8 best gaming headsets to fully immerse yourself in play

·10-min read
We considered comfort, quality, value for money and any special features (iStock/The Independent)
We considered comfort, quality, value for money and any special features (iStock/The Independent)

The best gaming headsets enhance your time playing your favourite games. They offer great sound quality while feeling comfortable on your head, but it helps if they look good too. After all, no one wants to go to the expense of a shiny new gaming headset that looks ridiculous while you’re streaming to the masses.

Whether you simply want a bit more intimacy while you play or you’re looking to become the next big Twitch sensation, you need the right gaming headset for your system. Different consoles such as the Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch all require slightly different connections, and you might need a headset that also plays nicely with your PC.

As important to consider as gaming mice or gaming keyboards, you want a headset that is comfortable yet practical. They double up as ways in which to listen to music or take calls too so it’s important to think about the style as well as whether you want a traditional wired or wireless headset to wear.

You’ll also want to consider your budget, as it’s possible to spend a little or a lot on the latest gaming headset depending on what you need from it. Whatever your plans, we’ve picked out the best gaming headsets you can buy right now.

How we tested

We tested numerous gaming headsets over the course of at least a month. We used them during regular gaming sessions of Fortnite, Overwatch, Resident Evil Village, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, and New World, as well as across many other games. When picking our favourites, we paid attention to how comfortable the headset felt during extended sessions, how good the audio sounded, and we looked at any other features each headset offered. We also considered how easy it was to use each of them on different consoles and with a PC and Mac.

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The best gaming headsets for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Corsair HS80: £139.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best lightweight headset – Logitech G435: £69.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best premium headset – JBL quantum one: £203, Jbl.com

  • Best wired headset – SteelSeries arctis prime: £94.79, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best budget headset – Turtle beach recon 70: £23.99, Argos.co.uk

  • Best for Xbox – Corsair HS75: £169.99, Corsair.com

  • Best for battery life – SteelSeries arctis 9: £179, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for tweaking – HyperX cloud II: £79.99, Currys.co.uk

Corsair HS80

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 370g

  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours

  • Compatibility: PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

  • Extra features: Dolby Atmos sound, built-in LED mute indicator

The Corsair HS80 does mostly everything right. An extraordinarily comfortable headset to wear, it feels snug around your head without pinching at any point. Such comfort is backed up by Dolby Atmos audio on the PC so you can enjoy three-dimensional sound at every turn. That helps your chances in multiplayer while also ensuring single-player sessions feel far more atmospheric. PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 players can enjoy similar benefits thanks to the wireless dongle working there too.

Besides the high-end 50mm high-density neodymium drivers, other features include a convenient omni-directional microphone that can be flipped up to be muted when convenient. A built-in LED mute indicator means you always know when it’s switched off. Up to 20 hours of battery life plus 60 feet of range round off the excellent package that’s sure to delight PlayStation and PC owners alike.

Buy now £139.99, Amazon.co.uk

Logitech G435

Best: Lightweight headset

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 165g

  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours

  • Console compatibility: PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5

  • Extra features: Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic support, built-in mic

Lighter than most headsets, the Logitech G435 is ideal if you need the lightest headset out there. Despite its slender size, it still sounds great thanks to some good quality 40mm drivers that provide well-balanced audio and a great soundstage. Compatibility with Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic proves useful here too.

Elsewhere, the Logitech G435 looks a little more charming than most so it suits the streaming lifestyle. It’s designed well too, with a mic that’s built into the headset so there’s no awkward mic arm sticking out. Somehow, it still sounds fine to talk through. With 18 hours of battery life, it should serve players well for a while between charges.

Buy now £69.99, Amazon.co.uk

JBL quantum one

Best: Premium headset

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 369 grams

  • Battery life: Wired

  • Console compatibility: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and smartphone

  • Extra features: Head tracking for PC users, active noise cancellation

Built like some of the pricier headphones out there, the JBL quantum one offers active noise cancellation so you can block out all surrounding sounds and focus entirely on the game you’re playing. That makes a huge difference to the sound quality as it feels far more immersive than the competition.

Far from cheap, the JBL quantum one packs in the features elsewhere too with compatibility with all major systems as well as smartphones. There’s some rather fancy head-tracking technology at play too for PC gamers so it’s that bit easier to pinpoint where a sound is coming from. The downside? This is a wired headset, which won’t suit everyone’s needs, but does mean no worries about battery life.

