It's a fact; having a good gaming headset will make you better at your favourite games. If you're sick of being blown up by those exploding shanks in Destiny or not hearing someone hurtle up behind you in Doom's speedy multiplayer again, you need better cans. TV speakers just aren't enough for proper spatial awareness. There are plenty of gaming headsets out there so it can be overwhelming to know which to go for. On the plus side, this means that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one that matches your budget. But how do you know what the best gaming headset is for you?
Finding a headset that not only sounds good, delivers clear audio, great soundscapes and just the right amount of bass, but also has a great mic, feels right on the head and costs less than a new console...that’s the challenge and that's where we can help. Whether you are looking for a headset for use with PS4 or Xbox One, or a PC headset for long stints on CS: GO, there's something here for every budget and then probably a couple to add to a wish list or two. With virtual reality basically screaming for headsets too, it's important to have a set of headphones that'll really do your games justice. Here's our pick of the very best gaming headsets available today.
1. Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
Made for esports, this headset feels and sounds incredible
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 498g | Cable length: 5ft | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter required, not included), Mac, mobile
Compatible with both consoles and PC, these cans are in a league of their own when it comes to detailed sound quality and comfort. Developed with esports players in mind, the headset itself has multiple tension options and even a nice feature where you can reduce the pressure of the ear cushions on your glasses. You might scoff now but add that to the tension settings on the headband and you've got a set of headphones that don't feel like they're crushing your skull after a few hours of play.
The included microphone is ultra clear already but you can buy an additional noise cancelling microphone to make sure just your voice is all your teammates get. Also available is the excellent Elite Pro Tactical Audio Controller to precision control your audio experience down to a decibel. Regardless of whether you go for the add-ons or not, the headset is a brilliant overall package that's clearly been crafted with long term gaming in mind. Prepare to hear sounds you didn't even know were there.
Best for.... Wired gaming on a high end budget
2. Razer ManO'War - Wireless headset
Ideal for both PC and PS4, these are wire-free wonders
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 376g | Wireless range: 12m/ 40ft | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4
If you wanted a reason to convert to the world of wirefree gaming sound, here it is. The ManO' War is the best gaming headset we've found that delivers on audio quality, looks and exceptional comfort. The tiny Bluetooth dongle handily lives inside the headset itself (making it far less possible to lose) and set up is painfully easy. On PS4 you can just plug the dongle straight into one of your USB ports and it automatically connects. On PC it's equally simple and you'll get bonus exceptional simulated 7.1 surround sound via Razer's Synapse app.
Whether you're on PS4 or PC, the audio quality is brilliant - Destiny's weaponry thuds especially satisfyingly on console - and it's all in a surprisingly light package. The buttons and controls are located on each ear and reasonably easy to find once you know what you're looking for. Volumes for both the mic and audio are on there too and a press of the wheel will mute either. The mic too is easily retractable for jumping in and out of chat. Plus, despite the fact that you're never going to see them, both cans light up with Razer's 16.8 million Chroma colours. Nice. Overall, we can't recommend these cans enough.
Best for... Wireless gaming on a high end budget
3. Kingston HyperX Cloud
An absolute beast of a gaming headset at a brilliant price
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 350g | Cable length: 3m | Drivers: 53mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter required, not included)
It was no April Fool’s when storage and PC memory manufacturer, Kingston, released a gaming headset back at the start of April 2014. Two years later and it still stands the test of time. Kingston brought in the expertise of Swedish gaming experts, QPAD, to help it with its first set of headphones. And, building on the excellent QH-90 cans, Kingston tweaked the original’s slightly flat bass response just enough to make the HyperX Cloud an astoundingly good gaming headset.
You genuinely won’t find a set of headphones that sound as good for the price of the original Clouds. Kingston created a second gen version with USB 7.1 surround support, but changed little else, which still makes the originals perfect if you just want a standard 3.5mm connection so ideal for plugging into a PS4 controller. Kingston has gone its own way with its new Revolver headset, but it’s twice the price of the stunning HyperX Cloud.
