Gaming headsets are a great tool for the video gamer’s arsenal. They personalize sound like earbuds, but open a whole new world of communication thanks to ergonomic microphones.
The hard part is buying the right headset. A good pair can become a close friend, a bad pair can be nearly unusable, and each user’s preferences are different. We have a few hints that may help: characteristics to keep in mind that could narrow your search.
Price, as always, is one of the biggest considerations. A good headset can easily be purchased for around $20, but anything below that should be considered dubious. If you still want to spend less, remember to thoroughly check user reviews!
Above $20, headsets experience improvements in many areas. Keep the following aspects in mind and decide what you’re willing to invest in.
First off, what you want to hear? Does the bass sound good? Does the microphone compress the sound? Does it make the sound scratchy or flat? Check what other users said and, if possible, find a store that allows you to try a few headsets on.
Second, what do you not want to hear? Static and other background noises can ruin the gaming experience and are likely a deal breaker. For many people, a certain level of static will even cause headaches.
Of course, keep in mind that bad sound quality in one pair of headphones may be a factory defect. If you like everything else about the pair you received, you may want to ask for a replacement rather than a return.
What type of microphone do you want? Some feature bendable necks that can turn the microphone in any direction:
Others are more or less fixed in place:
Some include on/off switches, lights to indicate when the microphone is on, or a film cover to ensure breathing isn’t captured. These are all useful features that can improve the microphone’s use.
Last but not least, make sure the voice pickup works correctly. You don’t want to receive a product that doesn’t capture your voice, or one that hears people moving in the other room.
Generally, there are two types of headrests: cushioned and suspension.
Cushioned headrests are more static by design. The earpieces generally click into different positions, and remain in that position as long as needed. This can be easy if you only use one setting.
Suspension headsets feature a soft pad, attached to the headphones with an elastic band. Since the band adjusts by itself, these headphones can usually be put on without any effort.
What can we say? It matters. Headphones come with various designs that range from smooth and simple to flashy and fantastical. Are you gaming alone, but want something that appeals to you personally? Or are you a streamer trying to define your brand?
Headsets come with a number of other potentially helpful additions. Here are a few:
- Volume dials: many gaming headsets sport knobs that allow you to turn the volume up, down, or off. The position can vary: on the back of an earpiece, or partway down the cord.
- USB cords: headsets that include lights often use one for power. From our experience, it’s generally at the end of the cord, which splits in two directions for the auxiliary and USB connections.
Happy hunting! We hope this guide helps you find the best headset for you.