Your team leader barks a command, trying to get you to move into position. Bullets whistle past your ear, and explosions light up the sky overhead. A sneaky enemy creeps up behind you with knife unsheathed, grinning evilly at the prospect of shanking you in the back. In between the gunfire chatter, grenade explosions, and ongoing communication with your team, it’s almost too much to process — that is, unless you have one of the best PC gaming headsets.

The scenario above is just one of the many situations where having a high-quality headset with optimized surround sound will prove its worth. That said, picking out a gaming headset or headphones can be a daunting task… there are just so many options on the market today.

No fear, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. If it’s time to upgrade to a high-quality headset, read on — we’ve provided an overview of some great headsets and picked out a few of the best to take a closer look at. Some headsets can get pretty spendy, but if you’ve been using pack-in headphones that came with your PC, ancient headphones, or some iPod buds, the difference is unreal.

Zoom In: The 10 Best PC Gaming Headsets

Here are the best headsets for PC gamers in 2021.

1. Razer BlackShark V2

Razer BlackShark V2

The best PC gaming headset overall

Manufacturer: Razer | Connection Type: Wired, 3.5mm Aux and USB DAC | Audio: THX Spatial Audio | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile | Price: 💰💰

The offerings from Razer are always competitive, but they’ve really outdone themselves with the BlackShark V2. This wired gaming headset comes equipped with THX 7.1 surround sound driven by a USB DAC adaptor, meaning it has a full range of sound in addition to being able to help you pinpoint the direction you just heard footsteps.

The speakers have powerful 50mm Triforce Titanium drivers that individually tune highs, mids, and lows for even more sound clarity. The Razer HyperClear Cardioid is also one of the better microphones on this list.

There’s a wireless version called the BlackShark V2 Pro, though it’s significantly more expensive.

The BlackShark isn’t the most feature-rich gaming headset out there, but it is hitting significantly above its weight class in terms of price. That’s why we think it’s not only the best Razer headset for PC gaming, but the best PC gaming headset overall.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Under $100
  • Lightweight
  • THX 7.1 Surround sound
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • USB DAC is only compatible with PC
  • Not as loud as some users would like
  • There’s no way to control in-game chat volume

2. ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless

ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless

The best premium PC gaming headset

Manufacturer: ASTRO | Connection Type: Wireless, USB base station | Audio: Dolby Audio, Stereo | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5 | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Willing to drop a few extra ducats for premium audio that will knock your socks off? The Astro A50 Wireless is our pick for the best splurge PC gaming headset due to its superior audio quality and comfort. The base station that serves as storage, a recharging port, and the wireless receiver is a definite bonus!

The A50 Wireless has Dolby audio, a battery life of over 15 hours via a lithium-ion battery, and “Game: Voice Balance,” which allows the user to control their chat and game volume separately. It’s the best sound a gamer can buy.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Comes with USB base station
  • Lossless, low-latency wireless connection
  • Lighter and more comfortable than previous generations
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • $300 price point
  • Quieter in wireless mode
  • Software and setup could use a little refinement

3. HyperX Cloud Stinger Core

HyperX Cloud Stinger Core

The best budget PC gaming headset

Manufacturer: HyperX | Connection Type: Wired, 3.5mm Aux | Audio: Sterio | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile | Price: 💰

You don’t need to spend triple digits to get a decent sound. The best cheap PC gaming headset is the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core. These guys come in at just over $30, but their sound quality belongs amongst mid-range headsets.

The Cloud Stinger Core is lightweight with a stylish all-black design that gives a gamer look without being over the top. It also has a noise-canceling, adjustable microphone with a volume wheel and a mute switch on the cable.

There’s also a version that comes with 7.1 surround sound for $50 and a wireless version for $80.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Under $50
  • Good bass quality
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Weak noise cancelation
  • Wires plug in both earcups
  • Highs aren’t as clean as other models

4. SteelSeries Arctis 7

SteelSeries Arctis 7

The best wireless PC gaming headset

Manufacturer: SteelSeries | Connection Type: Wireless 2.4GHz USB dongle, Wired 3.5mm Aux | Audio: DTS 2.0 7.1 Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5 | Price: 💰💰💰

Wires can be irritating, but a good wireless headset can be hard to come by. Luckily there’s the SteelSeries Arctis 7. We feel that this is the best wireless PC gaming headset due to its low-latency 2.4 GHz connection, excellent sound quality, and astounding 24-hour battery life. 

