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 compatibility with every major platform.
If you're looking to spend less than $50, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is our favorite value pick thanks to its cozy earcups and impressive audio quality for the price. But gaming headsets aren't one-size-fits all; read on to see our top picks for every category.
Latest News and Updates (January 2017)
- Peripheral maker Mad Catz is back with a slew of new accessories, including two new F.R.E.Q. gaming headsets that feature replaceable earpads and 40mm drivers.
- We just reviewed the HyperX Cloud Flight, an impressive wireless headset for PS4 and PC that offers great sound and superb comfort.
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.
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