Best USB Headsets for Computers

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
365 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best USB headsets for computers

Last Updated November 2019

USB headsets for computers allow you to keep your hands free while you talk and listen to calls or music or play video games. These versatile gadgets are popular among gamers, office workers, and salespeople.

By connecting to your computer or device via USB, the headset receives power and can transmit a signal both ways. Some USB headsets are designed to give you an immersive listening experience, making them well suited to gaming or listening to music. Others are more utilitarian, with compact designs and functional microphones and speakers. USB headphones may have an over-the-ear or on-ear design, and they may have a single speaker to leave one ear open.

There are countless variations and features when it comes to USB headsets, but no matter your needs, we can help you find the ideal one for you. To learn more about the types of USB headsets available, continue reading our buying guide, and check out our favorites when you’re ready to buy.

Just as most people have a preference for a side when talking on the phone, you may have a preference for the position of your microphone. Not all headsets have a boom that can rotate to be used on either side.

Key considerations

When shopping for a USB headset, consider how you will use it. Are you a gamer looking for crisp and immersive sound and a high-quality microphone? Or maybe you work in a busy office and need a headset that can offer clear audio as it blocks out background noise. The spectrum of USB headsets on the market is wide, and at the end of the day most models are designed for one specific task. Knowing your needs beforehand can help you narrow your search.

Sound quality

The sound quality of a headset generally correlates to the diameter of the drivers, which can range from 13.5 millimeters (in the case of earbuds) to 53 millimeters. For listening to the human voice, smaller headsets usually work fine. If you’re an audiophile or gamer, you may find that larger drivers better capture the full range of sounds in your music or games.

Microphone quality

The microphone of a USB headset should be able to pick up your voice clearly without getting too much background noise. The best microphones are noise-cancelling models, with a small microphone on the back of the primary microphone to pick up and reduce background noise. While it’s impossible to entirely block out other sounds, high-quality USB headsets with noise cancellation can allow you to be heard clearly even in a busy office or noisy home.

Monaural vs. binaural

If you want to use your USB headset for phone calls and video chats, you should decide whether a monaural (one-ear) or binaural (two-ear) design is better for your needs. Monaural headsets allow you to hear others in your vicinity without taking off the headset, while binaural headsets are better at keeping you focused on those you’re listening to and blocking out background noises. If you’re a gamer, you’ll almost certainly want a binaural headset so that you don’t miss out on any of the sounds in your games.

Controls

Almost all USB headsets have controls on the cable or the headset itself, allowing you to easily adjust the volume or mute your mic. If you’re a gamer, these may be all the functions you need. For salespeople, however, additional features like a quick disconnect button and microphone sensitivity dial can be useful.

USB vs. USB-C

USB-C is a newer variety of USB port/plug that offers faster transfer of data and power. As a result, headsets that connect to your computer or other device via USB-C typically offer superior sound and recording quality.

Affordable gaming headset

Despite the low price, this gaming headset has high-quality construction and a comfortable design that works well for long stretches of gaming. While this headset lacks features like noise cancellation, it offers excellent sound quality and a sleek design.

USB headset features

From the style of the ear cups to the overall design, USB headsets can vary greatly in their features.

Wired vs. wireless

By opting for a USB headset, you’ve already gone hands-free, but if you purchase a wireless USB headset, you can enjoy maximum freedom and flexibility as you take calls or play games from anywhere near your computer. While wireless models may not match the connection quality of wired models, they do allow you to make a quick run to the break room for a coffee without having to leave your call.

Over-the-ear vs. on-ear vs. earbud

Almost everyone has a strong opinion on headphone designs. Some people find the large designs of over-the-ear headphones the most comfortable. These have a plastic band that goes over the head and connects the cushioned ear cups or holds one ear cup in place. Other people prefer on-ear designs, which have a plastic or rubber hook that wraps around your ear to keep a single ear cup in place. Earbuds, which fit inside the ears, generally lack the sound quality of the other types, but they can block out external noises well and are easy to tuck away. The design that’s right for you is a matter of personal preference.

