Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
After carefully researching over 100 models, we bought 17 of the best gaming headsets available and tested them head-to-head to reveal which device leads the market. We spent hundreds of hours evaluating and comparing these products, testing them out with various games and music to appraise their audio and microphone fidelity. We also had a panel of judges use each product extensively, rating their comfort and user-friendliness. Keep reading to find out which headset led the pack, which is the best for audiophiles, and which model is your best bet if you have a tight gaming hardware budget.
Wired/Wireless: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Mesh/Leatherette
REASONS TO BUY
Comfy ear cups
REASONS TO AVOID
Cord is short and stiff
The Kraken V3 HyperSense is a top-of-the-line gaming headset that outperforms several pricier options. This device offers users class-leading comfort in its headband and ear cups, allowing testers to keep them on for over 10 hours in one go. The ear cups also do well in accommodating the arms of glasses — a benefit that can't be overstated if you need prescription eyewear to game. The sound captured by the mic is pin sharp, and the audio rendered by the earpad speakers is top-notch, too. Whether it's directional sound coming from any point of the compass or heavy beats to get you amped for battle, this headset delivers precise sound and great balance across all EQ levels. Moreover, the Kraken's ear cups have good sound canceling capabilities to immerse you in the game.
The list of accolades for the Kraken V3 HyperSense's is long, and there is very little we didn't like about this model. Its main issue is the cord, which is a feature that helps to keep the cost more manageable. The Kraken's cord is a bit little stiff and, at 6 feet 5 inches, a little short. That said, the cord is durable, and it helps in the production of the device's fantastic audio. All told, you can't get a better device than the Kraken, especially in light of the unit's extra features, such as the haptics and lighting.
Wired/Wireless: Wireless | Ear Cup Fabric: Microfiber
REASONS TO BUY
Great mic design
Memory foam earpads
REASONS TO AVOID
Hard to adjust headband
Can feel hot
The Corsair HS80 RGB is a great choice for a well-designed, relatively affordable wireless gaming headset. The hardware does not excel in any one area but rather delivers overall good performance for the most part. The headset is comfortable to wear for hours on end; it has a high-quality microphone that is easily adjustable and works as the mute button by simply flicking it into the upright position. The sound produced by the speakers is of reasonable quality such that hearing fellow players is easy, and the mic delivers good audio in return. We also found that the Corsair delivered decent positional sound — meaning that the wearer could tell which direction sound was coming from in-game.
While the speakers in the Corsair HS80 RGB will get the job done, the earpads do a poor job of canceling out external noise — music playing in the background was particularly disruptive. Additionally, the floating headband is a bit hard to adjust as it is a soft material and lacks marked settings. Finally, the closed back design of the headgear makes it a bit hard to tell how loud you are talking, and the unit lacks a feature to feed your voice into the speakers via the mic. These shortcomings are a bit annoying, but the lack of a cord and above-average performance in comfort and audio outweigh them by a healthy margin.
Wired/Wireless: Wired | Ear Cup Fabric: Leatherette
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent mic quality
Convenient to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as comfortable as some models
Bringing a decent performance to the competition and a lower price tag, consider the Kingston HyperX Cloud Stinger if you're on a strict budget. This contender kept up with the products that were more than triple its price tag. Its microphone quality was particularly impressive, earning one of the top overall marks in that assessment. Moreover, this headset offers some of the better audio quality out of all the products in its class, is fairly comfortable to wear, and is a super affordable piece of audio equipment.
While its price tag is eye-catching, that discount doesn't come without some compromises. After wearing the headset for extended periods, the Cloud Stinger begins to feel uncomfortable. Also, the audio quality doesn't compare to some of the top competitors; however, those headsets will cost you a lot more. With that in mind, this model has many great qualities and is of great value, which will allow you to spend the money saved on games and other gaming accessories.
The EPOS H6 Pro is a top-tier gaming headset with an open back design. This headset is comfortable to wear for hours, thanks to its amply padded ear cups and the device never feels too hot thanks to the breathable micromesh covering. The audio produced by the ear cup speakers is some of the best we have experienced, particularly where mids and treble are concerned. The unit's microphone also captures great audio, so incomprehensible coms will be unlikely in the fog of battle. Finally, the unit has good onboard controls, with a volume dial in an easy-to-access but hard-to-bump position on the back of the ear cup.
While the EPOS certainly has plenty of features that recommend it, it will not appeal to all users because of its open back design. This means that the ear cups have no noise-canceling capability. This headset is designed for those who like things quiet or intend to game with friends in person. That said, the unit is available in a closed back version if you prefer noise canceling. Finally, the EPOS has a short cord at 4 feet 5 inches. Fortunately, a longer cord can be purchased if needed.
