The best gaming headsets: Reviews and buying advice

These headsets strike the right balance between performance and value, no matter your budget.

Rob Schultz/IDG

The next great peripherals war is being waged over your ears. After every company on the planet put out a gaming mouse and then a mechanical keyboard, they turned their attention to headsets. So many headsets.

Gaming headset cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

We know you don’t want to scroll through every single headset review when all you want is a simple answer: “What’s the best gaming headset I can buy with my hard-earned dollars?” This page holds the answers you seek, no matter what your budget is.

We’ll keep updating our recommendations as we look at new products and find stronger contenders. 

Updated 10/08/18 to include our review of the HP Omen Mindframe, which offers a unique twist on the gaming headset by featuring active cooling to prevent against sweaty ears. See the bottom of this article for all of our headset reviews.

Best all-around gaming headset

After three years, we’re finally changing it up. Sort of. Since 2014, our official gaming headset recommendation has been Kingston’s HyperX Cloud—the original, no surname, just Cloud. “It’s comfortable, it sounds great, and best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive,” as I wrote of its virtues.

And that still holds true. The original HyperX Cloud remains a phenomenal headset, and almost always on sale for $70-80. I highly recommend it. 

HyperX finally outdid itself, though, with 2017’s HyperX Cloud Alpha, or “HyperX Cloud III,” as I’ve termed it in my head. That’s why I say we’re “sort of” shaking things up—the Alpha is, in many ways, just an upgrade to the original Cloud.

The core design hasn’t changed much, meaning the Alpha brings the same combination of durability and comfort that made me fall in love with its predecessor. There are some quality-of-life upgrades though, like removable cabling and more accessible volume and mute controls.

It sounds great, too. HyperX chalks it up to the Alpha’s dual-chamber technology, which separates bass frequencies from the mids and highs. That could be the case, or it could be a gimmick—I’ve discussed it at greater length in our review. Either way, the upshot is that the Cloud Alpha sounds as good or better than plenty of its more expensive competition, and with slightly more bass kick this time around. (Read our full review.)

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is a great headset. If its entry on the scene feels a bit less noteworthy in 2017, it’s only because three years on from the Cloud, HyperX is an established player instead of an underdog—and yet other companies still struggle to match the Clouds’ quality at the Clouds’ price. We’ll see what 2018 holds.

Best budget gaming headset

Surprisingly, the one company competing with HyperX right now in the low-end space is...Astro. Ironic, since as headset prices spiraled downwards the last few years, Astro stood strong at the top—its cheap headset, the A40, was still $150 at the low end, while its high-end wireless A50 (our pick for extravagance) came in at $300.

But for 2017 Astro unveiled the new A10, its entry-level headset. Very entry-level, with a list price of $60. That’s slightly more than our previous recommendation, the HyperX

Cloud Stinger—still a great headset too. I think $10 more for the Astro A10 is a bargain though.

There were compromises to hit that price, for sure. The A10 lifts some design inspiration from its more expensive siblings, but it’s a bit boxier, with a drab gray chassis and minimal decoration. It’s also 100 percent plastic, which doesn’t help dispel the cheap feeling.

The A10 has it where it counts though, which is to say it sounds great. We’re talking “great for a $60 headset,” of course, but still. The A10 delivers clean mids and a rich bass that comes close to mimicking the sound of Astro’s more expensive headsets and only falters in the details. Details, I might add, that most listeners probably wouldn’t even notice day-to-day. (Read our full review.)

It’s an excellent entry-level headset, and deserves your consideration—provided you can look past its bland exterior.

Best low-end wireless gaming headset

Corsair’s carved out a pretty healthy niche for itself at the low end of the wireless market. The new Corsair Void Pro Wireless carries the same $99 price tag as its predecessors, which even by today’s standards is an incredible bargain—about $50 cheaper than any of the competition.

And it’s a pretty decent headset. The Void Pro Wireless takes getting used to, with diamond-shaped earcups and a headband that slants toward the front of the head. It’s an aggressive design, but it’s more comfortable than it looks—almost too comfortable, maintaining such light pressure on the head that it’s prone to slipping around. Not ideal.

Still, I’d rather a headset that’s too loose than one that puts my head in a vice grip, and aside from that minor issue the Void Pro Wireless design is solid. Oversized controls for volume, power, and mic mute are easy to find in a moment’s notice, and Corsair’s RGB lighting is top-notch (though you’ll gain four hours of battery by disabling it).

