You may think of gaming headsets as the sort of purchase limited to the most hardcore of hardcore gamers, but there are actually plenty of people who could benefit from a decent set.
Whether you want to play online and trash talk your competition, want surround sound audio to pinpoint enemy locations, or just want to save your family or partner from listening to the sounds of gunfire while you game, a decent gaming headset is worth the investment - though it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Still, it's not always a straightforward decision, and you'll have to bear a few factors in mind.
First, there's the console you want to use it for. The Switch and 3DS only support wired headphones, so that rules out Bluetooth if your main aim is playing on a Nintendo console.
The PS4 will work with either, and the Xbox One depends entirely on which controller model you have - the most recent support Bluetooth, older models are wired-only, and the oldest even require an adapter. If you're a PC gamer, your PC may or may not have Bluetooth support - though you can always grab a Wi-Fi headset, or pick up a Bluetooth dongle for your computer.
Wired sets also tend to boast better response times and audio quality, and you also need to think about whether you want an in-line or boom microphone, whether you need them to be lightweight and portable or not, and how much muting and audio mixing functionality you need built-in.
That's not even getting into aesthetics - while gaming headsets have traditionally been garish, companies are designing understated sets that you'd be equally happy to use as your default audio gear - though check out our guide to the best headphones if you want to keep your gaming and music separate.
In our reviews below, we break each headset down by audio quality, features, design, and price, to offer buying advice no matter your budget or requirements. Before you buy, make sure to check out our best headphone deals to grab the cheapest price.
Best gaming headsets of 2018
1. Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 is this year’s update to the company’s premium line-up, and while it’s not exactly a reinvention, the Elite Pro 2 is certainly a more refined headset. In fact, it’s one of the best gaming headsets we’ve used for quite some time, and surprisingly, it’s not only due to the superb audio quality – it’s the comfort it provides.
That’s because the Elite Pro 2 features Aerofit cushions made from a combination of spandex fabric and gel-infused foam that are cool to the touch, and mould to the shape of your head when worn. This relieves any pressure build-up on the ears or on the top of the headset, even with prolonged use, and the gel-infused foam keeps you from descending into a hot, sweaty mess after an intense COD session. It also features the ProSpecs Glasses relief system that creates a small channel in the ear cushion to allow glasses-wearers to game without getting irritated.
Beneath that cushiony goodness, the Elite Pro 2 features 50mm Nanoclear over-ear speakers that provide crisp audio with a satisfying bass response without a hint of distortion, even during the biggest explosions and loudest gunfights. It offers 7.1 surround sound support, allowing you to accurately pinpoint the origin of sounds in your in-game environment and provides an all-round immersive experience. What’s not to like?
Like last year’s model, the removable microphone offers great quality for team communication and does a surprisingly decent job with background noise cancellation – a feature your teammates will surely appreciate.
And unlike with last year’s Elite Pro, the Pro 2 features the Elite SuperAmp as standard. It’s the brains of the setup, providing 7.1 Surround Sound not only for PC but PS4 too (XB1 users should opt for the Xbox variant). It’s Bluetooth-enabled and app-controlled, allowing you to tweak the EQ of the headphones via your smartphone.
It does more than that though; when connected via Bluetooth, smartphone calls and notifications will come through the headset. You can wave goodbye to all those missed calls and delayed text responses during those intense gaming sessions!
2. 1More Spearhead VRX
While many of the headsets in our roundup feature some kind of surround sound support, the 1More Spearhead VRX is the only headset that offers built-in positional head tracking that provides an incredibly immersive experience - both when gaming and watching movies on PC.
The Waves Nx head tracking technology uses a combination of built-in sensors and algorithms to simulate an authentic 3D audio experience. While we could go into the science behind it, it essentially means that you can physically turn your head when gaming to help pinpoint the location of a sound without having to move in-game.
It's a gamechanger, especially when it comes to competitive shooters like PUBG, as it allows you to easily and accurately pinpoint enemies footsteps and better prepare an attack. The catch? It's only available when used on PC via USB connection.
The audio is crisp, clear and bright, and thanks to the large 50mm synchronised vibrating drivers, the bass is booming. You also get access to eight audio presets tuned by Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi via the VRX software for PC that not only improve game audio, but movies and music too.
The VRX also sports some interesting dual-mic technology not featured on many other headsets. Instead of a standard boom mic setup, it features a combination of a small front-facing mic built into the right earcup for communication and a rear mic to analyse environmental noises and produce opposite phase signals.
This provides a decent level of noise cancellation for clear communication in multiplayer games, and despite not having a mic close to our mouth, the microphone does a surprising job at picking up vocals, though admittedly it's not a perfect experience.
