Let’s talk gaming headsets. Specifically, the best gaming headsets, because if you’re going to play hours of games with a lump of metal and plastic attached to your head, it might as well be the finest lump that your respective budget can buy.
That being said, shopping for any kind of PC peripheral will involve a heavy helping of personal taste. As with our best gaming mouse and best gaming keyboard roundups, then, allow to present a few different options based on price and features; we’ll also keep this list updated over time, should newer headsets prove as worthy of your cash.
What you can be sure about is that our recommendations only come at the end of a full testing regimen, conducted by our own fair hands and fair-ish ears. How else could we, and by extension you, know for sure that an allegedly high-performance headset might actually deliver muddied tones? Or whether it tries to squeeze your head like a near-depleted ketchup bottle?
That's why every headset on our best gaming headset list has been tried and tested right here at RPS, so we know exactly what these headsets sound like, and whether or not they're going to secretly turn into some medieval torture device as soon as you put them on.
In other words, read on and you’ll find the best gaming headsets that Katharine and myself have tested. You can click the links a few lines down to skip to each one, and if you jump to the bottom of this page, we’ve also prepared a simple guide on what to look for and how we test. Check out the FAQ, too, to help nail down your headset needs or demystify various audio jargon.
Best gaming headset 2021
- Logitech G432 - the best gaming headset overall
- Roccat Elo X Stereo - the best cheap gaming headset
- Logitech G Pro X - the best premium gaming headset
- Steelseries Arctis 7 - the best wireless gaming headset
- HyperX Cloud II Wireless - the second best wireless gaming headset
- Corsair HS70 - the best cheap wireless gaming headset
- EPOS Sennheiser GSP 370 - the best wireless gaming headset for battery life
- Roccat Syn Pro Air - the best wireless gaming headset for customisation
The best gaming headset overall
The Logitech G432 is a fantastic all-round gaming headset, regardless of whether you're on a budget or got buckets of money to spend. Compared to similarly priced headphones like the Steelseries Arctis 1 and Razer Kraken X, the Logitech G432 beats them all by a country mile.
Its sound quality is absolutely fantastic for this kind of price, producing sparklingly detailed audio in every game going. It's so clear, in fact, that Katharine had to remind herself that she hadn't accidentally put on Logitech's G Pro X by accident. It's also got a brilliant microphone, and comes with both a USB DAC and a combined and dual 3.5mm splitter to use with your PC, laptop and consoles. There are, admittedly, have a few issues with overall comfort - especially compared to the featherweight Arctis 1 - but when the G432 sounds this good, it's not too hard to overlook them.
Alternatively, if you've got a bit more to spend and fancy some RGB lighting in your headset, then the next best thing is the Corsair Void Elite RGB, which is an updated version of the excellent Corsair Void Pro RGB.
Read more in our Logitech G432 review
Roccat Elo X Stereo
The best cheap gaming headset
It's only a fraction cheaper than the Logitech G432, but the Roccat Elo X Stereo is just too good not to mention alongside it. It's the entry-level headset in Roccat's Elo range, but it's much better value than its more expensive USB sibling, and a brilliant pick for those on a budget.
Not only is its audio quality top notch, but it's also supremely comfortable - actually more so than the Logitech G432. This is largely down to its brilliant headband design, which is actually very similar to the Steelseries Arctis 7 (which, as you'll see below, is our best wireless headset pick). It's a great headset to wear for long gaming sessions, and the chassis is so light you can forget you're wearing it.
It's also got one of the best microphones on a budget gaming headset. Often these are what tend to suffer the most on lower-end headsets, but the Elo X Stereo's mic is easily as good as the one on the G432. Overall, it's a great headset for those who want something cheap and cheerful, and it's a very worthy alternative to the G432.
Read more in our Roccat Elo X Stereo review
Logitech G Pro X
The best premium gaming headset
The Logitech G Pro X headset is a seriously impressive bit of kit; one of the most comfortable headset Katharine has ever worn, so says our RPS chief, and it's also got the best microphone this side of a Blue Yeti.
That's because it uses Blue's own VO!CE tech, which helps make it the closest you'll get to having a broadcast quality mic on a gaming headset. Logitech's G HUB software also gives you plenty of options to get your microphone sounding just right, and it really does put all other mics to shame.
The Logitech G Pro X also sounds sublime. Thanks to its rich, detailed soundscape, it's possible to hear sounds you may never even have noticed before, making everything feel more immersive as a result. It also comes with a replacement set of ear pads, loads of different cables and connections so you can use it with other devices, plus a very lovely carry case to make sure nothing gets lost. If you've got the cash, you definitely won't be disappointed.
