If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Best gaming headsets 2021: the top wired and wireless headsets for PC

Our top gaming headset recommenations

Gaming headsets are a great way to improve your PC's audio experience and they're also handy tools for chatting with your mates online, which makes finding the best gaming headset for you and your budget very important. To help you find a gaming headset that's right for you, I've put together this list of all my top gaming headset recommendations for 2021. Whether you're looking for something cheap and cheerful or the best wireless gaming headset money can buy, I've got you covered.

As with our best gaming mouse and best gaming keyboard picks, there's no one headset to rule them all in this list, as finding a great gaming headset is often extremely personal. Comfort levels will vary from person to person, as will musical balance preferences. As a result, this is far from a definitive ranking. It will also change over time as we get new headsets in for testing, or older models go end of life.

One thing that will never change is our testing criteria. To make it onto our best gaming headset list, a headset must have top quality audio and a clear, built-in microphone. It's also got to be comfortable to wear for long periods of time, as it's no good having a great-sounding headset if it's going to make your ears hurt after 30 minutes.

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.

All of the gaming headsets I've picked out below more than surpass expectations in these areas, and you can read more about them by clicking the links below. You can also find out more about how to choose a gaming headset at the bottom of this page, including common questions about whether wireless headsets are worth it, what various bits of audio terminology mean, and what headsets the pros use, too.

Best gaming headset 2021


Logitech G432

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 such as 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 I had to remind myself that I hadn't accidentally put 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. I did, admittedly, have a few issues with its overall comfort - especially compared to the featherweight Arctis 1 - but when the G432 sounds this good, I'm willing to overlook it here.

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

A photo of Roccat's Elo X Stereo 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 new 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 in my eyes. This is largely down to its brilliant headband design, which is actually very similar to the Steelseries Arctis 7 (which is also further down on this list in our best wireless headset picks). It's a great headset to wear for long gaming sessions, and its lightweight chassis often me forget I was even wearing it.

It's also got one of the best microphones I've seen on a budget gaming headset, too. 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 truly incredible bit of kit. Not only is it one of the most comfortable headset I've ever worn, but it's also got the best microphone this side of a Blue Yeti.

That's because its mic has Blue VO!CE technology built into it, which is 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, I was able to hear sounds in my test games I'd never even 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 tech 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


Corsair HS70

The best budget wireless headset

I love 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


Steelseries Arctis 7

The best wireless gaming headset

Steelseries Arctis 7

If you've ever had as much trouble finding a comfortable headset as I have, 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 me to wear it for hours and hours without issue. Whereas other headsets often always leave me with a vice-like headache after 30 minutes, the Arctis 7 just lets me get on with playing games.

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 other wireless headsets on this list, but it does come with a couple of extra handy features, such as 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


Epos Sennheiser GSP 370

The best gaming headset for battery life

Epos Sennheiser GSP 370

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


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 I get a gaming headset in for testing, I 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, I simply try to wear a headset for as long as possible. The longer I can wear one without it pressing down on the top of my head or pinching my jaw bone, the better.

To test a gaming headset's audio quality, I 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 good 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), and I also use it to test how immersive it feels, too, listening out for details like hidden enemies and the direction of incoming fire.

Hellblade is another great test of immersion, as this uses binaural audio techniques to create a fully-believable sense of place. In the game's opening, I listen to see how up close and personal the narrator gets to the back of my neck, as well as how the other voices inside Senua's head come and go and titter around the periphery. If a headset can make my spine tingle (as some of them have), this is a good sign.

Finally, Final Fantasy XV is my big orchestral game. Here, I listen out for the warm, rich details in every section of the orchestra, and make sure its zippy magic effects are still balanced against its busy battle music.

I also give it a spin as a regular music headset, listening to a mix of gaming soundtracks, rock bands and pop to see how it holds up away from games. Then, finally, I test the microphone by recording myself talking in Audacity to see how clear the audio is, and how it handles plosive words and phrases.

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. I've never had a problem with this personally, but it can be an issue with certain headsets.

Can I use a PC gaming headset with console?

Most gaming headsets are multi-platform and will say so on the box, meaning you can use them on PC and all the existing consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch and your phone and laptop, as well as future consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5. The key thing to look out for is the type of audio connection it uses.

Some gaming headsets only have a USB connection, for example. This is great for PC users, but not all consoles support these kinds of 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.

The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas has single and dual 3.5mm audio connections via an adapter that comes in the box, so you can use it with laptops, consoles and phones as well as 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. Personally, I’ve never even been able to 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 all use vastly different gaming headsets. Ninja uses the studio-grade Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones, for example, while Shroud has recently 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 speakers inside a gaming headset. 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 it's been designed and the materials used to construct it. 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, and it's a similar piece of technology to Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic for Headphone. 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.

About the Author

Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests. She's also RPS' resident deals herald.

Join the Rock Paper Shotgun supporter program

Sign up today and get access to more articles like these, an ad-free reading experience, free gifts, and help us create more great writing about PC games.

See more information

Comments

We love having a friendly, positive and constructive community - you lot are great - and we want to keep it like that. Our main commenting rule is "be excellent to each other". Please see our code of conduct, where you can find out what "be excellent" means. TL;DR? Respect others, think before you post, and be prepared for puns.

More Features

Latest Articles