Best daily deals

Links on SoundGuys may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Best gaming headsets

Take your game to the next level with our picks for best gaming headset.
By
August 5, 2022
The Best
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
By EPOS
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid headset.
8.2
Check price
Positives
Connects to everything; Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC only)
ANC in a gaming headset
Great mic
Good sound quality
Negatives
Expensive
Battery is always in use
The Bottom Line.
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is one of the best gaming headsets on the market, if you've got cash to burn.Read full review...
Best microphone
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
By Corsair
The Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE in black/grey against a white background.
7.4
Check price
Positives
Great microphone quality
Sleek design
Battery life
Good isolation
Comfortable
Negatives
Price
Heat build up is an issue
Sound profile may not be best outside of gaming
The Bottom Line.
While it's not exactly broadcast-grade, the microphone of the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE is among the best we've ever tested in a gaming headset.Read full review...
Best cross-platform
SteelSeries Arctis 7+
By SteelSeries
The SteelSeries Arctis 7X gaming headset in black against a white background.
7.6
Check price
Positives
Compatible with all platforms
USB-C wireless adapter and 3.5mm input
Battery life
Mic retracts into headset
Sound quality
Comfortable
Negatives
Bass boost may be a bit much for some
The Bottom Line.
The Arctis 7+ from SteelSeries is a great headset that can last for almost 72 hours and easily connects to your Switch with a USB-C 2.4GHz adapter. Read full review...
Best battery
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
By HyperX
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless in black/red against a white background.
7.8
Check price
Positives
Battery life
Comfortable
Good sound for gaming
Durable construction
Comfortable
Negatives
Microphone could be clearer
NGenuity is a little spotty
The Bottom Line.
This gaming headset has the best battery life that we've tested lasting 327 hours. With a tried and true build, the Cloud Alpha Wireless is bound to last you years.Read full review...
Best budget
JBL Quantum 50
By JBL
The JBL Quantum 50 wired earbuds in white against a white background.
7.8
Check price
Positives
Price
Comfortable
Sound
Onboard control
Negatives
Microphone
Cord is a little short for some desktop setups
The Bottom Line.
The price, audio, and comfortable design make the JBL Quantum 50 a great deal for anyone looking to save some money without sacrificing nice sound. The mic is pretty average, but not outside the norm for a pair of earbuds.Read full review...

When it comes to video games, you can just use your regular headphones, but your normal set may not be up to the task if you need an integrated microphone. You could always just supplement your cans with a HyperX QuadCast S or an Elgato Wave:3, but extra cables are a pain. That’s where gaming headsets come in: instead of buying a dedicated mic, sometimes it’s better to just pick up an off-the-shelf option to shoulder the load without any other complicated hookups.

We’ve compiled a short list of the best gaming headsets on the market today.

For our top five picks, you can find the isolation and frequency response charts at the end of each image gallery. You can learn more about how to read our charts here.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on August 5, 2022, to include the Sony INZONE H9 as a Highlight pick, expand the list of buying options, and add context to the microphone samples.

Why is the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid the best gaming headset?

The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid is one of the best all-around gaming headsets on the market right now. Thanks to its excellent sound reproduction, detachable microphone, and wide variety of connection options, it’s a fantastic choice to suit all of your needs.

EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
8.2
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid gaming headset sits on a headphone standThe EPOS H3PRO Hybrid lays on a wooden table displaying its volume dial, Bluetooth button, and ANC swithc.The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid lays on a metal table in front of a notebook, next to a Google Pixel 4a.The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid lays on a fabric surface.The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid gaming headset lays on a fabric surface with its microphone detached.The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid lays on a fabric surface with its ear pads and volume dial in view.A man wears the EPOS H3PRO HybridA close up of the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid gaming headset's left headphone, which shows the power button, microphone, USB-C port, and 2.5mm connection port.A noise cancelling chart for the EPOS H3PRO HybridA frequency response chart for the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid gaming headset, which shows a very accurate frequency response.
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid

The H3PRO Hybrid frequency response comes very close to our ideal curve, which makes the headset ideal for both casual listening and gaming. It slightly emphasizes the bass and low-mids, with some minor under-emphasis to sounds below 40Hz. The H3PRO also works with different surround sound solutions, including PlayStation 5 3D Audio and Windows Sonic in wired mode.

