Finding the best Steam Deck headset will quickly become a top priority for those who get their hands on the new handheld PC console.
Working out which is the best Steam Deck headset isn't quite as simple as browsing the likes of our own best gaming headset guide and picking the first PC-compatible one. In fact, even the best PC headset for gaming lists might not get you quite what you want. And that's because the Steam Deck offers something different in terms of an in-situ/portable balance, and you may well want a headset that fits nicely into that niche too.
So, if you've just got your new Steam Deck - you lucky thing - are awaiting its imminent arrival, or are getting your Deck's headset squared off in advance, sorting out your audio and ensuring you have one of the best Steam Deck headsets to hand when it gets to you is one of the best jobs to tick off.
And it won't necessarily cost you a whole lot either - there's definitely room to splash the cash to ensure you get the best experience, but there are plenty of budget headsets for Steam Deck on the shelves as well. We test as many headsets as we can here at GamesRadar+ so we're ready to recommend some great cups we already know intimately to be your Stem Deck's audio companion.
We've covered a lot of budget areas, needs, and preferences in this list, so we're confident you'll find the best Steam Deck headset for you here.
The quick list
The Razer Barracuda X offers both Bluetooth and 2.5GHz USB-C connections while also coming in under $100. That's a rarity, especially considering the audio quality in these cups.
The Razer Kraken X is an excellent cheap headset, with a super easy plug and play system and a lighter, comfortable form factor.
The EPOS GTW 270s may be limited by their reliance on a 2.5GHz dongle, but for Steam Deck users that's an easy pill to swallow considering the excellent sound quality.
The best value Steam Deck headset
The Razer Barracuda X is probably the best bang-for-buck wireless Stem Deck headset you're going to find right now. It's wireless, it's great value, and it's got great audio quality - what more could you want? Just throw its USB-C dongle into your handheld or Steam Deck dock and you're good to go.
Coming from Razer's newer line of headsets, and sharing a sleek aesthetic with the likes of the Opus headphone range, we found the Barracuda X to be comfortable, lightweight, and perfect for on-the-go play or while attached to a desk and a rig. That design is also subtle enough and non-flashy enough to look at home when you are commuting or travelling with your Steam Deck too. Weighing in at only 250g, the Barracuda X are some of the lightest on the market now. Combine that with the comfort offered by its added headband and plump cushioning on each cup.
In our testing, the sound quality proved to be excellent, too. Even though an 'X' moniker often indicates a budget or entry-level set from Razer, the 40mm TriForce drivers are some of our favourite of this 'generation' and provide a rich soundscape no matter what game you're playing. And they even offer solid performance for music and movies too.
If your ceiling is that magical $100 mark and you're looking for something that's wireless, has excellent audio quality, and is seriously comfortable in long sessions, then the Barracuda X is it - and that's why it's our top choice for best Steam Deck headset.
Read more: Razer Barracuda X review
The best budget Steam Deck headset
The Razer Kraken X is another solid option if you're looking for simplicity and a no-frills Steam Deck headset. In our view, the main selling point here is that Razer Kraken DNA running through each cup. Yes, it might be a lightweight and simple, having cut some fat here and there, and slimmed the whole beast down, but when we put it on and started using it, we really felt and heard that Kraken pedigree. And clearly. It's not bothering those at the top of any Razer headset lists, but in our view it still offers good performance across the board from clear and sharp high-ends to rumble, growly lows.
Where some budget-end headsets might compromise is in build quality and comfort too - often trimming back areas of padding for example. However, we noticed that the Razer Kraken X does do this but remains pleasant to wear even after hours of play. The padding is far more effective than its appearance would suggest, and the lightweight nature of this design helps execute this, even in our longest session.
The Kraken X's compatibility with almost everything is another plus in our eyes; just plug it in and go - it can be used with almost everything, and teaming it with a PC or a Steam Deck is where you'll get the most out of it. This is where it can offer you that sweet, sweet 7.1 surround sound.
