From high-end headsets packed with features to budget headsets with questionable build quality, there are numerous gaming headsets on the market. Some of them are designed specifically for PC gaming while others are much more versatile and can be used for different gaming platforms – including mobile devices.
If you are shopping for the best gaming headsets currently out, this product guide is for you. In this guide, you’ll find the best wired and wireless gaming headsets on the market, with a couple of products coming from two companies – Sennheiser and Audeze – that are better known for their audiophile and professional headphones.Table of Contents
- Best Wireless Gaming Headset: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
- Best Under $100: HyperX Cloud II
- Best Open-back Gaming Headset: Astro Gaming A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR (2019)
- Best for Xbox One: SteelSeries Arctis 9X
- Best Budget Gaming Headset: Logitech G433
Best Wireless Gaming Headset: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the best and most versatile gaming headsets currently out on the market. It’s a wireless gaming headset featuring multiple connection options, a dual-battery system, and an excellent mic. Its sound quality and build quality are both great while its desktop app offers a good amount of customization options. It’s one of the most expensive gaming headsets, though, with SteelSeries normally listing it for $350.
A closed-back headset, the Arctis Pro Wireless has a more discreet look compared to other gaming headsets, some of which include fancy RGB lighting and other cosmetics. It has large, spacious ear cups with a retractable boom mic on the left and an easily accessible battery slot on the right and features a sturdy metal headband. It’s comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions and stays securely on the head without being uncomfortably tight. Its overall build quality is great, with its removable ear cup backplates, which are magnetic, allowing for easy replacement and customization.
Like other wireless gaming headsets, the Arctis Pro Wireless has on-cup controls. On the left ear cup, you’ll find a multi-function dial and a mic mute switch. On the other side, you’ll find a multi-function Bluetooth button and a separate power button – the former has a concave surface while the latter has a convex surface, which makes them easy to identify. The on-cup controls are user-friendly and don’t feel too cramped on both ear cups, allowing for easy adjustments while in the middle of a game.
Featuring multiple connection options – including optical and USB – the included wireless transmitter is well-designed and just as easy to use as the on-cup controls. It has a small OLED screen and serves as a charging dock for the two rechargeable batteries, making it possible to charge one battery while the other is still in use. You can also use the wireless transmitter to adjust the general volume, balance the game and chat volumes, and modify the sound using the onboard equalizer.
The Arctis Pro Wireless has great audio reproduction and is suitable for different kinds of games, including first-person shooters, RPGs, and racing games. Using the SteelSeries desktop app, you can modify the sound profile depending on the game you are currently playing. You can customize the sound to make explosions more spectacular in action-packed games or enhance speech clarity in story-driven games.
Flexible but non-removable, the boom mic of the Arctis Pro Wireless is one of the best mics out there, not only for gaming but also for phone calls. During team-based online multiplayer matches, it will allow you to relay crucial information to your teammates in a clear and effective manner, even if you are gaming in a crowded or noisy environment. But on the other hand, the headset itself will not do a very good job of blocking out ambient noise despite its closed-back design. Its overall noise isolation performance is subpar, but its sound leakage is low, which is beneficial in some situations.
With its multiple connectivity options, you can use the Arctis Pro Wireless with any gaming platform currently out, although some features are not available for some devices. If you prefer wireless connectivity, you can connect using either Bluetooth or the wireless transmitter for lower latency; the former connection option is uncommon for wireless gaming headsets. In wireless mode, the headset lasts up to 10 hours, giving you 20 hours of continuous use with the two batteries.
Since the Arctis Pro Wireless has a dual-battery system in which you can charge one battery in the wireless transmitter while the other is still in use, you’ll never run out of battery even during gaming marathons. If you forget to charge the other battery and the headset runs out of power in the middle of a game, you can simply switch to a regular wired connection using the provided audio cable.
Overall, the Arctis Pro Wireless is the best wireless headset for gaming, offering a host of features that can enhance your gaming experience. It’s a well-built gaming headset with great sound quality, excellent mic performance, user-friendly on-cup controls, and a comfortable fit. While it’s best used for gaming on PC and PS4, you can also use it for other gaming platforms. If you can spend $300-350 on a gaming headset, you should definitely consider this SteelSeries product.
Best Under $100: HyperX Cloud II
One of the most popular gaming headsets, the HyperX Cloud II is a much more affordable product than the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and can be bought for less than $100. It’s an excellent gaming headset that offers multi-platform compatibility with its regular wired connection. While it’s not as customizable as some products, it’s a solid all-rounder suitable for different kinds of games and is one of the few gaming headsets that gets it right in most areas.
