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The best gaming headsets 2021 - hear your games better with a top headset this year

The best gaming headsets 2021
(Image credit: Sennheiser/Future)

Adding one of the best gaming headsets to your setup is one of the easiest and outright best ways to improve your gaming experience. Wholesale. If you're after immersive top-tier gaming audio and clear chat audio then one of the best gaming headsets - from this here pile perhaps - are what you need and will fill that audio gap in your life. Even though the gaming headset market is a very, very saturated one, this is our distilled list of the best gaming headsets money can buy - and there's something here for everyone as plenty of these will be cross-platform compatible. Though if you're looking for the best gaming headset for your chosen platform, it'll likely be here too.

No matter how impressed we are by modern TV speakers and sound systems of all stripes; there's just nothing quite like the immersion of the best gaming headsets can offer. Both for games and any other media. These gaming headsets will just give you that extra clarity, range, depth, and detail that the best gaming TVs or best gaming monitors just can't provide.

However, the gaming headset market is a packed one, so searching for the best is no easy task, especially if you want to get the right fit for your setup, games and, of course, budget. That's where this guide comes in as we've tested all these headsets and can vouch for their quality and the differences that they offer. We carefully compare models to look out for excellent audio quality, comfort for lengthy sessions, and microphone clarity so you can walk away with a well-informed take on what will be the best gaming headset for you.

We haven't simply picked out the most expensive gaming headsets though, we've tried and tested and picked ones we feel represent great value for money across a range of budgets and we've even compared the latest prices should you wish to buy one today.

Whatever one you choose, when you team it with your favorite console or maybe one of the best gaming PCs - like the ASUS ROG GA15 PC that I use in my setup - the results will be fantastic. If you'd prefer to search by platform, we've got longer lists elsewhere as follows too:

Best PS5 headset | Best Xbox Series X headset | Best PS4 headset | Best Xbox One headset | Best Nintendo Switch headset | Best PC headset for gaming | Razer headsets

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Razer BlackShark V2

The best gaming headset going for 2021

Acoustic design: Closed back; over ear | Cable length: 1.8m / 5.9ft | Drivers: TriForce Titanium 50mm | Weight: 9.2oz / 262g | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Mobile

Exquisite game audio
Brilliant richness and audio detail
Very comfortable
Near-endless versatility and customization with the app
Great bang-for-buck value
*Scratches head*.....

Only recently released but easily one of the best, if not the best, gaming headset I have tested in, well, ever. Taking the original BlackShark design from eight years ago - a helicopter pilot-esque aesthetic - and equipping it with brand new tech, a lightweight design, and Razer quality and stylings, the BlackShark V2 exudes brilliance in every way. Its design is lightweight and comfortable; its audio quality is seriously excellent thanks to brand new Titanium drivers; its microphone is one of the best I've ever used - and is brand new too; and through a companion app, it's got features and customization coming out of everywhere. The stars have really aligned with this headset and I can't wait to use it every time I sit down to play.

Teamed with the recently-released THX Spatial Audio app, and a whole new world of game audio, customization and refinement will be open to you, taking the already-excellent audio of the headset to greater heights. And with a price tag of $100, you get enormous value for money. If you have the budget and you want one of the best, this is it.

Read more: Razer BlackShark V2 review

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Astro A50

A fantastic and luxurious wireless headset

Acoustic design: Closed back; over ear | Drivers: 40mm Neodymium Magnet | Weight: 11.2oz / 318g | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Mobile

Wireless charging
Peerless comfort
Powerful, distinct sound
Software isn’t as luxurious as the hardware
Unclear next-gen compatibility 
Slow to charge

Astro’s A50s have been a high-tide mark not just within the manufacturer’s own product range but in console-compatible wireless headsets for the better part of a decade now. A few minutes with the latest version of the A50 and it’s clear why - peerless comfort and build quality, twinned with a rich sound even the most tedious audiophile would be impressed by. This version’s had its wireless base station slimmed down to take up less space on your desk and charges the headset to about 15 hours of charge, which is about the standard for current wireless models. Charge time is comparatively slow, but you do have the option to hook up via USB and keep using while you’re juicing. 

Astro’s Command Center software isn’t quite befitting of such a top-end product, but it still provides a choice of EQ profiles and tweaks within its simple interface. Not that tweaks are really necessary here - the sound you get by default is really special. 