Audio is the Void Pro Wireless’s only weak spot, which you could argue is not a great weak spot for a headset to have. Playback is very bright, with a small-sounding and treble-heavy mix that’s tiring to listen to long-term. You can’t do much about the first, but spending some time with an EQ can mitigate the latter—I recommend adding a touch of bass and bringing down the high end a bit.

At least Corsair improved the microphone. That used to be this headset’s weak point, but the Void Pro Wireless’s new mic is finally on-par with the competition, picking up less background noise and reproducing voices with more clarity.

Listen, I’m not going to say the Void Pro Wireless is a fantastic headset. It’s not. But it’s good enough for most people, and for $99 and wireless? That’s really all you can ask for. (Read the full review.)

Best mid-range wireless gaming headset

It’s a tough call replacing our former mid-tier wireless pick, the Logitech G933, with its sibling-successor the Logitech G533. Like, really tough. The G933 is an excellent headset, with crisp and well-balanced audio and a few nifty design features (like being able to store the USB dongle inside an earcup).

In some ways, I’d say the G933 is a better headset than the G533. 

But I’m still replacing it. Why? Well, aesthetics are a huge reason. If you want an indication how Logitech’s design language has shifted in the past year or so, look no further than the G933 and G533. The G933 was all sharp angles and science fiction. The G533 on the other hand is sleek, professional, restrained. With a piano-black finish and soft curves, it looks like a headset made by Audio-Technica or Sennheiser or a more mainstream audio company—not necessarily a “gaming” headset. I like it.

The G533’s design is also functional. The microphone isn’t as hidden as I’d like, but that’s the sole flaw. The headset is lightweight, durable, and less vise-grip tight than its predecessor.

As for audio fidelity? It’s not quite equal to the G933, but the differences are minimal. The G533 lacks a bit of oomph, especially at lower volumes, and its 7.1 support is subpar. Those are hardly reasons to stay away, though—most people will run the headset loud enough to counteract the headset’s lack of presence, and virtual 7.1 is (in my opinion) pretty much always bad. The G533 is worse than the average, but the average is still something I choose to avoid day-to-day. 

In any case, the G933 is still being sold and is a perfectly good choice for some, especially if you want console support. The G533 is PC-only, while the G933 can be attached by 3.5mm cable to other devices. And if you value comfort over audio fidelity, take a look at the SteelSeries Arctis 7 too—another great choice.

The G533 is our official mid-tier wireless recommendation though, for the time being (read our full review).

Best extravagant gaming headset

Two gladiators, locked in eternal combat. That’s been the case with Astro and SteelSeries, both of which have iterated on their $300 headsets over the years—but never with any clear winner. In 2018, the two are once again battling it out, this time the established Astro A50 versus the new-and-improved SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless.

Okay, so Astro: The A50’s a few years old now, but still an excellent wireless headset. Astro’s biggest improvement with the latest refresh was the battery, overcoming a long-running weak spot and packing 12 to 15 hours of life—enough to get you through even a long day of gaming. Better yet, it features gyroscopes in the ears that detect whether you’ve set it down. It automatically shuts off 10 seconds later if so, and then seamlessly powers back on and connects to your PC when you pick it back up. Its base station also serves as a charger, a nice mix of function and beauty.

What keeps it from being the stand-out winner are several annoyances. For starters, the A50 uses the 5GHz band, which means the range isn’t great. Even sitting at my computer, I occasionally noticed interference. A built-in battery also means that if you do forget to charge it, you’re stuck attaching it to your PC with a MicroUSB cable while you play. And the audio, while quite good and superior to the Arctis Pro Wireless, still is easily outdone by $300 headphones. (Read our full review.)

The Astro A50 is a few years old, but still holding its own as a premium option.

And yes, SteelSeries maintains a place on the list, with the new Arctis Pro Wireless bumping its predecessor, the Siberia 800. Though the Astro A50 sounds better, this headset’s been a favorite of mine for a while—mostly because of its battery system. Rather than charging the battery in the headset, the Arctis Pro Wireless instead allows you to swap between two removable packs. One can power the headset for up to 12 hours while the other charges in the side of the base station. There’s literally no way you can run out of battery in the middle of gaming.