We published our first review of gaming headsets in 2018. Since then, we have tested dozens of models and researched many more. We have done hundreds of hours of extensive research for this review, combing through other reviews and customer experiences to determine which headsets had the best shot of being crowned best in class. Our methodology for testing this hardware puts a focus on comfort, audio quality, microphone, and the device's ease of use provides all the data you need to make an informed purchase. We played hour upon hour of video games, which provided the real-world data we needed to recommend products to all levels of players.
We also have a panel of diverse users with varying head shapes to try out each headset to grade and score the comfort level of each one. Their responses are then averaged to determine scores. We spend hours listening to music, other players' voices, and in-game sound effects with each headset to judge audio quality. Other players are enlisted to rate the quality and tone of our voice as the microphone of each product picks it up. Finally, we take note of all the different features and capabilities these gaming products offer to make them easier and more fun to use.
Our gaming headset testing is divided across four different metrics:
Comfort (40% of overall score weighting)
Audio (30% weighting)
Microphone (20% weighting)
Ease of use (10% weighting)
Co-leading our gaming hardware testing team are Austin Palmer and David Wise. In the most recent update, the team was expanded to include Matt Spencer and Nick Miley. All our team members have extensive experience testing tech gadgets and products and playing video games. Austin is a particularly avid gamer, having played video games for nearly three decades on all the major consoles and systems. Of all those, PC games are his favorite, with the vast majority of his free time devoted to 100% completion, climbing the leaderboards, or pursuing the most difficult content and challenges each game offers. He has spent loads of time with a gaming headset, coordinating raids, leading dungeons, and even hanging out on voice chat with his friends. Undoubtedly, he is the silverback that brings the most expertise and insight into what makes a gaming headset great.
Analysis and Test Results
We spend countless hours testing and comparing the performance of each gaming product to help determine the best model for you. Our tests are divided into four weighted testing metrics: Ease of Use, Comfort, Audio, and Microphone. These metrics are then weighted based on their importance to overall performance, and scores are determined based on the results of various head-to-head tests in each metric.
Claiming the overall top performance of all the headsets we tested is the Kraken V3 HyperSense. Top-of-the-line performance is usually paired with a premium price tag; however, this is not the case with the Kracken. This headset should turn the head of every gamer as it is far less expensive than what other high-performance devices cost. While the performance of the HyperX Cloud Stinger does not match that of the Kracken, it comes in at a fraction of the cost and still puts up some pretty good numbers, particularly where the microphone and audio are concerned. Finally, if you are in the market for a wireless device, the Corsair HS80 RGB is a contender with the wired Kracken but only costs a few tens of dollars more.
Comfort is king when it comes to a headset. Thus, this metric is by far the most important in our review. To test for comfort, we had a panel of judges of various ages, genders, and cranial proportions wear each headset for as long as it was comfortable — up to a full workday — and then note their general opinions and observations. In addition, we had every judge conduct a side-by-side comfort test of each model to get a read on which headbands and ear cups offered the most comfort. Finally, testers noted any overheating issues while the headset was in use and if they felt uncomfortable pressure points when wearing glasses. While we have done our best to find the most comfortable headset for most people, nothing can compare to trying on a headset before you buy it. Or, at the very least, purchasing from a retailer with a liberal return policy gives you the option of sending it back if it's uncomfortable.
Tying for the top spot overall, the Kraken V3 HyperSense and EPOS H6 Pro are standouts when it comes to comfort. These gaming headsets scored at the top of the list for many of our testers as they can easily be worn for 8 to 10+ hours without issues, even for larger ears. While these two models differ somewhat in design, they both use a firm but malleable foam for the padding, covered with a mesh fiber that helps keep the ears from overheating. Additionally, the earpads are fairly large, accommodating most ear shapes and sizes without causing contact between the hard inner pad and the wearer's ears.
The headbands on these two models are quite different. The Kraken's headband is padded with beefy foam covered with mesh similar to its ear cups. Conversely, the headband on the EPOS is much thinner. However, the ear cups carry much of the device's weight, so the headband does not need to be overly padded. Testing revealed that this design is just as comfortable as the Kraken.
Next up in the comfort rankings are the Corsair HS80 RGB, Razer Black Shark V2 Pro, and HyperX Cloud II. The Corsair has robust ear cup and headband padding that keeps the device comfortable for up to 9 hours at a time. Testers were lukewarm about the headset's headband, saying that the adjustment range is limited and that dialing the adjustments was frustrating. Yet, the ear cups have a decent fit that produces a nice seal against the head and provides sample space, so the ear doesn't get smooshed. While most appreciated that the ear cups are made of breathable mesh fabric, it was noted that the material could get a little hot and itchy when worn for extended periods. That said, the Corsair is a wireless device, and we enjoyed the freedom of movement that comes with the absence of a cord.
