Strap in, slip the headset on, and head off to the digital races. Whatever genre you’re playing, you’re able to majorly benefit with an on-point headset that immerses you in the game or provides acute details in an FPS match. Basically, you can’t have too much of a good thing, and in this case, it’s high-quality game audio that’s shot directly into your noggin. Comfort, style, versatility; all that good stuff and your most-asked questions are sitting pretty in the comprehensive guide we’ve thrown together for you. From top to bottom, there’s a killer headset here for everyone.
The Best Gaming Headset
Our reigning champ comes with the famous red widow look, and a comfort beyond compare. HyperX climbed the ranks of this list with each beautiful feature we tested, and still hangs by the PS4 at this writer’s home. First and foremost, you get the HyperX teamspeak card on your generous cord, giving you a full range of control over your Discord chat or console party, no matter what. We were a sucker for the comfortable ear enclosures, as well as the additional ones that come with the storage bag.
The detachable microphone and adjustable headband give you max control over your game, even if you’re not in the mood to sit tight in the party. That being said, that mic isn’t the top-quality one they’re advertising. For the most part, it’s a fairly standard microphone that still picks up on a bit of background chatter and white noise. If you want to have this exit through your stereo or soundbar, you’ll have to grab the adapter, which isn’t included. While that’s a bit of a bummer, it’s still a stellar set at a rockin’ price, giving you more green in your wallet, and a fully-immersive gaming experience.
Compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch (requires adapter for full list)
Memory foam ear pads for excellent comfort
- Weight4 ounces
Long teamspeak-enabled cord
Comes with additional ear enclosures w/ carrying bag for storage
Marketed as having a noise cancelling headphone, but it’s standard at best
Does not include stereo adapter
The best things in life are corded. Take your pick of five different colors, and take to the stream to kick some serious tail. SteelSeries Arctis Professional Hi-Res Gaming Headset comes crafted primarily of steel and aluminum alloy, giving you one of the sturdiest, drop-proof headsets you’ll ever wear. If you’re ready to cancel out background noise, and make the most of your fully-immersive gaming experience, you’re about to hit the jackpot. While the price is a bit steeper than we would’ve liked to see, it’s for good reason: the previous Arctis models (3, 5, and 7), don’t come with multi-platform compatibility. For this price, you’d expect to be able to use it with just about anything.
DTS sound features only work for PC, which is just an enhanced sound experience, but even the “standard” way that this works is beyond excellent for all platforms. You do get a USB ChatMix dial, giving you full disposal of your chat and volume features at the tip of your fingers, as well as a 360 degree sound experience. One reason this headset couldn’t be beat, is the advanced ClearCast microphone. If you’re sick of sounding like static from a WWII era radio in live streams, or you just don’t want to hear your mates telling you to fix your settings, you’re about to be in your glory.
360 degree sound immersion
USB ChatMix dial
ClearCast microphone for excellent clarity
- Weight15 ounces
Background noise cancellation keeps your head in the game
Durable construction of steel and aluminum alloy, while still being lightweight enough to wear
Price is a bit steep
DTS surround is only available for PC; wired works for consoles
PS4 fans are about to rejoice, because you’re not just suck with whatever the GameStop clerk recommends anymore. This pair is applicable to Xbox One, mobile, Switch, PC and Mac, but when you look at it, you’ll picture the blue laser light bustling from the frame of your PlayStation 4. ASTRO has been one of the top headset brands since the early days of YouTube gaming, and for good reason: from the comfortable foam ear padding, right on down to the clear-cut audio from the top-quality microphone, you’ve got just about everything you’ll ever need. Everything in life comes with a few bumps in the road, and as excellent as that mic is, it has a fatal flaw.
That mic has a useful flip-up mute feature, but it’s not exactly practical. It’s flipped into gear by accident before, which is a real buzzkill when you’re trying to team-up and your teammates can’t coordinate with you. Apart from that, there’s not a whole lot of padding, which is directly related to the lower cost. That being said, you still get all the compatibility and in-line volume controls as possible, while being able to utilize the wireless function for PC/Mac. Full immersion, comfortable ear enclosures, affordable price; what more could you want?
