Most gamers, in their quest for optimal gameplay, focus solely on the specs of their gaming rig and the graphics quality of the games they play. A high-quality headset is often overlooked, despite its potential to greatly enhance the gaming experience. It’s especially important if you want to maximise your enjoyment of multiplayer games, because you’ll use your headset for social purposes as often as you will for strategic ones.
Video game headsets are widely available, as one might expect. We get that you don’t want to spend the time learning about all the options and then making a decision that leaves you disappointed. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and done the legwork for you by comparing a wide range of headsets to zero in on the best. Here is our hand-picked collection of the finest headsets for playing video games. We’ve included both wired and wireless models, as well as high-end headphones with lots of extras and more budget-friendly choices.
Keep checking back, as we’re always updating our recommendations as we test more products in our quest to find the best gaming headsets. Keep reading below our selections to see the criteria we use to evaluate each item and some helpful purchase advice.
Improved on: 06/19/2023. Check out our most recent impressions of the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Wireless gaming headset. This new generation of wireless gaming headset excels in all three areas: crystal-clear sound, portability, and platform compatibility.
The best wired/wireless gaming headset is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.
- Great-quality audio
- Double cordless performance
- Great deals of software application choices for customization
- Rather pricey
- Active Noise Cancellation will not shut out all external noise
Cost When Reviewed:
It would take some serious nit-picking to find fault with this high-end headset, which comes with a wired as well as a wireless (2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) option. At up to 40 feet away from your computer in wireless mode, it delivers clear sound in 44.1 kHz/16-bit basic quality. If you want to hear even more nuanced sounds, you can connect a GameDAC controller to your system to access 96KHz/24-Bit Hi-Res audio. You can easily switch between your PC and Xbox One/X/S with the press of a button with the GameDAC, saving you the effort of buying two separate headphones.
The audio experience is improved by both active noise cancellation and 360-degree spatial audio, with the latter being the more impressive of the two thanks to its use of 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound tracks to accurately depict the directions of noises. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless has the best software support I’ve seen in a gaming headset, letting you choose from 23 different equalisation profiles optimised for different games like CS:GO, Fortnite, Dota 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Call of Duty: Warzone.
Check out our in-depth review of the wireless SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro here!
Best wired gaming headset: HyperX Cloud Alpha
- Totally detachable cabling and smarter inline control positioning
- Exceptional audio quality
- More pricey than the initial Cloud, with less devices
- Upper audio variety can be a bit muddled
Rate When Reviewed:
Like its predecessors in HyperX’s Cloud series, Cloud Alpha combines portability and excellent sound quality. A double motorist chamber design, which isolates the low-frequency range from the rest of the audio spectrum, is responsible for the superb sound.
The earcups are what really set the Cloud Alpha apart in terms of comfort. These softly cushioned cups hold your head in place without pinching your temples, making them ideal for marathon gaming sessions during which you want to forget you’re even wearing them. In our PCWorld review, we were most impressed by the fact that the HyperX Cloud Alpha’s cables can be totally removed in the event that they fail, preventing the need to buy a whole new gaming headset.
Find out everything we thought in our HyperX Cloud Alpha review.
The Astro A10 is the highest-rated low-cost wired gaming headset.
- Rich bass for a $60 headset
- Flip-to-mute microphone
- Really resilient
- Narrow soundscape in some cases results in muddy audio
- Plastic, plastic, plastic
- Colors aren’t really captivating
Cost When Reviewed:
The Astro A10 is the greatest option for sound quality if your budget is only $60, as it offers clean mids and a plentiful bass that is nearly as good as more expensive Astro headsets. The microphone can be muted with the flip of a switch, making it a premium item even among gaming headsets.
The Astro A10 has some positives, but it’s still an entry-level headset with some negatives: it’s manufactured entirely out of plastic (except for the product covering the cups), and the fairly blocky earcups won’t be to everyone’s liking. But if you aren’t picky, these issues shouldn’t bother you too much.
Check out this thorough review of the Astro A10!
With the Razer Barracuda Pro, you’ll get the best surround sound.
- Exceptional audio through the bass, mid, and high tones
- THX Spatial Audio is a reward in video games
- Light-weight and comfy style
- No boom mic indicates the mic audio suffers rather
- ANC works however might be much better
Cost When Reviewed:
The Razer Barracuda Pro has great sound quality, ideal for watching movies or playing video games, with deep, authoritative bass tones and crisp, detailed mids and highs. The THX Spatial Audio technology included in this product gives you a more immersive and enjoyable listening experience. Razer’s Synapse app provides significantly more customization options than other spatial audio solutions for headsets, letting you tailor the sound’s directionality with simple dot diagrams. Presets can be personalised and assigned to specific games or media.
