So, you’re ready to elevate your gaming experience with a brand-new headset? Good decision. The right gaming headset can deepen your immersion and help you feel closer to the people you play with. Picking one is admittedly a tough choice, with so many models to choose from with lists of features that raise more questions than they answer.
First, you need to decide if you want a gaming headset or gaming headphones. The latter is more traditionally used for listening to music but possesses awesome audio quality for your gaming needs. Gaming headphones do not come with a built-in microphone, so it can lead to higher initial investment. They are worth it though if playing games where accurate sound cues are critical to success, such as Fortnite and Apex Legends.
Gaming headsets are a more all-in-one solution, featuring a mic that can be detachable or retractable and other features to specifically enhance your gaming experience. Ultimately, you need to pick one which will suit you. We have come up with what we feel are the five most important factors in figuring that out. They are: build, connectivity, audio quality, communication, and compatibility. Follow us through this guide as we go through each of these in turn. By the end, you’ll know exactly what you want in your gaming headset.
Consider Your Gaming Headset’s Build Quality
With build quality we’re referring to both the durability and comfort of your headset. This means making sure everything from the headband to the ear cups is made of quality material that can stand up to the long hours of gaming you’ll be putting it through.
For headbands, all-metal arc structures or wire frames will serve you better than even high-quality plastic material. Lightweight materials are preferrable as they are more comfortable to wear over prolonged periods. It’s also less taxing to wear if you are not of a heavy-set frame. Don’t dismiss heavier headsets outright though, as they can be the more durable product overall.
Comfort is never to be slept on, especially if you’re planning any marathon gaming sessions. A decent headset should sit properly around your head, without bending your ears, or slipping even when moving your head around. Properly padded headbands are a must, and typically use either pure foam, velour, pleather, or leather.
Large, soft ear cups that sit just above and below your ears are best and come in the same selection of materials as headbands. Memory-foam velour is kind when it comes to comfort, while leather takes the crown for durability.
Wired versus Wireless Gaming Headsets
Wired headsets are best if you are primarily a stationary user. They offer some flexibility across platforms provided they feature a compatible input, with a 3.5mm jack being the most common. These types of headsets also don’t require charging so you won’t be limited in usage. They typically cost less than their wireless counterparts and have more offerings from entry-level to high-end.
Wireless headsets offer more freedom of movement, great if you want a pair you can use on the go for music and gaming, provided you keep the batteries charged. Most models offer 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity and Bluetooth options to work with a wider range of devices.
Major manufacturers thankfully tend to offer both versions with each model so you won’t need to compromise your choice for convenience.
|2.4 GHz Wireless
|PC (Check your device supports these)
|Xbox Series X/S/One
|Yes (Firmware version 13.0.0 or later)
|Yes (if device has input)
|Yes (if device is Bluetooth compatible)
What Kind of Audio Quality Do You Need?
You’ll want to check what kind of noise isolation your headset offers. Headsets with Passive Noise Isolation are physically designed to block sounds from outside sources. This is typically done through closed backs and tight-fitting headbands and ear cups.
There are also headsets with Active Noise Cancelling technology, which filters out background noise for clearer and better audio quality. These are better for eliminating lower range sounds and ambient noises, while noise isolation will effectively eliminate higher pitched sounds.
There’s also surround sound to consider, which can be an essential feature for gaming. This most commonly takes form in stereo headsets, which play audio out of each speaker to create a sense of spacial audio.
If you’re after true omnidirectional hearing, then consider Virtual Surround or 3D Sound. Virtual Surround creates the sensation of audio coming from multiple directions and channels by tricking your brain. On the other hand, 3D Sound intelligently maps audio to create authentic depth of sound. Arguably the superior option, this is still in its early days as far as support from games is concerned.
Gaming Headsets with Microphones
For more causal or multipurpose users, having a microphone integrated into your gaming headset is generally more convenient than a separate one. So, must-have functions like noise-cancelation and muting are important. Since most headset microphones will be omnidirectional, noise-cancelling functionality is a must to filter out sounds like your breathing. Quick muting is utilitarian, great for intense gaming sessions where you mutter under your breath more than speaking.
What Platform is Your Gaming Headset For?
Of course, you already know the answer to this question. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a platform in mind for your new gaming headset. The two need to be compatible, but what if you like to slide from shooters on your PC to thrashing your friends at Mario Kart on your Switch? Provided your devices require the same-sized jack for their inputs, your wired headset should be compatible. Be sure not to always take this for granted though and check before buying.
Our Gaming Headset Recommendations
There are plenty of great gaming headsets to choose from here at Overclockers UK. We’ve picked out a few favourites that suit different needs for you to check out first. Who knows, they just may turn out to be ‘the one’ for you!
Asus ROG Delta Core Wired Gaming Headset
If you need a multi-platform option, the ASUS ROG Delta Core Wired Gaming Headset could be the one for you. With its 3.5mm jack you can pair it up with your PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and mobile device. Whatever you use it with you can be sure of an immersive audio experience thanks to the exclusive ASUS Essence drivers and the airtight chamber. This all comes wrapped in comfortable and ergonomic D-shaped cushions made of a breathable fabric mesh. What’s more, easy muting and volume control are housed on the ear cup. So, on the fly adjustments are only ever a button push away!
Available to buy for £89.99*
Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless Gaming Headset
For a rich, atmospheric, and lifelike audio experience, the Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless Gaming Headset has you covered. It uses THX Spatial Audio‘s advanced 7.1 surround sound and Razer HyperSense for a full 360° experience. The lightweight aluminum frame and auto adjusting headband offer comfort for everyone alongside excellent durability. If all that sounds great, but you’re looking for a wired headset then don’t worry! The 3.5mm wired mode option is available and allows for seamless cross-platform compatibility.
Available to buy for £179.99*
Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless Gaming Headset
The Steelseries Arctic Pro Wireless Gaming Headset is perfect for audiophiles. It features Hi-Res sound that can be enjoyed on both PC and PS4, delivering earth-shaking bass and crystal-clear highs. Enjoy your sound lag-free in 2.4 GHz mode, or switch to Bluetooth for universal compatibility with smartphones and tablets. What’s more, it comes with a retractable ClearCast microphone equipped with noise cancellation. Paired with its closed construction, this is a great headset for those who want a little privacy and alone time with their games.
Available to buy for £299.99*
*Prices correct at the time of writing