Clear-as-day microphone quality w/ in-line volume control
Compatible with PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mobile, Mac, PC
Comfortable foam ear padding
- BrandASTRO Gaming
- Weight1.62 pounds
Excellent price that’s affordable to all budgets
Comfort fit microphone that receives well, and doesn’t crowd you while gaming
Minimal headband padding
Flip-up mute feature sometimes enacts when you don’t want it to
Steel makes everything better, especially when it’s a properly-weighted gaming headset. Creative brings us a budget-friendly take on the higher-end side of gaming headsets, right from the outside in. You get to reap the rewards of C-Plus Mode, which allows you to operate different sound mechanics for different games (very useful when switching from competitive FPS to racing/sports games). With customized settings, you can tweak your sound and save profiles for different games; they really focused on sound quality and customization, but fell short on a few key components of this headset.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is fairly low quality, which is a bit of a disappointment, and the microphone encounters some quality issues. Similar to how an international Skype call will glitch and stretch-out a second or two of your voice, this will sometimes drop and make you appear quiet, even if your settings are alright. From what we understand, it’s an issue with the actual mic, so if you end up getting a new plug-in mic, it could fix the issues. We personally didn’t encounter this, but have read far too many accounts of it to mention. Your ear cup padding gives you maximum comfort, allowing you to immerse yourself in the game.
Crystal clear immersive sound
Steel and aluminum exterior w/ fabric and leather ear cup lining
Padded ear-to-ear comfort on headband
- Weight1.5 pounds
X-Plus Mode enables different sound mechanics for different titles/competitive games
Customizable sound settings; use the equalizer once, save it, and be done
Inclusive 3.5mm jack is low quality
Microphone encounters quality drop issues
Meeting us in the middle of our list is another HyperX product. Before we get further into it, just know that Cloud Flight is solely designed for PC, PS4, and PS4 Pro. This headset gives you some serious control over your comfort and gameplay style, sporting a 30-hour battery reserve with a rough three-hour charge time, and super clear audio that immerses you in the game. Most of these headsets have a few things in common: metal frames. This one comes with aluminum to add weight and durability to the exterior, while housing the cushy ear cups that rest like feathers on your head.
Everything’s got a downside or two, and apart from this only working on the three designated platforms, you run into a few issues with the mic. You can connect these to work as normal headphones for your Switch or Xbox One, but you’re not going to be able to use the microphone. Alternatively, even if your controller is plugged into the PS4 controller via aux cable, you still won’t be able to use the mic. It only works in wireless mode, period. With the power reserve and overall quality of the headset, so long as you keep it charged, it’ll prove reliable and faithful to you through every match. Make sure you also check our guide to the best gaming speakers.
High quality aluminum frame
RF frequency (no Bluetooth interference)
Ultra grade comfort w/ 90 degree rotating cups
- Weight3.7 volts
Clear quality on your microphone; your teammates will think you’re talking into a professional-grade studio mic
Up to 30 hours of battery per charge
Mic is only usable in wireless mode
No microphone capabilities for Xbox One, Switch, mobile, or Mac
We’re dipping into the second-tier set of our list, so if you’re budget hunting, you’re about to see some killer picks that won’t drain your wallet. Corsair is one of the top brands in audio equipment, even getting a certification from Discord to provide optimal quality and crystal clear sound on gaming’s biggest chat platform. They built these things ultra tough, giving you plenty of space in the ear cups to immerse yourself in 360 degrees of gaming sound. They even come Dolby 7.1 surround sound-ready. One little feature that we absolutely love, is a visible LED indicator to let you know when you’ve muted your mic. If you muted it, hoping to say something private to someone in the room, the last thing you want is the surprise that the party is still listening.
