The best wired and wireless gaming headset: Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, and more

Deborah K. Vick

If you’re shopping for a gaming headset, you have a lot of options. While there are some great ones out there, it’s all too easy to pay too much, to accidentally purchase a headset that doesn’t work with your desired console or platform, or to get one that’s just uncomfortable. Knowing a thing or two about headphones might aid in your search, but gaming headsets have only gotten more complicated to shop for — especially the wireless ones.

For instance, wireless headsets made for Xbox operate without a dongle via Microsoft’s proprietary wireless protocol. They’ll only work on Xbox consoles or a PC that has one of Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Adapters plugged in, in most cases. Conversely, if you get a multiplatform wireless headset that includes a 2.4GHz wireless dongle, it’ll likely work on the likes of the PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch (when plugged into the console’s TV dock), and PC — but not Xbox. It’s best to buy the headset that mentions support for your preferred platform(s) explicitly, or else there’s a good chance you’ll run into some compatibility issues. Of course, you can eliminate most of the guesswork by buying a wired gaming headset instead.

This guide focuses on newer options that you’re more likely to encounter at stores as opposed to older models that, while possibly still being worthy of your money, are often tougher to find affordably and easily online. Also, just to mention it at the top, I have a large-ish head and that factor obviously played a major role in how I judge the comfort of these headsets.

You’ll find a few categories below, including the best multiplatform wireless headsets that are compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch via its dock, the best Xbox wireless gaming headsets, and the best wired gaming headsets that support the widest variety of platforms, from console controllers to phones, tablets, and VR headsets that feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Best multiplatform wireless gaming headset: HyperX Cloud II Wireless ($150)

Compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch (via its dock)

Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

The HyperX Cloud II Wireless makes an excellent first impression before even turning it on for the first time. Its headband expands to fit a range of head sizes, and the ear cups rest gently around my ears without nary a pinching feeling around my cranium. The cups can be stretched even further than my head requires, which gives me faith that they’ll be a durable pick for years to come. This is the downfall of many otherwise good gaming headsets. HyperX nailed the fit, and it also aced a lot of other winning elements with the Cloud II.

The Cloud II Wireless boasts a balanced sound that delivers just enough gusto for every scenario. It’s not the right choice if you want bass to rattle your head, but it’s good if you want your headset to be just as enjoyable to use for gaming as it is for music and voice chats. I also like that the Cloud II Wireless has USB-C charging, and its battery life is long-lasting. HyperX claims 30 hours of battery per charge, and the headset lived up to that mark during my testing. The wireless range of the headset and the included 2.4GHz wireless receiver are also great, suffering no drops anywhere in my apartment. It even remained stable when I stood on the other side of a wall or window, each being about 25 feet away from the receiver.

HyperX Cloud II Wireless

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The best multiplatform wireless gaming headset. It’s compatible with PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch (when plugged into the dock).

Compared to competitors in this price range, the Cloud II plays it simple when it comes to the buttons, and the result is that it’s easy to learn how to master the layout. And if all the functions you require are a volume dial, power button, and a microphone mute button, this will suit you better than other headsets that try to fit too many buttons onto ear cups. On the other hand, it’s missing a game and chat audio mix dial that easily lets you fine-tune your game audio with your pals chatting on Discord or while streaming. You can do this manually by clicking a few windows, but other headsets mentioned below make this easier to do. This headset also makes it easy to turn on mic monitoring to hear yourself talk (and hear things happening around you) by simply holding the mute button to activate.

The Cloud II Wireless doesn’t have an overwhelming lead over the major players in the space, like Logitech, SteelSeries, and Razer. In fact, it may get the boot if a similarly priced and comparably cozy model with wired 3.5mm connectivity and Bluetooth support comes along. But since that has yet to happen, HyperX’s flagship wireless headset is the easy choice for PC, PlayStation, and Switch gamers.

