Best Gaming Headphones
Perhaps in no other time has the market for gaming headphones been as big as it is currently. This is really indicative of how gaming has evolved over the years because modern platforms are becoming more and more dependent on online, cooperative gameplay. What this means is many new video games are either online-only or so dependent on online play that their offline gameplay lacks severely. In a lot of these online-based games, communicating with your team members or other online gamers becomes paramount. And, all in the meanwhile, it is still enjoyable to sit back and listen to the crisp audio, sound effects, and soundtrack in the background. The only way to receive the best of everything, and this is why you are here today, is to invest in some high-quality gaming headphones. But, it is not as easy as it sounds so be patient during this process.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 3 hrs of research
This is a certified Hi-Res Audio system
Comes with an intuitive OLED menu
The ear cups are shaped naturally around your ear
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST GAMING HEADPHONES
1. STEELSERIES ARCTIS PRO
This is a certified Hi-Res Audio system
Comes with an intuitive OLED menu
The ear cups are shaped naturally around your ear
The band itself is not the best
Ironically, it may not even be the headphones that stand out with this top model as it may be the included GameDAC amp. Of course, the Arctis Pro themselves are pretty darn amazing in their own right.Read more
The nice aspect of these is the ear cups as they naturally fit around your ears for enhanced comfort. However, the actual band itself tends to pull them up which can cause mild discomfort.
As is noted in the product description, these are gaming’s first certified Hi-Res audio system and you can rest assured that you will be able to hear crisp audio and amazing sounds.
The GameDAC amp may just be the best part of this option. It sports unsurpassed audio quality, dynamic range and also an OLED menu that allows you to make quick adjustments.
There is no need to worry about cable management here as these are equipped with Bluetooth technology. And, the range is strong enough to prevent audio distortion.
One thing is for sure, you can’t question the build quality here. These are built with polished steel and aluminum alloys and coated with an incredible gunmetal finish.
About the only real potential issue here is with the band. Literally, everything else, however, is top-notch and if you are looking for the most premium gaming headphones out there, look no further.
2. HYPERX CLOUD REVOLVER S
Comes with a certified noise-canceling microphone
Sports a flappable audio control box
They do not feel hot when you wear them
They are a bit heavy
You can’t adjust the equalization without 3rd part software
In addition to the fact that this sports signature memory foam ear cups, it also features Dolby Surround 7.1 technology. Oh yeah, and it comes equipped with a noise-canceling microphone.Read more
Even though these are a bit heavy, they are equipped with memory foam and premium leatherette. The band is also self-adjusting and all this combines for very comfortable headphones.
Without question, these do produce studio-grade sound. This is thanks, in large part, to the implemented Dolby Surround 7.1 technology.
As mentioned, a noise-canceling microphone (that is both TeamSpeak and Discord certified) is included here. Additionally, it can be detached if you do not want to use it.
Being compatible with PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and any other devices that utilize a 3.5-millimeter cable port, you will have to deal with a cable so be wary of that.
Granted you treat these with care, you should have little to no issues with the steel frame and overall high-quality components that are integrated.
Even the best of the best have some minor flaws but it is difficult to deny just how impressive this headset is. Hardcore gamers will even love the design here.
3. VICTRIX PRO AF
The ear cooling feature is fantastic
Features fantastic sound quality
Designed with aircraft-grade aluminum
You do have to deal with a cable
Some of you may not be thrilled with the idea of owning wired gaming headphones but these are astounding. Whether you want to point to the top-notch sound quality or the cooling effect, it really does not matter.Read more
Though these are a bit clunky, they are designed with mechanical levers that open up the ear cups to allow them to release humidity and heat. For longer sessions, this cooling effect will be adored.
In short, the sound quality is top-notch here. This is thanks to the Pro AF’s ability to block out around 70 percent of background noise with its four dedicated implemented microphones.
Not only does this come with an attached microphone that will ensure ideal communication in the loudest of environments but it also equips an in-line controller that brings all sorts of customization settings to your fingertips.
