If you’re a competitive gamer, you’d best consider getting a gaming headset sooner rather than later. Competing in most modern shooters means being able to communicate capably with the rest of your team, and a fighting game just isn’t a fighting game without the ability to talk trash to your opponents. While many modern consoles come with a gaming headset, it’s usually a flimsy design that won’t really meet the needs of serious gamers.
You don’t need to study up to find the best gaming headset models of 2021, though. We’ve picked out 12 models that we’re sure you’ll love, and there are options for customers on a flexible range of budgets. We’ll also offer you some tips so you can shop for a gaming headset more effectively.
TL;DR - 12 Best Gaming Headsets:
- HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset
- SteelSeries Arctis Pro Gaming Headset
- HyperX Cloud Stinger – Gaming Headset
- Corsair HS35 – Stereo Gaming Headset
- Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset
- Sennheiser GSP 600 – Wired Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset
- SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Gaming Headset
- ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Headset
- Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset
- Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero Gaming Headset
- Corsair VOID RGB Elite Wireless Premium Gaming Headset
- Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gaming Headset
1. HyperX Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset
Virtual surround sound and serious bass at a surprisingly budget price
Reviewers have been praising the HyperX Cloud Alpha as the best gaming headset for years, and while it has plenty of great competition now, it still sits among the best of the best. At its price point, it's very attractive considering how often a gaming headset often costs. It's been custom-tuned to offer virtual surround sound so you can hear the footsteps of enemy soldiers creeping up on you.
Part of the reason this offers some of the best sound quality is the fact that it packs in dual-chamber drivers. These provide you with some booming bass, but you can adjust them to suit the needs of your games through the use of full bass adjustment sliders and a full audio control mixer. Even fully tuned, it comes with a pretty solid balance between your chat and game channels, resulting in some of the best audio around.
2. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Gaming Headset
The best of the Arctis line with impressive wireless capabilities
The SteelSeries Arctis line is one of the best-regarded in the gaming headset industry, and the best headset in the Arctis line is without a doubt the SteelSeries Arctis Pro. The price tag may be a bit steep, but you'd be hard-pressed to find some better sound performance than what you'll get from this gaming headset. The ski goggle suspension headband is designed to feel comfortable even if you find yourself playing until the sun comes up.
The wireless capabilities here are very impressive. This headset comes with a specially made digital to audio converter designed with the needs of gamers in mind, so you won't have to worry about the wireless signal ruining your voice over the mic. If you'd rather go with something physically connected, you can also connect this headset via 3.5mm aux, USB, or optical cables.
3. HyperX Cloud Stinger – Gaming Headset
HyperX is mostly known for their expensive and top-of-the-line headsets, but that doesn't mean that they can't scale down to the needs of more budget-oriented gamers. The HyperX Cloud Stinger is cheaper than even the Turtle Beach Recon 200, and it offers the same level of compatibility across consoles and PCs. In the name of comfort, HyperX has included some plush memory foam cups along with an adjustable steel slider.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger makes it easy to adjust your listening experience in-game, too. Volume controls are placed right onto the ear cup for easy access even in the heat of battle, and the audio performance here is better than you might expect. The HyperX Cloud Stinger won't be going toe-to-toe with some of the more expensive models on our list, but it rates great for a budget model.
4. Corsair HS35 – Stereo Gaming Headset
Comfort and functionality without a high price tag
Corsair is pretty much a household name in the world of gaming peripherals due to the reliable quality of their products, and the HS35 headset is no exception. Aside from delivering high-quality stereo audio, this headset is incredibly lightweight and comfortable, making them ideal for longer gaming sessions. They're also entirely multi-platform, meaning you can use them with just about any gaming device you may own.
Functionality is the name of the game with this Corsair headset. The Discord-certified unidirectional mic is fully detachable and optimized to significantly reduce ambient sound. What's more, the on-ear volume and mute controls offer convenience and simplicity without forcing you to mess around with an inline remote.
5. Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset
Intuitive design meets high-performance audio and versatility
Logitech may be best known for creating high-quality keyboards and mice with office productivity in mind, but the Logitech G series has earned a lot of praise from gamers due to its universally intuitive design and practical approach to gaming performance. The Pro X headset is no exception to that trend. The 7.1 surround sound system is object-based to provide you with far more precise situational awareness when you're deep in a game.
This gaming headset is built to last, too. It's made from durable aluminum and steel for a fit that's durable while also being flexible to the shape and size of your head. If your computer's sound system isn't up to snuff, you can depend on the USB external sound card, and you can also use it along with the onboard memory to set your own customized EQ And sound profile for later use.
6. Sennheiser GSP 600 – Wired Closed Acoustic Gaming Headset
Audiophile-quality performance with some serious ergonomics
Sennheiser is normally known for their sound equipment targeted at consumer audiophiles, but it makes sense that their exceptional design sensibilities also translate well among the world of gaming headsets. The GSP 600 may be a little light on advanced features targeted towards the gaming market, but it produces some of the absolute best sound quality you'll find on a headset in 2021.