The base station is also functional, allowing you to adjust EQ, chat mix, and other audio tweaks on the fly with a simple OLED display. No software’s needed. SteelSeries has closed the gap on audio fidelity too, and while Astro still has an edge, the Arctis Pro Wireless sounds much better than its Siberia 800 predecessor.

And SteelSeries leaps ahead in comfort. The Sibera 800 was a pretty bare-bones headset design. The Arctis Pro Wireless finally adopts the floating headband style SteelSeries is known for, with a comfy ski-goggle strap and generous ear padding that make it a great fit for all-day wear. The A50 is comfortable too in its own way, but the Arctis design might be one of the all-time best headset designs. (Read the full review.)

Overall, the A50 leads in sound quality, while the Siberia 800 gets the edge in ease-of-use and comfort, plus the aforementioned charging method. With more and more excellent headsets in the $150 range, it’s hard to justify spending twice as much on either of these—they’re definitely not twice as good. But either way, the battle over this top spot continues on into the future.

How we tested

We test headsets over the course of a few weeks, and sometimes longer. Much longer, in some cases—I’ve been using a pair of Astro A50s as daily drivers for years now, and stand by their quality and durability. Our rankings are based on the following criteria:

Design/comfort: Obviously you want a headset that fits well without snapping in half the first time you put it on. Headsets are tested with our vigorous and ultra-scientific “I bent it a lot and saw if it seemed durable” method, as well as against the internationally recognized “I wore this for eight hours and it didn’t give me a headache or make my ears feel like sandpaper” baseline.

Sound: There will always be the people who say, “Why buy a gaming headset when you can buy a decent pair of headphones and a standalone microphone?” And those people are right, but they’re sort of missing the point. There’s something to be said about a product that performs just as well when watching movies/listening to music as it does while playing games. After all, I assume most people want one pair of headphones for their PC, not multiple pairs for different tasks.

With that in mind, we test headsets at PCWorld in various games (Battlefield 4, Rainbow Six Siege) but also listening to music and watching videos, to make sure you’re getting a decent all-around experience. These aren’t necessarily studio-quality headphones, but that doesn’t mean it should sound like all-bass-all-the-time.

Price: How much are you willing to spend on a gaming headset? That’s a purely subjective question, but it’s something we try to keep in mind. Our best all-around option is a bargain at $80, but if you want to throw $300 at Astro for a pair of A50s we’re not going to stop you.

All of our headset reviews

Want to see what else we’ve reviewed? We’ll keep updating this on a regular basis, so be sure to come back to see new products that we’ve put through their paces.

At a Glance

HyperX has released a half-dozen headsets since 2014's original and acclaimed Cloud design, but the Alpha is the first to match—and even surpass—its predecessor.


  • Fully removable cabling and smarter inline control placement
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent audio quality, for the price


  • More expensive than the original Cloud, with fewer accessories
  • Upper audio range can be a bit muddled

Logitech's G533 doesn't have quite the same breadth of options as the G933, but a more restrained design and a bargain price make this a strong contender for best wireless headset.


  • Uses Logitech's new, more professional design aesthetic
  • Comfortable, durable, and intuitive
  • Bargain-priced


  • Not as versatile as the G933
  • Surround sound is hit-or-miss
  • Lack of earpad options

The Logitech G933 would be a pretty good headset at its list price of $200. At its pretty-much-permanent sale price of $150 to $180, it’s probably the best price-to-performance ratio you can get for a wireless headset right now.


  • Rear buttons are intuitive and useful
  • Boom mic is invisible when stored
  • Capable sound


  • Microphone picks up every background noise
  • Fits a bit tight
  • Battery life is good, but still shorter than the competition's

Incredibly comfortable and aided by cooling gel in the ear cups, the Razer Nari Ultimate is a haptics-enabled headset that doesn't feel like a one-off gimmick. The only sticking point is the $200 price tag.


  • Haptics are sophisticated enough to justify their inclusion
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Cooling gel in the earcups is a nifty trick


  • Cooling gel warms up too quickly
  • Tying haptics intensity to volume is a bizarre move
  • $200 price a bit steep

At $280, Sennheiser's Game Zero is about as expensive a gaming headset as you're likely to find. On the other hand, it's also one of the best available.