It's also a comfortable, good-looking headset. It features soft-to-the-touch material both on the earcups and headband to provide a more enjoyable gaming experience, and the array of customisable LEDs give it that classic gaming headset look without going too over the top.
3. SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
SteelSeries has long been knocking it out of the park with gaming peripherals, and the Arctis Pro + GameDAC is no exception to this trend. At £249.99, you’d be hard pressed to call these a bargain, but you get what you pay for with outstanding build quality and incredible audio.
This headset is the first full gaming audio system to receive the Hi-Res Audio certification, so as you would expect, the audio quality is second to none. The system allows you to experience WAV, FLAC and DSD files without any compromise on quality, while being able to stream from HI-Res sources like Tidal. The GameDAC also has native 96kHz and 24-bit support as well, making It future ready for hi-res gaming audio developments.
The DAC allows you to access audio options in an instant, with volume control easily accessible from the wheel. Holding down on the wheel will bring up additional options, where you can change the audio levels to your preference and or select from a number of profiles. Having audio options so readily available like this is a great addition, as you can change them on the fly without having to go into your PC settings.
The option to mix your game audio in with chat is extremely useful too. Being able to turn your game audio down and your chat audio up at the same time to hear that one quiet teammate, is a great addition.
Along with this, the DAC can also act as a streaming mixer if you’re streaming directly from your PS4. The simple UI allows you to adjust the sound level of your game, chat, auxiliary noise and microphone individually to get that perfect balance at a twist of the dial.
The setup also features DTS Headphone: X v2.0 surround sound, giving outstanding positional audio in games, allowing you to easily pinpoint the exact direction sounds are coming from. You’ll be able to hear people sneaking up on you in CS:GO and PUBG alike.
The build quality of the headset is, as you would expect, outstanding. The athletics-inspired Airweave fabric ear cushions are extremely comfortable for extended periods of play, and help to keep your ears cool while still providing great noise cancelling.
If we did have one objection, it’s that these aren’t ideal for anyone with a larger head. While the strap that rests across the top of your head can be adjusted, the ear cups can’t – which makes them fairly inflexible with regards to adjustment.
Regardless, this is an outstanding headset. While certainly on the expensive side, audiophiles and serious gamers will appreciate the level of quality on display here.
4. Logitech G Pro
If you think the Logitech G Pro headset looks familiar, you should; the design is reminiscent of 2017’s G433, though it has been refined with help from professional eSports players to create a great all-round gaming headset that doesn’t break the bank. The shell is made of a lightweight polymer with hints of stainless steel and a soft-to-the-touch leatherette strip on the headband to make it more comfortable to wear over long periods, and we haven’t even mentioned the ear cups.
Also made from a premium leatherette material with soft foam padding, the large over-ear ear cups provide not only extra comfort, but also work to create a seal around your ears to provide passive noise cancellation – up to 50 percent more than if another material was used, according to Logitech.
If the leatherette padding isn’t for you, the modular nature of the G Pro headset means that you can switch them out for micro-suede padding (also provided with the headset).
You can also remove the high-quality, noise-cancelling condenser microphone when not in use, and use the G Pro headset as your everyday headphones thanks to the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack. This makes it compatible with not only PC but PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and any other console that features a 3.5mm jack output. There’s also a mic & audio PC splitter cable included in the box, so you’re ready for anything!
The G Pro headphones are also impressive in the audio department. Featuring unique hybrid-mesh Pro G audio drivers, the headphones deliver crisp audio with booming bass, ideal whether you’re dodging bullets and grenades in Call of Duty: WW2 or listening to music on your morning commute.
It also boasts compatibility with PC surround sound features including Dolby Atmos that, when enabled, provides incredibly accurate positional audio that’ll help you anticipate those cheeky sneak attacks from behind, and hear which direction helicopters are flying overheard.
For the price, the Logitech G Pro gaming headset is a hard one to beat.
5. Roccat Khan Pro
While many gaming headsets offer great audio quality, the Roccat Khan Pro is one of very few gaming headsets available in 2018 that boasts Hi-Res Audio compatibility – and with a great design and attractive pricepoint, it’s hard to fault.
Let’s start with the design; the Roccat Khan Pro was designed to be lightweight, and at only 230g, it’s one of the lightest in our roundup. That doesn’t mean it skimped on comfort though, as it features leatherette memory foam earpads and headband strip that is soft-to-the-touch and alleviates any pressure on your ears and on the top of your head, even in marathon gaming sessions, while also providing passive noise cancellation.
The earcups themselves are also aligned with the natural position of your ear to avoid discomfort.
It features stainless steel sliders that help you get the perfect fit, and the earcups offer 95-degrees of rotation to ensure a perfect fit for most head sizes.
