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I will admit that I’m a relative latecomer to the wonderful world of PC gaming headsets. While I’ve owned dedicated gaming mice and keyboards since I was in college, the very first gaming headset I used was the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX22 in 2015. I picked up the Turtle Beach Stealth 450 a year later, and used the peripheral until it literally fell apart. Since then, I’ve reviewed dozens of gaming headsets from some of the most popular manufacturers on the market — and they’re easily one of my favorite gadgets to cover.
That’s because music and sound play an enormous role in how we perceive the world around us. A good gaming headset isn’t just a tool to improve your in-game performance; it’s also a way to connect emotionally with a heartfelt cutscene, or a beautiful music track, or a perfectly delivered line of dialogue. As such, more so than any other gaming accessory, headsets are the one area where you really, really don’t want to skimp.
However, just like any other piece of tech, gaming headsets run the gamut from “impulse buy” to “comically expensive,” and it’s not always easy to know how much to spend for the features that you’ll need. As such, I’ve divided our gaming headset recommendations into five different prices, and provided my personal recommendation in each category. It’s important to remember not all of these are necessarily the best gaming headsets for any given setup or situation. But they should be a decent entry point for gamers who know they want a gaming headset, but otherwise aren’t exactly sure where to start.
Less than $50
If you don’t need anything fancy in a gaming headset and don’t mind connecting with a 3.5 mm audio cable, $50 is about what you should look to spend. While you can get cheaper gear, these tend to be questionable products from unknown companies.
I’d look toward the HyperX Cloud Stinger 2. This versatile gaming headset is either “no-frills” or “bare-bones,” depending on how you look at it. But either way, it provides better sound quality than you might expect for $50 in a perfectly passable chassis. The design feels a bit flimsy and the microphone is pretty weak. But it’s comfortable and it sounds good, and those are the most important things a gaming headset can offer.
In this price range, I like the Razer Kraken X as well, and if the SteelSeries Nova 1 goes on sale, that’s worth considering, too. But I think the Cloud Stinger 2 has the best sound quality of the three, and that goes a long way in an inexpensive headset.
Less than $100
In the $100 range, you’ll generally find wired headsets with USB connections and software connectivity. (You’ll also find the bottom rung of wireless gaming headsets from major manufacturers, but I think it’s worth spending just a little more on those.) Of these models, I like the Razer Blackshark V2 best. Not only is it extremely comfortable, but it also provides excellent sound quality and a robust software package. At the time of writing, it’s currently our overall “best gaming headset” pick, and the distinction is well-earned.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 Nova is a pretty similar device overall, and the Corsair HS55 Wireless (review forthcoming) is worth checking out, if you really, really need a wireless model that doesn’t exceed $100. The HyperX Cloud Alpha is also an oldie-but-goodie at around $100, although I think the Blackshark V2 offers more features overall.
Less than $150
Between $100 and $150, you start crossing the threshold from “mid-range wired gaming headsets” into “mid-range wireless gaming headsets.” This category has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and it’s an excellent place to begin your gaming headset search. If you can spend about $150 on a wireless gaming headset, I highly recommend that you do so — and the Corsair HS65 Wireless is a great place to start.
First off, the Corsair HS65 Wireless doesn’t cost the full $150; it comes in around $120, which means you should have enough left over for a mid-budget game. In spite of that, it offers excellent wireless performance via either a USB 2.4 GHz or Bluetooth connection, as well as a rich soundscape and comfortable foam earcups. The SoundID feature in the Corsair Utility Engine (iCUE) software is particularly interesting, as it can customize an equalization profile specifically to fit your tastes.
The Logitech G733 ($130) also deserves a nod in this price range, as it’s one of the few wireless gaming headsets that you can buy in a wide variety of colors: pink and blue in addition to the standard black and white. In terms of wired gear, the venerable Astro A40 also costs $150 — a true classic in the gaming headset department.
Less than $200
While gaming headsets can get even more expensive, $200 is the ceiling I’d recommend for most people. Not only are there some fantastic wireless gaming headsets in this range, but I’ve never reviewed a $200+ gaming headset that was significantly better, all-around, than a good sub-$200 model.
Case in point: the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7. This crowd-pleasing peripheral is an updated version of the SteelSeries Arctis 7, which was one of the best gaming headsets I’ve ever reviewed. Unfortunately, the Nova 7 costs $180, whereas the Arctis 7 cost a more reasonable $150. But fortunately, SteelSeries has added more features to justify the price hike, including a revamped design, better battery life and Bluetooth connectivity.
My one big caveat about the Arctis Nova 7 is that the sound quality is good rather than great, and you’d be well within your rights to demand top-notch sound quality at this price. For that, I’d go with the Logitech G Pro X Wireless at $200. On the other hand, if battery life is your top concern, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless can last up to 300 hours. (That’s not a typo.)
Less than $250
I’m on the fence about recommending any gaming headsets that cost more than $200. I think that for the most part, they offer pretty comparable feature sets to their less expensive brethren, and the sound quality is not night-and-day better. But gaming headset prices do keep creeping upward, so it’s worth at least mentioning a contender in this category.
My top choice here is the Astro A30 Wireless, which combines a comfortable and eye-catching design with rich sound quality and a variety of versatile connection options. You’re definitely paying for style as much as substance. But thanks to its Bluetooth connection, you can wear the Astro A30 Wireless out and about for music and podcasts, and look right at home on a plane, train or busy sidewalk.
Beyond that, I’ve used the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT as my go-to headset for years at work, although its battery life is nothing special.