This headset also features active noise cancelling (ANC), which makes it a great option for people playing games in noisy apartments, on the bus, or when sharing a room with other people. The microphone is quite good as well. To adjust how much noise the microphone picks up, use the companion app’s adjustable noise gate.

Again, the headset features a plethora of connectivity options, including both wired and wireless USB connectivity, Bluetooth 5.2, and the usual 3.5mm headphone jack. As long as you can stomach the price, all of this combines to make the EPOS H3PRO Hybrid one of the best options on the market right now.

The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid microphone sounds very good when you use it from a quiet space. Listen below!

EPOS H3PRO Hybrid microphone demo (Ideal):

How does the microphone sound to you?

1925 votes
The EPOS H3PRO Hybrid headset.
EPOS H3PRO Hybrid
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

The Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE has one of the best microphones in a gaming headset

Corsair is no stranger to the gaming headset market, and it has outdone itself with the Virtuoso Wireless SE. At first glance, the headset looks more like a piece of studio gear, rather than an accessory for gamers. However, its premium design carries a treasure trove of powerful internals that somewhat justify its high price tag.

Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
7.4
A man wears the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE sitting at a desk with posters for My Brother, My Brother, and Me in the backgroundThe Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE sits on a fabric surface
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
Buy now
See review
See review

Of course, the highlight feature of the Virtuoso Wireless SE is its microphone. While it’s not exactly “broadcast quality” as Corsair claims, it’s definitely impressive and offers a relatively neutral frequency response. Low-end roll-off or high-frequency over-emphasis is typically one of the weakest aspects of any gaming headset.

This wireless gaming headset sports a primarily metal build, soft leatherette ear pads, and a selection of metal-accented accessories including a USB-C to USB-A cable, 3.5mm aux cable, and a USB wireless dongle. The Virtuoso Wireless SE has a 20-hour battery life that will last through even the most intense all-nighter gaming sessions, with or without a wire.

Regardless of your pitch, your voice is sure to come through clearly through this microphone—whether you’re talking over the phone or in a Zoom call. If you don’t believe us, listen for yourself:

Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

6445 votes
The Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE in black/grey against a white background.
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

For the best cross-platform compatibility, pick the SteelSeries Arctis 7+

Gaming headsets use all sorts of connection methods, from USB dongles and cords, to Bluetooth and even to RF transmitters. The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ follows the Arctis 7 in bringing a USB-C dongle into the mix. This gaming headset is marketed towards PlayStation 5 users, as the console now supports this connection method, but it’s also fully compatible with the Nintendo Switch.

SteelSeries Arctis 7+
SteelSeries Arctis 7+
7.6
The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ sits on a headphone stand.The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ lays on a wooden table.The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ lays on a fabric surface with its retractable microphone extended andA man sits at a computer wearing the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ gaming headset.A frequency response chart for the SteelSeries Arctis 7+, which shows dramatically emphasized bass and mid range sound.An isolation chart for the SteelSeries Arctis 7+, which shows decent if unremarkable isolation performance.
SteelSeries Arctis 7+
SteelSeries Arctis 7+
Buy now
See review
See review

This wireless gaming headset is compatible with the consoles listed above, as well as mobile devices with USB-C port, and platforms like PC and PlayStation 4 with its included USB-A adapter. The Xbox One still doesn’t support audio via USB, but don’t worry: The headset also comes with a 3.5mm cord so you can go wired and still use it.

On top of that swath of connection options, the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ brings the same super-comfortable design as the Arctis 9, Arctis 7, and Arctis Pro. It’s also got great audio, a decent mic, and greatly improved battery life over the original Arctis 7, clocking in at 71 hours, 42 minutes. You can play around with the sound and microphone settings in SteelSeries Sonar, though it may take a minute to get everything in order: it’s in beta. Those who want something that matches their PS5 should grab the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+.

A chart compares the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless (cyan) frequency response to the Arcis 7P+ Wireless (yellow dash) against the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2 (pink).
The Arctis 7+ Wireless (cyan) deviates slightly more from our target curve (pink) than the Arctis 7P+ Wireless (yellow dash).

There is very little difference between the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless and Arctis 7P+ Wireless. The main difference is how the multi-function dial works on each headset. With the Arctis 7P+ Wireless, the dial controls sidetone audio, amplifying how much of your own voice comes through the headset. This can be helpful if you want to monitor your own volume, but for many, the Arctis 7+ Wireless dial will be more useful because it adjusts the chat mix. This means you can balance the ratio of game-to-chat audio that you hear.