  • Rich and crystal-clear audio
  • Top-notch microphone with excellent vocal richness
  • Removable cable


  • About as expensive as you'll find for a wired headset
  • Bass lacks oomph straight out of the box
  • Bolted-on microphone means these are for indoor use only

The Astro A10 won't win any beauty contests, but compromising looks to focus on audio seems to have paid off here—it sounds way better than its $60 price tag implies.


  • Rich bass for a $60 headset
  • Flip-to-mute microphone
  • Very durable


  • Narrow soundscape sometimes leads to muddy audio
  • Plastic, plastic, plastic
  • Colors aren't very eye-catching

Astro's new A50 touts a new charging station and better controls, but still doesn't put out the audio you might expect from a $300 pair of headphones.


  • Charging station makes it easy to stay powered up
  • Crystal-clear mic capabilities
  • Intuitive and powerful on-headset controls


  • Price—this thing is expensive
  • Sound isn't what you might expect for $300
  • Base station takes up plenty of desk space

With an improved microphone, Corsair's wireless Void Pro is now an even better deal for its inexpensive $100 price tag—though this new iteration carries over many of its predecessor's flaws.


  • Improved microphone
  • Still an unparalleled price for a reputable wireless headset
  • All-day battery life


  • Loose fit, slips around
  • Lacking bass by default
  • Mesh earcups leak sound

HyperX's debut wireless headset is missing some key features, like chat mix and microphone monitoring, but it looks good, sounds great, and feels excellent. Another contender for our $150 headset pick.


  • Audio is clean and well-balanced
  • Incredible noise isolation, even at moderate volumes
  • Comfortable, with intuitive built-in controls


  • No software means few options for enthusiasts
  • Microphone is passable, but nothing special
  • Expensive compared to the competition

The good? A new microphone. The neutral? A looser fit than last year. The bad? An utter lack of volume.


  • Looks fancy
  • Microphone is much improved over last year


  • Lack of volume
  • Looser fit results in more shifting

A fantastic microphone, incredible battery life, and amazing soundstage make Razer's Man O’ War worth a look, even if it means spending a bit of time with its EQ settings.


  • Looks more high-quality than Razer's Kraken Pro
  • Extra-wide soundstage and excellent directionality
  • Eminently EQ-able


  • Overly bulky look
  • Horrible creaking plastic noise when flexed
  • Sound lacks punch, out of the box


  • Sturdier aluminum chassis
  • Finally ditches the streetpunk look of its predecessors
  • Better audio than the old Kraken, especially after EQ adjustments


  • Bulky looking
  • Out-of-the-box audio is flat and lifeless
  • No volume controls

Sennheiser's GSP 350 headset isn't a looker, and its $140 price tag is steep for a wired headset. But its sound quality is on par with the best headsets in its tier.


  • Bright, bouncy audio
  • Passive noise cancellation
  • Removable cable


  • Looks and feels like a cheaper headset than it is
  • Software isn't flexible enough for advanced users
  • Small sound stage and poor 7.1 reproduction

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 might not be the best-sounding headset around, but it's extremely comfortable and also nets you wireless audio for only $150.


  • Comfortable, sleek, and stylish
  • Very inexpensive for wireless audio
  • Built-in chatmix controls


  • Headset might not fit the largest of large heads
  • Mute button is a bit too small and inconspicuous
  • Audio quality is solidly middle-of-the-road

The Arctis Pro Wireless is easier to recommend in 2018 than its aging Siberia 800 predecessor, but its charging system feels less useful than it once did and the audio isn't much better than the much cheaper Arctis 7.


  • Industry-leading microphone
  • Arctis design is still exceedingly comfortable
  • Better sound than its Siberia 800 predecessor


  • Lacks bass, and EQing more in just leads to a muddy sound
  • Expensive, by 2018 standards
  • Dual-battery system is neat, but not as useful when most headsets last up to 24 hours per charge

Audio-Technica's ATH-AG1X isn't a bad headset per se, but its cost far outweighs its quality. The loose fit of its unique design may also leave you annoyed.


  • Comfortable, once you get over the loose fit
  • Very wide soundstage for a closed-back design
  • Sleek, space-age look


  • Sounds hollow, especially at lower volumes
  • Bass response is a bit muddy
  • The most expensive gaming-centric wired headset we've ever reviewed

The H2100 is one of the cheapest wireless headsets on the market, which makes up for some other flaws.


