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Best Gaming Headsets 2021: Wireless, Budget and More

Best Gaming Headset
Breaking down the best gaming headsets we've tested (Image credit: Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock)

Finding the best gaming headset is arguably about as important as choosing a gaming keyboard or even a graphics card. After all, the sound of your virtual world and how you communicate with your teammates all depend on the device you wear on your head. 

But choosing the best gaming headset for your ears isn't easy, partially due to the sheer amount of market saturation right now. With the ever-rising popularity of eSports and the relative simplicity of combining off-the-shelf audio hardware with cushy earcups, a sprinkle of software wizardry and maybe some RGB, PC gamers are now offered more choices than ever. A quick search of a few popular online retailers will yield hundreds of choices across dozens of companies, ranging from under $10 (£8) to over $600 (£460). You may already know how much your willing to spend on a pair of cans, but there are still many other things to consider. 

Luckily, we’ve been testing piles of gaming headsets (to see every model we've tested, check out our gaming headset reviews page). Below you'll find the best gaming headsets we've tested. 

Quick Gaming Headset Shopping Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for the best gaming headset for you: 

  • Wired or wireless? Wired headsets generally cost less and don’t need to be charged. Therefore, if you typically game at your desk, you may want to stick to wired options to keep things cheaper and simpler. A wired headset also won’t die on you mid-battle. On the other hand, there’s no denying the convenience of being able to run to the kitchen for a drink without having to remove your cans. 
  • Headbands and earcups. Comfort is more subjective than measuring audio output and input, but generally speaking you should be wary of plush gaming headsets with thick bulges, cheap foam and cloth covers. When we've tested these types of headsets ,we've often found disappointing acoustic performance. Ear-cushion material can make a huge difference in what your ears ultimately perceive. 
  • Audio and mic quality. These are very important if you want the best gaming headset, but impossible to evaluate on the one or two floor models. We focus on these aspects in detail in our reviews. In short, detailed reproduction and good spatial resolution, specifically when it comes to complex noises and environments with multiple sound sources, are more important than any attempt at simulated surround sound.
  • A key Bluetooth spec: aptX. If you do go wireless and opt for Bluetooth (no USB dongle needed), look for headsets that support Qualcomm’s aptX tech, a compression tech (codec) that’s been leveraged for decades in TV and movie voice-work, movie theater audio and thousands of radio stations. If you’ve heard Bluetooth audio in years past and hated it (it definitely was bad for a long time), give an aptX-enabled headset a listen. As long as the underlying hardware is good, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the sound output.

The Best Gaming Headsets You Can Buy Today

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is the best gaming headset for the typical player.  (Image credit: HyperX)

1. HyperX Cloud Alpha

Best Gaming Headset

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 65 Ohms | Frequency response: 13–27,000 Hz | Mic: Unidirectional | Connectivity: 3.5mm | Weight: 0.7 pounds (317.5g)

Neutral sound quality
Solid build quality
Good material choice
Comfortable fit
 
Somewhat heavy
Small dips and peaks in frequency curve 

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is the best gaming headset for most players, offering nearly perfect sound quality and an awesome value, especially if you can find it for under $100. Noise reproduction with these cans sounds natural and the drivers avoid pesky flaws, like overly aggressive bass or highs. This isn't a revolutionary headset, but it delivers the necessary sound quality and top-of-the-line comfort with the rare reasonable price tag. 

In terms of long-term wearability, the headset earns its Cloud branding with a light, comfy fit built comprised of quality materials. This includes thick memory foam padding on the headband and earcups and HyperX's decision to opt for aluminum over plastic in some important areas. The overall look and feel are both quality. 

If you like the Cloud Alpha's design but want something with more features, there's also the HyperX Cloud Alpha S. It's basically the same headset but with 7.1 virtual surround sound, an inline controller and bass sliders on each ear cup. The black-and-blue or all-black color options (instead of the Cloud Alpha's black-and-gold or black-and-red) add more options too. 

