Best USB Headset for 2020
- Compatible with most operating systems
- Inline volume and mute controls
- Noise cancelling mic flips up
- Compatible with most online voice call services
- Comes with an automated busy light
- Uses passive noise cancellation technology
USB headsets have become a ubiquitous accessory for gamers, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they’re useful for. Whether you’re looking for a hands free way to talk during your daily commute or a way to field all of your conference calls at the office while keeping your hands free and not disturbing your cubicle neighbors, a USB headset offers a reliable and savvy way to make the most of your time. That doesn’t mean you should just pick up the first USB headset you find on the shelf.
Our guide will point you towards 10 of the best USB headset models available at the end of 2020, and we’ll provide you with useful shopping advice that can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
- 10 Best USB Headsets
- 1. Logitech USB Headset H390
- 2. Jabra Evolve 40 UC Stereo USB Headset
- 3. iMicro Im320 USB Headset
- 4. Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset
- 5. Plantronics Blackwire 3210 USB-A Headset
- 6. HyperX Cloud Revolver S USB Headset
- 7. Mpow 071 USB Headset
- 8. Razer Kraken Kitty RGB USB Gaming Headset
- 9. Cyber Acoustics Mono USB Headset
- 10. Plantronics Blackwire C5220 Headset
- USB Headset Buyer’s Guide
- Intended Use
- Microphone Quality
- Sound Quality
- Frequency Response
- Driver Size
- Noise Cancelling Functionality
- Weight and Size
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Are USB Headsets Better?
- What is the Best USB Headset for VOIP?
- Which HyperX Headset is the Best?
- What is the Best Gaming Headset of 2020?
10 Best USB Headsets
1. Logitech USB Headset H390
A decent USB headset doesn't have to be expensive, and Logitech is leading the charge in producing affordable USB headsets that still offer some quality with their H390. Granted, there aren't a whole lot of extra frills on this USB headset, but it gets the fundamentals right thanks to some decent noise cancellation technology built right in to the mic.
And while this may be a budget headset through and through, it's hard to deny the craftsmanship here goes well beyond the $20 price tag. The headband and ear pads may be made from cheap plastic, but they're nicely padded and fully adjustable. Volume and mute controls are built right into the wire so you can easily make adjustments on the fly, and the mic can be flipped upward easily if you want to use this headset as a more basic pair of headphones.
- Compatible with most operating systems
- Inline volume and mute controls
- Noise cancelling mic flips up
- Headband and cups are nicely padded
2. Jabra Evolve 40 UC Stereo USB Headset
Jabra may not yet be a household name, but they've spent the past few years gaining traction as one of the most intriguing headphones and headset manufacturers around. The Jabra Evolve headset moves the focus away from peripherals focused on gaming and brings them into more office oriented environments. It can connect to your devices using either a 3.5 mm aux cord or a USB cable, and a busy light will pop on automatically during a call to let your coworkers know that you're occupied with clients.
And Jabra understands that business professionals are abandoning more traditional phone calls for efficient modern VoIP services, so they've equipped this headset with compatibility for all of the major contenders. You can set this Jabra headset up to natively connect your lync for PC and Skype calls directly to your phone and headset. All told, this headset is an inexpensive way to improve business efficiency.
- Compatible with most online voice call services
- Comes with an automated busy light
- Uses passive noise cancellation technology
- Supports HiFi audio and HD voice
3. iMicro Im320 USB Headset
The sleekly futuristic design of the iMicro Im320 may make it look like a gaming headset, but it's actually one of the best affordable choices for use around the office. Thanks to the cheap price tag and decent functionality (as well as the ability to save money by buying them in bulk), you could outfit an entire call center with these USB headsets without spending that much money. This isn't exactly the most feature rich headset on the market, but it offers quality middle of the road functionality.
The speaker driver is 40 mm in diameter, providing a level of audio quality that's above average, and the frequency response range covers the entire range of human hearing. The boom mic is also fully adjustable, and it employs noise cancelling technology that can help you focus on the task at hand even when you find yourself in a crowded professional environment.
- Available for an affordable price
- Can be bought in bulk
- Above average frequency response
- Uses a noise cancelling mic
4. Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset
If you just think of Microsoft as a software based company, you've been missing out on some of the best gaming and professional hardware available today. The LifeChat LX-3000 delivers one of the most comfortable headset experiences for a very appealing price tag. The unidirectional mic makes use of some best in class noise cancellation for clearer call quality, and the results are a level of clarity you wouldn't expect to find in a $20 headset.