These will function with any device that has a standard 3.5-millimeter audio output port. Just to give you an idea, this includes gaming platforms such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
The combination of the aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel structure ensures that these are not only tough but also fairly light.
It is completely fair if you do not want to deal with the hassle of a cable. Of course, for many of you, the top-notch sound quality and construction that is implemented here will more than make up for that.
4. RAZER NARI ULTIMATE
Features seamless 360-degree surround sound technology
Sports cooling gel-infused cushions
Can function wirelessly and via a wire
The included microphone has received criticism
As opposed to the last model, the Nari Ultimate headphones can work wirelessly and via the 3.5-millimeter cable. Of course, these are headlined by the seamless 360-degree surround sound technology.Read more
Various users have had some negative words to say about this headset but few will complain about the comfort. This is thanks to its lightweight nature, gel-infused cushions and solid airflow.
The combination of the Hypersense technology and the THX Spatial Audio technology completely enhance the sound quality here. In fact, the latter completely immerses you in the sound.
In addition to the retractable microphone, this is also equipped with audio controls that are directly on the headset itself. Yet, the microphone has actually received criticism for its longevity and performance.
If you want to go wireless then you can use this headset with the PlayStation 4 or with your computer. Of course, for other platforms (such as the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) you will need to use the 3.5-millimeter cable.
Due to the metal frame that is equipped here, breaking is not going to be common. Then again, you do need to treat them with respect as gamer’s rage is a real thing.
In virtually every area, this option right here is top-notch. The main problem stems with the microphone and if this is your top concern then there are superior models available.
5. SOUND BLASTERX H7
Comfort will not be an issue for longer sessions
They have been forged with reinforced steel
You can save sound signatures right into them
The included hub is made of cheap plastic
Not all options out there are going to break your bank and these are a fantastic example of that. For the price, all the integrated features are nothing short of incredible.Read more
The comfort of these has been lauded by several users and when you look at the fact that the leatherette cushions are made of memory foam, it all begins to make sense.
What enhances the sound quality here are the upgraded 50-millimeter drivers. Overall, the emitted sound is well-balanced and is optimized for clarity and precision.
The included microphone has also been improved and redesigned and it shows with its enhanced vocal pickup and noise-cancellation technology.
What is really cool is you can actually plug these via USB and save all sorts of signature sounds into them. This comes in handy as you will not need additional software to do so.
The headphones themselves are forged with reinforced steel and aluminum. However, the included hub, for whatever reason, is not very durable and made of cheap plastic.
Up until the build quality, these truly had everything going for them. Of course, it is only the hub that is poorly built as every other feature here should satisfy most gamers.
6. TURTLE BEACH ELITE PRO 2
Ideal for gamers who wear glasses
Sports large NanoClear speakers
Equipped with a top-of-the-line noise-canceling microphone
Not truly wireless
You need an app to access advanced features
Turtle Beach is a top-name brand and their Elite Pro 2 headphones are some of their best. Of course, they are topped off with the company’s signature, professional-quality noise-canceling microphone.Read more
In addition to the Aerofit ear cushions, let’s talk about a patented feature here. Implemented here is a glasses relief system and for those of you who wear glasses, these will remove pressure on them while you play.
The same ear cushions are also ideal for the sound quality as they block out external noise and improve the bass. Also, large 50-millimeter NanoClear drivers are integrated.
Included here is Turtle Beach’s pro-gaming microphone that sports TruSpeak technology. With this, the microphone is going to improve your voice clarity to other gamers and also block out external background noise.
The actual hub is designed with Bluetooth but this entire setup is not truly wireless because you still need to be connected to the hub. And, you need to use an external app to access advanced features.
Combining with the memory foam ear cushions is the sleek metal headband and this combination of materials is ideal as it gets in the world of headphones.
In spite of some convenience limitations with these headphones, they are truly remarkable and are presented by a tried-and-true brand. It is tough to ask for much more, really.
