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The Best Gaming Headset of 2021

Hunter Fenollol

Lightning-fast reaction speeds and clear communication skills are the pillars of any competitive esports player. The ability to “git gud” and reach your maximum potential in a game is restricted when playing by yourself. Capitalizing on callouts, team strategies and in-game audio pings are essential for fostering the growth of your abilities. Teamwork truly makes the dream work, and if you’re unable to provide and receive intel from team members on the fly, you can kiss your rank goodbye. The best gaming headset helps you clearly interact with fellow players while giving you a competitive advantage.

With broadcast-quality microphones and surround sound drivers, you’ll be able to work with teammates to identify threats in all directions. From plotting with your crew about which lane to gank, to listening for enemy footsteps, sound plays a major role in the outcomes of your favorite multiplayer games.

A solid gaming headset is comfortable to wear for extended amounts of time. It should also clearly capture your voice and offers undistorted sound with positional audio. Our picks for the best gaming headsets offer a premier sound experience tailored for both competitive and solo play. Clear microphones eliminate background noise and an expansive soundstage enhances contextual information provided by on-screen visuals so that you can react faster.

While price points for gaming headsets vary wildly, we’d argue that the average cost of a quality gaming headset hovers around $150. Just because a headset is expensive doesn’t make it good. Our best budget gaming headset performs as well as much more expensive competitors. The best gaming headset is also subjective to your needs and platform. We’re confident that our list of the best gaming headsets below has a pair for every play style.

1. HyperX Cloud II Wireless

HyperX Cloud 2 Gaming HeadsetThe best gaming headset for most players.

Balancing performance with price, there’s a reason HyperX’s Cloud II remains the reigning champ of best selling gaming headsets. Adhering to the classic “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” principle, HyperX’s recently released Cloud II wireless is a spitting image of its predecessor, just wireless. Surprisingly, this updated model is lighter than the original, despite the addition of an onboard battery and wireless tech.

The unique memory foam and lightweight build help you forget you’re even wearing a headset, perfect for extended tournament play sessions. With a battery life of up to 30 hours, this headset will outlast even the most hardcore of players. While the bi-directional cardioid microphone is clear enough, it isn’t the star of the show like our next choice the Logitech G Pro X. Luckily, it detaches easily for travel or if you’re diving into a single player game.

Utilizing a USB dongle, the Cloud II’s wireless protocol is a 2.4 GHz signal. The connection is stable and plays great with any PC rig or PlayStation gaming console. On PC you’ll be able to access a feature suite for active mic monitoring, virtual 7.1 surround sound and more. It’d be nice if this edition was updated with an improved microphone or design update, but for most players this is a great gaming headset.

Connectivity: Wireless via USB Dongle (2.4 GHz) | Drivers: 53mm | Frequency response: 15 HZ – 20,000 HZ | Weight: 309 Grams | Standout Feature: Signature HyperX comfort for hours of uninterrupted gameplay

Price: $149.99 USD

2. Logitech G Pro X

G Pro X Gaming HeadsetThe best gaming headset for content creators.

Logitech produces satisfying hardware with tactile feedback from their mice (especially the G.O.A.T., the G502) to keyboards. Their headsets are always of high quality but previously lacked standout features to make them a top pick contender. After going hands-on with the Logitech G Pro X, the incorporation of Blue Vo!ce microphone software is truly game changing. If you’ll be leading a squad or recording voice overs, you can get away with using the microphone on this headset alone.

Logitech’s G Hub software makes adjusting your microphone straightforward. Existing profiles let you easily choose a setting best suited for your existing play environment. Editing individual settings is also a breeze from de-hissing to clip control. Discord calls especially benefit from the microphone. When the software modulates your microphone, you come through not only loud but incredibly clear without a hint of distortion. This is perfect for high stress level situations where you need to clearly relay information without being impeded.

My one gripe with this headset is that it’s limited to a wired configuration. Logitech is quite generous with wires provided for multiple connection options in the box. The sound quality is very good with a punchy bass that doesn’t become a distorted mess during firefights in FPS games. Provided you don’t have a Chuck E Cheese internet connection, your teammates won’t have any excuses to grief you for mumbled callouts ever again.

