You need headphones for your PC. But not just any pair: You want a headset with a quality mic, so you can chat with teammates and curse out enemies in and ., or
And while you're at it, why not make it a wireless headset? Top up your coffee or grab a snack without fumbling with a cord -- or worse, yanking your precious laptop or console to the floor. (Don't ask.)
Last year, I was in the market for just such a headset, but had a tough time picking one. But because I work for CNET, I had a simple solution: Test them all at once.
Thirty-plus headsets and many, many games oflater, I found the best for me. And depending on your needs, I'm pretty sure I've found the best for you, too.
Read me first
Before you dive into our list of the very best wireless gaming headsets, a few things you should know:
- You don't necessarily need these for the PS4 or Xbox One. Practically any wired headset can effectively become a wireless headset by plugging into the 3.5mm jack on your controller.
- Most wireless headsets work with the PS4 or Xbox, but not both. I'm not sure why, but I wouldn't be surprised if it involves lawyers. Headsets with optical jacks can get audio from both consoles, but not necessarily use their microphones.
- Every single headset I tried works with Windows PCs. Even if they don't mention PC on the box. Just know that direct-connect Xbox Wireless headsets (there aren't many, and I'll point them out) require this $25 dongle for Windows.
- Every headset is capable of virtual surround sound. Most headsets have built-in surround sound, and for those that don't, Windows PCs and the Xbox One have aftermarket options like Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos. We'll point out if a PS4 headset doesn't have the option.
- Virtual surround sound isn't great anyhow. Experts generally agree, and I do too -- headphones are no substitute for actual surround-sound speakers. I've gotten good at telling where gunshots came from with plain ol' stereo, and didn't notice a useful difference even switching to Dolby Atmos.
- Not many wireless headsets work with the Nintendo Switch. You can to see which.
The no-brainer: HyperX Cloud Flight
$160, £140, AU$230
- Compatible with: PS4, PC, Steam Link
- Buy for: Best battery life, good audio quality, comfort, great controls, slim minimalist design, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Skip if: You need an Xbox-compatible headset.
The HyperX Cloud Flight is the wireless gaming headset I'm buying for myself, and the only one I feel comfortable recommending without knowing your specific wants. It's lightweight, remarkably comfortable, not too flashy, and best of all, it sounds fantastic -- a rich, full, clear and wide soundstage good enough for my music collection, with just enough bass punch for gunshots and explosions in games.
Plus, it's got the best battery life of any wireless headset today (30 hours, I tested) and works wonderfully as a set of passive wired headphones too. Just yank out the detachable mic and plug in a 3.5mm cable, and you can walk down the street listening to tunes without draining that battery at all.
The catch: it doesn't work with the Xbox, even if you plug that 3.5mm cable into your gamepad. It's got a headphone jack, not a headset jack, so there's no mic (and apparently no Xbox compat) when you use a cord. And though I find it comfy, it still puts a little bit of pressure on my jaw.
The most comfortable for most heads: Plantronics Rig 800
$150, £160, AU$250
- Compatible with: PS4 (Rig 800HS) or Xbox One (Rig 800LX); also works with PC and Nintendo Switch
- Buy for: Comfort, battery life, mic quality, wireless range, optical jack, chat/volume mixer dial
- Skip if: You crave bass, need a headphone jack, or want a headset that's great for music as well as games.
Plantronics makes gaming headsets? Yep -- and the Rig 800 is the only one so lightweight, so comfortable, I sometimes forgot I was wearing it.
Instead of relying on a traditional ratcheting headband that pinches the sides of your head a fixed amount, the two sides are connected by a spring-loaded inner head strap that automatically adjusts tension to the size of your skull. The fancy modular headband also lets you pop out the earcups and slot them higher or lower to fit larger or smaller heads.
Add great battery life (I got nearly 27 hours) and some of the best wireless range (downstairs, through a floor and a wall) and you've got quite the contender. Just know that while the mic quality is quite good, the audio lacks some punch and can get a little tinny. There's also no surround sound for the PS4, if that's important to you, and no headphone jack.
