Trying to find the best Nintendo Switch headset is a more complicated proposition than it may at first seem. Your audio needs can vary pretty wildly depending on how you tend to use the console.
On top of that, there are the usual gaming audio questions to answer. Do you need something with a microphone? Is surround sound important to you?
Don’t fret! It may seem a little overwhelming, but we have you covered.
Editor’s note: this list of the best Nintendo Switch gaming headsets was updated on September 15, 2021, to address the Nintendo Switch firmware update version 13.0.0 which includes Bluetooth audio streaming directly from the console.
What you should know about Nintendo Switch headsets
Before we get into our main recommendations, it’s important to clear a few things up first. For starters, the Switch is a hybrid console—it works at home, plugged into your TV, and while out and about. What this means for audio considerations is that the Switch can actually work with a Bluetooth connection, 3.5mm hardwire connection, and USB input, at least to a point.
With the Nintendo Switch firmware version 13.0.0, gamers can use Bluetooth to stream audio directly from the Switch to a pair of Bluetooth earbuds or headphones like the Apple AirPods and Sony WH-1000XM4. Still, you cannot use a Bluetooth microphone with the Switch, and while Bluetooth audio is accessible, you’re bound to notice some latency. Prior to version 13.0.0, you had to use a USB-C adapter to transmit wireless audio. You can still use a wired 3.5mm audio connection if you so choose (except in the case of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless).
Other, more typical gaming headset considerations are a little bit less important with the Switch. Having a microphone is important if you’re into Fortnite, but a lot of games don’t have voice chat enabled. Most games, including the ones made by Nintendo and big names like Monster Hunter Rise, use a mobile app that requires splitting audio between a Switch and a smartphone. To be frank, it’s routinely such a terrible experience that it’s hard to recommend any headset that uses this method.
Surround sound is also a less prominent concern, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t support it. Even games like Fortnite, one of the most popular games to use the feature, only offer stereo sound on Switch, regardless of your audio hardware.
With all that in mind, here are some of the best Nintendo Switch headsets.
For the best all-around solution, try the HyperX Cloud Alpha
The HyperX Cloud Alpha offers best-in-class audio for far less than many of its competitors. This 3.5mm headset comes with a detachable 3.5mm mic, a durable frame, and deep headphone pads which make long gaming sessions very comfortable.
HyperX Cloud AlphaFull Review
This headset is a community favorite—just look to the myriad Twitch streamers who wear it every day—and for good reason. It’s reliable, comfortable, and it nails the basics. Sure, it doesn’t come with the added bells and whistles many other gaming headsets offer, like surround sound or flashy customizable lighting, but most of that doesn’t work on a Switch anyway. Instead, the HyperX Cloud Alpha focuses on covering the basics, and it does so with aplomb.
For under $100, you probably can’t do better, regardless of the platform. That this works with the Switch docked or undocked is just icing on the cake.
Related article: Razer BlackShark V2 vs HyperX Cloud Alpha
The Razer Barracuda X brings wireless audio and an ultralight build to multiple platforms
If you don’t want something especially gamer-y in its aesthetic, Razer’s newest gaming headset might be one to look out for (Who’d have thought). The Barracuda X is super comfortable, with mesh-covered ear pads, and a light plastic frame that’s barely over 250 grams.
Razer Barracuda XFull Review
This wireless gaming headset uses a USB-C dongle to connect, which makes it compatible with Nintendo Switch (docked or undocked), PlayStation 4 and 5, and PC, as well as smartphones with USB-C ports. This kind of multi-platform support is pretty rare among wireless gaming headsets.
Not only is it easy to use the Barracuda X in a bunch of places, it’s also just great to use. The headset sports accurate, neutral-leaning audio output (aside from the drop in the sub-bass range). Its battery can last over 25 hours on a single charge, and you can even use the included 3.5mm cord to keep gaming once it dies. The microphone is a little quiet, but that’s a small tradeoff (and easily fixed) given how sweet the rest of this package is.
