Best gaming headsets 2022: high fidelity headphones for immersive gaming

The best gaming headsets for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2022

Included in this guide:

Best gaming headsets hero image showing woman using Roccat Syn Pro Air
(Image credit: Roccat)

In 2022 owning one of the best gaming headsets makes playing games better and much more immersive. That's not just our opinion: unless you have a truly amazing surround sound system and very understanding neighbours, the best gaming headphones offer the most powerful and immersive in-game experience with their high fidelity, surround sound audio.

The best gaming headsets also have crystal-clear mics so you can talk strategy with your team or talk trash to your enemies. And if that's not enough, some of the best gaming headsets look pretty incredible, too.

The good news it that you don't need to spend lots of money to get a brilliant gaming headset, either. As you'll see in this guide to the best gaming headphones, there are plenty of affordable options as well as premium products for both PC and console gamers.

If you just want to know what the top gaming headsets that we recommend right now are above all others in this guide, then we've got three hero products highlighted.

The best gaming headset for PS5 gamers is the SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless. This headset is compatible with PS4, too, and we were really impressed with its audio reproduction in games as well as its high levels of comfort. It doesn't come with Bluetooth connectivity, but aside from that it's a fantastic headset that is dripping with quality.

If you're actually looking for the best gaming headset for Xbox gamers, be that Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One, then we recommend the LucidSound LS50X above all others. This headset is dual wireless, meaning you can connect to Bluetooth devices while playing on Xbox, and its powerful 50mm drivers deliver excellent audio reproduction.

Finally, if you're shopping for the best gaming headset for PC gamers then you should absolutely scope out the Asus ROG Delta S. This super stylish headset comes loaded with QUAD DAC technology, an AI noise-cancelling mic and fully customisable RGB lighting. As the headset is connected by USB-C, the headset is also compatible with PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

But don't just scroll through looking for the lowest priced option: a headset that isn't right for you is a false economy. You wouldn't spend a ton of money on a gaming rig and then hook it up to the cheapest monitor around; and yet we've seen lots of gamers spend hundreds or even thousands on the best gaming monitor, a top-rated gaming mouse and a superb gaming keyboard, and then they drag it all down by listening through a cheap and nasty headset. That isn't just a false economy; it's a strategic mistake. In many games, good quality audio can literally mean the difference between life and death.

A high quality gaming headset is as important as investing in the best graphics card, the fastest SSDs and the most comfortable gaming chair. You're going to spend many hours with these headphones on, and any shortcomings will soon get on your nerves.

Although there are lots of different gaming headsets here they all have one crucial thing in common: they all deliver high quality sound. That's because game audio isn't just about hearing impressive explosions and ever-bigger bangs. It's also about hearing the little details that make the world feel real and warn you of danger. Whether it's birds singing or planets exploding, these headsets will put you right in the middle of the action.

If you're a PC gamer this guide has loads of quality options for you, but if you just want to see headphones for your gaming platform, discounting console options, then check out T3's best PC gaming headset buying guide.

Underneath our list of top gaming headphones, we've also included some expert advice on what to look for when you're shopping for a new gaming headset, wired or wireless, and we've also provided information on who we consider to be the best gaming headset makers. And we've also provided help for anyone who's found themselves lost in a headset specs list: a jargon buster to decode the puzzles of gaming headset marketing.

The best gaming headsets you can buy today

SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless gaming headset shown on white backgroundT3 Award

The SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless is the best gaming headset to use with a Playstation 5. 

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

The best gaming headset for Playstation 5 gamers

Compatibility: Playstation 4, Playstation 5, PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, Google Stadia Controller
Drivers: 40 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: Yes
Battery life: 24 hours
Mic: Bi-directional ClearCast
Weight: 352 g (12.4 oz)
Connectivity : USB Type-C
Reasons to buy
+Immersive sound+Long-lasting battery life+Comfortable to wear for long periods+Discord-certified ClearCast mic
Reasons to avoid
-Not dual-wireless (no Bluetooth)

The best wireless gaming headset on the market today, the SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless, is an impressive piece of kit, delivering an excellent audio experience for the PlayStation 5.

Seriously versatile- this headset is compatible with both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, so if you plan to make the transition over but haven't quite got there yet, this will be a great choice that will work with both.  The USB-C dongle makes it quick to set up and means that this pair of headphones will also work with your PC, Nintendo Switch and Android. 

The design of the headset makes complete sense, with a steel frame and easily adjustable elasticated strap to fit it perfectly to your head. It's so comfortable that you'll find yourself forgetting it's even there. The controls on the earcups are intuitively placed, giving you easy control over the sound and mic. 

When it came to the audio quality, we were impressed. There's strong audio reproduction across the soundscape with punchy, crisp sound. Though admittedly lacking some clarity so not the best pair for listening to music, they will give gamers a fantastic experience and successfully emulate 360-degree audio to make you feel really immersed in the action.

All in all, this is an awesome headset designed for PlayStation users that is well-designed, sounds great and has long-lasting battery life. If you are looking for dual-wireless connectivity though, this headset doesn't have Bluetooth so you'll need to look elsewhere.

LucidSound LS50X gaming headset shown with mic attached on white backgroundT3 Award

Xbox Series X and S gamers, as well as Xbox One gamers, should seriously consider the LS50X.

(Image credit: LucidSound)

The best gaming headset for Xbox gamers, be that Xbox Series X and S or Xbox One

Speaker size: 50mm
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000 Hz
Weight: 408g
Wireless: Yes
Wireless range: 30ft
Mic type: Boom
Battery life: 20 hours
Reasons to buy
+Works with Xbox Series X, S and Xbox One+Very simple setup+Comfortable, premium design+Excellent audio reproduction
Reasons to avoid
-Range could be better

LucidSound is one T3's favourite gaming headset makers thanks its ability to deliver top-draw audio reproduction and stylish, comfortable builds at attractive price points – and the LS50X, which works with both the new-gen Xbox Series X and S consoles, as well as all Xbox One consoles, does nothing to knock that reputation.

The headset is a hugely impressive new entry as we enter the era of the next-gen consoles, with an all-round package – style, setup, audio – that's very difficult to beat. Build quality is first rate, the sound is superb, and as added bonus there's Bluetooth connectivity too, for attaching other devices.

The LucidSound LS50X will work with both your current Xbox One console and your new Xbox Series X or S, and you'll be up and gaming in 10 seconds, it really is that fast. There's a flexible, removable boom mic, with the ability to cancel out background noise and echoes, plus five EQ modes to pick from.