The best headset for people who hate headsets: Steelseries Arctis 7
$150, £140, AU$280
- Compatible with: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch (with 3.5mm workaround), Steam Link, others via wired 3.5mm cable
- Buy for: Comfort, stylish design, mic quality, battery life, two audio streams on PC, and you can plug in your earbuds!
- Skip if: You're buying for Xbox, have a particularly tall head or large ears, and/or need great audio quality.
Some people hate headsets. They hate how they look. They hate how they feel. Those people should buy a Steelseries Arctis 7. It's the headset that uses a colorful, comfy, ski-goggle-like stretchy fabric band to make a fashion statement, cushion your head and adjust its tension simultaneously.
The result: a headset that's more comfortable for average-size heads than practically any other, and one you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear in public. (The super-retractable mic also doesn't hurt.) And if you still hate the fit, you can plug your earbuds into the headset's "Share" port and leave the Arctis dangling around your neck.
The Arctis 7 also offers a killer feature you won't usually find on headsets this price: two distinct audio streams on PC. Set voice chat to one, your game to the other, then just reach up and rotate a dial whenever you need to hear friends (or footsteps) more clearly.
The best audio: Astro A50 Gen 3
$300, £250, AU$480
- Compatible with: PS4 or Xbox One versions; also works with PC, Nintendo Switch (with 3.5mm workaround), Steam Link
- Buy for: Mic quality, audio quality, comfort, two audio devices on PC, optical jacks on base station
- Skip if: You need long battery life -- or audio privacy. You aren't made of money. You want a wired headset, too.
There's a reason the Astro A50 is typically touted as the best wireless gaming headset: it sounds superb. No other wireless gaming headset has the clarity and the booming bass over a purely wireless connection. None has a microphone nearly as rich, or as good at filtering out unwanted background sounds.
That's probably because unlike practically any other headset, the A50 uses a 5GHz wireless connection, offering more bandwidth (and thus higher audio quality) than a typical 2.4GHz kit. But it also means shorter range, shorter battery life and -- particularly on the Xbox, if you read the user reviews -- the chance for troublesome interference.
Though the Astro A50 Gen 3 comes with a neat charging dock that keeps track of your battery life, it's tough to get the charging pins lined up. I came back to a dead headset more than once. Also, know that it's the leakiest headset I tried: People around you can definitely hear your tunes.
None of those are why the A50 isn't my top pick, though. It simply costs twice as much as other competent options. And if price is no object, you should definitely check out the more futureproof (but less bassy) Steelseries Arctis Pro later in this post.
The best for budget PC gamers: Corsair Void Pro Wireless
$100, £110, AU$200
- Compatible with: PC, Steam Link. Works poorly with PS4.
- Buy for: Big heads. Happy wallets. Gifts for other people.
- Skip if: You're buying for PS4, Xbox, Switch, or phone. You have a small head.
There are two easy ways of looking at the Corsair Void Pro Wireless. It's really comfortable, really cheap, surprisingly crisp and clear, and looks cool.
Or: It barely stays on your skull, doesn't work properly with anything besides a PC, is ugly AF and lacks great sound. It really depends on the size of your head, and your expectations. If $50 is a lot of money to you (it's the difference between the Void Pro and our top picks) and your head is large, I'd nab it over practically anything else.
The biggest bass boom (and 3.5mm tricks): Logitech G933
$200, £170, AU$300
- Compatible with: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam Link, others via wired 3.5mm cable
- Buy for: Big booms. Headphone jacks. Flashy lighting. Programmable keys for PC. Replaceable battery.
- Skip if: You can't stand the style -- or the creaks. Your head is big.
At a street price of just $130, the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum is a wireless champ in two ways. It's the only headset with big, booming bass you can feel while walking down the street -- and the only headset where the 3.5mm headphone jack does loads of wonderful things.
When the power's on, you can use the G933 as a fully amplified 3.5mm wired headset: programmable sound profiles, lighting and all. Even when the power's off, Logitech's bundled 3.5mm cable offers a in-line volume dial and mic for your tunes and phone calls. Plus, there's a second 3.5mm line-in jack on the USB dongle so you can make practically any wired audio source wireless, including old-school consoles with RCA audio jacks. (Logitech includes an adapter.)
