Best Gaming Headsets 2022: Headphones for PC, Video Games, E-Sports - Rolling Stone
×
×
Home RS Recommends Electronics

RS Recommends: The Best Gaming Headsets to Upgrade Your Gameplay

The best headsets for gaming, from a basic set of cups, to a premium package used by E-Sport pros

SteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming HeadsetSteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Courtesy Amazon

Amazon

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.

A good gaming headset is one of the most important accessories you can use to improve your setup and is a necessity for playing online. The right headset will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the game you’re playing, and give you the ability to play all day and night without disturbing anyone you live with.

If you’re ready to upgrade your gaming experience, we’ve rounded up some well-reviewed pairs of gaming headsets, from a solid, basic set of cups, to a premium package used by E-Sport pros.

What to Look For in a Gaming Headset

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right gaming headset for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.

Console compatibility: All three major video game consoles (Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5) support headsets. But, not all headsets are cross-compatible, meaning you may need an additional dongle or specific version to work with your console of choice. We prioritized headsets that work across consoles for the sake of simplicity.

Wired or Wireless: Wireless headphones are the future of casual music listening, but you’ll actually want a wired headset when playing games. Bluetooth headphones all suffer from latency, a slight delay from when you hit the play button on a song, and when you hear it. Gamers want as little latency as possible when playing games because even a few milliseconds of audio delay gives their competitors an advantage.

Headphone style: Headphones come in three basic styles: in-ear, on-ear, and over-the-ear; every headset on this list falls into that last category because it provides the greatest level of immersion when you’re playing a game.

Surround sound: Some high-end headsets use a combination of speaker placement and software to simulate a surround sound system. The effect works better than you’d expect and can be critical if you’re playing first-person shooter games, which require you to know the exact position of your opponents at all times.

Microphone: Part of the online gaming experience is coordinating with the other players on your team. We made sure all of the headphones in our guide had a built-in microphone, so you don’t have to set up another accessory.

Weight: You’re going to be wearing these headphones for hours at a time, so their weight will have a big impact on your overall comfort. More advanced headphones are usually filled with extra audio components, or larger speakers, which makes them heavier, which is something to consider.

1. HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless

Best Battery Life

HyperX Cloud Alpha

Amazon

HyperX’s newest wireless gaming headset boasts 300 hours of battery life on a single charge, according to the brand — and from our tests, this seems to be accurate. I was able to game on and off for a full week without losing much charge. Of course, if you were to increase volume to max, expect battery life to drop a little faster.

Similar to other HyperX headphones, you can expect powerful sound, with every in-game action sequence booming in your ears like it’s happening in front of you. The bass is great too, without getting overwhelming and the dialogue sounds clear as day. The end result is incredibly well-balanced sound, better than most competitors on this list.

The detachable microphone is a great feature too and as far as wireless headphones go, it produces decent enough audio. It’s not the clearest microphone on the market but that’s to be expected with the shift to wireless.

As for connectivity, setup was easy with my PC, and the brand claims it should work seamlessly with a PS5 as well.  Unfortunately, I’m an Xbox and Nintendo Switch user which meant I couldn’t use this headset with either platform — definitely a limitation if you’re neither a PC or a PlayStation gamer. There’s also no 3.5mm unit, meaning you can’t attach a wire to use this headset with your other consoles either.

That’s the only con on this headset I could find though. The HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is still one of the most comfortable headsets I’ve tested, allowing me to use this gadget for hours on end while feeling no discomfort. Plus, its battery life is unparalleled and if you’re a PC game or PS5 user it doesn’t get better than the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless.

Buy: HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless at $199.99

2. Razer Kraken X

MOST LIGHTWEIGHT

Razer Kraken X

Razer

Gamers who crave total immersion when playing will find a lot to love with Razer’s Kraken X.

It supports 7.1 surround sound (only on PCs running Windows 10), and uses a standard 3.5mm for maximum compatibility — you can use this headset on all three big consoles.

There’s no way to change this headset’s EQ settings on the fly, but Razer used 40mm drivers (the part of the headphone that produces sound; the bigger they are, the better), so anything you play or listen to should sound pretty good. You can adjust your game’s volume via a volume wheel on the headset’s left earcup.

More professional players will also appreciate the headset’s microphone, which can be precisely positioned to their liking. The mic was also designed to block out external noise but picks up on voices very clearly.

Surround sound audio may be exclusive to PC gamers, but one of the Kraken X’s best features is available to everyone: it’s lightweight. This is an important factor for players who enter tournaments or are partial to all-night gaming sessions. At 250 grams, it’s the lightest headset in our guide.

If you’re a PC gamer who wants surround sound gaming without investing in a bunch of speakers or a console gamer who prioritizes comfort, this headset is an excellent choice.

Buy: Razer Kraken X at $45.29

Want to upgrade to something a little more luxe? Razer has these active noise-canceling Opus over-ear headphones, designed for both gameplay and wireless music listening. These cushy, THX-certified cups deliver big, high-fidelity sound for gamers and audiophiles alike. Purchase: $199.99 at Amazon

3. HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset

EDITOR’S PICK

HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset

HyperX

The HyperX Cloud II is the official gaming headset of Intel Extreme Masters, a professional e-sports team that competes in international tournaments.