We played a variety of games on the Xbox One to test the LS50X – Forza Horizon 4, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Rage 2, Fifa 20 and Halo 5 Guardians – and every time the audio was immersive and refined. That won't come as any surprise to anyone who has used LucidSound headsets in the past.

You can learn more about his headset, as well as see how it stacks up against another top product, in our LucidSound LS50X vs Logitech G635 7.1 comparison feature.

Asus ROG Delta S gaming headset with RGB lighting onT3 Awards 2021 winner badge

PC gamers need to check out the Asus ROG Delta S.

(Image credit: Asus)

The best gaming headset for Windows PC gamers

Compatibility: PC / Mac / Android / iOS / PlayStation / Xbox / Nintendo Switch
Drivers: 50 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 40 kHz
Wireless: No
Mic: Detachable unidirectional boom mic
Weight: 300 grams
Connectivity: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Strong battery life+Versatile USB Type-C dongle+Discord-certified ClearCast mic
Reasons to avoid
-Limited on-board controls

From gaming hardware veterans Asus comes the very impressive Asus ROG Delta S headset, which will work with just about every device out there – though the customisation and equaliser software is only available for Windows. This won't suit anyone who definitely wants a wireless set of headphones, but it's well worth considering for everyone else.

It works with a host of gadgets and gizmos via USB-C (or USB-A), from PCs to consoles, and it produces audio quality of the highest order – whether you're wanting to rock out to some tunes or you need to hear everything that's happening during intense gaming sessions.

The headset is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and is well put together too. Add in extras like simulated 7.1 surround sound and support for the high-resolution MQA audio format, and it's easy to see why this made it on to our best gaming headsets list.

Need even more proof that this is a great gaming headset? Well, it's only gone and won the Best Gaming Headset award at the T3 Awards 2021!

Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense in black with green RGBsT3 Approved badge

The Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense will make you feel like you're inside the game. 

(Image credit: Razer)

The most immersive gaming headset

Compatibility: PC / Mac / PlayStation
Drivers: 50 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Mic: Unidirectional microphone
Weight: 344 grams
Reasons to buy
+Hypersense haptic feedback +Powerful, immersive sound+Stylish comfortable design
Reasons to avoid
-No wireless option -Chunky design

An awesome and innovative piece of kit, the Razer Kraken V3 Hypersense is one of the most immersive gaming headsets you can buy. Giving you a combination of powerful three-dimensional surround sound and Hypersense haptic feedback, you won’t just hear the game but you’ll feel it too. 

The haptic feedback picks up on key sound cues in the game to deliver lifelike vibrations in the headset. It’s really cool, you’ll be able to feel the impact of explosions or bullets flying past you. You can switch between different levels with the Haptic Adjuster button as well, something you’ll be thankful for because in shooter games it can get very intense. 

Another major plus point is the microphone which is crystal clear with plenty of manual settings, and extra features like Voice Gate which will cut out the sound when you aren’t speaking. 

Because this headset packs so much clever tech in, it is quite chunky and will stick out quite far from your head. That’s not a problem for most but it could look a little silly on some people. You’ll also have to put up with a wired connection because there’s no wireless option. Those are the only real downsides though, otherwise, this is one of Razer’s very best gaming headsets. 

Corsair HS80 RGB wireless in black with the microphone switched onT3 Approved badge

You'll feel properly immersed in the action with the Corsair HS80 RGB wireless headset. 

(Image credit: Corsair)

The best gaming headset for surround sound

Compatibility: PC / Mac / PlayStation
Drivers: 50 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 40 kHz
Wireless: Yes
Mic: Omnidirectional microphone
Weight: 367 grams
Reasons to buy
+Excellent audio quality+Sleek, stripped back design+Wireless connectivity 
Reasons to avoid
-Dolby Atmos not available on consoles -Microphone can be quiet 

If you’re a PC gamer looking for a headset with phenomenal sound, then you won’t get much better than the Corsair HS80 RGB wireless

It is compatible with PlayStation 4 and 5 but you won’t be able to make the most out of Dolby Atmos surround sound support on a console. 

With custom-tuned 50mm neodymium audio drivers and a frequency range of 20Khz- 40Khz, this headset delivers truly three-dimensional sound. 

You can hear every noise as well as where they're coming from, sounds like explosions are impactful while others like footsteps are true-to-life, making this perfect for shooter games in particular. Granted the omnidirectional microphone could be louder but your voice will still come through clearly enough. 

This gaming headset is sleek and comfortable with subtle RGB lights decorating the ear cups, this is a more mature headset for those who don’t mind splashing the cash.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal in white colorway shown on white background

If money isn't an issue and you game on Xbox or PC, then the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal is a superb choice of gaming headset.

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

The best premium gaming headset for Xbox and PC gamers

Frequency range: 20-22,000 Hz
Drivers: Electro-dynamic driver w/ Neodymium magnets, 40 mm diameter
Driver sensitivity: 95dB @ 1kHz / 1 mW
Impedance: 24 Ohm +/- 15%
Fit: Over-ear
Materials: Aluminium, leather, fabric, polymer, rubber
Weight: 282 g
Dimensions: 167.3 W x 178.7 H x 92.6 D mm
Wireless: Yes
Battery: 1200 mAh Lithium-Ion
Connectivity options: Xbox, PC, Bluetooth, wired
Reasons to buy
+Incredible audio quality+Premium build quality+Supremely comfortable+Xbox/PC, Bluetooth and wired connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-Very, very expensive-Can't play Bluetooth and Xbox audio at the same time

This is the headset that blew T3's Deputy Editor and gaming headset expert Robert Jones away, with him concluding in his review that:

"If you're an Xbox or PC gamer and want a premium headset that offers basically the best of everything then the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal is it. This headset takes gaming headsets to a new level and, providing you can afford its very expensive price point, then it is a no-brainer purchase."

That is seriously high praise considering the competition that the Portal is up against, and makes it a set of gaming cans that demands attention. Bang & Olufsen is one of the world's finest and most storied audio masters, and here it has poured its expertise into gate-crashing the gaming headset market.

The audio quality is absolutely top-tier, with 40mm electro-dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets, Dolby Atmos for Headphones, active noise-cancellation tech and the aptXTM Adaptive codec combining to deliver incredibly precise and immersive in-game audio.