Buy now £203.00, Jbl.com

SteelSeries arctis prime

Best: Wired headset

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 348g

  • Battery life: Wired

  • Console compatibility: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

  • Extra features: Noise isolating ear cushions, bi-directional mic

A wired solution means you don’t have to worry about wireless lag or remembering to recharge your headset. The SteelSeries arctis prime is a great example of that offering excellent audio quality in a wired format. Its lightweight design means it won’t feel too heavy on your head with 40mm drivers ensuring sound is strong and competent.

Other features include noise-isolating ear cushions that do a decent job of blocking out surrounding noises, a Discord-certified bi-directional microphone that sounds crisp at all times, plus compatibility with PlayStation and Xbox as well as PC. You might miss the wireless connectivity but otherwise, these are solid all-rounders.

Buy now £94.79, Amazon.co.uk

Turtle Beach recon 70

Best: Budget headset

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 510g

  • Battery life: Wired

  • Console compatibility: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and PC

  • Extra features: Flip-up mic

If you simply need a cheap way to talk to friends and listen in a bit more intimately than through TV speakers, the Turtle beach recon 70 is a good option. It’s not as comfy as more expensive headsets and nor does it offer quite as exceptional sound quality, but it’s also no slouch either. It sounds good enough and while it’s not exactly light, you won’t feel too weighed down either.

While there’s no memory foam support, the ear cushions feel good and the 40mm drivers go some way to ensure you still get an immersive experience, able to spot where someone is coming from via sounds. It’s a wired headset so it works with anything possible plus it has an easy to flip up mic. Simple yet effective is the order of the day here.

Buy now £23.99, Argos.co.uk

Corsair HS75

Best: For Xbox

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 330g

  • Battery life: Up to 18 hours

  • Console compatibility: Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S

  • Extra features: Dolby Atmos support, noise-cancelling microphone, adjustable ear cups

Being officially licensed for Xbox pays off for the Corsair HS75 as it pairs up well without any need for a wireless adapter. In exchange, you get immersive Dolby Atmos sound which works particularly well when playing atmospheric horror games like Resident Evil Village (£49.99, Amazon.co.uk). Being able to hear what’s around you enhances the quality of games a lot and the custom-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers work like a dream.

Alongside that is a noise-cancelling unidirectional microphone for multiplayer sessions but you can always choose to detach it. It’s comfortable too, with the headset moulding around your head well courtesy of memory foam and adjustable ear cups. It can get a little warm at times but you’ll never suffer from any aches or discomfort.

Buy now £169.99, Corsair.com

SteelSeries arctis 9

Best: For battery life

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 370g

  • Battery life: Over 20 hours

  • Console compatibility: PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5

  • Extra features: ChatMix feature, noise cancellation mic

With over 20 hours of battery life promised (and more experienced in our tests), the SteelSeries arctis 9 is ideal if you hate recharging between gaming sessions. It also sounds fantastic with lag-free audio and powerful 40mm neodymium drivers that ensure a wide soundstage no matter what you’re playing.

It’s an expensive option but it’s the little things that soon add up, like the fact it offers a simultaneous Bluetooth connection for taking calls or listening to music while you game. A Discord-certified microphone provides plenty of clarity and noise cancellation plus you can use the controls to tweak how much of the game or chat you listen into at any time.

Buy now £179.00, Amazon.co.uk

HyperX cloud II

Best: For tweaking

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 275g

  • Battery life: Wired

  • Console compatibility: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

  • Extra features: USB audio control box, memory foam support, detachable mic

If you prefer to be able to tweak your headset like with regular headphones, the HyperX cloud II offers a useful audio sound card that provides you with 7.1 virtual surround sound plus plenty of controls. That means a more personalised experience if you’re willing to experiment with independent controls for both audio and microphone too.

Whatever you decide to do, the 53mm drivers ensure this headset sounds pretty good with a strong soundstage to ensure you can hear people sneak up on you. Memory foam on the headband and ear cushions means it feels comfortable at all times too, with a detachable mic giving you a bit of freedom. For extra freedom, consider the far pricier wireless option (£149.99, Amazon.co.uk).

Buy now £79.99, Amazon.co.uk

The verdict: Gaming headsets

The Corsair HS80 is easily the best gaming headset for most PlayStation and PC owners thanks to its great Dolby Atmos sound, comfortable fit, and convenient features such as a flippable microphone and built-in LED mute indicator. It feels great around your head for a number of hours which is ideal for extensive gaming sessions.

Alternatively, if not needing to recharge so often is crucial without making any compromises, there’s the SteelSeries arctis 9. It’s a premium purchase but it offers exceptional battery life and great sound which means you’ll always hear who (or what) is about to sneak up on you.

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