Studio-quality, high-res lossless audio. Features 2.4G and Bluetooth connectivity. Includes 2 swappable batteries. Comfortable ear cushions. Immersive DTX surround sound. Available in black and white.
This is a fairly pricey product.
Affordable. Plush earcups. Lightweight. Crisp audio. Detachable microphone. Compatible with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android. Upgradeable to THX Spatial Audio. Available in white, pink, and black.
Not compatible with Xbox consoles.
Optimized for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Rich 3D Dolby Atmos sound. Detachable noise-cancelling microphone. Wireless range of 30 feet. Up to 20 hours of battery life.
Only available in 1 color.
Immersive 3D audio. Bluetooth connectivity. Noise-cancelling microphone. Up to 20 hours of battery life. Durable. Compatible with Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, smartphones, and PC.
The wired option is much cheaper.
Windows Sonic surround sound. Crystal-clear audio. Plush ear cushions. Durable and wireless. Solid 15-hour battery life. Affordable, lightweight, and available for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Is not compatible with Mac computers.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
As any gamer will tell you, half the fun of an intense gaming session is feeling completely immersed in the game environment. From expansive, open-world environments to sound effects delivered in surround sound, games need to be experienced to be enjoyed.
But if you’ve ever gamed using your TV speakers or a set of computer speakers, you know that most traditional setups don’t do video game soundtracks justice — or they need to be cranked up to eleven to get there. Thankfully, there’s a solution that allows gamers to enjoy big sound without having to wake the neighbours: gaming headsets.
Gaming headsets are headphone-and-microphone combination units designed specifically for gamers. The microphone is positioned on a small boom stand that picks up speech without getting in the way, and there are multiple speakers in each ear so gamers can hear their favorite titles like they were meant to be heard.
Gaming headsets range from basic stereo-only models to audiophile headsets that support high-end audio formats like Dolby Atmos. The right gaming headset for you will depend on a lot of factors, so let’s get started with everything you need to know to find the perfect one.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following questions. They’ll help you rule out the features you don’t need and focus on the ones you do.
This is probably the most important question to consider because some gaming headsets are designed for specific platforms. In some instances, headsets require third-party adapters to work with a gaming console. Before you buy, make sure the headset you want can connect to your gaming platform of choice.
Many games support multi-channel audio, so you can get enveloped in their sonic environments as you hear the action all around you — and you don’t need a fancy system to hear every last sound effect. Gaming headsets create virtual surround sound environments, so you can enjoy being immersed in audio that sounds like it’s coming from every direction. Our favorite part: it works with movies, too, so a gaming headset that supports surround sound can also be used to create your own private home theater audio experience.
While wireless headphones are definitely more convenient, wireless connectivity can introduce lags in audio, which can be a big problem in some games. On the other hand, using a wired gaming headset may be the least error-prone solution, but it’s also the messiest. Decide ahead of time if you want to buy a wireless or wired gaming headset — and keep in mind that wireless models usually cost a little more.
A good gaming headset is a lot more than a pair of earphones and a microphone. Here are our favorite features on gaming headsets.
Connectivity options: Gaming headsets can connect to your console or PC in a variety of ways — most commonly via standard 3.5mm audio cable, USB, or, in some cases, wirelessly via Bluetooth. Consider the pros and cons of each. For example, a standard 3.5mm connection is your simplest option, but it’s an analog connection and won’t sound as good as a digital one, such as USB connectivity. Bluetooth connectivity is the most convenient of all because it’s wireless, but some gamers complain about audio synchronization problems in games where timing is key.
Dolby Atmos support: One of the biggest advancements in surround sound in recent years has been the introduction of Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is a sound format that takes an existing surround sound track and adds an additional layer of audio that positions audio in specific places in relation to the listener. The result: surround sound in eleven channels and a subwoofer that put you in the middle of every game you play.
Premium materials: Gaming headsets are built to be used for hours at a time, so comfort is a big deal, and the fabrics and materials they’re made of matter. Materials range from cheap polyester pads all the way through velvet-soft options, although premium materials like leather can add to the cost.
Noise cancellation: Noise cancellation is one of our favorite inventions of the last hundred years. Headsets can now play white noise that effectively “cancels” all outside sound, so you hear your game’s audio and only your game’s audio. If you typically game in a noisy environment, or if you simply prefer gaming without the distraction of outside noise, get a gaming headset with noise cancellation.
Inexpensive: Basic analog gaming headsets start at around $20 and can be as expensive as $50. Models in this range are typically wired and usually sport big, bulky designs (which make them pretty durable). They offer some foam cushioning, but they may leave a little to be desired when it comes to long-term comfort. If you’re looking for an entry-level headset, you can get a competent one for fairly cheap.
Mid-range: Gaming headsets between $50 and $150 introduce key amenities like USB connectivity, wireless connectivity, and software applications for fine-tuning your sound. Headsets in this price range are a pretty big leap from less-expensive ones, but they sound better, they feel better, and they’re easier to use. Most people find their ideal gaming headset in this price range.
Expensive: Audiophile-quality gaming headsets can cost anywhere between $150 and $300. Headsets in this price range are incredibly light and comfortable, and they include premium features like noise cancellation. On the low end of this range are some incredible performers; on the high end are great gaming headsets that charge a premium for a brand name.
Q. Can I use a gaming headset to listen to music?
A. Absolutely. At the end of the day, all gaming headsets are also headphones, so you can use them with any audio source they can connect to. If you’re a music buff, consider getting a gaming headset that works with an app for adjusting EQ settings — that way you can fine tune the audio to your liking.
Q. Can I use a pair of earbuds as a gaming headset?
A. You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Earbuds are small, marble-sized headphones meant to sit discreetly inside your ear, and they often include in-line microphones for making phone calls. Earbuds are great for listening to music, but they often lack enough bass to make video games sound realistic. Earbuds also bleed a lot of sound, so they can be noisy around others, which is a particular problem with gaming. Do yourself a favor: if you’re thinking of getting a gaming headset, don’t compromise — get a gaming headset that’s designed for games, and avoid repurposing a pair of earbuds not meant for that purpose.
Q. Should I buy a case for my gaming headset?
A. If you plan on travelling with your gaming headset, we definitely recommend getting a case for it. Gaming headsets are generally pretty durable, but all it takes is one wrong fall to seriously damage them. That’s not a big risk if you plan on keeping them near your gaming setup at home, but if you regularly find yourself at LAN parties or similar gaming events, it’s a good idea to protect your investment and buy a case.