It’s authoritative but tight in the low end, making those low resonant frequencies felt without drowning out the subtler details higher up the frequency range. In fact, it might be the single best for sound articulation on the wireless market right now. 

It’s still a gaming headset of course, so it’s not a truly flat response. It’s just flat enough to excel in music as well as games, but ‘scooped’ enough to make the bombast extra-exciting when you’re in the virtual trenches. 

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EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 370

The best gaming headset when battery life meets quality

Acoustic design: Semi-open back; around ear | Cable length: wireless; 1.5m charging cable | Drivers: N/A | Weight: 9.9oz | Compatibility: PS4, PC, Mac

Some of the best game audio ever
Incredible battery life
Sennheiser quality design and build
A little expensive
'Only' PS4, PC and mac compatible

In short, the EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 370's quality comes from a combination of all the factors that make a headset great. The sound quality is as good as Sennheiser's reputation with such clarity, detail, and depth; the build and design are solid, sturdy and the perfect weight while the ear cups fit so they block out external noise through design alone; and the battery life is genuinely incredible - nearly 100-hours kind of incredible. The price tag will be a bit steep at first glance, but it;'s not unusual for a premium gaming headset to come in above the three-figure mark nowadays, and if there's one headset that does more than enough to justify that price, its this one. Get this and you won't look back.

As an interesting aside, it's hard to find out exactly how big the GSP 370's drivers are. Some internet searching did reveal that Sennheiser seemed to want to keep this information quite close to their chest on the basis that the company doesn't want these numbers to be the way its headsets are judged. Make of that what you will. And it largely doesn't matter, as I bloody loved them and you can read more on why in my full EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 370 review. If only they were compatible with the Xbox One and Switch consoles too, then this would be the best for everyone. 

Seriously, if audio quality and battery life (if you had to pick two factors) are the most important features of a headset to you, then you should go for the GSP 370s.

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Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

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Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

The best bang-for-buck value gaming headset

Acoustic design: Semi-open back | Cable length: 4.3ft / 1.3m | Drivers: 50mm | Weight: 12.6oz | Compatibility: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch, Mac, Mobile

Great all-rounder
Decent audio through standard connection
Very comfy
Mid-range sound could be clearer
Xbox misses out on some features

Largely speaking, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition is our favorite headset for anyone looking to get the best they can for a just-under $100 / £100 budget. The value is excellent in terms of what you get for your magic beans. The 50mm drivers deliver a clear, loud 5.1 sound that easily matches the quality found in more premium and cost-demanding headsets. Built by Razer with online and competitive gaming in mind, it's safely one of the best headsets for online play, helping you pick out enemy movements and distant gunfire at a decent range and with great accuracy.

The Kraken TE's design and build also has Razer's gaming nuts' DNA all over it: it's light, comfortable and robust - three things you really need in a mid-priced headset. The wired connection comes with an in-line control for volume and mic muting (although this only currently works on PC), and the retractable mic itself is clear without being exceptional. It's one of the most well-rounded and versatile headsets we've tested, and represents great value for money. Note: you'll have to use it with PC to use all its features, bells and whistles, but even for those you can't utilize with consoles, this is still easily one of the best gaming headsets going. 

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Steelseries Arctis 9X

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Steelseries Arctis 9X

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Steelseries Arctis 9X

Steelseries Arctis 9X

The best gaming headset for Xbox in 2021

Acoustic design: Closed back | Cable length: 4.3ft / 1.3m | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 13 oz | Compatibility: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch, Mac, Mobile

Wireless for Xbox One
Superb sound with 3D spacial on Xbox
Excellent battery life
'Only' 40mm drivers 
A little expensive

It's compatible with everything and gives a great service no matter the platform you play on, but the Steelseries Arctis 9X is our favorite headset for Xbox players in particular right now. It is specially engineered to work wirelessly with Microsoft's console, and it provides a near-perfect connection, combined with a rich audio experience, and impressive battery life to boot. While the headset comes with 40mm drivers, which are smaller than many similarly priced competitors, the optimization and tuning of them is just perfect (*chef's kiss*), so you get a rounded experience with clarity and detail that you might expect from headsets worth much more.