Here’s what the microphone sounds like on the HyperX Cloud II Wireless:

Multiplatform but requires an extra $20 adapter to work with both PS and Xbox

Image: Astro

Astro’s new A20 for the PS5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles is unique in that it’s one of the few cross-platform wireless headsets out there. Buying just one of them (in either the PlayStation blue / white colorway or the Xbox green / white) can let you connect to either system. However, there’s a small catch: you’ll need to buy an additional $20 wireless adapter to let it connect to the console opposite of your headset’s color styling (each headset includes one adapter). Despite the string attached, this functionality makes it an appealing option for people who will be getting both the PS5 and Xbox Series X or S consoles.

Whichever platform you’ll use with this headset, Astro’s A20 Gen 2 is packed with more buttons and features than the Cloud II Wireless above. On the ear cups, Astro managed to also fit in a dedicated button for switching the equalizer to your liking to add or subtract bass and vocal clarity. There’s also a game and chat audio mixing dial to help you find the right balance of sounds between your apps. I love this feature, and I also dig that it has a good amount of mic monitoring, so you can hear a little bit of the outside world. This headset’s microphone doesn’t detach. Instead, you’ll just move it up to mute it, which gets it out of your face.

Astro A20 Gen 2

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The runner-up choice for a multiplatform wireless gaming headset. It’s compatible with PC and Nintendo Switch (when plugged into the dock). Each headset includes a USB wireless receiver for either the PS4 and PS5 or the Xbox Series X / S and Xbox One. You can purchase the other USB receiver here.

Astro’s latest headset checks a lot of boxes considering its $120 price. The A20 Gen 2 doesn’t quite reach the comfort of HyperX’s model above, as it hangs most of its weight at the top of your head. It doesn’t get painful as the ear cups don’t pinch, but it can result in some fatigue after a while (on top of some very bad headset hair). Also, while I appreciated the EQ button that cycles between sound profiles, the sound quality on the whole isn’t as balanced and punchy as the Cloud II Wireless.

But speaking on its features alone, it’s a more affordable runner-up choice if you want better console compatibility (even though it comes at a $20 cost to have both Xbox and PlayStation support), and a headset that has a physical game and chat mixing dial. I found the wireless range of the A20 Gen 2 and its included wireless receiver to be quite good. My studio apartment is about 40 feet long and 15 feet wide, the headset kept a solid connection throughout. I was even able to run some trash outside without a drop. Astro claims up to 15 meters of range.

Here’s what the microphone sounds like on the Astro A20 Gen 2:

The USB-C dongle that ships with the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless makes it an alluring choice for Switch gamers.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Other good options

The amount of wireless gaming headsets is blossoming, and I expect to make an update to this section on a regular basis — perhaps more regularly than the sections below. As such, there are plenty of other options that didn’t quite make the cut as the “best” but are still pretty good in a few ways.

Logitech’s G733 ($130) came very close to being the runner-up headset. It’s comfortable with breathable ear cups, it has good sound for the price, and the vertical strips of LEDs actually look sharp. It misses the mark by not allowing a wired listening mode and for not having a game-chat audio mix dial.

The G Pro X Lightspeed ($200), also from Logitech, nails the basics of having good build quality, USB-C charging, and punchy sound quality. It goes a step beyond the G733 with better noise isolation. However, its heavy build wore uncomfortably on my head after a few hours and I don’t think it offers enough features to justify the cost.

If you’re mostly into playing games on the Nintendo Switch, SteelSeries’ Arctis 1 Wireless is one of the best choices out there when it comes to ease of use. It isn’t a super comfortable headset, as it lacks the company’s ski band-style headband that distributes weight gently on your head. But it ships with a USB-C wireless receiver that can plug directly into the Switch or Switch Lite. Connectivity is strong, and audio quality is quite good given the headset’s $100 price tag.

Best Xbox-specific wireless gaming headset: Razer Kaira Pro ($150)

Compatible with Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, Bluetooth-ready devices, and PC if you have an adapter

Razer Kaira Pro

Image: Razer

Razer’s new Kaira Pro for Xbox consoles and PC is one of the company’s most impressive headsets yet. It narrowly loses the matchup to the HS75 XB listed below when it comes to sound quality, but it leaps ahead with more features. It includes the option to connect to devices via Bluetooth so you can listen to music, podcasts, or take calls while you game on Xbox or PC. The Kaira Pro also has other features I expect to have in a wireless gaming headset, like USB-C charging and a handy game and chat dial for a customized audio mix.