Your mic is completely integrated into the system, making it convenient to slap the mute button or power these wireless headphones off at any time. We wish there were a way for them to get a bit louder. We cover hearing safety in the buying guide below, but to be completely frank, we prefer to turn the volume up and slip away into the world on the screen. Void Pro are solely designed for PC, but another model on their page is cross-platform ready, if you’re more of a console guy. Corsair’s style, build and price all hit home, making this headset ideal for the three-monitor gamer who just needs to let loose and relax for a few hours.
Dolby 7.1 surround sound-ready
Full ear coverage for immersive 360 degree sound
LED mute indicator; no more accidental talking w/ someone in the room while your chat is still live
- Weight13.8 ounces
Discord certified; no voice glitch or stretched audio in your Discord room
Durable as all holy hell
Only 16 hours of battery life
Quality sound, but doesn’t get as loud as many other headsets
The makers of some of the best competitive gaming mice and keyboards on the planet has taken to the sound stage, centering on the ear cup quality and microphone. We’ve owned Razer keyboards in the past, all matching with their black-and-green symbol and attention to detail, especially when you put the features under a microscope. You get a killer range on ManO’War, allowing you to hit the kitchen for a new brew while you’re waiting in matchmaking, all without missing a beat. We’re a touch bit upset about the headband, here. The design is aesthetic and inline with the rest of the headset, but it’s uncomfortable for long gaming stretches.
You’re only going to be able to use this on PC, Mac, or PlayStation 4, so if you’re more of an Xbox dude, this isn’t going to hit the mark. One serious upgrade is the unidirectional boom mic, which is housed secretly inside one headphone side, and deployable at your convenience. If you’re all about style points, you’ll be happy to flip between 16.8 million colors to display on the exterior of your headset while you game lag-free, across a 2.4GHz processing connection. Cost and clarity are a check, and at the cost, it’s a deal you won’t soon pass up.
16.8 million programmable colors
Adjusts volume controls/muting without on-screen actions
Lag-free 2.4 GHz processing
- Weight2 pounds
Comes with a unidirectional mic boom that’s concealed when you need it; big up for gaming
Excellent 12-14 meter range before you encounter issues
Only works with PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4
Headband is aesthetic, but irritates the top of your head
Corsair is a Discord certified company, but we don’t know if they put their A-game into this headset. For a very low cost, you get comfortable ear cups and an ultra plush padded headband piece, but the microphone quality leaves something to be desired. If you’re all about getting a quality product that lasts, the physical build and audio quality of the HS50 holds up to the test, but the microphone picks up some background chatter. Slipping a foam cover over the mic works to cancel it out, but the set doesn’t come with one, so we had to migrate one from a different headset in order to get the quality we wanted.
When it comes to sound, you get the option of excellent sound levels, and the ability to immerse yourself completely in the 360 degree range. We were beyond pleased with how easy it fit and contoured to our ears, while staying still throughout hours of gameplay. No slipping, no sliding back on our hair or any of that. You can use this across just about every platform, but you may need a Microsoft adapter if you’re working on an older model of Windows. All in all, for the price and comfort, we’re pretty happy with this headset.
Works with Xbox One, PC, Mac, Switch, and PlayStation 4 (as well as mobile)
Comfortable contouring headband design
- Weight11.2 ounces
Ultra low price
Ergonomic fit; no sliding or slipping off your ears
Microphone inexplicably stops working, requiring in-system audio changes to function properly again
Microphone picks up some background chatter
HyperX dots this list pretty heavily, from top to bottom. Cloud Revolver Series hits you where it hurts: the wallet, but it makes up for the cost with some killer features. They heavily focus on quality for your sound and outgoing audio, giving your teammates a crisp, crystal clear narrative to run off of. You’re not going to pick up any background chatter or any buzzing at all, thanks to the high quality detachable mic. From the outside to the inside, it’s durable, made of steel, and provides superior comfort for the headband and ear cups; while some focus on just one of the two, HyperX does the whole package deal.
