It doesn’t matter if you play first-person shooters, role-playing games, or a sports simulator: What you hear is almost as important as what you see. Environmental noises like crackling leaves, running sounds, and bullets flying overhead place you (as literally as possible) in the game. If you’ve ever played Call of Duty, you have witnessed the importance of sounds firsthand when an enemy spins around faster than a roulette table as you approach from behind. That wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t heard you coming. And what helps them hear you coming is a great headset.
Finding the proper gaming headset for your specific needs has become a head-scratching task. There are dongles, proprietary headphones meant for specific consoles, and wireless adapters. According to Cameron Faulkner at our sister site the Verge, it’s best to buy a gaming headset that lists support for your preferred platform. Short of that, “if you get a multiplatform wireless headset that includes a 2.4 GHz wireless dongle, it’ll likely work on the likes of the PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch when plugged into the console’s TV dock,” he says. “Of course, you can eliminate most of the guesswork by buying a wired gaming headset instead.” Wired headsets work on any console with an output jack. Another important aspect is comfort. Think about it like running shoes: You can buy the most expensive technical pair of shoes, but if they don’t fit your feet well, you’re really going to hate running in them. If you’re wearing a gaming headset for hours each day, you don’t want something that weighs a lot, pinches, or soaks the sides of your head in sweat. To help you find the gaming headset that best suits your needs, we spoke to Faulkner and six other experts. Here are their favorites.
Best gaming headset for most consoles
This headset comes recommended by both Emily Heller, a gamer and recommendations editor at Vulture, and Kyle F, a tech TikToker and gamer. Although it’s not completely wireless — “You need this little dongle that you plug into [your console] to make it work wirelessly,” Heller says — this feature allows it to work with the Switch, PS4, PC, and Android phones. The SteelSeries has a 20-hour battery life and adjustable EQ settings, and if you don’t feel like dealing with the dongle, it comes with a 3.5 mm aux cable.
Best (less-expensive) gaming headset for most consoles
“Astro makes great products that are mainstays in my gaming arsenal,” says Kahlief Adams, host of the gaming podcast Spawn on Me. “The A20 is amazingly comfortable and has stunning, immersive sound at a fantastic price.” And if you buy the optional dongle, “you can use this headset with either of the next-gen consoles.”
Best gaming headset for large heads
Faulkner writes that the HyperX Cloud II dodges many of the pitfalls of other headsets. “Its headband expands to fit a range of head sizes, and the ear cups rest gently around my ears with nary a pinching feeling,” he says. He notes that this headset can be stretched wider than the size of most heads and still retain its fit, which is a good sign that it will last well into the future. While he says the Cloud II is “not the right choice if you want the bass to rattle your head,” he describes the sound quality as “balanced” and adds that it “delivers just enough gusto for every scenario.” The buttons are simple and easy to master, the wireless range is excellent (even through a wall), and his set lived up to the company’s claims of a 30-hour battery life. “It’s the easy choice for PC, PlayStation, and Switch gamers,” Faulkner says.
Most comfortable gaming headset
After using Game Ones for years, Brandon McDuff, a former professional gamer and co-founder of a multiplayer-game start-up called 1336 Studios, says they are still “the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn.” “As a PC gamer who is also a game developer, there are some days where I’ve spent over 12 hours with them on without even feeling them,” he explains. These are open-ear headphones, which means they do let in external sounds. Although some users may want to be isolated from the world around them, McDuff doesn’t; he says this setup “results in even more comfort and higher sound quality.” He recommends them for anyone who plays for long periods of time, and because they’re wired, they can work with all consoles. “I would absolutely chalk up some of my success in gaming to the quality of sound produced by wearing these. They really do sound that good, which makes it hard to use anything else,” he says.
Most comfortable (less-expensive) gaming headset
If you want to spend a little less, McDuff also recommends the Sennheiser GSP 300 line as a more budget-friendly alternative.
Best wireless gaming headset for PC users
Jamin Warren, a co-founder of TwoFiveSix, a brand-consulting company focused on the gaming community, says the Logitech G935 is a great option whether you’re gaming on a PC or taking work calls. He spends a significant amount of time wearing headphones, so comfort was a huge priority in his search. “These headphones have larger ear cups that are supercomfortable even for extended periods of time, and the thick ear pads also help block out some general background noise,” he says. The battery life is also great, he adds. “I can go a full day on a single charge.”
“For PC gaming, the G935 also has solid surround-sound capabilities that are great for tactical shooters,” he says. One feature he really likes is the adjustable equalizer for optimizing the audio for different games. Warren suggests turning down the bass on a game like Hitman, in which explosions and gunfire can drown out more subtle audio cues.
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