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Best Gaming Headsets 2018 Part of Tom's Guide
Electronics

User

Ryan Brown ยท
Updated Dec 13, 2017

After testing dozens of the top gaming headsets in every price range, our top pick is the SteelSeries Arctis 7. These cans offer rich, immersive sound, flawless wireless performance and excellent comfort, all within a stylish, subdued design you can wear as your everyday headphones. For gamers on an extra-tight budget, we recommend the $50 HyperX Cloud Stinger for its solid build quality and excellent sound quality for the price.

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Image Best Overall

SteelSeries Arctis 7

The Arctis 7 is the best all-purpose gaming headset out there, offering stellar wireless performance, DTS 7.1 surround sound support, and a stylish, lightweight design.

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Image Best Under $50

HyperX Cloud Stinger

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is a fantastic value, offering a sturdy build, supremely comfortable earcups and solid audio for the price.

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Image Best Under $100

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is remarkably premium for a $100 headset, delivering crisp game audio and superb memory foam earcups within a striking aluminum design.

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OUR TEST RESULTS

Products Price

OVERALL RATING
How We Measure

Features

This category deals with the tools and functions of the software itself.


Frequency Response
How We Measure

Features

This category covers the file formats and devices the software can create videos for.


Wireless
How We Measure

Features

This category assesses how simple and intuitive the software is to use.


Weight
How We Measure

Features

This category looks at how well the companies selling the software stand behind their product.


Compatability
Steelseries ARCTIS 7

Best Overall

$149.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 9/10 20 - 20 kHz Yes 9.9 oz PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mobile
HyperX Cloud Stinger

Best Under $50

$49.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 9/10 18 Hz - 23 kHz No 9.7 oz PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mobile
HyperX Cloud Alpha

Best Under $100

$99.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 8/10 13 - 27 kHz No 10.5 oz PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Mobile
Razer Thresher Ultimate $199.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 8/10 12 - 28 kHz Yes 14.4 oz PS4, Xbox One, PC
Steelseries ARCTIS 3 Bluetooth $129.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 8/10 20 - 22 kHz Yes 9.6 oz PS4, Xbox One, Switch (wired), Mobile, PC
Turtle Beach Stealth 700 $119.99 @Amazon Curve Arrow 8/10 20 - 20 kHz Yes 10 oz Xbox One, Mobile
Playstation Platinum Wireless $122 @Amazon Curve Arrow 7/10 N/A Yes 11.2 oz PS4, PC, Mobile
Astro A50 $274.37 @Amazon Curve Arrow 9/10 20 - 20 kHz Yes 13.4 oz Xbox One, PC, PS4


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Best Overall

SteelSeries Arctis 7 9.5 /10

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the perfect blend of style and substance. This all-purpose gaming headset stands out with its excellent design, which is supremely lightweight, features a cozy ski-goggle headband and is subtle enough to wear during your daily commute.

The Arctis 7's sound quality is on par with its looks, with support for crisp stereo, rich DTS 7.1 surround sound and a whole bunch of customization options via the SteelSeries Engine app. The headset has a wireless range of roughly 30 feet, and includes analog cables for easy use on your PS4, Xbox One, Switch or mobile device.

Pros
  • Icon Great gaming audio
  • Icon Lightweight, cozy design
  • Icon Excellent wireless performance
Cons
  • Icon Mixed music performance


Best Under $50

HyperX Cloud Stinger5.9 /10

The HyperX Cloud Stinger delivers excellent comfort and performance for the money. This headset packs HyperX's signature memory foam earcups into a surprisingly sturdy plastic frame, resulting in the coziest headset you can find at this price range. The Stinger's ear cups fold flat for easy travel, and the cans include a splitter cable for plugging into your PC's dedicated headphone and mic jacks.

The Stinger sounds pretty good for the price, though you're largely getting what you pay for in terms of audio quality. HyperX's headset offers good directionality for multiplayer games, though we found that audio got a bit blown out at the higher ranges.

Pros
  • Icon Excellent comfort
  • Icon Affordable price
  • Icon Solid build quality
Cons
  • Icon Sound quality is a mixed bag


Best Under $100

HyperX Cloud Alpha5.0 /10

The HyperX Cloud Alpha takes everything great about the company's Cloud II headset and makes it even better. This $100 set of cans offers a striking and sturdy aluminum design, and its memory foam earcups are some of the comfiest you'll find on any headset. Thanks to the Alpha's unique dual-chamber drivers, the headset offers rich bass, crisp highs, and excellent directionality for hearing the competition coming.

The Alpha's microphone picks up a bit more background noise than we'd like, and its lack of folding earcups keeps it from being the most travel-friendly headset out there. But in terms of looks and performance, the Alpha is far and away the best you can get for $100.

Pros
  • Icon Sleek, premium design
  • Icon Soft and cushy ear cups
  • Icon Impressive audio quality
  • Icon Versatile cables
Cons
  • Icon Microphone picks up some noise
  • Icon No folding earcups


How We Test Gaming Headsets

We typically test headsets with a mix of shooting, fighting and action/adventure games. Games such as Overwatch and Injustice 2 give us a sense of how each headset holds up in a competitive setting, while titles such as Mass Effect: Andromeda and Uncharted 4 help us evaluate how well each peripheral captures a game's atmosphere.

We also listen to music and watch movies with each headset in order to size up its usefulness for consuming multimedia. For wireless headsets, we keep a log of how long the peripheral lasts before the battery completely drains. We use voice recordings to evaluate each headset's microphone, as well as listen back to any Twitch broadcasts we've conducted with them on.

We generally wear each headset for at least two full days to assess comfort level. We almost always get a second opinion from someone else on staff, as what's comfortable to one gamer could be unbearable to the next.

What Gaming Headsets Cost

A decent wired gaming headset will run you anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on the level of quality you're after. Wireless headsets typically start in the $100 to $150 range, though you'll be paying between $250 to $300 for a high-end surround model with all kinds of bells and whistles, such as the Razer Thresher Ultimate or Astro A50.

Compatibility and What to Consider

Any headset with a 3.5mm audio jack can hook up to your PC, PS4 controller, Xbox One controller (newer models have a headphone jack, older ones require an adapter), mobile device or Nintendo Switch. Some PC-based headsets only connect to your computer via USB, while others have optional USB dongles that provide physical volume-control buttons.

If you love to tweak every last setting, you might lean toward USB-based headsets that are powered by software such as Logitech Gaming Software or Razer Synapse. Folks gaming on Xbox One or Windows 10 can utilize features such as Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic for Headphones, which allow you to enjoy virtual surround sound even on a stereo headset.