The headsets also have slightly different frequency responses with the Arctis 7+ Wireless boasting a slightly more amplified bass response than the Arctis 7P+ Wireless in the chart above.

The Arctis 7+ boom microphone is easy to move around. The sound quality is good but you’ll notice that it actually sounds better through the 3.5 wired connection than it does with the wireless USB-C dongle.

SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless microphone wired 3.5mm demo (Ideal):

SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless microphone wireless demo (Ideal):

SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless microphone demo (Office):

How does the microphone sound to you?

1470 votes
The SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless in black against a white background.
SteelSeries Arctis 7+
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless has the longest battery life of any gaming headset

Those who want to remain untethered for hours on end will immediately like the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. In our tests, the headset lasted 327 hours, 27 minutes which knocks the socks off of any other gaming headset we’ve tested. To put this into perspective, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX is runner up for best battery and lasted 78 hours under those same testing conditions.

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
7.8
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless lays on a leather surface with its boom mic attached.The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless sits on a headphone stand in front of a gaming PC.A man wears the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless gaming headset sitting at a computer.The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless leans on a PlayStation DualSense controller on a leather couch, with a PlayStation 5 console standing next to a TV displaying Elden Ring in the background.The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless gaming headset lays on a leather surface in front of a HyperX mechanical gaming keyboard.A frequency response for the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, which shows pretty accurate audio output.An isolation chart for the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, which shows good not great isolation performance.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
Buy now
See review
See review

Unfortunately, if the battery does unexpectedly deplete, you can’t just plug in with a wired connection and keep gaming. You can’t use the Cloud Alpha Wireless while it’s charging either. No, this headset is wireless only and connects to your device via USB-A dongle. It works well on PC and PlayStation consoles, and you can even use the Cloud Alpha Wireless with a docked Nintendo Switch. Xbox gamers, sorry, you’ll have to keep looking.

If you want to go a step further with the headset, download the HyperX NGenuity app to access firmware updates along with mic/headphone volume adjustments. Here, you can also enable the DTS:X spatial sound feature and create a custom EQ. During our review period, the app struggled to recognize the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless, forcing us to occasionally restart the PC before being able to use it.

The headset was clearly designed with comfort and durability in mind. A solid metal frame, thick plastic headphones, and deep leatherette pads make for a headset that feels fantastic. The onboard controls add an extra degree of convenience, too. For listeners who want a comfortable headset that will last for weeks, pony up for this one.

The detachable mic sounds pretty good on the Cloud Alpha Wireless, but it isn’t the clearest audio quality. Take a listen to the demos below and let us know your thoughts!

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless microphone demo (Ideal):

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless microphone demo (Office):

How does the microphone sound to you?

1289 votes
The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless in black/red against a white background.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

Very few gaming earbuds sound as good as the JBL Quantum 50

The JBL Quantum line has been a little hit or miss since its inception, however, the JBL Quantum 50 is an easy product to wholeheartedly recommend. On top of being one of the cheapest gaming audio products on the market, these earbuds also sound great and feel great.

JBL Quantum 50
JBL Quantum 50
7.8
The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a wooden tableThe JBL Quantum 50 wired gaming earbuds dangle from a black, curved headphone stand.A man wears the JBL Quantum 50 while playing Nintendo Switch.The JBL Quantum 50 lays on a fabric surface surrounded by an Xbox One controller, a Nintendo Switch, and a PlayStation Dualsense controller.The JBL Quantum 50 gaming earbuds lays on a wooden table plugged into a Google Pixel 4a's headphone jack.A chart depicts the frequency response chart for the JBL Quantum 50 wired earbuds which closely follows our consumer target curve.This is the isolation chart for the JBL Quantum 50 shows pretty good isolation if you get a good fit.
JBL Quantum 50

The Quantum 50 doesn’t offer a lot in the way of features, but ultimately, it’s really just a pair of 3.5mm wired earbuds, so that shouldn’t be surprising. There are in-line controls for volume, mic muting, and playback, but that’s about it. However, being a 3.5mm device means it’s compatible with just about everything—gaming platforms haven’t ditched the headphone jack like the smartphone industry, after all.

