A front view of the Meta Quest Pro headset
Dave McQuilling / How-To Geek
Update, 06/01/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best TVs you can buy.

What to Look for in a VR Headset in 2023

The technical specifications for VR headsets can be confusing, but you only need to concentrate on a few key areas to narrow things down to the good ones.

First, is the headset a tethered or standalone unit? A tethered VR headset needs a device like a gaming PC or console to provide all the processing power for VR applications. So, you’ll need to make sure your PC has the proper components to run games and support the VR headset at the same time. A standalone VR headset contains all the necessary hardware to run its VR apps, taking some technical labor off the PC or console.

The positional motion tracking method of a VR headset is an important consideration. The modern trend is towards inside-out tracking, where cameras on the headset scan your environment and then calculate your motion relative to those fixed reference points.

The alternative, which are external trackers, tend to be more precise, but inside-out trackers are more portable, elegant, and cut down on wires.

Next, high-resolution display panels inside the headset help the image by making the actual pictures smaller. This reduces the chance that you’ll see the pixel grid while using the headset and makes the experience more immersive. The refresh rate also plays into the immersion factor, and 90Hz is a good working minimum for a headset.

Finally, there’s one aspect you may not have considered regarding VR headsets: your interpupillary distance (IPD). Many VR headsets (including our top overall pick) have adjustable lens spacing. Our top overall pick should work well for 95% of people.

If you fall at either extreme end of the IPD range, however, you may get a blurry image. You can check your IPD with an app or, for the most precise measurement, get it measured by an optometrist.

This is only just scratching the surface of what you need to consider when buying a VR headset. But, don’t worry; we’ve done all the research and picked out the best VR headsets for you below.

RELATED: The Best VR Games for Oculus Quest, PC, and PSVR

Best VR Headset Overall: Meta Quest 2 256GB

Meta Quest 2 with controllers
Jordan Gloor / How-To Geek


  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Strong developer support


  • Could be more comfortable, may require purchasing comfort mods
  • IPD adjustment range might exclude some users

The Meta Quest 2 isn’t the most premium VR experience, but it’s still likely the only VR headset you’ll have to buy. This headset offers a level of sheer flexibility no other VR system can match.

This is a battery-powered standalone headset that offers the best VR visuals and performance currently possible using mobile computer technology. You can play PC VR titles with the Quest 2 over a USB-C connection and WiFi, as well.

The Quest 2 also has a sizable library of games and experiences explicitly developed or ported from other VR platforms. It’s as user-friendly as any modern gaming console but still allows those who like to tinker with their tech to sideload applications.

Meta’s latest Quest headset is not perfect, but the total package adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. Really, the biggest problem with Quest 2 has nothing to do with the product itself.

As of August 23, 2022, you no longer need a Facebook account to use a Quest VR headset. You do still need a Meta account, but it doesn’t have to be linked to Facebook.

We’re recommending the 256GB version of the Quest 2 because you can’t upgrade the device’s storage, so it’s better to go with the bigger model in case you need the space. There is a 128GB model if you’re looking to save some cash, though.

Best VR Headset Overall

Meta Quest 2 256GB

The Meta Quest 2 does it all, no matter what kind of VR you're looking to experience, at a price that's surprising in the best way.

Best Budget VR Headset: Meta Quest 2 128GB

Meta Quest 2 with Strap and Controllers
Jordan Gloor / How-To Geek


  • Base model is the rock-bottom price for premium VR
  • Access to cheap PC VR games


  • Native Quest standalone games could be expensive for some

The Meta Quest 2 is also, in our opinion, the best budget VR headset you can buy. The base 128GB model retails for just $299. That’s an unbelievable asking price, given that the Quest 2 is both a standalone VR headset and a PC VR headset.

As such, you don’t need to spend any more money on hardware beyond the Quest 2 if you don’t want to. With the Quest 2’s capabilities, you’re effectively getting two headsets for the price of one—which further bolsters the high-quality credentials of the device.

The cost of native Quest 2 applications might be a little high for some, but Meta has not locked the headset down to one game store, and you can sideload applications from third-party sources if you want to. If you already have a VR-capable PC, you benefit from cheaper PC VR titles.

In some cases, the Quest and Rift versions of a game like Star Trek Bridge Crew are sold as a single cross-buy purchase. If it happens to be on sale in one store, you can save some money and still be able to play it on Quest 2!

There’s no VR headset at this price point—or even double this price point—that offers the same per-dollar value, so it’s easy to recommend the Quest 2 to anyone wanting to enter the world of VR on a limited budget.

Now that you no longer need a Facebook account to use a Quest VR headset, our main complaint has been solved. We wish Meta hadn’t increased the price of all its headsets by $100, but it’s still the best value in the VR industry.

Best Budget VR Headset

Meta Quest 2 128GB

The Meta Quest 2 128GB model offers more than enough space for most users while selling you the best overall headset at a very wallet-friendly price.

Best VR Headset for PC: Valve Index

Person playing on Valve Index
Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com


  • Cutting-edge headset
  • The best SteamVR experience money can buy
  • Modular buying choices


  • How much?!
  • No inside-out tracking

While there are headsets, such as the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, that outdo the Valve Index in some specific ways, the Index is the best PC headset as a whole.

Valve’s VR headset is quite expensive, but that’s countered a little thanks to Valve’s modular approach. You can buy any component of the kit as you wish, whenever you want.

So, for example, if you already own the older Index controllers, you can upgrade to the new headset but keep the previous motion controllers to save money. That’s great news for owners of previous Valve headsets, but the total price for the kit newcomers need to buy is steep.