The Razer Black Shark V2 Pro ear cups and headband are both covered in a microfiber mesh-like material. The padding is very comfortable, and the ear cups have plenty of room for most people. Like the Corsair, the V2 Pro is also wireless and does not impede movement nor uncomfortably tickle necks with its cord. We also like that the headband on this headset feels like it accommodates a wider range of head sizes than some of the other options.
The HyperX Cloud II has a leatherette padded headband that stays snug to your head, even when you are thrashing around with excitement, without creating undue pressure on the temples. The Cloud II is a great option to wear with glasses, and since it is one of the lighter options in our test group, we didn't hear any complaints from our judges regarding its weight. The oval-shaped ear cups offer plenty of room, measuring about 1.5" wide and a little over 2.5" tall on the inside; more than enough space for our testers with the largest ears. On top of that, the Cloud II comes with two sets of interchangeable semi-soft memory foam earpads — one leatherette set and the other velour — allowing you to customize the fit and style.
The Game One received a mixed response from the bulk of our judges, who were more than happy to wear this headset for 7 or more hours at a time. Yet, one tester disliked its tighter fit, finding it uncomfortable to wear for more than 1 hour. This likely means that the headset is not as versatile as others and doesn't always fit every head perfectly. Aside from the differing opinions on the fit, everyone agreed that the velvet ear cups feel awesome and provide ample space. Additionally, the open-back design allows significantly more ventilation and keeps you from getting too sweaty, even when the room temperature is above 80°F.
The Cloud Stinger ranks much further down than the other models discussed thus far. However, given the device's price-to-performance ratio, we thought we would include it here. Our testing panel split on the comfort of this headset — half of them were fine wearing it for a full day, while the other half tapped out around 4 to 5 hours. The leatherette padded headband and semi-soft ear cups didn't feel too tight for any of our judges when they first put the headset on. Still, after a while, they began noticing some discomfort and felt the need to readjust or remove the headset every so often as the discomfort increased. The Stinger's ear cups are decently large, with more than enough room for most people's ears. Despite this, a few judges were unsatisfied with the fit and were disinclined to wear the headset for extended periods.
Next, we moved on to assessing the sound quality of each headset, which is responsible for a little less of the total score than comfort. We rated how well we could hear our teammates talking, in-game sound effects, and music quality. In addition, we performed a handful of audio benchmark tests that assessed everything from bass quality to how well we could identify the position of noises in a game. Lastly, we rated each headset on how well it blocked ambient noise. After all our tests, one headset stands above the rest.
The Kraken V3 HyperSense leads the pack with superior sound, excelling in every evaluation we ran it through except for sound blocking, where it maintains a top ranking. The Kraken has spot-on positional sound effects, meaning that the wearer can easily identify the source of the noise — be it gunfire, helicopter, or soft footsteps. This effect offers a great advantage and creates a more immersive experience. This device also has great noise canceling properties further locking one into the virtual experience. The Kraken also boasts fantastic voice audio quality from fellow players and music.
The EPOS H6 Pro, Epos Game One, Epos GSP 600, Beyerdynamic MMX 300, and Epos H3 are tied for second place based on their excellent audio qualities. These headsets distinguished themselves by portraying teammates' voices exceptionally well, with the conversation coming across as clear, crisp, and full-sounding — nearly to the point that it was indistinguishable from having a face-to-face conversation. However, the Epos GSP 600 is just a fraction less clear and full sounding than the rest of the group.
These headsets provide an immersive experience when listening to music or a game's soundtrack. Though each device is well-balanced, they tend to emphasize the mid-range sounds, particularly with the EPOS H6 Pro, Epos GSP 600, and Epos H3. We liked that the Game One had a lighter, airy sound due to its open back earpad design. However, this also means that the Game One lets in significantly more ambient noise than the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 or the closed back Epos GSP 600.
Of the second-tier group, the Epos GSP 600 and EPOS H6 Pro are the best at cluing the wearer into the location of in-game sounds. The performance of the Game One and the Epos H3 in the positional sound tests were less cut and dry. The Game One struggles with overhead sounds, whereas the Epos H3 struggles somewhat with sounds coming from behind.
While the Beyerdynamic MMX 300 gave a marginal performance in the positional sound assessment, it produced Hi-Fi music quite well. Similarly, the Game One and EPOS H6 Pro pumped out exceptional music sound quality from their speakers. Bass proved to be a bit of a problem with all these headsets except for the MMX 300, but all rendered clear, balanced, and vibrant sound across various music genres.
For the next round of tests, we evaluated how well each gaming headset picked up our voice and how well each filtered out background noises or conversations. Additionally, we test the quality of the mute feature on the mic — specifically, we check that the mute doesn't cause a hum or buzz in our ear. This metric accounts for a smaller portion of the total score than comfort and audio, but it is still significant. Several models tied for the top spot in this evaluation, showing that microphone technology has come a long way since we first began testing these devices.