And even if you find yourself using this headset for extending work calls, you won't need to worry about an uncomfortable experience. The wide and flat ear cushions are coated in leatherette for an incredibly comfortable fit, while the in-line volume controls give you easy access to everything you need. The mic itself is capable of pivoting at a 180 degree angle, and it makes use of a flexible six foot cable to give you more room to work with.
- Optimized for use with Skype
- Incredibly comfortable fitting ear cups
- Boom mic rotates at 180 degrees
- Includes a Windows Live call button
5. Plantronics Blackwire 3210 USB-A Headset
Plantronics has constructed a total workhorse of a headset with their Blackwire. It provides services well beyond what you could expect for the mid-range price tag. It makes use of Digital Signal Processing tech to provide higher clarity audio performance, and the compatibility here is some of the best we've ever seen. Not only does it work with a variety of different smart home and chat applications, but it's also been meticulously crafted to suit the needs of different IP soft phone protocol from manufacturers like Cisco and Microsoft. That makes this a top choice for office use.
And despite that quality, it sports a sleek, simplistic, and easy to grasp design. The band is lightweight while still being highly durable, and noise cancelling technology is built right in so you can be productive even in a chaotic office space. And smart inline controls give you access to everything you need when you need it.
- Natural audio thanks to DSP tech
- Compatible with countless business apps
- Secure but highly comfortable fit
- Easy to use inline controls
6. HyperX Cloud Revolver S USB Headset
Along with names like SteelSeries and Razer, the HyperX Cloud is one of the best names in this business if you want USB headsets gaming enthusiasts will love. The SteelSeries Cloud Revolver S is both one of the most expensive models and one of the best. The chunky ear cups are incredibly comfortable to wear and thoroughly padded so it will fit good on your ears even during marathon gaming sessions, and they do a great job of cancelling out any surrounding noise.
But the cups on the SteelSeries Cloud also serve another purpose: delivering a rich and high-quality sound stage. Whether you're listening to music or in the midst of a firefight, everything will sound exactly as it's intended thanks to the support for Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound. The frame is also incredibly sturdy. Constructed almost entirely from steel, the Cloud can adjust to suit any head but can take a hit without causing any serious damage.
- Powerful directional 50 mm drivers
- Leatherette cups padded with memory foam
- Plug and play surround sound
- Certified with Discord and TeamSpeak
7. Mpow 071 USB Headset
The Mpow may be relatively basic in design, but it features a sleek and professional design that will look good in any office or at your gaming desk. This isn't a headset that's going to thrill you with its modern and complex features, but it does offer a level of functionality that won't leave you tearing your hair out. It's compatible with most chat applications as well as all the standard computer operating systems.
The in-line control panel here is big and bold, giving you access to all the fundamentals without having to fumble around with the buttons, and the new materials from which it's constructed lend it a level of durability that will ensure it lasts a good long time. And with a cord that extends to almost eight feet, you'll have plenty of room to move around even when you're playing your favorite games or in the middle of a conference call.
- Available in black or blue
- Made from a breathable soft protein
- Compatible with most chat platforms
- Inline controls are very accessible
8. Razer Kraken Kitty RGB USB Gaming Headset
We can say with confidence that the Razer Kraken Kitty is the only headset on our list to come equipped with light up cat ears. That makes it a less than ideal choice for use around most offices, but once you get beyond the aesthetic extravagances, you're left with one of the best USB headsets for playing games. The cushions built into the cups are infused with gel-cooling materials to keep your ears from overheating during longer gaming sessions, and this gamer headset even includes space for your glasses.
That's a good thing, because this Razer headset fits tight. That helps drown out background noise, making this a great choice for listening to music. The noise-cancelling mic ensures that you can deliver commands to your teammates with confidence, and all the controls you'll readily need are built right into the cup. And if you're using Windows 10, you can access THX Spatial tech.
- Works with Razer Streamer Companion app
- Incredibly comfortable ear cups
- Support for THX Spatial tech
- Available in five different colors
9. Cyber Acoustics Mono USB Headset
Due to the fact that it uses mono rather than stereo sound, this headset from Cyber Acoustics isn't going to be the best suited headset for listening to music or playing games, but it doesn't need to be. This is a headset designed ideally for use in the classroom for testing purposes, but you can find this headset for less than $10, and that makes it a great choice for offices that need to outfit their staff on a tight budget.
