If you spend any time gaming, then you should already be using a gaming headset — a portable, wired headphone that lets in the sounds of gameplay, with a built-in mic that allows you to communicate directly with other players.
By blocking outside noise and offering a soundproof barrier, gamer headsets not only provide a fantastic gaming experience for the player, but they also mean that people around you won’t be able to hear your game — ideal for anyone with roommates, annoying neighbors or young children.
Before buying a headset, you’ll want to make sure you pick one that works with your platform. Are you playing on a video game console? Set up on a PC? Or using your mobile device? Some headsets work on a wide variety of platforms, while others are only compatible or perform better with specific ones.
Gamers spend hours in front of the computer, so you’ll also want to look for a headset that is comfortable and will still feel good after a long gaming session. Earpieces that contour to your ear will not only allow for prolonged comfort, but they will also enhance your gaming experience, creating a seal around the ear for optimal noise cancellation and sound quality.
With millions of dollars going into creating immersive experiences on gaming platforms these days, which includes stunning graphics and nuanced sound effects, you want to be able to hear every leaf crunch, soldier’s footstep and click of a button to fully appreciate the details of your game. Using a gamer headset enables players to hear the game the way it was designed to be heard.
If you’re ready to upgrade your gaming experience, we’ve rounded up five, well-reviewed pairs of gaming headsets, from a solid, basic set of cups, to a premium package used by E-Sport pros.
1. ONIKUMA Pro Stereo Gaming Headset
If you want a budget pair of headphones that delivers decent sound without breaking the bank, you can’t do better than these under $30 cups from ONIKUMA. A world-leader in gaming headsets and backed by a lifetime warranty, the ONIKUMA Pro Stereo Gaming Headset features 7.1 surround sound for an immersive audio experience, delivering a clean and clear bass that presents a game’s audio in loud, crisp frequencies.
The ONIKUMA has one of the largest platform offerings, including Nintendo Switch (audio), Nintendo 3DS LL/3DS (audio), Windows PC, Mac OS PC, iOS devices, Android devices, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One (need accessory). The ONIKUMA is also one of the most affordable gamer headsets available.
Of course, for the price, there will be some limitations and the ONIKUMA headsets are not considered noise canceling, so ambient noise may still be heard. The mic is sensitive and doesn’t give off any echo, but if someone is gaming nearby, some customers have found that the mic will pick up their voice as well. And while the thick, ergonomic ear cups are made to be flexible and comfortable, some customers also found the headset to be on the bulkier and heavier side. Purchase: $21.98 on Amazon.com.
2. HyperX Cloud Stinger
With a huge range of platform capabilities and built with 50mm directional drivers that create gaming-grade sound quality, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is a durable and impressive gamer headset. If you love the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset but are looking for a more affordable option, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is our pick.
The impressive features of the HyperX Cloud Stinger include the option to turn on noise-canceling abilities, and 50mm drivers that make it easy to pinpoint the source location of sounds in a game.
What we like: the comfortable ear cups rotate 90 degrees to allow for the ideal positioning, while the headphones weigh only 275 grams, a big plus for those who like to spend hours gaming — or take their gameplay to go.
One drawback: the HyperX Cloud headset is compatible with an impressive list of platforms, including PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and mobile devices, but not Mac. The microphone swivels but does not have the option to detach, like on the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset. Purchase: $49.99 on Amazon.com.
3. HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset
The official headset of professional gaming team Intel Extreme Masters, the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset comes with a high tech sound and mic experience, including TeamSpeak certification for a clear and crisp mic that won’t pick up echoes or distortion, and optional 7.1 virtual surround sound that means you’ll be able to hear the direction of sounds — a must-have for first-person shooter games.
One of the best-reviewed headsets in the market, the HyperX Cloud II boasts a 4.1-star rating from almost 5000 reviews online.
What we like: the HyperX Cloud II headset has a fully padded leather headset, the only headset on our list that has padding all the way around for ultra-comfort. It also features memory foam ear pads with interchangeable options that allow you to fully customize your wearing experience. The internal sound card has an optimal HiFi volume, with the headset featuring separate buttons for sound and mic control. The set comes with tons of helpful accessories, including a travel pouch, and it’s plug and play, meaning you don’t need to download any drivers before using your headset.
Note: the headset works with PCs and Macs, as well as PS4, but requires an adapter when using an Xbox One (see latest prices for the Xbox here). Some customers also find the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset to be on the heavy side, so you’ll want to consider other options on this list if you want something easy to travel with. Purchase: $89.99 on Amazon.com.
4. Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset
Logitech is one of the most-trusted names in gaming, and the company has quietly built up a reputation over the years for its solid selection of accessories and headsets, used by gamers like Rudy van Buren (pictured at top), who won Logitech G’s “World’s Fastest Gamer” competition in 2017 (Van Buren was later signed by the professional racing team, McLaren, to join their squad as a simulation driver, helping to test out their new cars and prepare their drivers for race-day scenarios).
These Logitech G Pro Gaming Headsets feature noise-isolating ear pads, anti-distortion technology, and advanced drivers that deliver seat-thumping bass and special effects with surprising clarity. Logitech says they’ve upgraded the pro-grade microphone to be more sensitive, picking up sounds from all directions, while amplifying your voice so it comes through loud and clear.
What we like: the leatherette ear cups give it a premium look and feel, while the lightweight construction keeps these headsets comfortable for prolonged wear. The G Pro headset works for PC, PC VR, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo switch. Purchase: $79.99 on Amazon.com.
5. SteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming Headset
If you’re looking for a premium pair of cups that rivals those seen on professional E-Sports players, you’ll want to pick up the Arctic Pro High Fidelity Headset from SteelSeries. A favorite of both casual gamers and pros alike, these headphones deliver full, expansive, hi-res sound, reproducing audio up to 40,000 Hz. That’s nearly double what most headsets get you, and is more than twice what the human ear can hear. You won’t need to crank it up so high, but it’s nice knowing just how powerful these cups can be (It’s sort of like driving a car with a 200 mph top speed; you’ll likely never hit that speed, but it gives your coupe some serious bragging rights).
Reviewers say the SteelSeries headsets are best-in-class when it comes to consistent, detailed and realistic sound. Audio comes in from all directions, mimicking a surround sound experience. The Arctis “ClearCast” microphone, meantime, delivers studio-quality clarity and works to actively eliminate background noise, so your in-play chat comes through more evenly, without disruptions.
What we like: download the accompanying SteelSeries Engine software to customize your headset’s audio settings, from EQ, to RGB lighting, to surround sound settings and more. The headset’s “AirWeave” ear cushions also let air flow in and out for cooler (read: less sweaty) wear, ensuring that the headset stays secure and comfortable, even as you’re locked in the action-packed throws of play. Purchase: $138.70 on Amazon.com.
Portions of this article were republished with the permission of SPY. To read the original article, click here. Editorial products are independently selected. If you buy something from our links, PMC may earn a commission.