Good gaming headsets not only provide good sound, but also make it possible to collaborate with other players thanks to a built-in microphone. But quality doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re going to spend your precious pounds on a new tool in your gaming arsenal, you want it to be worth your money.
How to choose a gaming headset
There are a few different things to look out for when you’re choosing the right headphones for gaming. It depends on the system you’re using, what games you play and how you play them too – it all affects your gaming audio experience. Make sure you know what to keep an eye out for before you pick a new one.
Is it comfortable?
What’s comfortable for someone else might not necessarily be right for you – heads come in all shapes and sizes, after all. How the headset fits is one of the most important things to consider, especially if you’re planning some epic gaming sessions.
An uncomfortable headset can end up being quite sore, so making sure it fits well means you can fully concentrate through those longer gaming stints without getting distracted.
For a set that’s lightweight and adjustable, with squishy memory foam earpads, the HyperX Cloud Revolver S headset is universally compatible, so it’ll work with whatever system you’re playing on. And, with Cloud right there in the name, you know they designed it to be comfy for hours.
Check out our hands-on to find out more about these top of the range headsets.
Isolation is important
Does the sound surround you?
Headsets that feature surround sound make it seem like the audio is coming from all around you, 360-degrees. Multiple speakers cover each of your ears, so if something is coming from behind you, you’ll head towards the sound in that direction.
In some games it can give you a real advantage, but if you prefer more simple puzzle games with standard stereo sound, this might not be as important to you.
If you like games that depend on navigating your character through an environment (think Fortnite) then it’s definitely a must-have. Something like the Razer Thresher gaming headset with Dolby 7.1 surround sound built-in will have you picking up enemies from their exact location, whichever direction they try to attack you from.
What’s the build quality like?
A sturdy headset that’s got a metal or wire frame will generally last longer and be more comfortable than one that’s made of plastic, but that’s not to say there aren’t some plastic ones that offer a good range of movement.
Some plastic can be cheap or flimsy, and even a little bit of pressure on the headset over time can cause it to break rather abruptly after only a short time.
If you’re a, shall we say, passionate gamer, you’ll want a set that can stand up to some wear and tear. The sturdy SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset is ideal for the gamer who gets intensely involved with their play.
How does it look?
While you might have bigger fish to fry than fashion during an intense gaming session, you might not necessarily want something that looks like an alien spaceship has docked on your head.
Lots of them just look like normal headphones, sometimes with a mic attached, but some come in crazy colour variations with sharp angular designs. If that’s what you like then go for it, we’re certainly not judging, but maybe go for a style that you wouldn’t mind wearing in public, in case you ever need to.
Best gaming headset for Console
The Stealth 600 is a cost-competitive yet premium offering.
The green Stealth 600 works wirelessly with the Xbox One right off the bat. The blue Stealth 600 has an extra step in the chain. Simply insert the USB wireless adaptor into your PS4 and follow the prompts to get started. The necessary adaptor is bundled with your purchase.
Once in place, the Stealth 600 delivers impressive surround sound with a host of EQ presets. You can also activate “Superhuman hearing” mode by tapping the power button. This mode is designed specifically for gamers. It isolates and raises the volume on select sounds in a game (the ping of a gunshot, for instance, or the clank of footsteps) to heighten immersion.
Best for PC: Entry level
While wireless headsets are all the rage, the wired variety works a treat too. Enter the HyperX Cloud Alpha.
For less than £100 you get a wired headset with comfortable earcups and innovative Dual Chamber technology. The dual chambers reduce distortion and separate the bass from the mids and highs for cleaner, smoother sound.
Audio quality is supreme, then, and the headset looks the part as well.
Best for PC: Intermediate
It’s one of the loudest headsets money can buy, but the Nari Ultimate’s biggest selling point is haptic feedback. Yep, the same technology that causes your Dualshock controller to rumble is present here. The idea of a rumbling headset might seem odd at first, but the implementation is first-rate, and it can be turned off or on at will. Rest assured, the feature works fantastically well, bringing games to life in a new, exciting way.
With cooling gel material in the earcups and a hidden eyewear channel for gamers who wear glasses, the Nari Ultimate remains comfortable even during long play sessions. What’s more, the extended battery life will keep pace all the while. And again, haptic feedback is a potential game-changer.
Best for PC: Expert level
The Arctis Pro is an evolution of the proven Steelseries formula, which puts audio quality front and centre. Few headsets can rival the Arctis Pro for the sound it delivers.
Minimalist design makes it stand out, and it’s possible to remove individual earcups to replace them with personalised versions.
The wired headset is sold with a GameDAC (digital-to-analogue converter) which lets you personalise your audio experience, giving you more ways to enjoy your sound. The settings you choose will override your PC’s default settings. The wireless version has a wireless controller instead, which is for volume, battery charging and the connectivity itself. It also has two batteries which can be easily and quickly changed for a fresh pair.
The Arctis Pro is available as either a wired or wireless set, though we’ve linked through to the wired version above.
Official PlayStation headset: Sony PS4 Gold Wireless 7.1
If you love the PS4 and all its exclusive titles, the Sony PS4 Gold headset is designed to help you get fully immersed in your game. It’s got virtual 7.1 surround sound to put you at the heart of the action, whether it’s pinpointing exactly where those sneaky enemies are building in Fortnite, or bringing the cinematic God of War soundtrack to life.
Official Xbox headset: Microsoft Xbox One Stereo
If you love the PS4 and all its exclusive titles, the Sony PS4 Gold headset is designed to help Or if you prefer all the online excitement of the Xbox, the Xbox One Stereo Headset was made to work instantly with your Xbox One so you can enjoy all the detailed audio straight from the box, for the most fixating gaming sessions yet.
That should be all you need to know to pick the perfect gaming accessory. Take a look at our full range of gaming headsets to find your ideal one.
Share this article
Related in Gaming