Whether you prefer to play on PC, on Xbox or PS4, or on the go with your Nintendo Switch, it’s always important to consider your audio setup – especially as more and more games now support high resolution audio for immersive soundscapes. 

Games like Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus all have remarkable sound design that makes the step into these authentically realised visual worlds even more believable. 

These headsets offer a variety of different experiences depending on your preference to wired or wireless, not to mention your budget, and let you crank up the volume without bothering the neighbours. 

To test them we look at everything from out-of-the-box performance to build quality, battery life, comfort, versatility and the initial setup process. We tested on multiple consoles as well as gaming PCs.

We also experimented with how these gaming headsets fare with music or film audio to work out if they are suitable for more broad use than simply just for games.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

SteelSeries Arctis 7 gaming headset: £119, Amazon

This headset it one to consider if you want some of the best-sounding gaming audio in the business, but aren’t prepared to shell out that bit extra for SteelSeries’ higher-end pair, the Arctis pro wireless (see below). You still get the excellent build quality the brand is known for – the high levels of comfort, and the impressive versatility of audio response – just without the wireless transmitter box that acts as a hub device under or next to your television.

Instead it operates with a smaller transmitter device – perfect if you’re a bit more strapped for space. One thing to note is that, while they are very comparable to the pro wireless headphones in terms of audio quality, the Arctis 7’s are slightly less adaptable. Gamers will find that playing with PS4 and PC is well supported, although you will need the included wired adaptor for use with the Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. However, considering the cost saving against the pro, that’s still a small price to pay.

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SteelSeries Arctis Pro wireless gaming headset: £280, Currys

The Arctis Pro is hands down one of the best sounding wireless gaming headsets out there. However, that lossless wireless sound quality – as well as the superlative build quality – comes at a high price of almost £300, making it the most pricey device in this roundup. Still, if you can stomach the high cost of entry, we think the Arctis Pro offers enough features to justify its price tag.

From the aforementioned build quality, to a well designed wireless transmitter; not to mention the sheer number of customisation options in the audio settings, we’re impressed. There’s also the fact that it comes with a dual-battery system, meaning that you can reduce charging downtime to zero by having one battery pack on charge in the wireless transmitter, and one in use at any given time. It’s an expensive – but worthwhile – addition to your gaming setup, just be aware that it is not compatible with Xbox One chat functionality.

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HyperX Cloud Mix gaming headset: £144.95, Amazon

HyperX is well known in the gaming space and for mostly good reasons – the Cloud Mix is perhaps its best made headset, and one that’s not packed with frill or needless design quirks. With a solid black aluminium frame, black leatherette ear cups and headband, a detachable microphone and Bluetooth capabilities with a 20-hour battery life, it’s a really well designed piece of kit.

Factor in the onboard controls for playback and the headset can double as an unobtrusive on-the-go option for music and podcasts, as well as wired gaming for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, mobile, Nintendo Switch and VR. As for the actual sound quality, it’s fantastic – the hi-res audio-certified speakers make for an excellent all-rounder – but gamers may find they’d prefer a more focused audio peripheral for the price, which is on the higher end of the spectrum.

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Audio Technica ATH-G1 gaming headset: £159, Amazon

One thing you notice as soon as you put the ATH-G1’s over your ears is just how comfortable and light they are. The wired design is clearly intended for long periods of wear sat at a PC or TV screen, and from our testing they absolutely succeed in offering something that doesn’t make your ears feel overly sweaty or compressed after extended use.

In terms of sound quality, they’re exactly what you’d expect from a premium audio brand like Audio Technica: really well defined and excellent. The detachable microphone also performs well. And while they don’t offer as impressively booming bass as some other units which have the low-end punched up, this means they have a cleaner, more refined balance that makes them excellent for a more authentic audio experience. They’re also very versatile, supported by all the major console manufacturers, PCs, and any other device with a 3.5mm jack.

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Turtle Beach recon 70P gaming headset: £29.99, Argos

For console gamers, value for money doesn’t get much better than the Turtle Beach Recon 70s. Available for less than £30, they come in three different colour morphs – red and black for Nintendo Switch, blue and black for PS4 and PS4 Pro, and green and black for the Xbox lineup of consoles. Apart from colour, the three different variants function almost identically, connecting via 3.5mm jack making them universally adaptable.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the cable is short, so is best plugged into a console controller or the top of your Nintendo Switch. As a basic wired headset made entirely of plastic, the recons deliver on the promise of solid entry-level audio quality and chat functionality, even if they don’t deliver all that highly in the product design or extended comfort departments. They may not give the clear high-end and booming low-end of more expensive headsets either, but as an affordable entry for casual players, these are hard to ignore.