7. CORSAIR HS70
Designed with virtual 7.1 surround sound technology
Fully wireless design
The included microphone reduces ambient noise
These are not compatible with Xbox or PlayStation consoles
The comfort could be better
Even at this price point, Corsair designed their HS70 gaming headset with virtual 7.1 surround sound. Then again, while this is nice, the HS70 could be more comfortable for longer sessions.Read more
It is advertised that the adjustable ear cups (that are made with plush memory foam) will provide hours of comfort. The materials speak for themselves but one user noted that they definitely felt ear fatigue after a little while.
As mentioned, these do include virtual 7.1 surround sound technology. Also, they have been equipped with precision-tuned, 50-millimeter Neodymium speaker drivers.
On the ear cups themselves, there are adjustment controls that are easy to access. Additionally, an optimized unidirectional microphone is included here and it will reduce ambient noise for increased audio quality.
Perhaps the biggest selling point here is the fact that these are completely wireless. They sport a 40-foot wireless range and a battery life of up to 16 hours.
Though this does feature Corsair’s legendary build quality, which includes the metal construction, there is a flaw that might have gone unchecked. This is alluding to the plastic pieces above the ear cups as they can crack much too easily.
Whether you want to point to the wireless design, memory foam ear cups, or virtual 7.1 surround sound, there are many reasons to love this option right here.
8. HYPERX CLOUD ALPHA
There are audio controls on the right side of the cable
Designed with dual chamber drivers
The included microphone is detachable
As is, these only use stereo sound
Could sport larger ear cups
As is, these do not use Dolby 7.1 Surround technology and instead use stereo sound. But, as is mentioned by the seller, you can pair these with a USB Dolby 7.1 adapter. Doing so can take these to the next level for sure.Read more
The combination of the memory foam and the pliable leatherette is not the issue here. Instead, the ear cups are actually on the smaller side and do not provide much breathing room.
The dual chamber drivers that are present here are able to reduce the amount of distortion you here and enhance the sound clarity overall. Again, though, without an adapter, these do use stereo sound.
Two main features are worth speaking of here. Firstly, the included noise-canceling microphone is detachable. Secondly, there are audio controls that are placed on the right side of the braided cable.
Granted the platform you are playing on features a 3.5-millimeter audio port, these will work. For the record, this does include the Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.
The frame featured here is actually made out of aluminum and not steel. It is incredibly long-lasting, regardless, and is also lighter, as a result.
It is actually hard to consider these top-end headphones just because of the limitations with stereo sound. They are built very, very well, though, so they definitely have that going for them.
9. LOGITECH G PRO
Ideal for all the major gaming platforms
The band is fairly lightweight
Designed with advanced materials
Both the sound quality and the microphone have been criticized
Logitech is probably another brand that you have heard of in the past and their G Pro Headphones are really nice in the fact that they are ideal for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch gamers.Read more
The combination of the lightweight headband and the polymer ear cups make these pretty comfortable overall.
Pro-G drivers have been implemented to deliver enhanced bass and precise clarity and the ear pads actually block ambient noise. Yet, in spite of these features, the sound quality has been criticized by previous users (though it is nowhere near bad).
Once again, the included microphone has also received negative comments for its lackluster performance. Still, it does perform with a wider frequency response and improved sensitivity.
As mentioned, these right here will work on all the modern gaming platforms (or at least all the main ones) These are wired, though, so do be aware of that.
The headband itself utilizes a combination of TR90 nylon, polycarbonate pivots, and high-carbon steel to provide both comfort and durability.
It is hard to fault Logitech too much for their solid, yet somewhat underwhelming, sound quality and microphone here. If you are not super anal about top-notch quality, these are still a great option.
10. TURTLE BEACH ELITE ATLAS
Leather sidewalls provide noise-isolation
Optimized for gamers who wear glasses
Sports convenient in-line controls
The sound quality and microphone are good but not amazing
Turtle Beach seems like a great brand to cap this list off and this is actually their second appearance. Now, their Elite Atlas headphones are certainly not flawless but are still an excellent option.Read more
The same glasses relief system features in Turtle Beach’s previous model on this list is also integrated here. Furthermore, the ear cups feature memory foam and smooth athletic fabric.
