Best Gaming Headsets for You

These are the best values for your money in gaming headsets as of November 2015.

You have a lot of great headphone options.

Too many, in fact. And the days of almost everything out there being terrible save for a couple of trusted brands like Astro? Also gone. I've never seen a space as competitive as it is now, for most needs. It's hard to get something that works for everything, and expensive. But if you're willing to compromise? There's never been a better or harder time to find a personal audio solution.

With that in mind, I've spent the last four months (and in some cases, more than a year) testing more than 20 different headsets from a variety of manufacturers across a huge swath of price points. I'll lead off with recommendations for specific purposes and price points, but be sure to check the alternatives for other potential buys. If your favorite headset didn't make the list, that doesn't mean it's bad — it means that compared to everything else, it's just not as competitive.

Table of Contents


corsair void wireless
Corsair Void Wireless RGB Gaming Headset
Price $119.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX)
Connection Type Wireless (USB Dongle)
Pros Comfort, sound quality, battery life, wireless performance, build quality
Cons So-so mic, PC only, CUE software
Quirks Programmable LED lighting

This is sample of the Corsair Void Wireless RGB's mic audio.

The Corsair Void Wireless RGB gaming headset, which is available for $119.99 as of this writing on Amazon, is the first pair of headphones in six years to dethrone the Astro A40s as my headset of choice.

They feature sound quality that rivals Astro's, which were until recently my standard for audio quality in the gaming space (though see below for more on Polk's shocking Striker line). The Voids feature deep, cloth mesh pads over 50mm headphone drivers with excellent sound that can be slightly bass-heavy — much as Astro's headsets are — but feature very clear mids and clean highs that aren't abrasively bright. The best way to put it may be that the Voids, like the Astros, sound warm, but not at the expense of detail.

corsair void sideview

An increasing issue with Astro's headsets has been build quality (which I cover elsewhere directly), and in that regard, Corsair beats them handily. In addition to a wonderful full cushion running along the top of the headband made of the same material as the earpads, the Voids feel sturdy with a reassuring but not too heavy sense of heft. They were comfortable enough for me to leave them on when I left my desk and wandered around my apartment, which speaks to the Voids' range. I could reach the front door about 30 feet away from my computer before I experienced any signal problems, which puts them a good 10 feet or so farther than the Astro A50s.

I've spent about 500 hours with the Voids over the last 10 weeks, give or take, which is far more than any other set discussed here, because in an apartment with literally 30+ pairs of headphones, they're the ones I've come to prefer. The batteries last around 18-20 hours, more than Corsair officially states in its materials, and they charge quickly.

The Voids are a PC exclusive wireless headset, and I like them enough to wish they worked for both the Xbox One and PS4

The Void RGB has other bells and whistles, which mean less to me. It features a Dolby listening mode that offers virtual surround support, though I tend to find this ruins sound quality on every headset that uses it. The wireless, RGB model also allows you to tailor its colored lighting to an astounding degree, though I ignored this feature — I didn't feel the need to trick out the lighting I would never see, though it could be a neat gimmick for livestreaming. I did appreciate the volume controls, which are both easy to access with a rocker on the back corner of the left earphone and directly controls Windows' volume, a surprisingly uncommon feature.

Caveat: Some people have had major problems with Corsair's Void RGB configuration tool, the Corsair Utility Engine, which is required to tweak the colored LEDs that give the Voids their name. A subset of Voids owners reported CPU spikes in windows 8 and 10 while running CUE, which seems to have been resolved after a few firmware updates. It's worth noting that at least in Windows 10 (and OSX), the CUE software isn't required to use the Voids. The OS detected the USB dongle and installed the necessary drivers automatically.

While I didn't experience problems with CUE, I did have the headset desync from its wireless USB receiver once, which required a paperclip and multiple attempts to resolve. This happened after an update the headset firmware. The Voids' headset mic is also just "OK," about on par with other wireless headset mics.

The only other complaint I have about the Voids is one of platforms — it's a PC exclusive wireless headset, and I like it enough to wish it worked for both the Xbox One and PS4. For now, the Astro A50s are a more full featured option for multi-platform buyers, though at more than double the price, and with some caveats of their own.


polk striker pro
Polk Striker Pro
Price $99.99/89.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One (with adapter)
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Comfort, sound quality, fantastic microphone audio
Cons Noise isolation can be too strong, sound quality beaten by other sets
Quirks Real leather pads

This is a sample of the Polk Striker Pro's mic audio.