  • Wireless headset for an extremely cheap price
  • On-the-fly controls built into the headset


  • Bright sound profile causes ear fatigue
  • Ears not very padded

The HP Omen Mindframe comes close to being a great headset with an interesting gimmick, but some beginner mistakes—lack of EQ or 7.1 controls, a beeping microphone—and oddities like its warm chassis keep it from stardom. For now, at least.


  • FrostCap's thermoelectric cooling keeps your ears a comfy temperature
  • Elegant and attractive design
  • Sounds decent enough for gaming


  • Heatsinks leave the outside of the headset weirdly warm to the touch
  • Microphone beeps when muted/unmuted
  • No official EQ capabilities or 7.1 controls. Software is oddly bare-bones.

The HyperX Cloud Revolver is a good headset, but its higher price tag eliminates most reasons to buy it instead of the original HyperX Cloud or Cloud II.


  • Comfortable suspension-band design
  • Solid sound for its price


  • Metal band has a tendency to reverberate when touched
  • Inline controls are as middling as the standard Cloud line

With new EQ features and a better control box, HyperX improves the original Cloud Revolver. But at $150? The Cloud Revolver S is one of the most expensive wired headsets we've ever reviewed, and doesn't earn that price.


  • Still has the Cloud line's signature audio
  • New EQ settings built into the control box
  • Better noise cancellation in the microphone


  • Metal band still reverberates when touched
  • 7.1 performance isn't up to par with competitors
  • Overly expensive when compared feature-to-feature with competitors

The Mionix Nash 20 is a bit heavy and oversized, but in return you get an excellent sense of presence.


  • Gorgeous minimalist logo and design
  • Great sense of directionality for a stereo headset


  • Heavy and oversized
  • Doesn't get very loud in-game

The PDP Afterglow 9 is the latest to promise wireless freedom under $100, but it skimps on build quality to get there.


  • Inexpensive wireless headset
  • Battery life trounces competitors


  • Flimsy, no-frills build quality
  • Microphone sounds like a telephone

The Polk Striker Pro P1 makes for an excellent pair of headphones, but fails to compete on the headset front with its similarly priced peers.


  • Subtle bass and good clarity
  • Compact and fine for street-wearing


  • Microphone is stiff, quiet
  • Still no inline volume controls for the PC

The Siberia v3 marks a refresh of the most well-known SteelSeries headset, but a lack of on-the-fly controls and a middling microphone undercut the sheer comfort of this device.


  • Extremely comfortable and lightweight
  • Retractable microphone


  • No on-the-fly volume controls
  • EQ capabilities held for $140 Prism version of the v3

Turtle Beach's Stealth 700 is the first third-party device we've seen take advantage of Microsoft's Xbox One Wireless Adapter, and that's worth checking out even if the headset has a few issues.


  • Looks like a high-end headset
  • Connects to the Xbox One Wireless Adapter, same as an Xbox One controller
  • Warm, bass-heavy sound


  • Battery life is short, at around 10 hours
  • Thin padding on the ears and headband
  • Requires additional Xbox One Wireless Adapter purchase for PC

The Logitech G231 isn't a bad headset by any means, but it's not going to shake up the low-end headset market.


  • Budget-friendly price
  • Comfortable diamond-shaped earcups
  • Delivers the headset basics well enough


  • Cheap-feeling mesh fabric on the ear cups
  • Not as modern-looking as Logitech G633 and G933
  • Awkward placement for in-line controls

The Polk 4-Shot features audio that lives up to Polk's brand, but it lacks features that are standard in other PC headsets.


  • Lightweight, sleek look
  • Solid sound profile


  • Broken internal microphone
  • No on-the-fly controls
  • Need an adapter for split headphone/microphone ports

The A38 has fantastic audio for a Bluetooth headset, but at $200+ there are much better options available—especially when you're not on-the-go.


  • Decent Bluetooth audio implementation
  • Easy to pair to a number of devices


  • Bluetooth audio still isn't great
  • Mediocre microphone
  • Finicky connection when on the move

G.Skill's debut headset promises "Real 7.1," but is let down by weak drivers and tinny sound.


  • Suspension band design eases tension on top of the head
  • "Real" 7.1


  • Tinny, washed-out sound
  • Too big for comfort
  • 7.1 still doesn't work that great in a headset, "real" or otherwise