Ah, Razer. If there’s a brand truly evocative of gaming hardware, surely it’s this one. Razer gaming headsets have been in the game pretty much since there’s been a game at all. It’s the biggest name out there, and it offers some of the most reasonably priced options on the market.
Sure, many of its products are a little on the average side, and the company is starting to expand outside the gaming space, but if you’re set on having a gaming headset in that iconic black and green, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best Razer gaming headsets on the market right now.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on July 13, 2021, to include the Razer Barracuda X and add a Notable mentions section.
What you should know about Razer gaming headsets
If you’ve decided a Razer gaming headset will step up your game and is what your heart desires, there are a few things to bear in mind. For starters, Razer’s position as by far the most popular gaming headset brand doesn’t mean its products are all the best. To be clear, the company puts out plenty of completely fine products, but it also puts out a lot of products, and some of them are stinkers—often with nearly identical names and looks to good ones.
Razer has a lot of product lines
On this list, we used to include two products in Razer’s Kraken line, but there are a lot more entries than that. Many of them are 90% the same, often differentiating based on a single feature, or whether they support Xbox One or PlayStation 4. It’s easy to get tripped up in a sea of nearly identical neon highlighted headsets. When you’re shopping for Razer gaming headsets, it’s pretty important to know exactly what you need, especially if you want something on the cheaper side. If you’re not careful you might end up with a headset that looks identical but doesn’t actually work on your console of choice—very few Razer gaming headsets do it all. Depending on your budget, you may benefit more from a separate gaming microphone to pair with your headset. Check out our guide on Razer’s many gaming headset lines to help narrow down your options.
However, the flip side of that problem is you can find something to cover your particular bases most of the time. If something we’ve included on the list doesn’t quite match what you’re looking for, odds are there’s a nearly identical headset that does. This list is meant as a starting point, so don’t feel bound by it if something just off the beaten path looks better. After all, the Thresher Ultimate for PlayStation 4 sounds just as good as the Thresher Ultimate for Xbox One, and both work on PC. This concern is still an issue with the new generation of consoles, too—a gaming headset made for the PlayStation 5 won’t work with the Xbox Series X/S using a connection method other than 3.5mm.
Why should you pick Razer over other gaming brands like SteelSeries?
Razer’s headsets are among the best in the market, sporting features that help the company’s products stand out from the crowd. These features include Synapse 3 integration for device management, a gamer-oriented sound signature with low-end emphasis, and the inclusion of Razer’s famous neon-green logo branding on the ear cups.
At the end of the day, which headset you choose should be based on whether or not the product satisfies your needs and preferences. If you already own some Razer peripherals, you may feel more comfortable buying headsets from the same brand, since you’re familiar with the company’s design language and device management workflow. If you don’t need Razer-specific features like Synapse 3 integration, or maybe just want a headset with a design that isn’t too flashy, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless and Steelseries Arctis 7P are well-respected and affordable alternatives to Razer’s products.
Can you use a Razer phone with Razer’s gaming headsets?
In order to use a Razer gaming headset with a Razer phone, you need to make sure the headset is compatible. This means the Razer headset needs to be wired so it may be plugged into a Razer smartphone’s headphone jack or connected via USB-C dongle adapter. Alternatively, you could get the Razer Hammerhead Duo True Wireless earbuds or the Razer Opus noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones for casual listening from your Razer smartphone.
What is Razer Synapse?
Razer Synapse 3 is the company’s hardware configuration tool which allows you to control and customize your Razer peripherals. For headsets, Synapse 3 gives you access to controls for headphone EQ, microphone gain and enhancements, RGB lighting, and THX Spatial Audio. Note that access to some features, such as THX Spatial Audio, requires a compatible Razer device.
Currently, Razer Synapse 3 is only compatible with Windows computers. If you’re on a Mac, Razer Synapse 2 is available for download, however, it does not support newer products like the Razer BlackShark V2. To control newer Razer peripherals on a Mac, you will need to download and run Razer Synapse 3 on a Windows virtual machine.
The Razer Kraken Ultimate is a premium update to one of gaming’s great workhorses
The Kraken line of Razer gaming headsets is a wide and varied one. There’s a Kraken for every platform, in every color, and with almost any feature—just not all at once. The new Kraken Ultimate is a solid contender, with THX surround sound, the same comfortable fit (with eyewear channels), an ANC microphone, and 50mm audio drivers. In our review, we found the jump in price over previous Kraken models felt a little unearned, but there’s still a lot to love about this gaming headset.