About everyone and their mother has loved the noise cancellation of these headphones. But, though powerful 50-millimeter NanoClear drivers are present, the sound quality has received negative feedback for having washed out mid-levels and too much bass at times.
This included microphone also includes TruSpeak technology and, additionally, there are in-line controls at your fingertips. Of course, the microphone itself is not exactly top-end tier.
If you are a PC gamer then you will love this headset as it is wireless for convenience.
This is Turtle Beach so you know their headphones are not cheap. That is evident here with the sleek metal headband and memory foam ear cushions.
Some of you may expect more out of these simply due to the engineers that made them. That is fair but please understand, it is not like the sound quality here is terrible.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
For longer sessions, you will need a model with superior comfort.
For any type of headband that you ever buy, the comfort is going to be paramount. However, it is completely amplified here and the reason is gamers are typically looking to wear their headphones for longer periods at a time (sometimes even several hours). When assessing comfort, there are many factors to keep in mind. Firstly, the ear cups themselves need to be comfortable. Some of the most common materials you will see are leather and memory foam and both have been lauded for their comfort. At the same time, though, you need to worry about overheating. This is why models that allow heat and humidity to escape and those that are more breathable may be better.
Of course, the design of the actual band is also critical (this is the part that connects the ear cups together). Not only does it need to be padded well (as you do not want metal digging into your head) but it also needs to be semi-light. Perhaps nothing is worse than headphones that are significantly heavy. Oh, and as a side note, if you wear glasses then you may make it a priority to look for designs that do not place any excess pressure on the frame.
This is always going to matter but it is a little different for gaming.
Yep, you knew this one was coming. It literally does not matter what you want any type of headphones for, their sound quality is always going to be a major concern. More or less, that is the core principle behind them as they are designed to emit audio. Once again, though, this is going to be a bit different for gamers as the key is to not just find the pair that is the loudest or deepest. You see, there are so many different sound effects and audio bits in video games that finding the perfect balance between mid-levels and bass is often key. And, this is why most gamers will probably prefer either 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound over stereo sound.
Perhaps you are someone who actually prefers stereo sound as it can be louder and more consistent. Yet, it is not going to immerse you in a game the way that surround sound will. And, when you start playing certain gaming genres (such as RTS and FPS games) you may want to know where certain things are happening and this will be possible with surround sound and not with stereo sound. In addition to this, you can also look at the drivers of any given model. While larger drivers do not necessarily always emit superior sound, their size will be larger and therefore their power will be amplified.
Really, the most important factor here is the included microphone.
One of the primary reasons why gaming headphones (or headsets) are so vital in the world of modern gaming is because developers are putting an emphasis on cooperative gameplay. Not all video games will be designed in this fashion but as was mentioned at the beginning, quite a few are. This means that in order to communicate with your team members or other online gamers, you will need a high-quality microphone. And, while some models will merely have one built into the headphones themselves and while you can always buy one separately, top-of-the-line headsets will include them.
What is so ironic about this, though, is the fact that your team members will benefit more from you owning a high-quality microphone as they are the ones that need to hear you clearly. To achieve this, it is advised to look for microphones that sport active noise-cancellation technology to essentially drown out the ambient noises around you. As far as any other accessories, some headsets may come equipped with gaming amps that can completely amplify the experience. These same amps or hubs may also have built-in controls to customize certain settings that you want to be adjusted.
Not only do you need to ensure that the model you pick is compatible with your gaming platform but you also need to decide if you want it to be wired or wireless.
What this section really comes down to is determining what gaming platform you need your headphones for. You can’t just assume that every model on the market is going to work with every platform because it simply does not work that way. The most common modern platforms and consoles are PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. However, what makes things tricky is the fact that headsets can be designed to be run via all sorts of different connection types. For example, you have the standard 3.5-millimeter audio port, Bluetooth, wireless USB, and wired USB. Of course, you can always look for specific adapters if you really fall in love with a specific headset that is not compatible with your platform (though it is not guaranteed that one will exist).