The killer thing with the Portal, though, is that they are not just limited to use with Xbox or PC systems, with Bluetooth 5.1 and wired connectivity allowing them to be used with basically any other piece of hardware you can think of. You can go from gaming on Xbox to listening to music streamed from your phone to watching an epic movie on your tablet in a blink of an eye with the Portal, and that makes it very high price a little more understandable.

The price will obviously mean that the Portal aren't for all gamers, but if you can afford them that you're going to be in for a treat.

SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless gaming headsetT3 Award

A really good all-round gaming headset for Xbox gamers, be that on Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One.

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

A good all-round gaming headset for Xbox Series X|S gamers

Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Android
Drivers: 40 mm
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: Yes
Battery life: 24 hours
Mic: Bi-directional ClearCast
Weight: 352 g (12.4 oz)
Connectivity: USB Type-C
Reasons to buy
+Strong battery life+Versatile USB Type-C dongle+Discord-certified ClearCast mic
Reasons to avoid
-Not dual wireless (no Bluetooth)

SteelSeries has been one of, if not the, best gaming headset maker in the world for the past couple of years, and right here it reboots its very popular Arctis 7 headset for use on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S – say hello to the SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless.

The headset, thanks to a versatile USB Type-C dongle, though, can connect to other systems such as the Nintendo Switch, smartphones, and Xbox One consoles. This makes it more of a refresh of the Arctis 7 with a renewed emphasis on the next-gen, rather than an out-and-out new product.

Regardless, though, it delivers really strong performance across the board, with nuanced audio reproduction across the soundscape, a comfortable design, and a quality Discord-certified ClearCast microphone. For gaming and streaming the Arctis 7X delivers a very compelling package.

It's not elite-tier in terms of non-gaming applications, and there's no doubting that it retails at the lower end of the high price bracket for gaming headsets, but with its robust build quality (stainless steel headband) and immersive audio, as well as 24-hour battery life on a single charge, this is a headset that will serve Xbox gamers very well for years to come.

Razer Barracuda X gaming headset in black colorway on white backgroundndT3 Approved badge

The Razer Barracuda X may look simple but this is actually a gaming headset with loads going for it. 

(Image credit: Razer)

The best affordable gaming headset

Drivers: 40mm Razer TriForce
Earpads: Ultra-soft FlowKnit memory foam
Lighting: None
Wireless: Yes
Weight: 250g
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic sound quality +20-hour battery life+Simple setup
Reasons to avoid
-No Bluetooth support-You can’t use it wirelessly with Xbox

If you don’t want to spend over £100 / AU$150 on a gaming headset and you don’t want to end up with rubbish sound quality either, then the Razer Barracuda X gives you the best of both worlds. 

Razer has stripped back the design of this headset and has focused in on what really matters - performance - and it shows. The audio not only gives you an immersive, 360-degree experience for gaming but you can use the Barracuda X for listening to music too. You won’t find better sound at this price. The microphone is almost as impressive, it’s crystal clear even if it can be a tad quiet at times. You’ll get a whopping 20 hours of battery life from the headset as well. 

There are a few downsides to the Razer Barracuda X, like the fact that there’s no Bluetooth connectivity and you don’t get any manual equaliser settings through desktop software, but in the grand scheme of things those are just minor faults. Overall this is a solid gaming headset that offers fantastic value for money. 

Roccat Syn Pro Air gaming headset with mic extended on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

The Roccat Syn Pro Air a strong gaming headset choice for PC gamers.

(Image credit: Roccat)

A PC gaming headset with a lot going for it

Drivers: 50mm Nanoclear
Earpads: ProSpecs memory foam
Lighting: AIMO
Wireless: Yes
Weight: 390g
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Reasons to buy
+Excellent sound+Simple setup+Comfortable fit+Wireless
Reasons to avoid
-Windows only-Limited lighting options-No cable option

In terms of sound quality and comfort, as we note in our Roccat Syn Pro Air review,
this headset absolutely nails it. For PC gamers, because this is a gaming headset designed specifically for them, if you prize those two things most (and we think most people do), then this is absolutely a headset to check out.

It's a wireless headset, too, meaning that on top of that comfort and sound quality you get to banish wires entirely thanks to a 2.4GHz wireless receiver, and on top of this great core functionality the Syn Pro Air adds 3D audio and a TruSpeak mic, too.

The comfort comes from the fact that the Syn Pro Air features ProSpecs-grade memory foam earpads and headband, while the defined and balanced audio reproduction comes courtesy of 50mm Nanoclear drivers, with the headset's delivery of Superhuman Hearing tech boosting key in-game sounds.

While this headset does come with Roccat's AIMO lighting system, which is controlled by its NEON software, the actual scope for lighting on the headset isn't massive, though, so RGB junkies may be turned off. There's also no 3.5 mm or wired way of using this headset, so its wireless use with PC only. If you need a headset that can act as you main pair of headphones then this isn't a feasible option.

Overall, though, an exciting and stylish new gaming headset from Roccat, and one that PC gamers should absolutely scope out before making an upgrade decision.

Creative SXFI Gamer gaming headset with mic extended on white backgroundT3 Award

The Creative SXFI Gamer is one of the top wired headsets on the market today.

(Image credit: Creative)

One of the best wired gaming headsets

Driver: 50mm neodymium magnet
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 114 dB / mW @ 1 kHz
Mic type: Unidirectional noise-reduction
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Includes 7.1 surround sound+Affordable price+Excellent comfort and fit
Reasons to avoid
-No Bluetooth-Occasional app frustrations

You don't get the option of wireless with the Creative SXFI Gamer gaming headset, but you get just about everything else. That includes excellent comfort, an unfussy but strong design, and of course superior audio, which is a requirement for entry on our best gaming headsets for 2021 list.

The headset works with Creative's SXFI tuning apps for mobile and desktop too. Using your phone you take a couple of photos of your ears (bear with us here), and a few clever algorithms then tune the sound coming out of the headphones to specifically match the shape of your head and ears. Based on the results we've experienced with the Creative SXFI Gamer, we'd say it works too.

The surround sound mixing works really well too, so you can hear enemies creeping up from behind you or enjoy immersive audio from your movies, as long as the source format supports 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. For a comfortable pair of headphones that are brilliant across the audio spectrum – including volume levels – the SXFI Gamer is well worth considering.

Astro A50 Gen 4 gaming headsetT3 Award

The Astro A50, in its latest guise, is simply stunning and an easy best gaming headset recommendation.

