Looking for the best gaming headset for you can take many shapes and forms - it is one of the most saturated gaming tech markets going nowadays. However, getting the decision right can pay off and enhance your gaming experience exponentially.
Whether you're after immersive top-tier gaming audio and clear chat or a do-it-all set of cups that won't break the bank, there are plenty of gaming headsets vying for your attention right now. That means picking out the right model from the right brand can be tricky. Right now, the best gaming headset is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, but with a hefty price tag it's not going to be for everyone. That's why we've put our noggins in as many headsets as we can get our hands on, covering all the latest releases and some older options that still hold their value today. We've tested hundreds of headsets over the years, living with a massive range of releases from Razer, Corsair, SteelSeries, Logitech and more.
That's why we're rounding up the best gaming headsets we've come across yet. These are devices that have continued to impress throughout our initial and further testing, rising above the competition in audio quality, value for money, features, or durability. You can find out more about how we test gaming headsets further down the page, or head straight to our top picks for a range of use-cases just below.
The best gaming headsets available now
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The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless has blown the competition out of the water with its all-round excellence. That premium look and feel is backed up by unmatched audio quality, a plethora of additional controls at your fingertips, and its unique answer to battery woes. With its latest generation of high-end gaming headsets, SteelSeries has truly outdone itself.
It was obvious from first meeting that we were going to fall in love with this suave set of cups. Straight out the box we were greeted with a whole host of additional kit to truly help the Nova Pro shine. That's before we even booted up. The base station is the central innovation here. This is much more than a DAC, it's a charging, EQ fiddling, multi-platform connecting beast. Not only do you have easy access to a whole host of EQ settings via this small box, but you'll also be able to connect both a PC and PlayStation to easily switch your audio between them. We have a lot of gaming headsets to run through in testing, and none have been so easily slotted into everyday life as the Nova Pro.
However, the true triumph here lies in the charging capabilities. The right earcup on the main headset itself opens up to reveal a swappable battery pack that can be lifted right out of the set itself. Simply throw in the additional battery charging in the base station and you'll never find yourself without charge. This was such a simple solution to a problem plaguing many a headset, it's difficult to understand why it hasn't been implemented in more high-end solutions. We've grown accustomed to sacrificing the comfort of a lightweight headset in favor of boosted battery, but SteelSeries lets you have it all with this one simple trick. While the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless can pack a serious battery punch all by itself, this solution offers far greater peace of mind.
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (PS5)
Apex Legends (PC)
Rainbow Six Extraction (PS5)
Total War: Troy (PC)
Dawn of War III (PC)
Strange Brigade (PS5)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS5)
Cursed to Golf (PS5)
Then we have the audio. We'll admit it, we find ourselves naturally favoring the clarity and definition of SteelSeries' soundscapes - even if we've found previous models like the Arctis 7P lacked a little in the bass ranges. SteelSeries has upped the ante for its Nova line, and the Pro Wireless sings because of it. We were impressed with the power of the lower ranges here, but not only was the bass beefier than we've experienced with previous releases - the overall sound definition remained crystal clear in the higher ranges as well. That's a difficult balance to strike, but the result had us picking up on even the smallest of audio cues all while enjoying a rich tapestry of well-rounded sound.
The price point is going to be prohibitive for some, we'll admit. However, if you're looking to invest in a high-end headset for a PC / PS5 setup it's well worth indulging your ears with the Arctis Nova Pro.
Read more: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless review
Buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless if you:
- Are looking for a high-end investment headset
- Have a PS5 and PC split setup
- Don't want to worry about battery life - ever
- Play audio-heavy open world games that will benefit from a detailed soundscape
- Enjoy fiddling with EQ settings
Keeping it simple but maintaining some quality too, the Corsair HS35 is one of the best gaming headsets going when on a budget - and certainly one of the best cheap gaming headsets. 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. In our eyes, this is a thoughtfully designed piece of kit, with a sturdy yet comfortable build and some impressive audio qualities.
We were impressed by the HS35's first impression straight out of the box. Where we would usually expect to find an overload of hollow plastic and thin padding at this price point, the lightweight form factor and thoughtful coloring details stood out with a more premium feel. Thanks to memory foam ear-cups and a comfy headband, in our testing the Corsair HS35 proved itself to be snug without being uncomfortable after several hours of play, but also tough enough to withstand being pulled on and off your head without too much care, and withstand the odd accidental fall or bump.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey (PC)
Hotline Miami (Nintendo Switch)
Wolfenstein Youngblood (Nintendo Switch)
Resident Evil 2 (PS4)
Of course, that cheaper price point does come with sacrifices, and one of the first we noticed was the detachable microphone. That's certainly a benefit if you never play with chat - there's nothing stuck getting in your way. However, we mixed our testing sessions between single and multiplayer endeavours and quickly found the process of slotting the mic into its port every time we wanted to hop on chat to be cumbersome. There's also no option to adjust your chat mix, further pushing the Corsair HS35 towards single-player experiences. Still, that very same microphone comes with some neat features we weren't expecting to see - including active noise cancellation. Not only that, but we were impressed by the quality of that cancellation, with clear audio pushing through despite background noise.