Best for... Great sound on a budget
4. SteelSeries Siberia 800
The ultimate in wireless luxury
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 318g | Wireless range: 10m | Drivers: 40mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Mac, mobile, Xbox One (via 3.5mm audio cable with Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter, not included)
If you're looking to invest in a monster set of luxury gaming headphones for all your devices and not have the worry of pesky wires, the Siberia 800s should be top of your shopping list. These cans run through an included external transmitter and it's easy to switch between devices without any hassle. You've got multiple options when it comes to sound too. Wire up your optical cable and the 800s deliver exemplary surround sound that means you're not going to want to take your new favourite headphones off any time soon.
We've no complaints with the stereo offering either and the bass is booming enough to plug into your mobile device for music when you've not got your head in the game. Another nice thing is the supplying of an additional lithium ion battery so no running out of sound when you need it most. The extra battery charges inside the transmitter so it's ready when you need to swap them out. If you want a multipurpose - not to mention comfortable - wireless gaming headset option for PC or console, this is definitely worth the investment.
Best for... Luxury wireless gaming
5. Creative Sound BlasterX H5
An excellent balance of price and sound quality
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 260g | Cable length: 1.2m with 1.2m extender | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter required, not included)
Sound Blaster is a brand synonymous with gaming audio history stretching back decades and the closed-back H5 headset is another great option for getting the best aural experience in-game. These headphones don’t have the same level of frequency response as the Kingstons, but the Sound BlasterX H5 cans still have a great sound to them. They're comfortable with a snug fit around the ears and will work with both PC and consoles.
Worth noting too is that the noise reduction microphone works well for in game chat and mobile but is of course removable if you don't fancy walking down the street looking like you're in charge of a fleet of spaceships.
Best for... Great sound at a brilliant pricepoint
6. Audio Technica ATH-AG1x
Money no object luxury cans
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 320g | Cable length: 1.2m with 2m extender | Drivers: 53mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter required, not included)
Audio-Technica has been creating audiophile headphones for years, but its first gaming headset, the ATH-AG1, didn’t go down so well with gamers. Not resting on its laurels though it has recently released a revamped version of the closed-back cans, with more a more solid soundscape and incredible detail. The only downside of this great-sounding headset is the slightly odd ‘wing’ design of its headband.
Audio-Technica’s AG1x is the sort of headset which screams ‘what do you mean you don’t have a dedicated soundcard?!’ when you plug it into your motherboard. This is a premium headset which deserves serious audio hardware. It will work with PS4 and mobile via its 3.5mm jack but to give yourself the audio you deserve, you'll want a PC with a dedicated sound card to deliver all those perfect decibels straight into your brain.
Best for... PC users looking for the best gaming headset sound quality
7. Plantronics RIG 4VR
Perfect for VR gaming
Acoustic design: Open Back | Weight: 240.g | Cable length: 0.4m & 1.2m | Drivers: 40 mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter required, not included)
Specifically designed to work with PlayStation VR, the officially licensed RIG 4VR headset is incredibly light and made so it sits away from the PS VR headband when you wear it. This basically means nothing is pressing uncomfortably against your head when you’re wearing both bits of kit so no squeezed skull for you. While you don't need one as there's one built into the VR headset, these cans also include a mic for shouting at your Destiny fireteam as they fail, yet again, to defend the zones. Helpfully this can easily be removed or ‘flipped up’ to mute it when your obscenities get too much.
Sound-wise these do a great job of picking up little sound details and enhancing the 3D audio from the VR headset but even with the volume up you can still be left wishing they were a little louder. The interchangeable cables also handily mean you won’t get too tangled up in a mess of wires while gaming in VR or have to hunch over your pad when you go back to the normal (boring) sofa and TV set-up.
Best for... VR gaming in comfort