(Image credit: Astro)

A fine upgrade to one of the best gaming headsets ever made

Driver: 40mm Neodymium Magnet
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Weight: 380g
Wireless: Yes
Wireless range: 30ft
Battery life: 15 hours
Mic type: 6.0mm uni-directional
Reasons to buy
+Superior sound quality+Versatile base station+Swappable earpads
Reasons to avoid

The Astro A50 Gen 3 was an excellent gaming headset and the Astro A50 Gen 4 improves on it: it has a more compact base station (the headphones themselves are wireless), the design is now more subtle and refined, and the same great sound is available through these cans, whether you're playing on PC, PlayStation or Xbox One (you do need to pick either Xbox One or PlayStation when you're buying, however).

The Astro A50 feels comfortable on the head, and brings rich and vibrant audio to your ears at any volume – bass, trebles and mids all come through clearly. The earpads are actually removable, so you can swap them out for a different pair if you're looking for a different feel.

You get pretty darn good noise cancellation, too, and the A50 headset packs a real punch in terms of audio reproduction across the board. From dialogue to music to sound effects, everything comes across crisply, and we'd have no reservations about adding this to our gaming setup. Astro is very much gaming headset royalty and this latest setup continues that lineage.

AOC GH300 gaming headsetT3 Award

For PC gamers, this is one of the best cheap gaming headsets on the market today. 

(Image credit: AOC)

The best cheap gaming headset for PC gamers

Compatibility: PC, Mac
Drivers: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Wireless: No
Mic: Detachable omnidirectional
Weight: 363.5g
Connectivity: USB
Reasons to buy
+Good audio quality for this price+Customisable RGB lights on the earcups+Comfortable to wear for long periods
Reasons to avoid
-Muffled microphone-No wireless connectivity-Poorly design desktop app

If you want a gaming headset to use with a PC or Mac but you don’t want to spend above the odds, you should consider the AOC GH300

One of the brand's very first attempts at a gaming headset, the AOC GH300 delivers solid audio quality and ease of use. You’d be surprised at how much of a kick the sound has, you can hear everything around you during gameplay so it’s easy to tell when someone else is nearby. Admittedly, it wasn’t as effective as some of the other headsets on this list but you don’t really expect it to be for this price. 

One problem was with the omnidirectional microphone which was quite muffled, the set also looked pretty bulky on the head so it won’t be a pair that you’d use as regular headphones as well. Despite that, for this price, this gaming headset is fantastic value for money. 

Logitech G635 gaming headsetT3 Award

Excellent audio performance make the Logitech G635 gaming headset a winner.

(Image credit: Logitech)

Super gaming headset audio for PC gamers

Driver: 50 mm PRO-G
Weight: 344g
Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 KHz
Audio sensitivity: 93 DB SPL/mW
Mic type: Boom
Wireless: No
Lighting: Lightsync RGB
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable, tight fit+7.1 surround sound+Customisable LED lights
Reasons to avoid
-Loss of functionality when used with consoles

Logitech can usually be relied upon to produce solid pieces of kit, and so it is with the wired G635 headset – 7.1 surround sound audio, Lightsync technology for illuminating your gameplay space, plenty of features and buttons on board the headset itself, and compatibility with PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch... what more could you want?

The headset produces crystal-clear audio, which is of course the main selling point: you can hear the faintest sound of enemy footsteps, and the headset doubles up as a fine way to listen to music too. The supplied Logitech software lets you customise the lighting if you're connecting it to Windows, and it's a breeze to use.

Ideally we'd like a bit more heft to the hinges on the headphones themselves, as well as a slightly looser fit, and the angular, black design won't be to everyone's taste, but really these are minor drawbacks on what is otherwise an excellent gaming headset for PC, if not so much for console gamers.

To see how this gaming headset compares to our number one gaming headset choice, be sure to scope out T3's SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless vs Logitech G635 7.1 LightSync comparison feature.

Razer Blackshark V2 gaming headsetT3 Award

The Razer Blackshark V2 wired gaming headset delivers plenty of advanced hardware and audio features.

(Image credit: Razer)

A customisable Razer gaming headset

Dimensions: 235 x 193 x 100 mm (H x W x D)
Weight: 263 g
Type: On-ear
Audio output: 7.1 surround sound
Frequency response: 12 – 28,000 Hz
Driver size: 50 mm
Mic type: Boom
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Superb audio reproduction+Very comfortable earcups+USB sound card and carry bag included
Reasons to avoid
-Less impressive with music and movies

Razer produces a fair few gaming headsets but for our money here at T3 the Razer BlackShark V2 is its best overall for most gamers.

The sets of gaming cans is powered by Razer's Triforce Titanium 50mm Drivers, which have been designed to improve clarity across the spectrum, ranging from bass to treble.

There's noise cancellation tech delivered, too, by the on-ear cups, which elevates in-game immersion and improves sound isolation as well.

We're particularly fond of just how comfortable the BlackShark 2 is on the head as well thanks to Razer's Flowknit Memory Foam Ear Cushions and soft, padded adjustable headband. This comfort is no doubt aided by the headset's light weight 262-gram design.

You also get a detachable Hyperclear Cardioid Mic and USB sound card as well, which works with Razer Synapse to allow the wearer to customise features like Ambient Noise Reduction, Mic Equalizer and Voice Gate. Compatibility with THX Game Profiles also means custom-tuned profiles in-game.

Many of these features lean themselves towards to esports and streaming, however considering the BlackShark V2's firmly affordable price point, we think it fair to say that not only esports champions should apply.

Few other things: the BlackShark V2 is a wired gaming headset, so if you need wireless you need to upgrade to the BlackShark V2 Pro. Oh, and the BlackShark V2 also comes with an included carry case, which makes transporting them to gaming tournaments (or just using them as a pair of quality headphones) easy.

Audio Technica ATH-G1 gaming headsetT3 Award

If you want a no frills gaming headset with audiophile stereo audio, then the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 is worth considering.

(Image credit: Audio Technica)

A no frills gaming headset that's ideal for casual gamers and audiophiles

Drivers: 45mm
Wireless: No
Wire length: 2 meters
Mic: Detachable boom
Audio: Stereo
Impedance: 45 ohms
Sensitivity: 101 dB
Reasons to buy
+Subtle, stylish design+Strong audio reproduction+Comfortable to wear
Reasons to avoid
-No software for sound customisation

The Audio-Technica ATH-G1 are rather unique in this best gaming headset buying guide as they offer a very much no frills package aimed more at casual gamers and audiophiles. 