In that respect, it excels. It may not have the best sound quality, but it features a durable design that can last for years, and the fact that it keeps one ear free makes it a great choice for chaotic offices where you have to keep an ear out for your coworkers. Despite that, the unidirectional mic offers decent quality noise cancelling technology, so the person on the other end of your call won't be treated to the background noise.
- Works with practically any computer
- One of the cheapest headset models
- Inline volume and mute controls
- Backed by a one year manufacturer warranty
10. Plantronics Blackwire C5220 Headset
No matter what port you have on your devices, you can be pretty confident that they'll be supported by this headset from Plantronics. It supports traditional USB connections as well as 3.5 mm aux cords and the newer USB-C format, and that makes it one of the best USB headsets if you're looking to transfer seamlessly from your gaming console to your phone to your laptop. If you want an all around USB headset for both the office and home, you can't go wrong with this model.
The inline controls are sleek and well designed so that you have access to everything you need with just a tap of your finger, and the sling headband sports a light weight and comfortably adjustable fit that's suitable even for a long gaming or work experience. And if you want to keep your hands free, it can respond to a variety of different voice commands.
- Offers voice command settings
- Great performance in noisy settings
- Supports a variety of different connections
- Includes a dynamic mute alert
USB Headset Buyer’s Guide
Whether you’re looking to buy a headset for gaming, for work, or as a means to take calls on your daily commute, the fundamental features and specs you should pay attention to aren’t going to change all that much. But there are some features that will benefit some applications more than others, and we’re here to help you understand what constitutes the best USB headset for your specific needs. Keep reading to learn more about the fundamentals and develop the skills you need to shop for a USB headset like a pro.
The first question to ask yourself (as well as the easiest one to answer) is whether or not the headset you’re looking at will work with your computer. Not all headset models will work with every version of every operating system. Sometimes that’s due to proprietary standards. Microsoft naturally doesn’t want people using their USB headset on a Mac computer, and Apple is similarly territorial about the hardware that they bring to market. But sometimes, the compatibility of a headset with your device is a matter of the tech built-in.
Don’t just look for compatibility with the operating system in general. Make sure that the headset you’re looking for is compatible with your version of the operating system. For most cheaper headset models in the $20 price range, this shouldn’t be a big deal, but if you want access to features like surround sound, you may want to pay closer attention to the specs. The Razer Kraken Kitty gaming headset, for instance, will work with a wide variety of different operating systems, but it can only employ THX 7.1 Surround Sound with Windows 10. That exclusion might not make it worth the $150 price tag for some users, since it’s arguably the best feature that this headset offers.
Before you go out and purchase a USB headset, you need to ask yourself what you’ll be using it for. Models that are designed to be used as part of the workplace experience tend to prioritize compatibility with voice chat applications, so that you can get access to the important VoIP functionalities it takes to run a modern business, and the more straightforward approach to their design means that they tend to be relatively inexpensive.
Headphones gaming enthusiasts should use cost more but tend to deliver a more luxurious experience. Features like surround sound and compatibility with Discord aren’t going to be much value at all towards professionals looking for a USB headset, but they’re the best choices if you want a gaming headset or something for listening to music. We’ll get into the specifics of those features and specs below, but we recommend that you consider what you’ll be using your USB headset for so you can zero in on the factors that you should be paying the most attention to for the ideal experience at the best price.
When looking at microphone quality, there’s one factor to consider above all else: whether or not it’s a noise-canceling microphone with sound isolation. That’s something that we made a necessity for every brand of USB headset that we included on our list, but it’s something you should pay close attention to when you’re shopping for a USB headset that’s not on our list.
A unidirectional model offers higher mic quality because it only picks up the sound that’s broadcast directly into it. That means that you don’t have to worry about background noise or feedback sabotaging your experience. And while it’s one of the features most important when you’re working in a busy office, it’s also one of the best features to pay attention to when looking at a USB gaming headset.
Another factor to consider when looking for microphones is whether or not the headset allows you to adjust the mic. This is known as a boom mic, and it’s one of the best options if you plan on alternating between using your headset as headphones. If you want to listen to music with high audio quality or alternate between single and multiplayer games without sacrificing how comfortable to wear it is, a boom mic is an essential. It reduces the risk of projecting sound from your mouth when you don’t want to, and it can help you when you’re juggling calls while also talking to people in the same room.