Razer Kraken UlimateFull Review
This USB headset is aimed at mainly the PC market, as it relies on Razer Synapse 3 for many of its features. Given the sound profiles of even the most high-end Razer headsets, this probably won’t be as accurate as a given pair of audiophile cans, but it’ll do just fine for gaming.
The THX surround sound function offers virtual surround sound projected in a sphere around you, introducing a degree of verticality to the audio, which is great for games like Fortnite and Overwatch. It’s not going to make you better at a game, but it’s one more tool to give you an edge.
Grab this headset if you need something simple that doesn’t skimp out on the fundamentals.
The Razer Barracuda X brings good sound and great compatibility
The Thresher line of Razer gaming headsets is full of great options, but if one stands above the others for less than $100, it’s the Barracuda X. This multi-platform gaming headset doesn’t use Razer Synapse. Once you connect the Barracuda X to your favorite console, you’re off to the races.
Razer Barracuda XFull Review
You can connect this headset in one of two ways: by wire with the 3.5mm cable or wirelessly via the USB-C dongle, the latter of which makes it easy to connect this to a Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 5. Heck, you can even use the headset with USB-C smartphones if you’re so inclined. Razer also provides a USB-A adapter for the dongle in case your device doesn’t sport modern ports.
The Barracuda X has a few on-ear controls that let you adjust the volume, power the headset on/off, and mute or unmute the detachable boom mic. While the controls are all aligned in a single-file row, they’re easy to differentiate from one another by feel.
You’ll enjoy consistent audio output across the bass and midrange frequencies, with some under-emphasis in the sub-bass response. While this may alarm serious bass heads, the quiet sub-bass really shouldn’t affect gaming sounds all too much. Game audio engineers intentionally mix explosive noises so they sound louder than everything else. The benefit to this frequency response is that the headset is pretty pleasant for listening to music.
This has its drawbacks like just okay isolation performance and a pretty quiet microphone output, but for a lifestyle-oriented headset at this price, the Barracuda X is a solid choice.
The Razer BlackShark V2 brings comfort and compatibility on the cheap
Most Razer gaming headsets are pretty reasonably priced, but the Razer BlackShark V2 strikes the perfect balance between covering all the basics and staying cheap.
Razer BlackShark V2Full Review
This headset features an aesthetic that suits both work and play, forgoing LED-accented ear cups and sharp edges for rounded corners and a matte-black finish. The BlackShark V2 also excels in comfort, sporting memory foam ear cups wrapped in leatherette and mesh fabric that sits gently around your ears—perfect for long gaming sessions.
For a headset of its price, the Razer BlackShark V2 features some remarkably accurate audio output, with only a slight overemphasis in the bass range. However, microphone quality leaves something to be desired, with a frequency response that under-emphasizes lower frequencies.
Compatibility isn’t an issue, due to the headset’s 3.5mm connection format. You can use it with virtually any gaming console, with additional functionality available on PC via Razer Synapse 3, when connecting using the included USB dongle. PC-exclusive features include THX Spatial Audio support, EQ controls, and microphone settings.
If you’re looking for a Razer gaming headset that’s cheap, reliable, and compatible with lots of devices, the BlackShark V2 is your best bet.
The Razer Nari Ultimate brings more features than you can shake a (joy)stick at
If the top of the line is what you seek, look no further than the Razer Nari Ultimate. This beast of a headset comes with swiveling headphones, a retractable boom mic, and a comfortable suspension band. It’s made primarily of plastic, but what it lacks in durability, it makes up for in comfort. The combination of the Nari Ultimate’s suspension band and thick leatherette headphone pads (with the same eyewear channels as other Razer products) make it great for long gaming sessions.
Razer Nari UltimateFull Review
This wireless headset can last up to 8 hours on a single charge. If that doesn’t seem like much for a headset like this, it’s because it isn’t. The Nari Ultimate features small additional audio drivers in each headphone that produce haptic feedback when heavy bass is playing. That’s right, this headset vibrates. It’s a neat gimmick, and when you’re gaming it can add a lot to intense firefights. However, it can get a little distracting when listening to music or watching movies. Perhaps most importantly, the feature seems to be what drains the headset’s battery fastest.
The Nari Ultimate offers a ton of features. It’s comfortable, wireless, and supports surround sound through THX Spatial Audio. The 2.4GHz wireless connection (via USB dongle) means you shouldn’t run into any audio lag, and it comes with a 3.5mm cord for connecting to a device without a USB port. There’s even an Xbox One version that connects directly to the console without needing a dongle. Basically, this thing is stacked.
