Gaming headsets are designed with very specific goals in mind. On the one hand they need to enhance the immersive multimedia effects in a videogame. On the other hand they can provide a competitive edge to the serious player, either signalling the actions and location of enemies or otherwise assisting the player with their mission and gear. Finally, and probably most importantly, good voice quality allows virtual teams to chat and co-operate more closely to achieve victory.
Game audio is a huge part of all the best PC games, from realistic sound effects to cut scene voice acting to the dramatic music soundtrack which gives the game its personality.
These are the best gaming headsets we tested over the past 12 months that elevate the entertainment experience for amateurs on a budget and the most fussy and competitive players.
Best gaming headphones at a glance
- Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
- Corsair HS60 Haptic
- Logitech G Pro X Wireless
- SteelSeries Arctis Pro
- Astro A50 Wireless (2019)
- Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
- SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
- Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero
- 1More H1007 Spearhead
- Razer Nari Ultimate
- Astro A20
- Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700
- Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
- 1More E1020BT Spearhead In-Ear
Focusing primarily on three attributes: positional audio, communication clarity and noise cancellation, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a premium wireless gaming headset in every sense of the word. It has a great feature set, serious battery life, excellent build quality and impressive sound quality, all of which work together to deliver an amazing audio experience whether you’re gaming or movie watching. Next to those, the fact that it’s incredibly comfortable seems like icing on the cake.
Read the full review: Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
Easily one of the best headsets we've ever used, the Corsair HS60 Haptic boasts haptic feedback so that you can feel every single bass note, putting you right in the middle of all the action. It actually feels like you’ve just strapped a subwoofer comfortably to your head, and that’s without compromising the sound quality. With no Bluetooth or wireless radio connection to worry about, this isn’t a surprise. For those who enjoy multiplayer campaigns with friends, that mic not only provides incredibly clear voice input, but also comes with a few onboard controls for mic muting, volume and haptic intensity. Best of all, while this isn’t the cheapest headsets out there, it’s also not expensive, making it a great value for your money.
Read the full review: Corsair HS60 Haptic
Wireless headphones are no longer plagued with latency, with such releases as the Logitech G Pro X Lightspeed setting a higher standard for wireless audio. One of the best gaming headsets out there, this pair of cans gives you wireless freedom alongside low latency, robust build quality and, most importantly, excellent sound. It also boasts up to 20 hours of battery life, and a wireless range of up to 13m. Its microphone could be better, and it could also be cheaper. However, if you have the cash (and you don’t use the mic that much anyway), this one’s a shoo-in.
Read the full review: Logitech G Pro X Wireless
SteelSeries is known for offering impeccable audio, but the SteelSeries Arctis Pro takes things to the next level. This headset doesn’t just offer up immersive surround sound for all the explosive action of your favorite games, but thanks to its included DAC (digital to audio converter), the Arctis Pro also serves you well when listening to your favorite music. One of the best PC gaming headsets to date, this one’s a little on the pricey side, but when you consider just how comfortable and exceptional sounding this headset is, well, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best gaming headsets you can buy today.
Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis Pro
For years, the Astro A50 has been one of the best gaming headsets, known for premium comfort and audio quality. And, the 2019 model improves it on almost every level. Not only is the sound quality still there in full, but it looks better, with a full-black design, rather than the clashing colors of past models. The docking station is also smaller and less of an eyesore. Just keep in mind that this is still a pricey headset.
Read the full review: Astro A50 Wireless
R2,375 R1,845 | savings 22%
Custom-tuned 50mm neodymium audio drivers deliver superb sound quality. You'll be able to hear everything and are multi-platform compatible. The adjustable ear cups fitted with plush memory foam provide comfort for hours of gameplay. View Deal
Usually when you're purchasing anything, including gaming peripherals, you get what you pay for. You don't go into Walmart, pick up a $50/£50 gaming headset and expect to be blown away, at least not usually. Well, Corsair takes this rule and turns it on its head. The Corsair HS50 is, for the budget gamer, the best PC gaming headset you can get today. Retailing at $50 in the US, the HS50 has sound and mic quality that rivals headsets that are double the price. Everything, down to the build materials, radiates quality. If you don't mind forgoing some extra bells and whistles – like 7.1 surround and Bluetooth connectivity, for example – then you need to take a look at the Corsair HS50.