Most inexpensive headsets are going to come with basic stereo sound, although a rare few of the cheaper models rely solely on mono sound. What’s the difference? Stereo sound projects the sound through two channels, and that allows for a greater sense of fidelity. If you’re just using your headset for making basic phone calls, mono sound should be just fine, but the price differences are small enough that we suggest you make a jump towards stereo sound.
You may want to aim for a higher audio quality if you really want to immerse yourself in your favorite games, movies, or music. Many of the more expensive USB headsets come with some variation of 7 channel surround sound. While this won’t deliver the full surround sound experience that you’d get by setting up a series of connected speakers into your living room, they do create a greater sense of depth of sound that creates a strong sound stage and lets you feel like you’re in the midst of the experience you’re trying to relive.
Frequency response is something that comes up a lot when we discuss headphones, but it’s still relatively important when looking for a headset. The frequency response refers to the range of sound that headphones can deliver. Lower numbers refer to the level of bass reproduction, while higher numbers typify the higher registers extending into trebles. The human register for the frequency response range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz, but having a range that goes outside these parameters can deliver a richer sound quality for everything within that audible sound register.
Is frequency response going to be that important if you just wear your headset to make business or personal calls? Not really. Even USB headsets that don’t cover the full frequency response range are going to be capable of delivering other voices and traditional sound without distortion or difficulty. But if you’re looking for a headset for gaming, music, or movies, you’ll want a device that offers a wider range. Explosions, high pitched noises, and every other sound on the register will sound richer, and while it won’t help you too much when trying to communicate with your teammates over your mic, it can dramatically impact how immersed you are in the experience.
When we talk about drivers, we’re referring to the small speakers that are packed into each ear cup, and the quality and size of these drivers can have a pretty dramatic impact on sound performance. For casual and business users, the driver size likely won’t be that big of a deal. Unless you’re in a very loud environment, any driver should deliver clear enough performance for calls.
But if you want the best sound performance possible for gaming or films, you should keep an eye out for a higher rating driver. A larger driver can deliver louder sound, and they also tend to offer crisper and cleaner audio fidelity. That said, the driver size isn’t the be all and end all of sound quality. While you should pay attention to driver size when looking for the best headset to wear, you’ll get more value by reading Amazon and professional reviews to get a more detailed analysis of the sound quality.
Obviously, all of the headsets on our list are going to come with USB connections. USB comes with a number of advantages that include the ability to deliver higher sound quality without the need to rely on the connected device’s sound card and a lack of feedback, but there’s something to be said for the advantages that come from a 3.5 mm connector too. These make it easy to connect your mic and headset to other devices like phones and gaming controllers, although the sound reproduction tends to be less high fidelity through a 3.5 mm connection. But if you want to regularly swap between different devices, getting a model with both USB and aux inputs is a good idea.
You may have noticed that we haven’t included any wireless headsets on our list. While there are a lot of wireless models that use USB connectors, we considered that outside our purview for our list. If you do decide you want a wireless model, you can always check out our guide to the best wireless gaming headsets of 2020.
If you want to invest in a quality headset, you should look for one that you can wear for a long time. That’s where build quality comes in. Cheap plastic headsets are a dime a dozen, but you could end up spending more money in the long term by having to replace them every few months. By contrast, getting a headset made out of aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber is a great way to ensure that your headset will last for years. For that reason, we suggest that if you have the money to do so, be willing to invest a little more for the sake of long term finances.
Noise Cancelling Functionality
We’ve already talked about the advantage of noise cancelling technology built into mic models when making calls, but noise cancelling can apply to the ear pads as well. While you want to make sure that the people on the other end of your calls can hear you, you also want to ensure that the noise around you doesn’t affect your ability to hear calls.
Active noise cancelling features are popular among people who like to wear more advanced headphones, but they tend to be significantly less common in headsets. ANC works by creating signals that counterbalance background noise and filter it out of what you hear. But just because it’s hard to find ANC headsets doesn’t mean that you can’t find models with passive noise cancelling functionality. You’ll want to wear thicker ear pads that cover the entire ear completely. While they may not make use of any advanced technology, they do create a seal around your ears that will drown out everything but the people on the other end of your calls.
