Gaming headsets are not to be underestimated.
They are simply crucial for proper immersion.
Not only do they help eliminate distractions from the real world and enhance the in-game ambient sounds and music, but also transform the way players perceive their surroundings in competitive games where recognizing which direction the footsteps, gunshots, or explosions are coming from can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Still, a surprising number of inexperienced gamers tend to choose their headsets solely based on the price, brand, and aesthetics, paying no heed to the actual quality of sound and microphone, the weight, comfort, connectivity type, compatibility with other devices, and so many other things that make a headset truly amazing.
So if you’re on the hunt for a new gaming headset, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we show you the best gaming headsets for 2021!
- Studio-grade audio
- Impeccable signal even though walls
- One of the lightest wireless headsets on the market
- Outstanding microphone
- Lifetime access to Dolby Atmos
- Cross-platform headset
As ýou can see above, we’ve narrowed down the vast pool of choices to eight of the best gaming headsets, which are priced between $40 and $260 along with a few more alternatives scattered throughout the article to make sure everyone finds what they’re looking for.
The need to keep track of different aspects when choosing your device combined with the sheer number of headsets available out there can make even experienced gamers dizzy and constantly wondering “could I have chosen a better one?”.
We created this guide to help you pick the best for your budget.
That said, if you’re a newbie and don’t know much about gaming headsets, we recommend scrolling down to the bottom of the page first where we’ve broken down the process of choosing the best gaming headset, and explained all the major specs that should influence your decision.
Let’s dive deeper into the first gaming headset on the list!
- Great stereo
- Clear microphone
- Very light and plushy
- Compatible with PC, consoles, and mobile
- Non-detachable mic and cable
- Pleather ear cups
First up on our list we have the HyperX Cloud Stinger. This is the most affordable gaming headset on this list coming in at $50. Without any exaggeration, this might be the best budget headset at this price point, especially since it can often be found at a discount for $40 or even $30 if you’re lucky.
While it might not be the most stylish gaming headset out there it certainly packs a punch with its 50mm directional drivers and probably the best stereo audio you’ll find for the price. Do not expect a full bass on his one, though, as this headset mostly focuses on the mids and highs.
One of the reasons this headset is amazing for gaming is that it has fantastic directional audio, meaning that you can clearly distinguish which direction the sounds in your game are coming from. To top it off, it has an impressive microphone that beats even some of the more expensive headsets we’ve tried.
The Cloud Stinger has a mostly plastic frame which means you’ll have to be a little more careful when handling it, but this also makes it pretty lightweight. A cool thing is that it’s one of the very few budget headsets with swivel up to 90⁰.
Furthermore, it is quite comfortable thanks to its lightweight and signature HyperX memory foam padding. The ear cups are covered in pleather, though, so they might cause some sweating, especially in warmer environments.
Finally, the headset also has an on-board volume slider, the swivel-to-mute noise cancellation microphone, and a 3.5mm stereo plug which is absolutely fantastic as it allows you to connect it to all of your devices, be it PC, PS4, Xbox, Switch, or mobile.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is an awesome gaming headset, especially for first-time buyers. It’s equipped with some impressive quality-of-life features one wouldn’t expect to see at such a low price point. It would have been perfect if it weren’t for the non-detachable mic and cable, but for $50 or less, who are we to complain.
- Incredibly light and comfortable
- Can be used with glasses
- Excellent directional audio
- Software-adjustable audio and microphone
- Compatible with PC, consoles, and mobile
- Non-detachable mic and cable
- Finicky ear cup adjustment
Next up we have the Razer BlackShark V2 X. This is another phenomenal budget option for only $60, but it can regularly be found at a discount for $40-$50 making it very similar in price to our previous pick.
The BlackShark V2 X is an incredibly light gaming headset with gel-infused memory foam pleather ear cushions and headband that allow it to sit comfortably on your head even if you wear glasses. It has a modern aviation-style design with a large volume knob and mute button on the left ear cup, and a body mostly made of bendy metal rails making it durable and adjustable.
One thing to note is that, while the ear cups can be bent in any direction, they do not have the expected ability to swivel. This doesn’t in any way affect its comfort and adjustability, but it means that the ear cups can’t be moved out of the way if you tend to keep your headset around your neck when you’re not using it.