Connectivity: Wired (3.5mm, USB with included external sound card) | Drivers: 50mm | Frequency response: 20 HZ – 20,000 HZ | Weight: 320 Grams | Standout Feature: Best microphone on a gaming headset thanks to Blue audio software

Price: $169.99 USD

3. Razer BlackShark V2 Pro

Blackshark Gaming HeadsetThe best wireless gaming headset.

If you want largely the same experience as the Logitech G Pro X without the cord, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro delivers. The BlackShark V2 Pro has a nearly identical feature set to the G Pro X, with superior sound isolation, rich highs, powerful lows and a more comfortable build in addition to the enhanced performance.

The BlackShark V2 Pro protrudes from the sea of gaming headsets thanks to its powerful 50 MM drivers and THX spatial audio system. This surround sound audio is the real deal, accurately simulating an immersive surround sound environment with accurate panning. For professional-level esports play in a wireless format you couldn’t ask for more. This headset has it all; effective noise cancellation, clear communication and positional audio that works like a dream.

If the cost makes you wince you can grab the more cumbersome wired version for half the price.

Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wireless, 3.5 mm wire | Drivers: 50mm | Frequency response: 12 HZ – 28,000 HZ | Weight: 320 Grams | Standout Feature: THX Spatial Audio

Price: $179.99

4. Logitech G433

Logitech G433The best modular gaming headset.

Logitech’s G433 performance gaming headset is super stylish and provides maximum comfort. The stain-resistant fabric headset is incredibly light and fully modular to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer a sports mesh or microfiber feel for your earpads, both options come in the box.

While you can casually rock the streetwear inspired G433 with your phone on the go, this is first and foremost a gaming headset. Beyond style, Logietch’s software enables DTS 7.1 surround sound and Pro-G audio drivers that gives positional audio in games a real kick. Loot, footsteps and gunfire are all amplified to a level that nearly feels like cheating.

The detachable boom mic’s volume output lands on the lower end of the spectrum so if you’ll be in a louder playspace, this may not be a good option. A built-in micro pop filter improves speech and reduces audio clipping. Ultimately the G433 is a great gaming headset for those who like to customize their gear. The headset comes in a wide palette of colors and designs – perfect for those who will be using it beyond gaming.

Connectivity: Wired via USB and 3.5 mm | Drivers: 40mm | Frequency response: 20 HZ – 20,000 HZ | Weight: 259 Grams | Standout Feature: Modular for personalized comfort

Price: $129.99

5. SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless

SteelSeries Arctis 1The best gaming headset for Xbox Series X/One.

Microsoft really dropped the ball when it comes to the functionality of gaming headsets with Xbox consoles. The gaming console requires a special communications chip to allow peripherals to function properly, unlike the plug and play ease of PC or Playstation. SteelSeries navigated around this glaring oversight with the Arctis 1 Wireless. Thanks to a slick USB-C dongle you’ll get a powerful wireless gaming headset that also works on other platforms. The secret is a toggle on the wireless dongle that switches between Xbox mode and general mode.

Not only does this headset come in badass designs like the most recent various Cyberpunk themes, it sounds great too. The Arctis 1 is SteelSeries’ entry-level model but still competes with the major players. Even with 40 millimeter drivers that fall towards the smaller end of our picks, the sound is still full and details are quite crisp.

Granted, the microphone isn’t stellar and the earpads sit on my ears rather than creating a perfect seal. But, for under $100 you’ll be hard pressed to find a better wireless gaming headset for your Xbox.

Connectivity: Wireless via USB-C Dongle (2.4 GHz), 3.5mm | Drivers: 40mm | Frequency response: 20 HZ – 20,000 HZ | Weight: 252 Grams | Standout Feature: Optimized for Xbox

Price: $99.99 USD

6. SteelSeries Arctis Pro

Arctis Pro Gaming HeadsetThe best gaming headset for professional players.

A step up from it’s little sibling, the Arctis Pro improves upon everything we love about the 1 tenfold. With a customizable tension setting ski goggle headband and athletic airweave cushioning, professional gamers can make their way through a tournament without breaking a sweat. Fully customizable, this headset allows you to set the design of everything from your ear plates to lighting color.