The ski goggle elastic headband gives the Arctis series a unique aesthetic that separates them from other gaming headsets. They use s1 speaker drivers focused on clarity, making it easier for you to detect important details without getting lost in the noise. The mic quality isn’t half bad either. You can also adjust chat and game volume levels via a dial on the headset.

  • USERS LIKE
  • 360-degree surround sound
  • 24-hour wireless battery life
  • Adjustable EQ software with multiple sound profiles
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Mesh ear cups can be scratchy
  • Surround sound isn’t compatible with PS4/PS5
  • Bass levels require some EQ tinkering out of the box

5. Logitech G Pro X

Logitech G Pro X

The best wired PC gaming headset

Manufacturer: Logitech | Connection Type: Wired, 3.5mm Aux and USB DAC | Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile | Price: 💰💰💰

The best wired PC gaming headset has to be the Logitech G Pro X. These have become a popular choice in the world of e-sports, and for good reason. These give players excellent spatial awareness without sacrificing audio quality. 

The mouthpiece was designed by Blue, one of the biggest names in microphones, so you know your comms are going to be crystal clear. They’re also super comfortable, with ear pads coming in passive noise canceling leatherette or breathable velour. We put them on our list of best headsets for Fortnite, but these are a must for any competitive gamer.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Blue VO!CE Microphone
  • Premium aluminum build quality
  • Control software offers plenty of customization options
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Heavy
  • Too much bass with DTS turned on
  • Not a great fit for people with large heads

6. HyperX Cloud II

HyperX Cloud II

The best 7.1 PC gaming headset

Manufacturer: HyperX | Connection Type: Wired, 3.5mm Aux and USB DAC | Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile | Price: 💰💰

7.1 surround sound isn’t just about sound quality. You need to be able to hear your opponent’s footsteps or else detect which direction you heard the anguished cry of a mutated monster. It’s just as much tactical as it is aesthetic.

Our choice for the best 7.1 PC gaming headset is the HyperX Cloud II. These have been around for a few years, but they’re still among the best headphones on the market. They come equipped with a USB DAC which can produce some truly outstanding and full sound for a pretty reasonable price.

Check out our full review here.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Excellent mic quality
  • Balanced 7.1 surround sound
  • Comfortable leatherette padded ear cushions and headband
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No EQ control software
  • 3.5mm Aux cable is short
  • Microphone output is quiet but at the same time very sensitive

7. Corsair Virtuoso

Corsair Virtuoso

The best PC gaming headset with a premium microphone

Manufacturer: Corsair | Connection Type: Wireless 2.4GHz USB Dongle, Wired USB, and 3.5MM Aux | Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Are you a streamer or content creator that wants to make sure they’ve got the best mic possible? The Corsair Virtuoso might be the headset for you. Not only does it have 7.1 surround sound boosted by 50mm high-density neodymium drivers, it also has the best mic you can find on a PC headset to boot.

The Virtuoso has a Discord certified, “9.5mm broadcast-grade, omni-directional, high-bandwidth detachable microphone with excellent low-end response.”

It also has Corsair iCUE software for tuning audio profiles and customizing RGB.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Premium build quality
  • Immersive 7.1 surround sound
  • Wireless and wired options available
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Small ear cups
  • $200 price point
  • Sub-par noise cancelation

8. Logitech G Pro X Wireless

Logitech G Pro X Wireless

The best PC gaming headset under $200

Manufacturer: Logitech | Connection Type: Wireless, 2.4GHz USB Dongle | Audio: 2.0 7.1 Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Do you like the Logitech G Pro X, but not the cable? There’s a wireless version too, and it’s our pick for the best PC gaming headset under $200!

The Logitech G Pro X Wireless has all the same features we loved in its wired counterpart, but with a 2.4GHz wireless connection using Logitech’s patented LIGHTSPEED technology for extremely low-latency connectivity. It also promises over 20 hours of battery life and 15m of wireless range.

You can read our full review here.

