Gaming headsets provide a more intense and immersive gaming experience for virtually every genre and type of video game. The best gaming headsets offer better sound quality, clearer mic pickup, and can even improve your gameplay for certain games.
There are hundreds of different gaming headsets out there, allowing us to put together a list of real all-stars to help you make your choice.
1. Razer Blackshark V2 (Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, Mobile)
The Razer BlackShark V2s are stripped-down gaming headsets for those who want power without bulk. They’re smaller and sleeker than many of Razer’s other headsets, such as the Kraken line, yet still offer exceptional sound and mic quality, especially for their cost.
Why we like it: For the price, it’s impossible to beat the BlackShark V2s. They’re lighter and more comfortable than most headphones with their level of sound and mic quality. The sound quality is honestly incredible, especially when used with a PC. The included 7.1 channel USB sound card, when paired with THX Spatial Audio, gives you a stunning three-dimensional sound that provides total immersion. Even without the sound card, it still beats out other headphones in its price range for its sound’s timbre and depth. The removable HyperClear Supercardioid boom mic offers crystal clarity without the buzz or background hiss many cheaper headsets provide.
Flaws: Isolation isn’t quite as effective on the V2 as on some other gaming headsets or even on its predecessor headset. It’s a tradeoff, though, as this mostly comes down to the slightly looser hinges on the V2s that we felt improved overall comfort and wearability.
2. SteelSeries Arctis 9X (Xbox, PC, Mobile)
The SteelSeries Arcgis 9X is a gaming headset built for the serious Xbox gamer. They’re designed to connect directly through Xbox’s proprietary wireless networking for the highest sound and mic quality possible with a wireless headset.
Why we like it: If you’ve got an Xbox the Arctis 9X is the gaming headset to beat. They work directly with Xbox’s proprietary wireless protocols for a seamless connection without an annoying dongle plus offer advanced Bluetooth links with PC or mobile devices. Even better, they provide parallel connections so you can go from gaming to answering a phone call in an instant. These connectivity features are backed up by the stunning sound and crystal clear mic quality the SteelSeries Arctis line is famous for. When you add in the comfort-enhancing ski-goggle style headband and plush oval cans you wind up with a gaming headset that’s hard to beat.
Flaws: The 9X is heavily customized for Xbox. It’s most significant features revolve around Xbox connectivity and play, making it a less attractive option for other consoles.
3. Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (Xbox, PlaytSation, Switch, PC, Mobile)
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pros are the wireless version of the popular BlackShark V2s. They offer the same great features and sound quality as the wired version but with the added benefit of wireless connectivity. It’s a good option for those who want wireless, but it does offer some tradeoffs.
Why we like it: The BlackShark V2 Pros are powerhouse performers in almost every metric. They’re comfortable enough for all-day wear, feature a 2.4Ghz connection for vanishingly low latency, offer a 24-hour battery life, and provide exceptional sound quality and top-of-the-line mic quality. They’re also a lot less ‘gamer-chic’ in appearance than many other top-performing headsets. Their sleek black design with a subdued logo on the cans is a welcome relief from some of the eye-bleeding color pallets and LEDs found on many other gaming headsets.
Flaws: It’s wireless. That adds in a whole host of complications like connectivity issues, lag, battery life, and console compatibility. Tons of gamers place a lot of stock by wireless headsets, but it is something to consider.
4. HyperX Cloud Orbit S (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Switch, Mobile)
The HyperX Cloud Orbit S are high-end wired gaming headsets built as a collaboration between high-end audio company Audeze and gaming giant HyperX. The result is a gaming headset with sound and mic quality approaching studio-level plus the comfort and usability features gamers demand. It connects to all consoles and PC using either a 3.5mm jack, USB-A, or USB-C connector for cross-platform play and has a removable boom mic that offers brilliantly clear quality.
Why we like it: The Cloud Orbit S headset is what you get when you combine top-of-the-line headphone components with expert knowledge of the gaming landscape. It packs in high-end planar magnetic drivers with advanced Waves NX 3D software to create immersive simulated 7.1 surround sound. With a bit of configuration, you can literally turn your head at the sound of someone sneaking up behind you and get a realistic experience of the sound changing. Its 10-hour battery life for this feature is nothing to sneer at either. It’s not quite the match of top-quality wireless headsets, but it will work just fine for the vast majority of gamers.
Flaws: Price and setup. The Cloud Orbit S is quite expensive for a wired gaming headset. It packs many great features in, but there are other options with comparable specs at a more affordable price. Setting it up is an adventure in itself, especially if you want to get the most out of the touted 3D positional audio.
5. Logitech G Pro X
Logitech is one of the largest makers of computer peripherals and accessories out there. It’s no surprise that when they put their manufacturing and design knowledge to the gaming headset market they would come out with a solidly performing product like the G Pro X. It combines all-day comfort with highly customizable though complicated software controls and excellent sound quality for a great overall experience.
