If you’re a returning reader to PremiumBuilds, you know that we are big believers in investing in good peripherals. While the core components of your gaming rig will dictate the power you have at your disposal for gaming the peripherals will play just an important a role in how much satisfaction your rig will bring you. Having a super powerful battlestation is worthless if it is not accompanied by input/output devices that bring you joy to use. Whether it’s a big fancy 4K monitor, a wireless RGB mouse, or a specialized mechanical keyboard, having the right input devices can be the most important part of enjoying your PC.
And while we’ve covered monitors, keyboards, and mic, there is one more input/output device that is just as important for many gamers: the gaming headset. Your headset (which means headphones + mic) is your path to communication with your team, proper directional hearing to catch that bad guy sneaking up on you, and immersion within the world of gaming to provide clear audio to complement all those beautiful graphics.
Gaming headsets often get a bad rap as either being too flashy, poor audio headphones, or low-quality microphones. And for some gaming headsets, this is true. Manufacturers slap gaming on the front of some subpar product and call it a day. But other headsets are quality products that provide convenience to gamers by having everything in the same package. For each category below, based on what is most important to you, here are our recommendations for best gaming headset:
Best Gaming Headsets – My Recommendations
Best Overall Value Gaming Headset
For those that follow gaming tech to any degree, you will likely be unsurprised by our selection for this first category. As we’ve said in other articles, one manufacturer is innovating more than any other while continuing to keep prices reasonable. With great build quality, strong features (including a push towards wireless as the world goes wireless), and great customer service, Logitech has quickly become the leader for many in gaming peripherals. And when it comes to finding the best overall value headset, we find it hard to go elsewhere than back to such a strong brand and one of its best headsets, the Logitech G533.
The G533 is not the flagship headset, nor the most expensive Logitech has to offer. But for the price you pay, you get a gaming headset that combines a ton of features with very respectable audio input/output quality. Logitech has been pushing wireless for the past couple years, and the lossless audio transmission that the G533 sports is among the best implementation available today. The headphones use the high-quality Pro G drivers and have DTS 7.1 surround sound for complete immersion. The 15-hour battery-life is top-notch for a wireless headset, and it can be used while charging so you are never out of the game. Most users also say they can play for hours without any uncomfortableness. All of that together, in an affordable package, are a recipe for best overall value gaming headset.
While good quality wireless gaming headsets used to cost $200 or more, the G533 is available for a stunning $72 as of writing this article. The build quality and audio quality of the headset alone would have it compete favorable against other headsets in this price range, almost none of which are wireless, so when you add in the great hands-free usage, there is almost no contest between the G533 and the rest of the market when it comes to best overall value.
Best Budget Gaming Headset
When we say our best overall value gaming headset comes in at just over $70, it means our budget headset must be a considerable saving without a major loss in quality to justify even being considered. And luckily, with the expansion of competition in the gaming peripheral space, prices have brought some really nice headsets into the sub-50 space. And chief among those is the low-cost version of the well-loved (and one we considered for best overall value gaming headset) HyperX Cloud II’s. We are talking about none other than the HyperX Cloud Stinger, our recommendation for best budget gaming headset.
The Cloud Stinger is the epitome of no-frills gaming. It has no RGB, a one-piece hinged design, and pays no attention to any of the flashy bells and whistles more expensive headsets might have. What it does include is good audio for the price, a microphone that will be perfectly fine for your teammates to hear you, and a well-known reputation for solid build quality and good customer service. These headsets might not set records for clearest mic and absolute best audio, but at $44 or 1/3 the price of the Game One’s and almost half as much as the G533’s, these budget headphones will be perfect for any budget gamer.
Best Sound Quality Gaming Headset
If you consider yourself an enthusiast for sound quality, and want the convenience of the gaming headset without sacrificing too much in the pure audio department, you would have been SOL six years ago. But, five years ago, a traditional headphones manufacturer decided to jump into the gaming headset game. Sennheiser, one of the top audio product manufacturers in the world, brought their expertise to bear and created one of the most well-respected gaming headsets available today: the Sennheiser Game One.