The Cloud II is an over-ear headset with sealed backplates, which is a very common design for gaming headsets. Like the SteelSeries headset, it has a more casual design and can be mistaken for a regular pair of headphones when the boom mic is detached. Its overall build quality is good and feels sturdy. It has a sturdy aluminum frame and large ear cups with memory foam pads and synthetic leather sleeves. HyperX also includes an extra pair of earpads with velour covers, which feel more luxurious.
Although its clamp is on the tighter side and its closed-back ear cups are not very breathable, the Cloud II is comfortable to wear. It stays securely on the head and will not easily slide off when you are turning your head. You can use it for gaming marathons, but you’ll need to take a break from time to time since the ear cups can get uncomfortably warm after a few hours of continuous use.
Unlike some wired gaming headsets, the Cloud II has a non-detachable audio cable, which connects to the left ear cup and ends with a 3.5 mm analog plug. Also included in the box is another cable that ends with a USB plug and includes a small, in-line control hub. With the in-line control hub, you can adjust the audio and mic volumes separately and enable the virtual surround sound feature.
A travel pouch and an airplane adapter are also included in the box. Both accessories are useful if you plan to use the Cloud II as your all-around headphones for gaming, travel, commute, and casual everyday use. As mentioned, the headset has a more casual design despite the bold HyperX logo on the ear cups and looks like regular headphones without the mic. However, it’s not the easiest to carry for everyday use due to its bulky design and non-foldable ear cups.
The Cloud II is a good-sounding gaming headset that is suitable for action-packed games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Doom, and Just Cause 4 because of its emphasized bass. It has a great boom mic that works well even in a very noisy environment, and it can easily interface with PC and consoles using either the default analog cable or the digital USB cable. And since it’s a wired headset with no battery-powered active features, you don’t need to worry about running out of power in the middle of an intense game.
With its closed-back design, the Cloud II provides passive noise isolation, allowing you to play games at home with reduced background noise. It’s decent at blocking out ambient chatter and the sound of air conditioning units. It has a low sound leakage as well, allowing you to increase the game volume without worrying about disturbing people around you, especially while playing action-packed games with lots of explosions.
If you are limited to a $100 budget, the Cloud II is the best gaming headset that you can get. It offers excellent value for the money and will last a long time due to its durable build quality. It has good sound quality, a great mic, easily replaceable earpads, and an analog wired connection for universal compatibility, with the option to use a digital USB connection. It’s recommended for both casual and hardcore gamers.
Best Open-back Gaming Headset: Astro Gaming A40 TR + MixAmp Pro TR (2019)
Selling for around $250, the 2019 Astro Gaming A40 TR with the MixAmp Pro TR is the best option if you prefer an open-back headset for a wider soundstage. It’s one of the best wired gaming headsets on the market, with its very comfortable fit, good customization options, and great mic being some of its most notable aspects. Astro Gaming offers separate PS4 and Xbox One models for this headset, both of which are compatible with PC. While you can get the headset as a standalone unit, we highly recommend also getting the MixAmp Pro TR, which opens up more customization options.
The 2019 A40 TR is an over-ear headset with a detachable audio cable and a boom mic that can be positioned on either side. Compared to the SteelSeries and HyperX headsets, it certainly looks more like a typical gaming headset and will easily stand out. It has large, well-padded ear cups that can rotate to a flat position, allowing it to take less space when stored and making for a less cumbersome setup when the headset is resting around your neck.
Lightweight and decently breathable, the 2019 A40 TR is comfortable to wear for long hours, which makes them ideal for extended grinding or farming in games. While its clamp is a bit loose, it has no major stability issues. It has good weight distribution, which makes up for its bulky design, but on the other hand, it’s not as breathable as typical open-back headphones.
Composed of multiple connection ports and control switches and knobs, the included MixAmp Pro TR is an excellent auxiliary component for the 2019 A40 TR. It has separate knobs for adjusting the general volume and for balancing the game and chat volumes, along with buttons for enabling or disabling the virtual surround sound and for cycling through the EQ presets. Additionally, it has a switch at the back for toggling between PC and console modes.
The 2019 A40 TR is a good-sounding headset suitable for different kinds of games, from competitive first-person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch to story-driven games with an excellent soundtrack like Undertale and Persona 5. It has a much wider soundstage compared to the SteelSeries and HyperX headsets due to its open-back design. Its mic performance is great as well, which is beneficial when playing online multiplayer games. You can modify some aspects of the headset using the Astro Command Center desktop software.
