Picking the best gaming headset can be a difficult proposition, as both audio and gaming-centric brands make headphones that are suitable for gaming in addition to listening to music, podcasts or movies in a cocoon of sound.
Nevertheless, we've narrowed down a selection of headsets that we think are best for your gaming needs. These not only take into account audio playback quality and comfort but also how clear and responsive the microphones are, whether they are fixed or virtual.
We also take into account gaming features, alongside some of the gaming design flourishes that can either unite or divide gaming fans.
If you're looking specifically for cord-free models, we've also compiled a list of the best wireless gaming headsets. And, if you're in the market specifically for console headsets, you can check out our lists of the best PS5 headsets and the best Xbox headsets. But read on for our picks for the best gaming headsets in 2023.
Top 3 best gaming headsets
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Best overall: Razer Blackshark V2
The Razer Blackshark V2 is a wired mid-range headset, and yet it's still among the best gaming headsets Razer has ever made. It's comfortable to wear, sports a slick design, and doesn't skimp on the audio quality. These cans consistently sound great, and the addition of THX profiles makes them excellent for cinematic games.
Best value: HyperX Cloud Stinger 2
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 are a strong pick if you want a gaming headset on a more restricted budget. This gaming accessory provides perfectly decent sound quality, along with a comfortable fit, a no-nonsense design, and strong connectivity with PCs and consoles alike. Truthfully, there's not much to say about the Cloud Stinger 2, other than "it just works."
Best for PS5: Sony Pulse 3D
The Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is a nearly essential accessory for PS5 players. And this audio accessory also works on PC as well which adds a degree of versatility to the headset. Add in compatibility with Sony's Tempest 3D Audio engine, fully wireless functionality and a design that matches the PS5 console, and you've got a rather impressive gaming headset for less than $100.
The best gaming headsets you can buy today
It may be a mid-range and wired headset, but the Razer Blackshark V2 is excellent and probably the best set of gaming headphones Razer has made to date. The headset is comfortable to wear and has a sleek design, meaning it's great for people who like to take their own headphones to things like LAN parties.
Despite the design, the Razer Blackshark V2 doesn't skimp on audio quality. The headphones sound great when playing music, but the addition of THX profiles makes the can great for games, with realistic and detailed surround sound, courtesy of the famous film audio firm. What's more, there are profiles for a selection of games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and battle royale shooter Apex Legends.
There are a couple of caveats, in that the Razer software used with the Blackshark V2 can be awkward to use, and finding the perfect fit can be a bit tedious, along with the non-removable mic. But for under $100, you're going to get a lot of value out of the Blackshark V2.
Read our full Razer Blackshark V2 review.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 is a strong contender for the best cheap gaming headset you can buy. This sub-$50 peripheral provides perfectly decent sound quality, along with a comfortable fit, a no-nonsense design, and strong connectivity with PCs and consoles alike. Truthfully, there's not much to say about the Cloud Stinger 2, other than "it just works."
To be fair, we can't vouch for how the Cloud Stinger 2 might hold up over time, as its plastic chassis doesn't seem as durable as some of the headsets we've reviewed with steel headbands. The mic is also a bit on the quiet side, which might prove troublesome for players who thrive on online multiplayer.
Read our full HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 review.
While Sony has a dedicated PS5 headset in the form of the PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, the Sony Inzone H9 is another excellent set of headphones and mic for the games console. And it works well with the PS5, thanks to the headset's black-and-white livery. Support for Sony's Temped 3D Audio is also a boon, adding more immersive directional audio. We'd even suggest that the Inzone H9 even beats the Plus headset for overall sound quality.
But the Inzone H9 can also be used with PCs, though an awkward desktop app does hamper it a bit. And the mic leaves us wanting more for the price. Yet all in all, the Sony Inzone H9 is a solid gaming headset for both PC and PS5, with just a few factors preventing it from being perfect.
Read our full Sony Inzone H9 review.
