If you’ve invested in a gaming PC, then you’re probably concerned about deepening your immersion. There are all kinds of equipment you can use to make your experience even better, including things like keyboards, chairs, specialized desks, and, of course, your headset.
Sound is vital to the gaming experience. In my Amnesia: Rebirth review, I talked about how the ambient sounds were often so immersive, I’d feel like I was surrounded by monsters in windswept desert ruins.
But the key to getting good sound is to have a good headset to convey that sound. In the event that you’re someone who doesn’t know enough about them to pick the best pair for your needs, I’m going to help out. I’ve created this convenient list of the best gaming headsets for PC.
Best Gaming Headsets for PC
These Razer Kraken Tournament headphones are incredibly popular. We actually have someone in our social circle who bought these recently, and he loves them. It’s easy to see why.
For one thing, it has a retracting mic. If you’re playing something by yourself and don’t want your mic in your face, you can retract it into the earcup it’s attached to so it’s not in your way.
It also has decently large 50mm drivers. With 40 being kind of the standard, this puts the Razer Kraken headset at a bit above average. If you’re unfamiliar with drivers, you can basically just think of them as the actual speakers inside your headset.
- You can get this headset in two different sleek color combinations.
- The microphone retracts back into the earcup, so it doesn’t always have to be in your face.
- Has decently sized 50mm drivers.
- Soft cushioning on the headband and earcups will keep you comfortable for hours while wearing them.
- You can effortlessly tweak the volume through an easy controller attached to the cord.
- You do need to install Razer software on your PC to use the headset, which is kind of annoying.
This isn’t the exact headset I have, but I do have a HyperX headset quite similar to this one, and I can tell you that it’s been a good experience for me. It was actually the first gaming headset I found that didn’t make the top of my head ache after an hour or two of wearing it.
That’s probably because the earcups and band have leatherette cushions on them that are filled with memory foam. They’re pleasant to the touch and will feel great on your head.
The inside of the band has steel sliders. In addition, the drivers of the headset are 50mm, providing you an in-depth and immersive experience whenever you game.
Another random benefit is the earcups can be rotated. I haven’t gotten a lot out of this personally, but I can see how it would be useful for increasing their adjustability.
- Extremely comfy – I can say this from personal experience.
- The mic automatically mutes itself when you flip it up.
- The inside of the band has a tough steel slider that will last for years.
- You can rotate the earcups for even more adjustability.
- Fairly large 50mm drivers provide you a more immersive sound experience.
- The volume of the headset doesn’t adjust evenly on both sides.
- I’ve personally noticed that the sound cancellation could be improved, but I haven’t seen other people mentioning this much online.
Logitech tends to be a good brand to go with if you’re looking for something extremely budget-friendly. However, I didn’t choose the G533 headset because it’s extraordinarily cheap – I picked it because it was a well-reviewed wireless headset.
Wireless headsets, in my experience, can be a little finicky. If you get them working and you have a good antenna for Bluetooth in your PC, they’re kind of a relief because you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a long cord tethering you to your desk.
Ever accidentally gotten up and started to walk away from your desk, only to realize you were wearing a headset? That won’t happen again with the G533.
It’s also got 15 hours of battery life. That will give you plenty of time for each gaming session, provided you remember to charge it up regularly.
- Not as expensive as some other wireless headset options.
- Has a decently long 15-hour battery life.
- Its range is 15 meters, so you can keep talking to your friends if you need to get up and take a break.
- You can fold the mic to get it out of the way when you’re playing something solo.
- It uses mesh padding for the headband and earcups. This may not be the case for you, but my personal experience with mesh padding has been poor, with my head getting sore after wearing such headsets for an hour or more.
- Some people have reported issues with the sound quality. This seems normal for wireless headsets, though; with my own headset, I had to tinker with the equalizer to fix the sound quality.
Read Next: Best Gaming Headsets for Glasses Wearers
The Corsair HS70 Pro is actually a headset I’ve been keeping my eye on for awhile. While I don’t personally use it, we have a similar Corsair headset at home, and it seems to work really well.
What caught my eye about this one is the use of memory foam and quilted stitching in the cushion on top. It looks extremely comfortable, and I have the feeling you could probably wear it for hours.
I also like that you can detach the mic if you don’t want it around. That gets it out of your face if you’re playing something alone.
In terms of hard specs, I think it’s mostly average. It has a very average frequency range, for example, but its drivers seem a little ahead of the curve at 50mm.
- Available in two appealing color combinations.
- You can detach the mic entirely if you’re not going to use it.
- The cushions are made with memory foam and quilted stitching for your comfort.
- It’s wireless, so you won’t be bound to your desk.
- 16 hours of battery life.
- I’ve listened to videos depicting the sound quality of the mic, and I feel like it leaves a little something to be desired. For the average person, though, it should be acceptable.
- Some have reported the headset is a little too fragile.
The Arctis 3 model of the Steelseries Arctis line is a very popular and well-known gaming headset. Many people swear by this headset, which is why I chose to include it on the list.
