Virtual reality took the centre stage in 2016 with the Oculus RiftHTC Vive and PlayStation VR all going on sale – and that’s without even mentioning mobile VR, like the introduction of Google Daydream.

Now that the systems are readily available, manufacturers can start to concentrate on the second most important feature of any gaming system – accessories.

Here, we run you through some of the best virtual reality accessories we've seen, along with cool VR gadgets coming to market soon.

If you're new to the world of virtual reality, you'll want to take a look at our complete guide to VR.

HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap

Price: £99 from Vive
Availability: Shipping now

For HTC Vive owners, this one is a must. While Oculus Rift owners will already know about the benefits that come with built-in headphones, and now Vive owners can join in the fun. The Deluxe Audio Strap provides built-in headphones for HTC Vive owners, simplifying the VR experience.

The headphones are both height and angle adjustable, meaning it's easy to find the perfect fit, even when multiple users wear the headset. You can also only use one headphone if you're trying to interact with people in the room while playing VR.

Oh, and did I mention better cable management? No more headphone wires dangling around your neck. It's not revolutionary, I know, but it improves the overall HTC Vive experience. 

But while the name concentrates on the built-in headphones, the Deluxe Audio Strap also provides a better overall fit when wearing the headset. It uses a crank-style system at the back of the headset similar to that of the PlayStation VR, a system that we praised in the review for its comfort and ease of use.

It's the same with the Deluxe Audio Strap - it makes it easier to adjust the fit and swap between people, while also providing extra comfort with the extra padding and improved weight distribution. The difference between the new headset strap and the elastic strap that ships with the headset is day and night, and we recommend the Deluxe Audio Strap to all HTC Vive owners. 

VirZoom

Price: $399 from VirZoom
Availability: Shipping now

VirZoom provides a fun way to exercise - yes, I really did just said that. How? By distracting you the best way possible; using VR. 

VirZoom looks similar to a standard exercise bike, although with a few noticeable additions. First up, there are triggers on the end of each handle and a bunch of programmable buttons on the front. It's very compact as it folds down when not in use, although I must admit it's much heavier than it looks.

Along with the bike comes a game called VirZoom Arcade which is comprised of mini-games that you can play in VR on your exercise bike. While the games aren't graphically impressive, it's not the point: it's enough to distract you from exercising.

For example, one game mode allows you to control a helicopter. You lean left and right to steer, petal to control rotor speed, aim your missiles by looking and fire by pressing the triggers. As I was ducking and dodging my way through a barrage of missiles from silos and warships alike, I completely forgot that I was exercising. I wanted to push myself not because I was thinking about exercise, but simply because I wanted to keep my 'copter in the air. 

As well as entertaining you with a handful of arcade games ranging from riding a pegasus to racing F1 cars driven by dogs, the VirZoom bike will track your stats. These can be displayed via an in-game hub, but it's also available in the progression tab of the main menu.

The progression tab allows you to track how far you've pedaled, how many calories you've burnt and more. It also syncs with FitBit and Strava so you can keep your fitness-tracking apps in-sync. We'd love to see support for more services in future.

It's compatible with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, along with the mobile-powered Gear VR (2017 version). 

KOR-FX Force Feedback Vest

KOR-FX Force Feedback Vest

Price: £64.99 from Overclockers
Availability: Shipping now

Ready to move beyond simply seeing in VR? While the HTC Vive’s controllers and Oculus Touch controllers allow you to interact with the virtual world, KOR-FX’s force feedback vest lets you feel it.

While it’s not the perfect fit for all virtual reality experiences, we’ve spent some time with the KOR-FX force feedback vest and found that it really does make shooting games more immersive: feel the thud in your chest as a grenade explodes nearby, and the impact of each and every bullet.

There's some intuitive thinking behind it too, as the haptic motors are placed at exactly the right spot to simulate the vibration that you feel in your chest when you speak and shout, which helps trick your brain into thinking the explosions you're hearing are real - and it works incredibly well.

While it’s not quite smart enough to detect the difference between deep vocals and bass tones (resulting in your chest vibrating to the sound of somebody speaking), it’s a step up from the standard VR experience and is one to watch in the future.

It’s not just for VR though, as the jacket comes with adaptors that’ll provide compatibility with any device that outputs audio, including the likes of the PS4, Xbox One and even the iPod for those extra bassy songs.

Leap Motion

Price: €89.99 from Leap Motion
Availability: Shipping now

Leap Motion isn’t new – in fact, the accessory has been on the market since 2013. However, its potential uses in VR arguably outweigh what it was originally designed for.

The Leap Motion tracks hand and finger movement incredibly accurately, allowing users to control their PCs and Macs in an entirely new way using gestures. It enables touchscreen-esque actions on a non-touchscreen surface including swiping, grabbing, pinching or even punching – and that technology is now being utilised to bring full hand tracking to VR, deepening the feeling of immersion in a game/experience.

Developers are actively integrating Leap Motion support in VR games and experiences, however we’re not sure how many games officially support it thus far. Either way, it’s a really cool accessory for your PC and Mac and will one day soon improve the VR experience.

VR Cover

Price: £29 from VR Cover
Availability: Shipping now

VR Cover while not revolutionary is a life-saver for VR users. One of the downsides to virtual reality at the moment is sweat – especially in the more vigorous VR games and experiences.

This is due to the headset being tightly fastened to your head and with no air-flow inside the headset, your face warms up fairly quickly. While a bit of sweat is to be expected and can be wiped off fairly quickly from the headset itself, the same can’t be said for the memory foam around the edges.  

Until now. Introducing the VR Cover, a cheap accessory made from a “soft leather like material” for HTC Vive owners that fits over the existing memory foam on the headset. This provides a surface that is easy to clean, and is especially handy if you’re giving your friends a VR demo because who wants someone else’s cold sweat on their face, right?

Roto VR

Price: $999 from Roto
Availability: Shipping now

For those that want to sit back and relax in their virtual worlds without losing immersion should take a look at Roto VR, a virtual reality chair compatible with Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, OSVR and even Google Cardboard.

The headset plugs into a port at the bottom of the base, removing the issue of turning 360 degrees in VR and getting tangled in cables – but that’s not what’s impressive. The chair features base and foot pedals with an internal motor and orientation tracking – but what does that mean to you and us?

Essentially, it features foot pedals that let you run and walk in-game sat down in a comfy chair, and head tracking that will rotate the chair 360 degrees depending on where you look. It seems like a great accessory for VR and should help solve the issue of traversing in a VR environment, and also the ability to use VR for extended periods of time without getting tired.

Cyberith Virtualizer

Price: TBC
Availability: TBC

If you don’t like the look of the Virtuix Omni, then what about the Cyberith Virtualizer? While no official UK pricing has yet been announced for the Virtualizer, it’s rumoured to be cheaper than its main competitor, the Virtuix Omni.

It also has a few improvements when compared to the Omni, such as being able to use your own shoes without any attachments, which also minimises the amount of sound generated when moving. It also looks sleeker than the Omni, and more appropriate for use at home.

No word yet on when the Virtualizer will be released, but there’s still a chance we could see it on the market before 2017 comes to an end.