This is a simple, stylish and comfortable pair of gaming headphones that deliver wide soundstage stereo audio. They sound great (thanks to their strong 45mm drivers) and, thanks to a removable mic and wired connection, can be easily used in other, non-gaming settings and applications.

These headphones do cost fair bit, though, and that's why any gamer should ask themselves what they really want from a gaming headset before pulling the trigger. If you want sophisticatedly tuned, top-class stereo audio from one of the world's foremost audio firms but very little in terms of extra frills and features, then the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 are perfect.

However, if you want more of a dedicated only-for-gaming headset, and one that delivers wireless functionality, surround sound and a software suite, then there are rival headsets that cost as much as the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 that deliver that.

Audeze Penrose gaming headsetT3 Award

(Image credit: Audeze)

High-end audio for a reasonable price

Drivers: 100 mm
Wireless: Yes
Mic: Detachable
Audio: Stereo
Sensitivity: 120 dB
Reasons to buy
+Works with anything+Planar magnetic drivers+Wired or wireless
Reasons to avoid
-No surround sound

What stands out first about the Audeze Penrose headset is its versatility: it can be used with a wired connection, over Bluetooth, or via the bundled 2.4GHz USB dongle, and you can connect it up to Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStations and Xboxes (if you want Xbox compatibility, go for the Audeze Penrose X model).

Despite the very reasonable price – these are expensive, but not really for what you get in return – the headphones feature top-tier 100 m planar magnetic drivers, which results in an excellent, rich sound whether you're watching movies on your laptop or gaming on your console.

Throw in a quality fit and finish as well, and you can see why we think this is one of the very best gaming headsets of the moment. Some more advanced features like surround sound would be welcome, but overall we can't fault the Audeze Penrose, especially in terms of audio quality.

JBL Quantum One gaming headsetT3 Award

(Image credit: JBL)

An impressive wired gaming headset flagship from JBL

Driver: 50mm
Frequency response: 20Hz – 40,000Hz
Weight: 369 grams
Mic type: Detachable boom microphone
Wireless: No
Noise cancelling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Modern, understated design+Premium build materials+Versatile Bluetooth functionality 
Reasons to avoid
-Most customisations are Windows only

The JBL Quantum One headset is up towards the more expensive end of the market, but you're actually still getting very decent value for money here – these headphones sound great, not just for gaming but also for watching movies and listening to music and everything else that you might want to do.

The headset works best with Windows PCs, but you can connect it to pretty much anything via a 3.5 mm headphone jack or USB: it works with game consoles, the Nintendo Switch, smartphones, tablets, and even VR headsets. No matter where you plug it in you're going to get some impressive audio fidelity.

You also get a whole host of features with this pair of headphones, covering everything from surround sound to active noise cancelling to RGB lighting that you can customise using the supplied Windows software. Absolutely one of the best gaming headsets around right now.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless gaming headsetT3 Award

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless 2021 is a great all-round gaming headset for PS5 and PS4 gamers

18. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

A great all-round gaming headset for PS5 and PS4 gamers

Drivers: Neodymium
Frequency response: 10–40,000 Hz
Headphone sensitivity: 102 dB SPL
Mic type: Retractable boom
Noise cancellation: Yes
Wireless range: 40 ft, 12m
Battery life: 20 hours (10 per battery)
Reasons to buy
+Works with PS5 and PS4+Hi-Res Certified audio+40ft wireless range+Excellent wireless transmitter
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

A fantastic all-round round gaming headset, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless delivers excellent audio for PS5 and PS4 gamers. 

Yep, that's right – the Arctis Pro Wireless is Sony PlayStation 5 compatible, making it brilliantly future-proof as well as versatile. If you're a Sony gamer transitioning from PS4 to PS5, but intend to keep your old systems for some retro play, then this is a truly great option.

In terms of hardware and features, this headset not only features a dual-wireless audio system that allows for both 2.4G and Bluetooth connections simultaneously (meaning you can listen to music or chat while gaming), but it also comes packing Hi-Res capable speaker drivers and lossless audio, too.

A very impressive 40-feet range, well-built wireless transmitter, lightweight aluminium construction, and swappable dual-battery power system complete a superb all-round package.

Simply put, if you are shopping for a pair of PS5 gaming headphones right now with a high-end budget, then you need look no further.

And, when we said you needn't look much further, we were absolutely right, with the panel of judges in the T3 Awards 2020 bestowing the highly-desirable Best Gaming Headset award on the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless.

To find out more about this headset why not check out our SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless vs LucidSound LS50X comparison guide.

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro gaming headsetT3 Award

The Razer BlackShark V2 cuts the cable for even more freedom

(Image credit: Razer)

19. Razer BlackShark V2 Pro

The best BlackShark if you don't want wires

Connection:: 2.4GHz USB wireless, 3.5mm jack
Key features:: THX Spatial Audio, titanium drivers, noise cancellation, removable supercardioid mic
Weight: 320g
Reasons to buy
+Superb sound quality+24-hour battery life+Great on PC
Reasons to avoid

If the Razer BlackShark V2 is Razer’s best PC gaming headset, pound for pound, where does that leave the V2 Pro? We think the Pro is the better headset but it’s also more expensive – not hugely so in headset terms, but expensive enough to make the wired one a better buy for gamers on a tighter budget. 

The Pro is very slightly heavier than the V2 but not uncomfortably so, and the reward is the lack of a cable. The wireless connection is solid and stable, delivering the same impressive audio as the wired version, and you can realistically expect around 24 hours of use between charges. It’s best suited to PC gaming where you can get the full benefit of its surround sound and THX Spatial Audio support. It's a very comfortable, capable headset with genuinely thrilling audio.

Aukey GH-X1 RGB Gaming HeadsetT3 Award

The Aukey GH-X1 RGB is an affordable wired headset with decent audio. 

(Image credit: Aukey)

The best wired gaming headset on a very tight budget

Drivers: 50mm
Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Wireless: No
Mic type: Omnidirectional
Weight: 310 g (10.9 oz)
Reasons to buy
+Immersive 360-degree audio +The mic isolates noise well+Easy setup, just plug in and play
Reasons to avoid
-RGB lighting will only work with the USB plugged in

For those on a tight budget who don’t want to sacrifice too much on audio quality, the Aukey GH-X1 RGB Gaming Headset could be a good choice. The lightweight black headset is well-tuned for gaming and has an omnidirectional microphone on the left earcup. It’s not got the most robust build, and it isn’t the most comfortable headset out there, but for this price that’s kind of expected. 

