How much do you need to spend to get a good Xbox / PC gaming headset?
Rule of thumb for buying gaming headsets
Gaming headsets are becoming increasingly popular since immersive, surround-sound experiences offered by solutions like Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos genuinely elevate tactical play. A good headset can provide a 7.1-like experience for a much lower cost than buying an array of external speakers and provide positional awareness that regular TV or PC speakers simply can't provide. To that end, you may be wondering exactly how much you'll need to spend to get a decent headset.
There are tons of brands out there when it comes to headsets. I've reviewed dozens upon dozens of headsets here on Windows Central, rounding up lists for the best Xbox One headset, best Xbox Series X and Series S headsets, and best Xbox headsets under $100. All of these headsets work on PC and provide a decent overview of what headsets are worth buying at various price tiers. If you want some guidance on doing some personal research, though, look no further.
The cheapest headset that I would consider using as a daily driver, personally, is the HyperX CloudX. This headset is a legend and one of the best-selling headsets of all time, owing to its premium quality and generous price point, which hovers around the $60 mark. Generally, decent wired headsets seem to start at around the $50 mark, but you can push that price even lower if you look for those same headsets on eBay second-hand.
For me, HyperX by far has the edge over other brands in this price range, but there are compelling, affordable options from the likes of known brands like Corsair, Turtle Beach, LucidSound, and Razer. If the headset you're looking at is covered in strange angles, flickering lights, and bright colors from a brand you've never heard of, chances are it's not worth your money and made from cheap materials. You can pay $30 for a headset today and think you've saved money, but it may only last a few months, forcing you to buy a new one relatively quickly. Some of the $100+ headsets I have here have lasted for years through tons of abuse, owing to their superior construction and materials.
I would first consider brands like HyperX, Corsair, and Razer for a sub $70 headset. For wireless headsets, things become a bit more complex.
Wired headsets seem to almost always start at $99, which is perhaps, at least in part, due to the radio technology baked into them. More complex engineering efforts lead to higher price points, and it often comes at the cost of sound quality. For example, the most affordable wireless headset on the market is the Turtle Beach Stealth 600, which is a great headset. For me, though, it offers an overall worse experience than the cheaper HyperX CloudX, which is wired. But for some, having a wired headset isn't an option or simply isn't preferred. In those instances, a $99 wireless headset may be better for you personally. The Stealth 600 also boasts features that wired headsets often miss thanks to its on-board processing, such as mic monitoring feedback. I like mic monitoring enough to sacrifice the HyperX CloudX audio quality, but that's just a personal preference.
The cheapest good wireless headset in terms of construction and audio quality is the $180 LucidSound LS35X, which I personally consider the best Xbox headset ever made when you consider quality vs. value above all else. More expensive options also bake in Bluetooth mixing and other features. Corsair's HS75 XB is also incredible, while being a smidge cheaper. SteelSeries and Razer also have some great options in this price range. At most, you'll be spending around $300 for wireless headsets with unique features, like the planar drivers in the incredible-sounding Audeze Penrose X, or the super-convenient charge dock with the Astro A50.
It ultimately falls on how much you want to spend and what kind of experience and features you want. But as a general rule of thumb, I wouldn't consider a cheaper gaming headset than the HyperX CloudX at around $60 for wired solutions. I wouldn't consider a wireless headset below around $150, which is what the Corsair HS75 XB generally costs. However, this argument could change when Microsoft releases its official Xbox Wireless Headset in the coming weeks, which claims to have "best in class" audio for just $99. Microsoft could undercut the industry and force headset manufacturers to lower their prices to compete. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft's new headset can deliver, given that their previous efforts have not been particularly great.
Best value wired headset
The HyperX CloudX is a best-selling headset for a good reason. It boasts superior construction and materials, a dreamy lightweight design, a subtle, mature look, and impressive audio quality. Above all, it achieves this with a svelte $70 price tag, undercutting its closest rivals.
Best value wireless headset
Corsair HS75 XB
The Corsair HS75 XB headset is an incredible option for those looking for a high-quality headset with good quality to price ratio. It boasts impeccable audio, designed for Dolby Atmos, and comes with Dolby Atmos support baked directly into the hardware. It sports a subtle design and a great mic, and its robust construction should see it last a very long time.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
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