person using Xbox wireless headset
Microsoft
Update, 01/29/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best gaming headsets you can buy.

What to Look For in a Gaming Headset in 2023

When your goal is to pack a microphone into a set of headphones and make both sound great, the options become narrow. A gaming headset has a lot to handle in one package, and if any single part of a headset isn’t up to snuff, it becomes hard to recommend.

Gaming headsets need excellent sound quality and the ability to give you accurate response and spatial clarity for sounds like footsteps in a competitive shooter. Audio is vital to the way we play games, so there’s no place for headsets that have a narrow soundstage. Other bells and whistles, such as RGB lighting or how it looks, are secondary to this.

On top of that, you need a microphone that isn’t fuzzy or quiet. Microphones in headsets can be extremely hit or miss because often it’s much easier for manufacturers to include a weak one to keep the price low. The best gaming headsets have crisp microphones and are just sensitive enough to pick up your voice but not everything else in the background.

As such, it can be difficult to find a sweet spot when it comes to the price of gaming headsets. A lot of headsets are either overpriced or deceivingly cheap for how good they are. It takes a careful eye to determine whether or not a headset is solid, especially since there are so many different options out there.

But that’s what we’re here for! Below are the best gaming headsets out there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are wireless headsets good for gaming?
Wireless headphones provide several advantages when gaming, including not being restricted to sitting close to your TV or monitor. There are downsides to consider, such as battery life, but wireless headsets are often just as good for gaming as wired ones.
Do gaming headsets work with multiple systems?
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Any wireless headset that uses a standard Bluetooth connection should work with multiple gaming systems. But not all wired headsets work with all gaming systems, due to different connection methods, so it is important to choose carefully.
Can I use a gaming headset with a VR headset?
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In most cases, a gaming headset could be used with a VR headset, as long as the VR headset doesn’t obstruct your ears. Some VR headsets have headphones built in, so using a separate headset would be difficult.
Do gaming headsets work with phones?
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As long as the connection method of the headset is compatible with the phone, it probably could be used. However, most wired gaming headsets will use a USB connector, which won’t fit into a phone headphone port.
How do you clean ear pads on a gaming headset?
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The ear pads on most gaming headsets can be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. You can also use isopropyl alcohol to clean the pads of a very dirty or greasy headset. Work carefully, being careful not to rub off the ear pad coating.

Best Gaming Headset Overall: HyperX Cloud Alpha S

HyperX Cloud Alpha S on person's head
HyperX

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Clear microphone
  • Comfortable
  • Compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series Consoles

Cons

  • Mostly pointless mixer controls
  • Wired
  • Sound quality isn't great for music

For most people, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S is the gaming headset to get. It’s the kind of headset to pick up if you need something to work on everything you have, as it works with PC, PS5, and Xbox Series consoles. It’s the bread and butter for what you need in a headset.

The Cloud Alpha S headset is solid throughout, offering great sound for basic listening activities and an accurate microphone. They’re also comfortable, which is a huge plus since gaming headsets are often worn for hours at a time.

You might not think it, but the way headsets sound can add to user comfort as well. This HyperX headset lacks a bit in the bass department (considering they have unique bass sliders on the cups), but is otherwise solid and even. An even sound is necessary to reduce strain on your ears while listening to very dynamic audio for long periods of time. This also is a boon for keeping sound cues like footsteps clean in the mix, elevating your gaming experience.

Because it connects via USB, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S lacks an in-line mute control for console players. If you need to mute your microphone frequently, that could be a deal-breaker for you. The headset also includes a mixer that you can mess with, but the results are not spectacular.

That said, these small gripes don’t affect how good the Cloud Alpha S actually is. It’s a strong pick if you need a gaming headset that connects to everything and sounds great without any fuss.

Best Gaming Headset Overall

HyperX Cloud Alpha S

The HyperX Cloud Alpha S is comfortable, sounds great, and works with the PC, PS5, and Xbox Series consoles. Combine that with the price, and it's the best of all worlds!

Best Budget Gaming Headset: HyperX Cloud Stinger

HyperX Cloud Stinger around person's neck
HyperX

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Solid microphone
  • Compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series Consoles

Cons

  • Audio quality is sub-par
  • Wired
  • Chunky design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger headset is inexpensive for various reasons, but the price shouldn’t scare you away from it. For the price point, it’s incredible. The design of the headset is comfortable, and its microphone is surprisingly good. It’s not the kind of headset you’ll want to use for any reason other than gaming, but when you’re shopping for a gaming headset, that’s not really much of an issue.