The sound on this headset is phenomenal, especially considering the price. It boasts 50mm Triforce Titanium drivers and excellent directional audio that can be fine-tuned via software. Unlike the Cloud Stinger, though, it has a much more prominent bass.
The headset doesn’t have 7.1 surround sound, but it can be emulated via the software if you have 64bit Windows 10. Bear in mind, though, that, even though the emulated surround sound works surprisingly well in games, it’s not meant to be used for anything else.
Finally, it comes with a crystal clear-sounding microphone and a windscreen for a bit of added sound isolation making it amazing for multi-player gaming. Just like the audio, the microphone settings can also be fine-tuned through Razer Synapse.
The only slightly annoying aspects of this headset are the non-detachable microphone and cable, and the finicky ear cup adjustment. This aside, however, if you happen to find the Cloud Stinger and the BlackShark V2 X at the same price, our recommendation is to go for the Razer headset.
- Fantastic surround sound
- Excellent for all types of media
- Clear microphone
- Compatible with PC, consoles, and mobile
- Limited use of features via 3.5mm plug
- Could use more padding on the headband
Moving on to the mid-tier we have the Creative Sound BlasterX H6. This is an $80 headset that does almost everything right.
It has a sleek and modern look with just a dash of tasteful RGB that you may or may not use depending on your preferences. It has thick and soft removable ear cushions covered in breathable cloth, and several interesting buttons on the ear cup such as one that allows you to toggle between three different EQ profiles, and one that allows you to hear what’s happening around you without having to remove the headset, besides the standard volume wheel and mic mute buttons.
The headset features 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, a very clear, customizable, and detachable microphone. It allows audio and mic customization via software, has excellent bass, and a slew of audio enhancers including Scout Mode that amplifies distant and quiet sounds which can be incredibly useful for fans of competitive multiplayer games.
A thing to note about this headset is that it’s not specifically a gaming headset. Despite this, the Sound BlasterX H6 performs phenomenally in all situations whether it’s listening to music, watching movies, or gaming.
An awesome addition is that it comes with both a USB cable and a 3.5mm audio plug, but they work in slightly different ways.
Namely, while the headset works perfectly when connected via the USB cable, you can only use it this way with a PC and the PS4. The 3.5mm plug, on the other hand, offers cross-platform use, but it has limitations such as exclusively software-regulated volume, not being able to use RGB, and not being able to use the microphone with the Nintendo Switch.
If you want to know more about this headset, we have a more in-depth review of the Sound BlasterX H6 right here. And if you are not exactly satisfied with this one, you can check out the HyperX Cloud II, which is a little older, but it’s still considered one of the best gaming headsets for $80.
- Amazing balanced audio
- Great microphone
- Very comfortable with a glasses relief system
- Compatible with PC, consoles, and mobile
- Cable may pick up static while moving
Moving on to the $100 tier, we have the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro. This is an all-round fantastic headset with a very well-balanced sound meaning that you will get a decent bass and pleasant highs with neither of the two being too overpowering for incredibly natural-sounding audio. This makes it perfect for any game, be it an FPS, or a story-driven title.
If you enjoy gaming with your friends you’ll be happy to know that this headset has an excellent microphone so you won’t have to worry about misunderstandings during pivotal in-game moments. The microphone has a built-in windscreen, it’s detachable, and it can be bent and adjusted in any way you want.
As for the comfort, the Elite Atlas Pro is on the heavier side, but it sports a suspended headband that’s incredibly cushy, so you won’t feel the weight on your head at all. The ear cushions are equally thick and soft and covered with a combination of pleather and a sports material that seals in the sound and prevents your ears from sweating at the same time. The fact that the cushions are removable is a cool additional feature.
Another cool aspect of these ear cushions is that they have a mechanism that allows you to create space in the padding for your glasses frame meaning that uncomfortable pressure while wearing glasses and a headset at the same time is a thing of the past.
To top it off, the Elite Atlas Pro comes with a 3.5mm jack meaning that you can use it with virtually any platform except your iPhone.
The only complaints we have about the Elite Atlas Pro are cable-related, mainly the fact that the cable may happen to pick up static while rubbing against other objects. This isn’t a huge problem, but we can see how it can be slightly annoying.
Overall, this is a fantastic gaming headset you definitely wouldn’t regret buying, but just in case you’d like an alternative, the SteelSeries Arctis Prime which is one of the best $100 headsets for FPS gamers.
