The best gaming headsets for consoles and PC: SteelSeries, Razer, and more of our top picks

Find the right gaming headset for you, whether you're on a budget or want something more on the premium side.
By Dylan Haas  on 
All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers. If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Our Top 5 Picks

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (opens in a new tab)

Best for comfort

If you tend to play games for long periods of time, you're going to want a comfortable gaming headset, and the Razer BlackShark V2 passes the test with flying colors.

The Good

  • Memory foam ear cushions
  • HyperClear cardioid mic
  • Low latency in wireless mode
  • Great passive noise cancelation

The Bad

  • Exposed wiring on sides can get annoying
  • Wish the microphone was retractable instead of removable
Pros & Cons

Astro A10 (Gen 1) (opens in a new tab)

Best budget option

If you're not looking to spend a fortune on a gaming headset, the Astro A10 is a great value for how little you'll pay.

The Good

  • Great value for the price
  • Pretty comfortable
  • Plastic, but still really durable
  • Flip-to-mute mic

The Bad

  • The padding could've used... more padding
  • Some annoying adjustments
Pros & Cons

SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC (opens in a new tab)

Best for hi-fi audio

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC bundle isn't for everyone, but if you're an audiophile who doesn't mind a bit of laborious setup and troubleshooting, it's well worth your patience for the audio you can get out of it.

The Good

  • Hi-res audio is no joke
  • Extremely well-built
  • Very comfortable
  • Retractable microphone
  • GameDAC is really cool once you get the hang of it

The Bad

  • Annoying setup and troubleshooting
  • A bit cumbersome
Pros & Cons

Razer Hammerhead HyperSpeed (opens in a new tab)

Best earbud-style headset

If you don't like wearing a chunky gaming headset while you play, we can't recommend the Razer Hammerhead HyperSpeed earbuds enough — they're comfortable, sound great, feature active noise cancelation, and will never get in your way.

The Good

  • Earbud style
  • Active noise cancelation
  • Noise-canceling microphone
  • Cool RGB features
  • Low-latency mode

The Bad

  • Battery life gets short with all the features turned on
  • Some ringing when no noise is playing
Pros & Cons

PlayStation Pulse 3D (opens in a new tab)

Best for 3D audio

The Pulse 3D wireless headset is decent on its face, but once you pair it with a PlayStation 5 console and hear that 3D audio for the first time, you'll be hooked.

The Good

  • High quality 3D audio on PS5
  • Noise-canceling microphone
  • Lots of different EQ options
  • Simple on-ear controls

The Bad

  • 3D audio only achievable with PS5 console
  • Retains heat and gets sweaty
Pros & Cons

After careful hands-on testing, we feature our favorite gear and gadgets as Mashable Selects products in our dedicated shopping guides.

Gaming can be an immersive experience as is, but the right headset can truly push it to the next level. So many games today have incredible sound and music, whether it's the booming score of God of War Ragnarok or whizzing rockets in Call of Duty: Warzone, the right headset can pull you deeper into the worlds you're exploring on the screen. But what's the best headset for you?

There's no shortage of choices when it comes to gaming headsets. If you're on a budget or are looking for the best audio experience you can get no matter the cost, there's a headset that can provide that extra oomph for your gaming sessions.

Can I use a gaming headset on both console and PC?

More often than not, yes, you can. As long as your console and PC both have compatible ports for your headset — whether that's a 3.5mm jack, USB-C, or something else — and Bluetooth support, you should be just fine. Just make sure to check your ports and capabilities before you pick up a headset, because ordering one just to find out later that it isn't compatible is a huge bummer.

When it comes to pairing a wireless headset to a console like an Xbox or PlayStation, it's usually as simple as heading into the system's settings menu and pairing your device that way. Sometimes, wireless headsets even come with a USB dongle that you can plug into your console or PC and connect to automatically without the extra layer of setup. Either way, the process is usually quite simple. And of course, if you go the wired route, you should just be able to plug in and play whenever you're ready.

To go wireless, or not to go wireless?

Wireless headphones have their obvious pros, like convenience and cord management, but the biggest downside to getting any sort of wireless device is the risk of latency issues, or "lag." When you don't have a wire directly connecting your headset to your console, there's a bigger chance that the audio feedback coming from your games won't sync with the signal that your headset is receiving.