Yet, there is something else you need to consider here; do you want wired or wireless headphones? Deciding what you prefer is actually really tough because, on the one hand, wired models do not have to deal with potential interference from other wireless devices or latency issues. However, on the other hand, wireless designs take the hassle of dealing with a cable right out of the equation.
Gamer's rage is real and that should explain this section perfectly.
The last section here is actually quite simple as you want to buy a gaming headset that is going to last and in order for this to be possible, it needs to be made with durable materials. What you want to avoid are cheaply made plastic bands that will break at the first sight of damage. Instead, opt for durable bands that are made of either steel or aluminum (you can’t go wrong with either, though the latter is lighter). Along the same line, ensure that the attachment points and cables are not thin and poorly constructed.
What you need to remember is this, gamer’s rage is a very real thing. Come on, any serious gamer out there has experienced this and when it happens, a lot of times you are not in control of your emotions. As such, you may end up slamming down your headphones or chucking them on the floor. Ensuring they survive such actions will be paramount if you fear this happening.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
This section will always be important for a product such as this but it is intensified due to the simple nature of how one will be used. You see, you may want to play a particular game for hours at a time and may want a pair of headphones that can stay comfortable for just as long. In order for this to be possible, above all else, pay attention to the band itself and also the ear cups.
Oh yeah, this one is huge. When compared to standard headphones that you would use to simply listen to music or watch movies, though, how to assess the sound quality is a bit different. Even though you can still assess the size and design of the drivers, you also need to decide if you want surround sound or stereo sound. If you want the most immersive experience possible, the former will be preferred.
The so-called crown jewel of accessories here has got to be the microphone. Then again, it will be if the gaming that you are playing involves talking and chatting with other online gamers. If not, then perhaps you would not even need it. If you do, however, you may not want to skimp out on it as you want the people you are talking with to be able to hear you clearly.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why is the microphone not working?
Some basic troubleshooting can be performed by you to help determine why this problem is persisting. To start with, it could be something as basic as the mute switch being activated on the microphone. If you know this is not the issue then make sure that the connection is firmly in place. Of course, you might also have to fickle around with some settings to see what is going on.
q: Are these good for listening to music?
It has been mentioned a few times that gaming headphones are just different than other models. And, guess what, that comes to the forefront right here. To be honest, they may not be that suitable for regular music and the reason is that they will be optimized for gaming. During video games, you need to realize that certain sound effects will be potent while others will not be as much. Meanwhile, for music, everything is pretty much balanced.
q: What models can you use for the Nintendo Switch?
The Switch is still a relatively new console and Nintendo has never really been a juggernaut in the cooperative online gaming universe. Due to such, Nintendo gamers typically do not need headsets as much as Sony or Microsoft gamers. But, times are changing and so is Nintendo. So, if you do want to use a headset for their newest console/handheld hybrid it will have to be via a 3.5-millimeter audio jack. Over time, though, Nintendo has implemented wireless capabilities but the technology is still pretty raw.
q: Why is no sound being emitted by them?
This is another problem that can persist from time to time and while there could be a number of different reasons to why you are not hearing sound from your specific model, let’s take a look at some common reasons. If they are not connected properly, have not battery life, or are muted, then they will not emit sound. If the problem is much deeper, be sure that the settings are configured correctly and that the platform you are trying to use is compatible with them.
q: How do you clean them?
Perhaps your headset has become either dirty or sweaty and you want to clean it. Thankfully, this can be done but you need to be careful in how you approach this. Ideally, avoid any chemicals and do not drench any of the components. For the ear cups, use a gentle cleaner (perhaps soap and water) and then make sure that you then remove all of it afterward. If you have any stains, you could also use some hand sanitizer which is a neat little trick.
q: Is 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound superior?
To answer this question, you need to break down exactly what the two types of sounds are. With 5.1 surround sound, it uses six different channels that feed into six different speakers to create sound. Meanwhile, 7.1 surround sound is literally the same thing except that it uses two extra side speakers. And, these two speakers add an additional amount of depth to the experience. So, yes, you could say that it is superior.