Best Gaming Headset
Gaming headsets differ from standard headsets by the needs they must fulfill. While sound quality is an important consideration, the best gaming headsets must also be comfortable enough for prolonged wear; thankfully there are wired and wireless headsets that meet these requirements so gamers have plenty of options to choose from.
Since gaming headsets can cost you quite a lot of money, it’s important to choose a model that works well for your needs while providing adequate value for the money you’re. Check out the gaming headset buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick just the right headset for your needs.
Best Gaming Headset Overall:
A good gaming headset should be designed to offer great audio coming through the headset speakers, and a microphone to accurately capture voice commands. Beyond that , you also want to look at the quality of the speaker sound, such as headsets that support 5.1 or even 7.1 audio which refers to the number of channels in surround sound and dedicated bass. Comfort is also crucial because if you're just wearing a headset for a few minutes then comfort doesn't matter, but after a six-hour gaming session, your ears will pay the price for uncomfortable setups.
We’ve chosen the following as the best gaming headsets because they offer unparalleled sound quality thanks to speakers with at least 40mm drivers and closed-ear designs. All of these models have noise-cancelling features, along with microphones that isolate your voice, to eliminate other noises from the microphone input. The microphones on all of these models have a frequency response of at least 50Hz-10KHz which indicates the audio range that the microphone picks up; a larger frequency generally captures your voice more accurately. You also get great audio controls with all of these gaming headsets so you can quickly and easily adjust volume and other sound elements without interrupting your gaming experience.
A great headset that gives you a lot more control than just about any other model on the market. This one has 7.1 surround sound and a "mixamp" unit that lets you control volume and audio levels. It’s well designed and comfortable, offering 40mm drivers and a 3.5mm connection. Read Full Review
This is a solid model that gives you a lot of control over your headset. It has an inline control box that you can use to adjust volume levels for different aspects of the 7.1 audio, which comes from 10 discrete drivers. You can also easily mute this headset with the push of a button and the noise-cancelling microphone is retractable. Read Full Review
This is a great headset that’s very comfortable to use and offers some nice extra features. The earcup volume/mute controls are quite simple but very effective. It has a retractable microphone and some very solid speakers in the ear cups. Equalizer software lets you control the audio and you can even customize colored lights on the sides of the ear cups. Read Full Review
There is a lot to like about this gaming headset from Logitech, and while it might not have an external sound card or mixing device, this headset still works great. You get excellent 7.1 surround sound from two 40mm drivers, and the adjustable microphone picks up your voice really well. This headset even has three programmable buttons, which gives you quite a lot of customization options to work with. Read Full Review
This headset has pretty much everything you need for long-term gaming and you should definitely consider it strongly before making a purchase. The ear cups are comfortable and the adjustable microphone is noise-canceling to just pick up your voice. Volume controls are located on the headset itself and you can easily mute the headset simply by raising the microphone boom. Read Full Review
Best Wireless Gaming Headset:
While wireless gaming headsets are usually a bit more expensive than their wired brethren, the added freedom they provide can be well worth the price. Start by looking for headsets that are effective at doing what they need to do: give you great sound and capture your voice clearly through the microphone. All of these picks meet that standard, and beyond that you should look for additional features that can make using a headset easier or give you some nice options for audio control. Many of these headsets can also work with home video game consoles, but that is really not the priority here.
These are the best wireless gaming headsets because they offer tremendous sound quality thanks to audio drivers that are at least 40mm in size, with closed cups that let you really enjoy that audio. They all have adjustable, hidden, or removable microphones, so you can get excellent voice input in any situation. You also get great audio controls on the earpieces of each of these wireless gaming headsets, which lets you easily control volume and other options with just one hand. All of these include rechargeable batteries, with cords to recharge them, so that you don’t have to scramble to find new batteries in the middle of a gaming session.