Even without extra features, these gaming earbuds nail most of the fundamentals. They sound great and provide solid passive isolation. The microphone is pretty so-so, but at barely $30 USD, that’s to be expected.

The Quantum 50 microphone is decent but it won’t trick anyone into thinking you own a professional setup.

JBL Quantum 50 microphone demo (Ideal):

JBL Quantum 50 microphone demo (Office):

How does the mic sound to you?

750 votes
The JBL Quantum 50 wired earbuds in white against a white background.
JBL Quantum 50
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.<br />

If you want a super cheap over-ear option, check out the Razer Kraken X

The back of the headset with the buttons and controls on display.
The volume dial and microphone mute switch are easy to reach from the left ear cup.

The Razer Kraken X brings a lot of value to the table. Sure, it doesn’t sound nearly as good as the HyperX Cloud Alpha, but it brings 3.5mm connectivity and 7.1 surround sound, all for around $50. This option really walks the line between “good value” and downright cheap.

The headset has a lightweight design, with a headband made of a durable thermoplastic. The headphones’ memory foam pads feature slight gaps to alleviate pressure if you wear glasses. Its attached microphone is flexible and offers clear audio. All in all, this is a comfortable headset, and the volume and mic controls on the left headphone add even more convenience. The 7.1 surround sound only works with Windows 10, but you won’t find a better over-ear gaming headset for $49 USD.

This is a great boom mic for such a cheap headset but your voice will come through a bit louder here than with other options.

Razer Kraken X microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

5517 votes
Razer Kraken X product image against white background.
Razer Kraken X
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

Is the Sony INZONE H9 a good PlayStation headset?

The Sony INZONE H9 gaming headset lays on a reflective surface.
The volume dial has a raised profile compared to the other controls, so it’s easy to find.

Yes, the INZONE H9 is a very good PlayStation headset that comes with its own PC software. The INZONE won’t work wirelessly on Xbox, but it connects over 2.4GHz dongle to your PlayStation or docked Nintendo Switch with ease. You have the option to use Bluetooth with the INZONE H9 too, but there is no wired connection option here.

The noise cancelling performance is eerily similar to that of the older Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, which makes sense given how Sony’s marketing cites the WH-1000X series noise cancelling tech on its product page. The frequency responses are very similar between the H9 and XM3 headphones too.

Unfortunately, the INZONE H9 comes in at a whopping $299 USD, making it one of the most expensive gaming headsets on the market.

The microphone sounds very good and you can flip it up to mute yourself. Listen to it below!

Sony INZONE H9 microphone demo (Ideal):

Sony INZONE H9 microphone demo (Office):

Sony INZONE H9 microphone demo (Echo):

How does the microphone sound to you?

220 votes
Sony INZONE H9
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

The Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX works on PlayStation and Xbox

A man wears the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX gaming headset while sitting at a PC.
The mesh-covered ear pads manage heat well.

Maybe you reject the PlayStation vs Xbox rivalry and use both regularly. If that resonates with you, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX is a great headset. It has a switch on the USB-A wireless dongle that lets you quickly switch between the consoles and it works on PC and Nintendo Switch too. With a battery that lasts 78 hours, 23 minutes, this is about as good as wireless stamina gets unless you go for the aforementioned Cloud Alpha Wireless from HyperX.

While there are some solid features here, you may not like the attenuated sub-bass response that is about 14dB quieter than our target curve suggests. Microphone quality, on the other hand, is better than average but it will transmit background noise to your teammates.

The Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX microphone sounds good from a quiet environment, but relays plenty of background noise.

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX microphone sample (Ideal):

Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX microphone sample (Office):

How does the microphone sound to you?

96 votes
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 MAX
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

