Crank up your games with a good gaming headset, an essential companion for enjoying the thunder of explosions, cinematic music, and cursing the heavens (or team mates, or enemies) in multiplayer games.
A good headset can even (potentially) give you an edge in FPS games, where audio cues can help you pinpoint threats. But mostly, it’s about the explosions and the music, and generally enjoying your games.
Headset technology doesn’t really change often, hence most of these headsets have been on this list for a while, along with newcomers that get added to the list as I discover them. But aside from periodic ‘refreshes’ that typically involve new colors or tweaks to an existing formula, last year’s (and year’s before that, and even before that) headsets will probably serve you just as well as this year’s model –and often at a greatly reduced price.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Audio quality is a highly subjective evaluation. If possible, try to listen to a headset before you purchase.
- Comfort is arguably the most important quality, especially if you plan to wear the headset for more than an hour.
- Even the best surround sound headset won’t match a quality 5.1/7.1 speaker setup.
- Consider multi-platform capabilities. Some headsets are very versatile and can be used equally as well with a desktop PC as they can with a console or a tablet.
Generally, if at all possible try before you buy, or at least buy from a store with a good return policy.
Note: Some of these reviews are not linked to their full reviews because the reviews were originally posted to Examiner.com (now dead), and they may not have been / may not be migrated to this site (yet). This page is continually updated as I discover new favorites!
The LucidSound LS20 shines on virtually any gaming platform, but where it’s truly radiant is in the mobile space.
At a price around $100, the LS20 headset is a sound choice as a general travel/mobile/multi-platform headset, but where they truly excel is in the mobile space as a travel companion. They sound great, they are well designed, and boast exceptional comfort.
These will probably be going with me to E3 2017…
SteelSeries Arctis 3
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 gaming headset demonstrates SteelSeries commitment to comfortable, affordable, and well-designed gaming headsets.
Despite the Arctis’ icy name, which continues a SteelSeries tradition for naming products after cold things, slipping on the Arctis headset is like slipping on a warm, cuddly and eminently comfortable pair of ear muffs.
Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger
The multi-platform Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger is a comfortable and well-designed gaming headset that delivers quality stereo audio for PC, mobile, and console players. You could do a lot worse for fifty bucks.
Actually, it would be difficult to do much better.
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X H7
Sound cards may be largely irrelevant for modern PCs now (anyone remember the Sound Blaster 16?), but Creative Labs hasn’t missed a beat. They still make damn fine headsets, and the H7 ‘Pro Gaming’ headset scores well across the board.
The H7 sports a firm but comfortable fit, outstanding audio quality, virtual surround sound, and an impressive array of extras and features in the included Acoustic Engine Pro software/driver suite—all for around $120.
Newcomer LucidSound brings their A-game and the thunder with the multi-platform LS30 Wireless Stereo gaming headset. The LS30 scores extremely well in comfort, sound quality, and overall design with its ear-cup controls, dual microphones, and excellent balance of noise isolation and comfort.
The LS30 is an amplified headset capable of lossless, wireless audio for top notch sound quality, and it’s compatible with PS3/PS4, Xbox360/XboxOne, PC, and mobile devices. Best of all, the LS30 is relatively inexpensive at around $150 (at launch), which is significantly less than many competitors.
Razer Man O’ War
The Razer Man O’ War is comfortable, has great battery life, excellent sound, and virtually all the design related features I tend to prefer in a headset, including a retractable mic, intuitive ear cup controls, and more. It doesn’t quite hit “perfect” but at a price of around $170 it undercuts many competitors with a similar feature set.
Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum
The Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum combines outstanding audio quality, Logitech’s fine attention to detail, design, and usability characteristics, and robust software features to make it one of the best PC gaming (and cross-platform) headsets you can own. IThe G633 (along with its wireless brethren, the G933) is essentially the replacement generation for Logitech’s G930 series, although I kept the G930 on the list because it’s still a great headset (and less expensive now that it’s an older generation).
It’s Logitech’s ergonomic, design, and usability refinements present on the G633 as well as their keyboards (like the Orion Spark keyboard) and mice (like the Proteus Core) that often lead me to prefer Logitech gaming gear over others.
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
The V-Moda Crossfade M-100 delivers outstanding, pure, analog stereo audio in an extremely well-designed, eminently portable, durable, and comfortable package. It even comes with a nice hard shell case for traveling, and I still use it as my main travel headset.
It’s one of the best headsets you can own and worth every penny of its admittedly steep $300 asking price (more if you opt for additional accessories). Regardless, it’s money well spent—especially with V-Moda’s 2-year warranty.
Astro Gaming A50 wireless
Astro Gaming’s A50 is an audio juggernaut with 7.1 Dolby surround sound. It’s also backed by great design, comfort, and unfettered wireless freedom to make it an outstanding PC gaming headset. Price range: Around $300. (Also: consider the A50’s wired cousin the A40, which is a little less expensive at around $250.)
Brief Update: The Astro Gaming A50 “V2” was on hand at E3 2016. Although I have not formally reviewed the A50 “v2”, I can confirm the following:
- It has the same Mic circuitry as the Astro A40
- It has largely the same circuitry as the Astro A40.
- A ‘mod kit’ will be available for it with different ear cups) at an additional cost of $40
- It will retail for $299.
- It does away with the hanging stand in lieu of a charging ‘base station’ as shown below:
SteelSeries Siberia V2 Frost Blue
The SteelSeries Siberia V2 has long been a favorite because it’s exceptionally light and comfortable, thanks to its suspension head band design. Sound quality is generally excellent. The “Frost Blue” Edition adds some cool blue LEDs (and cost), but SteelSeries has a number of less expensive variants of the Siberia V2. Price range: around $100.
This particular headset design is used in a number of Siberia-series headsets, including more recent iterations of the product. SteelSeries knows not to mess with success.