Extremely lightweight. Durable carbon steel headband. Hidden stitching and memory foam make for comfortable ear pads. Impressive levels of noise cancellation. Convenient handheld headset controller. Ventilated earcups.
This premium universal headset is available at a premium price.
Optimized for Xbox One and PS4. Available in white or black. Affordable. Powerful speakers. Handy auto-mute flip-up mic. Breathable fabric ear cushions. Wireless design with 15-hour battery life.
Although the Stealth 600 is inexpensive, please note that these are 2 models that will not cross-play on both PS4 and Xbox One, so be sure to buy the headset for your console.
Optimized for Xbox One, PS4, PC, and mobile gaming. Lightweight and easily adjusted for the perfect fit. Sensitive mic. Premium audio. Swappable components for the headset you need. Simple plug-and-play connectivity.
While the base A40 TR model is affordable, the customizable Mixamp sound balancer and stylish mod kit parts are sold separately.
Designed for Xbox One, PS4, PSVR, PC, Mac, and mobile platforms. Immersive audio quality. Dual microphone design. Volume and mute controls integrated into earcups for instant access. Comfy gel-cooled earpads.
The great sound and next-level design of the LS35X comes with a fairly high price tag.
Genuinely immersive HyperSense touch-sensory feedback. THX Spatial Audio provides lifelike sound realism. Rugged aluminum frame. Gel-infused ear cushions. Universally compatible. Moderately priced.
Although Razer Chroma lighting and Hypersense feedback are incredible, you’ll only get 8 hours of playtime with these features turned on, but 20 hours with them disabled.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
As any gamer will tell you, half the fun of an intense gaming session is feeling completely immersed in the game environment. From expansive, open-world environments to sound effects delivered in surround sound, games need to be experienced to be enjoyed.
But if you’ve ever gamed using your TV speakers or a set of computer speakers, you know that most traditional setups don’t do video game soundtracks justice — or they need to be cranked up to eleven to get there. Thankfully, there’s a solution that allows gamers to enjoy big sound without having to wake the neighbors: gaming headsets.
Gaming headsets are headphone-and-microphone combination units designed specifically for gamers. The microphone is positioned on a small boom stand that picks up speech without getting in the way, and there are multiple speakers in each ear so gamers can hear their favorite titles like they were meant to be heard.
Gaming headsets range from basic stereo-only models to audiophile headsets that support high-end audio formats like Dolby Atmos. The right gaming headset for you will depend on a lot of factors, so let’s get started with everything you need to know to find the perfect one.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following questions. They’ll help you rule out the features you don’t need and focus on the ones you do.
This is probably the most important question to consider, because some gaming headsets are designed for specific platforms. In some instances, headsets require third-party adapters to work with a gaming console. Before you buy, make sure the headset you want can connect to your gaming platform of choice.
Pricey but powerful
Logitech’s G930 gaming headset is one of the most expensive models around, but that’s also because it’s practically perfect. The headset is wireless and has programmable buttons for accessing key in-game interactions, plus a memory foam headband that’s perfect for marathon gaming sessions. If you’re looking for the best there is, you found it.
Many games support multi-channel audio, so you can get enveloped in their sonic environments as you hear the action all around you — and you don’t need a fancy system to hear every last sound effect. Gaming headsets create virtual surround sound environments, so you can enjoy being immersed in audio that sounds like it’s coming from every direction. Our favorite part: it works with movies, too, so a gaming headset that supports surround sound can also be used to create your own private home theater audio experience.
While wireless headphones are definitely more convenient, wireless connectivity can introduce lags in audio, which can be a big problem in some games. On the other hand, using a wired gaming headset may be the least error-prone solution, but it’s also the messiest. Decide ahead of time if you want to buy a wireless or wired gaming headset — and keep in mind that wireless models usually cost a little more.
A good gaming headset is a lot more than a pair of earphones and a microphone. Here are our favorite features on gaming headsets.
Connectivity options: Gaming headsets can connect to your console or PC in a variety of ways — most commonly via standard 3.5mm audio cable, USB, or, in some cases, wirelessly via Bluetooth. Consider the pros and cons of each. For example, a standard 3.5mm connection is your simplest option, but it’s an analog connection and won’t sound as good as a digital one, such as USB connectivity. Bluetooth connectivity is the most convenient of all because it’s wireless, but some gamers complain about audio synchronization problems in games where timing is key.
Dolby Atmos support: One of the biggest advancements in surround sound in recent years has been the introduction of Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is a sound format that takes an existing surround sound track and adds an additional layer of audio that positions audio in specific places in relation to the listener. The result: surround sound in eleven channels and a subwoofer that put you in the middle of every game you play.