So why did it rank #9 on the list? Apart from the cost, there’s one fatal flaw with these headphones: those wires connecting the ear cups into the headband, are pretty damn fragile. They’re thin and stretch pretty far if you extend the ear cups to their highest height, which over a short time can provide some interference (think when you have to bend your earbuds to play on both sides). You get full compatibility with every platform, and memory foam embedded beneath the leather ear cups. Virtually no risk, high reward.
Compatible with Xbox One, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, mobile
Memory foam ear cups
Durable steel exterior construction
- Weight2.64 pounds
High quality detachable microphone; no buzz, no background chatter
Immersive sound experience to stay in the game
High initial cost
Wires connecting ear cups together are fragile
Last but not least, we have the giants of the computer product world, the inventors of the wireless mouse: Logitech. They’ve been known to give good quality at low prices, and their G533 is no different. These are built as durable as they come, meaning you can drop them, knock them down, or even bring them into a house with small children, and you should be good to go (this writer’s twin three-year-olds tried pulling the headset apart, each holding one end). You’re only going to get a 15 hour power reserve for the wireless set, but it is able to be used while charging (unlike some other brands).
Lightweight and comfortable, Logitech uses square-shaped ear cups to keep your wrapped in comfort, with the same level density on the padded headband. You’ll hear some background chatter if there’s excessive noise behind you, or a fuzzy sound if you shout too quickly, but you’ll be able to switch from PC to PlayStation and more, all without any issues. If you’re not sure what to select from our list, or you just want to know how we handpicked ten sets out of the thousands currently available, check out the comprehensive buying guide below.
DTS 7.1 surround sound ready
Comfortable square-shaped ear cups
Works with PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
- Weight12.3 ounces
Auto mute feature depending on how you tilt your head; comes in handy
Durable; put these through hell and they’ll stay strong
Only a 15 hour power reserve
Mic picks up background noises (only when they’re excessively loud)
Gaming Headset Buying Guide and FAQ
There’s more than meets the eye with these beautiful pieces of gaming machinery, and depending on what you’re looking for, there are a few critical points to you need to prioritize. Your A-game is an investment, and it starts with the right set of audio equipment.
Features to Look for in Wireless Gaming Headsets
Sound Quality - We’ll get into decibel ratings later, but all in all, you just want a headset that’s loud enough to hear, and provides enough quality that you’re not wondering what your mates are saying on the other end. Keep in mind, audio quality from your game, and audio quality from your bud’s headset, are two different things. It also depends on their microphone.
Comfort - For full immersion, gaming headsets have faux leather to enclose your ears, and lock your mind in the only moment that matters: you, being in the game. It’s also not exactly ideal to have an uncomfortable headset for a three-hour session.
Features - On average, you’re not going to get a whole lot of features other than the intended purpose. However, some sets can have a removable microphone and disconnect from an aux cable, making them perfect to use for the gym or your morning bus commute.
Battery Life - Wireless headsets drain a lithium-ion battery that’s embedded within the headset, giving you a hands-free experience. We’ll touch on the pros and cons of these either, but it’s an important feature you need to be on the lookout for.
Size - Depending on your approach (minimalist or all guns blazing), you’ll see bulky, heavy headsets with maximum comfort and sound quality, or some that simply cover one ear/have thinner plastic bands. It’s all about what you prefer, so long as you enjoy the aspects of the headset that’s on your shortlist.
Microphone Clarity - We’ve all watched a YouTube clip or two where the audio is just absolute garbage. Half the time, that comes down to the microphone clarity and quality from the initial recording.
Gaming Headset FAQ
Q: Wired vs. Wireless - Which One to Get?
A: Wired headsets are usually used by professionals because they don’t incur any lag, while wireless (either Bluetooth or RF connection methods) can get a touch of lag (more on this later). If you’re going to rock a console controller, it’s close enough to you that you’ll be able to use a wired headset, meaning there’s no recharging of your lithium-ion batteries.