Putting it through our rigorous test, we know 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 Tournament Edition). There's no 7.1 surround sound at this price point, which is par for the course, and directional audio isn't a strong suit, putting the HS35 further out of the reaches of anyone playing competitive multiplayer. If you are after a better implementation of stereo audio, we'd recommend checking out the slightly pricier HyperX Cloud Alpha below. However, we pricked our ears at the depth of soundtracks and the richness of everything Wolfenstein's artillery booms. The Corsair HS35 can confidently surpass expectations in its range and handling of busier soundscapes, which is more than commendable at such a low price point.
Read more: Corsair HS35 review
Buy the Corsair HS35 if you:
- Play mostly single-player games
- Don't rely on directional audio too often
- Need a multi-platform headset
- Like a splash of color in your setup
- Don't mind a wired connection
If the SteelSeries Nova Pro Wireless is looking a little pricey, but you want more than the Corsair HS35 can offer, the Razer BlackShark V2 is here to save the day. Between its solid $100 / £100 ish price point (taking regular discounts into account) and its excellent handling of everything from smaller whispers to room-shaking explosions, the latest iteration of the iconic Razer headset will suit the vast majority of player needs the best.
Taking the original BlackShark design from days of yore - 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 we've ever used; and through a companion app, it's got features and customization options coming out of everywhere. The stars have really aligned with this headset and it's our regular go-to for everyday play sessions.
The BlackShark V2 launched in 2020, alongside a wireless Pro version (which carries a much higher price tag even today), and a budget X model (which only drops the price a little but makes sacrifices to get there). Of the full lineup, then, the stock V2 model is the best value of the bunch for most people. The fabric material of the cups is more comfortable than the leatherette used on the V2 X and you'll have access to the companion app for further fine tuning as well.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC)
The Division 2 (PC)
Apex Legends (PC)
In fact, one of the first things we noticed about the BlackShark V2 was just how comfortable it is. That's largely down to the form factor, with each of the longer-than-average cups dangled from a light metal frame connected to the headband. That means there's a weight off the noggin that was certainly appreciated during longer testing sessions. It also means users with glasses will still find comfort here, while the cup size can accommodate a wide range of head shapes and sizes.
The only comparable release from Razer at this price point is the Barracuda X, which does have a wireless trick up its sleeve. However, the X is more geared towards a mobile experience, investing more in features like low latency and battery life. That's excellent for Nintendo Switch (as we'll see later), but the majority of users looking to hook up to a home console or PC will find a much more valuable investment in the audio quality of the BlackShark V2. Not only that, but we (and our online teammates) were particularly impressed by the clarity of the mic here as well.
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. Yup, you don't get the luxury of going wireless (you'll want the V2 Pro variant for that) but 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 (opens in new tab)
Buy the Razer BlackShark V2 if you:
- Prioritize high quality audio over wireless connection
- Want a pick up and play headset with excellent immersion
- Play online multiplayer with chat
- Don't want to spend more than $100 / £100
- Play primarily on PC but still split time with consoles
SteelSeries retains our top spot for the best gaming headset, and it's also our favorite wireless gaming headset overall. However, if you don't want to part with the $350 to achieve such great heights, the Astro A30 Wireless is your next best option for super low latency audio. That's not just because it never faltered in our own testing, but also because there's far wider compatibility on offer than we usually expect to see from a wireless device. You'll find options for Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Nintendo Switch in this suite of connection types, and the ability to concurrently connect to up to three devices as well.
The A30 has some large boots to fill as well. The A50 was one of the best gaming headsets on the market for an impressive amount of time, but the end of 2022 brought this new kid on the block. The A30 isn't simply copying the 50's success, though. With a full aesthetic redesign that softens those tired angular spikes of its predecessor, the A30 is a gaming headset that can just as easily fit in on your commute. Another new design features comes in the form of the onboard controls; power, Bluetooth and mic mute are all casually placed on left cup, but the right sports a joystick that can manage volume, chat mix, as well as music playback and call functions. While it took a little to get used to, we were impressed with just how neat this all felt, with the joystick offering streamlined access to a wealth of controls without taking up nearly as much space.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War (PS5)
A Plague Tale: Requiem (PS5)
Rainbow Six: Extraction (PS5)
Total War: Troy (PC)
Dawn of War III (PC)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC)
Apex Legends (PC)
It's this built in call functionality, split Bluetooth connection, as well as the integrated microphone (there's also a detachable boom mic for gameplay) that makes the Astro A30 such an excellent wireless gaming headset. Yes, that inbuilt mic doesn't quite live up to the crystal clarity of the full boom option, but the flexibility on offer here is unparalleled, offering both commuting prowess and in-game ease of use.