Premium materials: Gaming headsets are built to be used for hours at a time, so comfort is a big deal, and the fabrics and materials they’re made of matter. Materials range from cheap polyester pads all the way through velvet-soft options, although premium materials like leather can add to the cost.
Noise cancellation: Noise cancellation is one of our favorite inventions of the last hundred years. Headsets can now play white noise that effectively “cancels” all outside sound, so you hear your game’s audio and only your game’s audio. If you typically game in a noisy environment, or if you simply prefer gaming without the distraction of outside noise, get a gaming headset with noise cancellation.
If you’re a Mac user, read the fine print carefully. Some gaming headsets are PC-only and won’t work with your Apple computer. Play it safe and look for gaming headsets that explicitly advertise compatibility with OS X.
Inexpensive: Basic analog gaming headsets start at around $20 and can be as expensive as $50. Models in this range are typically wired and usually sport big, bulky designs (which make them pretty durable). They offer some foam cushioning, but they may leave a little to be desired when it comes to long-term comfort. If you’re looking for an entry-level headset, you can get a competent one for fairly cheap.
Mid-range: Gaming headsets between $50 and $150 introduce key amenities like USB connectivity, wireless connectivity, and software applications for fine-tuning your sound. Headsets in this price range are a pretty big leap from less-expensive ones, but they sound better, they feel better, and they’re easier to use. Most people find their ideal gaming headset in this price range.
Expensive: Audiophile-quality gaming headsets can cost anywhere between $150 and $300. Headsets in this price range are incredibly light and comfortable, and they include premium features like noise cancellation. On the low end of this range are some incredible performers; on the high end are great gaming headsets that charge a premium for a brand name.
The general rule with gaming products: if you can buy a product for PC gaming, you can probably also buy a version of it that includes LED lighting. Gaming headsets are no exception: many include built-in lighting that you can adjust your headset lights to match the LED lighting on your PC, your controller, or your keyboard.
Gets the little things right
The Sades SA920 gaming headset is one of the most affordable models available, and it’s also one of the most innovative. It’s got an in-line switch for turning the mic on and off as well as controlling the volume, which can really help during noisy, chaotic games. There aren’t many better values in gaming headsets than this one.
If you love surround sound in your games but don’t want to spend a lot, consider ONIKUMA’s Pro Gaming headset. This product has noise cancellation, supports surround sound, and is incredibly affordable. (The headset has plenty of padding, which is key if you plan on wearing it for hours at a time.) Just keep in mind that it requires a separate adapter if you want to use it with an Xbox One.
Another solid budget option is the RUNMUS Gaming Headset. It’s a big, beefy headset that’s surprisingly comfortable. The built-in LED lighting is fun, and the adjustable boom makes it easy to get the microphone out of your way quickly when you need to. If you’re on the hunt for a gaming headset that’s affordable but doesn’t leave out key features like surround sound, this one is worth checking out.
Q. Can I use a gaming headset to listen to music?
A. Absolutely. At the end of the day, all gaming headsets are also headphones, so you can use them with any audio source they can connect to. If you’re a music buff, consider getting a gaming headset that works with an app for adjusting EQ settings — that way you can fine tune the audio to your liking.
Q. Can I use a pair of earbuds as a gaming headset?
A. You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Earbuds are small, marble-sized headphones meant to sit discreetly inside your ear, and they often include in-line microphones for making phone calls. Earbuds are great for listening to music, but they often lack enough bass to make video games sound realistic. Earbuds also bleed a lot of sound, so they can be noisy around others, which is a particular problem with gaming. Do yourself a favor: if you’re thinking of getting a gaming headset, don’t compromise — get a gaming headset that’s designed for games, and avoid repurposing a pair of earbuds not meant for that purpose.
Q. Should I buy a case for my gaming headset?
A. If you plan on travelling with your gaming headset, we definitely recommend getting a case for it. Gaming headsets are generally pretty durable, but all it takes is one wrong fall to seriously damage them. That’s not a big risk if you plan on keeping them near your gaming setup at home, but if you regularly find yourself at LAN parties or similar gaming events, it’s a good idea to protect your investment and buy a case.
If you’re buying a gaming headset to play games and watch movies in surround sound, consider getting one that includes audio configuration desktop software. Some gaming headsets even work with Dolby Access, an application for fine-tuning your gaming headsets for Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
Pro AF Universal Wired Gaming Headset
Featuring a slick black and purple design, an excellent audio experience, and cozy headband cushions, the Victrix Pro AF provides superior levels of comfort, noise cancellation, and a high-end mic that you can bring to your preferred gaming platform.
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