If the headset does not have headphones, make sure it has an opening to run the wire for your own headphones or make sure you have Bluetooth headphones so you can have an immersive audio experience.
  • Peripheral Blocking – If a headset doesn’t effectively block outside light, it can ruin the VR experience. You want a headset that blocks as much external light as possible.
  • Additional Controller/Remote – Some headsets come with a remote or game controller so you can control your​ phone while it’s in the headset.
  • Durable Construction – Lastly, you want the headset to have a durable design. Flimsy plastic won’t last long. Also, some headsets snap the phone compartment closed and those plastic snaps can break. Others have magnets that hold the case closed which can last longer.

Keep these features in mind as you look for a low-priced VR headset and you should be able to find a headset that gives you a great VR experience, but I want to make it even easier for you.

So, here are my…

Top 5 VR Headsets for Under $50

TEPOINN Virtual Reality Headset

Compatible with iPhone and Android phones
Sale
Tepoinn 3D VR Glasses Headset with Adjustable Lens and Strap for 3.5-5.5-Inch Smart Phones
  • Smart phone turned into virtual reality viewer. Enjoy your own portable IMAX cinema more convenient than 3D viewing glasses and better than Google cardboard. Revel into the world of VR. Watch 3D movies and play games while siting, standing, lying on the porch, at home, office, travel, beach, airplane. 360¡ø virtual experience
  • Conveniently find virtual reality movies on the internet and apps on Apple store or Google Play. Indulge in Hollywood movies and TV shows, suspense, sci-fi, action, thriller.

Last update on 2019-08-22 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Tepoin VR headset has soft leather, breathable face padding and adjustable lenses. It fits a decent range of phones from 4” – 5.7”, though other headsets can fit larger phones. The phone case also has built-in heat dissipating technology to keep your phone cool and the cover plate uses magnets to attach.

The case has slots for earphone cords and they even have a model available with a built-in headset. As a bonus, the headset comes with a Bluetooth remote to so you don’t have to pull your phone out to start and stop movies, etc.  (It’s a remote, not a gaming controller).

Tepoinn touts their HD resin aspherical lenses as being clearer than other lenses and helping to eliminate a feeling of vertigo some people feel when using VR lenses. In reality, they are good lenses and do provide a very clear image. There’s very little to complain about with this headset, especially with a such low price tag. The only issue is that the case completely covers your phone’s camera. So, if you want to use AR-based apps, you’re out of luck. Other than that, this headset is has a solid, durable design. It’s comfortable.

The head straps use elasticity to fit your head rather than non-stretchy adjustable straps which do a good job of taking the pressure off your face and nose.

Pros
  • No adjusting needed for head straps
  • High-quality lenses
  • Includes a remote
  • Great price
Cons
  • Covers phone camera
  • Doesn’t fit some larger phones
  • No headphones

BNext VR Headset

Compatible with iPhone and Android Phones
Sale
VR Headset for iPhone & Android Phone - Universal Virtual Reality Goggles Ver2.0 - Play Your Best Mobile Games 360 Movies With Soft & Comfortable New 3D VR Glasses | + Adjustable Eye Protection System
  • PERFECT GIFT FOR KIDS & ADULTS - Premium present for father's day, Halloween,, Easter, Christmas etc. Bnext virtual reality vr glasses for iPhone & Android phones is compatible with smartphones and mobile devices such as: iPhone, Samsung galaxy & note & edge, Motorola, Moto, HTC one, Huawei, Xperia, Nexus, Droid turbo 2, Google Pixel 2, LG, Asus, Meizu & any other standard phone with a screen no bigger than 6.3" to bring you a totally immersive visual 360 experience. with an eBook
  • VR SMARTPHONE COMPATIBILITY: Bnext blue VR goggles compatible with ios iPhone VR such as: X, XR, XS, 8, 8 plus, 7, 7 plus, 6, 6s, 6s plus, 6 plus, 6, 5, 5 plus, 5c, 5s, SE, etc. compatible with Samsung Galaxy s8, s7, j3, s7 edge, s6, s6 edge, note5, a8+, note 3, note 4, note 5, note 7, note 8, note 9, s5 s6, s7, s8, s8 plus, s9, s9 plus, one plus, Box VR etc. With LG g6, g5, g4, v30, v20, v10 etc. And many more smartphones & drones.

Last update on 2019-08-22 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The BNext VR Headset has a solid construction and comfortable fit. It features an adjustable strap that uses Velcro for quick and easy fitting. It has high quality, HD lenses which you are able to adjust for angle and distance and there is a slit for earphone wires.

The headset’s phone holder is adjustable for phones from 4”-6.2”. Your phone fits onto a panel that you slide into the headset. Some people have reported having issues with this phone insertion process causing buttons on the phone to be depressed, but most people haven’t had any trouble with it.

This headset does not come with any remote or controller, so you may want to purchase a Bluetooth controller. The headset also covers your phone’s camera preventing the use of AR-based apps, though they do say you can remove the entire front panel if you want to use the camera.

The BNext VR headset is a quality headset that is comfortable and has good, adjustable lenses. It fits more phone sizes than other headsets, but doesn’t have some of the extras like headphones or a remote/controller.

Pros
  • Fits the widest range of phone sizes of all the headsets on the list
  • Fully adjustable HD lenses
Cons
  • Covers phone camera
  • No remote
  • No headphones
  • Some people report issues with the phone insertion process

Element Works USA EW-VRHT1 Headset

Compatible with iPhone and Android Phones
Element Works USA EW-VRHT1 Fully Adjustable Virtual Reality Headset
  • Fully immersive viewing experience
  • Delivers your phone's 3D gaming and video effects

Last update on 2019-08-22 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Element Works USA EW-VRHT1 headset has a solid, durable construction. It has comfortable, cloth face padding. The head straps are fully adjustable and do a good job keeping the headset in place without too much pressure on your nose.

