SteelSeries Arctis 7
The SteelSeries Arctis 7 sets the standard for what a wireless gaming headset should be: functional, versatile and practical.
Astro A40 + MixAmp Pro
Pick up the Astro A40 + MixAmp if you want to do some serious gaming or streaming from a desk setup. If you game primarily in the living room, though, you may want a wireless option instead.
Whether you're looking to hear the competition coming in your favorite online PC games or want to get immersed on the go on your Nintendo Switch, finding the best gaming headset is essential for any serious gamer.
After testing tons of models from multiple brands in different price ranges, our top pick is the SteelSeries Arctis 7. This headset offers an incredibly comfortable fit along with rich sound for both games and music, and is compatible with every major platform.
From wireless headsets to high-end PC models with surround sound and tons of customizable settings, here are the best gaming headsets to buy right now.
The best gaming headset overall
The $149 SteelSeries Arctis 7 is the complete package, offering great sound, consistent wireless performance and a comfy, attractive design at a reasonable price. The headset’s 2.4-GHz wireless connectivity keeps you glued to your game without any lag or interference, while its S1 speaker drivers pump out crisp directional sound that lets you hear the competition coming.
With a stylish, subdued look in black and white, the Arctis 7 is the rare gaming headset you’ll actually want to use as your daily headphones. The device is incredibly comfortable, too, thanks to an elastic headband that adjusts to your dome and a pair of soft, lightweight earcups. Factor in a clear microphone, a 24-hour battery, compatibility with most major platforms, and lots of customization options, and you’ve got the best gaming headset overall for the money.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis 7 Review.
Big sound on a budget
The $50 HyperX Cloud Stinger proves that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort when you’re on a tight budget. The Stinger’s sturdy, feather-light frame and soft, faux-leather earcups make for one of the pleasant budget headsets we’ve worn yet, and its handy on ear controls and solid microphone certainly don’t hurt either.
The Stinger also offers very solid audio quality for the price – though things can get a bit blown out at max volume. But if you’re looking for good sound within a superbly comfy set of cans for less than $50, the Stinger is one of the best gaming headsets in its price range. And if you want to enjoy the Stinger’s excellent design without wires, the $99 Cloud Stinger Wireless is a good alternative.
Read our full HyperX Cloud Stinger review.
The total package for pros and streamers
The Astro A40 + MixAmp Pro is a premium gaming headset package built for serious gamers who want tons of controls at their fingertips. The A40 itself remains one of the best gaming headsets around, thanks to its durable, lightweight frame and soft, plush earcups as well as the excellent positional sound that pumps out of its 40-mm drivers.
But it's really the MixAmp Pro and the headset’s included software that takes things to the next level. The MixAmp makes it easy to adjust game and voice chat levels as well as switch between audio presets, and there are enough ports for serious audiophiles and streamers to connect to their favorite high-end hardware. The Astro Command Center software is incredibly robust, allowing you to tweak all sorts of audio and microphone settings in order to create a great stream or simply communicate clearly with your team.
Read our full Astro A40 + MixAmp review.
Superior style, sound and value
In terms of style and sound for the money, the HyperX Cloud Alpha is hard to beat. This headset’s premium design belies its sub-$100 price, thanks to a sturdy metal frame, a slick red-and-black paint job, and some of the most comfortable leatherette earcups out there.
The Alpha’s proprietary Dual Chamber drivers deliver big on sound, offering thick bass, sharp treble and strong directionality. With its world-class comfort, impressive audio and a suite of cables for use on just about any platform, the Alpha truly lives up to its name by offering the best gaming headset value under $100.
Read our full HyperX Cloud Alpha review.
The Razer Thresher Ultimate lives up to its namesake and then some, delivering excellent wireless performance within an extremely comfortable design. This mammoth of a wireless headset has big, plush earcups that feel great for hours on end, backed up by consistent, cord-free performance and a long,16-hour battery.