For a wired headset compatible with the Xbox One, PS4 and PC with a fantastic mic, good sound, great build quality and comfort at around a hundred dollars, the Polk Striker Pro series is probably going to be your best bet at $99.99. The Striker Pro has two versions: the Zx, aimed at Xbox One owners, and the P1, aimed at PS4 and PC players. These headsets are identical, save that the Zx includes an Xbox One headset adapter, which retails for $19.99. If you already have a headset adapter or have a newer Xbox One controller with a built-in 1/8th inch jack, you don't need to spend the slightly higher cost for the Zx and can get the P1 regardless of platform preference for $89.

ALSO CONSIDER: Kingston's HyperX Cloud 2 headsets retail for $99.99 and are a favorite of eSports competitions in part because of their strong noise isolation and good sound. I don't think they sound as good as the Polk Striker Pros or Corsair Void wired options, but the mic audio on the Cloud 2s is clearer than Corsair's offering, if a little oversharp and somewhat abrasive.

$100 is a very crowded price point for headsets, and the Striker Pro makes a case for itself with its excellent construction and materials, including leather pads on the headband and ear cups. It also has excellent audio quality (though not quite on par with the very best) and a microphone whose audio is almost on par with the Blue Yeti USB microphone.

Both the Zx and the P1 also come with all the cords you'll need to use them for your phone, your Xbox One or PS4, or your PC without issue, and they feature modular cable setups that ensure you can swap out what you need and replace anything that breaks.

Caveat: The noise isolation on the Striker Pros is very strong, because the earpieces are very solid and the fit can be tight (though not uncomfortable, even for people with bigger ears like me). If you need to hear your doorbell ring, or someone yelling at you, they may not be the best. You might instead consider the Corsair stereo headset, though its mic isn't nearly as clear.


Corsair Void Stereo Gaming Headset
Price $69.99/99.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Comfort, sound quality, build quality
Cons So-so mic
Quirks USB model is PC only

If you're willing to sacrifice some microphone quality and save some money, the Void Wireless headset has a pair of wired cousins. The Corsair Void Stereo Gaming Headset retails for 70 bucks and is, in my opinion, even more comfortable than the Striker Pros. The Void line of headsets feature the same construction and headphone drivers (the speakers inside the parts that fit on your ears) across the line, so everything nice I have to say about the Void Wireless headset — sans its excellent wireless performance, obviously — applies to both its USB version at 99.99 and its more barebones — and cheaper — analog version.

The USB version of the Corsair Voids is, once again, a PC only product, despite the PS4's support of USB headsets. Meanwhile, the Corsair Void Stereo Headset includes a splitter to connect to the analog outputs on your PC, and will work on any device that supports the four-post mobile audio standard for 1/8th inch connectors. This means it will work natively with your PS4 or more recent Xbox One controllers, and will require a headset adapter on older Xbox One controllers sold separately.


polk striker
Polk Striker Zx
Price $39.99
Platform PC* (Windows/OSX), Xbox One, PS4
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Fantastic sound quality, great mic
Cons Shallow earphones, short cord
Quirks It comes in orange (and black)

This is a sample of the Polk Striker's mic audio.

The best sounding gaming headset I've ever heard is the Polk Striker Zx. It has excellent bass, clear mids, and highs that are well articulated but not sharp. Polk sent me these headphones over a year ago, and I've frequently returned to them to refresh my memory and make sure I'm not misremembering their fantastic dynamic range; each time, I've found myself spending more time listening to music on them as I work. They sound better to my ears than the much more expensive Polk Striker Pros, to say nothing of every other headset I've used. They're close to the reference point I used for this guide, the Audio Technica M45s, a cheap but excellent pair of studio monitors used in production, though the Strikers' bass tends to be a little heavier, and mids less well defined.

polk striker orange

AVOID: The $39.99 price point is a minefield, and it's easy to throw bad money at feature sets that sound too good to be true. It's a difficult, low margin area for manufacturers to try to compete in, so I don't want to pick on anyone in particular. But aside from the Striker Zx mentioned above, you might be better served getting a decent pair of mobile headphones or earbuds with an inline mic.

To be clear, this is a phenomenal display on the part of the Strikers, especially considering they include a cute retractable headset microphone that provides the second best microphone audio of any set I tested (behind their more expensive cousins, the Striker Pros). The material quality of the Striker Zx is a bit mixed — the plastic feels a little light, and a little cheap, though not as egregiously as Turtle Beach's sub-$100 sets, but the cloth and leatherette padding on the ears and band are very effective.

