- Comparison Chart: Best Gaming Headsets of 2021
- 1. Best Gaming Headset Overall: SteelSeries Arctis Pro
- 2. Best Value: HyperX Cloud Stinger
- 3. Best Overall Runner-up: HyperX Cloud II
- 4. Most Comfortable Runner-Up: Sennheiser GAME ONE
- 5. Best High-End Option: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x with V-MODA BoomPro
- 6. Most Versatile: Creative Sound BlasterX H7
- 7. Best Wireless: ASTRO A50
- 8. Best Budget Wireless: Sony Gold
- #9. Best Budget Option: BENGOO G900 or ONIKUMA
- How These Gaming Headsets Were Tested and Reviewed
- Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Gaming Headset
- Precautions and Health Risks
- Take Your Gaming to the Next Level
Whether you are among the millions of hardcore gamers playing Fortnite or need a gaming headset for PC so that you can coordinate with your Destiny 2 fireteam in Gambit or the newest raid, we have you covered.
Our testing team has conducted reviews for most popular brands on the market right now. We have ranked our favourite gaming headsets as well as put our latest choices into context so that you as a gamer will have a much clearer picture when you are searching the overall best gaming headset for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox or PC.
In addition to assembling a list of the top 10 gaming headsets available, we have written a buying guide that will answer most questions that buyers tend to have about headsets for PC and consoles.
Comparison Chart: Best Gaming Headsets of 2021
Here are our top 9 picks on the market. You can buy any of these good headsets today.
|Gaming Headsets||Compatibility||Connectivity||NC Mic|
|Steelseries Arctis Pro|
|PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||USB, Optical, 3.5mm||Yes|
|Hyperx Cloud Stinger |
|PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||Yes|
|Hyperx Cloud II||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||USB 7.1, 3.5mm||Yes|
|Sennheiser Game One||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||Yes|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50X||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||-|
|Creative Sound BlasterX H7||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||Yes|
|Astro A50||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||Yes|
|PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4||3.5mm||Yes|
|Onikuma||PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo||3.5mm||Yes|
1. Best Gaming Headset Overall: SteelSeries Arctis Pro
If you have the budget, then it is hard not to love the Arctis Pro from SteelSeries.
This is the best gaming headset with the best mic on the market, and it is currently available in two versions: one that comes with a DAC—a digital-to-audio converter—and one that does not and costs less.
The Arctis Pro is one of the best keep secrets in gaming and among the few instances where you can actually compare superior audio quality between a best PC headset and the best PC headphones.
SteelSeries has placed a greater emphasis on pristine comfort level as well. The high quality cups fit entirely over the ears even if you have big ones like I do. The headset is extremely lightweight, and you will not feel the band on your head.
The DAC makes a big difference and can overcome numerous issues with the onboard sound that many high-end gamers use. Note that you can buy the SteelSeries GameDAC separately. It will definitely cost you more in the end but is a quite reasonable option for a gamer who cannot afford the more expensive version right now.
SteelSeries is a highly rated brand that changed the headphones industry for the better. It helped establish the perception that the best PC gaming headset could actually be a damn good pair of headphones as well. Even audiophiles agree, and we love this handpicked choice as the best gaming headset for PS4 users too.
What we do not like is the surround sound implementation. It is not good, which is not acceptable at this higher price point. Even Logitech does it better—and at much less of a sticker price as well.
2. Best Value: HyperX Cloud Stinger
The HyperX Cloud Stinger has been the best value on the market several years running.
This is one of the best headsets you can buy today. The Stinger really is the sweet spot of both price and performance.
You may expect the perfect PC gaming headset to have an aluminum frame, which is not the case here, but this is probably the most polished and durable plastic construction that we’ve reviewed so far.
Users can twist the band as much as they want without fear of breaking this product. About the only weak spot is where the cup connects to the band. You certainly want to be aware as you take these off because a heavy-handed person could cause those plastic connections to snap.
Another quibble is that we wish this product had a removable—and thus replaceable—mic, which is what Hyper does on the Cloud and Cloud II, which are essentially the big brother product to this one.
Those issues aside, there is just so much to like about the Stinger.
