Best gaming headsets in 2024: I'd bet my ears on these headphones

Two of the best headsets side by side on a pink background.
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming headset is one of the most surprisingly powerful upgrades you can make to your gaming setup. Or maybe it's not actually that surprising, because the impact good game audio can have on your experience can be huge. Surrounding yourself with a detailed soundscape—as the developers intended—will ground you in a game world like nothing else.

The headsets on this list are chosen from the dozens the PC Gamer hardware team and I have tested. Between us, we've got decades of experience of the best and worst audio gear ever made. Considering all the options, we've decided today's best gaming headset is the evergreen HyperX Cloud Alpha.

If you want to ditch the cord, the best wireless gaming headset is the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. With great audio and a class-leading 300 hours of battery life, it's an easy recommendation. If you prefer to spend a little less, the Corsair HS55 is the best budget gaming headset.

Curated by...
Dave James
Curated by...
Dave James

Dave's been an audiophile since his time running Techradar's Home Entertainment channel around half a million years ago (give or take). Having tested the whole spread of different quality gaming gear, including $51,000 headphones, he's best placed to say which budget cans still sound good, and which high-end headsets are worth the cash.

The Quick List

Recent updates

Updated July 11, 2024 to update and improve the headset reviews, add a best earbuds section, and ensure each recommendation is the best for its category.

Best gaming headset

HyperX Cloud Alpha headset on a gradient background.

(Image credit: Future)
The best wired gaming headset

Specifications

Wireless: No
Drivers: 50 mm dual chamber neodymium
Connectivity: 3.5 mm
Frequency response: 13–27,000 Hz
Features: Detachable noise-cancelling mic, in-line cable controls

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable
+
Great audio
+
Often superb value

Reasons to avoid

-
No flip-to-mute mic
Buy if...

✅ You want one of the best sounding gaming headsets: There's really no better option that the HyperX Cloud Alpha for the same money, providing you don't want to cut the cord entirely.

✅ You need a headset for work and play: You can wear the HyperX Cloud Alpha throughout a work day and still find it comfortable enough to game in after the work day is done. Trust us, we've done this plenty of times ourselves.

Don't buy if...

❌ You'd prefer a wireless headset: It may go without saying, but this isn't a wireless design. A wireless gaming headset is one of life's little luxuries, and if you'd prefer to pick one of those up then take a look at the best wireless gaming headset. Don't be surprised by what you find.

The best gaming headset in 2024 is the HyperX Cloud Alpha—that's right, the king is back and it's as great as ever. While Razer's BlackShark V2 gaming headset was able to dethrone the Cloud Alpha previously, it's no longer widely available in many regions. HyperX's headset, however, is easy to find and frequent discounts put this wonderful gaming headset back into the spotlight once again.

What's special about the Cloud Alpha gaming headset is how it sounds. That should be a given, right? Yet it's easy to get distracted by extraneous features that don't altogether matter much when looking for a gaming headset. The Cloud Alpha, however, is a simple beast. It delivers fantastic audio that's really difficult to match for the same money.

The 50 mm neodymium drivers produce a hearty bass response and that's key for gaming. It means you can feel the explosions or the hum of a sports car, and you absolutely get the best out of a game's soundtrack. But it's not only the powerful bass that impresses here, as this headset offers fantastic clarity and definition throughout mids and highs.

HyperX achieves such impressive audio quality thanks to the use of a two-chamber design on the Cloud Alpha. Each earcup's driver is separated into two chambers, which effectively reduces distortion that might muddy the bass with the mids and instead maximises articulation. The ability to deliver crisp and indulgent audio all at once is what separates the Cloud Alpha from the rest.

The Cloud Alpha also stands as a gaming headset for its other attributes, namely it's hella comfy. The padded earcups and headband are comfortable over long periods and we've used this headset day in and day out, for long periods, and never run into any issues with its comfort. 

Our one complaint in 2024 with this headset would be that it doesn't come with a flip-to-mute microphone, but the detachable one included is still a great quality unit and comes through loud and clear during online gaming or voice calls.

Don't be put off by how long this headset has been around. HyperX has gotten so much right with the Cloud Alpha, it doesn't need changing. That age actually helps us with pricing, as this headset is regularly available for under the asking price and further discounts are plenty. For a wired gaming headset, you really can't go wrong with the HyperX Cloud Alpha in 2024.

Read our full HyperX Cloud Alpha review.

