Although a good gaming headset usually costs a little more than dedicated headphones that deliver equivalent audio performance, most gamers I spoke with in the past year or so expressed a preference for the convenience, the often-enhanced bass, and in some cases even the aesthetic of gaming headsets with built-in microphones and easy access to volume controls and microphone muting.
The following is our list of the top 10 best gaming headsets in the market today. Let us know if you have any questions or comments, or feel that we missed an important model. If you have some personal experience with any of these, please add it as well! If you were in need of those without wires, be sure to read our best wireless gaming headsets as well.
There's nothing wrong with being on a budget. Some even say it's the wise approach to take. In the case of gaming headphones, it's better to invest, or else you're going to have to give up some aspects in order to spend less money. The biggest miss-out being, and arguably the most important, sound quality. Unless a headset in dipped in 14k gold, the reason the top-of-the-line contenders cost more than the rest, are because of their superior sound quality, usually.
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro features premium drivers which the company claim are capable of delivering double the audio range of most standard headsets (at 40,000Hz). This has a number of implications in the use of this headset. Firstly, if you're a PC gamer this means that you can dive into the settings on the GameDAC (Digital Audio Converter) and switch over to Hi-Res audio. Doing this means the little control box then does the leg work and transforms sound into High-fidelity 96kHZ/24-bit audio. You can then open up Windows sound settings and see the full glory of the high-end audio.
So why is it number nine? And below the Razer? Well, it just doesn’t go above and beyond in any area aside from its cost. We know the A50’s from Astro cost an extra $100 more, but they are pushing boundaries with their tech. The 373s just do everything you’d expect from a well-established audio company selling wired headsets at high price points. On top of that, they are USB only, which pretty much limits them to PC use. So although a brilliant headset, we can’t give the 373s a place in our top five because they’re priced too high. Also, we’re all for understated design, but we can’t help but feel the 373s are teetering on the wrong side of dull. That said, if you want one of the best sounding, well built and most comfortable headsets available just to use on your PC...and money is no object…this is the one we’d go for.
“The first thing to know is that I am rough on headphones. I am a college student and play Xbox for a few hours every night. These headphones have been with me for months, and I would be more than happy to buy another set if they broke today. They travel well, and have made multiple trips back and forth between home and school, packed in a backpack without space for the original box. I can clearly hear game sounds I have never heard before, and I have been told my voice sounds very clear in party chat.”
Mobile headsets come in a range of wearing-styles, including behind-the-neck, over-the-head, over-the-ear, and lightweight earbuds. Some aftermarket mobile headsets come with a standard 2.5 mm plug different from the phone's audio connector, so users have to purchase an adapter. A USB headset for a computer also cannot be directly plugged into a phone's or portable media player's micro-USB slot. Smartphones often use a standard 3.5 mm jack, so users may be able to directly connect the headset to it. There are however different pin-alignment to the 3.5mm plug, mainly OMTP and CTIA, so user should find out which settings their device uses before buying a headphone/headset.
We also tested the HyperX Cloud II, Kingston’s updated version of our top pick, which features a USB sound card, surround-sound processing, a slightly superior microphone, and better padding on the headband. If you’re a laptop gamer without access to good analog audio jacks, it’s a smart buy. For most people, though, none of those enhancements justify the extra price.
When it comes to getting the best surround sound experience for gaming, there's no real substitute for a proper speaker setup with seven (or more) speakers and a subwoofer correctly positioned to deliver sound from the right direction at the right time. Virtual surround sound headsets do a reasonably good job as an affordable alternative, but what if you want closer to the real thing without clogging up your room with speakers and cables?
The Victrix Pro AF ANC lives up to its ridiculous name and then some, offering a truly premium experience that’s tailor-made for competitive gamers. The headset’s supremely comfortable leatherette earcups sport active noise cancelling technology for blotting out a rowdy crowd, and can even be opened up to keep your ears cool in between matches. Factor in a slick black-and-purple design and superb sound quality, and you’ve got a pair of cans perfect for folks aiming to play their Street Fighter or Call of Duty with maximum focus and precision.
We buy our own products and put them under the same testing methodology so that you can easily compare them. Unlike most websites, we do not get our products directly from the manufacturers, which means our units aren’t handpicked and actually represent what you would buy yourself. We spend a lot of time comparing the products side-by-side to validate our results and we keep them until they are discontinued so we can continually go back and make sure our reviews are always accurate.
Also from Plantronics, the RIG Flex split us. I adored the sound and loved its build quality, especially for the price, and I also found it quite comfortable despite its small size. But Bethany absolutely hated the way the earcups fit on her ears. We felt the same about the RIG stereo gaming headset with mixer, but we all agreed that its connectivity arrangement was more of a fuss than most gamers would willingly put up with.
The HyperX Cloud Flight boasts an incredibly lightweight and comfortable frame, which, combined with up to 30 hours of battery life, results in a cozy wireless PS4 headset that you can truly wear all day. The Flight also delivers rich, accurate sound for competitive and immersive games alike, features a crisp microphone, and touts slick LED earcup lighting. The USB-powered Flight offers easy plug-and-play compatibility with any PS4, and doubles as a great PC headset.
Initial setup and pairing with the transmitter box is a breeze and there's an easy to use on/off button on the headset itself to save battery life. We did find the transmitter was a bit less user-friendly as you have to dive into settings to send it to sleep when you aren't using it. It's also worth noting that the transmitter uses quite short power, USB and optical cables which means you need to keep the box quite close to your gaming machine.
As mentioned, this is a stereo gaming headset. This means there's no account for virtual or "real" surround sound with this design. You can, of course, opt to use Windows Spatial Sound settings or try out Dolby Atmos for gaming as additions to fill that void. Surround sound is not the target of this headset though, it's intention is to deliver an immersive and impressive audio experience during your gaming sessions.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger are an above-average gaming headset just below $50, so you don’t have to spend as much but you will have to make some sacrifices. They’re the cheapest of the HyperX line up so they won’t have the premium build quality and detachable microphone of the Cloud II or Cloud Alpha. They’re also not wireless like the Cloud Flight. But on the upside, their wired design has no latency and will work with controllers of both consoles.
Two other new Logitech headsets, the G433 and G233 Prodigy, promise a comfortable, lightweight experience with the support of high-quality Pro G audio drivers. Both headsets offer removable microphones, but only the G433 headset comes equipped with 7.1 surround sound, an extra pair of earpads, and a USB cord featuring volume control. The prices for these models fall around and above that of our top pick. When we test these headsets, we’ll examine the durability, the fabric finish, the removable mesh earpads, and the differences in quality across PC, console, and mobile device use. Logitech claims its G Pro headset—designed in collaboration with pro gamers—has ear pads with “50 percent more sound isolation than other ear pads” and a pro-grade microphone designed for improved clarity.
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.