When I sit back, relax and play some games at the end of a long day, I reach for my gaming headset. I have a set of speakers, but there's nothing better for the immersion and quality of in-game audio than a great pair of headphones. Speakers can offer something excellent, too, and they have their own time to shine, but for my prime gaming hours I choose a headset.
I don't know if I'm an audiophile but I'm into the audio side of PC gaming more than some other parts of the equation. Don't get me wrong, I love a big screen, and I'm basically in love with my many mechanical keyboards, but something about amazing audio just sends tinglies up my spine.
Though I've experienced the worst of the worst in this job, too. Those gaming headsets that make your skin crawl with tinny audio, overblown bass, and inarticulate response. I've worn gaming headsets that genuinely gave me a headache before, so I'm pretty critical when it comes to this all-important peripheral.
So below you'll find some of the headsets that I, and my excellent colleagues, have tested over the past year. These are the best around. The best for quality, comfort, and connection in their respective price ranges—because it's not always about picking the best, but picking the best on a budget.
Best gaming headset 2022: the nominees
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
I have very few gripes with the original wired HyperX Cloud Alpha. They offer a wonderfully sharp response with one particular highlight: crisp bass. A dual-chamber design helped keep the bass deep and the highs and mids vibrant.
The main issue was you had to settle for the good, but not as good, Cloud II's if you wanted to go wireless. Well, there's no need for compromise anymore. With the Cloud Alpha Wireless, you can score the best-in-class audio quality with the freedom of a wireless headset. And believe me, it's your headset that you want to cut the cord on first—that's true freedom from your desktop.
Read our HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless review.
Beyerdynamic MMX 100
You can trust Beyerdynamic to make a great driver, and it's stuffed one such excellent driver—40mm Beryllium—into the MMX 100. These custom-tuned drivers work wonders for a blend of gaming and listening to music, but perhaps the best thing is they're high-quality without the need for high-power amplification.
While a closed-back headset design, which is fairly common for gaming headsets but less so audiophile ones, the MMX 100 offer a surprisingly open soundscape without distortion at the lower frequencies—something we've come to expect from gaming cans. But where would a gaming headset be without a microphone, and the one on the MMX offers crystal clear quality mouth sounds.
Read our Beyerdynamic MMX 100 review.
Corsair HS55 Stereo
If there's one product that surprised me this year, it's this pair of Corsair cans. It's not that I didn't expect fairly well-rounded audio out of Corsair's cheaper headsets—I've rated them well in the past for this very trait. It's more than the microphone on the Corsair sounds supremely good considering the price tag on the HS55.
If your primary concern is regarding being heard by your team mates on the other side of the Discord call, this headset is a sure-fire way to make sure they hear you loud and clear. Along with their simple build quality and convenient flip-up mic arm, I'm convinced this is the cheaper gaming headset to buy right now.
Read our Corsair HS55 Stereo review.
Only one of these three headsets will be crowned the champ and awarded the PC Gamer Hardware Award for the best gaming headset in 2022. Find out which on New Year's Eve.