Gaming headsets are an essential accessory for any serious gamer. The right headset can provide an immersive audio experience, crystal clear communication with teammates, and comfortable wearability for those marathon gaming sessions. With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to determine which headset is the best choice for your needs and budget.
In this buying guide, we‘ll recommend the top 5 gaming headsets across various categories and price points. We evaluated over 50 different models, considering crucial factors like sound quality, microphone performance, comfort, compatibility, and value. Whether you‘re a budget-conscious casual gamer or a hardcore esports competitor, you‘ll find the perfect headset for you on this list.
How We Chose the Best Gaming Headsets
When selecting the top gaming headsets, we used the following criteria:
Sound Quality: How accurate and well-balanced is the audio reproduction? Can you clearly hear subtle in-game sounds like footsteps? Good frequency range and dynamic drivers are key.
Microphone: Voice pickup should be clear and free of distortion. Noise cancellation is a major plus. The mic should also be convenient to position.
Comfort: Headsets need padding for the headband and ears. They should be lightweight enough for hours of wear. Build quality affects durability.
Features: What extra perks does the headset offer? Surround sound, EQ presets, and wireless connectivity add value. Compatibility with multiple platforms is ideal.
Value: Headsets in each pricing tier were evaluated to determine which offers the best quality for cost. Budget options still need good construction.
We assigned ratings in each category to narrow down the top contenders. Our picks represent the gaming headsets that scored highest in all areas.
The 5 Best Gaming Headsets of 2023
Best Overall: SteelSeries Arctis 7P/7X
- Excellent sound with DTS Headphone:X v2.0 surround
- Lossless 2.4GHz wireless with up to 30 hours of battery
- Clear bidirectional microphone with background noise cancellation
- Works seamlessly across platforms like PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC
The SteelSeries Arctis 7P/7X tops our list for its phenomenal performance and versatility. This premium headset delivers immersive surround sound so you can pinpoint enemy movements in FPS games. The ski goggle suspension headband provides a comfortable fit, while AirWeave ear cushions remain cool during extended wear.
The Arctis 7P/7X utilizes a 2.4GHz wireless connection with up to 40 feet of range. Latency is nearly imperceptible at just 20ms. The battery enables up to 30 hours of use per charge. You can hot swap between multiple devices thanks to the transmitter‘s USB-C and USB-A compatibility.
For clear voice chat, this headset features background noise cancellation. The Discord-certified bidirectional microphone ensures your voice sounds natural. With so many strengths at a reasonable price, the Arctis 7P/7X is undoubtedly our Best Overall pick.
- Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC, mobile
- Drivers: 40mm neodymium
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Weight: 13 oz
Best Wireless: Astro A50
- Low-latency 5GHz wireless signal
- Dolby Audio for immersive surround sound
- 15+ hours of battery life per charge
- Docking station for convenient charging
- Works with Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Mac
For uncompromising wireless performance, the Astro A50 ranks as our top pick. This headset transmits audio over a 5GHz connection to eliminate interference and sync issues. The optimized antenna placement inside the ear cups maintains your signal even if you turn away from the base station.
Dolby Audio combines with 40mm drivers to create engrossing surround sound. You can pinpoint opponents in FPS games and feel immersed in rich audio landscapes. The unidirectional microphone isolates your voice while filtering out ambient noise.
The Astro A50 works with Xbox One/Series X, PlayStation 4/5, PC, and Mac. The base station makes charging simple between gaming sessions. For premium wireless quality, the A50 has no equal.
- Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Mac
- Drivers: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Weight: 13 oz
Best for PlayStation: Pulse 3D Wireless Headset
- Officially licensed by Sony for PS5 and PS4
- Spatial audio and active noise cancellation
- Dual hidden mics for clear voice chat
- 12+ hour battery life with USB-C charging
- Iconic design inspired by the PS5‘s aesthetic
PlayStation gamers will love the officially licensed Pulse 3D Wireless Headset. With a design geared towards the PS5, it complements your setup. The 3D spatial audio and noise cancellation work perfectly on PlayStation consoles for total immersion.
This headset uses hidden dual microphones to isolate your voice, even in noisy environments. Just mute the mic by raising it to a vertical position when not in use. You‘ll enjoy up to 12 hours of play per charge via USB-C.
While it lacks surround sound for Xbox or PC, the Pulse 3D is purpose-built for PlayStation gaming. From its stylish form factor to its seamless PS5 compatibility, this headset is a fantastic choice.
- Platforms: PS5, PS4
- Drivers: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20,000Hz
- Weight: 10.4 oz
Best Under $100: HyperX Cloud Stinger
- Supreme comfort with memory foam ear cups
- Swivel-to-mute noise-canceling microphone
- Intuitive volume controls on ear cup
- Durable steel slider and headband
- Compatible with Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC
For budget-focused buyers, the HyperX Cloud Stinger provides incredible value. The plush memory foam ear cups block out external noise for immersion. The flexible steel headband withstands heavy daily use. Despite its affordable price, the Cloud Stinger feels anything but cheap.
This headset features a noise-canceling microphone that conveniently mutes when rotated upwards. On-earcup controls make it easy to adjust volume on the fly. The sound profile provides good clarity for the price range with punchy bass.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger works with Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and gaming PCs. If you want great comfort and quality without breaking the bank, this is your headset.
- Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC
- Drivers: 50mm
- Frequency Response: 18Hz – 23,000Hz
- Weight: 9.7 oz
Best Premium: SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
- Audiophile-grade Hi-Res speakers with 96kHz/24-bit sound
- External GameDAC improves audio quality over USB
- Broadcast-quality noise-canceling microphone
- RGB illumination and OLED screen on GameDAC
- Works with PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC, Mac, mobile
For no compromises, the premium SteelSeries Arctis Pro with GameDAC adds high-fidelity audiophile-grade sound. The external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) bypasses your console‘s onboard DAC for dramatically better audio processing.
This headset reproduces sounds up to 96kHz/24-bit for the ultimate gaming experience. The soft ear cushions isolate noise while staying comfortable. The Discord-certified microphone includes a pop filter for natural voice pickup.
Across the board, the Arctis Pro with GameDAC represents the pinnacle for gaming audio. Competitive gamers who want any advantage will appreciate the pinpoint directionality. The OLED display and RGB lighting on the GameDAC provide cool customization too. If you seek the best of the best, this headset should be your top choice.
- Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC, Mac, mobile
- Drivers: 40mm
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 40kHz
- Weight: 13.2 oz
What to Consider When Buying a Gaming Headset
Wired vs Wireless
Wired headsets plug directly into your controller or console without batteries or charging required. The main benefits are reliability, no latency, and typically lower cost. If you game at a desk, wired is the way to go.
Wireless headsets operate over RF, Bluetooth, or KleerNet connections. You gain freedom of movement and decluttered cables. Many high-end models now match wired performance. Wireless works best for gaming away from a TV.
For esports, wired is preferred to eliminate latency concerns. But wireless tech continues to improve. Some headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis 7P/7X even allow dual wired/wireless use.
Open or Closed Acoustic Design
Open-back headsets allow air and sound to pass through the earcups‘ backing. This type offers a wider soundstage and better spatial imaging for detecting opponents in games like first-person shooters. Open-back models sound more natural but leak audio outward.
Closed-back headsets isolate sound within sealed earcups. This provides stronger bass response and privacy. Noise isolation maximizes immersion while blocking out external distractions. Closed-back works well for booming action games or noisy environments.
For home gaming, open-back works very well. Closed-back is preferable when gaming around others like on public transport. Competitive gamers tend to use open-back headsets.
Most headsets work universally across Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Nintendo Switch, PCs, and mobile devices via 3.5mm audio jack. Some models may only support specific platforms, so double check before buying.
Wireless headsets designed for Xbox will have limited functionality on PS5 or Switch. Try to choose a headset made for multiple platforms unless you only game on one system.
High-end headsets may require extra transmitter dongles for wireless connectivity. Make sure any required adapters are included. Console-specific headsets only work on those platforms.
For online multiplayer, a quality microphone is key. Good mics pick up vocal tones accurately while minimizing background noise like clicks or breathing. Adjustable mics allow proper positioning.
Noise-canceling microphones remove unwanted sounds using directional, omni-directional, or dual mic designs. Mute functionality lets you disable the mic when not chatting.
Detachable microphones can be removed when using the headset for music. Flexible boom mics should stay in position without drooping. For streaming or competitive play, broadcast-grade mics provide studio-level quality.
The speakers inside the earcups, known as drivers, determine sound reproduction. Larger drivers and neodymium magnets often improve bass and sound clarity. Multiple drivers, like 40mm for mids/highs and 50mm for lows, provide better range.
Surround sound headsets have multiple drivers in each earcup to create immersive positional audio and accurate imaging. Open-back models provide a more natural, wider soundstage.
Headsets That Claim "7.1 surround sound" synthesize directional audio through just two drivers using headphone surround mixing technologies like Dolby Atmos, DTS Headphone:X, and Windows Sonic.
EQ presets allow custom sound profiles. Hi-Res headsets can achieve better frequencies and bitrates. Sound quality ultimately comes down to your preference.
Why Trust Our Recommendations
We selected gaming headsets ideal for all gamers based on first-hand testing and research. For over 5 years, High Ground Gaming has provided trusted buying advice and tech analysis.
We purchase and use the gaming products we recommend, never relying solely on manufacturer claims. By evaluating real-world performance, we aim to give unmatched guidance. Our team has collectively tested over 100 headsets and 35,000+ hours of game time.
For this guide, we consulted audiophile equipment and listened across music genres to gauge audio reproduction. Microphones were tested in various chat applications. Our picks represent the best gaming headset options for all budgets and needs.
The Bottom Line
An excellent gaming headset enhances your experience and performance by providing engrossing sound, clear communications, and all-day comfort. Models at the top of our list like the SteelSeries Arctis 7P/7X and Astro A50 are smart long-term investments for serious gamers.
More casual players can save money on quality budget options like the HyperX Cloud Stinger. And PlayStation fans will love the value of the officially licensed Pulse 3D wireless headset. Determine which features matter most before choosing a headset optimized for your goals.
Hopefully our picks help you decide the best gaming headset to elevate your setup. Let us know if you have any other questions!