If you want to get the best audio from your games, and make sure you can chat to your pals online, you're going to need some additional kit. No, you can't just use the headset that came in the box. Well, you can, but you can have better - and you don't have to spend a fortune. Gaming headsets can be incredibly expensive, and not just a "what the heck" kinda payday purchase, but there are brilliant mid-range options too.
If you aren't playing Destiny 2 with a set of good headphones, you are seriously missing out. The depth of sound on Nessus alone is worth the admission price, not to mention the serious advantage in the Crucible when someone is trying to sneak up behind you while you're aiming. Regardless of which game you're playing though, it's time to admit you should be funnelling all the audio into your ears instead of the wall behind the TV. You need pitch perfect sound and you need it pumped directly into your ears from the best gaming headsets.
But which to pick? There's an astonishing number of headphones out there from a range of big brands who all promise the world. The truth of the matter is that regardless which set you choose, and whether you're looking for a gaming PC (or maybe gaming laptops), Xbox One, or PS4 headset, you're going to get a world of audio that you didn't even know was there. You'll realise that you can hear your scope zooming, NPCs you didn't know actually spoke will suddenly burst to life, and the world will seem that much richer.
There's even the fact that you'll get better at multiplayer as your spacial awareness improves approximately 1000%. Budget wise, there's no need to spend the earth, just focus on what you want to use your headset for and whether you can justify wireless just to make it that little bit easier to walk to the fridge with your friends howling in your ears. So without further ado, from wired offerings with serious comfort and cans made specifically for VR, here's the very best gaming headsets for consoles and PC you can buy in 2017.
Bear in mind that if you've got an original Xbox One controller and not the newer model with a 3.5mm jack, you'll need an Xbox One stereo headset adaptor that you can pick up from Amazon.
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 not included), Switch, Mac, mobile
Compatible with PS4, Xbox One (with adaptor) 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. V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless
Perfect for gaming and everything else
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4. Xbox One
Here's the thing. These aren't gaming headphones but plug them in - with the included 3.5mm jack or add on the exceptional Boom Pro Mic - and suddenly that won't actually matter. Everything about the Crossfade 2 feels luxurious. Solid metal, serious durability, soft ear cushioning and, oh yeah, incredible sound. Memory foam cushions look after your ears while astonishingly clear audio fires itself into your brain. The joy of these headphones is that you can head out and use them wirelessly with Bluetooth on your smartphone for 14 hours before heading inside, plugging into your PS4 or Xbox One controller and filling your head with brilliant gunfire and music.
Even if you don't go for the Boom Mic, there's a mic on the cans themselves but you won't get quite the same experience. If you don't fancy the headphones though, the Boom mic is a great way of adding an excellent mic to your current setup for a minimal cost. Plus, not only do they feel and sound brilliant but, when it comes to the shields covering each ear, you can head to V-MODA's website and have them print you a whole new set with a metal and 3D pattern of your choice. The price isn't going to be for everyone but for a set of cans you can use for both gaming and not be ashamed of on the commute, there's nothing better.
Best for... Exceptional audio with no budget restraints
4. Razer Kraken Pro V2
Great sound and comfort for a sub £100 pricepoint
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 322g | Cable length: 1.3m | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter not included), Switch, PC
This list can get expensive so it's always good to play with a set of headphones under the £100/$100 mark that are both comfortable and great sound. The Kraken V2 is the sequel to Razer's Kraken range and is ideal for PS4, Xbox One, or even Switch for a pair of ultra snug and world cancelling headphones. The oval ear cushions are snug but not skull crushing and the mic is unobtrusive. The only downside is its looks. If you don't want to look like you're definitely wearing a gaming headset, these aren't the cans for subtlety. Sound and comfort though, the Kraken Pros have in spades.
Best for... Great sound for less than £100/$100
5. 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 (Xbox One Stereo Adapter not included), Switch
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
6. Roccat Khan Pro
Affordable quality and comfort aimed at PC gamers
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 230g | Cable length: 2.45m | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter not included), Switch, PC
You might not have heard of Roccat, as it's not quite as well known as something like SteelSeries or Astro, but it's a manufacturer that's really pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve without having to take out a small loan. With the Khan Pro, Roccat proves that you can get a fantastic sounding product for under £80/$80, that also feels like a slice of head heaven. Light, comfortable and not too garish, the Khan Pro feels like a premium product without the bulk. They might not be something you want to take on a train or plane with you, but they're great for those extended gaming sessions spent chatting to your pals. The mic isn't removeable either, but it does have excellent pick-up and manages to focus on your voice more than background noise. It's focused at PC gamers on a modest budget, but it does come with an adaptor for 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning it's also a fantastic all-rounder gaming headset too.
Sound quality is also seriously impressive on this one, with a bass boost mode available to, well, boost the already powerful and deep bass. The high-end sound quality is crisp, clean and concise too, meaning all those bass-heavy explosions are balanced with the ripple of gunshots and slice of swords.
Best for... Absolute comfort without the price tag
7. SteelSeries Arctis 3
A great combination of price and exceptional sound quality
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 272g | Cable length: 3m | Drivers: 40mm | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One (Xbox One Stereo Adapter not included), Switch, PC
If you're looking for a headset that isn't going to break the bank but doesn't look too much like something you'd have to hide from people while wearing, then the Arctis 3 makes a perfect choice. Ultra-comfortable around the ears and head and with a great sound range, this headset works with everything that's got a 3.5mm jack - oh hello, Switch - and is really easy easy on the eyes. You can even switch out that ski goggle-style band for something brighter. The clear highlight though is the microphone. Helpfully retractable (so no risk of losing it on the day you decide you don't want to speak to anyone), it's excellent for background noise cancelling, leaving your squadmates with just the voice that matters. Yours. Obviously. If you've got a bit more money to spend though, head up to the Arctis 5 for a bit more literal bang for your buck.
Best for... Great sound and good looks on a budget
8. Sony Platinum Wireless headset
Pitch-perfect 3D wire free sound for PS4 owners
Acoustic design: Closed Back | Weight: 272g | Drivers: 50mm | Compatibility: PS4
Ok, a PS4-only offering here but Sony's latest exclusive headset deserves a spot on this list. Not only a brilliant price for wireless headphones, PlayStation's Platinum headset offers up Sony's proprietary 3D audio set up which truly has to be heard to be believed. Want to feel like you are Nathan Drake? Load up 3D audio compatible Uncharted 4 and take in the aural bullet-whizzing scenery with glee. Even in standard games, the 7.1 surround is excellent. 50mm drivers offer up a nice even aural offering and everything sounds crystal clear with a rich depth.
The Platinum headset also manages to be one of the easiest on the eyes options on the list with a metal headband and brushed effect cans. Don't let that solid looking outer fool you though, the earcups are beautifully cushioned and brilliant for long periods of play. The only downside is that the mics are positioned on the earcups and while the sound isn't bad by any means, it feels off not to have a directional mic in the mix. There's a cable with a 3.5mm jack if you run out of battery but the charge holds for an impressive length of time. Throw in the easy to use buttons on the cans themselves and this is a brilliant wireless headset for a solid price.
Best for... Wireless hungry PS4 users with an ear for quality sound
9. 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 not included), Switch
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
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