Not only do the A30s offer a compact and comfortable form factor, though - the audio quality is up there with the best in the business. Between the sparser landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and more cacophonous battlefields of Total War, Astro had everything covered with clarity, detail, and excellent reproduction across all ranges. All of that was only heightened by our experience with the Logitech G app to set up a custom EQ profile for Rainbow Six: Extraction. Not only did we find the balance between comms and a hearty soundscape particularly well struck here, but directional audio cues also broke through the background noise as well.
When we reviewed the Razer Barracuda Pro, we thought we'd found the wireless headset to tick all the boxes. The Astro A30 does all that, but at a lower price point - winner.
Read more: Astro A30 Wireless review
Buy the Astro A30 Wireless if you:
- Want to invest in a high-end set of headphones for gaming and everyday
- Regularly play online multiplayer with chat
- Prefer to have all controls at your fingertips
- Want flexibility in your connections and platform
That SteelSeries pedigree wins out in the budget category as well. In our experience, it's not easy to find a wireless gaming headset that ticks quite as many boxes as this for under $90 / £80 (a common price point during the many sales this device finds itself in). When we first got our hands on the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, it was a shoe-in for a Nintendo Switch gaming headset. However, with Nintendo opening up the Bluetooth on its consoles, the Arctis 1 Wireless has become more of an everyday wireless option.
That's a common theme running throughout the design. We were met with a matte black chassis, thinner cushions on each earcup, and a minimalist aesthetic overall. However, that SteelSeries quality holds true even its cheaper devices - and that starts with the build quality. From our hands-on experience, the Arctis 1 Wireless immediately reveals itself as strong and sturdy - something we certainly can't say for every budget wireless headset going. It's connected via a USB-C dongle that plugs into the base of your Switch, PS5 or PC, offering excellent wireless coverage up to about 8m / 25ft. While not perfect, the connection was always solid and there is almost zero loss of audio even during busy games.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (PC)
Escape from Tarkov (PC)
The Division 2 (PS4)
Star Wars Battlefront 2 (PS4)
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless has a padded headband with an adjustable, steel core, and foam ear cushions which we found incredibly comfortable even if the headband padding isn't very deep - we still got medium-long gaming sessions out of it before noticing any aching. The detachable mic works great, and is ideal for team play in games like Fortnite (opens in new tab). There's even a wire for plugging directly into your console if the 20-hour battery runs down.
Audio quality isn't going to compete with the heavier priced gaming headsets further up the page, but it's certainly worth its price tag. That said, due to the lack of surround sound the stereo audio does come across fairly flat in more recent titles across newer consoles. If you're playing indies on PC or PlayStation, or just looking to curl up with your Switch, it's more than enough.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 does have considerable competition in the newer Razer Barracuda X (see below) at a similar price point. However, the SteelSeries option wins out with its EQ customization options and the slightly better balance between treble ranges noted in our testing.
Read more: SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless review
Buy the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless if you:
- Don't play competitively
- Want to spend less than $100 / £100 on a wireless headset
- Want a fuss-free plug and play wireless connection
- Play less audio demanding games
- Need EQ customization options for PC
The HyperX Cloud Alpha isn’t exactly the new kid on the block. This venerable mid-range headset has been knocking around since 2017 but the fact they’re still around should tells us all something: this headset is superb, and rightfully still in the conversation for best gaming headset. You'll usually find these cups sitting at between $60 and $100 / £60 and £100 - a solid price for no-nonsense quality.
Straight from the off, we were glad to see that classic Cloud Alpha design still holds out today. Between the aviation-style arches rounding out each cup and the high quality red stitching across the plush headband, this is a premium feeling - and looking - device. HyperX also avoids the plasticky aesthetic of many a gaming headset in this price range, opting instead for an aluminium build for the most part. Considering you can, on a good sale day, pick these cups up for around $60 / £60 that's a rare bonus.
Sure, we might say that there's a lack of software, RGB lighting, or various doo-dads that litter the specs sheet of many a modern gaming headset, but for the money, the Cloud Alphas offer peerless build quality and in-game performance. Of course, in dropping the extra features you might expect from today's headsets, these older cups manage to hold onto an excellent audio quality without spending too much on guff you might not even use. Like the Corsair HS35 above, the Cloud Alphas rely on stereo sound to see you through the action, but the implementation of this stereo feels much better.
