This headphone's amplifier utilizes the brand’s Digital Audio Converter to deliver pristine sound. Use its noise-canceling mic to bark orders at team members as you play. The headphones' high-density magnets create a wide range of sound from 10 to 40,000 Hz.
Not as durable as expected. A few say that they feel cheap.
Affordable. Has plush earcups. Lightweight and offers crisp audio. Detachable microphone. Compatible with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android. Upgradeable to THX Spatial Audio. Available in white, pink, and black.
Not compatible with Xbox consoles.
Large 50mm drivers produce impactful sound. A 6mm mic provides clear communication. DTS:X surround sound allows for immersive audio. Wireless connection boasts excellent latency. Features programmable buttons on the left earcup.
The 2.5G wireless connection depends on a dongle.
It's at an affordable price for the quality that you get sound-wise. Works with every platform including Nintendo Switch. The earpads are made from a memory foam material that is relatively breathable. The microphone is detachable.
The surround sound aspect only works on PC.
Wired and Bluetooth connectivity. Well-padded ear cushions. Rich, high-quality sound. Sturdy. Integrated mic and audio control. Compatible with most gaming platforms. Up to 20 hours of battery life.
Its snug fit is not for everyone.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
There are several ways to enjoy in-game audio with a PC or video game console, but if you want to chat with online friends or listen in private, the best option is a gaming headset.
While gaming headsets are similar to headphones you’d use exclusively for music, there are distinct differences, such as built-in microphones and specially tuned drivers for gaming audio.
The best gaming headsets allow you to hear every rustle or footstep behind you. This is especially important in stealth titles and first-person shooter games where you must be aware of the enemy’s movements at all times. High-quality audio also helps when taking on other gamers in multiplayer sessions, alerting you to possible threats that could influence the outcome of your mission or goal.
For sports games and racing franchises, the need to hear the subtlest of sounds is less pronounced. However, there are few things more powerful than the sound of a roaring engine or chanting spectators to inspire you to victory.
Since you want to be able to hear a virtual pin drop, large audio drivers (around 50 millimeters) are usually the best. That’s not to say 40 millimeters wouldn’t work; it would, and it would be much better than earbuds, but it likely wouldn’t have the sound spectrum of larger drivers.
Comfort is also key. Before you buy a gaming headset, consider the thickness of the foam on the headband and earcups and whether the microphone is retractable or removable.
While it’s not necessary to have the latest headphones for an epic gaming session, make no mistake: By incorporating some of the latest technology, an excellent gaming headset can significantly improve your fun. A great example of this is our top pick, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, which uses built-in technology to place you in the middle of the action. A wallet-friendly option that also offers excellent quality is the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE.
You won’t find many wireless headsets with as much auditory power as this one. Our top pick comes with a Parametric equalizer (digital filters that adjust the frequency of each sound signal individually), the first of its kind for video games. It incorporates SteelSeries’ Sonar software that lets you amplify or reduce specific in-game sounds. The 40-millimeter audio drivers give you 360-degree spatial sound to hear everything, and they’re compatible with AMD’s Tempest 3D Audio chip to accelerate sound decompression. In short, you won’t miss having larger audio drivers here.
Along with a retractable microphone, it features a robust metal headband coated in durable rubber and four microphones for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). You can hot-swap the batteries so you don’t have to switch off the headset before changing them. The headset is compatible with PC and PlayStation.
For all-encompassing audio, the Virtuoso RGB is an excellent choice. It boasts 7.1 surround sound that makes it easier to pinpoint the exact direction and distance of a sound’s origin. The wireless on-ear headset has generous 50-millimeter audio drivers for booming bass and a comfortable foam headband, and the Slipstream Corsair wireless technology gives you a range of 60 feet.
For communicating with friends, it features an omnidirectional detachable microphone with high bandwidth. It is compatible with PC, Xbox and PlayStation, and the rechargeable battery lasts about 20 hours.
The larger drivers and platform interoperability make this an excellent purchase, as you can even pair it with a mobile phone.
Available in four color schemes, this wireless Pro is an updated version of Razer’s more affordable standard Barracuda and the X version. It features Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation that suppresses ambient sounds without affecting the overall audio quality.
A significant aspect of the Pro is the in-line THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier, which makes the high-fidelity sounds louder and more powerful as sound signals are rushed through the 50-millimeter TriForce audio drivers.