The Logitech G Pro X delivers tournament-grade performance for a reasonable $130 price. The headset's distinguished black design sets itself apart from the competition, in no small part thanks to its flexible headband and supremely comfortable foam and leatherette earcup options. Simply being comfortable isn’t enough to recommend a product as one of the best gaming headsets, but it’s arguably the most important quality we evaluate. If you can’t wear a headset for more than a few minutes at a time, it’s not very useful.
The Go Pro X delivers rich, direction-accurate sound out of the box whether you're playing on PC or console. It's also the first gaming headset to sport a built-in Blue microphone, allowing for extra-crisp voice chat whether you're practicing with your Apex Legends squad or streaming to your online fans. Also worth considering is the Logitech G Pro X Wireless variant.
Read our full Logitech G Pro X review.
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is one of the best gaming headsets that Corsair has ever made. Not only is this headset extremely comfortable, but it also provides excellent sound quality. It works wirelessly with PCs and PlayStation consoles via USB, as well as mobile devices, streaming players and smart TVS via Bluetooth. You can connect it to a Switch, Xbox controller or older system via 3.5 mm audio cable. There's very little that the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT can't do.
Granted, all that functionality doesn't come cheap. The Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is one of the more expensive gaming headsets we've reviewed. You also don't get that much battery life for the price; some of the Virtuoso's competitors can run for twice as long on a single charge. Still, first and foremost, a gaming headset should be easy to wear and provide great sound, and the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT succeeds on both counts.
Read our full Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT review.
The Xbox Wireless Headset is exactly what the name suggests: a wireless headset that works particularly well with Xbox consoles. Whether you have an Xbox Series X, an Xbox Series S, an Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC with an Xbox controller adapter, this headset can provide fantastic sound with a simple pairing procedure. Not only that: the Xbox Wireless Headset supports Bluetooth as well, meaning that you can listen to music or take calls on your phone while you game.
Unlike some of its competitors, the Xbox Wireless Headset won't work with a PS5 or a Switch at all, which means it's not a great choice for gamers who own multiple consoles. Getting a comfortable fit can also be troublesome. But for the price, the Xbox Wireless Headset offers terrific features, a streamlined interface and a stylish design.
Read our full Xbox Wireless Headset review.
Debuting alongside the Xbox Series X, the Razer Kaira Pro is arguably one of the best gaming headsets for Microsoft's current-gen console. This sleek, lightweight wireless headset pairs with Xbox consoles right out of the box. But you can also use it with PCs and mobile devices, thanks to built-in Bluetooth capabilities. The Kaira Pro is not terribly expensive, and the sound quality is excellent, particularly for video games.
The Bluetooth pairing process is admittedly not as seamless as it could be, and the Kaira Pro has relatively few ways to alter the sound profile — especially compared to Razer's more PC-centric headphones. But if you've got an Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S or an Xbox One, this is one of the more comfortable and intuitive accessories available right now.
Read our full Razer Kaira Pro review.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is simply one of the best wireless gaming headsets you can get for less than $100. In fact, it's one of the only wireless gaming headsets you can get for less than $100, at least from a major manufacturer. It's also compatible with a wide variety of systems, from PCs and consoles to Android phones. You can even get the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox variant, which lets you transition seamlessly between wireless modes for PlayStation and Xbox consoles — a rarity, even among much fancier peripherals.
The flip side is that the audio quality is about what you'd expect from a cheaper headset, while the mic is nothing special. Similarly, the Arctis 1 Wireless uses a standard adjustable headband rather than the "ski goggles" design that makes most SteelSeries gear so comfortable. But if you want fancier features, you'll have to buy a more expensive gadget.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless review.
Even if the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless got nothing else right, it would still be an impressive gaming headset, simply for its battery life. Whereas most wireless gaming headsets last between 15 and 30 hours on a charge, the Cloud Alpha Wireless boasts 300 hours. Even if you spent eight hours per day gaming, you could still go more than a month without having to recharge the device.