Many much more expensive gaming headsets for PC are not this comfortable. The mic quality is superb, and these work just fine with the consoles too. They are not bad as a cheap pair of headphones either.
3. Best Overall Runner-up: HyperX Cloud II
For twice as much as the Stinger, you can move up to the Cloud II.
For three times as much, you can move up to the Revolver S.
The Revolver S is the best USB gaming headset available. It has an integrated DAC and actually does 7.1 virtual surround well and certainly better than the Arctis Pro. We would still take the Arctis Pro since the DAC is better overall and we like the fact that it is external rather than internal.
The Cloud II, however, is a great compromise between the Stinger and the Revolver S or Arctis Pro.
It comes with a USB audio sound card. The 7.1 virtual surround sound implementation is decent.
Via the sound card, the microphone has noise cancelling and sounds pristine. It also has echo cancelling, and the mic is detachable so that you can replace it or even remove it when it is not needed.
This headset is in the discussion for best gaming headset for Xbox One and PS4 too, but be mindful that virtual surround is generally limited to PC and Mac and not available on the consoles.
The product is super-comfortable. It is also made entirely of steel, and the steel frame can really take some abuse. The frame is covered in leatherette, which looks and feels great.
It also comes with a choice of ear covers: pleather and plush. The pleather is nice, but the Velour is a great option for those longer sessions where your ears may heat up and sweat.
4. Most Comfortable Runner-Up: Sennheiser GAME ONE
The HyperX Cloud II is our choice for most comfortable as well as overall runner-up.
A close second for best headset for comfort is GAME ONE from Sennheiser.
Sennheiser is an interesting brand in that it creates high-end headphones that may be best overall but also creates budget options that deliver an incredible balance between price and performance.
As agile as the brand has been in the headphones space, its headset presence has been a bit clumsier.
An example of this is the GAME ONE, which almost comes across as Sennheiser being unable to make up its mind. Is this a high-end product or an excellent value option?
The result is a product that is a bit too high in price for our tastes.
It is comparable to the Cloud II, but the Cloud has a better overall package and costs a third less.
That said, GAME ONE is easily the second most comfortable gaming headset for PC and consoles that we tested, and some of our team members fought hard have this product take that top spot.
If comfort is paramount for you, then these are worth testing if you have that opportunity.
The audio quality is also quite good but not Arctis Pro good. The mic is up there with the best we tested and has noise-cancelling and automatically mutes when raised but is not removable.
Due to the pricing, we would recommend this as a product you consider when it is on sale, but when it is not on sale, choosing the Cloud II or even the Stinger over it is an easy decision.
5. Best High-End Option: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x with V-MODA BoomPro
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x needs no introduction.
It is widely considered among the best headphones available before you move up into studio-grade equipment that can cost a lot more.
If you are in the market to get the best high-end gaming headset for PC or consoles, then we would recommend skipping the headset and getting the ATH-M50x instead.
Pair it with a V-MODA BoomPro mic and a Y-connector and you have the best headset money can buy.
For absolutely top-of-the-line performance, you are also going to want a DAC or a sound card.
Although it is our favorite, the BoomPro is not your only option.
If you prefer a mobile-style mic, you can go that route too and even save a little.
So, if we love this option so much, why is it not at the top of our list?
Well, headphones are generally not designed to be used for hours on end.
If you play a four-hour session of League of Legends with the ATH-M50x, you are going to feel it, and that is one reason why we would still opt for the best pure gaming headset for PC and consoles.
6. Most Versatile: Creative Sound BlasterX H7
Onboard sound just was not good enough, and USB sound cards and the like were not yet possible.
Now that they are, Creative has broadened its horizons.
With this headset, Creative has delivered a product that looks as good as it sounds.
It also has an EQ optimized for gaming, so out of the box, gaming sounds really good. You will not, for instance, notice big explosions in the background overpowering dialogue and nearby sounds.
Creative also bundles in the BlasterX Acoustic Engine software. This software lets you adjust the equalizer and create and enable sound presets as well as use game-specific profiles.
It also has Scout Mode, which aims to enhance positional audio—such as footsteps.
This is what makes it our choice as the most versatile product.
If you want the best gaming headset for PC that you can fine-tune on a per-game basis, this is it.