For seamless connectivity between a computer and a mobile phone, you can easily swap between the 2.4 GHz frequency and Bluetooth. The battery is optimized for epic gaming sessions, lasting about 40 hours on a single charge.
You’ll never be caught by surprise with this headset, as it features Nx Waves’ head-tracking technology. This means the position of in-game sounds remains in the same direction when you slightly turn your head. To further enhance sound quality, the headset incorporates some of the largest (100 millimeters) Audeze planar magnetic drivers you’ll find to minimize distortion.
It has a detachable microphone with a pop filter to reduce distortion in speech. It comes with three detachable cable options (USB-A, USB-C and 3.5mm), making it easily compatible with PC, Xbox and PlayStation consoles. While the audio quality is great, some gamers would prefer to have a bit more cushioning on the headband, as it only has a short foam strip that doesn’t extend to the temples.
The updated wired version of the BlackShark is an excellent choice if you prefer a colorful headset. In addition to standard matte black, it comes in bright yellow with the ESL logo just above the earcup or in the blue and yellow colors of gaming streamer CouRageJD.
The 50-millimeter audio drivers feature titanium-coated diaphragms to provide the best THX 7.1 surround sound experience. Communication is made easy through the 9-millimeter Razer Hyperclear cardioid microphone, which is detachable and can be tuned through the Razer Synapse system. The earcups and headband are made of soft memory foam.
This headset is a great value, as it’s more affordable than others with similar technology.
If you prefer a minimalist design with great-quality audio, this headset is one of the sleekest-looking gaming accessories you can get. Available in wired and wireless models, it features generous 50-millimeter audio drivers with 7.1 surround sound to accurately pinpoint anything from footsteps to explosions.
The memory foam earpads are covered with synthetic leather and provide passive noise-canceling capabilities. Included with the headset is an external sound card with EQ profile storage so you can fine-tune your audio according to what you are playing. Communication is transmitted through a retractable microphone, which uses Blue’s Voice software to make your in-game chats clearer.
The first A10 is still hugely popular among gamers, as it’s one of the best headsets at a very affordable price. The second-generation A10 is slightly more expensive, but it packs a much bigger punch than its predecessor. While they don’t provide surround sound alone, the thick memory foam earcups house custom-tuned 32-millimeter dynamic drivers for crystal-clear audio.
The headband is almost indestructible, capable of twisting and turning, while the foam of the headband and earcups are replaceable. This is always a bonus, as synthetic leather tends to peel after a few years. And when you need some privacy, just flip up the mic to automatically put it on mute.
This Astro Gaming headset is available in five colors, and you can add a stylish headset stand with your order for a few dollars more.
Any console owner can attest to how cluttered cables can get when gaming. However, if Xbox One is your preferred system, this wireless gaming headset eliminates the mess while delivering exceptional audio via 40-millimeter drivers. It connects directly to your console (similar to a controller) through Xbox Wireless technology, so you don’t need additional cables for the microphone.
The memory foam earcups are secured with a metal headband, and an elastic strap prevents pressure. The left earcup has a retractable microphone, and the rechargeable battery lasts about 20 hours. Even several years after its initial release, it still provides excellent audio compared to recent models.
Compatible with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S, the wired Recon 70X features 40-millimeter audio drivers housed inside memory foam earcups covered with synthetic leather. It supports spatial audio from Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X to deliver an immersive experience.
The headset has a flip-to-mute microphone for in-game communication and a 4-foot cable to connect to the Xbox controller or PC. It might not be as powerful or feature-rich as some high-end models, but considering its affordable price, it’s an excellent choice.
Wired gaming headsets are generally compatible with all systems — PC, console and handheld gadgets — if they connect through a standard 3.5-millimeter jack. However, depending on the wireless connection technology, there are a few exceptions.
The most notable is the rivalry between Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, as each uses a slightly different system for connecting gaming peripherals. Connections on the PlayStation are fairly simple, but the Xbox makes it tricky by employing Microsoft’s proprietary Xbox Wireless system. This means, in some instances, a headset requires a third-party adapter to work. While that isn’t such a bad thing, it does prevent some headsets from wirelessly connecting to your consoles. What is the best solution? Use a wired headset through the console’s controller.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a gaming headset that doesn’t support stereo sound, but if you want to know exactly what is happening around you in the game, surround sound is the best option. Stereo only lets you hear what is to the left and right of you; surround sound delivers 360 degrees of pinpoint audio.