The trademark Steelseries 'headband' design means that comfort is high, and you'll barely notice the 1.2lbs / 372g set on your head after a while. The mic is clear, comes with decent noise-canceling, and is retractable for when you're not using it. While you never completely remove the mic, it's hidden enough for you to use this headset as an everyday headphone set and its Bluetooth connection means this is actually built into its design and adds versatility. You can even plug in via the 3.5mm connection if you want to connect to other consoles or devices, although you lose a number of features like 3D Spacial Sound here. It's a superb all-rounder, though its main strengths work with the Xbox One, though if you play on multiple devices the Steelseries Arctis 9X is well worth a look. 

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha review

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HyperX Cloud Alpha

A well-established, premier HyperX headset

Acoustic Design: Closed back; over ear | Cable length: 3.3m / 10.8ft | Drivers: 50mm Dynamic | Weight: 11.8oz / 336g | Compatibility: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mobile

Peerless build quality
Great sound
Reasonable price
No customization or software

The HyperX Cloud Alpha aren’t exactly the new kid on the block. This venerable mid-range headset has been knocking around since 2017 but the fact they’re still around should tell you something: this headset is superb, and rightfully still in the conversation for best gaming headset. 

Sure, one could decry HyperX for the lack of software, RGB lighting, or various doo-dads that litter the specs sheet of many a modern gaming headset, but for the money, the Cloud Alphas offer peerless build quality and in-game performance.

Plug them into your PC or console of choice and enjoy a well-balanced, clear sound straight from the offset, plus a lovely plush fit that’ll never be tiresome over those long sessions. If you’re someone who values customization in your headset, you might want to look elsewhere, but if you’re someone who prefers the simpler things in life, the Cloud Alpha is the HyperX headset for you.

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SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless

The best wireless gaming headset - and best for Switch

Acoustic design: Closed back | Cable length: 6ft / 1.8m | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 8.8 oz | Compatibility: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Mobile

Great wireless reliability
Excellent sound
A great companion for Switch
Not quite as comfy as others

If you're looking for a top-performing gaming headset for your Switch (and other devices) then the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is probably your best bet. It's imprinted with SteelSeries' quality throughout and that starts with the build: it's strong and sturdy, and stylishly designed - combine this with its awesome sound quality for Nintendo games, and its price tag of often-around $100 / £100 and it truly is one of the best gaming headsets going. The headset comes with a USB-C dongle that plugs into the base of your Switch, offering excellent wireless coverage up to about 8m / 25ft. While not perfect, the connection is very good and there's almost zero loss of audio even during busy games.

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless has a padded headband with an adjustable, steel core, and foam ear cushions which are incredibly comfortable even if the headband padding isn't very deep - you'll still get medium-long gaming sessions out of it before you notice any aching (or, at least, that's what we found). The detachable mic works great, and is ideal for team play in games like Fortnite. There's even a wire for plugging directly into your Switch if the 20-hour battery runs down. Overall, it's a superb headset, and the best wireless option for your Nintendo Switch.

Nuraphone headphones gaming mic

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Nuraphone and gaming mic bundle

The best gaming headset for premium sound quality

Acoustic design: Closed back, over ear + in ear | Cable length: 1.3m / 4.3ft | Drivers: Dynamic 15mm inner ear, 40mm outer ear | Weight: 10.5 oz / 300g | Compatibility: PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, mobile

Unparalleled audio quality
Fast charging and long battery life
Wide compatibility
Mic is a little weak
Expensive
Wired connection only on consoles

The Nuraphone headphones have come a long way in the last few years and often rank amongst the very best headphones, and their most recent move sees them arriving in style to the world of the best gaming headsets thanks to unprecedented audio quality and a new mic attachment. Nuraphone begins by creating a personalized sound profile that will fine-tune each sound to your own custom hearing profile. 

That may sound like marketing fluff, but the results are incredibly powerful - offering up highly realistic audio through rich, full-bodied soundscapes. From the shudder of a recoil to the echoes of a cityscape, everything is perfectly recreated here and with a key realism that many power-hungry headsets seem to overlook today. 

Of course, what truly makes Nuraphone a gaming headset now is the gaming mic accessory. While not necessarily a reason in itself to go grab a pair of $399 headphones, the mic makes it possible for far more gamers to get in on the action without having to switch headsets when the team's ready in the lobby. The price comparison widget above should help you find bundles including the headset and mic attachment together. If you're not fussed about the mic, you can see the latest prices on the Nuraphone headset without one in our chart below.