It's also available in a regular G Pro model, which has exactly the same design but doesn't come with the Blue VO!CE gubbins inside the mic, but if you're looking for something slightly cheaper then the next best thing is either the successor to Corsair's Void Pro RGB, the £70 / $66 Corsair Void Elite RGB, or the Razer Blackshark V2, which goes for slightly more at £99 / $99.
Read more in our Logitech G Pro X review
Steelseries Arctis 7
The best wireless gaming headset
If you've ever had particular trouble in finding a comfortable headset, then the Steelseries Arctis 7 is a revelation. Its ski-goggle headband might not look as comfy as other headsets with fistfuls of padding to their name, but its clever suspension design means the steel frame never actually touches your head, allowing for hours of use without issue.
What's more, its wireless transmitter isn't just a little USB stick - it's got its own cable, so you can position it wherever you like for the best signal. You also get a regular 3.5mm audio cable so you can use it as a wired headset as well if you prefer.
The Arctis 7 is more expensive than a lot of other wireless headsets, including the ones on this list, but it does come with handy extras like its ChatMix slider. This lets you filter out all game music to focus solely on your multiplayer chat, and it works vice-versa as well, helping you drown out those screaming 11-year-olds who can't believe you didn't make that headshot from halfway across the map.
Read more in our Steelseries Arctis 7 review
HyperX Cloud II Wireless
The second best wireless gaming headset
The HyperX Cloud II Wireless is a touch more expensive than the Steelseries Arctis 7 above, but this is still one of the best wireless gaming headsets around today - especially if you favour battery life over extra features. Whereas the Arctis 7 is rated for 24 hours, the Cloud II Wireless stretches this to 30 hours, which is a worthy trade-off if you're not that fussed about Steelseries' ChatMix slider.
The HyperX Cloud II Wireless is also just as comfortable to wear as the Arctis 7, despite only coming with a traditional headband design rather than an elasticated ski-goggle one. Its audio quality is top notch, too, and sounds just as good playing games as it does playing regular music. You don't technically need to install HyperX's NGenuity software to get the best out of it either, as everything can be configured from the headset's on-ear controls, including its 7.1 virtual surround sound and its microphone sidetone settings.
All in all, this is a stylish, great-sounding headset that's very easy to use, and it's a very worthy alternative to the Arctis 7.
Read more in our HyperX Cloud II Wireless review
The best budget wireless headset
We all appreciate a good wireless headset, but the best ones often demand well over £100/ $100, which can often be a step too far for those looking to keep costs down. Thankfully, the brilliant Corsair HS70 is here for those who don't want to break the bank.
It's still a fair chunk of change compared to other wired headsets on this list, but the HS70 is an absolutely superb headset in its own right. It's very comfortable to wear, for starters, and while it doesn't have as many fancy features as the Arctis 7, its audio quality is still top notch. At 16 hours, its battery life is a bit on the low side compared to other wireless headsets out there, but that's still more than enough for a good weekend of gaming.
If you're after something simple that gets the job done, feels great and doesn't involve trying to unravel a million cables, the HS70 is the gaming headset for you.
Read more in our Corsair HS70 review
Epos Sennheiser GSP 370
The best gaming headset for battery life
If you're after a headset that can go for months and months without charging, the EPOS Sennheiser GSP 370 is for you. Its 100-hour battery life puts all other headsets to shame, including the Steelseries Arctis 7. It does, however, come at a cost.
For some, the Epos Sennheiser GSP 370 will almost certainly be worth the extra cash over the Arctis 7. It's a bit on the chunky side design-wise, but this is still a supremely comfortable headset whose audio quality and fold-down microphone are top of their class. However, the main reason why this is sitting in our wireless top spot is because it still lacks a couple of key features that sets the Arctis 7 apart. This includes the Arctis' ChatMix feature and sidetone controls for its microphone. The Arctis 7 also comes with a 3.5mm audio cable so you can use it with other devices, too, whereas the GSP 370 is USB-only.
Still, if you’re not fussed about any of that, then the Epos Sennheiser GSP 370 more than justifies its high price. With its excellent audio quality and that stonkingly large battery life, the GSP 370 is a fantastic wireless gaming headset that should be at the top of your consideration list.
Read more in our EPOS Sennheiser GSP 370 review
Roccat Syn Pro Air
The best wireless gaming headset for customisation
The Roccat Syn Pro Air doesn’t have the best mic quality or the longest battery life, but it’s a respectable alternative to the SteelSeries Arctis 7 or HyperX Cloud II Wireless. That’s particularly true if you want your headset to come with a overflowing toy chest of extra features.
