When it comes to gaming gear, the better the equipment, the bigger of an edge you have against your opponents. When we first started gaming it was with some stock headphones we bought from our local electronics store. Once we had our little stick USB microphone next to us, we thought we had it all down. Although it worked, upgrading to a high-end gaming headset (or at least a decent quality model that wasn’t $10 at our local store) blew us away. It merely made the gaming experience completely change as a whole. Due to this, we wanted ot help share the knowledge. Today we compiled the top 10 best gaming headsets in the market today.
The Cougar Phontum is by no means perfect (its microphone may as well go in the bin), but at this kind of price, it’s still a great buy for those on a budget. With its metal frame and large, plush ear cups, the Phontum’s build quality is outstanding for a headset that costs less than £50 / $50, and it’s infinitely preferable to the overly plastic construction of its nearest rival, the Turtle Beach Recon 150.
The sound quality is unbeatable at this price point. Directional noises are easy to pinpoint and bullets and explosions carry a certain amount of weight, however, the surround sound was less impressive and seemed thrown in. Custom EQing is available thanks to the Logitech Gaming Software, and although you can’t save individual profiles, it’s nice to see this feature included. HyperX Cloud Alpha take note. Music didn’t sound bad, but it wasn’t great. This could be fixed via EQ adjustment, and the lack of pre-set functionality makes it a chore. The mic quality is again unbeatable in this bracket, but with no noise cancellation those of you in noisy environments may lose steam friends quicker than you drop frames in Arma 3. That said, if you want a supremely comfortable, great sounding headset and mic for gaming at an unbeatable price, the G430 is a must buy.
The twist of a dial allows you to change the volume of the channels, adjust your mic sensitivity levels or adjust the surround sound profile to suit your preference the game you're playing. You can easily mute the microphone or turn surround sound on or off here too. There are also cables supplied to allow you to connect to speakers too, should you need or want to. This allows the option to switch between speakers and headphones when the need arises and demonstrates just how flexible this setup is.
The headphones function to convert sound by way of a soundcard, from digital (computer) to analog (headset). USB headsets connect to the computer by way of USB, and so sound conversion occurs in the headphones themselves or in a control unit. Inside the ear cups is where the magic happens. This is where the drivers live, and drivers are to headsets as gasoline is to vehicles. The larger the driver, the better sound will be produced.
Perhaps most importantly, the HyperX Cloud is impressively comfortable—you can wear it for hours on end without cranial distress, plus its aluminum construction makes it durable despite its light weight. That, plus the headset’s great audio performance, made it a clear winner in our tests. It features a nice balance of atmosphere-enhancing high-frequency sounds, a clear sense of the direction that sounds are coming from, and good low-end rumble.
If you don't baulk at the price (as it's over £200), then the SteelSeries Siberia 800 should certainly be a consideration. In terms of wireless gaming headsets, this one is the cream of the crop. It's packed full of features, including cross-platform support for Xbox360/One, PS3/PS4 and mobile devices, as well as analogue, optical and USB inputs for PC that allow you to take advantage of the Dolby Digital and virtual surround sound processing power inside the box.
The Corsair HS50 don’t look or feel like a budget headset. It features large 50-millimeter audio drivers, adjustable steel sliders with numbered markings, and comfy memory-foam ear cups. Besides its durable design, an easy-to-reach volume dial and multiplatform support make the headset an excellent option for budget-conscious gamers who want a high-quality pick under $50.
These are some of the deepest and most comfortable earcups we've seen on any gaming headset we've tested. This design not only reduces the pressure on your ears from the drivers (as they're not resting on your ears) but allows delivery of a comfortable and all-encompassing sound as you game. These cups also include a cooling cloth on the inside which stops your ears from sweating and helps maintain that superb comfort.
If you’re looking for the best value for your money when getting a gaming headset, then you can’t do much better than the Steelseries Arctis 7. They are comfortable and well-built gaming headphones with a lot of connection options, making them suitable for most devices in your home. Their USB transmitter has a regular AUX input that will work with your TV, audio system and consoles.
Beyerdynamic’s Custom Game is a delicious sounding headset that’s second only to the Sennheiser Game One in terms of detail and spaciousness. It delivers wonderfully dynamic sound, with bass that can be acoustically tuned via sliders on each ear cup. While we still prefer the sound of the Game One overall, if you tend to game with other people in the room and you don’t want them hearing what you’re playing, this one is a great alternative.