The HyperX name comes with that eSports pedigree, so even though there's no surround sound here we were still easily placing every sound and footstep in CS:GO. If you're solid on that 7.1 surround sound, though, the HyperX Cloud II will be better suited, though we did notice a muddying in the bass ranges here that puts the overall sound profile at a slight disadvantage.
Imperator: Rome (PC)
Another small feature we noticed that makes the HyperX Cloud Alpha better value for money over the cheaper Corsair model is the detachable cable. It's a quality of life addition that will make travelling and storing your headset far easier, and keep all that internal wiring safe in the process. This focus on ease of transport is furthered by the travel bag included in the box.
We also found an excellent balance rumbling between the cups as well (a better overall balance when compared with the HyperX Cloud II), with a generous low-end that never threatens to distort other ranges, and a comfortable, spacious high-end as well.
In testing, when we plugged them into PC or console, we were always treated to clear sound straight from the offset, plus a lovely plush fit that never got tired over long sessions. An inline control panel means volume and chat mix functions are only a tap away as well. If you’re someone who values customization in your headset, you might want to look elsewhere (the Razer BlackShark V2 offers plenty in its companion EQ software), but if you’re someone who prefers the simpler things in life at a great price, the Cloud Alpha is the headset for you.
Of course, if you do want to splurge a little more cash on a cord-free option, the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is another excellent addition to lineup and comes with a massive 300+ battery life. That will push you into three figure territory though, which won't make sense for everyone.
Read more: HyperX Cloud Alpha review
Buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha if you:
- Want a no-fuss multi-platform headset
- Travel with your gaming headset regularly
- Don't need a wireless connection
- Play mostly single player games with some multiplayer thrown in
- Don't need EQ customization options for PC
We loved both the Audeze Penrose and Audeze Mobius, but there's a new kid in town for 2023. The Audeze Maxwell takes the brand's high-end audiophile signature sound and expands it for far greater quality, boosts the battery life, and replaces a plastic build with a far more premium finish. That makes for a stunning proposition, perfect for anyone looking for a little extra grunt than you'll usually find in the usual brands. At $299.99 / £319, the PlayStation version (that we tested) is a little cheaper than the Xbox release ($329 / £349), but the option for wireless Xbox audio is there if you need it.
The key to the Audeze Maxwell's success as the best gaming headset for audiophiles is its 90mm Planar drivers. The vast majority of gaming headsets, including the rest of the options on this list, use dynamic drivers. These use a cone shaped design to create vibrations, whereas a planar driver is flat. That means you're getting a much more open soundstage with greater space for, but not necessarily enforced emphasis on, lower ranges.
In the case of the Audeze Maxwell, we found that made for a stunning soundstage. Not only could we easily discern the direction of gunfire in Counter Strike, but the incredible detailing also meant we could work out the distance, and sometimes even the obstacles, between us. It's like stepping into a completely different game if you're used to a standard $100 headset like the Razer BlackShark V2, for example. Of course, this isn't just for competitive play. In fact it was single player titles like The Last of Us Part 2 that really turned our heads. Between tracking clicker echoes and soaking up every terrifying echo and creak of an abandoned building, the full stage on offer offered a richly immersive experience full of dynamic details.
Doom Eternal (PC)
The Last of Us Part 2 (PS5)
Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)
Dragon Quest Builders 2 (Nintendo Switch)
Pokemon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo Switch)
We did notice Horizon Forbidden West offering its usual challenges. Its open world, filled with machinery noises and strange emphasis on certain audio can often trip up even the best gaming headsets. The Maxwells weren't immune, the headset's natural emphasis on higher and lower ranges mean the middles see less detail causing footsteps to overwhelm passing dialogue and environmental effects.
With an 80 hour battery life, comfortable design, and plenty of onboard controls (though the volume and chat mix dials are a little clustered), the Audeze Maxwell ticks all the right boxes elsewhere. Headband adjustment is limited compared to other devices that use the suspension design, like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro above, but there's three sizes to choose from on the headset itself.
Of course, the SteelSeries does also pack those swappable batteries and active noise cancellation, helping it hold its top spot on our list. However, from an audiophile's standpoint, the Maxwell is the best buy on the market right now. If you're after a wireless connection for both PS5 and Xbox Series X, though, you'll be better off with the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max below.
Read more: Audeze Maxwell review
Buy the Audeze Maxwell if you:
- Want to maximise audio performance...