Giving a well-rounded, immersive experience, the Aukey GH-X1 RGB Gaming Headset impressed us with its sound quality, which is comparable to a much pricier headset. Plus, the microphone did a great job at isolating noise. 

You won’t be able to wirelessly connect these to your console, PC or smartphone, so you’ll need to plug it in using the 3.5mm audio cable, but that does make it versatile. It would probably be best used on a PC because then you can power the RGB lights via USB without affecting your setup.

HyperX Cloud Mix gaming headsetT3 Award

Want a gaming headset that you can also wear out and about? Then check out the HyperX Cloud Mix.

The best gaming headset for versatility and wear-everyday style

Driver: 40mm neodymium magnet
Frequency response: 10Hz–40,000Hz
Weight: 260g
Mic type: Electret condenser boom
Wireless: Yes
Wireless range: 10 meters
Battery life: 20 hours
Noise cancelling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Modern, understated design+Premium build materials+Versatile Bluetooth functionality 
Reasons to avoid
-Detachable mic can’t be used over Bluetooth

HyperX is one of T3's favourite gaming peripheral makers right now and, in the gaming headset market, it's been hitting nothing but home runs as of late with quality sets of cans such as the HyperX Cloud Flight and the HyperX Cloud Revolver S (both of which also feature in this best gaming headsets 2021 guide).

Its latest effort, the HyperX Cloud Mix, is for our money the best overall gaming headset the company has ever made, combining top-rate audio reproduction with premium build quality and understated modern design.

The latter two of these qualities hit you as soon as you unpack the headset, with a rigid and cool-to-the-touch aluminium frame wrapped with a plush, soft-touch headband securely carrying memory foam-clad ear cups. Everything is a finished in a delicious matte black coating, with the only notable detailing being HyperX's logo printed in silver. It's a fantastic overall look.

That premium headphone style is crucial, too, considering the big sell with the Cloud Mix – its Bluetooth functionality. This allows you to ditch the cabling and use the Mix as simply a very rich pair of regular headphones, which is ideal for portable gaming on the go, as well as listening to music and watching media, too.

The fact that the HyperX Cloud Mix can be used with PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Mac, Mobile and VR, as well as any other Bluetooth-enabled device or console, makes it one of the most versatile headsets on the market today, and a definite pick for our best gaming headphones 2021 list.

Crisp and balanced Hi-Red Audio, a long-lasting 20-hour battery life, detachable boom mic, lush braided cabling and an included carry bag complete a quality package that's hard to top.

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition in Green gaming headsetT3 Award

(Image credit: Razer)

22. Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

One of the best budget gaming headsets

Drivers: 50mm
Frequency response: 12-28,000Hz
Sensitivity: 109db
Microphone type: Retractable unidirectional
Noise cancelling: No
Connection: 3.5mm or USB
Cable length: 1.3m
Reasons to buy
+Punches way above its weight+Supremely comfortable+Particularly good for PC gaming
Reasons to avoid
-Bass heavy sound

The Kraken is a great gaming headset for every platform, but it’s at its best on PC where you can connect it via USB. That gives you in-line controls for mic muting and volume adjustment, and it also enables you to toggle THX Spatial Audio on and off. The in-line controller also includes a Game/Chat balance control that enables you to prioritise game or chat audio to suit your playing preference.

Whichever platform you play on, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition delivers crisp, clear sound with plenty of punch. It’s a match for headsets that cost considerably more cash, delivering a good sound stage with plenty of detail to help your situational awareness. It’s also very comfortable to wear, even for fairly long sessions. The microphone isn’t as good as some more expensive headsets, but it’s clear enough. And if the neon green colour doesn’t do it for you, it’s also available in a more sober black finish.

Last, but definitely not least, this Razer is frequently discounted, so take a look at the deals we’ve listed just under the specifications.

SteelSeries Arctis 1 gaming headsetT3 Award

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is among the best gaming headsets for affordability.

23. SteelSeries Arctis 1

One of the best gaming headsets for quality components at a fantastic price

Frequency response: 20–20000 Hz
Weight: 1.15 lbs
Mic type: Noise Canceling Bidirectional
Wireless: No
Cable: 10ft (3m)
Connection: 3.5mm + Dual 3.5mm PC extension
Noise cancelling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Top-end components+Detachable mic
Reasons to avoid
-Basic spec

The newest pair of SteelSeries cans in our list are also the cheapest: this is the budget offering from SteelSeries, giving you the option of getting some top-quality craftsmanship at a lower price than the rest of the range.

The Arctis 1 uses the same design, speaker drivers, cushions and noise-canceling microphone as the 3, 5, 7 and 9X models, so these headphones aren't cutting too many corners to reach that inexpensive price point.

SteelSeries has changed the headband design and there's no wireless option here, but it's an excellent choice if you want to get a superior gaming headset experience without breaking the bank.

Speedlink Orios gaming headsetT3 Award

The Speedlink Orios offers 7.1 surround sound and illumination effects.

(Image credit: Speedlink)

Solid value and solid performance

Weight: 375g (incl. cable)
Dimensions: 200 × 220 × 105mm (W × H × D)
Wireless: No
Wire length: 2.2m
Audio: 7.1 surround sound
RGB lighting: Yes
Drivers: 40mm
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Mic: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Attractive price point+Quality fit and materials+Wide choice of lighting effects
Reasons to avoid
-Design won't be for everyone

There are a lot of reasons why the Speedlink Orios makes our best gaming headset list: the 7.1 surround sound, the RGB illumination effects (customisable via software), the comfortable fit and quality finish, and more besides.

Then you've got the price: you'll struggle to find a better value gaming headset in your shopping travels. If you want the best audio possible – whether talking to teammates or listening out for approaching enemies from all arounds – and yet want to ease the strain on your wallet, the Speedlink Orios headset is worth a look.

Other headsets offer a more stylish fit and a more subtle design, but we like the pricing and the performance of the Orios, and that's what counts most in the end. Of course it also makes sense if you already own other Orios products, as they'll all work seamlessly together.

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 gaming headsetT3 Award

(Image credit: Turtle Beach)

A well-designed, comfortable, superb-sounding console headset

Driver: 50mm Nanoclear neodymium drivers
Frequency response: 20–22000 Hz
Weight: 1.73 lbs
Mic type: Flip-up Omni-Directional
Wireless: Yes
Battery life: 20 hours
Noise cancelling: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent comfort and fit+Flip-out mic works well+Simple setup and operation
Reasons to avoid
-Limited adjustment options

You can pick up the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 for both Xbox and PlayStation, and both options will work with both current-gen and next-gen consoles. The Xbox version was the one we had in for review, and we were very impressed with the quality of the build and the sound these cans produced.