With the EVO ZxR, Creative has made a very solid wireless gaming headset that gives you just about everything you need. You get incredible audio quality from 50mm drivers and noise-cancelling technology in the headphones, along with a microphone that works great. The dual microphone is actually integrated into the headset, so there's no boom to deal with or adjust. Read Full Review
This is a terrific wireless gaming headset that’s definitely not inexpensive, but you get some great features for the money you’re doling out. It has 40mm audio drivers, 5.1 surround sound, and gold-plated connectors for really excellent sound quality. The microphone on this model is very adjustable and can automatically mute when moved away from your mouth. Read Full Review
This is a great headset that offers unparalleled levels of customization. It includes three programmable buttons on the headset itself, along with mute and volume controls. The USB adapter for the wireless signal also includes a cord you can use to recharge the headset, which you can plug in while you're wearing it to recharge even while you're still playing. Read Full Review
This is another great choice that sounds great and offers 7.1 surround sound. It has nice big drivers for tremendous audio, and includes Bluetooth connectivity. The noise-cancelling microphone is adjustable and the headset includes software that dampens sudden, loud noises in games. Read Full Review
This is a slick, well-designed headset that gives you great sound and audio options, without breaking your bank. You get great audio with this model, thanks to 50mm sound drivers and 7.1 surround. It’s easy to set up, very comfortable to wear, and even includes LED indicators near the microphone. Read Full Review
Best Budget Gaming Headset:
When considering budget gaming headsets, one of the first things to look at is the price. Look for solid designs that come in around $50, though you'll probably be able to find these for less than that. These less-expensive models won't typically have sound control boxes and similar features, but you can still get great audio and a solid microphone on these headsets. You also want to make sure they’re comfortable, since you'll probably be wearing them for hours at a time during extended gaming sessions.
We’ve chosen the following picks as the best budget gaming headsets on the market because they provide clear high-quality audio thanks to 40mm sound drivers and well-designed ear cups. They all give you excellent controls, with volume and mute functions either in-line or on the ear pads. Each of these headsets is designed to remain comfortable even over long periods of use thanks to padding on the ears and headband. All of these budget gaming headsets also include adjustable, noise-cancelling microphones, so even though you’re saving money, your friends will still be able to hear you clearly.
This is an excellent example of a high-quality product at a very budget-friendly price. It's designed to be very comfortable, with padded ear pads and headband so you can wear it for a long time. Not only do you get volume and mute controls in-line, but there's also a knob that lets you control right/left balance in the headphones. Read Full Review
Although not branded by Logitech as a gaming headset, this is still a great option that should work for a wide range of PC gamers. The design is simple yet comfortable, including padded ear pads and headband. While it has simple in-line controls and an adjustable microphone, the included USB connection isn't quite as flexible as a pair of 3.5mm connections. Read Full Review
A solid all around choice, this budget gaming headset offers great audio quality and a fully adjustable noise-cancelling microphone. It’s quite comfortable and sits nicely on your head, with high-quality speakers to give you great sound. It has volume controls built into one of the ear cups, making adjusting audio simple and easy to do while gaming, but the price on it just barely makes it a budget option. Read Full Review
Comparable in many ways to similarly priced models, this headset has some nice features at a reasonable price. The volume and mute controls on this model are in-line, rather than on an ear cup. This one comes with an adjustable, detachable microphone, but it's at the upper end of budget-models on the market. Read Full Review
If you’re really on a budget, but still want good sound and comfort, then give this model a look. The ear cups are nice and big, with plenty of padding on the ears and the headband itself. You get 40mm drivers and an adjustable microphone. Read Full Review
Gaming Headset Buyer’s Guide
While at first glance a gaming headset might seem like a rather simple device, there are actually quite a few factors to consider before making a purchase. For example, wireless sets give you more freedom of movement, but wired models typically provide better latency for immediate response times. You will also typically encounter quite a few different types of ear styles and microphone designs; knowing which one will best meet your needs can make a big difference. You should also look at different control options and consider what will work best for you.
Wired gaming headsets are typically preferred by serious and professional gamers since the physical connection cuts down on latency and ensures faster performance. You want to be sure to choose a model with a long cord at least six feet in length but preferably closer to ten. While not a requirement, a headset with a breakaway cord can be helpful since it can protect your ears and headset in case someone trips over the cord.
You’ll typically find wired models that connect via a USB port or ones with a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack. The 3.5mm models usually have better sound quality, but you need to ensure your motherboard or soundcard has the proper audio jacks, while USB headsets usually work with just about any setup.
Wireless gaming headsets have some great benefits, but they also typically provide slightly slower latency, so they’re not ideal for professional gamers. However, the lack of a cord is great for busy households since it eliminates the risk of someone tripping over the headset wire.