The JBL Quantum 50 is the best option for Nintendo Switch gaming on a budget
Having a great gaming headset with surround sound, booming bass, and crystal clear audio is great, but sometimes spending a couple hundred dollars on a headset just isn’t in the cards. The JBL Quantum 50 is a fantastic option if you don’t have much more than the cost of a new game to spend on a pair of earphones.
JBL Quantum 50
This is a completely wired affair, so all you need is the Quantum 50 and a 3.5mm input, and you’re off to the races. JBL separates the controls module from the in-line microphone unit, so you don’t have to hold the wire up to your mouth when you take a phone call.
Angled ear tips and a soft-touch disc ensure a comfortable fit for hours-long gaming or music listening sessions. You may recognize the rubberized discs from JBL’s other popular earbuds like the Endurance Peak 2. Desktop PC gamers may grow frustrated with the fairly short (1.2m) cable, but you can always buy an extension cable for a couple of dollars.
Despite its economic price point, the Quantum 50 sounds quite good and its frequency response tightly hugs our house curve, with bass notes sounding a bit louder than what we posit as the platonic ideal. You may notice that bass notes mask female vocals, but this is generally a pleasing sound. In short, this is an affordable option that gets the job done, plain and simple.
If wireless audio is what you need, look no further than the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is the first Nintendo Switch headset to offer a wireless solution, whether the console is docked or not. Much like the Razer Barracuda, this headset uses a USB-C dongle to connect. Just plug it into the USB port on the bottom of the Switch and you’re all set for wireless, undocked listening. When you want to dock, the headset also comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter, so you can plug the receiver in and stay wireless.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 WirelessFull Review
Outside of that, the Arctis 1 Wireless is built from largely the same materials as the rest of the Arctis line. It drops the comfortable suspension band of more expensive headsets in the line for a simpler plastic band, but it’s still plenty comfortable. The headphone pads are made of SteelSeries’ signature airweave fabric, so heat buildup really isn’t an issue.
This headset is comfortable enough for multi-hour gaming sessions, and it can last for much longer than that. In our testing, we found the Arctis 1 had no trouble lasting over 25 hours on a single battery charge. In short, if you’re looking for wireless audio on the Switch (or just about anywhere else), there’s really no option more versatile than this.
For the undocked gamer, the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid brings true wireless audio on the go
If you’re more of the out-and-about type, a lot of these options won’t do a ton for you. Most of these headphones will work just fine when you’re gaming undocked, but they’re clumsy when you leave home. However, what could be more portable than a pair of true wireless earbuds. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid is the first truly wireless gaming audio product compatible with PC and consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 (and 5).
EPOS GTW 270 HybridFull Review
Using the included USB-C dongle, the GTW 270 Hybrid connects without issue to the Nintendo Switch, undocked and docked (using the included USB-A adapter), offering lag-free audio wherever you go. The microphone doesn’t work while connected via the dongle, but the Nintendo Switch rarely supports voice chat via a headset anyway.
These true wireless earbuds are rather expensive, at around $200, but even with the lack of a microphone while gaming, you get a lot of options. The EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid is still fully functional as Bluetooth earbuds, with support for the default SBC codec, as well as aptX. Basically, it works well pretty much everywhere—whether you’re gaming or not—which can be really handy if you’re going on a trip or just someone who likes taking multiple devices outside the home. Just don’t lose the dongle.
Best Nintendo Switch gaming headsets: notable mentions
- Astro A10: If you absolutely must have a headset that uses Nintendo’s app-based voice chat system, the Astro A10 is definitely one of your better options. It dramatically boosts mid-range sound, but it’s got a great sounding microphone and an included 3.5mm splitter for linking up to your Switch and your smartphone at the same time.
- HyperX Cloud II Wireless: Like the Stealth 600 Gen 2, this only works when the Switch is docked, but it’s one of the most comfortable and reliable wireless gaming headsets out there. Featuring great sound and battery life, and that classic HyperX look, the Cloud II won’t disappoint.
