The 10 Best Computer Headsets
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in September of 2016. Whether you're at work or play, it's important to hear associates and teammates loud and clear. Luckily, there's no shortage of quality headsets with high-fidelity microphones and great audio capabilities. These are some of the most comfortable and best sounding options available. They come in a range of sizes and configurations to suit different needs and at prices to meet all budgets. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 08, 2020:
When it comes to professional quality headphones with high-end microphones, two names are generally better recognized than most others. The Plantronics Voyager Focus B825 and Jabra Evolve 75 each come from one of the those two industry leaders in office headsets, and if you're willing to spend the money, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better in most respects. The HyperX Cloud Alpha S is a similar story, but it's meant for gamers. Also on the expensive side are the Plantronics Savi 740 and Jabra Engage, although these are two of the few premium options with an optional single-sided on-ear configuration.
That said, you don't have to spend a fortune on a quality headset. Gamers will appreciate the cost effectiveness of both the HyperX Cloud Stinger Core, which also comes in a wireless model, and the Razer Blackshark V2, which is offered in both USB and stereo mini plug versions, and known for its high-quality microphone.
The Plantronics Blackwire 5220 is a mid-range option that's available in mono and stereo and with either a Type-A or Type-C plug, while the Sennheiser SC 165 is right around the same price and has wider on-ear cushions that many users find more comfortable. If you're looking for simplicity and straightforward dependability, the Jabra Evolve 20 is also a great choice.
If you're buying one of these for working at home, we recommend doing some extra research to ensure you're getting just the right model for you. Generally speaking, anything certified for Skype For Business should work with nearly all softphone systems, although there are some subtle differences with the alternative unified communications standard. The only way you can really be certain which you need, or if it really matters, is by getting word from your job's IT department.
May 03, 2019:
There are two distinct types of headsets for PC use: one for your gaming rig, and one for the office. In those categories you'll find both wired and wireless options, though if you're gaming, only 2.4-gigahertz models with dedicated dongles will likely provide low-enough latency to satisfy a fast-twitch experience. For that reason, the Corsair is a great choice, and also because it doesn't cost very much compared to most. If you aren't totally concerned with cordless use and you want to save some cash, go with the HyperX Cloud Stinger. If you've got plenty of extra capital to spend, on the other hand, you should strongly consider the Audeze Mobius. It's one of the high-end ear speaker manufacturer's newest design, and while it may require a little tuning for gaming perfection, it's a seriously high-quality piece of equipment. As long as your head isn't too big for it, the HyperX Cloud9 is one of the best-sounding options on the market in its price range.
If you're trying to get some work done, though, you'll likely need a very different peripheral. Business-oriented headsets tend to be lighter and sleeker, so they're comfortable to wear for hours at a time, won't overheat your ears, and won't necessarily block out 100% of the background noise in case the boss needs to talk to you. The Jabra 550 is probably the simplest and least obtrusive of these, though in loud settings, its one-sided construction may not provide sufficient isolation. The Sennheiser 165 is a similarly straightforward unit that doesn't cost a ton and is supremely comfortable to wear. Plantronics' Blackwire utilizes a suspension-style headband and may be the most comfortable out of the bunch, and it provides good passive noise reduction, making it great for call centers. As far as banded models go, though you should definitely look at the Jabra Evolve line. It comes in four models, and they're all great, while sporting a wide range of differing features. If you're on your feet moving around the office a lot, consider the Savi W430, which is a pro-grade earpiece that does anything but make the wearer look dorky. Finally, if you need to juggle communications across multiple devices, check out the Savi 740. It's expensive, but it's also one of the most full-feature business headsets out there.
Audeze LCD-GX Audiophiles typically spend incredible amounts of money on ultra-premium headphones, and this advanced model is one of the best-known manufacturer's entry into the gaming headset field. It uses planar magnetic technology that promises, among other benefits, a significantly wider soundstage and potentially far more realistic output than its dynamic-driver counterparts. audeze.com
The Newest Profession
In fact, at least as important as barking out instructions is the act of listening to your teammates.
For all of recorded history, mankind has engaged in sport. The timelessness of physical struggle is exemplified by the staying power of such competitive traditions as the Olympic Games and a multitude of professional sports around the globe. Societies as ancient as the Mayans and Egyptians have used games to strengthen social bonds and even serve spiritual purposes. These socio-entertainment proceedings have often used whatever tools are available — rocks, plant-fiber ropes, and animal bladders, to name a few. So it's no surprise that today we still use every implement at our disposal to help us compete with our fellow humans.