However, not all gaming headsets come with a lengthy enough cord to be able to reach the proper receiver on your PC tower, when in accordance with your overall setup. That being said, it’s really all dependent on your setup when it comes to distance from the receiver.
If you’re not a fan of having to recharge headsets (they use very little power, but if you’re a core gamer, you’re going to have to charge it once or twice a week, depending on the brand and battery duration), you’re right along most of us. In this instance, wired can be a much more convenient decision.
Q: Are Gaming Headsets Safe?
A: Headsets are rarely recalled or come with any overheating/electrocution issues. Safety is pretty much automatic, thanks to years and years of errors and bugs being ruled-out. It’s more hardware than it is software, so as long as the construction is solid, you’re good to go.
When it comes to hearing, that’s a different story. Sound is most often measured in decibels, especially when you’re trying to determine their potential damage output to the human eardrum. It takes a sound hitting the threshold of 85db to begin damage to your hearing, but it would take 100db of sound at about fifteen straight minutes to cause permanent damage (there’s debate, but we like to go with the consensus).
For a bit of context, a normal conversation occurs at about 60db, so if your headset is a bit louder than a standard conversation, you’re in a healthy range. Though, we’ll be honest, we believe that the louder, the better. Mechanical or electrical malfunctions are at substantially low numbers, but the biggest potential threat is the decibel output. Most gaming headsets have foam along the actual speaker to muffle the vibrations, while also providing an enclosure for your ears. It immerses you, without making you a target for hearing problems, or needing to turn it up louder because someone’s in the same room, and not respecting the gaming zone rule.
Q: Do Wireless Gaming Headsets Have Lag?
A: They wouldn’t continue making newer, updated versions of Bluetooth and RF readers if they didn’t encounter some problems. In short, wireless headsets run into a few issues with connectivity, albeit on very rare occasions.
Bluetooth relies on a signal frequency that rests of 2.4GHz, and if you’re not keen on the digits and signals, it basically means that your Wi-Fi can screw-up your headset’s connection to your PC, console controller, or mobile platform. If you’re sitting with a few buddies, and they’re listening to their Bluetooth headphones with their phones, or it’s connected to a dock or something (there’s so much damn Bluetooth connectivity available these days), you could run into interference.
If you use these outside of a purely gaming instance, there’s also another issue you can run into. Syncing this to your phone, then leaving Bluetooth on and syncing it back to your PC, PS4 or Xbox One, is going to come with a connectivity problem. You’re tying it between two sources, meaning you’re stressing the capabilities of the headset. No headset is designed to go between two sources at once, because… well, what’s the point?
Last but not least, your microwave can interfere with your Bluetooth (and RF, but not as much). If you’ve ever grabbed a snack out of the microwave in the pre-game lobby, then suddenly the master audio came out of the TV again, or you couldn’t hear your teammates in the parry chat, your microwave could be the culprit.
Apart from interference, you should be mostly in the clear with about 99.99% accuracy. If you notice serious lag and you’ve ruled-out all other possible options, it’s best to throw it on the charging dock for a while. Low battery can sometimes cause issues. All that being said, you now understand why MLG players and tournament champs are using wired headsets more often than not.
About Branded Headsets
Call of Duty or Gear of War; it doesn’t matter what’s printed on the exterior of your headset. It’s going to cost more (the manufacturer has to pay licensing fees in order to bring those items to you), so there’s no additional benefits. In truth, they could probably provide lower quality internal parts at an inflated price, because people will look out for the branding and buy it. We didn’t put any branded pairs on this list, because they’re unnecessary costs that don’t bring you anything extra; we hunt for value, not just being flashy.
Q: Can Gaming Headsets Help Me Play Better?
A: Everything comes down to focus, which can improve your dexterity, which can improve your game. If you’re aimlessly gaming without focusing, you’re not going to advance. Headsets both directly, and indirectly affect your overall gameplay performance in a few ways.