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Corsair HS35

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Corsair HS35

The best budget, no frills gaming headset

Acoustic design: Closed back | Cable length: 6ft / 1.8m | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 8.8 oz | Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, Mobile

Excellent value for money
Decent sound
Nice and clear mic
Lacks features and extras
Just stereo sound

Keeping it simple but maintaining some quality too, the Corsair HS35 is one of the best budget gaming headsets going (though more may well appear alongside it in this list at some point). Anyway, the HS35 really bucks the trend of lower price tags usually meaning far less quality. Just because you're saving some cash doesn't mean you should have to forgo all the delicious sound goodness. The Corsair HS35 is the headset for anyone looking to save money and still get a decent pair of cans. This is a thoughtfully designed piece of kit,  with a sturdy yet comfortable build and some impressive audio qualities.

Thanks to memory foam ear-cups and a comfy headband, the Corsair HS35 is snug without being uncomfortable after several hours of play, and it's tough enough to withstand being pulled on and off your head without too much care, and withstand the odd accidental fall or bump. The audio won't win awards, but it's on a par with most mid-range headsets, and manages some snappy treble (even if the bass can't match the likes of the Razer Kraken TE). The mic is clear and detachable, and there's a color-coded cable that plugs into any 3.5mm connection. Simple, easy, and very affordable.

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Razer Nari Ultimate

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Razer Nari Ultimate

One of the best Razer headsets you can get

Acoustic design: Closed Back | Cable length: Wireless | Drivers: 50mm | Battery life: 8 hours | Weight: 15.2 oz | Compatibility: PC, PS4, mobile

HyperSense haptic technology creates a new level of immersion
THX Spatial Audio Support 
Great audio clarity across the range
Headband is on the large side
Demands a large price (but it is worth it)

When it comes to premium headsets, and premium headsets from proven experts Razer, then the Razer Nari Ultimate takes top position. What sets the Nari Ultimate apart from other headsets is the effective inclusion of L5 haptic drivers. These are ridiculously cool and immersion enhancing modulated feedback providers that make you feel like you're in the thick of the action. With amazing clarity and bass that's enhanced by the HyperSense haptic technology, you'll get a great quality of sound and immersion. 

You can use it wirelessly with PC (like I do nowadays), but also with PS4 - though you won't get the full package on offer, unfortunately. Otherwise, given it includes a trusty 3.5mm audio jacket it can be used with a multitude of devices. It's premium in every way, including price tag, and has a solid, slightly large design but it really is a sound investment. And, in a very strong field, it's almost certainly the best Razer headset we've used and tested here at GamesRadar+.

Note for Xbox One players: Razer has made a version specifically for Xbox One. The prices above are for the PC/PS4 version, if you'd like to know more about the Xbox-friendly model, you'll find a dedicated entry in our Razer headset guide.

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EPOS | Sennheiser GSP 300

Sennheiser audio brilliance - for less

Acoustic design: Closed-acoustic, over-ear | Cable length: 2m | Drivers: N/A | Weight: 10.2oz | Compatibility: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mobile, Mac

Sennheiser-quality audio
Excellently clear mic
Comfy
Versatile
Affordable (for Sennheiser)
No chat/game audio balancer
Limited features
Design is a bit loose/wobbly

As I said in my review "Getting a Sennheiser-quality headset like this, at this price point, and with this device-versatility, is an excellent proposition and one that is easy to recommend." If you're desperate to get some Sennheiser-level audio quality without paying the premium price tags, then the GHSP 300 is just that headset. It's compatible with every device and provides detailed audio, excellent surround/directional accuracy, and great overall richness. Its microphone is great too though it being non-detachable does perhaps preclude it from being a good match for mobile players

In an ideal world, it'd be nice to have some features but the stripped-back approach helps to keep the costs down too. Its sheer bang for buck value cannot be denied though and this is one of the best gaming headsets going for less than the three-figure mark.

Gaming headsets are great for another kind of game, too... they're beyond helpful for Dungeons and Dragons. Find out how to make the most of them in our guide on how to play D&D online. If you're getting into online streaming a headset is a great start, but don't forget to check out our guide to the best ring lights too.

I'm one of the Hardware Editors for GamesRadar+, and I take care of a whole host of gaming tech reviews, buying guides, and news and deals content that pops up across GamesRadar+. I'm also a qualified landscape and garden designer so do that in my spare time, and lean on it to write about games' landscapes and environments too.