Playing games with one of the best PC headsets for gaming is, arguably, the best way to enhance your experience. While some of the best gaming monitors actually have decent built-in speakers and there are some terrific sets of PC speaker sets now, nothing really compares to the sound presented directly to your ears and brain from one of the best PC headsets for gaming.
However, the gaming headset market is quite full. It's one of the most saturated peripheral markets right now, really, and that's in some part, because headsets cross platforms, generations and connection types. This means there is an enormous multitude of headsets vying for your attention (some are bad, some are great) but also that pricing is very competitive from manufacturers and retailers alike. This means you, generally, win as the prices will usually come down to try and get you to pull the trigger.
Where there can be a place for owning a budget headset - there are some budget gems - if you want to redirect overall budget to other parts of your setup, or have a second one that you don't mind getting knocked about on the commute, you'll need to be sure of what you're after. And that is one of the best PC headsets for gaming. But how do you separate the best PC headsets for gaming from the poor ones? Well, this guide is a start. And with the Christmas holidays basically upon us, now is as good a time as ever to consult our list and get one of the best.
We test gaming headsets every day, constantly thinking about the what it takes for them to be considered one of the best PC headsets out there - the lucky few make this list. Each member of this esteemed club has good sound quality, and is comfortable for those longer playing sessions. Some offer more features and better audio than others, but usually that bump in quality comes with a bump in price too. It's easy to get hung up on stats like frequency response, range and the size of the drivers inside each headset, but there's no real substitute for putting the headset on and seeing how it performs with actual games. That's what we do. We test headsets in online shooters, to see how the surround sound performs, and we test in epic single player games to see how the music comes through. We test with shooters for the depth of the bass, and RPGs to see how rich the dialogue is. Finally, we look at the price and decide whether or not you're getting actual value (and not just buying an overpriced headset).
The best PC headsets for gaming
The best PC headset for gaming in 2019
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm | Connections: USB, 3.5mm wired | Features: THX Spacial Audio, retractable mic, audio controls
If you're looking for a mix of quality and great value, the Razer Kraken Tournament Edition is the best PC headset for gaming right now. You can pick it up for less than $100 / £90 at the moment, and that's a hell of a lot of headset for your money. Essentially, this is a PC-optimized version of the Razer Kraken Pro V2, which is our top pick in both our best PS4 headset and best Xbox One headset guides. You actually get enhanced audio with the Tournament, which offers THX Spacial sound instead of the Kraken Pro V2's regular stereo audio. The result is that the surround sound, and your placement within the gaming world is better here. This headset comes with a USB connection too, which is handy for PC play.
What sets the Krakens apart is their comfort and value. You can wear this headset for hours and it feels better than most other gaming headsets you can buy, even the vastly more expensive high-end models. And the sound the Kraken TE delivers punches well above its weight when you consider how cheap (relatively) this is. There's even a volume control box that you can stick to your PC desk, to stop it shifting around if you move your head.
There are downsides - the mic isn't the highest quality (a problem with all modern Razer headsets), and the volume control button is the least well-designed aspect of the whole headset. But if you're looking for something top value and high quality for your PC set-up, this is tough to top unless you start spending way more money.
2. Steelseries Arctis Pro with GameDAC
A brilliant choice for big-budget users
Wireless: No | Drivers: 40mm neodymium | Connections: USB, 3.5mm wired | Features: GameDAC, Certified hi-res audio, retractable ClearCast bi-directional mic, RGB lighting
If you're looking for a higher budget headset, designed with PC in mind, the Steelseries Arctis Pro with GameDAC is the one to buy. While the drivers are smaller, they deliver an excellent frequency response range (10-40,000Hz), which is actually more than the human ear can perceive. The result is audio far richer than most other gaming headsets, which makes the Arctis Pro a great all-rounder, ideal for anyone who switches between gaming and other PC usage. Which we all do, right?
The design of the Arctis Pro is unusual too, offering more of a headband style than other headsets, which makes it comfortable in a different way. It's still very wearable after hours of play, although becomes a little looser after months of use (the headband can be replaced cheaply and easily, however). What makes this model stand-out, however, is the GameDAC, which fulfils a number of roles. It not only lets you change volume and audio settings, but it also takes the processing of the headset away from your PC's hardware, so you don't have to take any knocks in performance while you use it.
The mic is great too - better than the Razer headsets - so if you're doing a lot of talking in team-based games, or you want better personal audio for streaming, the Arctis Pro performs better than the competition. A great PC headset, then, but one that comes at a serious price.
The best wireless PC headset for gaming
Wireless: Yes (2.4Ghz) | Drivers: 50mm | Connections: USB, 3.5mm wired, wireless | Features: THX Spacial Audio, Gel-infused ear cushions, Hypersense Technology, retractable mic
The Razer Nari Ultimate is a wonderful, feature-packed wireless headset that - unlike many other PC headsets - actually justifies the asking price. And that's saying something, because this is an expensive piece of kit. Let's start with the sound. It's not just loud, but crisp, and there is virtually zero artefacting (little incidental noises or sound cut-outs) from the wireless connection, thanks to an impressive 2.4GHz connection. The THX spacial means that the sensation of being inside the gaming world you're playing is near unparalleled, and you can pinpoint where each sound is coming from in your game - whether they be incidental noises, or approaching enemies hoping to shotgun you in the back.
