In a bygone era, the gaming headset was either optional or very low in quality. Sometimes, it was both. Those days have passed, however, and today’s gamers need to embrace the latest advances in in-game audio technology. Wireless gaming headsets in 2016 offer an astounding array of features, including 7.1-channel surround sound, Bluetooth 4.1 compatibility, retractable microphones, and premium materials that will stand the best of time.
When considering which wireless gaming headsets are the best ones to buy, gamers should keep a few things in mind. First, the headset should use the most recent iteration of Bluetooth. Typically, a good headset will use Bluetooth 4.0, 4.1, or 4.2; each of these versions adheres to the Bluetooth LE, or Low Energy, standard, which maximizes battery life. Gamers who value a lag-free audio experience will also want to make sure that their chosen headset supports a wireless audio frequency, like 2.4GHz or 5.8GHz. This frequency works much like Wi-Fi, exchanging audio data with compatible consoles in a way that is actually far more instantaneous than Bluetooth can support. Finally, make sure the headset has sufficient range so that the audio doesn’t break up or cut out if the console is too far away.
Best Wireless Gaming Headsets 2017
With these considerations in mind, serious gamers can begin shopping for a wireless headset that meets their needs and lasts well into the future. Though the options are virtually limitless online and off, it might be a good idea to consider the ten best wireless gaming headsets. Each of these headsets has exceptional audio quality, employs the latest wireless technologies, and offers the kind of range that will ensure smooth operation in any living room or game room. As a result, they’re virtually guaranteed to transform the gaming experience into something far more immersive and impressive across all consoles and most PC gaming titles.
10. Plantronics Audio 995
Plantronics has long been one of the most popular brands among gamers looking for a headset, primarily because the company is known as selling some of the most affordable audio equipment on the market. That’s all well and god, but gamers need to remember that a good wireless headset will be both wireless and highly capable of good sound and noise cancellation. For that reason, the Audio 995 is an excellent choice.
The Audio 995 has a 40-foot range from the USB or Bluetooth receiver, which is perfect for a value-oriented headset. The equipment also features a microphone inclusive of noise cancellation technology, using advanced software noise cancellation that detects background noise and either removes it or reduces its sound during conversation. The fully padded ear cans are comfortable, and the headset adjusts over time so that it has the proper width to fit any head comfortably.
- Manageable Bluetooth audio range of 40 feet
- Software-based noise cancellation technology comes standard
- Comfortable padding for long-term use while gaming
- Cheaper materials don’t feel as sturdy as some competing models
- Noise cancellation is not hardware-based, which does present limitations
- Wireless range could be a bit stronger
9. Creative SoundBlaster Evo
Creative has been in the world of PC and console audio for a very long time and was even once a prolific producer of high-end sound cards and MP3 players. Today, the company’s SoundBlaster brand has been retooled as its flagship series of headsets for gamers and audiophiles. The Creative SoundBlaster Evo is the company’s value-oriented headset, with a price that is among the most affordable for a wireless model. The focus of this headset is primarily with stereo sound, though there are some other extras thrown in as well.
Like some other value-oriented models, the Creative SoundBlaster features software-based noise cancellation that is designed to make the user’s voice clearer to their fellow gamers. Software-based noise cancellation does have its limits, however, and does a worse job at canceling noise than a hardware solution. This model features USB 2.0 connectivity for both charging the headset and using it, in a wired capacity, with laptops and desktops. USB connectivity also allows for higher-quality audio than does a wireless operation.
- USB 2.0 connectivity makes charging or music enjoyment a bit easier
- Compatible with most major consoles as well as PC and Mac operating systems
- Wireless range of up to 50 feet, which is good for a value-minded headset
- USB 2.0 is a last-generation technology that is quickly on its way out
- Wireless range could be a bit better
- Headset is limited to stereo, rather than surround sound
8. Turtle Beach Ear Force i60
When it comes to high-quality audio, Turtle Beach is no joke. While the company’s wireless gaming headset is an excellent choice in 2016, the broad lineup of more standard audio products sold by Turtle Beach has earned acclaim for many years. Both sound and build quality are hallmarks of the Turtle Beach experience, and that’s certainly the case with the Ear Force i60 Wireless Headset. In addition to a wireless USB transmitter that increases overall range, this model comes with full Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility. This low-power implementation of Bluetooth leads to a dramatic lengthening of battery life.