It's just a shame the G933 isn't better built. It's creaky and vice-like, with slightly scratchy fabric earcups. The battery doesn't last super long. And it's pretty dang bulky to seriously wear around town.
The best wireless range: Logitech G533
$150, £140, AU$220
- Compatible with: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam Link
- Buy for: Bulletproof wireless, all-around quality, programmable key for PC, replaceable battery
- Skip if: It's too gamer for comfort. You need Xbox or a 3.5mm jack.
"The only way I could make the audio cut out was I had to walk outside of my house, across the parking lot to my car and get inside. When I drove back, 20 minutes later, it automatically reconnected as soon as I opened the car door."
That's how I described the Logitech G533, and it's still true today. If you're planning to abuse a wireless headset's range to roam around your house -- or a spot of gardening, maybe? -- the G533 is the one for you.
It doesn't sound quite as good as the G933, there's no 3.5mm jack and the plastic finish scratches real easy...but if you can find it on a typical sub-$100 sale (e.g., today, April 18!) it's a great pick for the PC, PlayStation and even a docked Nintendo Switch.
The best for cheapskates: Sony PlayStation Gold Wireless (2018)
$100, £70, AU$130
- Compatible with: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam Link, others via wired 3.5mm cable
- Buy for: Broad device compatibility, light weight, a happy wallet
- Skip if: You know what good audio sounds like.
You know how people say "Ignorance is bliss" when it comes to sound quality? If that describes you and your mates, buy the new PlayStation Gold Wireless and never look back. It works with practically anything -- including the Nintendo Switch -- and it's also the lightest, least obtrusive wireless headset you can buy today.
I found it far comfier than the PlayStation Platinum and original PlayStation Gold, by the way. It doesn't fold down like the old PS Gold... but that means it doesn't have flimsy plastic arms to break, either. That was a common complaint. No boom mic means your voice sounds tinny and robotic. But you don't care about audio quality. Right?
The best for Xbox (or eyeglasses): Razer Thresher for Xbox One
$150, £150, AU$230
- Compatible with: Xbox One
- Buy for: Direct wireless connection to Xbox One, luxurious padding with eyeglass relief
- Skip if: You hate harsh high notes. You want to connect to anything BUT Xbox.
If you want a headset with a direct wireless connection to your Xbox, or that's designed specifically for eyeglasses, there are only three picks: the Turtle Beach Stealth 600, the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 and the Razer Thresher. And unless you really, really want a 3.5mm headset jack or Bluetooth audio, it's no contest -- the Razer Thresher is vastly more comfortable and sounds better, too, with a remarkably clear microphone.
These cooling-gel-filled earcups are the most comfortable I've tried, bar none, and I've been told the generous eyeglass relief does a great job keeping pressure off your frames. It'd be my pick for most comfortable... if it didn't weigh nearly a pound. And know that it only really works with an Xbox One out of the box. You'll need an optional $25 dongle for Windows PCs.
Also note there are three other versions of the Thresher, including a $150 Thresher 7.1 for the PS4 and a pair of $250 Thresher Ultimate sets for the Xbox and PS4. I can't recommend 'em because the mics aren't as clear, and I wouldn't pay an extra $100 for their included base stations. The boost in wireless range isn't good enough to buy for that reason.
The futureproof pick: Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless
$330, £300, AU$500
- Compatible with: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam Link, others via wired 3.5mm cable
- Buy for: Near-universal compatibility, Bluetooth, swappable batteries, audio quality, comfort, design, mic quality, wireless range, optical jacks, two audio streams on PC, etc...
- Skip if: You're not made of money. You're buying for Xbox.
It's the most expensive wireless gaming headset you can buy. (You could buy a new PlayStation or Xbox for less.)
But if you think of the Arctis Pro Wireless as an investment, it might actually make sense. It's the only headset with a pair of user-swappable batteries -- meaning you never run out of charge. Even if you wear them down, you can easily buy more. (It uses the same batteries as its Siberia 840, 800 and H Wireless predecessors, which cost $20 for a pack of two.)
It's also the only headset I can recommend with Bluetooth connectivity -- meaning it pulls double duty as an excellent pair of Bluetooth headphones for music, games and even calls. Plus practically everything I like about its cheaper Arctis 7 cousin.