In terms of connectivity, the Razer Barracuda Pro has you covered with options like 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2 wireless, and a USB-A to USB-C (wired) converter. You won’t have to go out and buy separate headphones for your Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Android devices anymore.
Check out our in-depth review of the Razer Barracuda Pro here!
The Cosiest Cooler Master, Model MH752
- Amazingly comfy
- Tidy studio sound
- Minimalist branding and visual
- Inexpensive building
- Microphone input isn’t subtle at all
- Requirements some EQ love to reach its complete possible
Rate When Reviewed:
The MH752 are knockoffs of Sony’s Studio Headphones, and while their thin padding may not seem pleasant at first glance, the design promises that the headphones’ small weight will nearly eliminate any tension in the user’s jaw or crown. This makes it the most comfortable gaming headset on PCWorld’s list.
Those who enjoy fiddling with equalisation settings will get the most out of the MH752’s sound. You should expect to hear bass and high notes from its earcups at a level typical of more expensive systems. The MH752’s dongle can also output 7.1 Surround sound, allowing for spatialized audio in games.
Check out our in-depth Cooler Master MH752 review for more info.
The best microphone is the Logitech G Pro X.
- Stunning throwback appearance
- Exceeds headsets 2 or 3 times the rate
- Great microphone, with great deals of software-side choices
- Wired headset
- Integrated controls feel inexpensive
- A bit tight till it breaks in
Cost When Reviewed:
Recently, Logitech acquired Blue, a leading microphone manufacturer, which helps explain why the mic on the Logitech G Pro X performed so well in our PCWorld testing. Although not physically distinct from other microphones, the Blue-branded software aid found in Logitech’s G Hub app helps it sound more like a desktop microphone.
The G Pro X is not just one of Logitech’s greatest headsets because of its exceptional microphone, but also because of its sleek design; the headset’s flat black leatherette headband, metal prongs and pill-shaped earcups evoke the golden age of broadcasting in the 1940s.
Check out our in-depth review of the Logitech G Pro X here!
The top wireless gaming headset is the Logitech G Astro A30.
- The styling is extremely enticing
- The 40mm chauffeurs produce a natural noise
- The cans are really soft and comfy
- Some moving parts feel a bit tight
- Leatherette in the cups can get sweaty on hot days
- Battery life is good however not outstanding
Cost When Reviewed:
The Logitech Astro A30 has an excellent connection and produces crisp, realistic sound. It can be easily connected to your Mac, PC, PlayStation 5, or Xbox X/S consoles thanks to its dual wireless and cable connectivity and platform independence. Since the headset’s Bluetooth may be used concurrently with a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection, you won’t have to sacrifice any of your game audio in order to answer calls or take part in group chats.
Even though all this functionality could have been delivered in a standard basic design, the Astro A30 is one of the best-looking sets of cans we’ve seen in a long time. The fashionable Astro logo graphics on the earcups and the removable, interchangeable speaker tags allow you to personalise your headphones to your liking.
Check out our in-depth review of the wireless Logitech G Astro A30 here.
Second-place wireless gaming headset: the Astro A50
- Charging cradle is smaller sized and still really special
- Switches to the more reputable 2.4 GHz band (lastly)
- Comfy and resilient
- Middling battery life
- Poor sound seclusion
Rate When Reviewed:
The Astro A50 is expensive yet reliable, with high-quality noise and a quick wireless connection at 2.4 GHz. The audio drivers in the earcups of the A50 perform particularly well in the mid-range, making for a sound that is both warm and energetic in media such as video games and music.
The A50’s charging cradle is substantially more compact than that of earlier Astro wireless gaming headsets, freeing up valuable desk space. You can see the EQ profile you’re using and if you’re in Dolby or stereo mode via the cradle’s built-in display.
Here’s our in-depth look at the Astro A50 (2019):
The Logitech G935 is the top wireless headset for middle-tier video games.
- Leatherette is a sophisticated modification from the G933’s sports fit together
- Surprise microphone and dongle storage are fantastic functions to have
- Among the best-sounding headsets at this rate
- Still large and blocky compared to the competitors
- Average battery life
- Really little sound seclusion
Rate When Reviewed:
The G935 is a mid-tier headset for video games, and its price of $170 is less than half that of certain high-end models. It has a few high-end extras that are included in its extensive feature set. They have a leatherette earcup design, a foldable boom mic, and a storage area for a dongle. These features more than make up for its clumsy design and short battery life.