You’ll find volume controls on the earcups themselves instead of opting for in-line controls. The microphone can be folded away when not in use, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to mute it; the mic automatically mutes when folded up and unmutes when folded down.
Featuring Hi-Res Audio compatibility, the Khan Pro is impressive in terms of audio. It delivers rich, bright audio that’s ideal for both gaming and listening to music. You’ll be able to pick up the slightest noises when playing your favourite games, from the cocking of a recently reloaded weapon to picking up on approaching enemy footsteps.
It’s more bass-heavy than other headphones in our roundup too, which is great for immersion when gaming and for fans of bass-heavy music.
In terms of compatibility, the Khan Pro features a 3.5mm jack. It’s split into dual mic and audio outputs, but comes with an adaptor that merges them into a single 3.5mm output. This makes it compatible with PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and any other headphone jack-touting device (including your smartphone!).
6. Razer Man O'War Wireless
At just over half the price of the Astro A50, how does Razer’s wireless Man O’War gaming headset compare? While the Man O’War features 2.4GHz technology rather than 5GHz for wireless transmission, the 2.4GHz band provides a more reliable signal without compromising on response time.
It also features 7.1 virtual surround sound via the Razer Surround engine and 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers that provide impressive audio playback, which can be further tweaked via the Razer Synapse app for PC and Mac. The first time you plug in the headphones, you’ll be taken through a virtual 7.1 surround sound setup that’ll tweak the audio output of the headphones based on your personal taste.
It doesn’t feature a base station like other wireless headsets, so how does it connect to your PC? It’s rather intuitive, actually. The USB receiver is built directly into the headset, and can be ejected with a push and be inserted into any PC, Mac or PS4 with plug’n’play support. Although it can only be charged via a USB cable, the battery life is fairly impressive – it lasts around 14 hours per charge, or around seven days with an average of two hours of playback per day.
In terms of look, the Man O’War looks like your standard wireless gaming headset with huge, soft earcups for use over periods of extended use. There is one unique feature though – not one but two volume dials, one on each ear.
This is because the headphones feature two inputs; voice and game. If set up correctly, you can mix game audio and chat audio on the fly, adjusting the volume level on the left for chat, and right for game. It also features a retractable microphone with a unidirectional boom that allows it to be positioned however you desire, along with an algorithm that provides clearer voice reproduction.
There’s also a mute LED indicator on the end of the microphone so you don’t accidentally say something you shouldn’t while live streaming or Skyping!
Oh, and in typical Razer fashion, there’s Chroma support allowing gamers to change the colour of the Razer logo on the headset or sync it up with other Chroma-supported peripherals.
Essentially, the Razer Man O’War is an impressive and rather intuitive wireless gaming headset that could easily take on gaming headsets double the price.
7. Enhance Scoria vibration headset
While the Enhance Scoria may not be as expensive as other headsets in our roundup, it doesn’t mean that it can’t bring something new and interesting to the table. You see, along with offering virtual 7.1 surround sound support, the headset features a vibration engine that allows you to feel the gunfire and explosions in the games that you’re playing.
As if the ability to hear enemies above, below and around you wasn’t enough, right?
The inclusion of a vibration motor provides an incredibly immersive experience and one that left us feeling like we were in the game, especially when bullets were flying around our heads and buildings were exploding in first-person shooters like Battlefield 1.
You can adjust the intensity of the vibration feedback on the in-line controller, allowing granular control without the need to install third-party software on the PC or Mac that you’re using the headset on. The in-line controls also provide not only microphone and volume controls, but media controls and a button that’ll let you switch the colour of the headset LEDs.
Yes, that’s right. Along with other features usually limited to more premium headsets, the Scoria also offers customisable LEDs on the cans of the headset. This allows you to match your headphones to your keyboard, mouse and even rig, giving PC gamers the LED-tastic experience they deserve.
As well as offering a unique gaming experience, the Scoria is extremely comfortable to wear – perfect for those all-night gaming sessions. The ear cups are padded with a soft pillow-like material and it sports an adaptive leather headband that helps alleviate some of the pressure on the top of your head.
Our only complaint? The cups don’t always sit flush on our ears, and take a bit of adjustment before the perfect fit is found.
The headset is incredibly great value for money, and even more so when you use our exclusive coupon code SCORIA33 to get 33 percent off when ordering on Amazon.
8. Plantronics Rig 500 Pro
The Plantronics Rig 500 Pro is a decent effort at a headset that makes the right compromises to offer solid audio at a sub-£100/$100 price point.