Game on the go with the Hammerhead Duo
Look, gaming headsets mostly target the same audience: homebound gamers who play at a desk or on a couch. However, gaming’s bigger than that these days. If you’re a diehard mobile gamer, or you just want something less bulky for playing on a Switch during your commute, a pair of earbuds is probably a little more your speed. However, while the Razer Hammerhead Duo has a real gaming focus, they’re also great for anyone looking decent pair of earbuds with neutral output.
Razer Hammerhead DuoFull Review
Unlike the previous Hammerheads, which were great USB-C headphones, the Hammerhead Duo are 3.5mm earbuds. Each earbud still houses a dual-driver unit, but this model doesn’t support ANC. However, the move to 3.5mm also made its compatibility wider—these earbuds work on any phone with a headphone jack, and every console.
If wired earbuds just aren’t what you’re looking for, Razer makes both a Bluetooth version and a TWS model of Hammerhead, just make sure you’re actually looking for something for gaming—no console supports Bluetooth audio currently, and the audio lag typical to the standard makes it hardly ideal for gaming on mobile. There’s also a separate model for the Nintendo Switch that includes a mic mute switch, but the regular model will work just fine on it too. If you’re looking for a low-profile audio solution that really works everywhere, this is probably your best bet.
If you want a pair of everyday earbuds, check out the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro
The Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro is the company’s second pair of true wireless earbuds, designed for Razer fans who need a pair of buds for daily use. For under $200, these buds pack quite a punch, complete with an IPX4 water-resistant build, decent noise cancelling, reliable connectivity via Bluetooth 5.1, automatic ear detection, and an in-app equalizer. It also features a low latency Gaming Mode, which benefits frequent video streamers too.
The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro boasts a relatively accurate frequency response that caters to virtually all genres of music, which was made possible by Razer’s partnership with THX. However, if you’re the type of listener who’d prefer an extra bump in the low-end, the Hammerhead True Wireless app gives you access to an equalizer, complete with sound presets to help fine-tune the earbuds to your listening tastes.
Not all is perfect with the earphones: the plastic housings feel cheap, and the microphone quality (sample) leaves plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, we’ve seen companies improve microphone performance with a firmware update, so perhaps Razer will do the same.
Best Razer headsets: Notable mentions
- Razer BlackShark V2 X: This features the same design as the standard variant BlackShare V2 but trades in THX Spatial Audio for traditional 7.1 surround sound.
- BlackShark V2 Pro: This Pro model features the same comfortable design as the standard option but with added wireless connectivity, a bassier frequency response, and a dramatically improved microphone.
- Razer Thresher Ultimate: Available in versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, all of which work with PC as well, this wireless gaming headset has just about everything you could.
How important is surround sound?
You may notice a lot of the Razer gaming headsets we included offer surround exclusively through Windows 10, despite being compatible with a much wider array of products. If you’re wondering whether surround sound support should dictate your purchase, it really depends on the kinds of games you play. If you’re into competitive shooters like Fortnite, Overwatch, or Call of Duty it’s probably something worth getting.
Surround sound doesn’t necessarily make audio any more immersive (that’s impossible to quantify anyway), but it can give you some important information in game. Gaming headsets that offer 7.1 surround sound are meant to offer much more precise directional audio. If you’re good enough to take advantage, it can be the difference between a chicken dinner and an ignominious death in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
However, gaming headsets already offer a better spatial audio than regular headphones. If you’re just looking for something that will make things sound like they’re coming from generally the right direction, pretty much any decent headset will do. Basically, if competitive shooters aren’t a priority, don’t sweat surround sound.
Why you should trust Sam
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 — that’s especially true of Razer gaming headsets. 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.
Next: Best gaming mics
Frequently Asked Questions
More than any other platform, the best gaming headset you can buy on mobile is just whatever the best headphones you can buy are. Gaming features generally don't translate at all to mobile systems, and most dedicated gaming headsets don't support Bluetooth (those that do typically have pretty limited codec support). If you've got something wired you like, just use those, they won't have the occasional lag issues Bluetooth headphones suffer from.
Wired headsets and headphones are king when it comes to quality and reliability. Because all the signal throughput is running through a cable, wired headsets are less prone to interference and quality issues, compared to wireless headsets. However, technology has come along way in recent years, providing a virtually lag-free gaming experience without having to deal with pesky cables. If convenience is your priority, wireless headsets will do the trick. For the absolute best in audio quality, and for the absolute minimum amount of lag, wired headsets are your best bet.
While users have reported success using Razer USB headsets with Macs, the platform is not officially supported. Accessing software controls will also be difficult since Razer's latest Synapse 3 software is not compatible on Mac computers. If you're trying to use a headset like the Razer Hammerhead Duo earbuds, then those will work perfectly fine, seeing as they use a standard 3.5mm cable for audio connections.