The earpads combine memory foam and cooling gel rather well, for a fit that's going to be comfortable across extended gaming sessions, and with the padded, metal-reinforced headband, you don't need to worry about these headphones sliding off.

Across a range of games, the audio was crisp, rich and detailed at all volume levels. As an added bonus, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 come with Bluetooth connectivity as well as Xbox Wireless connectivity, so you can hook up laptops and phones as well – and music and movie performance is great too.

Considering everything you're getting with this headset – including a flip-out mic – we'd say the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 represents excellent value for money, and this is definitely worth shortlisting whether you buy your consoles from Microsoft or Sony.

Logitech G Pro X Wireless Lightspeed gaming headsetT3 Award

(Image credit: Logitech)

Premium wireless audio for Windows 10 machines

Driver: Hybrid mesh PRO-G 50 mm
Frequency response: 20–20000 Hz
Weight: 13.05oz (370g)
Mic type: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
Wireless: Yes
Wireless range: 49ft (15m)
Battery life: 20 hours
Noise cancelling: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Top-quality audio performance+Low latency wireless connection+Solid, understated design
Reasons to avoid
-Limited device support

The Logitech G Pro X Wireless is only for Windows computers, and only works wirelessly, but if you're okay with that then this is a fantastic offering – something we've come to expect from Logitech kit. It's a little on the expensive side, but it's worth paying up if you want one of the best gaming headsets of the moment.

It starts with the excellent design and build quality, with aluminium, steel, faux leather and memory foam all combining for a truly polished – but understated – end result. These are the kind of headphones that you want to leave on show when you're not using them, that's how good they are.

Even more importantly, the audio is excellent too, whether that's movies or gaming or something you're trying to say through the microphone attachment. A custom 2.4GHz wireless connection ensures minimal lag, so you can get on with the important business of improving your gaming.

Sennheiser GSP 670 gaming headsetT3 Award

For breadth and depth of soundstage, the Sennheiser GSP 670 is among the best gaming headsets on the market today.

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

27. Sennheiser GSP 670

The best gaming headset for a head filling soundstage

Driver: Neodymium magnet
Frequency response: 10 – 23,000 Hz
Weight: 0.9lbs (398g)
Mic type: Bidirectional electret condenser
Wireless: Yes (via USB)
Connector: USB dongle
Battery life: 16 hours USB, 20 hours Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Loud, quality audio+Comfortable to wear
Reasons to avoid
-Industrial looks

Sennheiser is an audio brand you can rely on and the powerful GSP 670 wireless cans give you excellent audio over Bluetooth. You can turn up the volume without worrying about any kind of distortion, whether you're listening to a pounding bass-heavy soundtrack, or trying to tiptoe through the quietest of enemy bases.

Not only is the audio great, but they're really comfortable to wear, with leatherette earpads that wrap nicely around the ears and a solid headband that's reinforced with metal. No matter how long your gaming session, the Sennheiser GSP 670 headphones will look after you.

These cans will work with PCs and PS4s, and you get a bunch of useful features as well – a flip-to-mute mic, low latency Bluetooth, around 20 hours of use between charges, and support for 7.1 surround sound. Once you've found your favourite audio configuration, you can save it as a preset.

Razer Thresher Ultimate gaming headsetT3 Award

The Thresher Ultimate deliver typical Razer quality.

(Image credit: Razer)

28. Razer Thresher Ultimate

Razer delivers superb wireless gaming audio for PS4 and Xbox One gamers

Drivers: 50mm neodymium
Frequency response: 12Hz-28,000Hz
Wireless: Yes
Battery life: 16 hours
Features: Noise-isolating ear cushions, quick control buttons
Reasons to buy
+Wireless 7.1 audio+Comes with own stand+Comes in PlayStation and Xbox variants
Reasons to avoid
-No Bluetooth

Razer's premium 7.1 surround sound wireless cans deliver in terms of style, audio reproduction and, crucially for a cord-free gaming headset, a quality wireless connection.

The lag-free wireless audio connection is the real star and why we envisage a lot of gamers are going to ring these up (you're looking at a stable connection up to a 12 meter range), however a battery life that stretches up to 16 hours between charges is also something to write home about.

We're also a big fan of the fact that the Thresher comes with its own headphones stand, which looks suitably futuristic and cool, as well as the fact that it rocks a strong retractable unidirectional microphone and RGB lighting, too.

Yes, you have to pay the Razer tax on the Thresher Ultimate, which means there are definitely more affordable headphones in this best gaming headset buying guide, but if you want quality and have a large budget, these cans are a great choice.

Eksa E900 gaming headsetT3 Award

Get the Eksa E900 wrapped around your head and you won't be disappointed by the audio performance.

(Image credit: Eksa)

29. Eksa E900

This gaming headset shows you don't pay a fortune for good audio

Driver: 50mm
Frequency range: 20Hz-20KHz
Sensitivity: 114dB +/- 3dB at 1KHz
Weight: 476g
Wireless: No
Reasons to buy
+Very comfy to wear+Decent price point+Audio is impressive
Reasons to avoid
-Not wireless

There is a huge amount to like when it comes to the Eksa E900 headset, especially considering the low, low price you'll have to pay for it: it's comfortable, it's well built, and it delivers an audio experience that puts you right in the middle of whatever scene you're in. The device connects via a 3.5mm audio cable, and will work with Xbox, PlayStation, and PC platforms.

You get a generous cable that's over 1.8 metres (or close to 6 feet), you get 50mm neodymium speaker drivers to power the audio, you get a high sensitivity microphone that you can detach if you need to, and you even get a nice black carry pouch to hold your new headphones too.

The Eksa E900 is comfortable to wear, even for long periods, with its soft padding and protein foam earmuffs, and thanks to its light weight we barely even noticed we had it on. It's in the sound that the headset really excels though: from the smallest whispers to the loudest crashes, everything comes though clear and rich.

How to choose the best gaming headset for you

A Roccat gaming headset resting on a headset stand

There are a huge number of headsets and headphones out there for the keen gamer, with most manufacturers offering multiple products with only small variations. While it might be easy to just go with a certain model because of a recognisable brand, before you spend any of your hard-earned cash, it's worth weighing up exactly what you need from your next headset.