Best budget gaming headset

The best budget gaming headset

Specifications

Wireless: No
Drivers: 50 mm, Neodymium magnets
Connectivity: 3.5 mm
Frequency response: 20–20,000 Hz
Features: Flip-up mic

Reasons to buy

+
Superb microphone quality
+
Flip-up mic arm
+
Light and comfortable
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Mic arm can be fiddly at times
-
Older HS50 feels a touch more premium
Buy if...

✅ You want a quality all-round headset for less: The HS55 is a well-made piece of kit for the cash. There's no major drawback to any of it.

You value a quality microphone: If you're struggling to be heard over Discord, the HS55's microphone arm comes through loud and clear.

Don't buy if...

❌ You can spare a little more budget: If you can spend a bit more on your gaming headset, the Cloud Alpha is a really good get and often very affordable.

The Corsair HS55 Stereo is the best budget gaming headset around because, surprisingly for a budget headset, it covers all bases well, including the microphone. It's incredibly well-rounded and comes across better than its low price tag might lead you to believe.

The Corsair HS50 was already a solid choice for a budget gaming headset and the newer HS55 improves on it in all the most important ways. It's lighter and comfier than the HS50 and features a flip-up mic arm, unlike the previous model's detachable one.

This mic is probably the HS55's most stand-out feature, too. In his review, Jacob found it to pick up his voice with incredible clarity and accuracy that's not only great for a set of budget cans, but for any gaming cans at all. So none of your Discord friends need to worry, your voice will come through perfectly clear.

Audio quality isn't bad, either. Although higher frequencies come out a little too sharp, this headset is perfectly serviceable for gaming, music, and other audio endeavours. There's plenty of definition between different frequencies and gaming is pleasant in no small part because the HS55 hasn't fallen into the "let's cram them full of bass" trap.

 Read our full Corsair HS55 Stereo review

Best wireless gaming headset

The best wireless gaming headset

Specifications

Wireless: Yes
Drivers: Dynamic, 50 mm with neodymium magnets
Connectivity: 2.4 GHz wireless dongle
Frequency response: 15–21,000 Hz
Features: Bi-directional detachable mic

Reasons to buy

+
Battery life that can only be described as witchcraft
+
Excellent for listening to music
+
Precise, powerful audio is great for gaming
+
Very comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Microphone isn't up to par with the rest of the headset
-
They aren't the loudest headphones
Buy if...

You want a long-lasting battery: Rated to 300 hours of battery life, this is one wireless headset that doesn't need constant charging.

Don't buy if...

❌ You listen at high volume: The Cloud Alpha Wireless is not the loudest headset, and if you're one to crank up the volume, look elsewhere (be careful with your ears, too).

The wired version of these is still our pick for the best gaming headset, so it's no surprise that the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless is the best wireless gaming headset. The wireless version shares pretty much all the benefits of the wired one, but eliminates that cumbersome cable.

One worry with wireless headsets is battery life, and it's in this department that HyperX has somehow smashed it out the park, across the next park, and beyond the horizon. This headset has a battery life of up to 300 hours, which is beyond the pale as far as I'm concerned. Nothing should be capable of such wizardry.

This bore out in Hope's testing of the Cloud Alpha Wireless, too, as she found that she couldn't even come close to draining its battery in a week of testing, and she did try her damndest to. It just lasts for an impossibly long time.

Moving on to its sound profile, this is a little different to the wired version, but no less pleasant. It's equally crisp across all ranges and directional sound is spot-on. Its microphone is fine, nothing to write home about but nothing to worry about, either.

The only real downside to this headset is it doesn't crank up as loud as some of the other headsets we've tested. But who needs to burst their eardrums, anyway? This thing still gets plenty loud enough for music and gaming. It's a superb and conveniently cable-free headset that's still worth the money in 2024. 

Read our full HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless review

Best wired audiophile headphones for gaming

The best wired audiophile headphones for gaming

Specifications

Wireless: No
Driver-type: STELLAR.45
Connectivity: 3.5 mm & 6.35 mm adapter for mini-XLR
Frequency response: 5–40,000 Hz
Features: Velour earpads

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible audio performance
+
Supremely comfortable
+
Handsome and solid construction
+
Works with just about anything

Reasons to avoid

-
No detachable or in-line mic
-
Initial clamping is too tight
Buy if...

✅ You want a punchy open-back profile: The DT 900 Pro X is a gorgeous blend of punchy audio and an open-back design, which tends to be easier on the ears for critical listening.

Don't buy if...

❌ You need a microphone: It may come as no surprise but these audiophile cans do not offer any sort of microphone. You'd have to use a desk mic or clip-on mic attachment, which will mean more cables.

