Do you want to hear your enemies coming? This is our pick of the best gaming headsets and headphones you can buy
Picking out the best gaming headset isn’t just essential if you want to game competitively – it’s also a great investment if you want to indulge in a late-night gaming session without waking up the whole neighbourhood.
You don’t need to spend a fortune, either: regardless of whether your budget is £30 or £300, there are plenty of great-quality headsets to choose from. We know this because we’ve hunted high and low for the very best gaming headsets, tested them to destruction and taken our pick of the very finest.
Read on and our buying guide will answer all the key questions. Further down the page, you’ll find our pick of the best gaming headsets for console and PC.
How to choose the best gaming headset for you
How important is sound quality for a gaming headset?
A headset’s frequency response and overall clarity will impact your ability to hear enemies coming – and that’s why we pay close attention to a headset’s sub-bass, mid-bass, mids, highs and soundstage (which is how far sounds spread left and right) when we’re testing. Headsets that provide the clearest, most spacious soundstage will aid you in locating the enemies you can’t see, and those with the best microphones will ensure your teammates hear you loud and clear in the heat of battle.
As headsets have to pack in a bundled microphone and gaming-friendly features, you can end up paying a premium over a bog-standard pair of headphones. But while headsets might not provide the audio refinement of a comparably priced pair of dedicated headphones, you can expect the best ones to perform well for both games and music.
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How do I connect my headset?
Gaming headsets have three ways of communicating with your PC or console: digitally via USB, a 3.5mm audio jack (and sometimes two) or a wireless connection.
If you’re looking at a headset that connects via a 3.5mm jack (some also use two 3.5mm connections, one for the headphones and one for the microphone) and you’re on PC, you might want to look into purchasing a dedicated soundcard. Onboard soundcards found on either desktops or laptops can potentially pick up static noise due to poor shielding or dodgy power supplies, which will negatively affect the sound quality.
To bypass your onboard soundcard, you can purchase a £6 USB soundcard from Amazon. This will completely eliminate static noise from your 3.5mm-connected headset. If you want the best performance from a headset used via an analogue connection, however, it may be worth investing in a pricier external or internal soundcard.
Do I need a wireless headset?
Wireless technology works well in headsets as there’s no perceived audio delay. But it’s worth remembering that you may lose a little audio fidelity via a wireless connection – it all depends on the headset and its specifications. Of course, if you want to go wireless, there are other issues to consider: you’ll pay a premium for the privilege and will have to remember to charge your headset. Read our guide to the best wireless gaming headsets for more information.
Should I worry about build quality or weight?
A well-built headset should last you several years. It all depends on how often you use it, how you treat it and, of course, how well it was manufactured. Pricier headsets often add sturdier-feeling hinges and materials in addition to improved sound quality and fancy features.
Weight is another key consideration as the heavier the headset, the less comfortable it will be for epic gaming sessions. Another comfort factor is the size of the earpieces. As not everyone’s ears are the same, the earpieces on certain models may potentially press on the earlobe or around the ear and cause pain. What might be comfortable for a few minutes may be extremely uncomfortable after an hour.
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Is software important for gaming headsets?
When it comes to headsets, there isn’t much in the way of essential software. Unlike gaming mice and keyboards, a headset doesn’t need to be configured. However, some manufacturers bundle software to allow you to change microphone characteristics, EQs, lighting and even the programmable buttons on wireless headsets. Of course, this only applies to PC gamers.
What about LED lights?
Lighting is a feature that’s a little more recent, with even cheaper headsets now offering basic lighting capabilities. Since the headset will be on your head most of the time, though, you won’t get the same benefit as you do from LED lighting on gaming mice and keyboards – you won’t be able to utilise its lighting capabilities to provide you with visual prompts, for instance.
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How we test gaming headsets
We test every gaming headset that we recommend on this page. There are two components to the testing process: first, we examine the headset, stress-testing the headband and ear cups to judge build quality and noting the number/type of buttons and ports. We’re looking at the materials used in construction, the size and weight of the product and whether the volume/mic controls are within easy reach. We’ll also run through the process of connecting the headset to your PC/console – be that via a 3.5mm jack, a 2.4GHz wireless dongle or Bluetooth – to determine how easy it is.
Next, we use the headset for at least a week, installing and exploring the companion app (if applicable) and testing the microphone quality by recording our voice and asking colleagues for thoughts while on video calls. Many mics offer noise cancellation, too, so we’ll be sure to use the headset in noisy environments.
