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Best PC Gaming Headset for 2023

Our top picks for gaming sound from SteelSeries, Razer, Logitech, HyperX and other well-known manufacturers.

Lori Grunin
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
9 min read
$61 at Walmart
Nacon Rig 500 Pro HX
Analog wired headset pick
$199 at Amazon
SteelSeries Arctis 9 hanging on a headset stand
SteelSeries Arctis 9 and 9X
Top wireless gaming headset for PC and Xbox
$93 at Amazon
Razer BlackShark V2
Most comfortable wired headset under $100
$160 at Amazon
HyperX Cloud Alpha wireless gaming headset.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
Longest battery life and comfort winner
$95 at Amazon
Corsair HS70
Top gaming headset with Bluetooth under $100
$50 at Amazon
Meters Level Up gaming headset showing the VU meters on the earcups
Meters Level Up
Wired gaming headset that's a little different
$140 at Amazon
Logitech G733 LightSpeed
Wireless headset for champion chatters under $150
$100 at Microsoft
Xbox Wireless headset
Microsoft Xbox Wireless Headset
Reasonably priced dual-wireless headset pick for PC and Xbox
$127 at Amazon
SteelSeries Arctis 7P Plus gaming headset
SteelSeries Arctis 7P Plus
Best multiplatform wireless gaming headset
$276 at Walmart
Sony InZone H9 gaming headset
Sony InZone H9
The pricey choice for PC and PS5

A PC gamer needs a good gaming headset. A high-quality sound system is nice, but it's no match for directional audio, especially if you're into multiplayer or horror games. Plus, a mic makes it possible to chat with your teammates, allowing for convenient strategizing, and in some cases to take calls from your phone at the same time. Not only does a gaming headset make it easier to hear enemies moving around you, it can also enhance single-player experiences as well. When it comes to audio immersion, nothing beats a pair of cans right on your ears.

Plus, you may already be spending a ton of time on video calls, so treating yourself to a new headset can be a way to satisfy your work brain -- yes, be that person wearing the huge headset in meetings -- and your play brain without blowing a ton of money. 

Keep in mind that analog gaming headsets, which connect via 3.5mm jacks, can work with almost any device -- a gaming PC, a PS5, an Xbox Series X or Series S, a Nintendo Switch and so on -- in addition to regular Windows PCs. But depending on the hardware you may not get the full set of features, such as surround sound, mic monitoring (aka sidetone) and other capabilities that rely on software and a USB connection to function. To get console-specific features, you might need to check out headsets designed specifically for them; for instance, the Xbox Series X and S require Microsoft-sanctioned dongles (but Bluetooth works, too). You can find specific recommendations on our Best Xbox Gaming Headset and Best PS5 Gaming Headset lists.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The first time I saw the Rig series of gaming headsets -- well before the brand was bought by gaming and accessory company Nacon -- I was so turned off by the aesthetic I didn't even take the headset out of the box. I powered through this time, and although I'm still not fond of the appearance, it's turned out to be one of my go-to headsets in why-doesn't-my-pc-see-my-wireless-headset emergencies. 

You get a lot for the money. It's comfortable and relatively light with good 3D audio, pretty decent mic quality, good noise isolation and an inline volume control that's neither too far down the cable or too far up. The mic is both removable and flip-up, which you rarely see at this price.

The last generation of the headset got complaints about build quality, but I've been using it for months with no issues. Its flat rubber cable is a step up from competitors: Flatness makes it tangle-free and less susceptible to damage when I roll over it with my chair. To adjust size, there's a combination of three notches on the headband -- you basically pop out the earcup to move it, so if it comes under stress it just pops out -- and a basic suspension band.

It doesn't come with a headphone/mic splitter cable, a common omission in budget headsets, and the shortish cable isn't removable, but it's a good length if you're going to plug it into a controller for use with the Xbox. You do get a two-year activation card for a Dolby Atmos subscription (at least the last time I looked) for Windows 10/11 and Xbox One or later. 

SteelSeries Arctis 9 hanging on a headset stand
Lori Grunin/CNET

This excellent wireless headset supports both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connections for simultaneous lag-free gaming and audio monitoring, with a bunch of excellent features. You can use it wired or while it charges over USB, and it's got a Discord-certified noise-canceling retractable microphone, swivel earcups so it can sit on your shoulders and support for DTS Headphone:X v2.0 and Windows Spatial audio. Its pucklike dongle has an analog 3.5mm input for game audio and a line out to the headset, which expands its usefulness. My only significant quibble with the Arctis 9X is it feels a little too tight on my head (which is odd, since all the other Arctis models feel fine). Its big brother, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, gets rave reviews as well, but it's significantly more expensive as well as relatively old; it's due for an upgrade and I think it's a bit overkill for many gamers, anyway.