For one, they allow you to zone-in and figure out what you’re doing wrong, what the enemy team’s weakness is, or figure out key details in more single player, puzzle-solving type games. Focus leads to winning, so building your skill relies on you being calm, cool and collected while you’re in the game. The greatest guitarists in the world, didn’t “mess around” to stardom, they put in the work and focused. The greatest football players haven’t just picked up a ball and been instantly good, they worked and focused. Focus builds skill, which equals success.
Alternatively, depending on what you’re playing, it can actually boost your performance by amplifying certain aspects of the games you’re playing. One of the most common games globally are FPS (first-person shooter) games, such as Call of Duty or Overwatch. When you’re in those games, footsteps are clear indicators of enemies sneaking up behind you, allowing you to execute split-second decisions, flip around, and ice the bastard sneaking up on your six. How many times have you seen a killcam where the SOB danced behind your camping nest before snagging a headshot on you? You see our point.
Q: I Just Got a New Headset for PS4/Xbox One, But it Isn’t Working, What Can I do?
A: In some instances, especially if it’s not officially licensed by Sony or Microsoft, you run into issues with the drivers. The first thing you should do, is visit the manufacturer’s website and look for drivers. They may have this information already set in the paper insert that comes with your headset box, but it’s unlikely.
Look for a driver or a download area. Honestly, there’s far too many companies who output these, from Logitech all the way down to brands you’ve never heard of, so listing a full database of them would take ages. When these platforms update their software, there’s often a glitch in the system, and your headset manufacturer has to figure it out, offer a download, and then you can get on with your life. Wired headsets often skip these issues altogether, as a heads-up.
Q: Can Gaming Headsets Work as Regular Headphones?
A: They can, if they’re one of two things:
- Wired with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which can adapt to just about any cell phone, tablet or mp3 player on the planet
- If it’s a Bluetooth wireless and the microphone can disconnect (otherwise you’ll look like an on-the-go telemarketer), you can use these with no issue by connecting it to your phone
Q: How Long Does a Quality Gaming Headset Last?
A: There are a few headsets that are worth “sending in” to the shop, or fixing up on your own, or however you want to preface it. For the most part, unless it’s cosmetic at best (microphone foam tip, etc.,), things you can get on without having, you’re going to opt for a newer, possibly shinier headset. That’s down the road, so the question now is, how long is it going to last before you get to that point?
We’ve known of headsets lasting for close to a decade, and the only issue that hit, was running over the long cord with an office chair caster. Seriously, they can last you for ages, especially when you have high-quality audio conductivity, like in 14k gold-plated jacks, or leather/plastic leather ear covers to cut-down on wear-and-tear. Storing these in a good, cool spot and not letting your cat chew up the wire is a surefire way to get these to last.
Q: Why Aren’t There any Turtle Beach Headsets on This List?
A: Turtle Beach is known for making console-specific gaming headsets, which usually don’t offer the versatility that we were looking for to meet the criteria of our list. There are some of their models that do, so if you’re thinking, “Gear Hungry, I have a multi-platform compatible Turtle Beach headset,” don’t worry; we get it.
For us, they’re not ergonomically designed enough to remain completely comfortable at all times. If you’ve read through the products we’ve reviewed before hitting the guide, you’ll notice they all hit a certain mark on comfort, and keeping you fully immersed. Constantly adjusting the headset in the middle of a match is distracting, and Turtle Beach just didn’t make the cut for us.
Q: How Heavy Should my Gaming Headset Be?
A: It’s a mix of weight and a comfortable fit. As we just described with our info about Turtle Beach and why they’re not on this list, having a decent headset is primarily about the ergonomic fit, but if it’s too lightweight, it’s going to move around way too easily, and slip off your ears. An average weight (of the products on our list) is between 11oz and 15oz, giving you enough weight to remain firm and steady, but not enough that it’s going to weigh down on your neck improperly.