We’ll play games and listen to various kinds of audio to test the drivers: music requires a different frequency mix to gaming (the latter demanding heavy bass to do the rumble of gunfire or the roar of car engines justice), so we’ll reach separate conclusions on audio quality for both. Battery life is tested where applicable by using a headset until empty after a full charge and recording the time. By wearing the headset so frequently, we can also easily judge comfort levels and fit.
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The best gaming headsets you can buy in 2023
1. Venom Sabre: Best budget gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £34 | Check price at Amazon
“Budget” doesn’t have to mean poor quality and the Venom Sabre headset is a case in point. Its impressive build quality belies its price tag and the design looks sleek with discreet Venom logos adorning the outside of the large, round earcups. The earcups themselves are lined with soft leatherette and contribute to a comfortable fit, which is further enhanced by the self-adjusting, suspension-style headband.
Despite lacking the noise-cancelling properties of some of the microphone’s on this list, voice clarity is more than adequate when communicating using the Venom Sabre’s mic. But what’s really great about it is that it’s retractable, so you can simply stow it away inside the plastic housing of the left earcup when not in use. Detachable mics are all well and good but can be easily misplaced; there’s no danger of that with the Sabre. In terms of its audio, the Venom Sabre again exceeds expectations given its cost. Detailed mids make dialogue easily intelligible and action games thrive on the Sabre’s powerful bass reproduction, which packs plenty of punch.
It would have been nice to see a travelling pouch included with the headset but the lack of one doesn’t detract from what is an excellent headset for those on a tight budget.
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: No; Connection: 3.5mm; Cable length: 1.2m + 1m splitter cable; Weight: 285g
2. Razer Blackshark V2: Best PC gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £100 l Check price at Amazon
If you’re the type that likes to tinker with audio levels through granular control, then the Razer Blackshark V2 could be just the ticket. This wired headset allows you to fully customise various audio frequencies, with the ability to adjust the overall tone of your audio output in up to five different modes.
The sound output is truly astonishing, too. The large 50mm drivers deliver a wide soundstage, and THX Spatial audio (enabled via the tiny 7.1 channel USB sound card) helps maximise your spatial awareness, allowing you to better identify where your foe might be lurking. The detachable mic also sounds great, blocking out unwanted background noise while boosting vocal clarity and it also works with PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and smartphones with a 3.5mm headphone socket.
Likewise, the Blackshark V2 is among one of the most comfortable headsets we’ve ever tested. The ultra-soft memory foam ear cushions and padded headband makes for a lightweight, breathable headset that feels just as comfortable at the end of your four-hour gaming binge as it did at the beginning. The only downside is that this isn’t a wireless headset, although the included 1.8m cable should be long enough for most gaming setups.
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: No; Connection: 3.5mm, USB sound card; Cable length: 1.8m; Weight: 262g
3. HyperX Cloud Stinger II: Best mid-range gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Game
Lightweight, simple and appeallingly priced, the HyperX Cloud Stinger II is another great value gaming headset from a well-known brand. This is undoubtedly a PC-centric wired headset, but it comes with an audio/mic splitter that can be removed if you want to plug the 1m cable into your PlayStation or Xbox controller’s 3.5mm port. It’s well made for the price, with an all-plastic construction that keeps the weight ridiculously low at the expense of some sturdiness – although it certainly doesn’t look cheap. The ear cups are wide, deep and comfortable: they won’t cook your ears and they sit loosely on your head without feeling unstable. On the left ear cup sits the flip-to-mute boom mic, and on the right sits the volume wheel – there are no other cup-mounted controls, but since this is a wired headset, you won’t need them anyway.
Audio quality is good, albeit geared towards gaming, which means low registers tend to overpower others while the highest peaks of the frequency spectrum can feel crushed. We certainly had no qualms about using the Stinger II for music consumption during work, but this is obviously not an audiophile-quality headset – nor should you expect it be. It does however support DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio, meaning you can enjoy 3D audio on PC and Xbox via the bundled two-year access code (redeemed on the DTS Sound Unbound application).
It’s quite simple: if you hate worrying about charging and connecting your gaming headset and your budget is on the tighter side, the HyperX Cloud Stinger II is an easy recommendation.
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: No; Connection: 3.5mm (single or audio and mic); Cable length: 2m; Weight: 272g
4. B&O Beoplay Portal (PC/PS5): Best dual-purpose gaming headphones
Price when reviewed: £449 | Check price at Amazon
Few gaming headsets out there offer the ability to stream audio from two sources at once but the Beoplay Portal for PC and PlayStation is capable of exactly that. It connects wirelessly to your PC via a USB-C dongle but can also be paired with another device via Bluetooth. This makes discussing tactics your squad a breeze and also allows you to listen to podcasts while grinding.