Read our SteelSeries Arctis 9 review.

Lori Grunin/CNET

These aren't the absolute best in gaming headsets, but the newest generation of Razer's BlackShark headsets -- the wired Razer BlackShark V2 ($100) and V2 X ($60) and the Wireless V2 Pro ($180) -- are well-rounded options if you need a single headset for both work and play. I prefer the V2 over the V2 X for its extra PC features, like support for THX Spatial Audio, microphone settings in Razer's Synapse utility and a USB dongle. Plus, it has a better cord, a removable mic with foam cover and breathable fabric on the earcup padding. If you're on a tighter budget, the analog-only V2 X has all your platforms covered for half the price.

Read our BlackShark V2 and V2 X review.

HyperX Cloud Alpha wireless gaming headset.
Lori Grunin/CNET

This PC- and PS5-compatible wireless headset not only features HyperX's superb comfort and excellent sound, its actual battery life runs into the hundreds of hours, even if you discount the company's 300-hour rating. And it supports DTS Headphone:X for virtual surround. The wireless range didn't test as well as the Cloud II Wireless and the lack of other connection types disappoints for the money, but if your top three criteria are battery life, comfort and sound quality, this hits the trifecta.

Read our HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless Review.

Josh Goldman/CNET

It's useful to be able to monitor your phone (or other audio) via Bluetooth with your headset while simultaneously using a separate, lag-free connection for gaming, but that capability frequently adds a premium onto the price. By adding Bluetooth to an otherwise wired headset -- usually it's only available in wireless models -- Corsair manages to avoid that trap. The stereo HS70 supports USB for laptops and desktops, along with 3.5mm analog cabling to connect to all consoles. The battery is rated for about 30 hours, and the noise-canceling microphone is detachable. The company's iCue app for Windows or MacOS to access EQ presets or adjust mic and sidetone levels. Though it's not as pricey as most gaming headsets with Bluetooth on the side, it is relatively expensive for an otherwise basic model. And oddly, the HS70 Wireless, which lacks Bluetooth but incorporates a 2.4GHz connection, is the same price.

Read our Corsair HS70 review.

Meters Level Up gaming headset showing the VU meters on the earcups
Lori Grunin/CNET

The Level Up's comfy, retro-ish style -- with on-earcup illuminated VU meters, full-bodied stereo and 7.1 virtual surround sound for music and gaming -- leads me to recommend it for people who aren't necessarily looking for cutting-edge gaming features, but who want something cool and different. You can use it with any 3.5mm-jack-bearing console or system, but you don't get the customizable surround setup unless you're connected via USB on Windows, since it requires a proprietary app.

Read our Meters Level Up review.

The G733's generally an above-average lightweight wireless gaming headset, but it's got one advantage over much of the competition: an excellent mic backed by a high level of customizability via Blue Yeti-powered software.

Read our Logitech G733 review.

Xbox Wireless headset
Lori Grunin/CNET

Even though it has some design and feature quirks, for $100, the Xbox Wireless Headset is a good deal. Simultaneous wireless and Bluetooth and chat-mix balance are usually only found in more expensive models, so here the performance and sound quality are worth the money.

Read our Xbox Wireless Headset review.

Watch this: The Best PlayStation 5 Headsets in 2022
SteelSeries Arctis 7P Plus gaming headset
Lori Grunin/CNET

One of SteelSeries' recent additions to its Arctis 7 line, the 7P Plus added Tempest 3D AudioTech compatibility with the PS5 to the already excellent headset. It not only sounds great and feels comfortable, it works wirelessly at 2.4GHz with almost any device that can handle a USB-C dongle, including the PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Android phones, Oculus Quest 2 and PS5. It doesn't work equally well with each -- for instance, it doesn't support chat for the Quest 2. Plus, it lacks both analog and Bluetooth connection options and doesn't have the strongest range or battery life. But it also doesn't cost $200 or more.

Read our Arctis 7P preview.