- ... and don't mind sacrificing a few extra features to do so
- Play either PS5 or Xbox Series X, not both
- Want precise directional audio for competitive play
- Don't have a particularly large or particularly small head
The Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT was released back in 2021, and although that asking price remains at its relatively high $260 / £250 position, the sound quality and tuning makes this the best gaming headset for PC overall. These plush cups trade blows with pricier audiophile sets and offer a truly premium gaming experience to boot.
In our testing, we found the sound quality to be impeccable, with clear mids, loud bass, and unmuddied high notes in games, music, and movies. You're reaching the dizzying heights of a 40KHz frequency range (most gaming headsets tap out at 20KHz) here. While human hearing generally taps out well below this, that ultrasound range can boost the feel of certain in-game sounds, and we experienced it all without any distortion to speak of. That's seriously impressive and, when combined with the near-lossless audio on offer from AptX HD, makes for an excellent listening experience across both games and music.
We were taking advantage of that high quality audio for a long time as well. The Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT takes over from the previous SE model with more padding in the earcups, making for a greater clamp feel (supported by an extra cushioned headrest to keep things comfortable). We did feel there could have been more breathing room in this clamp, though, which might make the Virtuoso unsuitable for those playing on hotter days.
We think the ‘broadcast-quality’ (dubious, but it’s certainly close) detachable microphone performs excellently for voice chat with very minor compression, while the four different connection methods mean you can use the Virtuoso XT with almost any device. Dolby Atmos provides excellent surround sound, and the battery is good enough for a full day’s use.
Of course, in 2023, the Virtuoso has some stiff competition from the likes of the wired SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro ($249.99 / £249.99) and some older threats like the Astro A50 ($299.99 / £319.99). In the case of the former, though, you're sacrificing that wireless connection (and the ability to connect to multiple devices at the same time) for a slight boost in audio quality. Meanwhile the A50s still regularly cost more money in sale events, and are more concentrated on serving a wider multi-platform audience - at the cost of more PC pedigree features.
Why pick up the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT for your PC setup specifically? It's the dual-connectivity offered by the 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connections, combined with the heavy attention to 7.1 surround sound detailing and that stellar microphone that do it for us. It might be expensive, but this PC gaming headset does plenty to justify its price tag.
Read more: Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT review
Buy the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT if you:
- Play PC primarily
- Regularly play competitive multiplayer shooters with chat
- Want to swap between gaming, movies, and music
- Don't mind a harder clamp force
Yes, the Pulse 3D headset is a shoe-in for the best PS5 headset (and, in our opinion, the best for the majority of players out there), but Razer's alternative takes everything one step further for an additional $100 / £100. Of course, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro wireless at the top of our list is still going to be your best bet, but at $199.99 / £199.99, the Razer Kaira Pro for PlayStation is your next port of call.
Razer's new TriForce Titanium drivers are powering this PlayStation edition of the popular Kaira Pro. That, combined with their larger 50mm size (the Pulse 3D's drivers are 40mm), mean we noticed a far richer sound overall with additional detailing in the surround sound as well. Of course, a $200 Razer headset is always going to sound good - it's the haptics that truly set the Kaira Pro apart from the rest of the competition (and which may make it a better choice than the SteelSeries if you're buying a for-PS5 headset).
We noticed an incredible immersion in every game we tested. Not only was every rumble and explosion felt with solid power, but we were surprised by the level of accuracy here. Closer explosions were noticeably more head rocking than the quieter whizzes of gunfire further away, which was particularly enjoyable when comparing the sounds of our own gunfire with that of further-afield shots. This all builds on the success of the Razer Nari Ultimate - though where those larger cups first explored the concept of haptic feedback in gaming headsets, the Razer Kaira Pro owns it. Not only is every detail more precise and every jolt more powerful, but there's now four levels of feedback to choose from, ranging in intensity, as well as that all-important off button.
Far Cry 6 (PS5)
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (PS5)
F1 2021 (PS5)
We say all-important, because the only time we weren't too impressed with this feature was during multiplayer. Online co-op is unusable with haptics switched on due to the fact that the tech under the hood can't discern the difference between in-game and chat sounds. That means an innocent question from a friend hits you with the full force of a gunshot. It doesn't quite remove those who regularly play online from the equation, thanks to that handy off button, but we wouldn't be leaning on those haptics too hard in a multiplayer session.
Elsewhere, Razer has once again opted for its slimline build with rotational cups and a slick form factor. You're picking up the classic PS5 aesthetic with the bright white headband, black cups, and blue accents on each Razer logo, all supported by a robust build quality that never buckled during our testing. The onboard microphone is more than serviceable, but won't hold a candle to the more hardcore focused options on the market.