The best gaming headsets: Notable mentions

The Logitech G435 Lightspeed gaming headset lays on a desk next to a Logitech gaming mouse and a HyperX mechanical gaming keyboard.
The G435 is a nice fit for lengthy gaming sessions.
  • Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT: This has all the same strengths as the Corsair Virtuoso Wireless SE on our list, only it now adds Bluetooth and aptX HD support. If you want something for a little wider usage than the typical gaming headset, this could be a great option, but it’s considerably more expensive than the SE and the battery life is a little lackluster.
  • HyperX Cloud Orbit S: This is a great option for the person who wants something as good as Audeze Mobius, but doesn’t necessarily need every feature under the sun. The Cloud Orbit S is based on the Mobius, with the same 100mm planar magnetic drivers and 3D audio features, but it jettisons the Bluetooth support. Plus it’s cheaper.
  • Logitech G435 Lightspeed: This gaming headset may look like a kid’s toy but it packs plenty of punch beneath its pop of color. You get a lightweight headset that’s responsibly produced and sounds good for around $80 USD. If you like the design and want to up the ante a bit, go in for the Logitech G733 Lightspeed instead.
  • Razer Barracuda X: Much like the SteelSeries Arctis 7P, this wireless gaming headset uses a USB-C dongle to connect to a wide range of gaming platforms. It sounds great, and its lightweight build is really comfortable, but you may find the microphone very quiet.
  • Razer BlackShark V2 Pro: Everything good we have to say about the BlackShark V2 is true about this one, but it’s now wireless and comes with an improved microphone. Big price jump, though.
  • SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless: The SteelSeries Arctis 9 Wireless brings simultaneous Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connections to the already great Arctis framework. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s otherwise a very solid all-rounder.

Hold up! Something’s different:

Some of our picks’ and notable mentions’ frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this article (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and isolation performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white).

We’ve also updated how we demonstrate the microphone performance of products that we review with a standardized test setup. These will be made obvious in each new sample which begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”

Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.

What are some good wired gaming headsets?

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro lays on a leather surface, with one of its magnetic face plates partially detached,
The Arctis Nova side plates are replaceable, but the magnetic surface underneath picks up scratches pretty easily.
  • Beyerdynamic MMX 100: Need a straightforward wired gaming headset that puts sound quality above all else? The $99 USD MMX 100 may earn a spot on your mantle.
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II Gaming Headset: If you subscribe to the belief that the best gaming headset you can buy is just the best pair of headphones you can get, this may be the product for you. It’s the Bose QC 35 II—already a classic pair of noise cancelling headphones—with a wired microphone attachment for gaming. However, it’s very expensive, and there’s no way to just buy the attachment if you’ve already got the same pair of headphones.
  • Drop x Sennheiser PC37X: If you’re looking for something like HyperX Cloud Alpha for PC gaming, but you prefer something with an open back, the Sennheiser PC37X is definitely worth a look. It sounds good (though not quite as good as the HyperX Cloud Alpha), its mic is decent, and its got velour earpads—great for long gaming sessions.
  • Fnatic React: Its audio output isn’t quite as accurate as the HyperX Cloud Alpha (though it comes pretty close), but if you want a reasonably priced stereo gaming headset and having a very good microphone is a priority, the Fnatic React might be just the ticket. This is a comfortable, straightforward headset, and it won’t break the bank.
  • HyperX Cloud Core: If you want a cheap wired gaming headset that often goes on sale for around $30 USD, this is it. It sounds pretty decent and features a detachable mic with good controls.
  • Logitech G Pro X: This headset has one of the best microphones around, backed up by powerful mic controls via Logitech’s Blue Vo!ce application. It also provides good sound quality and a comfortable design that will appeal to PC gamers.
  • Razer Blackshark V2: Razer’s revamp of the BlackShark line was one of the best gaming headsets of 2020, though its microphone leaves a little to be desired. It’s super comfortable, it sounds great, with fantastic isolation and a lightweight-enough build for long gaming sessions, though it does feel a little flimsy. There’s also a wireless version with an improved microphone, though it’s considerably more expensive.
  • SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro: This wired gaming headset includes its own GameDAC where you can create a custom 10-band EQ setting or choose from some presets. The sound quality and comfort are very good, but you may shy away because of its price.
  • Turtle Beach Recon 500: Turtle Beach has put out some of the most reliable cheap gaming headsets on the market for years, and the company’s newest 3.5mm offering strikes a great balance between price and premium build. There aren’t any notable bells and whistles, but given pretty much every platform offers its own built-in virtual surround sound, you don’t need much to have a good time.

What you should know about gaming headsets

The Astro A40 being worn.
The Astro A40 is comfortable and easy to use for long gaming sessions and Discord calls.

When it comes to buying a gaming headset, there are plenty of things to take into account like price, design, sound, microphone quality, portability, and more. If you already know that you’re looking for niche produce (e.g., something for mobile gaming), then you can get even more specific with our lists of the best Steam Deck gaming headsets and best Nintendo Switch gaming headsets. Multi-platform gamers or those who want to be able to use their headsets beyond gaming, should consider the following.

