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A great gaming headset can deepen your appreciation for evocative music and impactful sound design in games. Sure, you could play through a game with basic earbuds, but you’ll miss out on the little details, not to mention the clear, crisp audio and comfort that a higher-quality headset can offer. Thankfully, there are many (almost too many) headsets out there that can elevate your gaming experience.
Despite their differences, buying a gaming headset is similar to buying headphones. If you want peerless build materials, sound quality, mic quality, long battery life, wireless connectivity, and comfort, then you’ll likely pay dearly. But if you simply want one or two of those boxes checked, you can get by on something that won’t cost you more than a couple of new games, at most.
Sound quality and comfort are subjective, of course, but we tried to pick a range of options to cover the widest range of tastes, preferences, and budgets. We’ll keep this guide updated regularly, and we plan to update it when notable headsets become available.
Best PC gaming headset
Razer BlackShark V2
The Razer BlackShark V2 has a reputation as a great esports companion. Its combo of stellar audio, adjustable microphone, and above-average sound isolation offers everything a high-performance wired headset should at the reasonable price of $99.99 (in fact, it often costs less).
Beyond being a great headset for most game genres, the Razer BlackShark V2 can bolster your in-game awareness with THX audio profiles for popular competitive games, including Apex Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, and Rainbow Six Siege. Razer’s TriForce Titanium 50mm drivers offer a great sound out of the box without any tweaks. In terms of comfort, their memory foam ear cups are good at minimizing heat and moisture during long or intense gaming sessions, and the headset keeps a solid yet gentle grip around your head. Its 3.5mm connector also makes it compatible with many platforms besides PC.
The BlackShark V2 comes with a flexible, detachable cardioid mic. You can take it off whenever you don’t feel like using voice chat or just use the mute button near the left ear of the headset. There are plenty of audio and mic customization options at your disposal with the free Razer Synapse software, too.
HyperX Cloud 3 Wireless
The HyperX Cloud 3 Wireless is the HP-owned company’s latest iteration of its long-running headset series. Like its predecessor, it’s very comfortable, with memory foam ear pads and a steel headband with a plush cushion that keeps it from pressing down too hard on your head. Its 53mm drivers are a bit bigger than those inside the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless — the company’s previous wireless flagship model. It also includes a USB-C dongle, an upgrade from its predecessor’s USB-A dongle.
The headset includes a 10mm detachable mic that filters white noise with a built-in pop filter. It also comes with a LED mute indicator to clearly indicate its status. The Cloud 3 Wireless might not reach the whopping 300-hour battery life that the Alpha does, but it’s a headset you should consider if you want more than 100 hours per charge from its USB-C charging port. You can enjoy up to 120 hours of uninterrupted wireless gaming on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch, and even connect to the preferred platform with USB-C. At $169.99, it isn’t necessarily affordable, but it’s a great all-around headset that works on multiple devices.
Best PS5 gaming headset
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1P is the company’s budget gaming headset geared toward PlayStation users. At only $59.99, the Arctis Nova 1P offers an easygoing listening experience with ample comfort and good sound quality. SteelSeries’ “one size fits all” approach stands out in this headset’s design. Its bungee-style band and memory foam ear cups are a cozy combo that can mold to the shape of many heads. Its 3.5mm cord can plug into PlayStation’s DualSense controller, so you don’t need to stay tethered to your console.
The drivers may not be industry-leading in terms of performance, but they’re no slouch. The Arctis Nova 1P has its own form of spatial audio built in that aims to help players identify exactly where noises are coming from in games. This headset plays nicely with the PlayStation 5’s Tempest 3D audio, and games that tout 3D audio capabilities sound especially great. Even better, if you also plan on using the headset on PC, you can build your own PC gaming sound profile with SteelSeries’ free Sonar software.
Sony Pulse 3D
Sony designed the Pulse 3D specifically for PlayStation 5, so it’s no surprise that it’s currently the best wireless headset for the console. We’ve compared several PlayStation-compatible headsets against it, but none can beat the system-level integration that comes straight from the source. That’ll change once the new Pulse Elite and Pulse Explore headsets come out later in 2023.
The Pulse 3D features a sleek, minimalist build with generously padded ear cups. It could benefit from a more flexible design, like rotating ear cups, but its features make up for the omission. The buttons near the ear cups can swap between adjusting game and chat audio, perfect for balancing volume levels so that your game’s audio doesn’t overpower your pals. It also has a serviceable built-in mic and a 3.5mm wire for plugging the headset into your DualSense controller.
As mentioned before, the Pulse 3D’s integration helps it outshine some of the competition, making it a great value for $99.99. The Pulse 3D automatically connects to the PlayStation 5 as it powers on when you have its USB adapter plugged in, so it connects seamlessly without needing to be paired. There’s also an on-screen battery indicator so you know when it’s time for a charge. (The Pulse 3D’s longevity is its greatest weakness; it lasts about 12 to 13 hours per charge, which is considerably shorter than many of its competitors.)
While the Sony Pulse 3D has superior PlayStation integration, it falls short of competitors with its stiffer, less customizable fit. We recommend giving the pricier Arctis Nova 7P Plus a try if you prioritize comfort and don’t mind missing out on some of Sony’s tight integration.
Best Xbox gaming headset
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro
Like its name suggests, SteelSeries’ Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox is its premium headset. This wired model’s main draw is the GameDAC Gen 2, the second generation of SteelSeries’ USB-C connection hub that has a dedicated port for your Xbox.