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Logitech G Pro gaming headset: £84.99, Amazon

Logitech’s updated Pro headset is a superbly designed mid-tier option that strips away the superfluous fluff of many hardcore gaming headsets and delivers on a focused device. It’s been designed in collaboration with eSports players across the globe, meaning it’s intended to deliver for competitive gaming – it just so happens that Logitech has also created something that isn’t flashing with bright lights or covered in cheap-looking angular accents.

Instead, it’s plain black apart from the metallic Logitech logos on each ear cup, has a high quality build and incredibly lightweight form factor. The comfort levels are top notch, too. The detachable mic is great and clear, and Logitech even seems to have tidied up the bass response from previous iterations, which were noted to be pretty loose on the low end, but were solid in our test of this device.

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Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 gaming headset: £219.99, Argos

As the name not-so-subtly suggests, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2 is the company’s top end headset – designed, as the box inlay says, as “the second coming” of gaming audio. Now, that might promise a lot – and considering the price, you should expect it to deliver – but the Elite Pro 2’s are undoubtedly some of the best sounding cans that Turtle Beach has ever made, with 7.1 surround sound that immerses you fully into whichever video game you happen to be playing.

These are also some of the most comfortable headphones we’ve tested. Setup can be a bit clumsy as there’s a number of wires – running from headset to the “elite superamp”, and then into the PS4 or PC via USB – but it’s a one-time process that shouldn’t be of concern to anyone looking to use these regularly as their go-to device in a fixed setup. There’s also the Turtle Beach app, which gives you immediate customisation options from your smartphone, tweaking everything from chat mix to overall EQ.

It’s undoubtedly a little bit more fiddly than some more simple solutions – see the SteelSeries Arctis Pro – but there’s no questioning the audio quality of the Elite Pro 2’s. 

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Plantronics RIG 800HS wireless gaming headset: £136.36, Amazon

While a bunch of headset manufacturers are chasing a sleeker, more minimal aesthetic, Plantronics are sacking that off entirely, going instead for the apache fighter pilot look with an angular design that is divisive to say the least. But there’s no avoiding the fact that these are also some of, if not the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever worn.

In terms of sound quality, the 800HS is a decent quality wireless set that’s unbelievably lightweight, although that has clearly got something to do with the mostly plastic build which feels a little less than premium compared to some other devices in our roundup.

The HS is designed specifically for use with the PS4, connecting via USB to a wireless transmitter, but does come with the required cables to plug it into Xbox or PC. We also found the device had good use of Dolby Atmos, although the bass is a little less present than many gamers like to have it. It’s also a shame that the mic isn’t detachable, although this will likely only be a concern for a small number of players.

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Razer Thresher Ultimate gaming headset: £210, Amazon

Razer’s Thresher Ultimate headset is a premium product both in terms of build quality and audio performance. With an easy setup and a really useful headset stand packed in the box (there’s no wireless charging, sadly), the ultimate is designed for quick and seamless integration into your gaming setup.

The audio makes full use of those big cans to pack a hefty, bassy and clear punch that suits all types of games, whether you’re playing a bombastic shooter or a calm platformer. They’ll work with PC, PS4 and Xbox, but you’ll only get surround sound for PC and your chosen console depending on the version of the headset you buy. Other than that they’re also really comfortable and battery life is good too, at around the 15-hour mark.

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Astro Gaming A50 headset: £249.99, Argos

The Astro A50s are pretty much a staple for gamers nowadays and stand tall as one of the best headsets you can buy. They come at a premium price but deliver flawless wireless audio with Dolby 7.1 surround and are compatible with pretty much every console. That means big, spacious sound stages that pack a proper punch, with a chat functionality that is designed with gamers in mind. There’s even an input on the main base station for extra audio signal input. For the money you get excellent additional features beyond the sound quality itself, including wireless charging (it can be charged while in use via a cable, too).

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The verdict: Gaming headsets

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 headset is, for our money, the best balance between quality and price. Sure, you could spend the extra cash on the wireless pros, but the increase in price isn’t necessarily equal to the improvement in audio quality. For just over £100 you can have similarly excellent build quality, a good level of versatility and fantastic setup ease, and essentially only sacrifice the better wireless transmitter.

 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.