This product is also an excellent option if you want a good gaming headset for the consoles.
What we did not like is that the high-end is a little too prominent and the mids are a bit too quiet. This is not generally an issue for gaming but is an issue for genres like rock and jazz.
Note: You may notice a Tournament Edition, a Professional Edition and a number of other editions. These are all the same headset with minor differences in terms of packaging and accessories.
7. Best Wireless: ASTRO A50
You may have noticed that most of our picks are wired.
A product we did like and can recommend is the ASTRO Gaming A50.
This item costs a lot more though, but we think that if you are going to invest in top wireless gaming headset, then you might as well really invest in order to get dependable performance.
Wireless is really the selling point here. Astro does wireless well. It also includes the MixAmp, which is a good product that combines both a DAC and an amp—essentially an external sound card.
The sound quality is decent. The surround sound implementation is not really worth using.
The mic has good quality but durability is a bit suspect, and Astro uses a proprietary connection and charges a price for their mics that we consider to be a bit unreasonable.
Nevertheless, these are among the best wireless headsets for PC and PS4.
Astro also makes a green version intended for the Xbox One.
These editions are not compatible. The PS4 version will not work on the Xbox and vice versa. This is a shame because this is not necessary at all. Astro could have done it different but did not.
8. Best Budget Wireless: Sony Gold
This is the best wireless gaming headset from Sony.
We think this makes this product a no-brainer for the average consumer.
In fact, even though the A50s are probably better overall, the price-to-performance ratio is better here, and these are probably the wireless headsets that we would recommend to family and friends.
You can also use these wirelessly on your PC rig as well.
Oh, yeah. They work with Xbox too. OK, so the wireless does not work directly, but you can plug them into the Xbox controller and achieve the same effect.
That makes them perhaps the best wireless option for the multi-platform gamer who wants a headset that will work with your PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch too.
Sound is decent. Audiophiles will be disappointed, but for gaming, it is fine.
These are not the most comfortable headsets we tested. They are not uncomfortable, but you will start to feel them during marathon gaming sessions.
Additionally, build quality is a bit middle of the road. Heavy-handed people beware.
Still, at this price, we think many gamers will be all right with buying another pair because of the value and combability that this product offers them.
Just keep in mind, however, that if you do not really need wireless, then you can get a lot better performance and build quality at this price point with wired.
#9. Best Budget Option: BENGOO G900 or ONIKUMA
It may seem odd to rank two products in one slot, but these headsets are so popular and so much of a toss-up that it seemed like the only fair thing to do.
Either choice is the best gaming headset under budget on the market right now.
There was a time when spending less for a PC gaming headset was a ludicrous notion. But the tech has gotten cheaper and the consumer base—thanks to mobile—has gotten a lot bigger.
About the worst thing that we can say about these products is that they are both on the plastic-y side, and the gamer-ish design is a bit obnoxious and marketed at who we are not exactly sure.
But if you can overlook these qualities, then what you get is easily the best gaming headset under $30. Which you choose really comes down to a matter of stylistic preference—we guess.
Note that the plastic and bulky construction does not mean poor build quality. These are both built quite well and are surprisingly comfortable for long sessions despite being a bit on the heavy side.
This product is just perfect if you are tight for cash right now. They are also ideal if you tend to be hard on your gaming headsets or are buying for a kid who tends to break stuff like this.
There are no compatibility issues to speak of, which makes this the best gaming headset for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on a budget.
Note: Although both headsets feature a USB cable, these are not USB headsets, and the cable is simply there to power the LED lighting on the headphones themselves.
How These Gaming Headsets Were Tested and Reviewed
We test and review gaming headsets across five broad categories:
- Build quality
- Ease of use
Audio testing is extensive as we do with headphones as well, but we also place greater emphasis on positional audio and other such characteristics. We also used these products in a variety of gaming environments in order to appreciate mic quality, comfort for long-term use and so forth.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Gaming Headset
Price versus Performance
You do not have to spend a great deal of money to get good performance and excellent overall value when it comes to gaming headphones. In fact, these products have a reputation for being overpriced. Spend for what you want, but avoid paying needlessly for a brand name or an unnecessary feature.