How much can you expect to pay for headsets? That will vary some, but there are some standards you can look for. Entry level, feature light headsets typically cost around $20 or less with more advanced professional models approaching $100. If you want a top of the line gaming headset, expect to pay somewhere in the range of $150 to $250.
The best mic quality and features in the world are only going to be a small relief if your headset isn’t comfortable to wear. But what’s comfortable for you has a lot to do with your personal sensibilities. Ask yourself if you prefer a lighter headset with just one cup or a heavier one that offers a lot of padding and full coverage of your ears. Memory foam is common in headsets, and it’s usually supplemented by heat reducing materials that keep the thick cups from smothering your ears too much. Leatherette is usually the best material for the exterior of the headphones, but in any case, you want to find materials that conform to the shape of your ears and also sport a breathable surface.
It’s just as important to pay attention to how the headband is designed. Some users prefer a snug fit, and that’s a great way to help minimize the presence of background sound, but it also creates an uncomfortable sensation for a lot of consumers. This is a situation where finding what works for you could require some trial and error, so we highly suggest that you take the time to try on some models so that you can find what suits your sense of style.
Weight and Size
It’s natural that a more lightweight headset is going to feel more comfortable over your ears, and that’s an especially important factor to pay attention to when you’re looking at a model that you can wear for long gaming sessions or for an entire workday. While a few of the more serious gaming headsets can weigh a few pounds, the more lightweight models typically just weigh a few ounces. That said, lightweight models also tend to be lighter on features, so you may have to make the sacrifice of a weightier model if you want a headset packed with the latest tech.
The dimensions are something else you should pay attention to. How bulky is the headset, and will it be easy to carry with you? Larger headsets can be uncomfortable, while smaller headsets might not fit you right if you have a larger head. We recommend that you take the time to try some models on so you can get a feel for the type of headset that’s well suited to you. A smaller size can also benefit you if you plan on traveling regularly with your headset. Some models can fold up or come with a carrying case, making them a great choice for taking with you on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are USB Headsets Better?
USB headsets have a couple of major advantages over headsets that use a more traditional 3.5 mm aux connection. The primary advantage is that they include their own digital to analog converter (DAC). In practical terms, that means higher sound quality that doesn’t rely on the sometimes underwhelming sound card of your computer or other device as well as a lower risk of feedback. It also allows you to multitask by playing music or video sound through your computer’s speaker and employing a separate sound channel through your headphones.
What is the Best USB Headset for VOIP?
If you want a headset that’s almost guaranteed to work with any voice over IP platform you can imagine, we can’t recommend the Jabra Evolve 40 enough. It’s been tested meticulously to work with major services like Skype as well as a huge variety of lesser known and more specialized VOIP services. If you’re looking to make IP calls without having to worry about compatibility, we think it’s the best model, and it’s available for a very affordable price.
Which HyperX Headset is the Best?
HyperX sits alongside Razer and SteelSeries as a top brand for gamers looking for the best headset, but he Cloud Revolver S is our standout winner among the products HyperX produces. The Cloud Revolver S headset is comfortable to wear, and it sits comfortably in the middle of the price points for HyperX mic headphones. The powerful drivers, compatibility with Discord, and ear pads reinforced with memory foam ensures that the Cloud Revolver S provides the customer with an all around stellar experience without costing a fortune.
What is the Best Gaming Headset of 2020?
The Razer Kraken Kitty is our pick for the best USB headsets of 2020. The Razer Kraken’s THX Spatial tech offers some of the best surround sound performance we’ve found on the market, and the ear cups feel very comfortable. There are also a ton of cool features like the ability to handle emotes directly through the compatible app. And if the RGB enabled cat ears on the Razer Kraken are a little too flamboyant for you, there are a few more traditional variants of the same headphones available that deliver the same quality surround sound performance.
Whether you’re looking for basic USB headsets you can make calls with, a lightweight model that can provide you with clear sound performance and comfortable ear pads during long gaming sessions, or a simple pair of headphones that you can also use to make personal calls, we’re sure there’s a device here that you’ll love to add to your collection. We hope you find a solid match that you’ll enjoy, and we hope you’ll continue to use HotRate when you’re trying to search for great deals. We guarantee you we’ll put in the effort to offer you only the best product reviews and guides.