Since the 2019 A40 TR is an open-back headset, its sound isolation performance is mediocre. Its noise isolation is poor, which means it’s not going to block out ambient noise effectively, while its sound leakage is high even at moderate volume. Its poor noise isolation is beneficial if you actually prefer to be more aware of your surroundings while gaming. But if you prefer a more immersive and more private gaming experience, then you are better off with a closed-back headset instead.
Like the HyperX Cloud II, the 2019 A40 TR offers both analog and digital wired connection options, with the headset capable of functioning even without the MixAmp Pro TR. For a more straightforward setup, simply use the regular audio cable that ends with a 3.5 mm analog plug. But if you want more controls, connect the headset to the MixAmp Pro TR and use the USB cable for digital audio.
All in all, the 2019 A40 TR is one of the best wired gaming headsets currently out and easily stands out as the best open-back headset for gaming. Its build quality, sound quality, customization options, and boom mic are good. It has analog and digital wired connectivity options for easy compatibility with different gaming platforms, including mobile devices. If you think the headset’s open design will be an issue in some situations, you can purchase the optional A40 TR Mod Kit to easily convert it into closed-back as needed.
Best for Xbox One: SteelSeries Arctis 9X
The SteelSeries Arctis 9X is a wireless gaming headset designed specifically for gaming on Xbox One, featuring the ability to connect directly to Xbox One consoles with no need for wireless adapters. It’s more affordable than the Arctis Pro Wireless and will offer better value for the money if you mainly game on Microsoft’s home console. You can also use it for gaming on PC and mobile devices, with its Bluetooth technology allowing for easy connectivity with both platforms.
Like all other headsets in the Arctis lineup, the Arctis 9X has a more casual look, featuring a black color scheme with minimal cosmetics outside of the minor green accents on the headband. It’s an over-ear headset featuring large, closed-back ear cups that are coated with a more breathable fabric. It has a sturdy metal headband and includes a retractable mic and on-cup controls. While it can’t fold into a more compact format for better portability, its ear cups can swivel into a flat position.
Although its bulky design and tight clamp might suggest otherwise, the Arctis 9X is comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. It has well-padded ear cups that can accommodate most ear sizes, but its limited headband adjustment mechanism might be a problem if you have a large head. The ear cups don’t feel too warm after a couple of hours of continuous use, with the soft earpads countering the headset’s tight fit.
Compared to the other top picks in this guide to the best gaming headsets, the Arctis 9X comes with much fewer accessories. Apart from the manual, the only other item included in the box is a USB cable, which is used for charging the headset and for connecting to the SteelSeries desktop app. Sadly, you can’t use the USB cable for digital audio when gaming on PC.
The Arctis 9X has one of the most complete on-cup control schemes among wireless gaming headsets, allowing you to easily make adjustments while in the middle of a game. It has separate dials for adjusting the general volume and for balancing the game and chat volumes and includes a dedicated mic mute switch. Furthermore, it has a couple of multi-function buttons in the form of the Bluetooth and power buttons – the former can be used for call and music management while the latter can be used for cycling through the EQ presets.
Regarding sound quality and mic performance, the Arctis 9X is great. It’s especially suitable for games like Battlefield V and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, boasting a powerful bass that allows for more spectacular action sequences. It has a decent soundstage for a closed-back headset as well, which is beneficial in some games. On the other hand, its great mic performance is useful for online multiplayer games where team communication is important. As with the Arctis Pro Wireless, you can tinker with some aspects of the headset using the SteelSeries desktop app.
With its Xbox One direct wireless connection, the Arctis 9X allows you to easily connect to an Xbox One console with no need for adapters, USB dongles, or cables. You connect it in the same way that you connect an Xbox One wireless controller. You can also connect the headset to any Bluetooth device, such as smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, you can’t switch to a regular wired connection once the headset battery is fully depleted – at least not out of the box. If you want to be able to switch to wired mode anytime, you’ll need to purchase a separate analog audio cable.
The Arctis 9X has an excellent battery life, capable of running for more than 20 hours per charge, with some hands-on reviewers measuring close to 30 hours of total battery life. That’s more than good enough even for gaming marathons. Of course, the actual battery life will vary depending on your usage, as not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to gaming.
Although it’s not as versatile as some wireless headsets, the Arctis 9X is a great headset for gaming. Its build quality and audio reproduction are great while its on-cup controls are good. It has low latency and connects easily with Xbox One consoles. If you like many of what the Arctis Pro Wireless brings to the table – like good app support and a comfortable and secure fit – but you mainly play games on an Xbox One, check out this product instead.