The GameDAC Gen 2 works with any Xbox headset with a 3.5mm cord, including the Nova Pro for Xbox. In addition to piping amazing audio quality into this headset, this base station of sorts lets you tweak the equalizer in the middle of gaming, and offers a chat mix function that lets you balance game sound with voice chat on the fly. It features a total of two USB-C connections so that you can connect to more than one console. That way, you can seamlessly switch between multiple gaming platforms.
The Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox also features spatial audio and boasts compatibility with the SteelSeries Sonar Audio software on PC. We really like the ClearCast Gen 2 mic because it’s fully retractable into the earcup. Plus, it supports bidirectional noise cancellation.
For gamers who have cash to splash (and don’t mind a wired connection), you probably won’t regret buying this model. If $249.99 is too much for you, try the more budget-friendly SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1X.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Plus
If you’re looking to cut the cord, SteelSeries makes the best wireless Xbox gaming headset, too. The Arctis Nova 7X Plus stands out, in part, thanks to its broad connectivity; you can connect to an Xbox via 2.4 GHz connection and be tethered via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet. Besides that, it touts the audio features found in SteelSeries’ high-end gaming headsets, like spatial audio that immerses players in their surroundings, and the new parametric EQ, a smart equalizer that enables you to precisely adjust sound frequencies in games to your liking.
In addition, the Arctis Nova 7X Plus can last up to 30 hours without charging. Even if you need to plug in, the USB-C charging port can boost your battery back up to 3 hours of charge in just 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can plug its 3.5mm headphone jack into your Xbox controller. All of it comes packed into a $179.99 purchase. That’s pricey, but we feel that this headset is worth the asking price.
Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Headset was in the running for our top Xbox gaming headset. While it’s more affordable at $99.99, it falls short of the reliability that the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7X Plus offers. It kept disconnecting for our reviewer. Other testimonies prove that we aren’t alone. However, reviewers at other publications, like our sister site The Verge, tested it without any issues.
Best Nintendo Switch gaming headset
The Logitech G333 is a natural fit for the Nintendo Switch, a pocketable set of earbuds for the portable console. On top of offering solid sound quality and an eye-catching design, they’re among Logitech’s most affordable earbuds that cater to gamers and commuters alike. This model is available in basic colors like black and white, and even bolder combinations like purple and yellow, for $49.99.
The G333’s attached mic and integrated volume and play/pause controls make these convenient for using on the go, so that you can communicate in-game and swap to a call if needed. This headset’s dual drivers clearly transmit audio with one driver dedicated to the highs and mids and another one dedicated to bass, resulting in a detailed audio profile for earbuds at this price point. In terms of comfort, the G333 likely won’t convert people who despise earbuds. However, it comes with the standard sizes of earbud tips, so that you can swap them around to find your preferred fit.
One of the coolest inclusions here is the 3.5mm to USB-C adapter that enables it to connect with other platforms than the Nintendo Switch, like PC, mobile phones, tablets, Xbox controllers, PlayStation controllers, and the Steam Deck. Of course, if you already have a set of trusty earbuds and a USB-C or Lightning connector, then you’re covered.
SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 is the successor to the budget-friendly Arctis 1 wireless headset, which was touted as the “first truly wireless headset” for the Nintendo Switch. Like the excellent Arctis 1, it plugs into the Switch with a USB-C dongle that enables 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity. This new, improved model costs just $20 more than the Arctis 1, but bumps up its battery life from 20 to 36 hours and can quickly charge via its USB-C port with up to six hours of power in just 15 minutes of charging. It also borrows popular design elements from other Arctis Nova headsets, such as the retractable mic and bungee headband.
This headset sidesteps the Switch’s infamous Bluetooth latency issues. Since it communicates with its own 2.4 GHz dongle, you’ll get less latency and better performance overall than, say, using your Apple AirPods. In addition to the Switch, the Nova 4 headset is compatible with many other platforms, like PC, PlayStation, Steam Deck, and mobile devices.
The Nova 4 launched in May as a GameStop exclusive for PlayStation and Xbox in North America for $119.99, and eventually migrated to Amazon with its PC version (that will work fine on PlayStation, but not on Xbox). If you’re looking for something cheaper, check out the Logitech G435. Unlike the Nova 4, it can connect via 2.4 GHz and Bluetooth simultaneously, but its dongle is USB-A and can only plug into the Switch’s dock unless you have a USB-A to USB-C adapter to plug directly into the console.
Best Steam Deck gaming headset
The Logitech G333, which we also recommended for the Switch, makes a perfect companion to plug in on the go or at home for the Steam Deck. You even have the choice of plugging it into the Deck’s 3.5mm headphone jack or its USB-C port.
Some members of the Polygon staff have tested the G333 with their Steam Decks and can attest to their audio quality. They don’t sound as amazing as an over-ear headset, but their portability is a more valuable asset for use with the Steam Deck. Don’t forget about the squishy silicon tips that you can match to your ear size and the colorful aluminum-crafted buds. These little details are what make the Logitech G333 an easy recommendation for the Steam Deck and other portable devices, too.
The Logitech G435 covers all the basics you need in a wireless headset with highlighter-colored flair, at prices ranging between $29.99 and $79.99, depending on the color scheme. It’s one of the lightest headsets on the market, enough so that you can likely won’t get tired of wearing them. Its microphone is built into the headset’s body, so there’s no chance of accidentally clipping it against a wall or something similar while you’re traveling. Also, the wireless battery lasts a respectable 18 hours, even if it doesn’t compare to the monstrous 100-hour plus battery life of a premium PC headset.
Unlike most of the headsets mentioned in this post, these colorful headsets were made for smaller heads. You can make slight adjustments to the headband to better fit your head, but people with big heads should be wary. On the flip side, this makes it an ideal option for children using the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch.