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Best Gaming Headsets 2020

(Image credit: Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock)

Shopping for a gaming headset isn't easy, and that's partially due to the sheer amount of market saturation we're currently facing. With the ever-rising popularity of eSports and the relative simplicity of combining off-the-shelf audio hardware with flashy RGBs, cushy earcups and a sprinkle of software wizardry, PC gamers are being offered more options than ever. A quick search of a few popular online retailers yields 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 whether you’re shopping with a tight budget or not, there is still plenty of other things you'll have to consider before making your final purchase. 

Luckily, we’ve been testing numerous gaming headsets (to see every model we've tested, check out our gaming headset reviews page). Below are the best gaming headsets we've tested. 

Quick Shopping Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a gaming headset: 

  • Wired or wireless? Wired headsets generally cost less and don’t need to be charged. So if you typically game at your desk, you may want to stick to wired options for cost savings and simplicity. A wired headset won’t die on you during a tense moment of battle—unless (maybe) you run over the cable with your chair. Then again, there’s no denying the convenience of being able to run to the kitchen for a snack without having to remove your headset. 
  • Headbands and earcups. Comfort is obviously more subjective than measuring audio output and input, but overall you should be wary of plush gaming headsets with thick bulges, cheap foam and cloth covers. They might look good and feel comfortable, but when we've testing these types of headsets we've often found disappointing acoustic performance. The ear-cushion material can make a huge difference in what your ears actually perceive. 
  •  All about the look. With this being head gear, there are aesthetic elements to consider. Not everyone needs or wants RGB lights around their head or for their headset to look like a sci-fi prop. But if you’re going to pair your headset with a gaming keyboard and gaming mouse from the same company and you can sync the lighting effects across peripherals, the effect is eye-catching. This may also be helpful when gaming if the software lets you correspond in-game events or statuses, (such as inflicted damage or cool-down meters), to specific lighting effects. 
  • Audio and mic quality. These are very important but impossible to evaluate on the one or two floor models at your local superstore. 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. For fine-tuning and sound modification, a flexible equalizer is always better than a fixed sound design that you can’t change. 
  • 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. 

Best Gaming Headsets 2020

Best Gaming Headset

(Image credit: HyperX)

HyperX Cloud Alpha

Best Gaming Headset

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

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

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is the best gaming headset for most gamers, offering nearly perfect sound quality. Noise reproduction with these cans sounds natural, with the drivers avoiding flaws like overly aggressive bass or highs. It's not revolutionary headset, but for less than $100 it's a fantastic value. 

Plus, the headset earns its Cloud branding with a light, comfy fit built with 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 is one of quality. 

Read Review: HyperX Cloud Alpha

Best Budget Gaming Headset

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Asus TUF Gaming H3

Best Budget Gaming Headset

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

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 our favorite budget gaming headset, and you can typically find it selling for between $40 and $50. 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. 

Read Review: Asus TUF Gaming H3

Best Wireless Gaming Headset

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Sennheiser GSP 370

Best Wireless Gaming Headset

Driver: 50mm neodymium | Impedance: 28 Ohms | Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz | Mic: Unidirectional electret condenser | Connectivity: USB Type-A 2.4 GHz dongle | Weight: 0.6 pounds

Incredibly long battery life
Beautifully constructed
All the bass you could wish for with no loss of detail higher up the EQ range
Disappointing mic quality
Fractional sound quality loss over wired models
Limited software features

The Sennheiser GSP 370 is the best wireless gaming headset, especially if you’re in the tether-free game for simplicity. This headset has an insanely long battery life, meaning you’ll rarely have to pull out its USB charging cable and can keep focus on gaming. In our testing, the headset lasted for about 70 hours, amplifying the care-free experience that comes with investing in a wireless pair of cans.

But this isn’t a one-trick pony either. In addition to providing impressive battery life, we loved how powerful the bass got without sacrificing minute details of media like music. The most finicky of ears may prefer the flatter character of the pricier SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless (starting at $292 at the time of writing compared to the Sennheiser’s $168), and the Sennheiser has room for improvement where its microphone and software are concerned. But for long-lasting wireless fun, the GSP 370 is our top choice. 

Read Review: Sennheiser GSP 370 

Best Splurge Gaming Headset

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

HyperX Cloud Orbit S

Best Splurge Gaming Headset

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

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

The HyperX Cloud Orbit S is an expensive premium gaming headset, but with it you get a discernible gaming advantage, thanks to its customizable 3D mode with head tracking. When you're gaming with head tracking, the location of enemies is apparent and the auditory environment moves with you. You can also use head tracking as game controls, freeing up your hands for more action. 

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, provides a gaming edge you’ll actually notice.

We also love the versatility of this headset. In addition to offering 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 Review: HyperX Cloud Orbit S 

  • 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