Perhaps the most significant feature that sets the Game One apart from most of its competition is that it sports an open-back design. The earcups of the headset are vented, leaving the back side of its drivers open to the air instead of encasing them in a solid shell of plastic or metal. You’ll often see this design in high-end headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 5XX series, from which the Game One derives its drivers and “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” sound-channeling technology. But you rarely see the design in headsets in general, primarily because it comes with one disadvantage: Open-back headphones and headsets don’t offer a lot in the way of noise isolation, either incoming or outgoing. Anyone sitting in the room with you can hear what you’re hearing to some extent, and you can hear, to a lesser degree, the sounds of people and things in the room with you.
Digging through the hundreds of currently available gaming headsets in search of the right model is a daunting task. I know this because it took me more than 40 hours just to compile a list of currently sold gaming headsets and weed out the obvious losers by reading owner reviews on Amazon.com and posts on /r/pcgaming. I then turned to expert sources such as Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, PCWorld, PCMag, TechRadar, and the forums at Head-Fi.org for help in whittling down the 237 potential candidates to the 37 headsets we listened to in the first round of testing in 2015, plus another 12 in 2016, 11 new models at the beginning of 2017, and 10 at the beginning of 2018.
The Elite Pro headset is a comfortable, good-sounding set of cans using Turtle Beach’s gaming heritage to great effect, and is now available in a PC specific design too. As a speccy nerd it also gets my vote because of its innovative ProSpecs Glasses Relief System – a simple system which creates temporary dimples in the ear-cups to stop them pressing your spectacles into your head.
All our testers liked the Turtle Beach Elite Pro. It’s comfortable, with a hard-hitting, visceral sound, and it boasts a solid mic. The problem is that if you want to get the most from this headset, be prepared to be nickel-and-dimed half to death on accessory upgrades. If you already have a powerful headset amp, you might consider the Elite Pro, but just know that the box doesn’t even come with a pink-green 3.5 mm audio splitter.
We're big fans of the SteelSeries Arctis line-up. This design is comfortable, easy on the eye and a joy to wear for hours and hours. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro continues a trend of incredibly superb gaming headsets with a focus on tremendous audio and sublime comfort. With this new headset, SteelSeries is no doubt going to please a market of audiophile gamers looking for something to fill their needs.
This is a headset that features a funky design that's certainly comfortable. It can also be customised to some degree as you can choose between oval and round earcups depending on your preference. We were slightly disappointed with the feel of the headset in the hand, as the silver outer band that you can see on the earcups is actually plastic, not metal (as you might expect at this price point). This doesn't impact comfort, but we wonder about long-term durability.
Steelseries’ premium headset is considerably more expensive than the Arctis 7, yet offers unrivalled audio quality and customisation in return. The Siberia 840 boasts a quietly understated design, rather than flashing lights and flair. Wireless support works perfectly with no pesky lag and the hot swappable battery system keeps you powered up at all times. Plus full Dolby 7.1 surround sound support means you get a truly immersive experience.
Comfort carries onto the design of the ear cushions. The standard cups make use of soft AirWeave material which we found to be more comfortable and less scratchy than other breathable materials we've tested, but not as nice as leather ear cups which are always our preference. You can purchase leather and velour ear cushions separately though, so there are plenty of options when it comes to comfort.
It also, of course, leads to a sound that’s never quite as open or expansive as that of the Game One, nor as detailed. But compared with other closed-back alternatives, the Custom Game delivers smoother midrange, more natural-sounding dialogue and music, and superior dynamics that benefit virtually any genre of game, from music-driven offerings like the Civilization series to cinematic shooters like Battlefront 2.
Coming in at $300, the headset is three times more expensive than most other options, but its audio quality is superb. We also liked its "MixAmp" feature, which is a toggle on the headset's side that you turn to find the perfect balance of chat levels and in-game sounds. The A50 provides 15 hours of battery life, a 30-foot wireless range, and Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound. It comes in two configurations — a blue-accented one for the PlayStation 4 and PC, and another with green accents for the Xbox One and PC.
One thing I really like about the headset is the headband; it's more robust than it looks, springing back into place after we bend it up so that the headband is nearly flat. Creative did this by using steel underneath the padding instead of plastic. While doing this with other headsets often makes me cringe, the Sound BlasterX H5 happily takes the bending in stride.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the most versatile and customizable gaming headsets you can buy, and it’s also one of the first to be Hi-Res Certified, but it comes at a steep price. It's one of the few headsets that supports Bluetooth, so you can easily pair it with your smartphone or tablet. Plus, it’s extremely comfortable and provides a sculpted sound with plenty of bass that’s perfect for gaming or listening to music.