This is a chunky model, but there are some serious ergonomics at work here. The headband is adjustable at important pressure points so you can find a fit that's right for you and isn't going to squeeze your temples, while the suede cups feel great while reducing sweating and overheating. And if you're seeking out headsets for PS4 or Xbox One, you can rest easy knowing that this model is compatible with modern consoles in addition to any modern PC.
7. SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Gaming Headset
If the SteelSeries Arctis Pro is a little out of your budget or if you're looking for headsets compatible with Xbox One, you may want to turn your attention to the more affordably priced SteelSeries Arctis 9x. It's built to work with Xbox One right out of the box, so you won't have to worry about any compatibility issues, but it's also an equally capable headset for PC use.
At its core, this headset is nearly identical to the Arctis Pro, but there are some slight differences between the two. You trade in the charging station here, which means that you don't have access to wired connectivity, but that base station would just be crowded anyway if you plan on using the wireless connectivity exclusively. The biggest advantage to Xbox One gamers is that it offers native support for Xbox chat, unlike the Arctis Pro.
8. ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Headset
If you want the best gaming experience possible, the Astro A50 can deliver it. Just keep in mind that you'll need to spend around $300 for the privilege. This gaming headset promises a battery life of over 15 hours - more than enough for even the longest gaming sessions - and the inclusion of a charging stand provides you with a pleasing way to display your gaming headset while keeping your battery life topped off.
The standard audio experience here is drawn from cinematic Dolby audio, but you'll have all the tools at your disposal to craft a sonic experience tailored specifically to your favorite games. The free Astro Command Center software platform gives you the means to adjust the game and voice channels as well as dig deeper into audio controls. When using this gaming headset on a PC, you also get access to an advanced game:voice balance.
9. Razer Kraken X Ultralight Gaming Headset
The Razer Kraken X Ultralight costs less than $50, and while that means it can't compete with some of the more expensive headsets on our list, it's one of the best models in the ultra-budget range. It isn't great with music, but the in-game audio performance is pretty strong, so it offers a lot of value if you aren't trying to listen to your favorite songs.
Perhaps most importantly, this headset feels great to wear. The design is highly durable, but it has certain level of flexibility that can help it adjust to just about any head. And you can count on Razer headsets to offer easy compatibility with any modern console or PC.
10. Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero Gaming Headset
Turtle Beach makes some great gaming headsets, but where they really shine is with their wireless models. This Turtle Beach wireless gaming headset takes what might arguably be the best gaming headsets that Turtle Beach offers and strips it free of all cords. It feels comfortable on the ears and offers a clear and precise mic, but it only really comes into its own when you start taking into consideration the excellent sound quality and customization on offer.
This Turtle Beach headset provides you with 3D audio - a huge advantage when you're trying to figure out where your opponents are hiding and whether or not they're trying to ambush you - and it can be further enhanced by making use of Turtle Beach's trademark Superhuman Hearing function. The EQ settings on this Turtle Beach wireless gaming headset are just as sophisticated. Whether you're looking to boost the bass, the vocals, or ambient noise, you'll find a mode you'll love with this Turtle Beach headset.
11. Corsair VOID RGB Elite Wireless Premium Gaming Headset
The Corsair VOID RGB Elite is arguably the best wireless headset we've found in terms of all-around balance. It doesn't fit the most comfortably, offer the best sound quality, or come with the most features, but it offers strong performance across all the important metrics while coming in with a price tag of just under a hundred dollars. That's an exceeding rarity for a wireless model.
This model may take a little getting used to. The awkward shape of the ear cups results in a looser fit, but it's comfortable once you get used to it, thanks to the combination of breathable mesh and plush memory foam that offers support while preventing overheating. Corsair has also included wireless 7.1 surround sound in this model, providing you with the means to better stalk your prey and steer clear of ambushes in more intense game sessions.
12. Turtle Beach Recon 200 Gaming Headset
The Turtle Beach Recon 200 is designed with the needs of gamers on a budget in mind. It retails for around $60 and is compatible with Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC, making it a great all-in-one choice for households with a lot of systems. The Bass Boost is one of the best features here, and a great way to make sure that explosions and gunfire really have an impact (though it may also drown out the telltale sound of footsteps).
While the build quality here isn't the best we've ever seen, the Recon 200 fits snugly. The ear cups are nicely padded, and although it doesn't offer the best audio quality on our list, it's definitely excellent sound for the price. We wouldn't call this model the best of the best, but it should satisfy multi-console households and less competitive players admirably.
Best Gaming Headset Buyer’s Guide
Looking for the best headset? You could simply pick one of the models on our list that matches your budget and be comfortable knowing that you’re getting some of the best gaming performance around. But if you want to dig deeper, you’ll want to pay attention to some specific specs and features. We’ll be quick and to the point in helping you understand what separates the best gaming headsets from merely average models.