Read more: Razer Kraken X review
The best Steam Deck earbuds
From our testing and use, these are easily the best earbuds for mobile gaming right now, which means that the EPOS GTW 70 Hybrid wireless earbuds are going to be a top Steam Deck headset choice. Especially for those who prioritise high-end audio.
Imbued with the legacy and DNA of Sennheiser, these earbuds boast the sort of audio quality you’d expect and proved this to us during our testing. There was great directional audio (in earbuds!), deep, full bass, and rich mid-tones to boot - all of which shone through in our testing.
The USB-C dongle will plug into your Steam Deck, but the buds also offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can use that connection to sync with devices where appropriate. Throw in a neat charging case for the buds, and we had the battery life reach the top end of the slated 20-hour estimate too - this makes the feature set really does look great for these buds.
It's worth noting that while they do come with an in-built microphone, we confirmed that this only works when you’re connected through Bluetooth, rather than the USB-C dongle. This might mean that anyone looking to play co-op or competitive games on their Switch might have to look elsewhere for better communication routes.
Read more: EPOS GTW 70 Hybrid review
The best wired Steam Deck headset
Our top pick for a wired Steam Deck headset won't break the bank either, you'll be glad to hear. And it comes in the form of the Turtle Beach Recon 500 - one of our very favourite headsets to come out of 2021 and across any platform.
While the Recon 500 foregoes luxurious construction materials and a vast array of features - partly in order to keep that price tag reasonable - it makes up for it, crucially, sound that is so good it will take you aback. From our testing, the Recon 500 will offer a Stem Deck headset experience that is downright brilliant in audio quality, and not too hard on the wallet.
That awesome sound comes from an unusual-sounding place - a combination of 60mm drivers, wood composite injection technology, and dedicated woofers and tweeters per earcup. We found that this results in crisp and precise sound that comes together in a powerful surge of ultra-responsive bass, detailed high end, and a pleasingly flat EQ curve with just a bit of audible kick further down the spectrum.
The mic is a simple, get-the-job-done kind of affair, but it is detachable and there's a handy mute button of course. Only an extra volume wheel is present otherwise to complete the onboard controls. It's a powerful simplicity though, and if you're looking for a Steam Deck Headset that is straight to the point and lets its audio do the talking then this is the one.
Read more: Turtle Beach Recon 500 review
Does Steam Deck have a 3.5mm audio jack?
Yes! Praise be, the handheld PC console does have a good old 3.5mm audio jack so if you've got a wired headset already you are good to go.
In fact, the Steam Deck should have you well covered for ports as its USB-C connection can also be used for headsets and audio.
Should you buy earbuds for Steam Deck?
Well, we'd recommend a Steam Deck headset of any kind - not just earbuds. And that's because as good as the Deck's own audio and speakers will be for a handheld PC console, headsets' audio will surpass that. Modern headsets and earbuds are just so good now that we recommend you definitely get something rather than nothing.
Earbuds in particular will offer a neat and tidy approach to Steam Deck audio, and also make it super convenient when out and about. Often small enough to throw in a pocket, earbuds will be at home in a large Steam Deck case or backpack and can make for an inexpensive audio solution too. And now you can get wireless ones as well, there are lots of possibilities in gaming earbuds.
Can you use Bluetooth headphones with Steam Deck?
Oh yes! Yes you can. There's no blocked off Bluetooth corridor here, the connection is wide open for accessories, controllers, and audio. This means that you should be able to just pair up any pair of Bluetooth headphones you have and you're ready to go.
Naturally, if you do want to go the wireless route, we'd recommend going for one of the best wireless Steam Deck headsets that will not only ensure you're cutting the cord but also provide excellent game-focused audio to give you the best experience.
If you're looking for the top headsets for the other platforms, then check out our guides to the best PS5 headsets, best Xbox Series X headsets, and best Nintendo Switch headsets to round out your research. Or for something more music-focused, try the best headphones.
We're also rounding up all the best cheap gaming headsets on the market right now if you're looking for a cheap and cheerful hit.