Boom

The small arm that holds the microphone is called the boom, which may be made of metal, sturdy plastic, or a flexible material. Flexible booms allow you to position the mic close enough to your mouth to pick up sound clearly but not so close that it picks up your breathing. Many headsets feature a boom that can be rotated in almost a full circle, allowing you to position the microphone on the left or right side.

Ear cushions

If you plan to wear your headset for extended periods of time, consider what cushion material you prefer. Uncovered foam is typically the least expensive (and least comfortable) option, while fabric- or leather-covered foam is more pleasant for long hours of listening.

DID YOU KNOW?

Noise-cancelling microphones can’t block out all outside noise, but they can greatly improve sound clarity.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many USB headsets have a mute function or disconnect button for when you step away from your desk.

DID YOU KNOW?

Headsets may have one or two speakers depending on whether you prefer to keep an ear open to talk to co-workers or you’d rather block out your surroundings.

Prices of USB headsets for computers

Inexpensive: USB headsets for $15 to $20 usually have cheap plastic parts and basic sound quality. However, for an affordable gaming headset, you may find one to your liking in this range as long as you aren’t looking for anything flashy.

Mid-range: In the $20 to $35 range, you’ll find gaming headsets and a few headsets designed for phone calls. On-wire controls are more common in this range, and sound quality is generally acceptable to good.

Expensive: USB headsets that cost $35 to $80 are typically designed for high-quality calls and often feature noise-cancellation capability and on-wire microphone controls.

Excellent noise cancellation

This comfortable headset is one of the less-expensive models designed for video calls and transcribing that features a variety of inline controls. The memory foam ear cushions stay comfortable for hours, and the noise-cancelling microphone makes this headset ideal for working in a noisy space. The ability to plug it into a USB port or 3.5 mm port is convenient and allows for easy use with phones and tablets. The only drawback is that the boom can only be positioned on the left side.

Headphone accessories

While any USB headset includes everything you need to get gaming or chatting right out of the box, there are a few common accessories that you may need.

  • Ear cushion replacements: Maybe you want backups for when your ear cushions wear out (a common issue with plastic or vinyl ear cups). Or maybe you simply aren’t a fan of the ear cushions that came with your headset. Either way, you may be able to find ear cushion replacements. In most cases, you’ll have to find cushions made by the manufacturer of your headphones.

  • Carrying case: If you regularly take your headphones to and from work or you prefer your gaming on the go, you might want to invest in a carrying case to protect your headset. It’s all too easy to damage a headset by cramming it into a backpack or handbag.

  • Microphone cover: That little bit of foam that goes over the microphone can go a long way in preventing popping and blocking out unwanted sound. Over time, this can become damaged, but replacements are inexpensive.

Other products we considered

While we stand by our top picks as the best USB headsets available, there are a couple other products worth calling out. For a low-priced gaming headset that features impressive surround sound, the Mpow Eg3 (Series II) Gaming Headset is a great option with an eye-catching metal design. Customers praise the build quality and comfortable design, as well as the noise-cancelling microphone. If you’re looking for a high-quality headset designed with video calls in mind, the Sennheiser SC 60 USB Business Headset is a great value from one of the most trusted brands in the market. With a lightweight design and an impressive noise-cancelling microphone, customers love using this headset for business calls.

A USB headset can be used for anything from gaming to video calls to transcribing. Most models are designed with a specific task in mind.

FAQ

Q. Why can’t I use headphones with a traditional 3.5 mm plug?

A. You can, but you can also expect a drop-off in quality. This is why USB headsets are far more common even if they are slightly more expensive.

Q. Can I use a USB headset with a smartphone or tablet?

A. Yes, though you might need an adapter if your tablet doesn’t have a USB-C or USB port.

Q. Can I use a USB headset with an Xbox One or PS4?

A. Though the Xbox One is made by Microsoft, USB headsets are not compatible with this popular game console. The PS4, however, can use most USB headsets.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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