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
Drivers: 50mm Triforce Titanium
Connectivity: USB dongle, 3.5mm audio plug
- THX spatial audio
- Clear microphone
- 24-hour battery life
- Non-removable ear cushions
The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a phenomenal wireless headset with a battery life promising to last up to 24h depending on what settings you have enabled.
Just like the BackShark V2 X, this is an incredibly comfortable light and plushy headset with the same aviation-style aesthetics, bendy metal frame, and gel-infused memory foam cushions. It also has a very low clamping force, so you can use it with your glasses on for hours without any issues.
This BlackShark V2 Pro is equipped with all the necessary buttons such as the power and mute buttons, and the volume knob, and it has two 3.5mm jacks, one for the cable, and the other for the removable microphone.
The headset can be used wirelessly with your PC, Mac, PS4, and Switch, but not with the Xbox One. Unfortunately, you would have to do that via the 3.5mm cable.
Speaking of wireless, Razer claims the headset has 100% lossless audio which is yet to be refuted, and it has an excellent; crisp and clear microphone.
But the most amazing thing about this headset is without a doubt the sound. The BlackShark V2 Pro has studio-grade audio with a phenomenal bass and clear highs that give you an overall very natural sound. That said, if you prefer a more prominent bass or sharper highs, this can be tweaked and extensively fine-tuned through Razer Synapse.
The sound is fantastic for both listening to music and watching movies, but gaming is where it truly shines thanks to THX spatial audio.
This allows you to tweak and adjust each and every speaker channel in every single game to fit your personal preference. Furthermore, when using the headset you automatically gain access to pre-set spatial audio for several games that worked in collaboration with Razer to bring their users in-game audio that sounds exactly as the developers had intended.
There might be better headsets out there, but the BlackShark V2 Pro is without a doubt the cheapest headset you can find that will give you the otherworldly listening experience of studio headphones and it’s definitely worth checking out.
- Fantastic microphone
- Excellent balance of mids, highs, and lows
- Durable and bendy
- Detachable ear pads
- All-pleather ear pads
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT is a standout headset in every way. From its design, audio, microphone quality, to small quality-of-life features, this is a headset that would satisfy even the most demanding gamers.
As the name says this is a wireless headset that can be used wirelessly via a USB dongle with any device that has a USB port and supports wireless headsets. In addition to this, the headset has a 3.5mm jack and can connect to other devices via Bluetooth as well.
The cool thing about the Virtuoso XT is that it allows you to connect up to two devices at a time, and there’s also the nifty option to control both of the devices’ volumes directly on the headset thanks to the two separate volume wheels on the right ear cup. This additional wheel for Bluetooth-connected devices will also allow you to pick up calls, or even skip songs without touching your phone.
As for the volume itself, it is absolutely phenomenal, and we expected no less from a headset at this price. No matter what type of games you play, from fantastic directional audio, incredibly well-balanced out-of-the-box EQ settings, to magnificent detail when it comes to immersive in-game music, or instrumentals, this headset has got you covered.
Another amazing thing is that you get full access to Dolby Atmos for as long as you use this headset making this an even better deal.
As for the microphone, it is absolutely breathtaking out of the box, but if that doesn’t fit your taste, you can always adjust the sound via the software.
But no matter how good a headset is no one will use it if it’s not comfortable. Fortunately, the Virtuoso XT is cozy enough to be worn for hours on end without any discomfort thanks to its thick and soft padding on the ear cushions and headband. The only thing that some might dislike about this headset is that it comes with fully pleather cushions, but luckily, they are detachable, so you can always replace them.
Like we already mentioned, this is a more or less flawless headset, but perfection comes at a steep price. Nevertheless, if you ever decide to treat yourself to one of the best gaming headsets out there, you will not regret choosing the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT.
- Excellent microphone
- Incredible customizability options
- Great audio with 7.1 surround sound
- Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, and Nintendo Switch
- Can’t be used wired
- Can’ be used with Xbox
The next gaming headset is the Logitech G Pro X Wireless, and it’s the perfect choice for those of you who have a bit more money to spend and need an excellent microphone first and foremost.