In addition to the technology built into the headset, the actual sound produced by this model is top-notch. Unlike other, value-oriented wireless gaming headsets, this model features Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound. That means it produces seven channels of sound, as well as a “subwoofer” integrated into each ear, can, providing one of the most realistic gaming experiences on the market. Better yet, this model can be used with both consoles and PCs for maximum versatility.
- 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound provides a realistic gaming experience
- Enhanced range, thanks to a powerful USB dongle
- Low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology provides better battery life
- Higher price tag than some gamers may be willing to entertain
- Headset takes time to adjust to a gamer’s head and become comfortable
7. Razer ManO’War
Razer is no stranger to the world of gaming, with a large lineup of accessories that enhance both console and PC gaming. True to the company’s reputation of producing high-quality, realistic gaming experiences, the ManO’War headset provides realistic sound in a sleek package. This highly compact headset is one of the few models on the market that actually features a fully retractable mic, which means it can easily be converted into a regular headset for listening to music or watching a video.
The headset is also fully compatible with Bluetooth 4.0, which means the wireless connection uses less energy than earlier Bluetooth implementations. The headset can be used with both PCs and the PlayStation 4; some other Bluetooth-equipped consoles may also be compatible. As with all headsets in this price range, the ManO’War from Razer features Dolby 7.1-channel surround sound for a realistic in-game experience.
- Retractable microphone makes this headset highly versatile
- Enhanced range due to antenna placement and Bluetooth 4.0 technology
- Highly compact and comfortable design
- Battery life is good, but not great, which is disappointing for a Bluetooth 4.0 model
- Due to poor placement, the USB charging connection can be hard to find and connect.
6. Corsair Vengeance 2100
Corsair’s reputation among gamers continues to improve, thanks in large part to the company’s strong lineup of gaming mice, keyboards, and headsets. The wireless model sold by Corsair, the Vengeance 2100, is quite impressive. In addition to Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the headset uses a 2.4GHz wireless connection, virtually the same type of connection used in Wi-Fi, to provide enhanced range and better quality. Hardware-based noise cancellation in the included microphone also does a superior job of removing background noise and distractions.
When used via Bluetooth, the headset has a meager, 40-foot radius in which it will work. That radius is extended quite a bit when using the 2.4GHz wireless connection. Refreshingly, this model doesn’t feature any sound lagging over its wireless connection. This is particularly important in today’s fast-paced games, but it seems a less common feature than one might expect.
- Dual Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connections for enhanced range
- Hardware-based noise cancellation built into the microphone
- Full, 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound capability
- Charging this model takes quite a bit longer than competing headsets
- Headset is quite bulky and heavy, which some gamers might not enjoy
5. Astro Gaming A50
Except for the microphone, the Astro Gaming A50 headset looks like something that might be seen in a high-end recording studio. The sound produced by this model during gaming also matches that expectation. Unlike other models on this list so far, the A50 actually comes with a 5.8GHz wireless connection. This virtually eliminates any interference from Wi-Fi signals and provides for better sound quality in the process.
The headset is also compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 standards and comes equipped with 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound. The A50 is also notable for its high-end build quality. This is not a plastic headset that will soon creak and crack. Instead, the headset uses steel and aluminum throughout its construction, with a bit of exterior plastic for aesthetic reasons. The A50 therefore feels hefty, sturdy, and of the highest quality. It will likely stand the test of time as a result.
- Compatible with all major consoles, PC, and Mac operating systems
- Different wireless frequency provides for more consistent sound quality
- Excellent build quality that will stand the test of time
- This model is among the higher-priced headsets available on the market
- Higher wireless frequency reduces the usable range of this headset
4. Creative SoundBlaster Recon 3D Omega
Creative’s SoundBlaster lineup of gaming headsets isn’t limited just to a value model. Indeed, the company’s Recon 3D Omega is quite pricey and comes with a massive number of features not found in lower-priced models sold by the company. This particular headset bundles its own, custom-designed chipset that is supposed to help sound quality. Known as the SoundCore 3D chipset, Creative boasts that the chip can decode, transcode, and enhance sounds from all major consoles as well as from PCs and Macs.