Read: HyperX Cloud Alpha review

The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE will cater to your vanity.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE

Best Wireless Gaming Headset for Most

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-40,000 Hz | Mic: Omnidirectional | Connectivity: USB Type-A 2.4 GHz dongle | Weight: 0.8 pounds(360g)

Powerful hi-res audio
Immaculate presentation
Great battery life
Wireless range depends on house construction
Headband digs in a bit over time
Slightly heavy reverb

The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE is one of the rare headsets that looks as good as it sounds. It offers premium quality audio that enters audiophile territory and looks pretty and shiny instead of clunky and heavy. The SE version of the Virtuoso RGB boasts gunmetal-colored aluminum stamped with a touch RGB via the Corsair logo. Overall, it looks as expensive as it is.

The Virtuoso RGB SE delivered strong audio, including hi-res support, in our testing.n Its 50mm drivers also sounded great with gun fights in games like Borderlands 3. The cans’ music reproduction sat in the middle of bass-heavy cans like the Audio-Technica’s ATH-G1 and flatter-sounding ones like the SteelSeris Arctis Pro Wireless listed below.

Topping things off with a 20-hour wireless battery life, Corsair’s Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE is a fine pair of cans that both look and sound premium. 

Read: Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless SE review 

The Asus TUF Gaming H3 is the best gaming headset for a cheap price but good build.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Asus TUF Gaming H3

Best Budget Gaming Headset

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz | Mic: Unidirectional condenser | Connectivity: 3.5mm | Weight: 0.6 pounds (272.2g)

Impressive out-of-box sound quality
Incredibly comfortable
Questionable build quality
Advertised virtual 7.1 surround sound is Windows Sonic, usable by any 3.5mm headset

The Asus TUF Gaming H3 is the best gaming headset for preserving your budget. These can be hard to find, but you can typically spot it selling for about $40. Despite the lower price, you still get a headset that fits well and sounds good right out of the box. That means you can get right to gaming without having to fiddle around in software. When we tested the cans, performance was comparable to pricier rivals, including the Asus TUF Gaming H7. We attribute a lot of that to the H3's comfortable fit with leatherette contact points preventing sound leakage. 

The downside is these aren’t particularly pretty. And if you’re excited about virtual 7.1 surround sound, note that the H3 is a 3.5mm headset that only uses Windows’ Sonic spatial audio, which any 3.5mm headset can use. 

But when it comes to gaming and hearing sound cues like weapon switches, this headset gets the job done without effort on your part or heavy damage to your bank account. 

Looking for a cheap headset without virtual surround sound? Take a look at our Roccat Elo X Stereo review

Read: Asus TUF Gaming H3 review

The HyperX Cloud Orbit S boasts powerful and immersive 3D audio with effective headtracking,  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. HyperX Cloud Orbit S

Best Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Driver: 100mm neodymium | Impedance: Not disclosed | Frequency response: 10-50,000 Hz | Mic: Unidirectional condenser | Connectivity: 3.5mm, USB Type-A, USB Type-C | Weight: 0.8 pounds(362.9g)

Immersive and loud 3D audio
Soft, squishy headband and ear cups
Good battery life
Accurate head tracking 
 A little heavy
Head tracking’s audio impact varies depending on game

The HyperX Cloud Orbit S is, indeed, expensive, but its premium sound quality and featureset make it the best gaming headset for splurging. The cans give you a discernible gaming advantage, thanks to its customizable 3D mode with head tracking. When you're gaming with head tracking, the location of your enemies is apparent, and the auditory environment moves with you. 

You can also use head tracking as game controls, which frees up your hands for more action. (For another head tracking option with premium features, check out the similarly priced JBL Quantum One). 

There are lower-priced headsets with true surround sound (instead of the Orbit S’ virtual surround sound) and wireless capability. But the Orbit S, which bears the same cozy memory foam headband and earpads as other headsets in HyperX's Cloud line, offers a gaming edge you’ll actually notice.