The sound on this headset is fantastic, crisp, immersive, natural, and very well balanced, with the option to enable 7.1 surround sound. However, it’s nothing you can’t find in a headset that’s $50 cheaper. What sets this one apart from the others is the microphone and the wireless connection.
The microphone is excellent out of the box, but what brings it to the next level is the amazing software where you can customize the microphone settings to high heavens and make it sound perfect for your own voice. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re a streamer for example if you play competitive multiplayers on a daily basis, or even if you need a fantastic microphone for work, or Zoom calls, for example.
Other than this, the headset is very well built, durable, and extremely bendy, so you should never have to worry about accidentally breaking it or stretching it too far. It has thick and soft cushions for your ears and head, and it comes with a spare pair of ear cushions, one pleather, and one cloth.
On the headset itself, there are the mute and power buttons, the volume wheel, a mic jack, and a USB Type C port for charging. What it doesn’t have is a 3.5mm jack, which is strange, and a real shame, because it means that you can’t use it wired, so if the battery suddenly dies on you in the middle of gaming, you’ll be without a headset.
This shouldn’t happen, however, since the headset boasts a 20+ hours battery life, but it is a rather unpleasant inconvenience nonetheless.
Like we already mentioned, this is an overall excellent headset, but it’s made for people who need an exceptional microphone above all else. If you don’t, then there are cheaper headsets that will give you the same or a similar level of performance with a slightly weaker microphone.
- Clear and crisp sound
- Good microphone
- Supports up to 3 devices simultaneously
- USB dongle for PC not included
If you’re primarily an Xbox gamer, and you need a wireless headset that will work with every platform there is, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is the headset for you.
This is a headset created specifically for Xbox meaning that Xbox will have some advantages over other platforms, most notably, the instant connection without a USB dongle required. The headset is also capable of connecting to the PC, mobile, PS4, and Nintendo Switch via the 3.5mm jack, but in order to connect it to the PC wirelessly you will have to purchase a separate Xbox USB dongle.
Besides this, the Arctis 9X also has a Bluetooth connection available, which means that it’s possible to have up to three different devices connected to the headset at the same time.
The headset is a bit on the heavier side, but overall quite comfortable unless you wear glasses. Although it has very thick and soft cushions covered in breathable sports material, it’s an on-ear headset, however, which will always be less comfortable for those who wear glasses.
As for the onboard controls, there are the power, Bluetooth, and mic mute buttons along with the volume wheel on the left ear cup and a wheel that lets you switch between game and chat volume on the right.
Finally, the microphone is pretty decent, and it’s a retractable type with a light-based indication of when it’s turned on, off, or muted. This means you’ll never lose it, and you’ll always know if you’re ready to chat or not.
Overall, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X is a good headset, but since it’s already so expensive, and it requires even further investment to function wirelessly with PC we would only recommend it to people who primarily game on Xbox.
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Conclusion: The Best Gaming Headset for 2021
Choosing the best option when there are so many excellent choices is always a tough decision. Even putting together this list was a real challenge considering how many great headsets there are in each price range. Still, we had to make a decision, and single out the best gaming headsets we could find, but even then we couldn’t pick just one, which is why our top picks are divided by category.
First, we have the best budget headset, the Razer BlackShark V2 X. This headset offers excellent audio and mic quality combined with outstanding comfort and lightweight build for under $60. There might be a budget headset with better sound or a budget headset with a better microphone out there, but none that combine everything so perfectly like the Razer BlackShark V2 X.
Next up there’s the best value option where we had some trouble choosing between the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro and the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro but decided to go for the BlackShark once again simply due to the studio-grade audio you get. The headset might be a little pricier, but the overall quality and build are beyond a regular gaming headset making it actually seem cheap considering what you get in return.
And finally, the premium pick, the cream of the crop, the new Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. This headset excels at everything. Considering the price, the audio quality is a given, but the microphone, build quality, connectivity options, and quality-of-life features are what sets this headset above everything else in its price category making it both our premium pick and hands down the best headset on this list.
These three headsets were chosen based on objective quality, but we all know that there are many factors that influence our buying decisions, so these three might not be your top picks.
Nevertheless, we hope you’ve found something you like on our list and that we’ve perhaps even convinced you to go out and get one of these amazing gaming headsets for your own setup.