Do you want a great-sounding headset for gaming that can also do double duty as a regular pair of headphones, for example? If so, you need to go for a pair of on-ears and, for style and portability issues, one with a built-in or detachable mic.

Equally, if you are looking for a dedicated, heavy duty headset for streaming and super-long gaming sessions, you'll need a set with excellent battery life, a good boom mic, and an over-ear comfortable fit. Everyone's needs vary to some extent, and the best gaming headset of 2021 is going to be different for everyone.

What is the best gaming headset?

If you need a quick top pick for the best gaming headset right off the bat, then the SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless is's top choice of the models on sale at the moment. For PS4, PS5 and PC users, it is a dream gaming headset that's going to serve you well for years.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7P Wireless is stylish and one of the best-sounding headsets we've ever tested, with its Hi-Res capable speaker drivers, lightweight steel construction, and long-lasting battery delivering a super all-round gaming package.

To play top PC games and PS5 games with the audio quality they deserve, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is simply the best gaming headset going out of all the models we've put through their paces.

The best gaming headset is going to be different for everyone though, so we'd encourage you to spend plenty of time on your research, and to check out all the other options that we've listed in our guide above.

How we've curated our best gaming headset guide

A woman wearing a pair of gaming headphones

So how have we made our choices? We've picked headphones from across the very best manufacturers in business today, so you're able to see what all the biggest brands offer and – crucially – how they differ. It's a fast-moving market, but we'll help you stay on top of the latest developments and products.

Every gaming headset might appear to offer the same functions and features at first glance, but in fact every device is unique: the build quality and the fit of it, the comfort of the ear cups and the connection method, the features you get as part of the package... the list goes on.

Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-range model or something just to dip your toes into the gaming audio market, we've got all the bases covered with this new and improved guide to the best gaming headsets for 2021 and beyond. We update this guide on a regular basis too, so check back often.

Who are the best gaming headset makers?

A pair of gaming headphones leaning against a wall

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

There are lots of gaming headset makers in business today in 2021. Some of these firms are specialist gaming headphone producers, who do nothing but that, and others are arms of much bigger companies, who produce a wide-range of gaming accessories and peripherals.

Equally, there are gaming headset makers who have decades of experience under their belt, as well as others who are more young, disruptive new challengers. Here at T3 we've found that while heritage does tend to indicated quality, that is not always the case, though, and often headsets from relatively new makers, such as LucidSound, can outperform similar products from more established producers.

Rating or not rating gaming headset makers is of course subjective, but here at T3 after decades of reviewing gaming headphones, we consider the best gaming headset makers to be:

1. SteelSeries

2. LucidSound

3. Astro

4. Razer

5. Turtle Beach

6. HyperX

7. Roccat

8. Logitech

9. Corsair

10. Audio-Technica

This doesn't mean that headsets in this guide that are not from these makers are poor – far from it. These are just the top 10 companies that, based on empirical evidence, have consistently delivered great gaming headsets.

A woman using a pair of SteelSeries Arctis 1 gaming headphones

Check out a gaming headset's specs should be one of the first thing any gamer does when shopping for an upgrade.

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

Gaming headset jargon explained

If you're new to the gaming headset market, or wearable audio products in general, then there's a fair bit of jargon that needs to be processed and understood. Right here T3 provides a small guide to some of the most important terms and phrases, in the aim to make it easier for each gamer to determine which headset will work for them, and which will not.

Type – There are multiple types of gaming headphone styles, but the two most common are over-ear and on-ear. Over-ear headphones have cups that fully encompass each year, and tend to be used on headphones with noise-cancelling technology and/or surround sound built in. On-ear headphones on the other hand have cups that sit on top the ears, and tend to be more compact and direct in terms of their audio delivery.

Drivers – The most important part of each gaming headset, drivers turn electrical signals into hearable sound pressure. In the simplest terms, the better and bigger the driver the better the sound quality will be. Drivers come in magnet, coil and diaphragm types, which determine how they work. Here at T3 we think, as a general rule, a good gaming headset should feature a 40mm or larger drivers.

Frequency response – This is important as it determines the entire range of audible sounds the gaming headset can produce. A wider range on paper indicates that the headset is probably more capable than one that has a smaller one, but it is not an indication of sound quality, just the potential of the headphones. Our top-rated gaming headset for PlayStation gamers, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, has a frequency range of 10–40,000 Hz.

Noise cancellation – Noise cancelling technology has developed rapidly over the past five years and is now offered on a fair few gaming headsets. There is both active and passive noise cancelling tech, with active the more desirable. In basic terms, active noise cancelling works by recording environmental sounds around the gamer and then creating an inverse sound wave to cancel them out within the headset. The result is exterior environmental noise is cut out making in-game audio clearer. Passive systems, on the other hand, just look to block out noise and don't actively try to cancel it out.

Sound pressure level – Finally, sound pressure level (SPL) is, in simple terms, a way of determining just how quite or loud a set of gaming headphones can go. SPL is often linked to decibels, so simply look for 'dB SPL' in gaming headphone spec sheets. Most gaming headphones will offer between 90 and 105 max dB SPL.

A man wearing a pair of gaming headphones

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

How we test gaming headsets

T3's testing procedure for gaming headsets is detailed and authoritative. Firstly, we examine the package contents and build quality of the headset itself from a fit and finish point of view. We look at this stage for deficiencies in the product and overall package, or things of particular note.

Next up we test out the headset purely from an ergonomic point of view. So we wear the headset and examine its ability to be adjusted for different head shapes and sizes. We wear the headset for a prolonged period to ensure we know how it feels during long gaming sessions.

Thirdly, we then move onto testing the headset's audio reproduction and mic quality. This is done by using the headset in a variety of game types, such as FPS, RPG and RTS, as well as out of game for applications such as Amazon Music Unlimited, Disney Plus, YouTube and Microsoft Teams.

Lastly, we consider the gaming headset in terms of everyday useability from an experiential point of view. This stage is particularly important for headsets that advertise themselves as general purpose headphones as well as a gaming headset, so we wear them while commuting or on trips out.

When these four stages are complete, we then judge the headset compared to its contemporaries on the market, both in terms of its quality and its price point. It is then here that we finally bestow a star score on a gaming headset, with 5 stars being the best score a product can achieve.

HyperX gaming headset

(Image credit: HyperX)

Deputy Editor for, Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology and more for over 15 years. You can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket two favourites. Feel free to contact him with any related products, events, and announcements.