For example, you get a metal headband to provide rigidity and solidity, but the main body is plastic to keep things lightweight and affordable. Like a growing number of gaming headsets, this also features a secondary fabric headband intended to help the headset sit comfortably and lightly, without becoming insecure. Unlike most rivals this actually works, and the Rig 500 Pro really does sit snugly.
If there's a downside to the design it's that it's, well, pretty damn ugly. The angular metal-and-plastic lines and gold finish don't feel very 2018, and this is far from sleek. It's a capital-G Gaming headset, with all the questionable design choices that entails, and Plantronics is lagging firmly behind its competition here.
Audio quality is solid, if not remarkable, but it's strong for the price. Bass response is strong from the 50mm drivers, and there's a noticeable surround sound effect. Audio can get a bit muddied, making it tricky to isolate specific in-game sounds at times, but generally speaking this makes games sound good.
The microphone is more impressive, with crisp, clear audio that could rival much more expensive headsets. There's no foam windsock to protect against plosives, but that's only a minor downside really - especially once you factor in that the mic is removable, and boasts a flip-to-mute function that makes it dead easy to use.
Controls are minimal other than that, with just a simple inline volume slider. If you're a console player, keep an eye out for the Xbox One and PS4-focussed 500 Pro HX and HS respectively, which instead come with volume dials that sit on the controller's headphone port for quick access - though you lose the metal headband in the process.
There's also a pricier 500 Pro Esports Edition, which has a whole metal frame and includes extra ear cushions and audio cables.
9. ROG Strix Fusion 500
In terms of design, the ROG Strix Fusion looks slick. Sporting metallic, glossy earcups and a thick fabric-and-plastic headband, it’ll certainly turn heads – and we haven’t even mentioned the built-in RGB lights.
The headphones feature RGB strips on the rear of each cup that can be customised via Bluetooth and a smartphone app (or the ROG app on your PC or Mac). The best part? You can sync the lighting to match other ROG peripherals, giving you a slick, futuristic look whether you’re an eSports player or a dedicated gamer at home. The downside is that the Bluetooth connectivity is exclusively for RGB syncing, and you can’t actually connect smartphones or other devices wirelessly.
The headphones feature a touch interface, removing the need for clunky buttons that can be hard to locate on-the-fly (and providing a much tidier overall look). Using swipe functions, you can adjust the volume and control media without having to leave your game.
It works well overall, though it requires multiple swipes to turn the volume up or down more than four percent, and it doesn’t always detect swipes. Oh, and despite boasting overall compatibility with PS4, the swipe features won’t work on the platform, meaning you’ll have to adjust overall volume on the PC beforehand and finetune it on the PS4.
Anyway, it’s in the audio department that the Fusion 500 really shines. Due to the wired nature of the headset, Asus could pack in some impressive audio tech that’d drain the batteries of many wireless headsets. First up, it boasts an ESS 9018 DAC that delivers 24-bit/96kHz lossless playback with an ESS 9601 amp on hand to provide punchy bass, making huge explosions and epic game soundtracks sound incredible.
You’ll also find virtual 7.1 surround sound developed with Bongiovi Acoustics that’ll help you locate the exact direction of those nearby footsteps. Overall, the audio is crystal clear with no noticeable distortion, even at high volumes, though we must note that it is pretty bass heavy (standard for gaming headsets).
You’ll also find a retractable digital boom mic that automatically mutes when retracted, negating the need to fiddle around with controls when you need to have a private chat (or accidentally leaving it unmuted for the whole party to hear!).
10. Onikuma II
The Onikuma II might be one of the cheapest gaming headsets in our roundup, but we think it’s a steal for the price. The build quality is decent and it doesn’t feel like a cheap pair of headphones in the hand or on the head, and it even sports a Blue LED for that typical gamer look.
The large, soft memory-protein earmuffs and headband provide a comfortable gaming experience and help alleviate pressure on the head and ears, but we must admit that they did become a little sweaty after prolonged use. The thick earcups also provide passive noise cancellation, helping you to drown out the environment and focus during intense gaming sessions without pumping the volume up too much.
You can crank it up if you want though; the audio provided by the 50mm drivers is loud and clear, and while they don’t boast the clarity of some premium headsets, the headphones don’t suffer from distortion at any volume. There’s a decent level of bass too, helping you become immersed in every gunshot and explosion. You’ll be able to pick up on quiet sounds that you’d miss if you were using speakers, and give you an edge in gameplay.
The main draw of the Onikuma II is the compatibility it offers; the wired nature of the headset means that it’s compatible with PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, 3DS, iOS and Android smartphones and essentially any headphone jack-touting device. This is ideal for those that own multiple systems, as you’ll no longer need to have several platform-specific headsets to hand.
If you’re on the hunt for something cheap and cheerful, the Onikuma II is a great option to consider.