This isn't the only Kaira on the market, though. Razer also launched the budget Kaira X ($59.99 / £59.99) and the standard Kaira for PlayStation ($99.99 / £99.99). The former is your stock standard wired headset, dropping haptic features and using an older version of Razer's TriForce drivers. In fact, if you can live with a wired connection, we'd recommend anyone looking to save some cash over the Pro model head straight for the X. The middle-child Kaira is still a wireless headset, with USB-C 2.4GHz and Bluetooth, and keeps the SmartSwitch multi-device connection options of the Pro while dropping haptic feedback. However, there's little else separating it from the considerably cheaper X. The Pro remains at the top of the pyramid, but if you do need to make sacrifices, there are options out there.
Read more: Razer Kaira Pro review
Buy the Razer Kaira Pro if you:
- Are looking for more immersion in your PS5 games
- Prioritize a wireless connection
- Want to invest in a high-end headset
- Need to reinvigorate your PS4 setup
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox is easily one of the best wired gaming headsets we’ve ever used, with the wireless variant only pipping it to the post via our top pick at the start of the page. Yes, this headset is also compatible with PS5, but we found audio quality to be lacking the same depth and richness when hooked up to a Sony console compared to the Xbox Series X it was designed for. That means this is one for those Xbox die-hards, or anyone looking to swap and change between console and PC (more on that later).
The aesthetic here is the same as the wireless Nova Pro model headlining the best gaming headsets around, with its cool greys and slick form factor. Brushed metal and dense, durable plastics abound, all with an excellent air of luxury. The Nova Pro for Xbox's lightweight design and build keep the size and weight down, making it comfortable to wear but still feeling like there’s some sturdiness to it. The overall feel in the hands is almost like a pair of good headphones, rather than the hollow, angular feel we're used to after handling countless gaming headsets.
The excellent, small Digital-To-Analogue (DAC) unit that comes with the headset allows for highly customisable EQ adjustment, letting you get the sound just how you like it. In general, though, the audio quality in stereo and surround mode is just superb across the board, whether it’s in action-packed action/shooting games, engaging RPGs, thoughtful adventure titles, or enjoying streaming content from the internet.
Minecraft (Xbox Series X)
Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X)
Sniper Elite 5 (Xbox Series X)
Strange Brigade (Xbox Series X)
Yakuza: Like A Dragon (Xbox Series X)
Doom Eternal (PC)
Age of Empires IV (PC)
Ghost of Tsushima (PS5)
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5)
While the wired connectivity means it can be multi-platform, it is also built to be connected to multiple devices at once allowing you to flick a switch and swap between console and PC (as mentioned above, this is a little limiting in PS5 audio quality).
Another minor gripe is the ear cushion material; it’s a form of leatherette - and in our experience, that can split or degrade after a while, especially in hot conditions or very heavy use. The fact the decent microphone isn’t retract-to-mute seems like a missed opportunity, too, though SteelSeries have previous form on this too and it's no major concern at all.
It's got a high price of admission compared to other wired models - the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 comes in at $159.99 / £154.99, for example, but benefit from a more balanced sound profile overall - especially when it comes to switching things over to Spotify.
By opting for the wired version you're saving yourself some cash, rather than investing in a bunch of wireless connection features designed for multi-platform use. Xbox-only players need look no further - if you’ve got the budget and don’t mind the wired setup, this is the best Xbox Series X headset on the market right now.
Read more: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox review
Buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox if you:
- Don't mind a wired connection
- Still want access to EQ adjustments on console
- Regularly switch between PC and Xbox
- Stick to Xbox for console play
The latest 2022 Razer Barracuda X improves on the previous 2021 generation in a number of ways. Perhaps the largest draw is the new low-latency Bluetooth connection, allowing for use across a massive range of mobile devices. That, and the fact that it retains its impressive sound quality, long-lasting comfort, and adds an excellent 80 hour battery life, makes it the best gaming headset for Nintendo Switch. You don't have to rely on the 2.4GHz dongle if you're out and about, and you'll also be able to switch between your phone and console if commuting. That's perfect for the casual Switcher - but the price tag makes things all the more compelling.
At $99.99 / £99.99, the Razer Barracuda X is a rare beast; a wireless headset with an excellent sound quality and plenty of extra features for under $100. Anyone on the hunt for a cost effective set of cups for their cheaper console will be well served here. However, the simple plug and play system will see PC and PlayStation players through as well.
We found that excellent sound quality of the original model was retained across all platforms. There's an impressive amount of power behind these 40mm drivers, offering a well-balanced sound across everything from Doom Eternal to The Last of Us Part 2. The twinkly melodies of Super Mario Galaxy were given particularly strong attention, with detailing across larger, booming sounds matching those of smaller sound effects well. You'll find a passable virtual 7.1 surround sound on PC (available only by a separate program, the Barracuda X isn't compatible with Synapse 3 software), offering a basic sense of direction. It's not going to compete with that of the Corsair Virtuoso or Audeze Maxwell, but it's there if you do fancy tinkering on a keyboard. Nintendo Switch players, though, are always going to be limited by the system's stereo sound, which makes the lack of extra tuning features less impactful. Plus, you've always got EQ customization options on the Razer Audio app.
Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo Switch)
Pokemon Legends: Arceus (Nintendo Switch)
Doom Eternal (PS5, PC, Xbox Series S)
The Last of Us Part 2 (PS5)
Razer suggests a 50 hour battery life, and we found that the 2022 Barracuda X not only met these estimates but exceeded them. Of course, this is straight out of the box and with battery degradation that juice is going to start running out faster. However, kicking things off with around 55 hours from the get go, you're going to be in a much better position in six months time than you would be with a 30 hour headset. That's excellent news for more casual players who don't want to worry about plugging in between sessions.
There is one stick in the mud if you're looking for a multi-platform headset. Thanks to Xbox's finnicky wireless connections, you'll only be able to use the Barracuda X in a wired state. That's a big blow - we noticed the sound quality to be greatly reduced when unpowered, with everything flattened, losing the vibrancy that otherwise makes the new Barracuda so impressive.
The fact remains, though, that you're getting incredible value for money with the Razer Barracuda X. Its plush, breathable materials, long battery life, excellent performance for the money, and flexible wireless connections make it the best Nintendo Switch headset for the majority of users. Most Switch players really don't need all the fancy features of the high-end devices above, and the Barracuda X concentrates its strengths exactly where these players need them to be.
Read more: Razer Barracuda X (2022) review
Buy the Razer Barracuda X (2022) if you:
- Want a new set of headphones and a headset in one
- Regularly play on the go with your Nintendo Switch
- Don't want to fiddle with EQ settings and lengthy setup process
- Don't want to spend more than $100 / £100
Turtle Beach has done it. They've finally cracked the cross-platform problem plaguing so many multi-consolers for years. Opting for the Xbox version of the latest release opens you up to wireless connectivity across all Xbox, PlayStation (4 and above), Nintendo Switch, and mobile systems - as well as PC of course. That's a pretty incredible feat in itself, but it gets even better once you put these cups over your ears.
We were surprised by just how crisp and clear the audio quality is here, no matter the platform. Yes, many multi-platform gaming headsets exist - the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, Razer Barracuda X, Astro A30, and Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT above all claim to offer compatibility across the spectrum. However, we've always found some platforms to suffer under this umbrella. A wireless headset for Xbox, for example, may not perform as well on PlayStation, and a set of cups designed for PS5 rarely plays as well on a Series X, and generally is only compatible via a wired connection. Yet the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max manages to nail it on each and every system we tested it on.
We found just as much success with Dolby Atmos on Xbox Series X as we did Tempest 3D Audio on PS5, enjoying deep, rich audio across neutral sounds and when boosting those surround sound layers. These drivers handled the finer details of both single and multiplayer games with aplomb as well.
All that's going to be for nothing if you can't wear the cups, though. Thankfully, there's plenty of padding in this chunkier gaming headset, while still leaving space for your head to breath. That's a relief, with many closed back headsets relying on clamp force to create a sense of noise isolation, resulting in a particularly warm experience.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS5, Xbox Series X, PC)
Call of Duty: Warzone (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
The only design element that did trip us up in testing was the controls. While you'll find a dedicated Audio Hub phone app for software, there's no EQ settings to fiddle with here, a major feature that many other headsets in this price category easily boast. That's going to be disappointing for anyone looking to fine-tune their audio, but if you want to pick up and play, the out-of-box experience is strong enough to carry you through a massive range of genres. You can also adjust both volume and chat mix via sliders on the headset itself as well.
That brings us onto the Superhuman Hearing mode. This is a feature touted by a massive range of Turtle Beach headsets, but one we'd rather forget in the vast majority of its implementations. It essentially superficially boosts smaller sounds like far off gunshots and footprints to make competitive shooters easier. In practice, audio becomes severely degraded when this feature is switched on, carrying a grainy, synthetic quality that undercuts the otherwise particularly faithful representation of the natural soundscape on offer.
The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 Max is a go-to for anyone looking for a one and done headset across all platforms. While it's a little more expensive than the previous generation (the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2, $109.99 / £119.99), that cross-platform compatibility makes it an easy recommendation for anyone after a quality of life update. Of course, if you're sticking to a solo platform, it's not going to outperform the likes of the Razer Kaira Pro or the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro for Xbox, though.