The headset has a sliding, spring-loaded phone case that fits phones 4”-6”, however, the space given for the phone will generally not allow you to keep your phone’s case on when using the headset. There is not remote/controller or buttons on the headset. So, you will have to eject the phone to control it or get a Bluetooth controller.

The lenses of the EW-VRHT1 aren’t the best. They are fully adjustable, but even when correctly adjusted they aren’t always as clear as other headsets and a few people have reported headaches or dizziness.

The Element Works USA EW-VRHT1 is a good, solid headset that is comfortable, but not as good as some of the other headsets on this list. They can be a great option as a gift, especially for children.

Pros
  • Durable design
  • Cheapest headset on the list
  • Fits a wide range of phone sizes
Cons
  • No remote or button controls
  • The lenses aren’t as high quality as other headsets on this list
  • No headphones

Pansonite VR Headset

Compatible with iPhone and Android Phones
Sale
Pansonite 3D VR Glasses Virtual Reality Headset for Games & 3D Movies, Upgraded & Lightweight with Adjustable Pupil and Object Distance for iOS and Android Smartphone
  • DECOMPRESSION EQUIPMENT: The adjustable T-shaped straps reduce 30% pressure around face through balancing the stress on head. Fit for different head sizes (both adults and children). Deepened nasal bridge portion for no paining noses.
  • HEAT DISSIPATION DESIGN: Excellent heat dissipation with detachable attracted-iron cover and two ventilated holes on the two sides. Soft and breathable leather pad keeps your eyes comfortable even after hours watching.

Last update on 2019-08-23 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The Pansonite VR Headset has many of the bells and whistles other headsets in this price range leave off. It also has built-in headphones. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control to control audio/video and answer/reject calls. You can also play some shooting games, though some people have reported either having trouble connecting the remote to their phone or that, when connected, the remote doesn’t do much.

The headset fits phones sized 4.7”-6”.  It has fully adjustable HD resin aspherical lenses which reduces or eliminates dizziness. The face padding is comfortable with a breathable leather cover. Also, the front cover comes off which both allows your phone to stay cooler and allows the use of your camera for AR-based apps.

This headset comes right at the top of our price range, but has a lot of extras that the other cheaper phones don’t have. With higher-end lenses, headphones, a remote, and the ability to use your phone’s camera, you get a lot more for those few extra dollars. You can read the Pansonite VR headset review for more information.

Pros
  • High-quality adjustable lenses
  • Remote control
  • Built-in headphones
  • Front cover comes off so you can use the camera
Cons
  • Most expensive headset on the list

VR Shinecon Headset

Compatible with iPhone and Android Phones
VR Headset with Remote Controller,HD 3D VR Glasses Virtual Reality Headset for VR Games & 3D Movies, VR Headset for iPhone/Android phone Compatible 4.7-6 inch
  • We only make delicate product!VR headset for iPhone/Android phone Compatible 4.7-6 inch,3D glasses can turn mobile phones into cinemas/3D game halls. The product does not need to be recharged, 1. Download 3D video on mobile phone (left and right format) 2. Download VR appthe. 3.put cell phone into the VR glasses,Put on VR glasses and adjust pupil distance.and then you can watch it.With Bluetooth remote controller, the effect is better.
  • 2019 Latest Version of vr glassesWith comfortable adjustable earphone, adjust headphones freely. 3D phase sound technology brings you immersion audition experience in three-dimensional space, good sound insulation effect and strong bass, easy experience of VR immersion in the world.

Last update on 2019-08-22 /  Source: Amazon Affiliates

The VR Shinecon headset fits 4”-6” smartphones with a magnetically secured front faceplate. It has adjustable cloth straps that do a good job supporting the headset and keeping it comfortably on your face. It has breathable foam padding around the eye cuffs.

The VR Shinecon headset comes with a Bluetooth remote for controlling your phone and can also serve as a gamepad. It has built-in headphones for audio immersion and optical grade PMMA HD aspheric lenses which help to guard against dizziness. The lenses of this headset can also be set to reflect blue light to help protect your eyes during prolonged viewing.

This is another VR headset that comes with a lot of added features. The blue light reflection, headset, and high-quality lenses set it near the top of this, but you have to pay for those features.

Pros
  • High-quality adjustable lenses
  • Remote control that can be used as a game controller
  • Built-in headphones
  • Front cover comes off so you can use the camera
  • Blue light filter
Cons
  • One of the most expensive headsets on the list

Conclusion

VR headsets have become very affordable. If you are on a budget there are several very good options you can choose from. They may not give you everything the high priced headsets will, but they allow you to take the exciting step into the VR world.

There are several lower cost VR headsets on the market. However, now that you know what features to look for and if you read some customer reviews, you should be able to find a headset that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Hopefully, my list has helped you narrow down your choices, but there are still five headsets to choose from.

So, which of the five headsets on this list would I recommend as my top pick?

My Top Pick for the Best VR Headset under $50

I recommend that VR Shinecon Headset.

It has very good lenses and a sturdy, comfortable design.  The added remote makes it more user-friendly, particularly because it can be used as a gamepad. Also, the headphones and blue light filter are great bonuses.  Lastly, the removable front cover allows the use of AR-based apps and picture taking which expands the overall usefulness of the headset.

As an honorable mention, if $45.99 is out of your price range, I would go with the TEPOINN Virtual Reality Headset. It has great lenses and a remote.

Virtual reality has so many great applications, from watching movies to playing games to flying drones and so much more. Now you don’t need to let a tight budget prevent you from experiencing the fun and excitement of VR.

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