We also love the versatility of this headset. In addition to supporting hi-res, virtual surround and 3D audio, you can use the headset with a 3.5mm jack, USB Type-A port or USB Type-C port.

Read: HyperX Cloud Orbit S review 

The Asus ROG Delta S' Quad Dac ensure Hi-Res is worth it.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Asus ROG Delta S

Best Hi-Res Gaming Headset

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-40,000 Hz | Mic: Noise-cancelling condenser | Connectivity: USB Type-C or USB-C to USB-A adapter | Weight: 0.7 pounds (320g)

Amazing audio clarity
Solid build quality
Short cable
Slight sound leakage

Not every gamers also demands the joys of Hi-res music, but those who do can graduate to more powerful, immersive jam sessions, especially with the Asus ROG Delta S. These cans sniped the title of Best Hi-res Gaming Headset from the SteelSeries Arctis Pro+ GameDAC, partially by including a more powerful DAC. The Asus opts for ESS’ 9281 Pro Quad DAC for lossless audio processing, which is specced for 140 dB of dynamic range and a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 130 dB, compared to the ESS 9018 on the SteelSeries’ 121 dB and 109 dB, respectively. On the ROG Delta S, hi-res music boasted meaty reverb and also sounded live. 

In terms of gaming, the ROG Delta S is also premium, offering more oomph in the overall soundscape than rivals, from the twang of a bow and arrow to the cracks of an assault rifle. Just beware that those nearby you might start hearing the action if you crank the volume up to 75% or higher. 

Meanwhile, virtual 7.1 surround sound performance varied. We weren’t able to pinpoint enemies better with it in Outriders, but in Horizon Zero Dawn, the featured amplified environmental sounds . It’s easy to prefer the popular DTS Headphone:X v2.0 surround scheme that the Arctis Pro+ GameDac employs than the one Asus concocted. 

The Arctis Pro+ GameDac also has other quality-of-life advantages, like a screen-equipped DAC with a ChatMix control. However, the ROG Delta S doesn’t leave you hanging when it comes to extras, instead throwing in reactive RGB to its earcups 4 RGB zones. 

If you’re truly about the Hi-res, the ROG Delta S stands out above other gaming headsets.

Read: Asus ROG Delta S review

Everyone will hear you loud and clear on the Corsair Void RGB Elite USB's mic.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Corsair Void RGB Elite USB

Best Gaming Headset Mic

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-30,000 Hz | Mic: Omnidirectional condenser | Connectivity: USB Type-A | Weight: 0.9 pounds(390g)

You could land planes with this mic
Exceptionally soft foam padding
Very breathable
Some fitting issues on smaller heads
Sound leakage affects bass tightness
Awkward mic mute button

If you do a lot of chatting on your headset, be with your Overwatch teammates, work colleagues or Mom, the Corsair Void RGB Elite USB will make sure you sound just like you to whoever’s listening. For this price, we were pleased at the microphone’s quality, which can handily fold up when you need to take a sip of water or sneeze. It’s also Discord-certified and showed better low-end response than rivals.It’s not quite as warm as what you can get with the best gaming microphones or any USB mic, but it’s close. 

On the other hand, when we tested the headset with a smaller head, bass was lacking due to sound leakage. Your head size may change things. The Void RGB Elite USB also has virtual 7.1 surround sound, but it didn’t prove to be anything extraordinary. 

For chatterboxes, this is the best gaming headset with its mid-range price, cozy padding and splash of RGB. Note there’s also a wireless version of the Void RGB Elite USB. For more mic options, consider the expensive JBL Quantum One, which comes with a unidirectional and detachable boom microphone and a separate calibration microphone. 