For a fraction of the cost of competitor headsets, you get a wired headset that is solid and performs well in its own right. The Cloud Stinger is not a wireless headset, nor does it have outstanding audio, but it will handle almost anything you throw at it—including platforms you play games on.

The reason it’s the best budget gaming headset is simply because of its capability and its comfort. Comfort is vital to gaming headsets, since you’ll typically be wearing them for hours on end, and that’s something you usually sacrifice as the price drops. However, the HyperX Cloud Stingers are true to the name and float over your ears for hours at a time. For gaming, that’s exactly what you want.

Best Budget Gaming Headset

HyperX Cloud Stinger

It may not be as stylish as the Cloud Alpha S, but HyperX's Cloud Stinger is an inexpensive gaming headset that's solid and comfortable.

Best Wireless Gaming Headset: SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro on gaming desk
SteelSeries

Pros

  • Dual swappable batteries
  • Impressive audio control level
  • Retractable noise cancelling mic
  • Compatible with Xbox, PS5, PC, Mac, Switch, and mobile

Cons

  • Expensive for casual users

It can be pretty hard to justify a price tag of three hundred and fifty bucks for a gaming headset, but the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless headset makes several good arguments for splashing out.

Let’s start with the audio. The Nova Pro headset offers 360-degree spatial audio and is compatible with Microsoft Spatial Sound for Xbox and Tempest 3D Audio for PS5. Spatial audio is perfect for gaming because it allows different types of sound to exist in their own space in the soundscape. This results in a more realistic and immersive audio experience.

This is further enhanced by a Parametric Equalizer, which gives you granular control over sounds through the Sonar Audio Software Suite. You could, for example, increase the volume of footsteps while reducing the volume of explosions and gunfire. Combined with ANC, this gives you impressive control over the sounds reaching your ears.

Another important factor to look for in a wireless headset is battery life. SteelSeries’s solution to the problem of running out of charge mid-game is a hot-swappable battery system. You get two batteries, each providing 18-22 hours of use. You can charge one in the base station while using the other, so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of a gaming session.

The base station, which also has two USB ports, has a detailed LED panel that displays information on volume level, frequency, and, of course, battery level. The beauty of those two USB ports is that they let you connect two devices and switch between them at the touch of a button. And as the headset works with Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Mac, Switch, and mobile devices, dual device support can come in very handy.

Wireless headsets are almost always heavier than their wired counterparts, but the combination of metal and light-yet-strong plastic in the Nova Pro keeps the weight at a comfortable level. The adjustable floating headband and soft leather-effect ear pads further help to make these headphones great for extended use.

Best Wireless Gaming Headset

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Headset

A very impressive audio experience combined with lots of control over the sounds that reach your ears. And the dual battery system means you won't lose power mid-game.

Best Gaming Headset for PC: Razer BlackShark V2

Razer BlackShark V2
Razer

Pros

  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Powerful microphone
  • Good sound isolation

Cons

  • Not compatible with consoles
  • Sound leakage
  • Limited audio controls

If you’ve dabbled in gaming peripherals, you’ve surely heard of Razer. Razer makes some of the best gaming accessories out there, and its headsets are no different. The Razer BlackShark V2 is perfect for PC gamers, with strong audio, a detachable microphone, and solid noise isolation.

Unfortunately, the Razer BlackShark V2 uses a USB sound card, so it isn’t compatible with any consoles. But for PC gaming, this headset is unmatched. The sound card creates stunning audio while also cutting out extraneous noise. This is ideal for when you need to put all your focus into the game. You can even keep the BlackShark V2s on for long periods because the padding on the cups is durable and soft.

The Razer BlackShark V2 headset also excels at producing neutral audio which is ideal for gaming. When you combine that with noise isolation, you get a headset that’s built for the ultimate gaming audio experience.

The knocks to this headset include some sound leakage that can happen based on their design. So if you play with high volume, other people might hear it. There’s also the downside that the physical controls on the headset are limited to muting the microphone and controlling the volume. There’s no way to split different audio sources or have full-on EQ control.

But all things considered, those are features that you don’t need to take full advantage of what the Razer BlackShark V2 offers.

Best Gaming Headset for PC

Razer BlackShark V2

Razer is well-known in the gaming accessory market, and their BlackShark V2 is a perfect PC headset. It has a USB sound card built-in that will make your game audio work great.