It also helps that the Thresher Ultimate sounds great, with surround-sound support and a nicely balanced soundstage. If you need a wireless headset that will last you all day in terms of both comfort and battery endurance, the Thresher more than fits the bill.
Read our full Razer Thresher Ultimate review.
A gaming headset for daily life
All SteelSeries Arctis headsets double as great daily headphones thanks to their unassuming designs, but the Arctis 3 Bluetooth is especially useful when you’re out and about. Thanks to its titular Bluetooth support, this gaming headset will work wirelessly with your phone or tablet without a hitch.
It’s also especially ideal for Nintendo Switch, as you can connect to your console via the 3.5-mm cable while staying connected to your phone via Bluetooth for seamlessly voice chatting on Discord or Nintendo’s online app. The Arctis 3 Bluetooth retains everything that makes the original Arctis great, including a feather-light design, a comfortable ski-goggle headband, and solid sound for music and games, all while adding in some nice wireless versatility.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth Review.
Wireless freedom on a budget
The PDP LVL50 Wireless proves that you don’t have to pay a ton to game without wires. For just $80, this wireless gaming headset offers a comfortable, lightweight design complete with all-day battery life and a noise-cancelling microphone.
The LVL50’s audio quality for both games and music is very solid for the price, and it comes in both PS4 and Xbox One variations. You won’t get the booming volume or rich customization of more expensive wireless sets, but you will get great overall performance for a great price.
Read our full PDP LVL50 Wireless review.
Xbox wireless done right
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 is great regardless of which platform you get it for, but it especially shines on Xbox One. The Stealth is one of the few headsets with built-in Xbox Wireless, meaning that you can pair it directly to your console without the need for any pesky dongles or hubs.
That makes it especially easy to enjoy the headset’s crisp audio quality, long battery life and rich customization options via a companion app. The Stealth 700 also has Bluetooth support, allowing you to connect your phone to take calls or listen to podcasts while you game.
Read our full Turtle Beach Stealth 700 review.
Audiophile sound for gamers
SteelSeries’ Arctis Pro + GameDAC brings audiophile-grade features to the already excellent Arctis design. As its name suggests, this headset includes a DAC (digital-to-analog converter), which allows it to deliver high-resolution 96-kHz/24-bit audio. The GameDAC also allows for a wealth of customization options, whether you want to fine-tune sound via an equalizer or customize the headset’s subtle RGB lighting.
We found that the Arctis Pro sounds great for hi-res audio files, and is notably louder and crisper than the traditional Arctis line when it comes to games. If you’re willing to pay a premium for high-res sound support and a ton of features, the Arctis Pro + GameDAC is one of the best premium gaming headset combos available.
Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC review.
A uniquely exorbitant esports headset
One of the most unique gaming headsets we’ve ever tested, the Victrix Pro AF ANC is an awesomely exorbitant set of cans built specifically for competitive gamers. The headset’s standout feature is its titular active noise-cancelling, which does a good job of drowning out outside noise whether you’re at a LAN party or a big tournament.
The Pro AF also features a built-in cooling mechanism that lets you open up the earcups to let air in, which is ideal for long gaming sessions that could otherwise get sweaty. Factor in its rich all-around audio performance, and you’ve got a slick, premium headset that’s ideal for serious competitors.
Read our full Victrix Pro AF ANC review.
How We Test Gaming Headsets
In order to find the best gaming headsets out there, we typically test each peripheral with a mix of shooting, fighting and action/adventure games. Games such as Fortnite: Battle Royale and Soul Calibur VI give us a sense of how each headset holds up in a competitive setting, while titles such as Devil May Cry 5 and Resident Evil 2 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. The best wireless gaming 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. Certain headsets, such as the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth and HyperX Cloud Mix, feature both Bluetooth and analog connections, allowing you to enjoy game sound on Nintendo Switch while still chatting with friends on Nintendo's separate Switch Online phone app.
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.