Thankfully, you don’t need expensive adapters or software to make that happen. Many high-end headsets have the technology built-in. And the best part? It works in streaming apps such as Netflix if the film supports it.
It can be tricky to decide which connectivity method is right for you, as there are benefits and drawbacks to both wireless and wired headsets. For example, wired headsets connect directly to the console’s controller, eliminating the need for recharging. However, wireless headsets require an external soundcard, amplifier or equalizer to function. While this definitely improves their sound-producing capabilities, it also makes them more expensive.
A built-in microphone is an essential part of communication with your teammates or shouting at enemies who get in the way. Generally, there are two kinds used in gaming headsets: unidirectional and omnidirectional.
In a unidirectional microphone, the receiver only faces one direction. When placed in front of your mouth, it will catch everything you say. However, if it slightly turns in the heat of a battle, your friends will hear muffling, or it will sound like you’re far away.
With an omnidirectional microphone, it doesn’t matter which way the microphone is facing: It can pick up your voice from anywhere. But that also means it can pick up talking from people in the room, so that’s something to consider.
Many aspects contribute to the overall quality and compatibility of an excellent gaming headset. However, not all features might suit your style, preferred genre or design choice. That said, there are several universal points to look for if you want to extract as much enjoyment from your gaming sessions as possible.
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 3.5-millimeter 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.
One of the biggest advancements in surround sound has been the inclusion of audio enhancement software such as Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone: X and Windows Sonic. While each technology is different, simply put, they take the existing surround sound audio and add an additional layer that positions audio in specific places in relation to the listener. The result is surround sound in 11 channels and a subwoofer that puts you in the middle of every game you play.
Many affordable headsets use hard plastic for the headband and earcup fasteners and foam padding that deforms over time. If you want a headset that stands the test of time, look for a model that uses metal for the headband’s base and fasteners and thick memory foam on the earcups and the part that rests on top of your head.
And, while it can be more expensive, try to go for leather or fabric earcups instead of synthetic leather. Over time, synthetic leather has a tendency to flake and peel, which looks awful.
We all know that video games take place in a digital landscape. And we don’t want the real world to ruin our fun. That’s where noise cancellation comes in. Noise cancellation eliminates any ambient sounds in the room. It’s an amazing technology that helps with immersion, as there is nothing worse than sneaking up on an enemy only to have your concentration broken by the sound of your neighbor’s lawn mower.
In gaming headsets, there are two kinds of noise cancelation: active and passive. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) uses additional microphones to match the frequency of the disturbance and block it. Passive noise cancellation relies on tight-fitting earcups to eliminate noise through pressure on your ears.
ANC is ideal if battery conservation isn’t a concern and immersion is highly important. Passive noise cancellation doesn’t require a battery-powered headset, and you can still hear some ambient sounds.
A. The price of a gaming headset depends on its connectivity method, brand and capabilities. Wired headsets tend to be slightly more affordable than their wireless counterparts, while headsets for PCs generally cost less than consoles.
There are affordable headsets for under $100 that will get the job done. But if you’re looking for the best on the market, you should budget $250 to $350 for a set.
A. Absolutely. However, it depends on the supported connection method. All headsets that use the standard 3.5-millimeter jack can connect to a mobile phone if it also supports the 3.5-millimeter plug. For Apple’s iOS device, it’s different, as you must use the Lightning to 3.5-millimeter adapter.
Connecting a gaming headset through Bluetooth is similar to any other Bluetooth device, but the two gadgets must be compatible.
A. In theory, you can. However, while it would be sufficient in a pinch (for example, if your wireless headset runs out of battery), it’s not recommended. Wired or wireless connection aside, the audio quality of earbuds is not as good as that of a dedicated gaming headset.
A. Gaming headsets are compatible with mobile phones and handheld consoles, so you can take them on the road with you. If you plan to do this, you should definitely get a sturdy case or padded carrying bag. But it’s also not a bad idea to get a protective cover at home. This prevents moisture, dust and airborne debris from entering the headset, which might cause some audio degradation. It’s unlikely to happen, but you never know.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.