Exclusive to the Arctis Pro is an external DAC (digital to analog converter) optimized for gaming. This box with an OLED display allows for higher quality audio than competitors with built in converters. You’ll be able to individually control volume, EQ curve, LED colors and the audio mix between game and chat on the fly without any software. This translates to less time spent playing with software settings and more time in action.

The sound is best in class with hi-res audio that is well-balanced and provides a wide soundstage that puts competitors to shame. If you’re looking for the most professional option this is it, chief.

Connectivity: 3.5mm wire into GameDAC | Drivers: 40mm | Frequency response: 10 HZ – 40,000 HZ | Weight: 313 Grams | Standout Feature: External DAC box with OLED display

Price: $179.99

7. Razer Kraken X

Razer Kraken HeadsetThe best budget gaming headset.

Razer’s budget gaming headset feels like a premium peripheral without compromise. Sure, the body is plastic and you’re limited to a 3.5mm connection. But for under $50 you’re getting an immersive 7.1 surround sound experience, plush memory foam cushioning and a clear microphone.

The Kraken X manages to provide the bells and whistles of premium gaming headsets for a fraction of their cost. At just 250 grams the Kraken X sits weightlessly upon your head for hours of gaming. I live in New York where we experience all four seasons and have yet to experience a problem with hot ears that some reviews mention.

If you’re an experienced gaming headset user the Kraken X sounds a bit hollow regardless of the 7.1 software. But as a stocking stuffer for new and younger gamers, the Kraken X is the best budget gaming headset you can buy.

Connectivity: 3.5mm wire | Drivers: 40mm | Frequency response: 12 HZ – 28,000 HZ | Weight: 250 Grams | Standout Feature: Extreme comfort at a budget price

Price: $49.99 USD

8. Sennheiser GSP 370

Sennheiser HeadsetThe best gaming headset for Playstation 4/5.

From cars to clothes, I’ve always been a sucker for German engineering. Sennheiser’s GSP 370 wireless gaming headset reinforces my tastes. The premium construction, whopping 100 hour battery life and incredible sound truly make for an exceptional gaming headset that’s perfect for the Playstation 4.

Whether you’re working your way through Sony’s incredible AAA exclusives or smacking the competition around on FIFA, the GSP 370 transmits sound flawlessly without delay. If you need to take a break from chatting, simply flip the microphone up. This mutes your audio input so you can take care of whatever business you need to tend to, then flip the microphone down to jump back into action. If you keep your PlayStation in the living room, like most people, this is a godsend. No longer will teammates be subjected to 20 questions between you and a household member during a round of VIP Escort in CoD Black Ops Cold War.

Every GSP 370 purchase grants access to four esports masterclasses through EPOS in partnership with Cloud9, OPL, LCS, BLAST Premier, North and SK Gaming. These lessons are live events and require you to register in advance. Kicking off on January 9th with CS:GO (taught by Cloud9 and North) and League of Legends (hosted by Cloud9 and SK Gaming) professional player tips and strategies, you’ll be able to learn directly from the pros.

Connectivity: Wireless via USB Dongle (2.4 GHz) | Drivers: 50mm | Frequency response: 20 HZ – 20,000 HZ | Weight: 285 Grams | Standout Feature(s): 100 hour battery life, Flip-to-mute microphone

Price: $149.99

9. Audio-Technica ATH-ADG1X

Audio TechnicaThe best open air gaming headset for maximum fidelity.

Audio-Technica is a premium audio equipment producer, so it comes as no surprise that their foray into gaming headsets with the ATH-ADG1X is naturally one of the best gaming headsets available. The sound of this gaming headset is unrivaled thanks to an open air design that ditches side paneling for a mesh enclosure. The result is a more open sound that is unfortunately prone to soundleaks of ambient noise in and gaming sounds out.

For those who don’t mind a bit of active listening in the space around them, these are the clearest and most comfortable headphones on our list. A 3D wing support system shapes to your head for a perfect fit every time and at just 285 grams the ATH-ADG1X is insanely light. The large and in charge 53 MM drivers pump out refined audio that bests every other headset so far.

This is a premium gaming headset with a premium performance to match its price tag.

Connectivity: 3.5 mm wire | Drivers: 53mm | Frequency response: 5 Hz – 35,000 Hz | Weight: 285 Grams | Standout Feature: Open air design with 3D wing support

Price: $399.99 USD

10. HyperX Cloud MIX

HyperX Cloud Mix 1The best gaming headset for multimedia use.