It also excels in sound quality, with 50mm drivers that deliver a stronger bass presence than the 40mm drivers found in some mid-tier wireless gaming headphones. When you factor in the G935’s intuitive interface, you’ll realise why it’s such a great option for thrifty gamers.
Explore our in-depth Logitech G935 review here.
Best low-cost wireless gaming headset: HyperX Cloud Core
- Good audio quality, with deep bass and clear mids and highs
- Long lasting, strong and portable style
- Extremely comfy earcups with memory foam cushioning and leatherette coverings
- No Active Noise Cancellation
- Metal headband accessories can in some cases trap your fingers
Cost When Reviewed:
If you’re looking for a high-quality headset without breaking the bank, go no further than the HyperX Cloud Core Wireless. If you’re a gamer on a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with this high-quality headset that costs less than $100.
HyperX has actually been able to give an amazing product at a very budget-friendly price by concentrating on the factors that matter most to players and without worrying about unnecessary software application support or overpriced noise enhancement settings. While it may not appeal to audiophile tinkerers due to a lack of configuration controls, players will love it for its quick connection speeds, excellent spatial audio, and overall simplicity. It’s also compatible with several platforms and has a very small form factor.
Check out our in-depth discussion of the HyperX Cloud Core Wireless here:
How we evaluate video gaming headsets
The PCWorld team conducts rigorous testing on each product because no two gaming headphones are the same. We look at how they feel and hold up over time, how well they perform in games, and how well they are supported by software via the manufacturer’s apps. The main groups that we analyse are as follows:
Style and convenience
It’s crucial that your gaming headset is comfortable because you’ll be wearing it for hours at a time. Here we examine design features that contribute to or detract from your overall comfort experience, such as the shape and weight of a headset, how well it fits on your head, and the amount of cushioning in the earcups. We also consider the adaptability of the band and the proximity of the controls, as aesthetics have a significant impact on a headset’s performance.
Comfortable leatherette earcups on a headset are useless if it can’t produce decent sound. Customers of PCWorld do a lot of listening to get a feel for the sound quality of a headset. When considering cordless headsets, we take into account the noise isolation, pitch accuracy, and signal disturbance. What we know about the headset’s hardware or software enhances our listening. If a headset claims to have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), we’ll test how effectively it does just that. We also do a thorough examination of the microphone, listening for echoes, muffled sounds, and other telltale signs of a problem.
Software application assistance
As the sophistication of audio advances grows, so do the options available to players through headset apps. We take a close look at the variety of software application support out there because of the prevalence of technologies like High-Resolution Audio, Spatial Surround Sound, and Parametric Equalisation.
How to select a video gaming headset
Connection: Wired versus cordless, or both?
Historically, players have actually primarily selected wired headsets over cordless ones. That’s because, till just recently, wired headsets were thought about far better at providing quick and safe and secure audio signals than cordless headsets. Nowadays, thanks to the adoption of faster 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band innovation, cordless headsets can likewise send audio signals really rapidly and with very little disturbance.
If you’re a casual player and not too picky about the really small danger of your audio dropping out, a cordless headset must be totally great for your video gaming requires, the primary benefit being you’ll get loads of additional movement while still being able to listen to your video game’s audio– something you do not get when you’re connected by wires.
Undoubtedly however, if you’re a major player or esports gamer, you might still wish to prevent that little possibility your cordless signal will suffer some degree of loss or disturbance– even if that’s less most likely than ever. If the stakes are high, a wired set will supply a bit more surety that you will not miss out on any important video game minutes, which might make all the distinction in a carefully objected to match.
If you can’t choose, there are headsets now like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless that supply both cordless and wired performance in one simple system and can change in between these modes in less than a minute. These headsets can cost considerably more, so want to spend for the benefit.
What kinds of ports do various gadgets need?
You should also take into account the devices you intend to connect the headset to, as the compatibility of wired and wireless models varies. Although many wired headsets connect to your computer through USB-C, some also contain 3.5 mm audio connectors, making them compatible with a larger range of devices than many wireless solutions, including mobile phones, gaming consoles, and tablets.
To connect to your device, wireless accessories either use Bluetooth or a USB-C dongle, limiting your device options to those that are Bluetooth-compatible or have USB-C ports.
Convenience: Why it’s a non-negotiable
- You may not need a headset with the most stylish design, but you should never put up with discomfort. Because even a tiny amount of pressure or abrasion from your headset can cause all sorts of unpleasant side effects, from a rash to headaches to a pinched nerve in your neck.