Seven headsets tied for the top spot in this metric. These are the Kraken V3 HyperSense, EPOS H6 Pro, Epos Game One, Epos GSP 600, Epos H3, Beyerdynamic MMX 300, and HyperX Cloud Stinger. Out of this group, the Kraken V3 provides the best sound quality with recordings that are faithful to the speaker's voice. Interestingly, HyperX Cloud II upstaged the rest of the top-rated microphones by rendering recordings on par with those of the Kraken V3.
Were it not for the Cloud II's propensity for picking up background noise; it would have ranked much higher in this metric. The same is true for the Beyerdynamic MMX 300. This headset will transmit the entirety of the background conversation even if conducted 10 to 15 feet away from the microphone. In contrast, the mics on the Kraken V3, Epos GSP 600, Epos H3, Cloud Stinger, and Game One would only pick up a side conversation if it was happening right next to the device.
Buzzing, feedback, echoey sound, and sibilants (sharp or hissing speech sounds) are problems for some high-ranked headset microphones. For example, the Cloud Stinger's mic produces a slightly fuzzy quality when speaking, and there is also a little feedback when typing. The Stinger tended to overemphasize B's and P's in speech and made the recordings of our testers' voices sound a bit flatter.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Kraken V3 which shares none of the audio distortion problems with the Cloud Stinger. The EPOS H6 Pro performed similarly to the Kraken but shared some of the sibilant issues displayed by the Cloud Stinger. However, the Game One has the same fuzzy voice issues as the Cloud Stinger, but, despite sounding a bit far away, the voice is clear and lacks any "consonant popping" or sibilant issues.
The Epos H3, Sennheiser GSP 600, and the beyerdynamic MMX 300 fall into the middle of the crowd of top-performing headset microphones. All have slight sound issues be it a minor background buzz (MMX 300), a slight but unnatural increase in the pitch of the speaker's voice (SP 600), or the intrusion of background noises (Epos H3). The products receiving lower ratings than those discussed above have the same issues but to a greater degree.
Finally, several of the headsets in our review have issues with their microphone mute feature. This usually sounds like buzzing or humming, ranging from annoying to subtle. Of the high-ranking models, the Cloud Stinger and Game One suffer from this issue, although the noise is very subtle.
Ease of Use
Our last metric is ease of use. This assessment rates and scores how convenient it is to set up and operate each headset. This metric contributes just a small amount to a headset's overall score but sets certain models apart from the competition. More importantly, this metric gives you a feel for what will be required to get the headset dialed in and ready for action. That said, all the devices in this review are plug-and-play, so the differences we are discussing are relatively minor compared to the metrics above.
Leading the pack is the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum. This otherwise unnoteworthy headset is the archetype device where ease of use is concerned and serves as the benchmark for all others in the review. This device has every onboard control one could ask for, such as volume and mute. However, the Logitech also has three programmable buttons — an uncommon feature. The device is muted simply by lifting the mic into the vertical position. A red light illuminates when the mute is activated, so you can be confident that what you say won't be heard. The Logitech is wireless, but it comes with a 10-foot cord that won't get in your way if you need to charge the device while it's in use. This headset also has a side tone feature that pipes the audio picked up on the mic into the headphones so that the wearer will know how loud she is talking. The only knock against this device is that the mic is neither adjustable nor detachable.
The Cloud Stinger, Logitech G635, HyperX Cloud Revolver S, and Epos Game One all proved exceptionally easy to use. The majority of these models have controls right on the headset. These wired headsets have more than adequate cord lengths, with the shortest being the Logitech G635 at 9.35 feet.
Muting the mic is easy on the Game One and the Cloud Stinger and is accomplished by simply lifting the mic. The Logitech G635 offers two options, allowing you to mute the mic by hitting the button or by lifting the mic. Whereas the HyperX Cloud Revolver S has a mute button. All four devices have a detachable cable, while the Cloud Stinger and Logitech also have detachable mics. None of these, except for the Logitech G635, have the option to enable a mic sidetone, but the open back design of the Game One renders one unnecessary.
Whether you're a professional Twitch streamer or a casual gamer, a high-quality gaming headset that delivers a balanced combination of sound quality, comfort, and ease of use features can be a significant gaming advantage. Having tested the leading models on the market, we can say that not all headsets are created equal. Our comprehensive review includes all the data and insights from our extensive testing, making it straightforward for you to select the ideal device for your needs and budget. Don't forget to find your new favorite gaming mouse and the best gaming keyboard to complete your gaming setup.
Austin Palmer, David Wise, Nick Miley, and Matt Spencer
If you're looking for an easy way to release all of the...
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.