There’s adjustable mic monitoring, there’s manual EQ adjustment, and there’s even a dash of customisable RGB lighting on the earcups. Roccat’s Neon software provides many more tweaking opportunities, too – I particularly liked using the ‘3D Audio’ mode for more dramatic music playback, though it’s not strictly necessary for games that already have strong spatial sound like Apex Legends.
The Syn Pro Air gets the basics right as well. While Roccat’s favoured building material is a plain plastic, it doesn’t feel too flimsy, and is in fact nicely light for a wireless headset. It’s comfortable, too, with enough padding and sufficiently roomy earcups that I could happily wear it for hours at a time. Best of all is sound quality, as the Syn Pro Air’s balanced (yet bass-rich and impactful) default profile will suit just about any game you can think of.
The Arctis 7 is still better overall, and at the time of testing, Neon’s beta status meant it threw up some oddities: misreporting a mostly-full battery as 0% charged, for instance. Even so, few gaming headsets sound as good as the Syn Pro Air, and fewer still let you tinker as much.
Choosing the right gaming headset
Choosing a gaming headset can be an incredibly personal thing. Finding a gaming headset with good quality audio is obviously key, but it also needs to be comfortable. After all, you're probably going to be wearing this for several hours at a time, and it's no good if it sounds great but ends up giving you a headache after 30 minutes.
The other thing it needs is a good microphone. Again, there's no point having a great-sounding gaming headset, but your voice descends into a crackly mess every time you want to chat to your mates when you’re playing online. Professional streamers often get round this by buying dedicated microphones, but having one that's built into your headset is much cheaper, easier and simpler for those on a budget, or who simply want something for chatting with friends. That's why we test for each of these three things every time we get a gaming headset in for review.
How we test:
Whenever we get a gaming headset in for testing, we look out for three keys things: comfort, good quality audio and a good quality microphone. The former can be very subjective. Everyone has a different shaped and sized head, and what's comfortable for one person may be a head-pinching nightmare vice for someone else. To test comfort levels, we simply try to wear a headset for as long as possible. The longer it lasts without pressing down on skulls and pinching jaw bones, the better.
To test a gaming headset's audio quality, we have three games in my testing suite: Doom (2016), Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice and Final Fantasy XV. Doom has a very heavy, industrial soundtrack which is ideal for testing a headset's bass levels (and more importantly, how good the Super Shotgun sounds when you unleash its double-barreled fury on an unsuspecting imp). Listening out for details like hidden enemies and the direction of incoming fire also provides ample opportunity to judge a headset's audio finesse.
Hellblade is another great test of immersion, as this uses binaural audio techniques to create a more believable sense of place. The opening, for example, can sound like the narrator is getting up close and personal with the back of your neck. The way other voices inside Senua's head come and go, or titter around the periphery, also make for a good headset test.
Finally, Final Fantasy XV is our big orchestral game. Here, we listen out for the warm, rich details in every section of the orchestra, and make sure its zippy magic effects are still balanced against the busy battle music.
We also try out every headset as a pair of music headphones, listening to a mix of gaming soundtracks, rock bands and pop to see how it holds up away from games. Finally, we'll record ourselves speaking into the microphone, to see how clear the audio is and how it handles plosive words and phrases. Hopping on Discord with some trusted friends and getting their feedback helps too.
Gaming headset FAQ
Should I get wireless or wired headphones?
Gaming headsets fall into two broad categories: wired and wireless. Wired headsets are the most common, with most plugging into a USB port or a 3.5mm audio connection on your PC, and they're great if you want clean, uninterrupted audio.
Wireless headsets, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive than wired headset, but they're great for cutting down on the warren of PC cables you've got building up behind the back of your desk. They're also super convenient you're playing games on the TV in your living room, as it means you can kick back on the sofa without falling over a tangle of wires every time you get up to make a cuppa. They will need charging when they run out of battery, though, and their 2.4GHz wireless signal can get interrupted if you've got a lot of wireless devices in the same room or around your house. Neither I nor previous hardware ed Katharine have had this problem personally, but it can be an issue with certain headsets.
Can I use a PC gaming headset with a console?
Many, though not all, gaming headsets are multi-platform; as such you could potentially use them with a PS5, Xbox Series X or Nintendo Switch as well as on your PC or laptop. Check the headset's packaging or manufacturer website to find out if it's compatible with consoles.
Connection type is important here. Some gaming headsets only have a USB connection, for example; that's great for PC users, but not all consoles support USB headsets, so it's important to check the headset's specs beforehand. Even if a headset has a traditional 3.5mm audio connection, you should still check it's compatible with PC. Headsets with a single, combined 3.5mm headphone jack will work fine with consoles, laptops and phones, for example, but you'll need an dual 3.5mm adapter (shown below) if you want to use the headset's microphone on PC.