How snugly your headset fits over your head and ears is a crucial detail. Although it’s not always possible, it’s worth your time to read PCWorld product reviews where our users have tried them out and summarised their experiences, including how they felt after wearing them for several hours or more.
You should also read product descriptions carefully for details on features that show the manufacturer cares about your comfort. The following items should be crossed off your list:
The headset’s adjustable headband means you can find the perfect fit for your ears and reduce pressure.
The earcups are well cushioned, and the product is hypoallergenic, so it won’t cause any skin irritation.
The ear cups may be rotated fast, as this ensures that they will always follow your head’s movements.
Heavy or tightly fitting headsets should be avoided if at all feasible, since the extra weight and clamp force will almost certainly cause complications. When it comes to comfort, higher-end headsets typically perform better, so once again, it may be a case of spending more for better.
Construct quality and styling: What to keep an eye out for
While all gaming headsets eventually show signs of wear and tear, some can withstand the abuse of regular use better than others simply due to being constructed from more durable materials. Video game headsets with plastic frames and headbands tend to break easily, so opt instead for a metal design. It’s a win-win situation because metal bands also end up looking better.
Leather, velour, pleather, or foam can all be used to make the headband and earcup padding. Both genuine leather and pleather (a faux leather) can be very stylish. They are also the most durable, although long gaming sessions might lead to moist ears because they don’t allow air to circulate. Foam, on the other hand, will keep your ears cool but will degrade more rapidly. Velour, which falls somewhere in between the two, allows your ears to breathe while yet being quite durable.
That’s not so much an absolute rule as a general principle. If you’re set on something other than velvet for your headphones, you may buy anti-sweat or abrasion-resistant covers for the earcups to help them last a little longer.
Some manufacturers offer replacement parts for headphones that wear out over time. Changing the ear cups on your headset can give it a whole new look. If the cables on your headphones ever wear out, you won’t need to buy a whole new set if your headphones have a detachable cable.
Sound seclusion: Its significance for sound quality
The quality of your gaming headset’s audio greatly depends on how well it isolates outside noise. In first-person shooters (FPS), where environmental noise can obscure the direction of footsteps and other sounds, this is especially true. Although terminology like “Active Noise Cancellation” (ANC) and “passive sound seclusion” are widely used in product marketing, they actually refer to two quite different features. A quick definition of each follows:
How well a headset blocks out ambient noise just by placing a physical barrier over the ears (passive sound isolation).
An innovation built into your gaming headset, active noise cancellation muffles or compresses outside noise so that what you hear is crystal clear.
Both passive sound isolation and active noise cancellation (ANC) are desirable in a headset, so look for one that includes both. In general, passive sound isolation is more effective at blocking out higher-pitched sounds, whereas active noise cancellation is better at blocking out lower-pitched sounds like background noise and traffic. Different headsets have varying degrees of success with active noise cancellation (ANC) and passive sound isolation, so it’s important to do your homework to find one that works well for you.
Surround noise: The ace in the hole of professional players
This feature provides the greatest tactical advantage for players of any of the built-in technologies seen in gaming headphones. Surround-sound headphones create a 360-degree soundstage by employing spatial audio technologies like Dolby Atmos. The sound is produced by many speakers placed strategically within each earcup, giving the player a more realistic sense of their virtual surroundings.
Having the ability to hear other players slip up on you from behind or determine the direction of grenades rolling towards you can be a huge advantage in first-person shooter games like Overwatch, Fortnite, or any of the Call of Duty or Battleground games in real time. It’s the kind of technology that may require some getting used to before it can truly make a difference.
Do not worry too much if a headset with surround sound technology is out of your pricing range. Many headphones also provide high-quality stereo sound, which does an outstanding job of conveying the broad outlines of sounds.
Why is a microphone crucial?
A high-quality microphone is required for games that feature voice chat, whether through the in-game interface or third-party software like Discord. Mics in gaming headphones often come in two varieties: hyper-cardioid, which only picks up sound from the front, and omnidirectional, which also picks up sound from all directions.
A cardioid mic should suffice if you plan to use your headset just for gaming; you can position it away from your mouth when you’re chatting with people in real life but still hear them clearly in-game. However, an omnidirectional microphone will better pick up the sound of you and your colleagues conversing if you want to use your headset for, say, work conferences in addition to gaming. In addition, the mic must be detachable from the headset if you want to use the headphones without a microphone.
It’s also important that your microphone has crystal-clear audio and is simple to operate. For a less grating noise experience, keep an ear out for features like sound cancellation and sound moistening. When you need to quickly stop all sound coming from your end, the automated mute button comes in handy.