A particularly cool feature here are the built-in microphones that kick in when you’re connected to a device over Bluetooth. While the Kaira Pro includes a detachable boom mic for use with gaming on your console, these additional microphones are useful for on-the-go voice calls when you don’t want to be seen using the bigger microphone.

Razer Kaira Pro

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The best Xbox-specific wireless gaming headset. It’s compatible natively with Xbox Series X / S and Xbox One. Its Bluetooth function makes it easy to connect to your phone, tablet, or PC.

As I mentioned before, the Kaira Pro sounds great, but it’s not quite as robust when put up against the Corsair model below. If you’re a stickler for crisp sound quality and better positional audio, opt for the runner-up since they’re open-back and not closed like Razer’s headset.

Razer’s headset looks and fits mostly like your average set of over-ear headphones, which is ideal since you can easily use it in that fashion with its Bluetooth function. The Kaira Pro’s build quality is better than I expected, particularly when it comes to comfort. It places equal pressure on the top of your head and around your ears, feeling just tight enough to keep the sound in.

As I’ve found with most headsets made to take advantage of the Xbox wireless protocol, range can be an issue. In my studio apartment, I started hearing audio crackling when I was just 15 feet away from the wireless adapter plugged into my PC, but your mileage may vary. Despite the convenience of not having to use a dongle with your Xbox console, I think I’d prefer to have one if it means better wireless range.

Here’s what the microphone on the Razer Kaira Pro sounds like:

Compatible with Xbox Series X / S, Xbox One, and PC if you have an adapter

Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

If you’re locked to team Xbox, or find yourself switching between PC (with Microsoft’s Xbox wireless adapter) and your console, Corsair’s HS75 XB Wireless is currently the headset that I recommend if you want superb audio quality. It’s a $150 model that surprised me with impressive sound and a styling that looks like a set of premium open-back headphones. In addition to a bombastic sound that, at least for a moment, made me forget that I wasn’t using my Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones, it’s comfortable to wear for hours. These look far heavier in images than they feel on my head, and I was delighted that they didn’t give off much of a pinching sensation.

It’s usually the small details that win me over in a headset, and in the HS75 XB, it’s the symmetrical button layout. Thus, the learning curve for mastering the buttons is low, and this model has everything I need in a pinch, including a game and chat audio dial, volume dial, and an easy way to mute the microphone.

Corsair HS75 XB Wireless

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The runner-up for the best Xbox-specific wireless gaming headset.

Corsair’s 20-hour battery life claims for the HS75 XB are a tad lower than competing models. But its USB-C charging at least makes recharging faster and more simple to do than plugging in via Micro USB.

I mentioned this with the Razer Kaira Pro, but wireless range is an issue here. Your living arrangement might yield different results, but breaking line of sight with the Xbox Wireless Adapter plugged into my PC or straying more than 15 or so feet away made the audio begin to crackle. I think I’d prefer if Corsair simply made its own dongle that was compatible with Xbox than going this route. Still, this is a great headset.

Here’s what the microphone on the Corsair HS75 XB Wireless sounds like:

Other good options

The options above deliver the best experience for the money, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other solid options out there. We tested other wireless gaming headsets from manufacturers like Turtle Beach and LucidSound. Though, there was usually one or more deal-breakers about each model.

For instance, the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 ($150) sounds great and has USB-C charging, but its fit is tight and it’s uncomfortable to wear after a while. Your experience may vary depending on your head size.

The LucidSound LS15X ($99) and SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless ($150) are also good in some ways, but not good enough that I suggest you seek them out over the others above. Both offer better comfort than the Stealth 700 Gen 2, but they’re relatively light on extra features and they charge via Micro USB, which is just inconvenient.

Compatible with any device with an available 3.5mm jack

Bose quiet comfort 35 II gaming headset

Image: Bose

Bose’s QC 35 II gaming headset offers the most features, but at the highest cost of any other headset featured in this guide. Despite costing more than an Xbox Series S or Nintendo Switch, this set delivers on value. It comes with the QC 35 II wireless noise-canceling headphones that can be used on the go with Bluetooth and wired 3.5mm connectivity. There are no other options I’ve listed that have a noise cancellation feature and support for voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. It’s also among the most comfortable, lightweight options on this list. You’ll know when the QC 35 II is on your head, but it doesn’t pinch or press hard against your ears.