If you're like me, you care less about gamer-specific functionality and more about stellar sound quality. Of course, as gamers, we also want this to sound great for gaming. This is where Beyerdynamic's DT 900 Pro X comes in, as they're certainly the best audiophile headphones for gaming that haven't opted to cut the cord.

While these cans lack some gamer-specific features, such as a microphone, USB connectivity, and RGB lighting, they absolutely nail the sound experience. This is thanks to the DT 900 Pro X's STELLAR.45 driver, which delivers incredibly punchy audio despite the Pro's open-back design (which, by the way, aids audio quality).

There's little to dislike about the audio quality of these cans, as it's up there with the best we've heard. We're talking fantastic separation across all ranges, even within bass frequencies. And as far as gaming goes, these headphones help games to feel not just immersive but actually alive, with fantastic directional audio.

They look the part, too. Beyerdynamic's gone for a minimalistic black-and-grey design that screams audiophile suavetée (yes, I just made that word up, but it fits, doesn't it?). And it's low-power, too, meaning you shouldn't need an amp to get it up and running. Audiophile quality for the masses, who can argue with that?

Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X review

Best wireless audiophile headset for gaming

The best wireless audiophile gaming headset

Specifications

Wireless: Yes
Driver-type: 90 mm Planar Magnetic
Connectivity: 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 5.3, USB-C, 3.5 mm
Frequency response: 10–50,000 Hz
Features: Hypercardioid boom mic

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning sound
+
Long battery life
+
Fast charging
+
Comfortable
+
Good mic

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor software
Buy if...

✅ You're a basshead: If you want plenty of bass but you're wise enough to know that cranking the bass up on an equalizer won't always cut it, the Maxwell is the headset for you.

✅ Planar magnetic is calling to you: There's a place in every headset collection for a pair of planar magnetics. We love them, and for good reason: they often sound absolutely fantastic.

Don't buy if...

❌ You're strapped for cash: The Audeze Maxwell don't come cheap. While they replace the need for two pairs of headphones, one for gaming and the other for wearing outdoors, they're still a lot of money.

The best wireless audiophile gaming headset is the Audeze Maxwell, and you can thank its planar magnetic drivers for that. The Maxwell delivers a gloriously rich and impactful sound that goes a long way in gaming and listening to music.

So, what's the big deal with planar magnetic? These drivers utilise an entirely different concept from dynamic drivers often found in gaming headsets. Each driver uses a large, flat diaphragm manipulated by magnets to produce audio. The end result tends to be a much more natural, broader sound than a dynamic driver with plenty of bass.

For the Maxwell, the benefit of planar magnetic drivers is apparent as soon as you listen to any music or play any game. The level of clarity and tonal separation is fantastic. It's possible to tune in and isolate almost any sound pumping through these planars at any one time. That's wonderful when you're trying to relax into your favorite album, but it's also crucially important when playing competitive shooters.

Audeze has opted for a closed-back design here, which is great for noise isolation but can usually lead to a more closed-in sound profile. That's not the case here, however, as the Maxwell sound impressively wide and expansive. That's likely down to the planar drivers working their magic.

However, you do have to be aware of a few drawbacks with the Maxwell. Firstly, this is a heavy headset thanks to those chunky drivers, and secondly, it's very expensive. The best wireless audiophile headset, unsurprisingly, doesn't come cheap. That said, we think they're worth every penny because you can use the Maxwell for a lot more than gaming on your PC.

Wireless connectivity means you're not locked to your desk while wearing them, which is pretty freeing, but the Maxwell also offers Bluetooth connectivity. You're free to take these headphones with you out of the house, and you won't be laughed at—at least not for your choice of headset—as the Maxwell looks for the most part like any other pair of over-ear headphones. It doesn't look like a PC gaming accessory. There are also heaps of quick controls to make using this headset out and about much easier.

Read our full Audeze Maxwell review.

Best gaming headset for streaming

The best gaming headset for streaming

Specifications

Wireless: No
Driver-type: 45 mm Dynamic
Connectivity: USB Type-A w/ Type-C adapter, Analog XLR
Frequency response: 15–28,000 Hz
Features: Cardioid condenser mic

Reasons to buy

+
Best headset mic I've tried
+
Excellent cans too
+
Plug and play

Reasons to avoid

-
No sound control on headset
-
Expensive for a wired headset
Buy if...

✅ You don't want a desk microphone: If you're a streamer or content creator, the ATH-M50x STS StreamSet is capable of fantastic mic quality without the dedicated mic.

