Who wants to hang out in real life when you can spend time with your friends in virtual reality?

VRChat is a free-to-play MMO and VR social networking platform that allows players to take on a 3D avatar and interact with other players in a virtual space. Best of all? It’s free! We put it at number three on our list of the six best multiplayer VR games and number five on our list of the ten best free VR games for immersive action. You may also want to check out our top mobile VR headset picks if you’re interested in a VR experience for your smartphone.

You can play games and build your own private worlds for you and your friends to spend time in. There is a desktop mode, but you’re going to need a headset if you want to get the full virtual experience. So, what is the best headset for VRChat?

There are dozens of VR headsets on the market today, as the technology keeps getting more and more advanced all the time. We decided to make this list of the best VR headsets for VRChat, filtering the less worthy tech so you can choose your equipment with confidence.

5 Best VR Headsets for VRChat

Ready to see the best VR headset for VRChat 2021 has to offer? It’s time to list our top five!

1. Oculus Rift S

Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset

The Best VR Headset for VRChat Overall

Manufacturer: Oculus VR and Lenovo | Display: Fast-switch LCD 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye) | Refresh Rate: 80 Hz | Field of View: 115-degrees | Price: 💰💰💰

Oculus has been the biggest name in VR for a while now, and for good reason. There are a few VR headsets out there that outperform the Oculus Rift S, but only one or two that even come close to its value.

Costing less than half as much as most high-end sets, the Rift S offers 1440p resolution fast-switch LCD displays and an 80Hz refresh rate. That means crystal clear images and enough frames per second that you won’t feel like losing your lunch after a few minutes of play. The displays were designed for “improved optics [that] deliver bright, vivid colors and reduced ‘screen-door’ effect.”

The Oculus Rift S comes with two of the second-generation Oculus Touch controllers (the same ones used with the Oculus Quest). It also has built-in speakers to allow the use of the headset without the addition of headphones.

The Oculus Rift S has great motion tracking, excellent controllers, a good display, and a bargain price. It’s also extremely comfortable for longer gaming sessions. There are better headsets out there, but be prepared to pay double or even triple the cost. That’s why it’s our top pick for the best VR headset for VRChat overall.

  • USERS LIKE
  • $300 price point
  • Halo strap provides superior comfort
  • Built-in speakers so you don’t need to wear headphones as well.
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Facebook log-in required for use
  • DisplayPort only, no HDMI
  • Not enough significant improvements over the Rift CV1

2. Valve Index

Valve Index VR Full Kit

The Best Premium VR Headset for VRChat

Manufacturer: Valve | Display: LCD 2880×1600 (1440×1600 per eye) | Refresh Rate: 80 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, or an experimental 144 Hz mode | Field of View: 130-degrees | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Want the best of the best, even if you have to pay a steep premium to get it? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better VR headset than the Valve Index! It’s got two of the best LCD panels available and a refresh rate that goes all the way up to 144Hz, blowing everything else out of the water. 

Rather than using integrated headphones like other VR headsets, it uses speakers that can be positioned just off the ear, angled to fire directly into the ear canal. This provides superior audio without taking away your spatial awareness. It also uses their new “knuckles” controllers, which don’t actually require you to hold onto them at all. They have an adjustable strap that tightens them to your hands. Then the controllers use sensors along the grips to detect the positions of your fingers!

Sure, you don’t need to spend $1,000 on a VR headset to play VRChat, but if you want the best motion tracking, the best image quality, the fastest refresh rate, and the best controls, the Valve Index can’t be beat!

As Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips said in his review of the Valve Index, “this is absolutely the king of VR headsets right now.”

  • USERS LIKE
  • Top of the line integrated audio
  • Premium display with up to 144Hz refresh rate
  • Room-scale VR
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • $1000 price point
  • Frustrating initial set-up
  • Requires base stations

3. BNext VR Headset

BNEXT VR Headset

The Best Budget VR Headset for VRChat

Manufacturer: BNext | Display: 4″-6.3″ smartphones | Refresh Rate: N/A | Field of View: 360 degrees | Price: 💰

Not everyone is looking to drop a ton of cash just to play a little VRChat. Maybe you have some friends on the platform and want to try it out without spending a ton of money. Well, I have some good news. You don’t need to if you already have a smartphone! This one is a little bit of a hack, though, so don’t expect it to be plug-and-play.

VRChat is a PC and Oculus exclusive — it can’t be played on mobile. You can work around this by downloading an app called VRidge, which allows you to stream SteamVR from your computer to your mobile device either over WiFi or linked via USB. The free version is capped at ten minutes, but you can sign up for unlimited for $15.