What makes the Cloud Alpha WIreless great, though, is that it's an easy recommendation, even without its best-in-class battery life. The headset boasts crisp, clear, nuanced sound, as well as a comfortable fit and an intuitive set of controls. The software isn't great, and its lack of Bluetooth feels a little limiting. But if you want a wireless gaming headset for the PC or PS5, this is probably the one to get.
Read our full HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless review.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 is one of the best console headsets on the market, particularly if you want a wireless model. This peripheral boasts great sound, plush earcups and two kinds of wireless functionality. The PS4 version can connect to either PS4 or PC via USB dongle; the Xbox One version can connect to the Xbox One right out of the box. Both versions can connect to mobile devices and PCs via Bluetooth. It's an extremely convenient feature, especially since very few gaming headsets offer Bluetooth functionality.
The only real caveat here is that the Stealth 700 Gen 2 has an extremely tight fit, so you'll have to either break it in, or get used to some pressure around your ears. Volume levels can also be a little inconsistent, so it's best to start with the volume turned down and slowly work your way up, when possible.
Read our full Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 review.
The Astro A20 Gaming Headset Gen 2 (let's just call it the Astro A20 for simplicity's sake) is an ambitious and full-featured headset from one of the most trusted manufacturers on the market. This wireless peripheral offers excellent sound quality and a comfortable fit. More than that, though, the Astro A20 can also connect wirelessly to both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, which is a rare feat, even among the best gaming headsets.
This peripheral isn't perfect, of course. It's hardly a pretty accessory, and switching among various devices — such as a PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and mobile phone — is a tedious and often imprecise process. Still, sound quality, comfort and connectivity and paramount in wireless gaming headsets, and the Astro A20 offers all three.
Read our full Astro A20 Gaming Headset Gen 2 review.
The Razer Barracuda X is a no-frills wireless gaming headset that's ideal for the Nintendo Switch and mobile platforms. Thanks to its small USB-C dongle, it can connect wirelessly on the Switch in handheld mode — a rarity among gaming headsets. However, it also comes with a USB-A adapter, which means you can connect it to just about any other system you like, from PC, to PS4, to Switch in docked mode. The USB-C dongle also fits neatly into a PS5.
Granted, the Barracuda X is fairly bare-bones otherwise. There's no customizable software, even if you use it on PC. Furthermore, if you want to use the headset with an Xbox console, you'll have to connect via a cumbersome 3.5 mm cable. Still, for less than $100, the Barracuda X offers a lot of useful features, and decent sound quality, to boot.
Read our full Razer Barracuda X review.
The Razer Kraken X is one of the most popular cheap gaming headsets from a major manufacturer, and it's easy to see why. With a sleek design, plush earcups and pretty good sound quality, you could do a lot worse for $50 — or even less, since the Kraken X goes on sale pretty frequently. With a 3.5 mm audio cable, it works fine with a PC, a PS5, an Xbox Series X and even a respectable number of mobile devices.
Granted, since the Kraken X is still a budget headset, you're going to have to make a few compromises if you buy it. There are no customizable features, and since the headset is tuned for gaming, music doesn't sound especially good. The mic is also not removable, which means it will often be in your line of sight, and that's distracting.
Read our full Razer Kraken X review.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro is one of the most expensive gaming headsets you can buy. However, it's also one of the best. Like some previous high-end peripherals from SteelSeries, the Arctis Nova Pro comes with a digital audio converter (DAC) that gives you fine control over the high-quality audio. You can customize equalization profiles; you can hot-swap batteries; you can connect to a variety of systems via USB or Bluetooth.
Aside from its high price, there are a few caveats to the Arctis Nova Pro. For one thing, it's not easy to transfer between consoles and PCs, since the DAC has to stay put. The active noise-canceling features also don't work nearly as well as advertised, and the DAC can be pretty complex to program. But if you want one of the most premium gaming headsets on the market, this is it.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro review.
The Logitech G733 deserves some attention, not because it's the greatest gaming headset in the history of gadgetry, but because it offers something unique: a variety of colors. Whereas most gaming headsets come in black, and a handful come in white, only the G733 offers black, white, pink, blue and black-white-and-blue colorways. In theory, your gaming setup should represent your own sense of style, and having a colorful headset is a great way to do that.