Don't buy if...

❌ You're after a cheaper option: You could buy a gaming headset and one of the best cheap microphones for less than this all-in-one option.

It's taken a while, but manufacturers are finally starting to realise that streamers have their own product wants and needs. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50XSTS StreamSet is the best gaming headset for streaming in part because it understands this.

What does a streamer need that your average gamer doesn't? A quality mic. And what does this StreamSet headset deliver on? Mic quality. We're not talking your average high-quality headset mic here, such as the one on the Corsair HS55 Stereo, which is certainly a great mic. No, we're talking a full-on cardioid condenser mic.

Cardioid condenser mics are found in stand-alone mics like the ones your favourite gaming influencers use in their streams and podcasts. The ATH-M50XSTS StreamSet packs one of these bad boys into the itty-bitty end of a headset mic. 

This is no gimmick, either, as Hope found out in her testing. This flexible, flip-to-mute mic delivers microphone audio of a level that helps your videos and streams sound that touch more professional.

This thing's great on the audio front, too. While it might not quite muster the audio chops of the DT 900 Pro above, it gets pretty damn close, with clear, well-balanced audio that sounds great in games and out of them. It looks pretty nice, too, sporting a decidedly non-gamery, somewhat minimalistic aesthetic. Perfect for those of you who like to hop on-camera.

Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M50XSTS StreamSet review

Best noise cancelling gaming headset

The best noise cancelling gaming headset

Specifications

Wireless: Optional
Driver-type: 40 mm
Connectivity: USB Type-C to Type-A, Bluetooth, 3.5 mm jack
Frequency response: 20–20,000 Hz
Features: Active noise cancelling, game-specific EQs, flip-to-cancel boom mic

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent noise cancellation
+
Microphone is crystal clear
+
Comfortable over long periods
+
Mobile app is handy

Reasons to avoid

-
Microphone boom arm design could be better
-
Not truly wireless on PC
-
High price
Buy if...

✅ You're in a noisy environment: The active noise cancellation on the A-Spire is really impressive. It works wonders for both your own gaming experience in a loud area and anyone listening to you talk.

You play Counter-Strike or Apex Legends religiously: For players of these two games, or really any competitive FPS, the A-Spire offers a clear and defined audio profile that should help you stay alert in-game..

Don't buy if...

❌ You want a wireless gaming headset: This headset offers Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to the mobile app and for listening to music while out and about. It's not intended as a wireless headset for PC gaming.

Gaming dens can be noisy places, especially during competitions, so a headset that can block all of that out, and still sound great is worth seeking out. It's for these very reasons that the AceZone A-Spire is the best noise cancelling gaming headset.

AceZone has been making products for esports tournaments for a good few years now and the A-Spire is its first model for the general gaming market. Naturally, it's brought across many of the features that make its products so popular in competitive gaming, most notably the active noise cancelling system.

The A-Spire has been tuned to block out sounds commonly experienced at home, such as voices, and it does an exceptional job of it. It can be easily adjusted via the AceZone mobile phone app and it's a breeze to go from total isolation to being able to hear the doorbell if needed.

Its plush earpads, thick earcups, and cushioned headband all conspire to make the headset comfortable to wear all day long. Despite offering wireless connectivity, the A-Spire is predominantly a wired gaming headset and the Bluetooth system is only suitable for using the app and a spot of music—you can game over it, but it's not meant to be used for this, due to the increased lag and decreased audio quality.

Speaking of which, the 40 mm dynamic drivers produce a well-defined sound, with a lot of clarity in the higher ranges. The overall profile has been tuned to work best in competitive shooters and the app even offers dedicated EQ profiles for Counter-Strike 2 and Apex Legends.

The AceZone A-Spire is pretty expensive for a gaming headset and while the microphone is perfectly decent, the design could be a lot better. At least the included travel case is solidly built and a handy inclusion.

While primarily targeted at esports gamers, the A-Spire is capable enough of being used by any PC gamer. It's stand-out feature, the active noise cancellation system, makes it ideal for anyone needing to isolate themselves from the work around them and get fully immersed in their games.

Read our full AceZone A-Spire review.

Best earbuds for gaming

The best earbuds for gaming

Specifications

Drivers: 10mm
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Weight: 0.4 oz | 11 g
Connection: Bluetooth 5.2 | 2.4GHz wireless
Battery life: 5 hours (ANC on) | +16 from case

Reasons to buy

+
Good price
+
Dual-connection
+
Solid noise cancelling
+
Easy touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most stunning audio
-
Don't have the longest battery life
Buy if...