We should note that this solution isn’t perfect, and you might experience some lag. That said, if you just want to dip your toes into VRChat without spending triple digits on a headset, this could be a viable solution.

The BNext Mobile VR Headset was our pick for the best mobile VR headset because of its viewing quality, comfort, and wide range of compatibility with different size smart devices. Combine it with VRidge, and it’s our pick for the best cheap VR headset for VRChat.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Under $40
  • Comes with a tool to make sure your phone is centered
  • Works with a wide variety of phones
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Doesn’t come with a controller
  • Made of ABS plastic
  • Need to open the “drawer” to access the phone

4. Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2

The Best Wireless VR Headset for VRChat

Manufacturer: Oculus | Display: LCD (1832 x 1920 per eye) | Refresh Rate: 90Hz | Field of View: 90-degrees (estimated) | Price: 💰💰💰

The Oculus Quest 2 is a bit like Pinocchio — it’s got no strings to hold it down!

The Quest 2 is the second iteration of Oculus’s popular wireless VR headset. It has an Android operating system, 6GB memory, and a powerful Snapdragon XR2 processor on board to play games without a PC tether. There are two variations, a $300 one that comes with 64GB storage and a $400 one that comes with 256GB.

One of the best things about the Oculus Quest 2 is that while it is built to be a wireless platform, you do have the option to tether it to a PC if you want to use the PC’s superior graphics processing.

This is an excellent option if you don’t own a gaming PC or simply don’t want to have a cable dangling off your back while you play. VRChat can be used in both wired and wireless modes since it’s available on the Oculus platform.

Why not check out our list of the five best VR horror games when you’re done hanging out in VRChat? You won’t have to worry about jump scares making you pull out the cable!

  • USERS LIKE
  • More affordable than other high-end VR headsets
  • Built-in 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Accurate motion tracking
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • You need a Facebook account to activate it
  • Only ~2.5 hours battery life
  • Pop-up appears at 15% battery life

5. HTC Vive Cosmos

HTC VIVE Cosmos

The Best HTC VR Headset for VRChat

Manufacturer: HTC | Display: LCD 2880×1700 | Refresh Rate: 90Hz | Field of View: 110-degrees | Price: 💰💰💰💰

The original HTC Vive was the premier VR headset in its day, and the Vive Cosmos is HTC’s newest attempt to rekindle that magic.  

The Vive Cosmos has an “inside-out” tracking system. That means that the headset tracks the room rather than exterior “lighthouse” sensors tracking it from the outside. It has six cameras (two more than the Oculus Quest 2) and a pair of LCD screens with ever so slightly better resolution than the Valve Index. 

Another nice feature is that the screen part of the headset flips up, freeing you to look around the real world without having to remove the headset completely.

The Vive Cosmos is hard to place. It’s expensive, but it occupies a middle-ground between the Oculus Quest 2 and the Valve Index. Definitely check out our list of the ten best HTC Vive VR games if you do choose to get it, though. (VRChat is number nine!)

  • USERS LIKE
  • Wireless capability
  • Beautiful, high-resolution screens
  • Improved motion controls
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • $700 price point
  • Didn’t innovate enough from the original HTC Vive
  • Too many cables

Buyer’s Guide

Best Headsets for VRChat Buyer's Guide

Here’s a quick buyer’s guide to help you decide which VR headset is right for you.

  • What are you using it for? Are you just buying this headset for VRChat, or do you plan on using it for a variety of different games and media? Check the hardware compatibility for every game you wish to play and ensure the product you choose meets all the criteria.
  • Check PC hardware requirements. Many high-end, PC-tethered VR headsets have system requirements that need to be met to function. For example, the Valve Index requires a system with Windows 10 OS, a dual-core processor or better, at least 8GB memory, and a GPU with the minimum processing power of a GTX 970 or RX480 and the recommended power of a GTX 1070 or better. Check that your PC is up to the task of powering your new headset before committing to a purchase.
  • Consider your price range. There’s a significant performance gap between a premium VR experience, like the HTC Vive Pro, and the experience you’ll get from something like Google Cardboard. There’s also a big price gap. Think about how much you’re willing to spend and what kind of experience you expect to get from your purchase.

Our Process

For this guide on the best VR headsets for VRChat, our writers spent 10 hours researching the most popular headsets from 10 brands and manufacturers, big and small. After comparing this data, we then read over 200 user reviews (both positive and negative) and narrowed our list down to the top 5 best VR headsets for VRChat on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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Thanks for reading our list of the five best VR headsets for VRChat. Be sure to follow High Ground Gaming for news, reviews, and more lists like this one. Happy gaming!