What sets the headset apart is the haptic feedback, which means the ear-cups actually vibrate as you play. It's not the most essential feature, but it's a cool extra that does slightly enhance the way you listen. While you undoubtedly pay a little extra over the regular Razer Nari for the Hypersense tech, there are enough boosts over the vanilla model to justify the Ultimate's 25% higher price. The drivers are bigger, and frequency response range better, and the Ultimate's mic is retractable, so you can remove it completely from view if you're not using it. We're not keen on the mic, and did have a couple of issues with our voice cutting out, but it's not a huge issue. The charging time of the headset's battery has been decreased too, and now takes about 4 hours from zero to full.
It's an exceptional headset that only loses out to the Razer Kraken Tournament on account of its higher price making it a more 'luxury' purchase. If you can afford a great, high-end wireless headset, this is the one to get.
A superb mid-range PC gaming headset
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm | Connections: 3.5mm wired | Features: In-line controls, Glasses-relief ear-cushions, TruSpeak mic
The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is a headset aimed squarely at PC players, but at a reasonable price. It's a little cheaper than the Elite Pro and Pro 2, but very much cuts down on the frills to deliver in areas that truly matter. It's a super comfortable PC headset, especially if you wear glasses (thanks to the actually good Glasses-relief system), and the sound quality is high thanks to some quality 50mm drivers. No, it doesn't quite match the Razer Kraken in this department, or the Steelseries Arctis Pro, but the audio is still above average for a mid-priced pair of gaming cans.
As ever, the mic is good quality - something Turtle Beach does well - so this headset is perfect for team-based online play. Combined with the Windows Sonic sound, which gives excellent directional audio, this makes for a great eSports and competitive gaming choice. Although, to be honest, we'd recommend it for everyday players too. The only real drawback is that the sound range can't match better 'mixed use' headsets, so this isn't as great for video and music audio. As a pure gaming headset, at a competitive price, it's a winner.
5. HyperX Cloud Alpha
A good pure-gaming PC headset
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm (dual-chamber) | Connections: 3.5mm wired | Features: Dual-chamber drivers, detachable mic, in-line controls
The HyperX Cloud Alpha is an archetypal gaming headset. While it isn't pretty, or filled with fancy features, what it does is deliver superior sound and comfort at a reasonable price. You could just as easily pick up the HyperX Cloud 2 and get a similar experience, but we recommend the Alpha for a couple of key reasons. The biggest one is that the frequency response range is slightly better in the Alpha, so it offers a slightly richer sound for all different uses. While it doesn't have the 7.1 audio of the Cloud 2, its stereo sound is pretty much as good, so there's no issue with working out where sounds come from in the gaming environment. The audio is further enhanced here by the dual-chamber drivers, which essentially separate the bass from the other sound types, allowing for a slightly richer audio.
It's a comfy headset too, and feels nice and chunky, so you're unlikely to break it. There's an in-line control, instead of a separate box, and it's fully adjustable for all head-sizes and shapes. The mic, which performs well, can be detached too if you're playing offline. This is a good mid-range pick, with audio and durability at the heart of the design, making it perfect for everyday PC play.
6. Steelseris Arctis 7
One of the best wireless PC headsets
Wireless: Yes | Drivers: 40mm | Connections: Wireless, 3.5mm wired | Features: Retractable ClearCast mic, on-ear audio controls, auto speaker-switching
There's a lot to love about this mid-range wireless gaming headset. The Steelseries Arctis 7 is an elegantly designed wireless PC gaming headset, but one that has enough versatility to be used with any of the wireless (or wired) audio devices in your home. While it isn't the very best gaming headset on this list, it's one that can be taken outside the PC and into the wider world. Or at least used with your game consoles... So what's the deal with it?
As with most Steelseries drivers, the 40mm ones in this gaming headset perform extremely well, although this doesn't have the frequency response range of the Arctis Pro, so the audio isn't quite as rich. What does seriously impress is the battery life, which offers nearly 20 hours of use before you need to charge it again. Combined with the decent wireless connection - where the audio isn't quite as pure as the Pro, but is still excellent - this is a great wire-free option for busier PC set-ups. The headband design is comfy, the price is great for what you actually get, and the design of this headset is so lovely you could wear it out and about. It's a great wireless option.
A great mid-range headset, perfect for PC
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm | Connections: 3.5mm wired | Features: 7.1 surround sound, adjustable headband
Creative is a big name in gaming audio, and the H6 represents its mid-range play in the current PC headset market. And it's a cracker. While it isn't quite the best at any one thing, the Sound BlasterX H6 does everything remarkably well, and all at one of the most competitive prices out there. Audio quality is great, and while the H6 can handle bassy explosions and loud shooters, it's also refined enough to pick up the nuances of dialogue in more RPG-like games. The 7.1 surround is perfect for shooters like Apex Legends and Fortnite, and the in-built mic is clear enough to communicate in any team-based game.
What's more, the H6 is very comfy to wear, and can - at a push - be mistaken for a regular pair of headphones if you want to listen to it on the move. On the downside, the design is quite basic, and there's a lack of extra features here to really vary the sound according to the games you play. That's little concern, though, as the headset is such an excellent all-rounder, you won't need to mess with it regardless of how it's used. For the price, this one comes highly recommended.
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