Best Gaming Headset for PS5: Sony Pulse 3D

Sony Pulse 3D on top of box
NT_Studio/Shutterstock.com

Pros

  • Great price
  • Excellent sound for gaming, especially 3D audio
  • Comfortable over-ear design
  • No mic boom
  • PS4 compatible

Cons

  • Slightly cheap feeling
  • Requires an (included) USB dongle to work with PS5

Sony’s Pulse 3D headset offers incredible value for money. It’s a large over-ear headset with integrated noise-canceling microphones, long battery life, and fantastic 3D audio. Of course, Sony has made it so that any headset connected to a DualSense controller benefits from their 3D audio processing, but the Pulse 3D is specifically designed and tuned for it, so the technology really shines here.

The Pulse 3D doesn’t have a mic boom that sticks out from the headset and chat quality doesn’t seem to suffer for it. The overall design of the headset, especially the white and black model, is also suitable modern, and attractive. It’s more towards the Apple end of the design spectrum than the stereotypical “gamer” peripheral design. Whether that’s a pro or a con depends on your tastes.

Overall sound quality is quite good—certainly better than most integrated TV speakers and better than any $100 headset we’ve heard for gaming audio. Of course, you can attach a more expensive set of cans to your DualSense and blow the Pulse 3D away, but that’s hardly a fair fight.

While it’s easy to recommend the Pulse 3D for PS5 owners, some things aren’t so good. While it looks nice, the actual build quality is a little on the flimsy side, though that has the benefit of making for a lighter headset.

The biggest negative in our opinion is the need for a USB dongle, that you have to plug into the PS5 to use the headset. Why Sony couldn’t simply make the headset use the same protocol the DualSense does to transmit and receive audio, we don’t know, but it’s a jarringly inelegant aspect of an otherwise seamless experience.

Best Gaming Headset for PS5

Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset

Sony's in-house PS5 headset is the best choice for most PS5 users, offer great sound, comfort, and style at a reasonable price.

Best Gaming Headset for Xbox Series X: Xbox Wireless Headset

Xbox Wireless Headset being used
Microsoft

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Compatible with current and previous generation Xbox
  • Simple operation and pairing

Cons

  • Mic boom
  • Middling audio

The official Xbox Wireless Headset is an understated product that you won’t automatically tell apart from non-gaming headsets. With just a slight green accent and a black-on-black Xbox logo on the earcup, it doesn’t have the gamer aesthetic many accessories have.

The headset looks premium to the eye and is significantly more expensive than Sony’s equivalent for the PS5, which makes it a little disappointing that it still relies on a mic boom rather than integrated mics. Nonetheless, you do get voice isolation technology and a fantastic 15-hour battery life rating.

The headset is also comfortable and great for extended multiplayer sessions. We’re also happy to see that there is no base station or dongle needed to pair this headset with an Xbox Series console, something we wish Sony would copy on the PS5 side of the fence.

Sadly, while you do get access to a number of 3D audio technologies, the overall sound quality is middling based on user feedback. That’s not a big deal for a gaming headset that otherwise fits into the Xbox ecosystem perfectly, and you’d have to spend a lot more money to get worthwhile audio quality improvements. We’re still happy to recommend this as the best overall choice for Xbox gamers.

Best Gaming Headset for Xbox Series X|S

Xbox Wireless Headset for Xbox Series X|S

While it doesn't have the best audio quality in the world of Xbox headsets, Microsoft has done almost everything else right and their official headset is the slickest way to get into the game at a fantastic price.

The Best Gaming TVs of 2022

LG G1
Best TV for Gaming Overall
LG G1
Hisense U8G
Best Budget Gaming TV
Hisense U8G
LG C1
Best TV for PC Gaming
LG C1
LG G1
Best Gaming TV for Consoles
LG G1
Samsung QN90A QLED
Best LED TV for Gaming
Samsung QN90A QLED
Samsung QLED 8K QN900A
Best 8K TV for Gaming
Samsung QLED 8K QN900A
Profile Photo for Tyler Colp Tyler Colp
Tyler Colp is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience covering gaming and technology across the internet. His work has been published on Wired, Windows Central, Polygon, and more.
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Profile Photo for Russ Ware Russ Ware
Russ is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology. He loves exploring and figuring out how complex things work, and sharing that knowledge with others, something he has been doing online and in print for more than 15 years. When not writing for How-To Geek, Russ can usually be found planning his first novel or taking something apart to see how it works.
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