HyperX is lauded for its mainline Cloud series, but the brand’s Cloud MIX gaming headset is an all-in-one audio solution in a league of its own. This model mixes a wired hi res audio certified gaming headset with a capable pair of bluetooth headphones. If you find yourself switching between different listening devices for games, work and mobile use, then the Mix is for you.

As a gaming headset, the hi res audio certification ensures rich audio with crisp details. With a frequency range of 10 Hz to 40 KHz you’ll find a depth comparable to $300+ headphones. The boom microphone ensures you sound clear while gaming. When you’re done gaming you can simply detach the mic and audio cable for the wireless freedom of bluetooth. The built-in microphone leaves much to be desired and the high res audio experience disappears when untethered. However, the lightweight comfort and convenience of not having to switch between audio devices far outweigh the cons.

In my time with the Cloud MIX gaming headset I’ve found the inferior bluetooth mode was used far more often. In fact, I rarely reached for my previous daily drivers (Apple’s Airpods) due to how comfortable the MIX is. The battery managed to last two days on end without any noticeable dips in quality. If you’re a gamer who works from home I can’t recommend the Cloud MIX enough.

Connectivity: Wireless via Bluetooth, 3.5mm wire | Drivers: 40mm | Frequency response: 10 HZ – 40,000 HZ | Weight: 275 Grams | Standout Feature: Gaming headset that doubles as a set of bluetooth headphones with 20 hours of battery life.

Price: $129.99

Are Gaming Headsets worth it?

As a critical tool that directly affects gameplay ability, a gaming headset is as important as any essential input peripheral such as a keyboard or controller. Regardless if you’re playing competitively or not, a good gaming headset will always give you an edge over using basic earbuds or speakers. Gaming headsets of yesteryear carried a stigma of being mediocre headphones with a boosted bass and gamer aesthetic. Modern gaming headsets are engineered with professional use in mind for the clearest communication possible. Gaming headsets perform as well as top-tier audiophile headphones and can be used with nearly all of your devices, giving more bang for your buck.

From casual 2K players to ranked Siege experts, any competitive gamer can agree that an audio experience can make or break a game. In the selections above, each of our choices had a unique feature that improved our gaming experiences. Whether a microphone had the ability to flip up and mute with ease for quick breaks or an independent external DAC allowed you to fine-tune your audio settings with the touch of a button, gaming headsets go beyond a mere style choice.

What headsets do the pro gamers wear?

The most popular gaming headset brands in esports we’ve seen include SteelSeries, HyperX and Logitech, Unsurprisingly these brands each have multiple entries on our list, making up more than half of our choices. Built with extensive play sessions, genre fluidity and audiophile quality in mind, these brands continue to refine the quality of gaming headphones.

What do pro players like Shroud and Myth have in common? They rock Logitech G Pro X headsets that are lightweight and produce the clearest audio for hours on end. Xyp9X is the king of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and prefers the comfort of HyperX’s Cloud II. Summit1G uses our pick for the best open air gaming headset, the ATH-ADG1X by Audio-Technica. And Pokimane, one of the most successful streamers of all time, prefers the HyperX Cloud Alpha Pro.

Is Stereo or 7.1 surround sound better?

True 7.1 surround sound provided by a series of speakers bests two-channel stereo audio any day of the week. This is because in a 7.1 surround sound setup there are more sound sources and angles around the listener. Any headset with built-in 7.1 is using a virtual audio plane to replicate the experience and results in a quality that feels cheap and crowded. Simulated 7.1 boils down to little more than stereo sound run through filters. Even in higher end gaming headsets this version of 7.1 surround sound is just okay, stereo audio users aren’t missing out.

A majority of professional gamers use stereo headphones since many titles lack 7.1 support and offer their own binaural technology alternatives like Dolby Atmos to simulate virtual surround sound. This completely canabalizes the hype of 7.1 surround sound gaming headsets. So while 7.1 surround sound is better on paper, stereo sound is superior for gaming headsets.

Hunter Fenollol
Hunter Fenollol

Hunter is a New York-based tech journalist with a passion for gaming. If he's not reviewing the latest gadgets he can be found playing competitive VR esports like Onward and Population:One