The Portal is no one-trick pony, however. Sound quality is top-notch, there’s support for Dolby Atmos for Headphones and the headset is very comfortable to wear for long periods. The absence of an integrated or detachable mic means it looks great when used as a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, though the ANC is no match for premium headphones from the likes of Sony or Bose. The virtual boom arm mic could also be improved, but for style, versatility and handy features, the Beoplay Portal is hard to beat.
Read our full B&O Beoplay Portal review for more details
Key specs – Drivers: 40mm; Wireless: Yes; Illumination: No; Connection: USB-C 2.4GHz (wireless), Bluetooth, 3.5mm; Cable length: 1.25m; Weight: 279g
5. Razer Barracuda X: Best wireless gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon
Lightweight, comfortable and effortlessly simple, the Razer Barracuda X is a lovely headset from a brand normally associated with £250 keyboards and gaming face masks. The memory foam ear cups and light, matte plastic construction are smart and good for long gaming sessions on PC, PlayStation, Android, Nintendo Switch or Xbox. Excluding Xbox, the Barracuda X works wirelessly with all of the above platforms using a USB-C dongle with a USB-A adapter cable for older machines.
Audio quality is up to scratch, with plenty of depth and well-represented registers from high to low. The bass is suitably aggressive, meaning you’ll hear in-game explosions with brain-rattling intensity, but it never overwhelms. If you’d like to take the brain-rattling one step further, the Barracuda X supports 7.1 surround sound (with THX spatial audio available for a fee) and Sony’s Tempest 3D audio tech. The microphone is merely decent, so stick to Discord and find a proper USB mic for streaming or podcasts.
Throw in a decent 20-hour battery life and a fair price tag and you’re left with a phenomenal all-round wireless gaming headset.
Key specs – Drivers: 40mm; Wireless: Yes; Illumination: No: Connection: USB-C dongle; Weight: 262g
6. Corsair HS80 RGB: Best mid-range gaming headset with Dolby Atmos
Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at Amazon
Do you like to split your time between PC and PlayStation gaming? Coming in a stealthy matte black with just a splash of RGB, Corsair’s HS80 offers wireless compatibility for PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Construction is a sturdy mix of premium plastics and aluminium, and a floating headband design, combined with memory foam ear pads, ensures hours of comfort.
The HS80’s USB-A wireless receiver incorporates Corsair’s low-latency Slipstream tech and offers effortless plug and play pairing for Windows and PlayStation. An optional wired connection also provides access to 24bit/96kHz audio on PC.
Audio is clear, well balanced and wide stereo soundstage adds plenty of space to in-game environments. For even more immersion, Dolby Atmos support is available for compatible content. The in-built microphone offers crisp, high quality audio, and although it’s non-detachable, offers a handy auto-mute function while rotated up.
Corsair’s iCue desktop app lets you tweak the EQ profile or dial in your own presets – you can even tap between the presets. You can also control your mic input level and customise the lighting scheme.
While Bluetooth and Xbox support are absent, the HS80 RGB proves a stellar wireless pick for cross-platform PC and PlayStation gamers.
Read our full Corsair HS80 RGB review for more details
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5; Driver type: 50mm neodymium; Connection: 2.4GHz wireless, USB-A; Surround sound: Dolby Atmos; Noise-suppressing: No; Battery life: Up to 20 hours
7. AOC GH300: Best value gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £44 | Check price at Amazon
The AOC GH300 offers plenty of features for a reasonable fee. Chief among these are 7.1 virtual surround sound support, customisable RGB lighting, in-line audio controls and a detachable microphone. Surround sound is only available on PC via AOC’s Audio Center application, which indicates that this headset is aimed squarely at PC gamers. A USB-A power cable is the deciding factor in that regard, unless you plan to wire it directly to your console.
If you’re a PC gamer on a budget, though, we have good news: the GH300 offers surprisingly good audio for the price. There’s plenty of extension both upwards into the treble registers and down into the bass, and for gaming the GH300 is excellent. The only niggle is that the soundstage is a tiny bit flatter with 7.1 disengaged than you might like, meaning music playback can sometimes sound like it’s coming at you through a blocked ear.
Mic quality is good, rather than great, but it’s serviceable for casual use. The inline controls are a nice bonus: there’s a volume dial plus RGB lighting toggle, audio mute and mic mute buttons. The headset itself isn’t much to look at, but the faux leather and metallic strap elements help keep it feeling well-made and sturdy. Oh, and the cups are comfy, albeit quite shallow – those with ears as big as ours might feel the pressure after a while.