I’ve personally always through retractable mics were cool. That’s one thing that caught my eye about these – you can push the mic back into the headset when it’s not in use.
I also love the look of the airweave cushions. I frankly can’t find what they’re made out of, so I can’t say with 100% certainty they’re as comfortable as memory foam. However, many owners say it’s comfortable, so I’ll give the Arctis the benefit of the doubt.
Another nifty feature of this headset is the audio sharing function. If you want someone else to hear what you’re hearing and they’re physically with you, they can plug their own headset into yours.
- Other people can plug into your headset to share your audio.
- Comes in two different colors.
- Comfortable airweave cushions over the earcups.
- The mic retracts when you don’t need it.
- There are some mentions of difficulty getting the mic to work, but once you get it working, most people say the sound quality is good.
- Some say the earcups should be deeper.
- The cushioning on top isn’t exactly a cushion – it’s a strap that goes over your head.
If you’re looking for a higher-end headset overall, Sennheiser is a name you’re probably familiar with. Their headsets tend to be extremely good in terms of sound quality, but their prices often reflect that. I couldn’t finish the list without having at least one Sennheiser option on it.
There’s a lot to love here. For one thing, the earcups are on durable metal hinges that aren’t going to break anytime soon. The mic is adjustable, and it automatically mutes when you raise it. If you’re like me, and you frequently fumble to reach buttons on time, being able to just flip up a mic when you don’t want people to hear you can be a lifesaver.
There’s also heavy padding around the band and earcups. Many owners have reported it as being extremely comfortable.
- Durable metal hinges will automatically press the earcups onto your ears.
- The mic automatically mutes itself when you push it up.
- There’s a volume wheel on the earcup so you can easily adjust the volume.
- Ample padding on the ear cups and headband.
- Users have noted that they’re very good when it comes to noise cancellation.
- There are a few reports of the headset being a little on the heavy side.
What to Look for When Buying a Gaming Headset for PC
As with anything else, much of the quality of a headset comes from the quality of its materials. Gone are the days when everything was made from solid metal, though, so I don’t mean that you should totally disregard everything that’s made from plastic.
In fact, I mostly mean this in a comfort sense. I recommend looking for a headset with cushioning around the earcups and the headband so that you can wear it comfortably for hours. In my experience, leatherette and memory foam are particularly comfortable. I personally find the combination better than that weird mesh padding you can find on cheaper headsets.
As far as comfort goes, I also recommend looking for a headset that has padding on the inside of the actual earcups, as well. Not just the ring around the earcups that also doubles as a seal, but a thin pad over the drivers themselves. That way, the drivers won’t chafe against your ears.
Although headsets are largely made from plastic these days, a quality one will usually have a metal core. You can look for such headsets to assure yourself of their durability.
You may occasionally run into headsets that say they have a cooling gel inside the earcups. Cooling gel has not ever made a huge difference for me, so whether or not you want to try that is up to you. I’m wearing a headset with “cooling gel” in the cups right now, and there’s honestly no noticeable difference between its temperature and how another headset feels after awhile of wearing it.
If you want to be sure you can hear literally everything in the game, then what you’re looking for in a headset is a wider frequency range. This is pretty self-explanatory: a headset with a wider frequency range can, well, detect more sounds.
A fairly standard frequency range in headsets is 20-20,00Hz. Thus, anything with a range that goes below 20 and a range that goes higher than 20,000 is more comprehensive.
One thing to keep in mind with this, though, is that 20-20,000 is the common hearing range for human beings. Unless you have particularly sharp hearing, you likely won’t need something much wider than the standard range.
Headset sensitivity is probably what most people are looking for when they think of powerful sounds. A more sensitive headset can play sounds louder at different volumes without necessarily sacrificing on sound quality.
Sensitivity is often much more important for PC gaming than for a headset you’d use with your phone or a tablet. This is because a sensitive headset will enable you to distinguish lower sounds, which may be vital in a stealth-based game.
You can tell how sensitive a headset is by looking at its decibels. In our guide to the best gaming headsets for sensitive ears, we mentioned that a high sensitivity starts at 101 decibels and gets more sensitive the higher that number goes.
Price is always important when it comes to purchasing gaming accessories. I know as well as anyone that they can get pretty pricey, so I tried to include a range of prices on this list.
There are, however, outliers outside of the prices of the headsets here. Some are cheaper and some are more expensive.
Nowadays, headsets can range in price anywhere from as little as $20 (although I would be cautious of buying something at that low of a price point) to easily hundreds. Think about the kind of price you’re comfortable with paying.
Gaming headsets are kind of a contentious thing. People will often nitpick them just like they would any other component involved in PC gaming, so don’t expect to find a single headset with consistently high marks from everyone across the board. Sometimes, if you’re drawn to a headset, you just have to ignore the naysayers and try it out yourself.
That being said, I wanted to choose the headset that I felt was consistently the most well-reviewed to recommend over all the others. In this case, it’s the SteelSeries Arctis 3. SteelSeries is another extremely trusted brand, and there are many other versions of the Arctis 3 if you want to look for something more up-to-date.