Headphones vs. Headsets
You always have the option to use a pair of headphones as a headset, and as you move up higher and higher in price with the top gaming headsets, a strong argument can be made that it is a better performance and economical choice long-term to go with the headphones and mic combo.
Great Sound Quality Too?
The best gaming headset brands deliver reasonably well on the music front. If you want the best gaming headset for PC that you can also use for enjoying your favorite tunes, then it makes sense to pay a little more for that audio quality or to consider moving up into the high-end headphones space.
Virtual Surround Sound
Virtual surround sound remains a polarizing topic among audiophiles and gamers. Although it will never be quite like physical surround sound, these virtual solutions have come a long way. But be mindful that implementations vary greatly from one to the next, and many simply stink. Astro is a great example of a high-profile brand that markets a virtual surround solution that is basically worthless.
Wired vs. Wireless
The wired versus wireless debate comes down to what is convenient for your setup. If you game on a desktop and want the best gaming headset for PC, wireless probably is not worth the hassle of batteries, recharging, interference, disconnections and so on. If you play from your couch and want the best gaming headset for Xbox One or the Xbox 360, then wireless may be the only practical option.
Note: The Xbox One turns any wired headset wireless by plugging it into the Xbox One controller, which then receives and sends audio from and to the console via a Wi-Fi direct implementation.
Almost all gaming headsets will either connect via 3.5mm, dual 3.5mm or USB. Most use dual and provide a Y-connector for connection to a single port. USB headsets tend to bypass onboard sound, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the quality of your sound card.
Most of the best gaming headsets on the market currently are compatible with PC—including Linux and Mac—as well as Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. There are, however, some exceptions, and a little online research should reveal any major compatibility issues in short order.
Omnidirectional vs. Unidirectional Mics
Unidirectional means that a mic receives sound from one side, and omnidirectional means that it receives it from all sides. Most gaming headsets with the best mics are unidirectional. Omnidirectional mics can be a hassle because they pick up sounds from throughout the room.
Open, Closed and Active Noise Cancellation
Closed headphones deliver more immersiveness and are ideal for hearing positional audio—such as footsteps in Call of Duty. Active noise cancellation can enhance this immersiveness even more. Open headphones deliver more natural sound, are better suited to some games and let you hear ambient sounds, such as your kids. Open also has the advantage of being cooler over longer periods.
Comfort Over Long Periods
How long do you game? Do you enjoy marathon World of Warcraft or Battlefield sessions on the weekend? Comfort is always important, but it becomes even more important if you play for several or more hours at a time. Serious gamers should pay a little extra for that enhanced comfort.
People Who Wear Glasses
Not all of the best gaming headphones are well-suited to people who wear glasses. If you wear glasses while you game sometimes or all the time, then pay attention to user reviews that mention this. Frequently needing to adjust your glasses is a real drag and, for our money, a deal-breaker.
Read more: The 11 Best Wireless Headphones
Precautions and Health Risks
Whether you are using the best gaming headset for PS4, XBox One, Switch or PC, the primary health concern is hearing loss. There is an inverse relationship between how loud you should listen and how long.
Many hearing specialists recommend no more than 80-percent volume for 90 minutes and then taking a 15-minute break. If you want to listen for longer, then adjust the volume down accordingly.
And, if you are gaming for an hour at a time, then you do not have much to worry about.
If you are gaming multiple hours at a time, then you should work breaks into your playtime. In addition to giving your ears a breather, stretch, drink a glass of water and walk around a bit.
Be mindful that the rule of thumb mentioned above is for adults. Children and teens are much more prone to hearing loss. Specialists recommend the 60/60 rule: 60-percent volume for one hour.
Additionally, audio should be maintained below 85 dB. There are children-oriented headphones and headsets—although none on our list—that prevent the audio from being increased above 85 dB.
Take Your Gaming to the Next Level
All of the best headsets to make our list will serve you well for a long time to come.
Of course, these are not the only good gaming headsets on the market, and the brands are frequently introducing new products as well as refinements to existing choices.
The best advice that we can give you is avoid paying for bells and whistles and to spend the bulk of your budget on build quality and comfort. Good luck with your purchase, and happy gaming!