- Razer BlackShark V2: This is one of the best budget gaming headsets we’ve tested, featuring plush ear cups, great isolation, a neutral-leaning frequency response, and THX spatial audio—all for around $100.
- Razer BlackShark V2 Pro: For double the cost of the BlackShark V2, you’re getting a vastly improved microphone, added bass-emphasis in its sound profile, and wireless connectivity.
- Razer BlackShark V2 X: This headset has all the features of the BlackShark V2 Pro, trading THX spatial audio for traditional 7.1 virtual surround sound for a slightly lower market price.
- Razer Kraken X: The Razer Kraken X offers clear decent audio from both its headphones and mic, and its volume and mic controls are easy to reach in the left earcup—plus it lacks the obnoxious LEDs of many Razer devices. In short, it’s an affordable option that gets the job done, plain and simple.
- SteelSeries Arctis 3 (wired): While its sound quality won’t blow you away, it’s one of the most comfortable gaming headsets you’ll find for under $100.
- SteelSeries Arctis 7 (2019): For around $150, this wireless gaming headset is ideal for people who want a cable-free gaming experience without breaking the bank.
- SteelSeries Arctis 7P: It’s a little more expensive than the regular Arctis 7, but this PlayStation 5 gaming headset is also a fantastic pick for Nintendo Switch. It brings the same USB-C dongle as the Arctis 1, better battery life, and the super-comfortable suspension frame more premium SteelSeries gaming headsets are known for.
- Turtle Beach Recon 70: This is a solid option for those who want a very inexpensive headset, delivering decent sound quality and comfort for less than $50.
- Turtle Beach Recon 500: A reasonably priced 3.5mm gaming headset, the Recon 500 sounds good and feels nice, though its mic can pick up some headphone audio if the volume is too loud.
- Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2: It’s only going to work when your Switch is docked, but this is a solid and reasonably priced wireless gaming headset. For under $100 USD, you get great battery life, good sound, and an accurate microphone—what more could you want?
How we chose the best Nintendo Switch headset
When it comes down to it, I don’t just review gaming headsets because I’m passionate about good audio. Pretty much everything I do here at SoundGuys focuses on gaming content, and that’s because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.
The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky sounding features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (but in a good way), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review headsets, and why we have lists like this. As a Switch owner myself, I know what you need from a headset—and what you don’t.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're on a tight budget, the Razer Kraken X is a great value for under $50. It features 7.1 surround sound, good sound quality, and a fairly comfortable design. However, if you're willing to spend double the price, the Razer BlackShark V2 improves upon the Kraken X in every regard. The BlackShark V2 sports very comfortable ear cups, THX Spatial Audio support for PC gaming, and a more accurate sound signature—all wrapped up in a sleek, matte black enclosure.
Generally speaking, gaming headsets are tuned primarily for... well... gaming, meaning that its sound profile tends to emphasize mid and low frequencies. This helps gamers with their spatial-awareness, though at the cost of de-emphasizing higher frequencies. For a truly enjoyable music listening experience, invest in a pair of good quality headphones or earbuds that cater to your sonic preferences.
Yes, these headphones will work with pretty much any other gaming device you plan on using. However, we do have a more comprehensive list of the best gaming headsets for all-around use, rather than just for the Switch. If you're looking for a gaming headset with a good microphone, we've got you covered there, too!
If you're playing a game on Nintendo Switch like Fortnite, Warframe, or Dauntless, it really shouldn't be any more complicated than plugging a headset into the console's 3.5mm headphone jack. If it's still not working, it may be an issue in your game settings—is voice chat turned on? What about push to talk? If everything in-game is set correctly, your headset may have a hardware issue.
Unfortunately, Nintendo locks voice chat to its own tethered smartphone solution for most of its games. However, cross-platform games like Fortnite, Warframe, and Dauntless support native voice chat through the headphone jack.