Why we like it: The G Pro X doesn’t stand out noticeably in any one aspect, but in a perfect way. Everything about it, from the 7.1 channel object-based surround sound to the reliable mic performance and effective sound isolation, is competitive with similar headsets that lag in one or more metrics. The real claim to fame for the G Pro X is the impressive level of customization allowed by the Logitech G Hub app. Forget bass and mids, you can adjust every aspect of your headset’s sound and even create custom mic profiles for specific locations. If you’re a budding streamer, you can coax a higher level of quality in your audio than you’d expect from a headset in this price range.
Flaws: The highly customizable surround sound of the G Pro X only works on PC and has a steep learning curve. If you’re a console gamer you lose the ability to adjust the sound and mic settings beyond basic levels and don’t get a full surround effect.
6. SteelSeries Arctis Pro (PlayStation, Xbox, Mobile, Switch, PC)
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a high-end gaming headset that combines excellent performance with a range of customizable features. It’s a wired headset with an included GameDAC to help you maximize your audio quality whatever platform you play on.
Why we like it: It’s gorgeous, with specs and performance to match its appearance. Instead of flashy patterns and L33T styling, SteelSeries went for an understated elegance that pushes function as form in durable brushed steel and aluminum. What’s even more surprising is that it does this without making a single compromise on comfort or performance. The Arctis Pro is the pinnacle of the Arctis line, with a broad frequency range that helps it produce some of the clearest sound we heard from gaming headsets. When paired with GameDAC you wind up with a versatile gaming headset created for the audiophile who also likes to game.
Flaws: Once you add in the GameDAC the Arctis Pro is right at the top of consumer-level gaming headset pricing. It has top-quality specs and features, sure, but there’s plenty of competition at the top, and the Arctis Pro wasn’t able to convince us it stood out enough to justify the high price.
7. Corsair HS60 Pro (PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, Mobile)
The Corsair HS60 Pro is a wired entry-level gaming headset with a lot going for it. It boasts decent sound quality plus physical design touches usually found a lot higher up the ‘food chain’ of headset prices.
Why we like it: The HS60 Pro is affordable, comfortable, and capable. It offers specs and performance that can match headsets double or triple its price in a rock-solid build. The sound quality itself is nothing to write home about but is perfectly adequate for most gamers, especially at its price point. The mic was one of the most pleasant surprises. It was a lot clearer than we expected and did a great job catching every word while in a moderately noisy room.
Flaws: We found the HS60 Pro to be constricting on larger heads and lacking somewhat in look. The mesh grids on the side give them the look of open can headphones despite their obvious closed can design, a stylistic touch we didn’t care for.
8. HyperX Cloud Stinger (Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch, Mobile)
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is an entry-level pair of gaming headsets with a lot going for them. They’re lighter and cheaper than similar budget headsets but make a few tradeoffs in sound and mic quality to achieve this.
Why we like it: The Cloud Stinger headset is lightweight, comfortable enough to wear all day, and incredibly affordable. It’s available in both a standard stereo or a workable 7.1 channel surround sound version. We were pleasantly surprised at how good they sounded and especially at how well the surround sound provided a workable sound stage effect.
Flaws: Let’s face it, these are cheaper headsets bordering on cheap. The plastic body can’t match the style of more costly headsets, and the sound quality itself is just passable. They’re certainly not a bad product, but there are certainly better options out there.
9. Steelseries Arctis 1 (Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch, Mobile)
The SteelSeries Arctic 1 is the entry-level pair of gaming headsets in the Arctis line. It comes in either a wired or wireless version and works well enough with all the most popular platforms out there. It includes in-demand features like a detachable microphone and a very sleek look.
Why we like it: The Arctis 1 is a good option for someone who wants SteelSeries headphones but doesn’t want to drop a ton of cash on them. It uses the same basic design and styling touches of its higher-end cousins yet costs substantially less. Despite this, it still manages to offer very respectable sound quality and a good mic. One feature we loved was the ability to connect to Nintendo Switch wirelessly using an included USB-C dongle.
Flaws: You can feel some of the compromises SteelSeries made to keep the cost of the Arctis 1 down. The headband is made of plastic rather than aluminum or steel, and the earcups are noticeably shallower than many other gaming headsets. It’s still comfortable, but it’s not as wearable for more extended periods of gameplay.
10. Anker Soundcore Strike 3 (Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch, Mobile)
Anker has carved out a very successful niche for itself in making high-quality generic-ish tech products across a range of fields. Its Soundcore line of audio products has come out with many great value-priced products, with the Soundcore Strike 3 gaming headset living up to our expectations.
Why we like it: The Soundcore Strike 3 headset is about as cheap as you can get a pair of gaming headsets and still expect them to perform reasonably. Despite this, it packs in some impressively solid sound quality, a sufficiently clear mic, and even manages to pull off decent 7.1 channel virtual surround sound. When you add in the stylish design and comfortable memory foam ear cups, you get a headset you can wear through a long play session with performance you won’t be able to fault.
Flaws: The Strike 3 is excellent for the money, but there are better headsets out there. For a relatively small amount more, you move up a class in performance and start to get into some serious gaming brands.
Who should buy a gaming headset?
Gaming headsets are a great addition to any gamers kit, but there’s even more benefit in picking a pair up for specific groups.
