The best gaming headset for you and your setup is one of the easiest ways to improve your experience. If you're after top-tier gaming audio then these are the cream of the crop and will be some of the best gaming headsets money can buy, no matter your device - some will even be great on multiple devices and machines.
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. The best 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 headset market is a packed one so searching for the best gaming headset for you is no easy task, at least on the face of it. And 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 sets of cans and can vouch for their quality and the differences that they offer. We have a few criteria to work with as you'd expect and all these headsets cut the mustard in regards to excellent audio quality (even if it's just through a 3.5mm audio jack); comfort (enough to wear for long play sessions); and clarity and communication as the microphone needs to be clear and user-friendly. Mix all these with a sensible budget and you'll walk away with a better-prepared take on what will be best for you.
Because the gaming headset market is very saturated, we've whittled this list down to quite a short but very, very succinct list of some of our top, most favorite headsets across devices, platforms, and budget. But this isn't just a list of the most expensive: you'll find a carefully curated shortlist of sheer excellence in the form of the best gaming headsets available, with some compatible with all platforms and some sitting in some slight niches. However, if you're after a more honed rundown for your platform of choice you can head over to our dedicated guides.
The best gaming headset 2020 at a glance
- Razer BlackShark V2
- Sennheiser GSP 370
- Razer Kraken Tournament Edition
- SteelSeries Arctis 9X
- SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
- Corsair HS35
- Razer Nari Ultimate
- Sennheiser GSP 300
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
In short, the 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.