Best Budget Gaming Headset: Logitech G433
There are plenty of budget gaming headsets on the market, but the one that offers the best value for the money is the Logitech G433. It’s a wired headset with good audio reproduction, great mic performance, and decent build quality. It comes with a bunch of accessories, including two audio cables intended for different purposes, and can be used for gaming on PC, home consoles, and mobile devices. While it’s normally listed for more than $70, you can get it for just around $50 during a sale.
The G433 is an over-ear headset with closed-back ear cups and a removable mic and audio cable. It has a casual design that makes for a more low-profile look and will not easily stand out like typical gaming headsets, with Logitech offering three color options: black, blue, and red. Its build quality is decent, though its mostly plastic construction might suggest otherwise. It has a metal-reinforced headband and durable ear cups with soft padding.
While its closed-back design limits breathability, the G433 is comfortable to wear. It’s lightweight and well-padded and has large ear cups that can easily accommodate larger ears. The headband is flexible and doesn’t creak alarmingly when being adjusted unlike with some cheap headsets with an all-plastic construction. On the other hand, the headset has a tight clamp, especially out of the box, which can be fatiguing on the head after several hours of continuous use.
Compared to many other gaming headsets in the same price range, the G433 has more accessories included in the box. In addition to the detachable mic, it comes with an extra pair of earpads, two audio cables, a soft carry pouch, a USB adapter, and a Y splitter for PC. For comparison, the similarly priced Corsair HS60 – also one of the best budget gaming headsets on the market – only includes a USB adapter and a detachable mic.
The two audio cables are intended for different usages, with each of them featuring a small in-line remote with different controls. The standard audio cable is designed for gaming on PC and consoles and has an in-line remote with a volume dial and a mic mute switch. Featuring an in-line mic, the other audio cable is designed for mobile devices and has a remote for call and music management, but no volume control. Both audio cables end with a regular 3.5 mm analog plug, with the included USB adapter allowing you to switch to digital audio on PC and PS4.
Compatible with all gaming platforms that support either analog or digital wired connection, the G433 is a good-sounding headset suitable for different kinds of games. You can use it for story-driven single-player games with lots of dialogue and for action-packed, explosions-heavy multiplayer games. It has a great mic for voice chat during team-based online multiplayer games. Its closed-back ear cups provide passive noise isolation and will reduce an adequate amount of ambient noise like the sound of chatter and air conditioning units, allowing for a more immersive gaming experience.
You can tinker with some aspects of the G433 using the Logitech desktop software, which has a simple interface, but only when the headset is connected using the USB adapter on PC. The software allows you to enable the virtual surround sound feature and change the mic settings. You also get a graphic equalizer for modifying the sound profile, which is useful if you don’t like the default sound or prefer to use a different sound profile for different kinds of games.
Overall, the G433 is an excellent headset for gaming, whether you own a PC or a console. Its build quality is decent while its sound quality is good for a gaming headset. It has a good desktop app for customization and includes plenty of useful accessories. It’s also a decent headset for casual everyday use, which adds to its value, but it’s not recommended for listening to music in very noisy places due to its subpar noise isolation performance.
The following products are also great options if you are shopping for the best gaming headsets, with half of them selling for around $100 or less.
HyperX Cloud Stinger
If you are limited to a $50 budget but can’t wait for the Logitech G433 to drop to that price range, check out the HyperX Cloud Stinger. It normally sells for $50, with the price sometimes dropping to around $40 during a sale. It’s a wired over-ear headset featuring closed-back ear cups with memory foam padding. Its build quality is decent for a budget headset, and it’s comfortable to wear despite its relatively tight fit and less breathable design.
The Stinger is an all-around headset suitable for gaming on PC, consoles, and mobile devices, with its analog audio cable allowing for universal compatibility. It has a great boom mic, which is especially beneficial when playing online multiplayer games. Unfortunately, the mic, like the audio cable, is non-detachable. But on the bright side, you can easily mute it by swiveling it upward, which makes it easy to enable and disable in the middle of a game.
The Corsair HS60 is a good alternative to the similarly priced Logitech G433 if you want a budget-friendly gaming headset with a more premium build quality. It’s one of the best-built gaming headsets under $100, featuring a sturdy metal frame and durable ear cups. While its backplate design might suggest otherwise, it’s a closed-back headset. It has a limited but still useful on-cup control scheme composed of a volume wheel and a mic mute switch.
Suitable for both single-player and online multiplayer games, the HS60 has a non-detachable audio cable that ends with a regular 3.5 mm analog plug. Like the G433, it also includes a USB adapter for digital audio. With the USB adapter and the Corsair desktop app, you can modify some aspects of the headset – including the sound profile – but only on PC. If you mainly play games on consoles, check out the more affordable Corsair HS50 instead. The HS50 is basically the same headset, but it doesn’t include a USB adapter.