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Top 5 best VR headsets for gamers on a budget

Looking for a gateway into virtual reality? We rundown the five best VR headsets you can get on a budget.

Not everyone can afford a high-end VR headset such as an Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, Valve Index or even the PSVR.

The big three PC VR headsets come with an additional cost if you have to upgrade your PC in order to take full advantage, which will likely send your wallet cowering with fear into the corner.

For those who want to get into Virtual Reality but are on a tight budget, here’s our list of the five best VR headsets which won't break the bank.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit

If you own a Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Labo VR Starter Kit and Blaster can provide a perfect first date with virtual reality.

You build this VR headset yourself. Sure, it is mostly made out of cardboard, but it provides some great gaming experiences for the whole family. Enjoy a 360-degree view and blast aliens, fly around or jump up to bump enemies, and much more.

It is surprisingly comfortable and costs roughly £35. There are also a variety of expansion sets you can purchase if you enjoy the experience, but the entry-level price is great for gamers on a budget.

Samsung Gear VR

Sleek, comfortable, with an ergonomic design and adjustable head strap, the Samsung Gear VR is an excellent choice as your first VR headset.

It is powered by Oculus allowing you to join Oculus rooms and parties. The Samsung Gear VR supports over 1000 apps and games, with some favourites being Term1nal (where you play as a hacker) or Dead and Buried, where you shoot ghouls in an old saloon and even compete against other players in multiplayer quickdraw matches.

You can pick up a Samsung Gear VR headset for as low as £48, with prices increasing for one with an excellent motion controller.

This VR headset boasts a 101-degree view, proximity and gyro sensors, while still weighing in at only 345g. The Samsung Gear VR uses your smartphone to power the virtual reality experience, so just make sure you have a compatible smartphone before buying the device.

Samsung Gear VR
The sleek and comfortable Samsung Gear VR (Picture: Samsung) 

Merge VR

While the Samsung Gear VR listed above is only for Android devices, we've got iPhone users covered as well.

Merge VR is compatible with both Android and iOS phones. It supports nearly all iPhone models, with a few exceptions in the Plus and XS Max range. The Merge VR headset is one of our top picks because it is comfortable, has an adjustable strap and eye-lenses, making it usable by gamers of all ages.

It also has its own dedicated website called the Merge Miniverse. On the website, all compatible apps made available on Apple's App Store are listed, including some fun and educational games like Share the Science and BlockAR. This headset has some great Virtual Reality experiences on offer and will set you back roughly $40 from Amazon US.

Pansonite VR headset

Unlike most other VR headsets for mobile devices, the Pansonite VR headset comes with great integrated audio.

Combine this with a relatively comfortable ergonomic design, and adjustable pupil and focus distance, then you have an affordable and excellent virtual reality option.

It costs $42.99 which isn't all that much for a quality headset which gets the job done. The Pansonite VR headset comes with a controller, and works with most mobile VR games. Best of all, most smartphones (Android and iOS) work with this headset.

Pansonite VR
A comfortable design that fits most smartphones (Picture: Pansonite)

Oculus Go

The Oculus Go is the most expensive VR headset on this list but it is definitely the best.

Coming in at roughly £155 when not on sale, the Oculus Go is a standalone, all-in-one VR headset. This means it doesn't require another device such as a PC, console or smartphone to use.

It is wireless, comes in 32GB and 64GB options and sports a sleek, minimalistic design. The Oculus Go had a large library of games for you to enjoy, and while it lacks the six degrees for freedom as well as room tracking ability, it is easily the best budget VR headset out there.

It boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with a 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 WQHD fast-switch LCD display, with minimal motion blur. It is comfortable and easy to set up, with very little negatives to speak of.

Closing Thoughts

If money is no object, then, by all means, go for the Oculus Quest (or the Rift), Valve Index or HTC Vive, or a PS4 Pro and a PS VR headset. If you just want to get a taste of VR without scaring your wallet, the solutions here might just work for you. And if you're after headests compatible with your apple device, don't forget to consult our article about the best VR Headsets for iPhone.