Read the full review: Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset
Compromises are a part of everyday life, but nobody actually enjoys making them. Luckily, you won’t have to with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. With it, you can get high quality lossless audio playback with a wireless headset. And, when you add the unique and ultra-convenient dual-battery charging system that lets you wear this headset in perpetuity to the mix, you have a formula for one of the best PC gaming headsets we've ever had the chance to use. If you have the money, and you absolutely need the best wireless headphones money can buy, this is your best bet.
Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
Yes, there might be a few things that hold the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero back from true greatness – namely, its tight fit and not-so-appealing aesthetic. However, when it comes to what really matters, this headset delivers. With great sound quality to start, coupled with its ProSpecs Glasses Relief system to make it more comfortable for wearers with glasses, plethora of features and incredibly powerful software, this is one of the best gaming headsets we’ve ever put over our ears. And, for it, you’ll be happy to pay what would have felt like an exuberant price.
Read our full review: Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero
We like 1More for its superb all-round value. Its headphones regularly overdeliver on sound and build against a very reasonable price point, and that is definitely the case here too. The build quality is excellent, especially compared to other products in this price band. We're a fan of floating headbands, especially for gaming headsets, because you get optimal pressure and comfort without having to fiddle with cups sliding up and down every time you fit them. These generously oversized cups are swivel mounted to ensure a good seal against the head, and the faux leather padding feels surprisingly durable.
The surprise is the decent 7.1 surround sound, a real bonus at this low price. Thanks in part to the outsized 53mm driver the overall sound is great, rivalling some sets ranked far higher on this list, especially for bass. The lack of a boom mic raises some concern, but the condenser mic built into the left cup worked perfectly well according to feedback from our online team mates.
Anyone can simply just listen to their games, but with the Razer Nari Ultimate, you can feel them as well. This gaming headset has haptic motors in the ear cups that make your ears vibrate. That’s more than enough to make this at least a curious headset, but when paired with the long battery life, amazing sound quality and comfortable build, it’s clearly one of the best gaming headsets out there. Do yourself a favor and turn off the haptic feedback, even when you’re listening to music.
Read the full review: Razer Nari Ultimate
If you're searching for one of the best PC gaming headsets, but the $300 price tags on those high-end cans make your stomach turn, you should take a closer look at the Astro A20. Boasting solid stereo sound performance in a wireless headset, not to mention the superb 15-hour battery life, this headset has all the necessary qualities that you might want in its price range. Sure, it doesn't come with surround sound, but it more than makes up for it with its economy and battery life.
Read the full review: Astro A20
With its Republic of Gamers brand, Asus has built a reputation for being the name behind some of the best gaming peripherals to constantly meet consumer standards. The Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700 joins their ranks. Packed with 50mm Neodymium drivers and Bluetooth compatibility, this gaming headset provides fantastic sound quality without being tethered with a wire. It’s even compatible with other gaming platforms, so you won’t have to switch between different headsets. It’s a little pricey, but considering how good this headset sounds and how flexible it is, we’d say it’s worth it.
Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix Fusion 700
R6,999 R6,470 |savings 8%
With its circuit pro cable system, connection is easier than ever. Tye next level comfort will make hours of gaming a breeze and the X 7.1 Surround Sound means you can pinpoint the exact location of every sound. View Deal
If you're the type of gamer who likes to let the world know you're playing games, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament may just be the best PC gaming headset for you. Not only is it extremely comfortable to wear, but its 50mm drivers mean that sound quality is always top notch – even if it could have a bit more bass in the mix. You really do have to like the 'gamer aesthetic' however, as its plastic build and orange highlights personify the style. Still, if you can get past or embrace the looks and the price tag, there's a lot to love about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
R7,685 R5,280 |saving 31%
These meticulously designed headphones feature four drivers to deliver unsurpassed dynamic power and definition. The in-line controls allow you to easily change volume, skip songs and make calls. View Deal
For gaming buds the overall sound, lightness and fit of these Bluetooth neck buds was so good they earned a place in the main wireless earbuds section, too. For the price these are an unbeatable combination of audio quality and features that rounds out the mobile gaming experience.
Don't be put off by the shiny plastic construction: they're well built but still light enough for extended sessions or even all-day wear, and with a very comfortable neckband. The dual titanium and graphene drivers deliver a properly rich sound with so much depth it almost fools you into thinking you're wearing over-ears. For team games, and for taking calls, the built-in mic is remarkably effective too. The on-the-go mobile gamer will appreciate the fast charge where just a couple of minutes plugged into a powerbank gets you additional hours of gaming.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
- Put your audio quality to the test in the best PC games