What are Hi-Res Audio headphones?
We’re starting to see more Hi-Res Audio stickers appear on gaming headsets, but you don't need to worry too much about making sure you get one. Hi-Res (or High Resolution) audio is meant to provide the absolute pinnacle of music quality, with audiophiles saying it’s akin to ‘being right there in the recording studio’ when you listen to it. This is because Hi-Res Audio has a much higher sampling rate (also known as bit-depth, or the number of samples taken per signal per second in the analogue-to-digital conversion process) than CD quality audio, which is meant to make it more accurate and more detailed than anything else currently available.
To throw some numbers into the mix, CD is specified at 16-bit or 44.1kHz, while Hi-Res audio is usually defined as either 96kHz or 192kHz at 24-bit. This is great if you already own lots of Hi-Res audio tracks or subscribe to a streaming service like Tidal, but it has limited use for gaming right now. It's currently unknown how many, if any, games support Hi-Res audio or whether you get any extra benefit over non-Hi-Res audio headsets. What's more, many people can't actually tell the difference between Hi-Res and CD, so you shouldn't feel like you need to pay extra to get one if you’re only going to be using it for games.
What headsets do the pros use?
Pro gamers and streamers all use vastly different gaming headsets. Ninja uses the studio-grade Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones, for example, while Shroud has switched from a HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless to a Logitech G Pro X.
Myth and DrLupo also use a Logitech G Pro X headset, but Tfue uses the super expensive Sennheiser HD 800 S High Resolution headphones. Pokimane, on the other hand, often alternates between different HyperX headsets, most notably the Cloud Alpha and the Cloud Revolver, and Dakotaz uses an Astro A40.
What are headphone drivers?
A headphone driver is the technical term for the little speaker inside each earcup. They're the bits that convert the electrical signals coming from your PC into sound, so they're pretty important! They often vary between 20mm and 50mm in size, and most gaming headsets will have drivers with a 40mm or 50mm diameter.
Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, though. Bigger drivers are louder than smaller ones, but their quality depends on a number of factors, including the way they've been designed and the materials used to construct them. There are multiple different types of drivers used in gaming headsets, and they all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
What is frequency response?
Frequency response is the range of sound frequencies produced by a pair of headphones. It's measured in Hertz (Hz) and is often represented by two numbers, such as 20Hz - 20KHz. The first number signifies the lowest bass frequency a headset is able to produce, while the second number represents the highest high-frequency it can produce. The average human can hear frequencies between 20Hz - 20kHz (or 20,000 Hz), and this is what most headsets tend to aim for as a result.
What is 7.1 surround sound?
In a traditional audio setup, a 7.1 surround sound system comprises of seven individual speakers and a subwoofer (the .1 bit). They're positioned around where your seating area, hence the 'surround sound' bit in the name, and create a more immersive aural experience. Lots of gaming headsets say they support 7.1 surround sound as well, but given that headsets often only have two drivers or speakers, it's never going to be true 7.1 surround. Instead, what they really mean is that they can do virtual 7.1 surround sound, which is done via software such as Logitech's G Hub, Steelseries' Engine, Corsair's iCue and HyperX's NGenuity software.
Sometimes, headsets will use a specific type of surround sound software, such as DTS Headphone X 2.0. This is a set standard, created by the audio engineers at DTS, that tries to recreate 11 different audio channels instead of seven: partly similar to technologies like Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic for Headphones. However, only select games support DTS Headphone X 2.0, Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic, so just because a headset supports it, doesn't necessarily mean all games are going to sound better as a result. In fact, enabling any kind of virtual surround sound feature usually makes your game audio feel like it's been turned into one great big echo chamber. Unless you're going to be watching a lot of films on your PC that support surround sound, it's usually better to stick to a simple stereo headset (or at least leave its surround feature turned off).
What is Logitech's Blue VO!CE?
Logitech's G Pro X headset is one of the few gaming headsets that supports Blue Voice, which is a type of voice filter technology used in Blue's Yeti microphones. It helps to make your voice sound clearer, richer and cleaner for a more professional level of voice chat, and it's really quite impressive in practice. It can't compare to a proper, dedicated microphone filter, but as an easy, all-in-one solution for those who don't have hundreds and thousands to spend on their gaming audio setup, it does an exceedingly good job.
For more RPS recommended hardware, here's a complete list of our best hardware guides:
Best graphics cards Best CPU for gaming Best SSD for gaming Best gaming monitors Best gaming keyboards Best gaming mouse Best VR headsets