Owning one of the best gaming headsets can quite literally be a game-changer. Crystal-clear audio can help you pick up the sound and direction of enemy gunfire when you ultimately find yourself surrounded in Call of Duty: Warzone. Perhaps you prefer to hear the bone-crunching guitar riffs as you rip and tear through demons in Doom Eternal. So whether you’re looking to gain a competitive edge in a first-person shooter or just want to improve your overall gaming experience, a quality gaming headsets may be just what you’re after.
There are a few points that you’ll want to consider when choosing a gaming headset. Price and sound quality are two important factors, and we’ve taken both of these into account when picking our favorites for this list. Comfort is another thing you’ll want to think about as even the best sound quality won’t do you a lot of good if you always have to adjust your headset—or also remove it altogether—during longer gaming sessions. Lastly, the majority of the headsets we’ve listed here boast built-in, noise-canceling mics which are crucial for chatting with your teammates.
Adding one of the best gaming headsets of 2020 to your set-up shouldn’t cost the earth either. You can grab our top pick, the HyperX Cloud Alpha, for less than $100, giving you a sturdy headset with excellent sound quality. Alternatively, if you have the money to spare and want to go with a wireless option, you could do a lot worse than the Razer Nari Ultimate. Aside from the superb sound quality and comfort, this particular headset also offers haptic feedback.
Our list of the best gaming headsets has something for everyone regardless of budget. Alternatively, if you’re determined to cut down on cord clutter, our guide to the best wireless gaming headsets may be more to your taste.
1. HyperX Cloud Alpha
A well rounded, well-balanced headset for game audio
Wireless: No | Drivers: 50mm dual chamber neodymium | Connectivity: 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 13Hz-27,000Hz | Features: Detachable noise-cancelling mic, in-line cable controls,
Powerful but clear sound
Bombproof build quality
No detachable cable
Flimsy inline controls
Bearing the fruits of HyperX Cloud’s long legacy of excellence, the Cloud Alpha presents excellent sound and build quality with the essential features done well, and no feature-flab inflating the price. The stereo soundscape in this closed-back design is punchier in the low end than we’d usually go for, but the extra bass doesn’t interfere with overall clarity—and frankly, in games and music environments, it sounds great. Each 50mm driver’s dual chamber design is intended to give low, medium, and high frequencies space to resonate without interfering with each other, and you do get a sense of that while listening to them.
Elsewhere it’s the usual impressive build quality, generous padding, clear mic and high comfort levels over longer play sessions that the Cloud design has always offered. The inline controls are the only exception to that rule—they feel flimsy by comparison to the rest of the package. We recommend the Alpha over the Cloud II (only just) because of the better frequency response range, although there’s very little separating the two models.
2. Steelseries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
The high-end gaming headset that does it all
Wireless: No | Drivers: 40mm neodymium | Connectivity: USB, optical, 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 10Hz-40,000Hz | Features: Retractable noise-cancelling mic, DTS Headphone:X 2.0, RGB
Tasteful RGB lighting
Handy GameDAC controls
Cables feel fragile
High-res audio is on the up thanks to lossless streaming from Tidal et al, and games such as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus offering full support. The Arctis Pro GameDAC makes full use of that crystalline high-res sound with a 5Hz-40KHz frequency response range—a spec that also makes the drivers sound great for everyday compressed audio usage. So, if you’re planning to use a gaming headset for watching videos and TV on your PC, or music, this is a great choice.
The GameDAC itself is a combination of a digital-to-analog converter that takes the strain away from your CPU, a preamp, and a control center. With a press of its button and a roll of the dial, DTS Headphone-X surround can be enabled or disabled, chat/game mix tweaked, and EQ settings perfected. The subtle ring around each earcup on these cans ticks the RGB box without ruining the overall aesthetic. Our only reservations with the GameDAC model are that it requires an adapter for smartphone usage, and that its cables feel cheaper than a $250 headset should.
Turtle Beach Recon 200
An excellent budget option that is best for shooters
Wireless: No | Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets | Connectivity: 3.5mm analog | Frequency response: 20Hz–20kHz | Features: Flip-up mic, always-on bass boost, compatible with Windows Sonic
Excellent price/quality balance
Crunchy, quality bass
Dependable mic and simple design
Not comfortable in long play sessions
A little basic on the features front
If you’re after quality but on a restricted budget we’d definitely recommend trying out the Recon 200 from Turtle Beach. Walking the line of quality and price excellently, you’ll get great sound enhanced by a meaty Bass Boost feature, and a terrifically clear mic for comms. It’s not got the same quality in seamless surround sound that more expensive sets have, but it’s good for the price and will be assisted greatly by what it presents to your ears. That always-on Bass Boost hints at what the Recon 200 is best for—shooters—and it really shows with dirty war noises and weapon sounds being particular strong and enjoyable.
The mic is not detachable but it’s reliable and solid, with voices carrying through clearly. The design is a bit basic and its no hot-looker, but its sturdy enough, although not that comfortable for longer play sessions. It’s definitely a gaming headset so don’t look at it for your go-to, everything headset—that’s not what it is for and it knows it too (in a good way).