Used as a gaming headset, either connected via USB through its included desktop controller or via 3.5mm, the QC 35 II makes for a lightweight, comfortable option with a microphone attachment that’s easy to use. This model offers the best noise isolation (even without the battery-draining noise cancellation feature switched on) in any headset I’ve tested. Noise isolation is usually something most headsets fumble, but with this one you’ll be able to better hear footsteps and other crucial noises that might decide the match. With noise cancellation switched on, it really does make everything around you very quiet — perfect for boosting the immersion in your games. The desktop controller I mentioned above adds more features, including a nice volume dial and button that adjusts the intensity of mic monitoring.

Bose QC 35 II gaming headset

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The best wired gaming headset. Its included USB volume controller is compatible with PC, and the headset can be plugged into any console or controller that has a 3.5mm headphone jack or via Bluetooth if your platform supports it.

The $329 price is high, but if you value noise cancellation and want to have a headset you can easily take on the road (and that has ear cups that can swivel and fold into a compact size), check this out. It’s worth noting that current owners of the QC 35 II headphones unfortunately won’t be able to easily acquire the microphone attachment, as Bose isn’t selling it separately.

Here’s what the microphone on the Bose QC 35 II gaming headset sounds like:

Compatible with any device with an available 3.5mm jack

Razer BlackShark V2

Image: Razer

Razer’s updated BlackShark headset is my runner-up choice for a wired headset you can buy. It’s $100, yet it features a similar design and general feature set to Razer’s $200 wireless V2 Pro model. That also means it’s just as comfortable, with a plush headband and breathable ear cups that don’t apply too much pressure.

This model’s build materials are a step above the $59 BlackShark V2 X when it comes to being breathable, and it includes a USB sound card, into which the headset’s 3.5mm end plugs. With it, you’ll get slightly better sound quality. Also, using the sound card allows you to use THX spatial sound in Razer’s Synapse 3 software, which I found to be a nice value add but not particularly alluring in practice. Razer says it’s adding spatial audio profiles for popular games moving forward, so you’ll have plenty of ways to utilize the sound card, if this feature strikes your interest. Regardless of your interest, you’ll also be able to plug the headset’s 3.5mm end into a variety of controllers and the Nintendo Switch.

Razer BlackShark V2

Prices taken at time of publishing.

The best runner-up wired gaming headset. It’s compatible with PC via 3.5mm or the included USB sound card, as well as consoles and controllers that feature a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Something that stood out to me during testing is that finding a comfortable fit took almost no effort. And while many headsets are comfortable enough to wear for hours, I didn’t want to take the BlackShark V2 off my head. Another nice touch is its volume knob, which affords fine-tune adjustments that dials don’t usually provide.

Here’s what the microphone on the BlackShark V2 sounds like:

Other good options

If you’re committed to getting a wired headset, there are some really interesting options out there. I got to test a few other options that, while not as good as the models above, might be better for your needs or budget.

Creative Audio’s SXFI Gamer ($130) is a USB-C wired headset that has a simple design and a sound profile that’s pleasant to listen to for games, voice chat, or music. My complaints with this one are on the minor side, with its sizing adjustments not holding very well and its voice prompts sometimes being confusing.

The Sennheiser EPOS 601 ($220) nails the fundamentals, with great sound and a quality microphone. But the ear cups are too darn big, and that excess spills into its overall design. It’s also too expensive for a relatively basic wired headset that doesn’t offer but a couple of special features, like replaceable sidearm plates and a twist-to-adjust volume knob.

Next Post

Housing Lottery Opens for 86 Units in Downtown Brooklyn, Starting at $2,241 a Month

An economical housing lottery has opened for 86 in an underneath-building 13-story making at 260 Gold Street, at the corner of Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Of the inexpensive residences, there are 14 studios, 46 a single-bed room models, 22 two-bedroom units and 4 3-bedroom models. Regular monthly rents start […]

You May Like