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: Yes; Connection: USB-A; Weight: 363g
8. Austrian Audio PG16: Best mid-range wired headset for sound quality
Price when reviewed: £129 | Check price at Amazon
With so many headsets going wireless and cramming in extras like RGB lighting, it’s always nice to see an option that prioritises the cornerstones of audio quality, microphone clarity and comfort. The PG16 excels in each of those areas, with its 44mm drivers delivering some of the cleanest sound we’ve heard from a mid-range gaming headset. The level of detail is consistently impressive and the PG16 reproduces bass frequencies with ample impact. Audio is keenly balanced and sounds natural, while positional cues are accurate and enlightening when playing competitive multiplayer games.
The earcups are spacious and lined with a soft memory foam that makes the headset extremely comfortable to wear and it’s foldable too, so can be transported in the included fabric pouch very easily. The flip-to-mute mic is made from a flexible material that allows you to position it exactly as you wish and our teammates were highly complimentary about how clear we sounded during testing.
As a wired headset, the PG16 can be used with any console so long as there’s a 3.5mm jack available and it sounds great no matter the platform you’re playing on. But it’s best used while gaming on PC as it comes with a voucher for New Audio Technology’s Spatial Sound Card L software, which uses virtualisation to create a 7.1 surround sound experience. It’s not the most accessible spatial audio software for beginners, but if you can get to grips with it, it will increase your in-game immersion significantly.
Key specs – Drivers: 44mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: No; Connection: 3.5mm; Weight: 265g
9. Roccat Syn Pro Air: Most comfortable gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Amazon
Roccat and Turtle Beach are back with a PC gaming headset that looks good and sounds even better. Taking cues from Roccat’s other gaming peripherals, the Syn Pro Air uses the same translucent honeycomb casing to cleverly hide the RGB “AIMO” lighting when the headset is off. This lighting can be customised via Roccat’s all-new Neon application, where you can also adjust audio EQs and activate Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing mode (which enhances in-game footsteps) and 3D audio.
The Syn Pro Air is well-built, a matte black plastic affair with supremely comfortable ear cups that do a great job of passively isolating outside noise. The mic is easy to attach and can be folded away when not in use; it also transmits your voice through the headset by default, although you can switch this off in Neon. Audio quality is good: as is typical of Turtle Beach products, the bass is heavy, but the soundstage is wide and the upper registers aren’t drowned out. This is a great headset for gaming and a decent one for music consumption.
Although the Syn Pro Air is clearly built for PC, the dongle supplied is also compatible with the PS4 and PS5, and Roccat includes a USB-A to USB-C adapter so you can even connect the headset to your smartphone or Nintendo Switch console in handheld mode.
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Android, Nintendo Switch; Driver type: 50mm Nanoclear; Connection: 2.4GHz wireless, USB-A, USB-C; Surround sound: 3D audio; Noise-suppressing: Passive; Battery life: Up to 24 hours
10. HyperX Cloud Orbit S: Best high-end gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £240 | Check price at Amazon
This feature-rich headset from HyperX simply oozes quality. The build quality is top-notch, with plush earcups providing a comfortable fit while blocking out a significant amount of external noise.
But what truly sets the Cloud Orbit S apart is its audio. HyperX teamed up with Audeze to create the headset and it incorporates the brand’s renowned 100mm planar magnetic drivers. These produce the crispest, most detailed audio we’ve heard from a gaming headset across each of its three modes: 7.1, Hi-res and stereo. There are eight EQ profiles to choose from, including Music, Racing and RPG and each is expertly crafted, with nuances that make them feel perfectly suited to their specific genre. There’s also 3D audio and head tracking courtesy of Waves Nx. While it’s engaged, what was already an exceptional audio experience becomes truly immersive, with gunshots, explosions and dialogue coming at you from all angles. The quality of the detachable boom mic quality isn’t quite as impressive, with some distortion occasionally creeping in, but it wasn’t frequent enough to be an issue.
Physical buttons on the left earcup give you control over every facet of the Cloud Orbit S experience and, though they take a little getting used to, soon become intuitive. There’s plenty of flexibility in terms of connections too, with USB-A, USB-C and 3.5mm all supported and the corresponding cables included in the box.
A lack of Bluetooth connectivity and average mic aside, the Cloud Orbit S is a truly exceptional gaming headset with audio, comfort and connectivity to justify its premium price tag.