For some in the 21st century, that means ultra-HD video, near-zero-latency ping times, multi-core processors, and blazing-fast dedicated GPUs. Every day, hopeful gamers log on to league matches and prepare to frag their way to glory at the click of a mouse.
Hold your horses, though: as any Overwatch player will remind you, this is a team-based game, and your very survival depends heavily on how well you can work and communicate with your companions. And communication does not mean cursing at the screen when you get picked off by a camper.
In fact, at least as important as barking out instructions is the act of listening to your teammates. This should be obvious: being immediately aware of your partner's status in a co-op game is of utmost importance to reigning supreme over all the newbies. Then again, so is talking smack to said novices after you waste them.
So, we approach one of the most important tools of online gaming, arguably today's most quickly-evolving professinal field of sport. Some young pros earn considerable amounts of money playing video games, and millions more enthusiasts log on daily to harass gamers across the world. But that's not the only reason you might need a two-way computer headset.
Huge amounts of commerce happen daily in telephone-based transactions that take place through secured connections on PCs. And so many people live far away from their friends, family, and employment, that video chat is more popular than ever. There's little better use for hands-free communication than connecting authentically with your loved ones and your career. With all of these applications, there's sure to be a cornucopia of features and styles from which to choose. So it's worth taking a closer look at this tool for communication, teamwork, and trash-talk.
It All Starts With The Right Pair Of Headphones
When looking for any device that incorporates personal, on-the-head listening devices, there's one categorical decision to start with: what type of headphones should I choose? The most popular portable listening mechanism these days is arguably, the earbud, also known as the in-ear headphone. While these are lightweight and convenient, you won't find many useful applications for in-ear (or behind-the-ear) speakers in the computer headset realm. Most of your options will fall into either the on-ear or over-the-ear styles.
The most popular portable listening mechanism these days is arguably, the earbud, also known as the in-ear headphone.
On-ear headphones are generally of a lighter weight and can provide great sound. Because they don't fully encase your ears, they're great in potentially high-energy situations when the adrenaline flows and the sweat pours. A little airflow never hurt anybody — especially when keeping a cool head is imperative to defending the throne room from a high-level boss.
And when there are a lot of calls to make to clients, donors, family, and friends? It's uncomfortable and inefficient to deal with sweat and possibly restrictive equipment for long periods of time. For those reasons, a lot of professionals decide to go with the less-intrusive on-ear style for long-term comfort and cool temperatures.
The other style, the over-the-ear headphone, has been the choice of studio musicians and audiophiles for decades. These units are usually bulkier and heavier than their lobe-resting cousins, but they provide the depth and accuracy that many on-the-ear headphones generally lack. If your digital media experience utilizes three-dimensional sound, headphones that completely surround your ears can take full advantage of that immersive audio. Also, if your phones pull double-duty as music listening devices, over-ears will definitely provide the most complete musical experience. Furthermore, these setups naturally cancel out far more environmental noise, and they're more likely to feature active noise-reduction systems that often have impressive auditory discretion.
It Sounds Like They Really Work, But How?
Well, that's a good question to ask. Whether you're blasting foes out of the arena with your plasma ray or brokering high-level donations to charitable organizations, you need to be certain that every word you say is received with clarity on the other end. So, it's understandable that you'd want some technical assurance before relaying voice data across the broad worldwide web when it's supposed to end up, intact, in the ears of one solitary recipient. Luckily, that's where well-established industry standards come in.
So, make sure that your audio quality is pristine and that your microphone is responsive — because you've got some aliens to kill, or maybe some contracts to close.
Voice over internet protocol is the agreed-upon method for transmitting vocal communication across the information superhighway using digital data packets rather than the old-school analog circuitry method (think 1990s land-lines). Within digital telephony standards is a varied group of communication methodologies and languages that enables developers to connect all of their clients and employees effectively and efficiently.
In the last few decades, the gaming, fundraising, entertainment, and customer service fields have been blessed with the development of numerous advanced platforms facilitating communication. With so many VoIP clients springing up to fill every corporate and competitive need, it's more important than ever to give yourself the tools you need to excel in today's rapid-fire, instant-connectivity universe. So, make sure that your audio quality is pristine and that your microphone is responsive — because you've got some aliens to kill, or maybe some contracts to close. And remember, this call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.