Now add the second-best wireless range of any headset, and the richest audio of any save the Astro A50 Gen 3. Honestly, it's got clearer mids... if it had a little more bass and a slightly better mic, it'd knock out the Astro as well.
If I could afford one, I'd buy one. But I can't right now.
The rest, aka headsets that aren't quite as good
Good mic, but sound quality, build, comfort, range and battery life pale in comparison to the HyperX Cloud Flight. If you need the optical jack and game/chat mix, pick the Plantronics.
One size fits few (no adjustments at all), muddy audio, below-average mic quality, and a gigantic, heavy build.
Just like the Corsair Void Pro Wireless, but slightly worse -- a worse microphone boom, less obvious mute indicator, and slightly worse earcups. Costs the same, so why bother?
It looks stylish, works with practically any audio source, offers two audio devices on PC, and has excellent mics. But the build quality and connectivity are hit or miss... and the audio isn't good enough to justify the $200 price.
Much like the LS30, but with a tighter, creakier fit and no native surround sound. At $150, it's outclassed by the HyperX Cloud Flight and Steelseries Arctis 7. Might be worthy at $100.
Lots of user reviews say the plastic frame tends to break. Sound is generally clear and crisp, but not enough depth to set it apart. Also large and heavy.
Comfy, but harsh highs and no easy way to adjust them (unlike on Man O' War). I think you'd be happier with the Plantronics, unless you wear glasses.
$250 is too much to pay for a $150 headset (see Thresher 7.1 above) with a little extra wireless range and a plastic stand.
Unlike the PS4 version, there's actually a reason to pay the extra $100 here: the Xbox version of the Thresher Ultimate weirdly works with PS4 too. But I'd pay a little extra for an Astro A50 instead.
Lots of user reviews say this headset's flimsy plastic arms tend to break. More bass than the new Gold, but that's not enough reason to pick it instead.
Above-average sound quality can't make up for the crappy mic and uncomfortable fit. All of my top picks (save the PlayStation Gold) sound better, and the Gold is more comfortable.
The single worst headset I tested. Ugly, cheap and uncomfortable, with tiny earcups and terrible sound quality.
Discontinued and replaced by the Arctis Pro Wireless.
Discontinued and replaced by the Stealth 600. No great loss.
Far too cheap and uncomfortable, despite decently clear sound. 3.5mm jack feels like an afterthought.
Discontinued and replaced by the Stealth 600. Which is a shame, because it offered clearer sound and more features.
Better built than the Turtle Beach Stealth 520 it replaces, but slightly worse sound -- and loses the optical and 3.5mm jacks that made the 520 a good deal. The new PlayStation Gold Wireless is a better budget pick overall.
With a firmware update, direct-connect Xbox Wireless now seems to work fine (unlike early user reviews). But it doesn't sound great, and it's not compatible with anything except Xbox.
Bluetooth is nice at this price, but somehow sounds worse (muddier) than the cheaper Stealth 600. Less comfortable to wear, too.
With Bluetooth, 3.5mm and direct-connect Xbox Wireless, it's versatile! Sadly, it doesn't sound or fit any better than the PS4 version.
Terrible audio quality. The mic's so bad my friends refused to play with me. Buttons are way too sensitive, making it super easy to accidentally power on or off.
How we tested
So you might be asking yourself: Why should you trust my opinion on which wireless gaming headsets are the best? Why did I pick these particular headsets, anyhow?
To that I say: "Because I tested them all." Pretty much.
To create this guide, I scoured the web and contacted every reputable headset company to see if they'd have a wireless model by the time our testing was done. Some were already being phased out -- which is why I never tried the fan-favorite Corsair Gaming H2100 or SkullCandy PLYR 1, for example. I called in every wireless gaming headset I could.
Then, I tested and compared 30+ headsets, playing them off each other, using a giant spreadsheet to keep track of my results. And while that spreadsheet is a teensy bit rough around the edges, I'm happy to share it with you.
We'll be updating this guide as more and better headsets arrive. And if we missed a particularly awesome one, don't hesitate to reach out! You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.