The Game One headset marries the expertise of high-quality headphones with a crystal-clear microphone to give even picky audio gamers nothing to complain about. Based on the well-known Sennheiser 558 headphones, the Game One offers some of the best pure audio and microphone performance you will find within a headset. The open backed soundstage allows for great directional sound, making sure you can hear footsteps in your favorite FPS, and adds depth, to fully immerse within the best RPGs. And if you do prefer close-back cans to isolate yourself from your surroundings, the Sennheiser Game Zero’s are essentially the exact same headset with a close back soundstage.
When released, these headsets were considered luxury and were very pricey. But now, five years later, they are just as strong in terms of quality and have come down to a much more reasonable $125-$135, making them not only a great value, but our recommendation for best sound quality gaming headset.
Best Wireless Gaming Headset
So the G533 are a wireless gaming headset that we very much recommend, but if you are looking for the best wireless gaming headset available today and have a bit more cash to spend, you have another great option to consider. From another major peripheral manufacturer, Steelseries, that gets a lot of love (as well as some hate) for really pushing the ‘gamer’ marketing, our recommendation is loved by almost everyone that has a pair (including us!). Our best gaming wireless headset is the Steelseries Arctis 7.
Not only is the sound quality great, the microphone clear, and the build quality top-notch, but the Arctis 7 are also the single most comfortable headset we’ve ever used. No matter how long you play, the aerated earcups don’t overheat, the suspension-style headband doesn’t ache, and the amount of pressure is just right to keep the cans in place without causing pain. On top of that, the retractable microphone and brilliantly-implemented on ear controls (like game/chat dial, volume dial, and mic mute button) are perfect for on-the-fly adjustments.
The Arctis 7 simply gives you everything you want in a very subjectively beautiful wireless design, without charging you too much for the privilege. At around $115 dollars, and less when you they go on sale, the Arctis 7 are the next step up from the G533 for a wireless gaming headset. They aren’t the absolute top-of-the-line (check out the Arctis Pro Wireless which adds Bluetooth support, a DAC, and battery hotswapping for the luxury version of the Artis 7 and a true over-the-top headset), but they are simply amazing, hence our recommendation for best wireless gaming headset.
Best DIY Gaming Headset
One of the most common refrains when anyone asks for a gaming headset is the response that it is better to get true headphones and an add-on mic. And that’s not false, in terms of audio quality and mic quality, you will almost always get a better option by buying separately and attaching yourself. But you lose the convenience of less wiring and a pre-made gaming headset that will simply work out of the box. So for those that are feeling a little crafty, our recommendation for best DIY Gaming Headset is ‘your favorite headphones’ + an Antlion ModMic.
Alright alright, that’s a little bit of a cop out to just say ‘your favorite headphones’, so here’s a bit more detail. For the same price as a gaming headset, you enter into the realm of entry-level audiophile headphones (around the $50-$75 mark) and the add-on mic (around $40), the most popular of which is the ModMic. When it comes to headphones, we typically recommend finding a nice open-back set to give you plenty of soundstage depth and breadth, like the Audio-Technica AD500X, but we any good headphones that you like will do. If you don’t know which one to go for, we recommend searching through a true headphone review site (not a PC component one, but true sound enthusiasts) and finding one that sounds right for you. Then, attach the ModMic for great, clear input and presto! You have a gaming headset.
The price in this category will depend largely on the headphones you pick up, but if you choose something around the $50-$75 mark, for which you can find some really nice headphones, and then another $40 for the ModMic, you could find yourself with a true audiophile’s gaming headset for right around $100. Not too bad if you feel like building a headset yourself and making sure it fits your sound specifications exactly!
Like anything else, the best gaming headset for you will depend on your priorities and needs. And like all peripherals, we recommend really thinking about what you want because your input/output devices like headsets or mice or keyboards play a major role in dictating how much enjoyment you will get out of your rig. From $50 to $130 to nearly $300, there are great gaming headsets for every budget. From overall value to sound quality to wireless, these recommendations will help you get the most out of every dollar you spend. And for true audiophiles, the DIY option of building your own gaming headset out of an add-on mic and your favorite headphones means that even the pickiest of gamers can get great sound, without breaking the bank.