The only caveats for the Striker Zx include fairly shallow ear cups, which will be a problem after an hour or two for players with larger ears, and a fairly short cord. The latter will only be a problem for PC users, who will also need to purchase a PC audio splitter unless their system supports the "four post" mobile audio headset standard for 1/8th inch connectors. The recommendation here is for the Zx because it includes the Xbox One chat adapter, but if that's not needed, the P1 model instead features an inline volume control that functions on the PS4.


astro a50
Astro Gaming A50
Price $299.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One
Connection Type Wireless (powered and/or USB base station)
Pros Comfort, sound quality, versatility
Cons So-so mic, battery life, price
Quirks Chat isn't wireless on Xbox One

This is a sample of the Astro A50's mic audio.

If you want a wireless headset that works for every platform right out of the box and you've got money to spend for quality, the Astro A50s remain your best option. At $299.99, they're cheaper than the Steelseries Siberia 800s with better sound quality and comfort.

While the number of quality headphones aimed at the gaming space has exploded in the last few years, there are some segments that remain pretty uncompetitive, in part because Astro Gaming makes premium products that generally make a good case for their prices. As Astro's high end product — at least until Astro introduces wireless products in its Tournament Ready line — the A50 doesn't disappoint.

The A50s sound quality is on par with most of the best gaming headsets around, neck and neck with Corsair's Void and with better highs and smoother bass than Polk's Striker Pro headsets. Like the Voids, Astro seems to use the same drivers for its A40s and the A50s, with the only real difference being some very, very minor white noise if the A50s volume is turned up all the way. The A50s feel just slightly more comfortable than the A40s, and feel a bit sturdier, and the headset's controls are smartly integrated — you can adjust the game/voice balance by clicking the panel over the right ear to either side.


I've been a fan of Astro's gear for years. If you had asked me even a year ago, I'd have told you they have the best sound of a gaming headset, the best build quality, and the best aesthetics. A year later, all of those things are exactly the same, in that Astro's line largely hasn't changed at all. Yes, there was a cosmetic upgrade a couple of years ago, and the new Tournament Ready line of Astro gear takes that just a little bit farther. But the construction quality remains largely the same as it was in 2009.

I'd go so far as to say this is a problem. Until testing the Corsair Voids this fall, the Astro A40s have been my go-to pair of gaming headphones, despite the fact that I've now broken three pairs in six years: two broke identically, the headband coming apart; and a seven month old pair broke after the modular bit on the headband holding all the upper padding snapped one of its connecting tabs.

Every one of those broken pairs retailed for $150. This isn't counting the additional cost for Astro's mixamps, which I like, but retail for an additional $100 for dedicated breakout boxes. Astro is no longer the leader on wired headset sound quality, comfort, or build, and I hope the company sees the current headset landscape as a wake-up call to revitalize their product line. I couldn't blame you for buying their products. I like them, and I still might spend the extra money, especially for the various LAN capabilities of the new Tournament Ready sets, and their modular upgrade capability. But it's more difficult than ever to recommend them to normal people.

The power button is a bit too recessed to comfortably find while wearing the headset, but this is nitpicking, and the headset's volume controls are easy to find. The A50's base station is understated and very slick, and it rests comfortably in the included stand that comes with the headphones. For multi-console users, you'll be glad to find the multiple inputs on the back of the box, including USB for power/PC/PS4 connectivity, as well as an optical in and out, and an 1/8th inch analog input.

There are a few problem spots for the A50s. First, the battery life isn't as great as some of the competition's — I found it to last around 12 hours, give or take. More annoyingly for an ostensibly wireless headset (that costs $300), Xbox One owners who want to use voice chat will need to run a cord from the headset to the controller. This is the only difference between the PS4 and Xbox One "versions" of the A50s, by the way — the Xbox One version includes the chat adapter for Xbox One controllers, and the PS4 SKU doesn't.

And finally, the sound quality for the A50's headset mic isn't great, and some well-meaning but very aggressive noise cancellation tech can cause your voice to cut out. Most of the wireless sets I tested actually suffer from so-so microphone audio, to be fair, but few of them cost as much as the A50s.

The A50s offer an excellent listening experience, as they should, given the steep price tag. While I didn't fully test several manufacturers for this feature, I've used almost everything at various events, and Astro handily beats the likes of Turtle Beach. But of all the recommendations here, this one is my most measured — it really feels like we're waiting for someone to come along and mount a serious challenge to Astro for premium wireless gear, and until they do, you're going to have to pay what Astro asks.


pdp ag 9
PDP Afterglow AG 9 Wireless Headset
Price $99.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX) and PS4 OR PC (Windows/OSX) and Xbox One
Connection Type Wireless (USB Dongle)
Pros Sound quality, battery life, wireless performance
Cons So-so mic, headband is slightly tight, aesthetics seem dated

This is a sample of the Afterglow AG 9's mic audio..