Frequent Zoom users – One often overlooked benefit of a gaming headset is in remote work. If you frequently find yourself in remote meetings, a gaming headset offers a higher quality mic plus the ability to better block out the sounds of your home office around you.
Competitive gamers – If you’re at all interested in competitive gaming you need a gaming headset. This is especially true if you’re playing a modern first-person shooter. The lack of surround sound puts you at a disadvantage when someone tries to sneak up behind you.
People gaming in a shared area – Let’s face it, most of us aren’t gaming in a soundproof room without distractions. Family, background noise, and noisy neighbors can interfere with your ability to enjoy a game and break the immersion.
High-quality gaming headsets help you block out distractions and focus entirely on your gameplay. If you live in a dorm, an apartment, or with roommates/parents, a gaming headset is a serious value add to your gaming setup.
Coop gamers – If the games you play feature team elements and cooperative play, a high-quality gaming headset is essential. They allow you to communicate effectively with your team and block out extraneous sound. The last thing you want is to lose a key match because you misheard a teammate.
Prospective streamers – If you’re looking to get into streaming, a quality headset with a good mic is a must-have. It ups your play in coop games and can double as a mic to talk with your followers depending on your preferred platform and game.
How we ranked
We used six key metrics to create our list. These were sound and mic quality, sound isolation and active noise cancellation, compatibility, comfort and fit, battery life, and price.
Sound and mic quality – Sound quality for a gaming headset is different from that of traditional headphones. Virtual surround sound is a term we see a lot here, as having a directional sound stage allows you to hear if someone is sneaking up behind you.
For sound quality we looked at the driver type and size, the frequency range, and audio clarity. For the mic, we focused on clarity of pickup and how well it isolates your words from background noise.
Sound isolation and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) – Active noise cancellation is beginning to show up in gaming headsets, but sound isolation is still very much the norm. Under the conditions most gamers play ANC just isn’t as important.
For this one, we looked at the headsets’ effectiveness at blocking outside sound and helping to build immersion.
Compatibility – While it seems like connecting a headset to your game console shouldn’t be any more difficult than pairing one to your phone, the reality is quite different. No modern consoles allow Bluetooth connections, instead relying on either 3.5mm plugs through the controller or various optical or proprietary connections.
We ranked headsets with multi-system compatibility highest but also gave high points for outstanding options specific to individual console ecosystems.
Comfort and fit – If you’re a serious gamer, you’re going to need a gaming headset you can wear for the long haul. This one comes down to weight, ergonomics, type of band, and the plushness and size of the earcups.
More comfortable headsets allow you to game longer without putting a strain on your ears or causing headaches.
Battery life – While many USB or 3.5mm wired gaming headsets don’t rely on batteries, many of the very best do. We gave high marks to headsets that combined reasonable battery life with a robust range of features.
Price – We’ll be straight with you; the very best gaming headsets are quite pricey. Thankfully for those on a stricter budget, there are plenty of high-quality mid-level and even value-priced headsets.
We weighted our results based on the bang-for-your-buck principle to provide the very best gaming headsets at any price point.
Q: Are gaming headsets worth it?
A: Absolutely. Gaming headsets aren’t just headphones with fancy LEDs. They combine good audio quality with higher-end microphone performance to give you the best of both worlds. That allows you to hear someone sneaking up behind you in your favorite FPS while still being able to chat with friends while gaming.
Q: What gaming headsets work with PCs?
A: If you’re a PC gamer you’ve got your pic of headsets. Virtually every gaming headset out there will connect via 3.5mm, USB, or Bluetooth to your PC.
Q: What’s the best gaming headset for Xbox?
A: There are two chief ways to use a gaming headset with an Xbox. The first works with pretty much every headset and even headphone out there, plugging in a 3.5mm jack. If you want to go wireless, your options are more limited, with more calls for adapters and dongles. Thankfully though, some options are built natively for Xbox and still rock as headsets.
Our pick for best Xbox gaming headset is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X.
Q: What’s the best gaming headset for Nintendo Switch?
A: If you’re a Switch player your choices for headsets are complicated. You can use wired 3.5mm headsets with no problem, but wireless headsets are few and far between.
Our pick for best Nintendo Switch gaming headset is the SteelSeries Arctis 1.
Q: What gaming headset has the best mic?
A: Microphone quality is nearly as important as sound quality when it comes to gaming headsets. The best headset mics offer crystal clear pickup of your words without picking up background noise or the sound of your breathing. Having the option to take them off when not needed is also a nice touch.
Our pick for best gaming headset mic, also our overall number one pick, is the Razer Blackshark V2.
Q: What gaming headset is best for streaming?
A: Streamers require a lot more performance from their headset than your average player does. They need the little extra awareness that surround sound provides and the ability to block out the world as they play. A high-quality mic is also an important feature, especially if you intend to stream from your mic.
Our pick for best gaming headset for streaming is the HyperX Cloud Orbit S.
Gaming headsets offer the best combination of sound quality and mic performance for the modern gamer. Even better, they’re more affordable, better made, and offer a greater range of features than we could have imagined.
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