Are you looking for a pair of amazing gaming headphones that will do more than just sit on your head? The best headsets can actually add points to your kill score with great surround sound, high fidelity, fast chat options, and other features you never knew you needed. Luckily, we’ve tested out a bunch of the latest PC and console gaming headsets to find out which ones made our shooting all the sweeter – and you can benefit from the results. Check out important features below, and then take a look at a few of the best gaming headsets 2016 currently on the market!
Features to Look For
Wired or Wireless: Wireless headphones are great for some spaces, but tend to be more finicky and less responsive than wired headphones.
Frequency Range: Frequency is measured by both range and response. Pay particular attention to response, because an accurate response is key to high fidelity and generally allows you to push up the volume without sacrificing clarity.
Sensitivity: High-sensitivity headphones will respond more to volume changes. This isn’t always a good thing – it can get a little annoying – but if you like really loud sound, look for high sensitivity.
Surround Sound: You want to know where those sniper shots are coming from, right? Virtual surround sound can help you here – look for this feature on any gaming headphones that you buy.
Mic Quality: You want a great mic that allows you to communicate quickly and without any annoying interference. Mic quality varies a lot between models: Consider whether or not you want a retractable mic before you buy.
Sound Latency: The longer the latency, the longer it takes sound to reach your ears. If a gaming headset is getting bad marks when it comes to latency, avoid it like the plague: The last thing you want is a sound delay in the middle of the action.
Controls: Where do you prefer controls? On-the-ear controls allow for faster adjustments…as long as you are used to the configuration. Some headphones may even have apps or remote controls for changing the volume and other settings.
Logitech G35 – $93
This best gaming headset has nearly everything you could want for the most intense gaming sessions of your life. It comes with 7.1-channel virtual surround sound so you can get a read on your environment, as well as three customizable buttons that allow you to control chat windows, music, and more. When it comes to comfort, the G35 headphones come with three different headbands so you can find the kind that work before for you. The mic is both easily adjustable and noise blocking to reduce background noise and cut out static. Plus, the price is extra-affordable.
The downside is that these headphones were designed specifically for Windows computers, which does limit your playing options.
Beyerdynamic MMX 300 – $399
Notice that big price jump? That’s because these headphones are state of the art, with one of the best frequency responses around. If you are playing FPSs with a lot of noise and activity, these headphones will help you parse out exactly what’s going on, moment by moment. They are also pleasantly light and won’t give you a headache after a few hours of playing.
The internal sound card is also a great feature, and a major reason for the high cost: It helps prevent latency and keeps sounds authentic no matter what system you are playing on – plus it allows for some serious customization. We also have to give props to just how authentic these headphones – based on real cockpit designs – actually look.
Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Premium – $110
While our first two examples were intended primarily for PC, let’s turn to a console option for our next model. These Turtle Beach headphones are designed for Xbox One gaming, which means all your Gears, Halo and Destiny battles will get a major upgrade once you try this headset out. Major benefits include replaceable ear cups to make sure you get the perfect fit and can replace any malfunctions, as well as full compatibility with Xbox chat. The speakers are noticeable for their strong bass sound, too. These headphones have a lot of padding if you like some extra ear protection, but they’re not going to do a Fatality on your head if you wear them too long.
Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 – $80
This is a more traditional Logitech model, but still has plenty of great features – plus a PS4 focus, so if you’re a Sony fan you’ll love these headphones (and their price). Features include 7.1 surround sound, an auto-muting mic, and three programmable on-ear buttons. To fuel these features, the headset uses a rechargeable battery that lasts around 10 hours, so have a USB port handy to recharge if necessary.