This headset caters to the pros by being stuffed with key features, like 7.1 surround sound audio (PC and PlayStation users only; Xbox owners need an adapter to use the headset), and an adjustable, noise-canceling microphone certified by TeamSpeak, the premier chat client for online gamers.

It features large, 53mm drivers for excellent audio quality, and a technology called echo canceling, which reduces the amount of ambient sound picked up by the microphone to minimize distractions. HyperX bundled this headset with an audio control box, which lets you enable or disable the 7.1 surround sound setting, or change your volume.

This level of audio quality and sound technology is necessary for professional play, but casual gamers will appreciate them, too. Unfortunately, this technology does come at the cost of added weight.

At 317 grams it’s not the heaviest headset on this list, but you’ll probably start to notice it more as your game session draws on. If you’re the type of person who plays in shorter bursts, this problem won’t be an issue.

Buy: HyperX Cloud II at $66.99

4. SteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming Headset

PROFESSIONAL PICK

SteelSeries Arctis Pro High Fidelity Gaming Headset

Amazon

If you’re a serious gamer looking for a premium headset that rivals those seen on professional E-Sports players, you’ll want to pick up the Arctis Pro High Fidelity Headset from SteelSeries.

It won’t work with game consoles, but the Arctis Pro can connect to your computer or console via a 3.5mm audio cable, or SteelSeries’ “ChatMix Dial,” which connects to your computer over USB lets you control the volume of your game and microphone.

Speaking of, the retractable, bidirectional microphone on this headset is constructed to only pick up your voice. This is a hardware feature, so no latency is introduced from software noise canceling.

SteelSeries didn’t skimp out when it comes to audio quality — the Arctis Pro supports surround sound created by DTS, the company who helped pioneer the format, and worked on films like Jurassic Park. It features 40mm drivers that can reproduce frequencies up to 40,000Hz — double what most headsets are capable of.

Game consoles cannot take advantage of the surround sound features or “ChatMix Dial,” but you will notice the improved audio fidelity. PC gamers will need to download the accompanying SteelSeries Engine software to customize the headset’s audio settings, from EQ, to RGB lighting, to surround sound.

The Arctis Pro is the best sounding and most capable headset in our guide, but at 425g it’s by far the heaviest.

At nearly a pound, you’ll definitely notice it on your head. That said, the reason it’s so heavy is that it’s packed with audio hardware that will help you enjoy every second of gameplay. It’s a fair tradeoff, but one you should be aware of.

Buy: SteelSeries Arctis Pro at $147.93

5. HyperX Cloud Stinger

BEST VALUE

best gaming headset

Amazon

If you’re a new player, looking for a great wired gaming headset that won’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with the HyperX Cloud Stinger. This lightweight pair weighs just about 275 grams so it shouldn’t feel too heavy on your head even after a few hours into your favorite new game. Plus, the cushiony memory foam material makes for a more comfortable fit.

The sound should be great too as these gaming headphones come equipped with powerful 50mm drivers, almost on par with some of the more expensive options on this list. This particular pair features Stereo sound but you can upgrade to the 7.1 surround sound if you’re willing to shell a few extra bucks. You’ve even got built-on passive noise cancelation which will help cut the background noise as you speak into the mic.

There’s multi-platform compatibility too so this audio accessory will work with your new Xbox SeriesS/X, Playstation 5 and Nintendo Switch. It’s also compatible with older consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Amazon customers had a lot to love about this product with many complimenting the clear, immersive audio and snug fit.

Buy: HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset at $31.51

6. AmazonBasics Premium Gaming Headset

MOST VERSATILE

AmazonBasics Premium Gaming Headset

Amazon

Casual players who want a simple way to play online games with their friends should seriously consider AmazonBasics’ Premium Gaming Headset.

It’s a stereo headset that works with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch, and PCs, and you can connect it to your console or computer in two ways. Game console players can connect a 3.5mm audio cable (included) from the headset directly into your system or controller. The cable has in-line audio controls, so you can adjust your game volume directly from the headset.

PC players have the option to use the mini desktop mixer Amazon bundles with its headset. The mixer lets you mute your microphone and cycle between four different audio settings: music, movie, gaming, and what looks to be a faux surround sound mode. It also features a large volume controller, so you don’t have to use a keyboard shortcut or TV remote. The mixer connects to your PC over USB.

Although Amazon moved a bunch of controls into its mixer, this headset comes in at 377g, which is toward the heavier end of the spectrum in this guide. A lot of that comes down to the fact that this headset is a little bulky.

Besides its weight, there’s very little to nitpick about this headset. There are a handful of small letdowns, like its lack of surround sound, plain look, and rigid microphone (you can only move it up and down), but overall this is a compelling package.

Buy: AmazonBasics Premium Gaming Headset at $53.06

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.