Sony InZone H9 gaming headset
Lori Grunin/CNET

If you feel like spending almost as much on a headset as you did for your console, Sony's own InZone H9 (the new PC-targeted line from its electronics division rather than the PlayStation folks) delivers great audio quality in an exceptionally comfortable design that matches the materials of the PS5. It has decent, non-fatiguing noise cancellation, a natural-sounding mic, solid battery life and simultaneous Bluetooth and dongle connections on both platforms. Bluetooth behaved a bit wonkily when I tested it, so if it matters to you, check user reviews before you buy to see if other people have encountered it.

Sony InZone H9 review.

Other notable gaming headsets we've tested

HyperX Cloud II Wireless ($118): This is an excellent 7.1 surround headset that features HyperX's signature comfortable fit, which I ended up bumping from the list in favor of the Cloud Alpha Wireless because the Alpha's battery life is a huge distinguishing feature. The Cloud II Wireless does have a better signal range as tested, though, and you can use it wirelessly with a PS4/PS5 and Nintendo Switch as well as a PC. Read our HyperX Cloud 2 Wireless review.

Razer Barracuda X ($96): The performance, audio quality and design of the Barracuda X make it an excellent choice for cross-platform players. I wouldn't recommend the headset for cloud gaming, though. Razer refreshed it in 2022, boosting battery life to a rated 50 hours and adding Bluetooth for the same price. I haven't tested the updated model.  Read our Razer Barracuda X review.

SteelSeries Arctis Prime ($40): The budget, cross-platform wireless Arctis Prime performs well, but if you're sensitive to fit, weight and other design-related considerations, I suggest you give it a heads-on before buying. Read our SteelSeries Arctis Prime review.

Razer Kraken V3 HyperSense ($95): Razer's updated haptic feedback debuted in this gaming headset -- it basically vibrates when the signal contains certain frequencies, in order to provide positional information and a more immersive experience. The new version improves upon its predecessor found in the Razer Nari line by being able to work without specific support within a game and the ability to choose from two intensities. It has the same great sound quality as the other Razer headsets with the TriForce Titanium drivers. But I suspect the haptic feedback is an acquired taste, though. Thus far, I've found it more distracting than immersive. And without game support it's too random; for instance, bass-voiced narration rumbles in a disconcerting way and it kicks in when I have mic monitoring on. Other issues I've had include it being a little too tight (especially with glasses), its THX Spatial Surround falling a bit short of other virtual surround technologies I've used, and the braided but thick cable tends to kink. I haven't given up on it, though, and am giving it another shot with its higher-end sibling, the Kraken V3 Pro.

EPOS Audio H3Pro Hybrid ($258): This former top-lister is a somewhat controversial choice overall, but even a lot of people who don't like the Epos gaming headsets in general tend to agree that they have great stereo audiophile-quality sound. Given Epos' kinship with audio veteran Sennheiser -- and unfortunately, the Sennheiser-level high prices -- one expects no less. I really like the H3Pro Hybrid headset, though, for gamers who don't need surround sound. The biggest problem with it is the barely adequate range the dongle gives it (about 16 feet in my testing) which may be a deal-killer for a lot of people. The software's kind of lackluster as well. But it's comfortable, sleeker than your usual gaming headset, has solid ANC and supports simultaneous Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connections. 

More recently reviewed models:

Gaming headset FAQs

Why do I want a 'wireless' headset rather than a Bluetooth gaming headset?

Bluetooth lets you connect to most mobile devices as well as PCs and laptops, which makes it really convenient. But it's also low-bandwidth and slow, which means it may compress the audio (and thus make it sound worse) and introduce delays between the device and the headset. The delays, referred to as latency, can range from just annoying to game-ruining, depending upon how important the audio and your chat is to responding quickly.

Bluetooth also requires that there be a pretty small distance between the headset and device it's connected to. The best wireless gaming headsets come with a USB wireless adapter, usually 2.4GHz, to create a dedicated, fast, high-bandwidth channel between the headset and the system, and one that can maintain the connection over a larger distance.

How do I hear myself talk?

The ability to hear yourself talk while you chat is referred to as "mic monitoring" or "sidetone," and some people find it essential for more natural conversation; I find that without it I tend to shout, especially if the earcups suppress a lot of external noise. You generally need to have a USB connection -- either a wireless dongle or wired -- in order to get mic monitoring to work, and many times it's dependent on the software utility that's provided by the manufacturer, at the very least to control the volume of the monitoring so you don't blast yourself with your own voice.

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