There are two types of wireless connections you will usually find, either Bluetooth headsets or models that include a wireless dongle. If your computer already has Bluetooth connectivity, then a Bluetooth headset is ideal and usually works quite easily. On the other hand, without Bluetooth in your system, you’ll need to find a model that includes a dongle for connectivity, or pick up a Bluetooth card for your computer.
Ear Coupling Types
The ear coupling refers to the design of the ear piece or cup through which you hear sound out of the headset of which there are three basic types.
These surround the ear and are typically large, padded ear cups. This style does a great job of blocking out external noise and provides the wearer with a truly immersive auditory experience.
These types have have pads that rest against the wearer’s ears but don’t enclose them within large cups. Supra-Aural usually sound good and are pretty comfortable, but unfortunately don’t block out external sounds very well.
These have earpieces that go directly into the ear (usually the outer ear) such as ear buds or similar designs. These types are very rare for gaming headsets, as you’ll probably find either circumaural or supra-aural designs dominating the market.
In sum, if you need to block out sounds from other people, then circumaural is the way to go, but if you want to be able to listen for kids or other external sounds, then supra-aural is probably a better choice.
Microphone Design and Options
While you want excellent sound quality from a gaming headset, the microphone is also very important since you need to communicate with others on your team or those in your guild. Most microphones on gaming headsets are pretty similar, but there are a few design differences to keep in mind.
Rigid microphones cannot be bent and even if they’re adjustable, you won’t be able to move them very much. Flexible microphones on the other hand can be greatly repositioned and give you a lot of freedom to find the right position when talking. You should choose a model that has a microphone which can be folded out of the way or retracted (some are even removable), but in general you want to be able to move it away from your face and mouth when not in use.
As you pick out the right gaming headset for you, you’ll want to look at what controls are available and where they are located. Simple options like volume up and down or microphone mute are pretty standard, but you can also find models that let you control bass and other options.
In-line controls give you volume and mute controls located on the cord that connects the headset to the computer. Ear controls give you buttons on the headset itself, usually on one of the ear pieces, which you use to adjust volume or mute the microphone; some models even automatically mute the microphone when you raise it away from your mouth. There are a few sets which have a control module with more options, but these are very rare.
Regardless, neither control type is inherently superior to the other, so you should choose a model based on personal preference, unless you have a particular need for either in-line or ear controls.
Frequency Response Rate and Audio Quality
The frequency response refers to the range of audio emitted from the speakers in a gaming headset. While this doesn’t necessarily indicate overall quality, it does help illustrate the low and high frequency audio that comes from a headset.
This rate is indicated in Hertz (Hz) as a range between a low number such as 50Hz and a high number like 20,000Hz. Low frequencies refer to bass audio, and anything beneath about 20Hz is not something you can really hear, while high frequencies are treble sound and you cannot hear anything above about 20,000Hz. Lower frequencies, like response rates down to 20Hz, give you full, deep bass sound quality, while headsets that go up to 28,000Hz ensure a rich sound that leaves nothing out.
At the very least you want a headset with 50Hz-20KHz, but better sound can be expected from a set with 20Hz-28KHz.
Volume and Headphone Sensitivity
Sound volume is measured in decibels (dB), with typical conversation volume being about 60dB and a gunshot or firecracker coming in at 140dB. Volume through a headset changes depending on how you tune the headset, but there is a technical limitation on the sound coming from it based on the power of the headset.
Volume potential is referred to as “headphone sensitivity” and indicates how loud the sound is per one milliwatt of input. What you need to know is that higher sensitivity, indicated in decibels, means the headset can get louder than models with lower values.
If you like to listen to music, movies, and game audio at a pretty loud level, then you need to choose a headset with sensitivity of at least 100dB, otherwise you will probably be disappointed by the volume you can get.
Manufacturer and Warranty
There are quite a few different gaming headset manufacturers out there, and you should be sure to choose a reputable manufacturer prior to your purchase. Manufacturers like Logitech, SteelSeries and Turtle Beach make great headsets, and you can also check out companies like Sennheiser, Razer, and Creative Labs.
While you can usually save some money by going with a less reputable company, doing so typically sacrifices a measure of reliability and therefore diminishes performance. If you’re going to spend 30 hours a week with a headset on, it’s worth spending a little extra money to land a good model.
Premium brands usually provide excellent warranties of at least one year, but you can often find longer, two or three-year warranties from companies like Logitech. Some manufacturers also make similar models of both wired and wireless headsets, so you can find a design you like and then choose which connection type you prefer.