Best Xbox gaming headset for 2021
Serious gamers know that having the best gear makes a difference. These days, that includes a killer set of gaming headphones. They’re absolutely necessary when you need to communicate with your squad or beat a tricky boss. If you’re gaming on theor a new , you can simply plug a standard pair of headphones with a mic into the 3.5mm jack on your controller, but having a dedicated “gaming” headset ensures an optimized gaming experience. Further, investing in a wireless gaming headset can prevent you from getting tangled in a cord and losing a match.
On top of that, having a decent mic allows others to hear you clearly when you’re in the middle of a long gaming session — even if there’s a lot of background noise. Many of us are stuck at home, which means extra noise around the house. Having a noise-isolating headset and mic monitoring can be the difference between a successful raid and an embarrassing defeat.
Many people with an Xbox One or Xbox One X choose to go with a wired headset simply because it can be plugged into the already wireless controller. It’s also worth noting that many, if not most, wired Xbox headsets also work just fine with the , Windows PCs, Macs and the .
If you want to eliminate the cord that goes from the controller to your headphones, however, there are plenty of wireless headset options. The nice thing about Xbox wireless headsets options is that most don’t require a USB dongle to connect wirelessly (mostdo). Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless technology allows you to quickly pair with your Xbox sans dongle. (Wireless models that require dongles are specifically noted below.)
In making these picks, we focused mainly on a few key variables, including design (build quality), comfort and sound quality, as well as extra features along with price. We also took mic quality into consideration, because that’s especially important if your gaming session requires group coordination. If you can’t be heard, you can’t strategize!
Finally, so far as we know, all of the Xbox One wireless headsets listed here will also work with the upcomingand .
With those basics established, let’s talk about the best Xbox headset. These are the results of our own home-based testing, updated periodically, and include some options suggested by GameSpot’s list of best gaming headsets.
Read more: The best gaming headset for PS5 (so far)
Turtle Beach has upgraded its popular Stealth 700 headset, improving both its performance and comfort. The build quality is solid and I liked the “cooling gel-infused” memory foam ear cushions, which really fit my head nicely and play well with glasses. The headband is also sturdy and well-padded.
Turtle Beach says this Gen 2 model has upgraded upgraded 50mm Nanoclear drivers (the sound is more detailed and “precise,” redesigned metal-reinforced headband and a larger, high-sensitivity flip-to-mute mic. Its engineers tuned it to deliver even “more detailed and precise sound.” I thought it sounded quite good, and the headset pairs to your phone and is also good for music listening and taking calls while you’re gaming (there’s an “all-new” Turtle Beach Hub app for iOS and Android that allows you to tweak the audio and remap buttons. (The app feels a little beta-ish and should be updated in the months ahead).
This headset will work with current Xbox One consoles as well as the next-gen Series X consoles. Battery life is now up to 20 hours — the headset charges via USB-C — and thanks to Xbox Wireless technology, you can connect wirelessly to the Xbox without using a dongle like you have to do with the PS4.
If you’re looking at this vs. the step-down Stealth 600 Gen 2, which retails for $100, that model is also good but the Stealth 700 Gen definitely has a more premium feel to it. It’s a really solid headset for $150.
If you’re looking for a really solid wired headset with an affordable price tag, the HyperX Cloud X is an excellent choice. It’s sturdily built, has good sound with strong microphone performance and most importantly, it’s comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions. It’s designed to work with the Xbox One and the Series X/Series S but is also compatible with the PS4 (and PS5), as well as the Nintendo Switch and PCs.
The Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox is a beast of wireless headset, at least in terms of size. That said, it’s not heavy and its auto-adjusting headband makes this one of the most comfortable gaming headsets you can buy; just note that its ear cups really stick out from your head. The ear pads are equipped with cooling gel-infused cushions, and the Razer logo lights up.
Aside from excellent sound quality and comfort, the other signature feature is the built-in HyperSense haptic feedback technology that lets you feel the game while you’re playing. One might call it a gimmick but it does add another dimension to the gaming experience. The only downside is that battery life takes a hit when you engage it. It’s 6 hours with HyperSense on and 20 hours with it turned off.
It’s worth pointing out that this is an open-back headset, which does help open up the soundstage and give the audio a more airy quality, but the sound will leak out of the headphones, which could annoy others around you. I found the microphone performance to be good but not stellar.
This will also connect to a PC wirelessly with an Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.
On the PS4 and PC side Arctis has its high-end Pro Wireless ($330), which some say is the best all-around headset for both those platforms. But for Xbox, the Arctis 9X Wireless is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a more premium wireless headset. It connects directly to the Xbox wirelessly without a dongle and can also be used with your phone with a Bluetooth connection. It’s also compatible with the new Series X and delivers 20 hours of battery life.
If you can’t quite afford Turtle Beach’s new Stealth 700 Gen 2, the new Stealth 600 Gen 2 is a good alternative at $100. While it doesn’t have the more premium build quality of the Stealth 700, it’s a very comfortable headset with good sound and performance. The audio quality has been improved slightly, and like the Stealth 700, it’s equipped with a larger high-sensitivity flip-to-mute mic that seamlessly integrates into the headset when retracted (muted).
An audio preset button on the left ear cup allows you to quickly customize your audio, and thanks to Xbox Wireless technology, it’s easy to connect to your Xbox (yes, this is also compatible with the new Xbox Series X). Battery life is rated at 15 hours, and the headset recharges via USB-C.
The headset is pictured in white but is more readily available in black. The PS4 version includes a dongle for wireless connectivity with the PS4 and PS5.
If you want a much more affordable alternative to the 9X, check out the Arctis 1, a well-designed (but less swanky) wireless model that sells for about $100. While you need to use a dongle (included), it works when connected to Xbox (including Series X and Series S), Switch, PS4 or even Android (the USB-C dongle includes a USB-A adapter cable). It’s a good value, with a detachable Discord-certified microphone, and battery life is rated at up to 20 hours, which is pretty decent.
Like the Steel Series Arctis 1 above, the HyperX Cloud X Flight uses a low-latency 2.4GHz USB dongle for its wireless connection to your Xbox instead of connecting directly sans dongle. This is a very comfortable headset with excellent sound and good microphone performance (the mic is detachable). It also has very good battery life (up to 30 hours), though you’ll need to turn off the LEDs on the ear cups to maximize battery life. Hopefully the next-generation version will move to USB-C charging (it uses Micro-USB).
As far as basic wired gaming headsets go, you can’t go wrong with the HyperX’s Cloud Stinger Core. It’s comfortable and has good audio quality and microphone performance. The build quality isn’t as good as some of HyperX’s step-up models, but you can’t expect everything for $30.
The Quantum 100 is the entry-level model in JBL’s new line of Quantum gaming headsets, which run from $40 to $300. There’s nothing fancy about this model, but it’s pretty lightweight and comfortable with nicely padded ear cups, plus it has a detachable boom microphone. On the left ear cup there’s a volume control dial along with a microphone mute button. It also works with other game consoles and is pretty decent for music, though it’s a touch bright.
While some of JBL’s higher-end models feature wireless connectivity and even noise canceling, the Quantum 100 is just a basic gaming headphone that will appeal to more casual gamers on a tight budget.