Read more: Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 review
Buy the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 if you:
- Split your gameplay across multiple different platforms
- Don't need EQ customization options
- Play for long periods of time
- Like some onboard control over chat mix
We'll get one thing out the way at the top. The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is not going to cut it if you play a lot of online multiplayer. The microphone on this device just isn't up to the standard set in its 2022 release year. However, if you're after a workhorse of a single player experience, it's the best gaming headset going in terms of battery life. That's because there's a massive 300 hour power pack inside these cups - offering three times the battery life of our previous top pick for juice, the EPOS Sennheiser GSP 370. That only sounds more impressive once you realize the majority of wireless headsets can only report around 30 or 40 hours.
When we first heard of such a revolution, courtesy of the Cloud Alpha Wireless's CES 2022 reveal, we were sceptical. How much does this thing weigh? Is it actually alive for 300 hours of gameplay, or is this a theoretical number based on simplistic battery tests? Once we got it in our hands, though, it was obvious this is the real deal.
We took it out of the box, charged it all the way up and just played... and played... and played. We counted up to 110 hours of total battery life at the start of our testing and then gave up scratching tallies in the wall - we were still at 70% capacity at that time. HyperX isn't lying to you here, this is a game-changer. And yet this thing weighs only 322g - well within the reasonable range for a comfortable headset.
Red Alert Remastered (PC)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC)
F1 2021 (PS5)
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (PS5)
Sacrifices haven't been made in the audio quality department to achieve such a battery feat either. The wireless edition is every bit as punchy as its cabled companion - the HyperX Cloud Alpha featured further up the page. Everything from the expansive open worlds of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla to the densely populated street sounds of Spider-Man: Miles Morales was represented beautifully, with careful attention to detail at all ranges. What's more, music and TV were equally impactful. Add to that the classic Cloud design in all its arched glory and you've got yourself a serious winner.
The aforementioned microphone is where things go awry. While we've always been impressed by HyperX's boom mics, this particular implementation does a severe disservice to the brand. Audio was both crackly and muffled in chat and on work calls, with the only resolution being to move the mic directly next to the mouth and upping the sensitivity levels. That's where the Sennheiser comes back into play.
You're dropping around 200 hours of battery life if you opt instead for the GSP 370, but still picking up a solid 100 hours at the end of it - far more than other wireless headsets can offer. Plus, you're getting a far more serviceable microphone at the end of it all - making Sennheiser the only option for those who regularly play online multiplayer.
Read more: HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless review
Buy the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless if you:
- Don't play online multiplayer
- Need as much battery life as possible
- Play between PlayStation and PC
- Won't use your headset for calls or video meetings
How we test gaming headsets at GamesRadar+
Each headset that crosses our desks for our consideration gets treated the same and just as intensely. We use and live with each headset as if it were our own and use it as our go-to, day-to-day sets for work and play. We test them for video calls and conferences, as well as other media like music and TV as we know a lot of folks want their headsets to do more.
We also then put them through hours and hours of gaming, covering multiple genres, game types, and methods of play. We play the single-player games that we are currently playing in our own time as well as a bunch of staple games, and we also use them to play online ensuring communication is clear and effective.
For more information, you can read more on How we test headsets at GamesRadar+ here, and for a more rounded look at how we test gaming hardware here at GamesRadar+, then you can check out our Hardware Policy.
What is the best gaming headset in 2023?
The best gaming headset right now is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, though with a hefty price point it's certainly not going to be right for everyone. If you're looking to spend less than $50 / £50, the Corsair HS35 is the best gaming headset for you. Meanwhile, anyone after a mid-range $60 - $100 / £60 - £100 headset should invest in the Razer BlackShark V2.
How much does a gaming headset cost?
Gaming headsets come in a range of different configurations and, therefore, prices. At the budget end you can expect to pay between $40 and $60 / £40 and £60 for a wired headset with solid stereo audio quality, basic drivers, and a detachable boom microphone for online play. As we near the $100 / £100 mark you'll find more surround sound and wireless options, larger drivers, and additional EQ customization options.
The $100 - $200 / £100 - £200 price range is the most competitive. This is the upper mid-range where we tend to see high value gaming headsets offering premium features with some sacrifices to build or additional extras. Drivers and surround sound qualities will all be improved dramatically in this price range, and you'll find higher quality materials (which means a more comfortable form factor and longer lasting durability). You're also more likely to pick up split connections in this price range, allowing you to swap between a 2.4GHz and Bluetooth connection with different devices.
Gaming headsets over $200 / £200 will feature the latest and greatest in audio technology, long battery lives, in-depth EQ settings, and other quality of life features like active noise cancellation.
What is the best gaming headset brand?
There are plenty of gaming headset brands out there competing for your cash. In our experience, though, the best are SteelSeries, Razer, Corsair, Turtle Beach, HyperX, and Astro.