✅ You want something discreet: For example, if you want to game on your Steam Deck while out and about without wearing over-ear headphones. These are a great alternative to the more bulky options on this list.

You want a hassle-free experience: These things are versatile, offering Bluetooth and snappy 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity, and they're pretty much plug-n-play.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want a microphone: These are just earbuds and don't come with a mic, so if you don't have a standalone mic you might prefer another option.

You want the best audio quality possible: These sound great for earbuds at this price, but they're no audiophile-quality open-back headphones. 

Sometimes you want something a little more discreet than the giant over-ear cans on this list. This is particularly important for those of you who like to game while out and about, perhaps on a Steam Deck. In which case, the best wireless earbuds for gaming might work a treat, and we reckon the JBL Quantum TWS are the best premium bang for your buck.

The main draw to these in-ear mini-cans is that they're incredibly easy to use. Once they're paired, just take them out of their magnetic charging case and plonk them in your ears—no constant faffing with Bluetooth pairing. They work over 2.4 GHz wireless, too, for connecting to your gaming laptop or gaming PC, delivering a lower latency connection than Bluetooth which is what you want for gaming, right?

Controls are simple, too. Just tap on the right earbud to pause or plan, and tap on the left to cycle through noise cancelling modes (a feature that works pretty well but cuts the earphones' 8-hour battery life almost in half).

For the price, audio is eminently reasonable, too. They're not the absolute best-sounding earbuds on the market, and nor would we expect them to be for the price. But they do sound nice, provided you disable the QuantumSURROUND feature. 

Combine this with the versatility of these Quantum TWS earbuds and their AirPod-esque stylishness, and you have a top-notch pair of in-ear headphones.

Read our full JBL Quantum TWS review

Also tested

Turtle Beach Atlas AirPC Gamer score: 80%

Turtle Beach Atlas Air
For those dreaming of wireless open back sound in a gaming headset format, the Atlas Air is a commendable effort to mash these two demands together, but it may prove too niche for some.
PC Gamer score: 80%

Read our full Turtle Beach Atlas Air review.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5XPC Gamer score: 82%

SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5X
A clear and detailed sound in combination with a comfortable build and easy-switch connections makes this headset a delight for everyday use. That being said, the slight lack of low-end bass does give pause for thought.
PC Gamer score: 82%

Read our full SteelSeries Arctis Nova 5X review.

Sony InZone H5PC Gamer score: 80%

Sony InZone H5
Sony's mostly cable-free affair offers impressive sound and quality for the price but lacks in some pretty basic ways. It's an otherwise excellent piece of kit with minor caveats.
PC Gamer score: 80%

Read our full Sony InZone H5 review.

Logitech Pro X 2 LightspeedPC Gamer score: 72%

Logitech Pro X 2 Lightspeed
Logitech has made a good effort to do something different with the Pro X 2 Lightspeed cans, but it's so expensive it makes it a very tough recommendation. Our favorite wireless gaming headset is quite a bit cheaper.
PC Gamer score: 72%

Read our full Logitech Pro X 2 Lightspeed review.

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro 2023 editionPC Gamer score: 83%

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro 2023 edition
While Razer is still manufacturing the original V2 Pro, and selling it for considerably less, this 2023 update is less tempting. But this is still a great-sounding wireless gaming headset, with a greater battery life, and now with a genuinely good microphone, too.
PC Gamer score: 83%

Read our full Razer BlackShark V2 Pro 2023 edition review.

Razer BlackShark V2PC Gamer score: 92%

Razer BlackShark V2
The Razer BlackShark V2 is a superb gaming headset that delivers on every front. It sounds great and has a simple, functional, and incredibly comfortable design that feels light on your head. It's just a shame it's no longer as widely available as it once was.
PC Gamer score: 92%

Read our full Razer BlackShark V2 review.

HyperX Cloud III Wireless
PC Gamer score: 65%

HyperX Cloud III Wireless
With frequent discounts, a sturdy build, and a clear microphone, you'd think the Cloud III would be a worthy choice. Unfortunately, it's uncomfortable and music playback leaves much to be desired.
PC Gamer score: 65%

Read our full HyperX Cloud III Wireless review.

Rode NTH-100M
PC Gamer score: 88%

Rode NTH-100M
The Rode NTH-100M is a fantastic sounding headset that is elevated even further by the addition of a surprisingly great microphone, though the price is beaten out by some stiff competition.
PC Gamer score: 88%

Read our full Rode NTH-100M review.