Key specs – Drivers: 100mm; Wireless: No; Illumination: No; Connection: 3.5mm, USB-C, USB-A; Cable length: 3.5mm cable – 1.2m, USB-C – 1.5m, USB-A – 3m; Weight: 359g
11. Razer Kraken V3 Pro: Best gaming headset for immersion
Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon
The Razer Kraken V3 Pro is an impressively large, in-your-face gaming headset with a party trick. These high-end headphones use built-in haptic motors to rattle your skull while you play, letting you feel every explosion or clash of swords with sometimes unsettling ferocity.
You’ll (probably) want to switch the haptics off while you listen to music: you can do so using a button built into the right-hand earcup that adjusts the intensity of the rumble with each press. Even without the haptic motors engaged, however, the Kraken V3 Pro produces a skull-rattling noise, with well-represented registers leaning slightly in favour of the bass. This is a great headset for listening to music and catching the footsteps of an enemy player – as you’d expect, at this price.
The ear cushions are soft, foamy and incredibly good at keeping audio in, owing mostly to their size and the way in which they envelop your entire ear. The left earcup houses volume and mic controls: the mic itself is capable of isolating outside noise effectively and records decent audio to boot. It’s also removable.
Razer advertises this headset as a PC gaming product, but the USB-A dongle works with PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch consoles. Battery life is very good provided you make sparing use of the haptic motors.
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: Yes; Illumination: Yes; Connection: 3.5mm/USB-A dongle; Cable length: 1.3m; Weight: 372g
12. Razer Blackshark V2 Pro: Best value wireless gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £140 l Check price at Amazon
The Razer Blackshark V2 Pro takes all the things we love about the standard version – including fantastic sound quality thanks to the 50mm drivers, supreme comfort, and an impressive mic – and adds wireless functionality. You’re paying a premium for that addition given that the practically identical wired version is available for around £55 less. But, if a lengthy wire doesn’t make practical sense in your gaming setup or if you just value the freedom of a wireless connection, you’ll struggle to find a headset that offers better value for money.
There’s no Bluetooth, but the included USB dongle means it’s a simple plug-and-play operation with negligible latency via Razer’s HyperSpeed 2.4GHz connection for users on a PC, PS4, PS5, or a docked Switch. It’s at its best on PC thanks to the customisation on offer from the Razer Synapse software and the heightened spatial awareness provided by THX Spatial Audio. The battery life is also great, coming in at around 24 hours.
It isn’t let down by the design, either, with a lightweight build, comfortable memory foam ear cups (that also do a nice job at passive noise cancellation) and a satisfyingly simple volume knob located on the side. The removable boom mic and the absence of any garish RGB lighting mean you’ll also feel comfortable using them out and about with your phone, provided it allows for a 3.5mm wired connection.
Read our full Razer Blackshark V2 Pro review for more details
Key specs – Drivers: 50mm; Wireless: Yes; Illumination: No; Connection: USB dongle, 3.5mm; Cable length: 1.3m; Weight: 262g
13. Sony Inzone H7: Best mid-range wireless gaming headset
Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at Amazon
The Sony Inzone H7 is a versatile wireless headset, ideal for PC and PS5 gamers looking for a high-quality option at a mid-range price point.
A particular highlight is its support for simultaneous Bluetooth and wireless connectivity – a big plus for headsets in this price range – which allows users to take phone calls, watch Youtube and groove to playlists while gaming, perfect if you’re faced with long wait times between matches.
It has the same 40mm drivers as the more expensive Inzone H9 and produces surprisingly powerful, balanced audio, with clear bass and clean trebles. The headset’s physical controls are also smartly designed and easy to use.
It’s undoubtedly at its best when paired with a PC, where users can enjoy Sony’s immersive 360 Spatial Audio for Gaming. PS5 gamers miss out on this feature but can still expect strong 3D audio thanks to the console’s Tempest sound engine.
There’s mic monitoring, which is handy for tailoring how loudly your voice is coming through but does impact the microphone’s quality, which produces a reasonable amount of static. Aside from this, and some incompatibility issues with the PS5 (the H7 doesn’t respond to the DualSense controller’s mute button, for example), there’s a lot to like, especially considering that it’s more affordable than the H9 but delivers most of the same features (minus the noise cancelling and ambient modes).
Read our full Sony Inzone H7 review for more details
Key specs – Platforms: PC, PS5; Wireless: Yes; Drivers: 40mm; Connection: USB-A dongle, Bluetooth; Battery life: 35 hours; Weight: 325g