Surrouding Stereo Sound: 57mm Hi-Fi driver brings super clear and superior sound effect when playing games. Noise cancelling Microphone (you can adjust microphone to 120 degrees up and down base on your own) and Surrounding stereo design is superb that you could feel in gaming environment once using, like shooting environment, drastic gaming situation. Perfect for plenty of games like World of Warcraft (WOW),LOL, Call Of Duty, GTA Series, Assassins creed etc.
Larger drivers have been known to produce lower bass frequencies, however, the quality of the driver and its enclosure is more important than its size. Now this information is not always available, but companies such as SteelSeries often use the same drivers across multiple headsets, so a quick google will often tell you how good a certain driver is. A good example would be the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which uses S1 speaker drivers which are also found in their $300 headsets. Not bad for a $150 purchase.
While it isn’t perfect, the new HyperX Cloud Flight is our new top pick for cable-haters for a number of reasons. It delivers good audio performance, fantastic range, exceptional comfort, fantastic battery life, and simple setup. We would prefer to see more intuitive controls, as well as audible notifications for things like battery life, and the lack of a replaceable battery is a bit of a bummer. But the pros outweigh the cons with this one, especially for the price.
If you’re the type of gamer that really likes to tweak your settings and have different profiles for each game that you play, then get the Logitech G933 instead. They use a USB dongle that works great for PC gaming or the PS4. The companion PC app also gives you a ton of customizable settings: a parametric EQ for sound, DTS 7.1 surround sound options, mic monitoring and 3 programmable buttons that can be mapped to specific commands, which is a nice touch that sets them apart from other gaming headsets.
You can tell HyperX mean business with this one. The headset is premium, with its high-quality, lightweight aluminium frame, fixed firmly to the closed back, memory-foam-lined cans. The headband creates enough tension for you to know where your money's gone, but not so much that a certain scene from Total Recall is likely to be re-created. No, not the one with the three boobs…
Another term you’ll see accompanied by a smattering of numbers is sensitivity or SPL (sound pressure level). Essentially, this is a measurement of how loud a headset will produce sound at a particular power level. Now, it’s worth taking this stat with a pinch of salt as due to variance in power sources (amps, interfaces etc.) the measurement of sensitivity is not always a true representation of how loud the headset will sound for you. Also as sensitivity is measured in decibels per milliwatt and power from your PC (and every other electrical device on the planet) is delivered in volts, the methods used by companies to arrive at their value of sensitivity can be inconsistent, which doesn’t really help anyone in deciding whether or not a particular headset is right for them.
Audio is the Void Pro Wireless’s only weak spot, which you could argue is not a great weak spot for a headset to have. Playback is very bright, with a small-sounding and treble-heavy mix that’s tiring to listen to long-term. You can’t do much about the first, but spending some time with an EQ can mitigate the latter—I recommend adding a touch of bass and bringing down the high end a bit.
3.5mm connections are the round ports found on not only PCs but also on phones, tablets, T.Vs, car stereos and pretty much anything else that emits sound. Except iPhones, because Apple suck. Anyway: the obvious benefit of having a 3.5mm headset is that you can use it on any of these devices. The Logitech G430, for example, is an average-sounding headset at an entry level price, but can be used on more devices than you can shake a stick at. The potential negatives are that because it’s an analogue connection, if the build quality isn’t up to scratch on either A) the headset or B) the device, it can affect the quality of the sound being sent by your mic or received by your cans. Another benefit of the 3.5mm connection being used on PC’s is that ONLY audio devices use 3.5mm connections, so you should always have room to connect. Not something that can always be said for the USB ports.
Because of the GAME ONE's open-ear cup design, the headset doesn't do a good job at isolating audio in loud environments. This can be seen as a good or a bad thing, depending on if you want to hear your phone or doorbell ring when you're gaming. It also comes with the added risk of disturbing those around you, but will keep you cool during long gaming sessions.
By most measures, Razer’s ManO’War 7.1 — the wired, surround sound-equipped version of its wireless model of the same name — is a fantastic headset. Its virtual 7.1 surround sound is among the best on the market, the sound it pumps out of its large earcups is balanced, and its microphone is sleek and discreet, and yet outperforms most of the competition. The only real limiting factor is its size, which renders it a difficult choice for mobile use. But what it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in performance.