If the sounds of intergalactic war coming from your TV are starting to annoy your housemates, it may be time to invest in a gaming headset. A good headset can not only spare your neighbors, but enhance how well your games sound, with heart-pumping bass and accurate highs that help you pinpoint the location of your enemies or treasured objectives — often with a built-in microphone letting you chat with your comrades. If you’re on the market for a new gaming headset or want to finally invest in an upgrade, here are some of the best headsets on the market right now for your PC, PlayStation or Xbox.
Best gaming headset: A short buying guide
Any pair of headphones will keep your audio private, and in fact many of the best over-ear headphones can double as great gaming headsets. But if you want something with an attached microphone that’s designed to work seamlessly with your game console, there are a few things you’ll want to look for.
Wired gaming headsets vs wireless gaming headsets
To start, you’ll want to decide whether you want a traditional wired headset — which usually connects through a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack or USB port — or a wireless headset that allows for more freedom. Wireless is more convenient, but requires charging the battery in your headset and can be more expensive than an equivalent wired model.
Game system compatibility
Wired headsets will work with any system that has a headphone jack — you can either plug them right into your PC or into the jack on your PlayStation and Xbox controllers. Wireless headsets are a bit more complicated, though, and may only be compatible with certain consoles — check the product page before you buy.
Many headsets aim to distinguish themselves from the competition by adding on extra features. Virtualized “surround sound” is an incredibly popular inclusion, though I find it usually sounds worse than typical stereo — and the options built into the latest consoles (like Dolby Atmos on PC and Xbox and Sony’s 3D audio on the PS5) are usually better — so virtual surround isn’t usually worth the extra money on its own. Other features, like wireless charging, may be worth a bump in price.
Best gaming headsets to shop in 2021
There are dozens upon dozens of headsets on the market, but a few really stand out from the pack. Here are the best headsets I recommend.
Best wireless headset for gaming overall: HyperX Cloud
For most people playing on PS4, PS5, or PC, I’d recommend looking at the HyperX Cloud Flight S. It’s wireless, comfortable, and sounds great, not to mention it can charge wirelessly with the same charging pads you’d use for your phone. Couple that with solid battery life and a detachable microphone, and you have a relatively affordable headset that just about anyone will love.
If you want to save some money, the regular Cloud Flight skips the wireless charging and virtual surround for a lower price. You can also grab the Cloud Flight S refurbished for the best of both worlds. And if you game on an Xbox, you’ll want to grab last generation’s CloudX Flight instead.
Best headset for PC gamers: Logitech
If you’re the kind of person that likes to play with the equalizer to get your headphones sounding exactly how you want, the Logitech G Pro X might be a good alternative — as long as you play on PC. While it doesn’t have the wireless charging convenience of the Cloud Flight S, its software allows for lots of customization, and its mic quality is better than a lot of competing headsets.
There’s also a wired version if you want to save a few bucks.
Best affordable gaming headset: Corsair
For something more affordable, Corsair has you covered with their HS50 Pro. It sacrifices some of the extra features like virtual surround and wireless connectivity, and it won’t sound quite as great as higher-end options, but the bang for your buck is there.
Best open-backed gaming headset (with spacious sound): EPOS and Sennheiseer
A collaboration between EPOS and high-end audio brand Sennheiser, the Game One separates itself with one distinct feature: It’s open-backed, which creates a more spacious, natural soundstage. It also means you’ll hear other people in the room — and they’ll be able to hear your gaming, which may not be ideal for all situations.
Best headset for gaming with all the bells and whistles: Steelseries
The Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless is not only one of the better-sounding gaming headsets on the market, it’s one of the most fully-featured. Its base station can connect to PC, PlayStation or Xbox, as well as to your phone over Bluetooth. It even contains two removable batteries so you can keep one in the headset while you game with the other charging in the base, ready to go if your current battery dies. Oh, and its removable plates and customizable RGB lights mean you can give it exactly the aesthetic you want.