Aesthetic considerations are also worth making. If you’re interested in a headset that you can use in front of other people on a video call, or out and about, something a little more low-key is probably a good idea. Oddly enough, a handful of Razer‘s most recent headsets may fit that bill.

Do gaming headsets sound different from headphones?

JBL Quantum 600 Frequency Response chart
The frequency response of the JBL Quantum 600 (cyan) varies wildly and its boosted bass is emblematic of gaming headsets generally.

Gaming headsets don’t have to sound different from headphones, but many gaming headset frequency responses crank up the bass to make boomy sounds, well, boomier. That can be a good thing for immersion but too much bass can actually detract from the experience and hinder your performance. Ideally, you want to have a slight bass bump that makes explosions stand out without making it hard to hear other in-game sounds like nearby enemy footsteps or the “twinkle” sound of a proximate treasure. A gaming headset with a versatile frequency response will more closely align with our target curve (the pink line in our charts).

Why should your Steam Deck gaming headset block out noise?

JBL Quantum One isolation and active noise cancelling chart showing impressive ANC performance.
The JBL Quantum One’s active noise cancelling is impressive, doing a fairly good job at blocking out low bass rumbles that usual headset isolation doesn’t cover.

Mobile gamers who use a Switch, Steam Deck, or mobile phone for most of their gaming will want to look out for a headset with good isolation performance. When a set of headphones can passively block out noise, you’ll be more able to hear in-game sounds over the real world noises—ideal for those of us who game on our train commutes.

Good isolation requires a good fit, particularly with how the ear pads cover space around your ear. You don’t want any gaps between the pads and your skull or else you risk auditor masking. It can be hard to get a good fit if you wear glasses. If you are a bespectacled gamer, we recommend paying a bit extra for good velour pads.

How do you connect a gaming headset?

Not every headset is created equal when it comes to connectivity. For better or worse, some gaming headsets offer limited compatibility or are completely incompatible with certain consoles altogether. Don’t worry, we have you covered. If compatibility is of utmost importance, you may want to stick to wired 3.5mm options, or wireless gaming headsets that use USB-C dongles.

Do certain platforms only support certain features?

The Xbox Series X/S in grey against a green background.
It’s rare to find a wireless headset that works with Xbox and PlayStation.

Features are still an important consideration, but these days they’ve moved to the backburner a bit. Gaming platforms (including Windows) all have their own onboard solutions for things like spatial audio, so there’s not a whole to buying headset because it comes with that feature preloaded. For instance, as long as you can plug a headset into your PlayStation 5, it will work with the 3D audio feature. For features like EQ customization, you’ll still need something that uses a companion app, though.

Why you should trust SoundGuys on the best gaming headsets

A hand holds one of the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) to the ear of a head simulator.
Now, we use a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test head to perform isolation and frequency response tests, as seen with the AirPods and any other headset that comes our way.

The team at SoundGuys is deeply invested in helping you find the best audio products for your needs and budget. We want to share our passion with our readers and minimize the legwork you need to put in. Whether we’re interviewing experts on hearing loss or submerging waterproof speakers, we do what it takes to get to the truth of the matter.

Our team has years of experience reviewing products, conducting lab tests, working in studios, and in the field of journalism. If you’ve wondered if we get paid to favorably review certain products: we don’t. In fact, it’s against the SoundGuys ethics policy to receive any compensation or gift for reviews or spots on our lists.

Frequently asked questions about gaming headsets

We’ve got a whole list of them right here! We also have a separate list for the best wireless Xbox One gaming headsets.

If you’re looking to produce a gaming voiceover, or just really want your voice to come out crystal clear when talking to your teammates, you might want to consider one of our best gaming microphones, or even one of our best podcasting mics. An external mic will almost always give you a better sound simply because they’re designed to produce high-quality audio and reproduce a natural frequency response. Depending on the type of microphone you buy, you may need to purchase additional equipment in order to power it. If you just need the mic to do the job for administering communication between you and your teammates and don’t want to spend too much, a headset with a mic will do the trick. Additionally, because a headset mic is often physically closer to your mouth than an external mic, it can be better for cancelling out keyboard clicking sounds.