Do you play on console or PC? This can have a major impact when tracking down some of the best gaming headsets for you. While some more highly-priced gaming headsets will work with all PCs and consoles, the majority tend to be a bit more limited. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use these headsets at all, though. PS4 or Xbox One consoles often work well with some of the best gaming headset models for PC, though they might be lacking in platform-specific features. If you have your heart set on one of the best gaming headsets, take a closer look and consider whether it will work with your preferred device.
The best gaming headset is one that will feel great on your ears even during longer gaming sessions. The type of cushioning used in the ear cups and the design of the band can have a major impact on overall comfort quality, but you’ll ideally want to try on a gaming headset first so you can get a real feel for it.
Related Post: You might like our guide on the best gaming earbuds, too.
Audio quality is something that’s hard to define, but manufacturers always try to daze customers with numbers. Frequency response is a commonly used indicator of audio quality, but the fact that it has an impact on what audio is registered and the quality of the sound stage means it only tells part of the story.
The size of the drivers can similarly impact sound quality without necessarily telling the whole story. These can be some of the best ways to identify sound quality, but you should also pay attention to reviews so you can really tell if a specific gaming headset is one of the best.
In-game sound quality is incredibly important when considering a headset, but if you aren’t looking to communicate with other people, you’re better off with just headphones. The sound quality of microphones can have just as big of an impact on your effectiveness in-game. You should look for mics that use a unidirectional or bidirectional format to minimize background noise and get the best sound quality out of your mic.
Surround sound is one of the best features you’ll find in headsets for Xbox One, PS4, or PC, and it’s a distinct enough feature to make it stand apart from overall audio quality. While surround sound audio in headsets can’t match a traditional surround sound speaker system, it does a good job of approximating where noise is coming from and can be a great choice when you’re playing a game where positioning matters.
That said, there’s some argument as to whether surround sound can really help you in multiplayer games. Many competitive esports players refuse to use it entirely, but it’s still one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a game, and less experienced players can certainly get some use out of surround sound in first-person shooters.
At their best, wireless headsets allow you to stay in touch with your team without having to be tethered to your PC or console. At their worst, wireless headsets mean dealing with audio lag and drop-off, not to mention they are limited by the demands of a given model’s battery life. If wireless headsets are for you, see our reviews on the top Bluetooth headsets.
Wireless isn’t nearly as bad as it may sound. The best wireless headsets offer a battery life that can last for over a day on a single charge, and many come with charging base stations that make it easy to keep the battery topped off. And with new advances in technology, wireless lag is pretty much a non-issue these days. The big impediment to getting a wireless model rather than something like a USB wired pair is that they tend to cost significantly more.
You’ve probably already seen that gaming headsets vary in price considerably. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good headset on a budget. If you have a price point to stick to, we can help you choose the right one for you. Take a look at our guides on headsets under $100 and also the best $50 gaming headsets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Gaming Headset of 2021?
As 2021 continues, the market for gaming headsets still hasn’t changed that much, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of gaming headsets to choose from. The Arctis Pro by SteelSeries. the Astro A50, and the HyperX Cloud Alpha are especially well-regarded headphones, but all of the 12 gaming headsets on this list rank among the best gaming headsets available right now.
What Headsets Do Pro Gamers Use?
The pro gaming scene has become enormous within just the last few years, and the volume of available gaming headsets means that esports pros have a lot of options to choose from. That being said, you do tend to see some names pop up frequently among pro gamers. Corsair, SteelSeries, and HyperX are the manufacturers we see most commonly, but the general opinion on which brand offers the best gaming headsets varies significantly from gamer to gamer.
What Gaming Headset Does Ninja Use?
The headset Ninja uses technically isn’t a gaming headset at all. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is typically built with the needs of music producers and audiophiles in mind, but it’s proof that the best gaming headsets come down to personal preference. It’s definitely one of the pricier models, but it’s regarded by many Fortnite players as one of the best gaming headsets for serious play.
Are Gaming Headsets Worth It?
Do you game competitively? If so, a gaming headset is absolutely going to be worth purchasing. The gaming headsets that are sometimes included with consoles are rarely up to the needs of pro or even serious gamers. The best gaming headsets can dramatically improve your performance. A quality uni- or bi-directional mic and a better sense of surround sound can make a big difference when trying to trash talk your opponents or coordinate with your team.
Do I Need a Headset Stand?
There’s no doubt that headphones are complicated pieces of equipment, and that becomes especially true the more expensive they get. Many people new to the shopping experience ask whether or not they need to purchase a headset stand. The short answer is no. While these devices may be delicate, most models are built to be sturdy, and simply folding them and tucking them away in a drawer or leaving it on your gaming desk should suffice well enough for most players. Headsets don’t have to remain upright to prevent damage, and most mics can be folded up to prevent further damage.
If you want one of the best gaming headsets available today, our list provides you with a pretty comprehensive lay of the land. There’s a reason why we didn’t pick an absolute best model, though. The best gaming headset for you will come down to a lot of personal factors, That’s why we want to hear from you. If you’ve tried any of the models on our best gaming headsets list, we encourage you to leave a review below. And be sure to check out some of our other guides to the best gaming gear of 2021.If you liked our article on gaming headsets, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.