These are our picks for the best gaming headsets you can get right now to immerse you in further in PC gaming.
Having one of the best gaming headsets is by far one of the best ways to improve your setup as well as your gaming experience. Given the rise of audio quality in games, and the increasing need for reliable and clear communication, having one of the best gaming headsets will serve you the best, in the least amount of kit. Plus, given the brilliant rise in the quality of PC gaming peripherals over the years, there are some genuinely terrific models now, that don’t just insert the word gaming as a gimmick or sales move.
We’ll concede that some of the best headphones for gaming may offer that slight edge on overall sound quality due to music- or studio-audio pedigree. But what we’re talking about here are the best gaming headsets. Headsets that not only provide you with that quality audio, but gaming-centred features, clear and robust microphones, different and funky design. All combining to make a peripheral that goes a bit further than just a plug-and-go alternative to speakers.
Whats more, now that live-service, constantly-updating games like The Division 2offer living, shared-worlds for us to enjoy having one of the best gaming headsets that offers detailed audio, projects your voice clearly, offers comfort for longer play sessions, and seamless surround sound to pinpoint enemies is vital. So if you’re current headset is a bit tired, or if you fancy a new alternative to some of the best computer speakers then you’re in the right place, as we have gathered up our picks for the best gaming headsets here.
But remember, the month of July will bring some hopefully-tasty Amazon Prime Day PC deals in to our midst soon, so you may be able to save you a decent chunk on a headset then. However, there are sure to be some good prices for these models right now.
1. HyperX Cloud Alpha
A well rounded, well-balanced headset for game audio
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm dual chamber neodymium | Connectivity: 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 13Hz-27,000Hz | Features: Detachable noise-cancelling mic, in-line cable controls.
Bearing the fruits of HyperX Cloud’s long legacy of excellence, the newest Cloud Alpha presents excellent sound and build quality with the essential features done well, and no feature-flab inflating the price. The stereo soundscape in this closed-back design is punchier in the low end than we’d usually go for, but the extra bass doesn’t interfere with overall clarity—and frankly, in games and music environments, it sounds great. Each 50mm driver’s dual chamber design is intended to give low, medium and high frequencies space to resonate without interfering with each other, and you do get a sense of that while listening to them.
Elsewhere it’s the usual impressive build quality, generous padding, clear mic and high comfort levels over longer play sessions that the Cloud design has always offered. The inline controls are the only exception to that rule—they feel flimsy by comparison to the rest of the package. We recommend the Alpha over the Cloud II (only just) because of the better frequency response range, although there’s very little separating the two models.
2. Steelseries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
The high-end gaming headset that does it all
Wireless: No | Drivers: 40mm neodymium | Connectivity: USB, optical, 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 10Hz-40,000Hz | Features: Retractable noise-cancelling mic, DTS Headphone:X 2.0, RGB
High-res audio is on the up thanks to lossless streaming from Tidal et al, and games such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus offering full support. The Arctis Pro GameDAC makes full use of that crystalline high-res sound with a 5Hz-40KHz frequency response range—a spec that also makes the drivers sound great for everyday compressed audio usage. So, if you’re planning to use a gaming headset for watching videos and TV on your PC, or music, this is a great choice.
The GameDAC itself is a combination of a digital-to-analog converter that takes the strain away from your CPU, a preamp, and a control center. With a press of its button and a roll of the dial, DTS Headphone-X surround can be enabled or disabled, chat/game mix tweaked, and EQ settings perfected. The subtle ring around each earcup on these cans ticks the RGB box without ruining the overall aesthetic. Our only reservations with the GameDAC model are that it requires an adapter for smartphone usage, and that its cables feel cheaper than a $250 headset should.
3. SteelSeries Arctis 9X
The best gaming headset for multiple platforms
Wireless: Yes | Drivers: 40mm neodymium | Connectivity: Xbox Wireless, Bluetooth, 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 20Hz-22,000Hz | Features: SteelEngine 3 compatibility, ClearCast retractable bidirectional mic, 20-hour battery life, Windows Sonic support.
In most cases, you’d be right to assume a console-specific headset would be trash on PC. An exception to this rule is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X, a self-proclaimed Xbox headset that admittedly works great on everything. To be fair, chances are, you’ll need an Xbox Wireless Adapter to use it with your PC, unless you have a Bluetooth card occupying one of your PCIe slots. But once you secure one of those, the Arctis 9X is a perfect fit for the platform agnostic.
It has Bluetooth and 3.5mm analog, so you can use it with your smartphone and other devices. All this functionality is made better by the promise of a 20-hour battery life which, in our testing, proved to be accurate. And because it uses the same 40mm drivers and nylon ear cushions as the company’s other acclaimed headsets, you can trust the SteelSeries Arctis 9X’s consistent sound quality and comfort. Our one complaint is that while its creators flaunt its bespoke, portable design, none of us would be caught dead wearing these in public. Keep the flashy headband and retractable mics at home where they belong.
4. Razer Nari Ultimate
The best Razer headset on the market
Wireless: Yes | Drivers: 50mm neodymium | Connectivity: USB wireless, 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Retractable unidirectional mic, Lofelt L5 haptic drivers, THX Spatial Audio, cooling gel-infused cushions, RGB
No matter where you stand on the polarizing debate of haptic feedback in games, we have to applaud its first proper execution in a gaming headset with the Razer Nari Ultimate. Showcasing the company’s new HyperSense technology, this headset—which feels like you’re wearing a pair of subwoofers on your head—is best experienced for yourself. Sure, there’s an expensive point of entry, but it really is worth the money.
Since it features a wide gamut of haptic frequencies rather than just one static mode of vibration, the Nari Ultimate exhibits one of the most true-to-life rumble sensations we’ve ever experienced. And because support for it isn’t programmed at the software level, every game is compatible. But it’s more than just haptics. In fact, the sound quality on the Nari Ultimate is a considerable improvement from Razer’s phonic endeavors of the past. Unlike the bass-heavy Kraken series cans, this one adds a healthy balance of highs and mids to the mix as well. The wireless connection is a rock-solid one, and the overall comfort of the headset is excellent.
5. Steelseries Arctis 7
The best wireless gaming headset for most users
Wireless: Yes | Drivers: 40mm neodymium drivers | Connectivity: Wireless via USB, 3.5mm wired | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Features: Retractable noise cancelling mic, DTS Headphone:X, 7.1 surround
What we like best about the Arctis 7 is that you can easily forget it’s a wireless model while you’re using it. There’s none of the muddiness or audio artifacts that have historically ruined the party for wireless headsets—it sounds just as good as the best wired models we’ve tested at this same $150 price range. The extraordinary battery life clocks in at over 20 hours out of the box, and after almost a year of heavy use that figure’s hardly dropped off. You can keep playing while you charge, too, simply by connecting the headset to your PC with a USB cable.
The Arctis range’s distinctive ski goggle headband is really effective at keeping the weight of the headset away from your head, and even after playing for hours we’ve never felt it digging in. After a year of daily usage, the headband does slacken which makes for a looser and slightly less comfortable fit, but the bands themselves are replaceable and sold for under $15 on the Steelseries online store. A functional but slightly quiet and muffled mic is the only chink in its otherwise formidable armor.
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