They're not the best at any one thing, but for $100, PDP's Afterglow AG 9 headsets are a pretty good value. They're fairly comfortable even for larger eared folk, they offer good dynamic range, and they offer good wireless performance. They also offer completely wireless chat on PS4, and, though I was not able to test this, the Xbox One SKU makes the same claim, and they work on Windows 10 PCs without any needed app installation at all.

Of course, paying $100 bucks for a multiplatform wireless set means some compromises. There can be some soft wireless "buzz" at high volumes, though it I didn't find it especially distracting. They're not as comfortable as Astro's A50s or Corsair's Voids, and were a bit tight on my (admittedly large) head. The mic quality isn't great, and the industrial design leaves something to be desired, feeling very rooted in mid-00s "transparent plastic and LEDs" aesthetics.

But at this price point, on consoles, there's not a lot of great competition. Sony's line of PS4 headsets is decent, but the build quality can feel flimsy and I think the AG 9s sound better, with a less bass-dominated sound field. And despite a somewhat dated aesthetic, the build quality also outdoes just about any Turtle Beach set I've used, regardless of price point. The battery life seems good and I didn't have any problems exceeding the 16 hours listed by PDP in the AG 9's marketing.

The rest of the bunch: prices and impressions

Turtle Beach Recon 50x

Price $39.95
Platform PC (Windows/OSX) and PS4 and Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Inline-muting and an excellent mic
Cons The Recon 50X has some of the worst sound of any headset I used over the course of researching this feature. Not only was its dynamic range poor, I suffered severe ear-fatigue quickly at medium volumes.
turtle beach earforce recon 50x

Turtle Beach PX24

Price $79.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX) and PS4 and Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone w/optional battery powered USB amplifier
Pros It's a surprisingly listenable pair of headphones, and the breakout box gives a slightly warmer sound as well, though it kills some of the detail the headphones otherwise seem capable of. Their dynamics aren't amazing, but I didn't feel any ear fatigue to speak of. One of the only sets to feature mic-monitoring.
Cons There's a "superhuman hearing" mode that makes for a poor listening experience, however.
turtle beach px24

Razer Kraken Pro

Price $80.00 (approx)
Platform PC (Windows/OSX) and PS4 and Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Better sound in practice than it's more expensive big brother, the Chroma. Not comfortable to wear over long periods of time. Sound is never amazing, but a decent bit of range can be managed through your sound card's controls.
Cons Razer's Synapse software is a pain, with poor sound management. The headband is too tight, creating a weird vacuum effect on the cups that make so-so sound quality worse. Also they're bright green.
razer kraken pro

Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma

Price $99.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX)
Connection Type USB
Pros The Kraken Chroma 7.1 has the most painless, easy to manage packaging of any headset i've ever seen. Yes, this is a positive.
Cons The Chromas' sound is extremely bass heavy, and I couldn't easily find a way to disable its surround effect. The cans are tight but didn't hurt, exactly, but the headband fit was also very tight. The tightness of the headphones means the sound quality is worse for people with large ears.
razer chroma

Steelseries Siberia X100

Price $80.00 (approximate)
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros Comfortable fit and soft padding
Cons The X100's sound quality isn't terrible, but it's outclassed by comparably priced and cheaper headsets. And there's no onboard microphone included.
Siberia X100

Steelseries Siberia X300

Price $149.99
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One
Connection Type Stereo 1/8th" "four post" headphone
Pros The Siberia X300s have the most unorthodox headband design I've ever seen, but they are quite comfortable. Their noise isolation is pretty good, and they include a breakout splitter cable for PC use.
Cons The X300's sound quality is only ok, with excessive bass that became tiring and fuzzy high frequencies. For what you're getting, the X300s are very, very expensive.
siberia x300

Steelseries Siberia X800 and P800

Price $349.99 (approximate)
Platform PC (Windows/OSX), PS4, Xbox One
Connection Type USB/optical input
Pros The Siberia P800 and X800 are the same headset, save for the X800's included Xbox One chat adapter. They both offer the same relatively comfortable fit, excellent battery life, and a novel swappable battery system that includes a second battery that charges in the breakout box while not in use. Sound is mostly good, though not without its problems.
Cons First, the Siberia 800 line is very expensive, even more expensive than the better sounding, more comfortable Astro A50s (which are already on the outside limits of their recommendability based on price). Second, there's a fair amount of wireless noise in the headset at high volume, and at this price point, that seems especially intolerable. The mic is slightly worse than the competition as well.
steelseries siberia x800