This can end up being much more than just an annoyance depending on what game you're playing — if you're big into titles that require you to think quickly on your feet based on audio queues like horror, rhythm, and battle royale games, it can be seriously detrimental to how effectively you play.

If wireless functionality is a priority for you, we recommend getting a headset that also has a wired option, although if you get a more high-end Bluetooth headset, you might not have any latency problems at all. The bottom line: If you're going wireless, don't go cheap.

What's the best gaming headset for consoles and PC?

We're glad you asked. After a week of hands-on testing, we came down to five top picks that we're comfortable recommending to you. Check them out below, and find your perfect match.

Best for comfort
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
  • Connection: Stereo 3.5mm
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Wired or wireless: Both
  • Battery life: About 20 hours

We don't judge you for the fact that your gaming sessions regularly bleed into the three-plus hour mark (probably even higher) — we're the same way. So, here's a pro tip for you: Get a gaming headset that isn't going to hurt like hell after an hour of wear. The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro(opens in a new tab) is that headset, and is by far the most comfortable option we tried out during testing for this roundup.

There's a lot to love about this gaming headset, but most of all is its comfort factor. The lightweight pair of headphones feature FlowKnit memory foam ear cushions, with an ultra-comfy padded (and adjustable) headband to match. We were able to wear the BlackShark V2 Pro for multiple hours at a time without even a hint of soreness.

And that's in addition to the magnificent sound quality of the headset. It comes equipped with THX Spatial Audio — that means you get truly fantastic surround sound out of these babies, which is much appreciated when playing any game, especially those with a great score or battle royale mechanics. We also loved the headset's more-than-decent passive noise cancellation and intuitive on-ear controls for on-the-fly adjustments. Razer's patented HyperClear cardioid microphone is also fantastic, featuring crystal clear input quality. We just wish the mic was retractable into the headset itself instead of the removable design we saw here. One other minor complaint we had was the exposed wiring on the sides of the headset that could sometimes get caught on things, but this wasn't a huge issue.

The BlackShark V2 Pro is excellent as it is, but if your main concern is comfort, we wouldn't recommend anything else.

Best budget option
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
  • Connection: Stereo 3.5mm
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Wired or wireless: Wired
  • Battery life: N/A

Not everyone can drop a whole paycheck on a gaming headset, and that's why we're thankful for the Astro A10(opens in a new tab).

This headset is cheap, but it's definitely not cheap, if you know what we mean. Seriously, we were impressed with the audio quality we got from this less-than-$30 headset, and we especially loved the built-in flip-to-mute microphone that could be adjusted up and down at a moment's notice. They're also decently comfortable as long as you're not playing for too long — after a few hours, the padding did start to fail us, and some soreness set in. We also thought the adjustability of the microphone in the horizontal plane was lacking a bit.

Another highlight was the headset's durability. Out of the box, the plastic construction was a little worrying at first, but looks can be deceiving — the headset is actually very flexible, and we could twist the headband to adjust it any way we wanted. We wish they had onboard controls, but at this price, we can look past the omission.

That's pretty much all there is to the Astro A10. It's simple, but it gets the basics right at a price that you just can't beat.

Best for hi-fi audio
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
  • Connection: USB
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Wired or wireless: Wired
  • Battery life: N/A

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC(opens in a new tab) bundle is not for the faint of heart. No, this headset certainly qualifies as an enthusiast piece that's meant for audiophiles. If that's you, though, we highly recommend it for the unreal, hi-res audio that comes out of these things.

What makes this headset special is the included GameDAC device, which serves as its own sound chip that can process audio at a way higher quality than many of us are used to. And it really is good — we were hearing new sounds in games that we've played dozens of times before, which really speaks to the "lossless" nature of the device. The GameDAC also has an onboard display with a dial that lets you toy around with EQ, virtual surround sound, microphone settings, and lighting effects on the headset's earcups. The headset itself is also very well-made, featuring a polished steel and aluminum alloy construction that makes it feel really durable. We also really enjoyed the airweave fabric ear cushions and ski-goggle-style headband. The headset also includes a studio-quality retractable microphone for when you're playing with friends.

The downsides here are that the setup of the GameDAC has a learning curve to it that can take a while to understand, and once you do get it set up, the number of loose wires can be cumbersome. But, if you're willing to deal with that for some truly remarkable audio, we can't overstate how high-resolution this headset actually is.