Aesthetics aside, the G733 is still pretty good. The device offers 29 hours of battery on a single charge, which is quite a bit better than some headsets that only offer 15 or so. The sound quality is also pretty good, although it's not best-in-class by any means. The mic design is a little off, and the fit could be better. But if you want a gaming headset that's not quite like the rest of the pack, the G733 is a respectable and creative choice.
Read our full Logitech G733 review.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 is the latest version of the SteelSeries Arctis 7, one of the best gaming headsets we've ever reviewed. The Arctis Nova 7 isn't quite as innovative as the original Arctis 7 was, but it's still an excellent peripheral, boasting a smart design and a versatile USB-C connector. What's more: The Arctis Nova 7 has Bluetooth, meaning it's compatible with just about every system you own. That's especially true if you get the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7x version, which also works wirelessly with Microsoft's idiosyncratic Xbox wireless protocol.
The only real downsides of the Arctis Nova 7 are that the sound quality is good rather than great, and that the fit is a bit tight. Beyond that, the price is fair and the feature set is robust. It's a great companion for PC, console and mobile gaming alike.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 review.
We'd still say the Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is an essential PS5 accessory. But it also works with PCs as well, adding a degree of versatility to the headset and making it a headset worth considering for cross-platform gaming. Add in compatibility with Sony's Tempest 3D Audio engine and you've got a rather impressive gaming headset for under $100.
Not only does the headset look rather good with a black and white color scheme matching that of the PS5, but it also delivers some solid audio, You'll hear all the bangs, pop, creaks, screams, and more in all manner of games, with the 3D audio letting you pinpoint where enemies are by sound alone. But the headset also does a decent job when it comes to music and movies.
It's also pretty comfortable, with decent cushioning and a sturdy headband that works for long gaming sessions. There's no active noise cancellation and some of the controls on the earcups aren't the most intuitive. But this is still a gaming headset well worth your consideration.
Read our full Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset review.
How to choose the best gaming headset for you
Choosing the best gaming headset comes down to a few different criteria. No matter what, the headset has to be comfortable and provide good gaming sound. In fact, I would argue that the former is more important than the latter. Even if your headset produces subpar sound, you’ll still be able to hear what’s going on in your game. But if it’s even a little bit uncomfortable, you’ll want to tear it off of your head after about half an hour, and that’s not conducive to playing any kind of game.
The next thing to think about is whether you want a wired or wireless model. Wireless models are almost always more expensive, but the convenience of living without wires may well be worth the cost. Generally speaking, wireless headsets that are compatible with PC and PS5 are not compatible with Xbox Series X/S, and vice versa, so a headset that also features 3.5 mm connectivity could be helpful in this case.
Finally, it's worth considering a headset's price range. At $50 and under, you're likely to find wired models with just-good-enough sound quality and few extra features. Between $100 and $150, you'll find high-end wired models and low-to-mid-range wireless models, so consider whether audio quality or convenience is more valuable to you. At $200 and above, manufacturers sell premium gaming headsets, which are usually wireless, with excellent sound quality and plenty of customization options. There is no "sweet spot" for gaming headset prices; it's purely about which features you want, and how much you're willing to spend.
How we test gaming headsets
Tom's Guide tests gaming headsets extensively before we write about them. To start, we take stock of the device's setup process, connectivity method and general comfort level. From there, we use it as our go-to headset for both productivity and gaming for anywhere between a day and a week. We test a selection of different games on PCs, consoles and mobile devices across a variety of different genres. We also see how the headset handles different styles of music, as well as movies and TV shows.
If the headset has a software suite, we evaluate how easy it is to set up profiles, change equalization levels, adjust mic sidetone and customize any extra features. During this part of the process, we also test the mic, either in video chats or with recording software, and see how easy it is to move the headset from one system to another. Wherever possible, we will test a headset's wired and wireless modes, and see if there is any loss of quality between the two.