The other major point in favor of the Index is that you’re not going to find something that works better with SteamVR. This is the hardware that SteamVR is designed for, after all. Half-Life Alyx, quite possibly the best VR game, was designed for the Index. You can play it just fine on other SteamVR-compatible headsets, but the Index is the definitive experience for this title and several others.

It’s also important to note that the Valve Index is a positional tracking virtual reality headset. While the overall trend in VR seems to be heading towards inside-out tracking as the standard, the Index relies on base stations to provide this accurate room-scale tracking.

Positional tracking is better and more accurate than inside-out tracking, but it has some downsides. You need to set up a permanent VR space using the base stations and have that set up again whenever you want to move somewhere new.

Compared to the PC VR experience of the Meta Quest 2, where you can take your computer anywhere, plug in the Quest 2 and be in business in seconds, you can see why inside-out tracking may be more popular, even if less accurate.

Best VR Headset for PC

Valve Index

The Valve Index is the SteamVR gold standard and offers a VR experience that's nearly as good as it gets on PC.

Best VR Headset for Console Gaming: Sony PlayStation VR2

PS VR2 lineup
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek


  • Comfortable halo-style headband
  • Impressive 4K display resolution
  • Eye tracking and haptic feedback in the headset
  • Much improved Sense controllers
  • No need for an external camera


  • Costs as much as the PS5 console itself
  • Not backward compatible with PS4

It seems like an age since the launch of Sony’s PS VR headset for PS4 in 2016. And although the original PlayStation VR gaming headset performed brilliantly, it was time for the new console to get an upgraded VR experience.

In many ways, Sony’s new PS VR2 headset sticks to its predecessor’s tried and tested formula. It uses a halo-style headband and lightweight visor designed for maximum comfort over long play sessions. A rubberized light shield, which can be adjusted to allow glasses to be worn, blocks out environmental light for better gaming immersion.

The dual OLED screens, producing a 4K display resolution, are a major upgrade from the PS VR, as is the eye tracking, 3D audio, and headset feedback. Four cameras mounted on the headset track your movements, so there’s no need for an external PlayStation camera to be set up in front of you.

Another welcome improvement comes in the form of the two Sense controllers that come bundled with the PS VR2 headset. They allow much greater control for a wider variety of VR games and look pretty cool too.

The one downside is that it isn’t backwardly compatible, so you can’t use it to improve the VR experience on your PS4. But despite that, and even though you don’t have many other options to enjoy your AAA PS5 virtual reality games, the PS VR2 is a worthy successor to the PlayStation VR headset.

Best VR Headset for Console Gaming

PlayStation VR2

The powerful PS5 now has a VR headset that does justice to the high-resolution graphics of its best virtual reality games. The PS VR2 is a worthy upgrade to the tried and true PS VR for the latest console generation.

Best Standalone VR Headset: Meta Quest 2


Meta Quest 2 closeup of power button
Jordan Gloor / How-To Geek


  • Powerful, VR-specific onboard SoC
  • A strong library of Quest games, including exclusive titles
  • Standalone VR features such as Guardian are peerless
  • Offers direct hand-tracking


  • Can be uncomfortable without after-market mods

Yes, we’re back to the Meta Quest 2, but this is the category the headset was designed for. It’s not just that the Quest 2 offers solid standalone hardware; it’s also that it has a robust app store. It’s best to think of the Quest as the VR equivalent of a gaming console insofar as it has dedicated versions of VR applications created for it.

The Quest 2 is a significant step up compared to the original Quest in several ways, and Quest 2 exclusive titles that rely on its increased horsepower are on the horizon. Quest 2’s hand tracking system and excellent perimeter Guardian technology make it one of the best VR devices you can own today.

While there have been other standalone VR headsets in recent years, they’ve more or less fallen by the wayside because none have garnered the long-term support and backing the likes of Meta brings to the table. There’s no denying what the social media giant’s backing has done for this line of VR headsets.

The Quest 2 is the best standalone VR headset on the market, and now you don’t even need a Facebook account to use it.

Best Standalone VR Headset

Meta Quest 2

The Quest practically invented and perfected the concept of standalone VR. The Quest 2 improves on it in most ways and is a clear sign of what VR's future will look like.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Best Meta Quest 2 Accessories of 2023

Meta Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery and Carrying Case
Best Meta Accessory Bundle
Meta Quest 2 Elite Strap with Battery and Carrying Case
Meta Quest 2 Carrying Case
Best Meta Quest 2 Carrying Case
Meta Quest 2 Carrying Case
Logitech G333 VR Gaming Earphones for Meta Quest 2
Best Headphones for Meta Quest 2
Logitech G333 VR Gaming Earphones for Meta Quest 2
BOBOVR M2 Head Strap for Meta Quest 2
Best Meta Quest 2 Replacement Head Strap
BOBOVR M2 Head Strap for Meta Quest 2
VR Wave Magnetic Quest 2 Prescription Lenses
Best Meta Quest 2 Prescription Lenses
VR Wave Magnetic Quest 2 Prescription Lenses
Anker Charging Dock
Best Meta Quest 2 Charging Dock
Anker Charging Dock
NIVRANA VR Power Bank for Quest 2
Best Meta Quest 2 Battery Pack
NIVRANA VR Power Bank for Quest 2
Meta Link Virtual Reality Headset Cable
Best Meta Link Cable
Meta Link Virtual Reality Headset Cable
Anker Meta Quest 2 USB C to USB A Cable
Best USB-A to USB-C Cable for Meta Quest 2
Anker Meta Quest 2 USB C to USB A Cable
VR Cover Controller Grips for Meta Quest 2
Best Meta Quest 2 Controller Grips
VR Cover Controller Grips for Meta Quest 2
Profile Photo for Sydney Butler Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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