Best earbud-style headset
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
  • Connection: USB-C
  • Active noice cancellation: Yes
  • Wired or wireless: Wireless
  • Battery life: 9 to 12 hours

The Razer Hammerhead HyperSpeeds(opens in a new tab) are the best earbud-style gaming headset we tried. If you don't like wearing a chunky pair of headphones while you play, run, don't walk, to pick up a pair.

The Hammerheads are very reminiscent of the AirPods Pro, but if they were built specifically for gaming — they even come in a little case that looks just like them and have similar tap controls. Once you get them paired to your console or PC using the wireless USB-C dongle, you'll be able to enjoy their active noise cancelation and high-quality audio. They sound great for earbuds, and stand toe-to-toe with any of the headsets in this roundup when it comes to audio quality.

We were also very impressed with the buds' low-latency response time — we could barely clock any lag during our play sessions, and this was only improved when we turned on the optional HyperSpeed "gaming mode" within the companion app. Speaking of the app, you'll also be able to change up RGB Chroma effects, mess around with EQ settings, and more in there. You can even pair them via Bluetooth to your mobile device if you want them to be your go-to, everyday headphones.

The only con with the Hammerheads is the battery life. With RGB and active noise cancellation turned on, they only lasted for around eight to nine hours. With them turned off, you can get about 12. They're easy enough to charge, though, so it isn't a huge deal. We also experienced some ringing when the buds were connected but no sound was playing, but this went away once the audio actually kicked in. These aren't dealbreakers to us, though, and we highly recommend these to anyone who doesn't want a traditional gaming headset as a part of their setup.

Best for 3D audio
Credit: Dylan Haas / Mashable
  • Connection: Stereo 3.5mm
  • Active noise cancellation: No
  • Wired or wireless: Both
  • Battery life: About 12 hours

The Pulse 3D headset(opens in a new tab) may have been built for the PlayStation 5, but it can actually be used with any device that has a 3.5mm jack. If you want to use the device's marquee feature, though — immersive 3D audio — you'll need to use it in tandem with a PS5 console.

The headset is pretty good on its own. It's comfortable enough (although it retains heat and can get a bit sweaty after a while), and features easy-to-use on-ear controls, as well as an OK battery life of around 12 hours before needing a charge. But where things start to get impressive is when you pair them with a PlayStation 5 and hear their immersive 3D audio capabilities. In the case of this headset, 3D audio is something much more than surround sound — every noise has depth and direction. We felt like if we closed our eyes, we could point out exactly where an in-game sound was occurring in seconds. It's hard to explain in words, but what we can say is that it's an extremely full and rich auditory experience. With the PS5, you also gain access to a range of EQ options to fine-tune your experience as you play.

We also really loved the headset's built-in noise-canceling microphones, which can quickly be muted and unmuted using the controls on the earcup. We wish these features weren't just exclusive to the PS5, but as we mentioned, you can use them as a regular headset with other devices if you want.

More in Gaming

How we tested

During hands-on testing for this roundup, we used each gaming headset over the course of a week for at least three play sessions. Throughout the process, we took a few different factors into consideration to ultimately decide which options would make the cut.

  • Sound quality: We know, it sounds obvious, but a gaming headset should actually sound good. We also looked for headsets with unique audio capabilities like surround sound, noise-cancellation, EQ customization, and more.

  • Comfort: If you're anything like us, your gaming sessions regularly cross into the multiple-hour mark, which means you'll want a headset that doesn't hurt your ears after prolonged usage. We looked for headsets with cushioned ear cups and headbands for long-lasting comfort that doesn't distract you from being in the moment.

  • Microphone: Having a built-in microphone is essential for online gaming. (We definitely recommend getting one if you play games online.) We looked for gaming headsets that featured good input quality and design. Headsets that had hidden or retractable microphones got bonus points from us.

  • Wired or wireless? Both have their pros and cons, but we tried to keep our picks to headsets that were able to do both.

  • Durability: You don't want to end up buying another headset a few months from now — we made sure to select headsets that were well-built rather than cheap hunks of plastic.

Dylan is a reporter for Mashable Shopping. Follow him on Twitter @iamdylanhaas, or send him an email at [email protected]

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