How To Choose The Best Gaming Headset
Buying hardware is a bit more complicated than buying almost anything else as you have to be acquainted with all the specifications of the hardware in question, and having a vast pool of options to choose from doesn’t help either. We know this can be a huge obstacle for many people, and the reason for the ever-so-frequent post-purchase regret. That said, we promised you a beginner’s guide on how to choose a gaming headset, and here it is.
Not all headsets are created to do everything right. Some prioritize sound quality, some the microphone, some the comfort, and some neglect overall sound focusing solely on audio quality in FPS games, for example. This is why the first thing you have to do when choosing a headset is determine your budget, and what it is you want your headset to be able to do.
First and foremost, you want your headset to be comfortable because no matter how great the audio is, you won’t be using it if it’s too heavy and puts pressure on your ears, temples, or jaw. This is something you have to pay even more attention to if you wear glasses.
Generally speaking, a comfortable headset will be lightweight, or it will have some feature that helps alleviate the pressure from the excess weight such as a suspended headband, for example. It will also have some type of soft padding on the headband and the ear cups, preferably thick enough to prevent your ears from touching the drivers.
If you wear glasses, you have to pay a little more attention to comfort as headsets that feel cozy to most people might not feel as cozy to you, so you should either look for really soft padding, light clamping force, and light weight, or headsets with a glasses relief system. In most cases, over-ear headsets tend to be more comfortable than on-ear to glasses wearers.
The most common connectivity options on headsets are USB, 3.5mm, Bluetooth, and wireless via USB dongle.
Wireless connectivity via a USB dongle is an excellent way to get rid of pesky cables and still retain decent performance without too much input lag. Wireless headsets are a great choice for those with deeper pockets who need a headset for music, movies, single-player games, or casual multiplayer games. However, if you want to be at your peak game while playing competitive multiplayers wired gaming is still the superior option as the input lag is completely eliminated.
Of course, most of the time you will also get a 3.5mm cable that will let you use them as a wired headset if you ever need to do so. Keep in mind, though, that not all headsets have this option, so it’s best to choose those that do if you want to go the wireless route.
Another thing to mention is that wireless headsets don’t work well with Xbox, so you’ll either have to search for a wireless headset made specifically for Xbox or use it wired instead.
Bluetooth is another wireless option, but it’s usually an additional feature rather than the main connectivity option. It will allow you to connect an additional device to your headset and take calls or listen to music from your phone, for example, but gaming and watching movies or YouTube should be avoided due to higher input lag.
When it comes to wired connections, you have the USB and the 3.5mm option. The main difference is that the 3.5mm jack works with any platform. You can plug it into your phone, PC, Nintendo Switch, or PS4, while the USB connection can only be used with devices that have a USB port.
When buying a headset you obviously want it to sound great, but great sound can sometimes be a subjective parameter. For example, some people prefer a heavier bass, some want a balanced sound without any of the frequencies taking over, and some just want an FPS headset.
Gaming headsets used to have a booming bass as a signature trait, but these days the mids are what tend to take over since this is where all the reloading sounds and stepping sounds live, or more accurately, some specific mid-range frequencies. This is fantastic for FPS games and it can be an effortless way to improve your gameplay without necessarily improving your skill, but it can sound like an absolute nightmare when listening to music or watching movies.
Generally speaking, you want a headset with a good balance of mids, highs, and lows, good directional audio in order to be able to pick up where the sound is coming from, and software where you can adjust your EQ settings in case the default settings don’t suit your preferences.
7.1 surround sound is cool to have, but it isn’t something you should go out of your way to look for or pay extra for since you could achieve the same or very similar effect by tinkering with your EQ settings yourself in most cases.
A microphone is very important when buying a headset. After all, you’re buying a headset because you need a microphone, otherwise, you’d be looking for regular headphones, so you might as well get the best microphone you can within your targeted budget.
Two things that are good to have when it comes to microphones, however, are a windscreen and the ability to remove it or move it out of the way when you’re not using it.
As for the quality, these days it’s really easy to determine if a microphone is good or not, you simply have to look for a mic test on YouTube.
And that should more or less be it. Now that we’ve armed you with the knowledge you need to pick the gaming headset that’s best for you, you can go ahead and check out the headsets listed in the article and go over your checklist to see if any of them is the right choice for you.
With that said, we hope you’ve learned something new, and that you’ll have fun choosing and gaming with your awesome new headset!