  • USERS LIKE
  • 24-hour battery life
  • The lows, mids, and highs all sound great
  • Logitech LIGHTSPEED has extremely low, 1ms latency
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Heavy
  • Difficult to replace ear cups
  • Doesn’t fit well on people with large heads

9. Corsair HS60

Corsair HS60

The best PC gaming headset under $100

Manufacturer: Corsair | Connection Type: Wired, USB | Audio: Stereo, Windows Sonic Surround Sound | Compatibility: PC | Price: 💰💰

If you’re seeking the best of the best PC gaming headsets under $100, look no further than the Corsair HS60. These things have some phenomenal sound quality, but they also use Taction Technology to give the listener haptic feedback in the bass. That means you can actually feel the sound.

Throw in aluminum construction and leatherette coated memory-foam ear cups, and you won’t find anything better for less than a Benjamin.

You can check out our full list of the best gaming headsets under $100 (featuring the HS60) here.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Under $100
  • Adjustable bass with haptics
  • Detachable mic and flexible mic boom with a mic cover
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Camo design
  • No wireless mode
  • The headrest isn’t as comfortable as other models

10. HyperX Cloud Stinger

HyperX Cloud Stinger

The best PC gaming headset under $50

Manufacturer: HyperX | Connection Type: Wired, 3.5mm Aux | Audio: Sterio | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox series S/X, Nintendo Switch, Mobile | Price: 💰

Got fifty bucks to spend and want to get one of the best PC gaming headsets possible? You should take a look at the HyperX Cloud Stinger. We covered these when they were first announced because we were so excited that such a quality headset would be available so cheap.

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is our choice for the best PC gaming headset under $50 because it’s lightweight with rotating, memory-foam ear cups and uses 50-millimeter directional drivers to boost premium stereo sound. It’s worth noting that there’s a version of these with 7.1 surround sound if you can spare an extra $15.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Under $50
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Comfortable for all head sizes
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No surround sound
  • Can feel loose due to low clamping force
  • Plastic parts creak when handled and break easily

Buyer’s Guide: Best PC Gaming Headsets

Best PC Gaming Headsets
Image: Gorodenkoff via Getty Images

Comprehensive awareness in any game — particularly competitive ones — is a decisive advantage to have over your opponents. If you’re playing in a team setting, the best PC gaming headsets will enable you to communicate clearly with your friends while seamlessly enjoying the game’s audio. Even if you’re not the competitive gamer type, it’s still nice to experience a game by being immersed in high definition, realistic sound.

Like most gaming hardware, these puppies can get pretty complex. We will discuss what you need to know to pick out the best gaming headset that suits your needs.

1. Over-ear (circumaural) vs. on-ear (supra-aural). Over-ear headsets are typically heavier and more expensive than on-ear ones. However, the sacrifice in comfort is usually worth keeping all that external noise out (dang vacuum cleaner…).

2. Open back vs. closed back. These are the two types of over-ear headsets. Most of the best PC gaming headsets are closed back, which isolates each ear from outside noise. However, some over-ear headsets are open back, which will still allow you to hear outside noise. Although most seem to prefer closed back, some people like the sound of open-back better, arguing that it sounds more natural.

3. Stereo or surround sound. The water gets a little murky here. Generally, stereo will sound better, but surround sound will facilitate you being able to identify “where” a sound is coming from. Some surround sound headsets are just crap, so it depends on the quality of the drivers (speakers) the manufacturer is using. The bottom line? In some types of games, players can enormously benefit from surround sound, which enables the user to hear spatial sound effects (FPS gamers may benefit the most). We aren’t going to get into a debate about which is better, though, as both work. It’s just a matter of personal preference and what you will be using your headset for.

4. USB or Analog. Generally, you want to stick with analog headsets that connect to an audio source using a standard audio connection. USB headsets bypass your sound card. It will process sound before it reaches your ear, so if it’s a really nice USB headset, it will have pretty good sound quality. This is all a wash if you have a powerful sound card, however. In this case, you should just buy an analog set.

5. Wired or wireless. The rule of thumb is that if you’re looking at two similarly priced headsets and one is wireless, and the other is wired, the wired one will sound better. That’s not to say there aren’t some great-sounding wireless headsets out there. The kicker is, the wireless headsets that perform well usually come at a very high cost. Sometimes a sacrifice in sound quality is just plain worth it. The convenience of not having to deal with an annoying cord and being able to move throughout your whole house is quite lovely.

6. Removable/washable ear cups. In most cases, the best PC gaming headsets re going to see a lot of use. It can be a nice bonus feature when they are easy to clean.

7. Detachable microphone. Transforms your headset into headphones when you’re not in those multiplayer battles. Certainly not a must-have but a nice convenience.

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