The headset’s wireless capabilities are enhanced by both a USB dongle and a remote control, making it easy to control the headset while in-game. Like all good, high-end wireless headsets, this model comes with an active, hardware-based noise cancellation that utilizes multiple microphones. The result is an extremely clear method of communication with other gamers. In fact, it may be the best performance of any noise cancellation system on the market for today’s console and PC games.
- Excellent noise cancellation system
- Unique dongle and remote control that makes headset tuning easy
- Extended wireless range due to combination of 2.4GHz and Bluetooth technologies
- Battery life is a bit shorter than most other headsets in this price range
- Remote control is not the most intuitive on the market
3. Logitech G930
Most wireless headsets come with media controls mounted onto the ear cans, but not game controls. That’s where the Logitech G930 is a bit different. Gamers can actually program side-mounted buttons on this headset to perform in-game actions. With compatible titles, this could be the difference between life and death, victory or defeat. The headset also features 10 full hours of battery life, which is actually far ahead of most competing wireless headsets in this price range. The system uses Bluetooth 4.1 and 2.4Gz wireless connectivity to maximize its battery life in a variety of situations.
In addition to extended battery life, the headset also offers extended compatibility. The G930 is compatible with all current consoles on the market, including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The headset is fully compatible with PC games and operating systems. On the Mac, users will have to forego 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound in order to make the headset compatible with their hardware.
- Extended battery life of up to 10 full hours on a single charge
- Use of Bluetooth 4.1 wireless technology for excellent sound quality
- Excellent build quality
- Not fully compatible with Mac games and software
2. Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300
For truly high-end users, Turtle Beach’s Ear Force Z300 is an excellent choice. As mentioned earlier, Turtle Beach has a reputation for producing some of the most durable, highest quality headsets on the market. The Z300 exemplifies this commitment, with 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound, Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, and 2.4GHz wireless. The headset also offers no latency and no static during use, which is something that most gamers complain about when using more value-oriented headsets.
Several hardware “tricks” are employed to make the Z300 a superior gaming headset. First and foremost, active, hardware-enabled noise cancellation is present. This greatly reduced background noises and distractions. An onboard processor also maximizes signal strength and increases range dramatically.
Finally, another onboard processor actually manages and enhances audio, providing for the clearest and most realistic experience possible.
- Hardware-based audio and microphone enhancements make a real difference
- Processor-enhanced wireless range
- Broadly compatible with all major consoles, PC, and Mac
- Somewhat difficult to configure for first-time users
- Large microphone could be distracting in some cases
1. SteelSeries Siberia 800
SteelSeries always seems to land at or near the top of rankings for gaming accessories, but it’s for a good reason: The company makes excellent products in every category. Wireless gaming headsets produced by SteelSeries are consistently impressive, but the company’s Siberia 800 model is the standout. The headset features 7.1-channel Dolby surround sound, Bluetooth 4.1 technology, 10-hour battery life, and 2.4GHz wireless. It also features an OLED transmitter that allows for on-the-fly EQ adjustments so that every user can control their audio experience.
The Siberia 800 is one of only a few models to incorporate aluminum and stainless steel materials, giving this unit a great deal of heft and stability. The headset’s design is highly compact, and it’s versatile enough to be used either in gaming applications or as a perfectly robust headset for music and video applications. As a result, the SteelSeries Siberia 800 should be at the top of every gamer’s audio wish list.
- Amazing sound quality, thanks to built-in audio chipset
- OLED sensor allows full control of EQ from a distance
- Excellent battery life and wireless range
- This is a high-end headset with a high-end price, making it off limits to some buyers
Wireless gaming headsets used to be nothing more than an earbud and a small microphone, resulting in poor audio quality and even worse voice quality. Those days have thankfully come to a close, with an impressive array of fully wireless gaming headsets that provide surround sound, noise cancellation, and equalizer control.
Available in a wide variety of price points, today’s wireless gaming headsets can transform the experience of any game into one that is more realistic, robust, and enjoyable from start to finish. For owners of older headsets, it’s time to upgrade to the latest technology and embrace the best audio that today’s games have to offer.