Read: Corsair Void RGB Elite USB review 

If you can afford it, it's hard to beat the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. (Image credit: SteelSeries)

7. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

Best Gaming Headset Splurge

Driver: 40mm neodymium | Impedance: 32 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-40,000 Hz | Mic: Bidirectional condenser | Connectivity: USB Type-A wireless dongle or Bluetooth 4.1 | Weight: 0.8 pounds(357g)

Comfortable headband design
Peerless swappable battery system
Crisp hi-res audio
Feature-laden base station
Needs base station to charge
Headband durability concerns

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro kicks things up a notch or two over other SteelSeries cans, including the Arctis 7 wireless ones listed above. It’s very pricey, even for a wireless headset. But you get your choice of wireless dongle or Bluetooth connectivity, which means you could use the Arctis Pro Wireless without it occupying a USB port. 

The cans offer a large frequency response range and hi-res. Lossless titles, like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, sounded noticeably crisper with a lot of depth on the Arctis Pro. Ultimately, the game sounded more immersive, particularly in the high end, where we could hear the different layers of sound. You also get DTS Headphones:X virtual surround sound via a transmitter base station boasting other helpful features, like ChatMix and general volume control.

Despite its higher price, the Arctis Pro Wireless isn’t vastly more comfortable than the cheaper Arctis 7 wireless cans and don’t offer twice as detailed audio. But the Arctis Pro Wireless has the advantage in its smart design, Bluetooth capability and swappable batteries to keep the party going while traveling. 

For a cheaper Bluetooth option, consider the Sennheiser GSP 670 and, for the ultimate portability, the Asus ROG Strix Go 2.4.

Read: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless review 

Discounts on the Best Gaming Headets

Whether you're shopping for one of the best gaming headsets that we listed above or a similar model, you may find savings by checking out our lists of best Razer promo codes, best Corsair coupon codes and best Newegg promo codes.

  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3668647/gaming-headsets.html
    Reply
  • floppyedonkey
    probably not a good idea to publish an article about a headset model that is no longer in production and has been replaced.
    Siberia 800 is no longer in production and has a new replacement model

    Doing so really eats up credibility.
    Reply
  • SkyBill40
    Or, as an alternative, you could get a far superior sounding set of dedicated headphones and get a clip on or base stand mic. I suppose it all depends on what the user prefers based on the primary focus. To each their own.
    Reply
  • ElectrO_90
    What happened to - Tech Tom's Relies On: SteelSeries Arctis 5 Gaming Headset

    Strange it wasn't mentioned at all..... and/or tested in the article like this one....

    Proof that it was a paid advert after all.
    But Tom's just won't admit it. News websites have to now say that this "fake news" is an advert...
    Reply
  • lun471k
    No mention of the Arctis 7 with its GameDAC ? it's mentioned of almost every other side.
    Reply
  • KD_Gaming
    You people need to realize when it comes to testing something like audio, 1) there is a very small selection actually tested. It's not like toms is a audio site that tests thousands. Also 2) audio is subjective, what sounds good to one person can be bad to another person, usually do to the type of cone materials used.
    Personally if your going wired you might as well get a true dedicated mic and a good normal headset (non gaming) obviously prices can jump very quickly so you have to pick better audio vs not sounding like crap sometimes depending on your budget
    Reply
  • giovanni86
    Siberia ones only lasted me 3 months. After that headset wouldnt turn on. I'd get warranty with those if i ever bought them again. Great when they worked though no argue there, Music and games. Was too good to be true.
    Reply
  • sebastien.gaggini
    The Siberia 800 is a nice headset but it can be really uncomfortable to wear for a long time.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    20977676 said:
    Or, as an alternative, you could get a far superior sounding set of dedicated headphones and get a clip on or base stand mic. I suppose it all depends on what the user prefers based on the primary focus. To each their own.

    This is the strategy I go with. My new motherboard has a built-in headphone amp (Asus Prime Z370-A) and the sound has never been better. I just use my webcam mic. It's been a great setup.
    Reply
  • ph.homer
    Old model and if your looking for a complete wireless experience, look at Turtle Beach 800x/Stealth 700 series.

    They have a headset for every device and I find these the perfect choise, still in 2018!!!
    Reply