One of the great things about modern gaming is how the sound design makes it feel so immersive. Of course, all of that is pretty much useless if you don’t have the right equipment to take advantage of it. Sure, a good speaker can do the job, but getting a gaming headset is much better. Besides, having the cops getting called on you when you’re playing Modern Warfare at two in the morning isn’t a fun experience.
Here’s my list of what I think are the best gaming headsets for 2021. If there’s something in there you don’t agree with, good for you to have an opinion. I don’t care.
- Razer Blackshark V2
- Logitech Pro X
- Razer Kraken Ultimate
- JBL Quantum One
- Steelseries Arctis 9X
- EKSEA E900
Razer Blackshark V2
Release Date: July 2020
Anyone who’s been gaming for a while knows the name Razer, and for good reason. They produce some of the best peripherals around and they more often than not, deliver on the hype. Most of their products can be rather flashy, and if all you’re concerned with is gaming, you don’t really need all that crap. Well, they certainly went out of their usual way to create the Blackshark V2 Pro.
This pair provides what most gamers want in a gaming headset. Comfort, compatibility, and performance. It’s light, fits snugly without causing too much strain, and has great noise cancellation. It’s also easily compatible with either PCs or consoles by using either the USB or the 3.5mm jack. Sure, it isn’t wireless, but unless you plan to jump around like a maniac while playing, why would that matter? It also costs $100, which, compared to most gaming headsets, is more manageable. Sure, it’s not that cheap but it won’t break the bank either.
Here are a few notable features of the Razer Blackshark V2:
- THX Spatial surround sound audio
- Sound isolation
- HyperClear cardioid mic
- Relatively inexpensive.
There’s also a V2 Pro and a V2 X version of the model. The Pro version is wireless, a bit heavier, and also more expensive than the regular model. The X version is cheaper but offers 7.1 surround rather than THX Spatial Audio. The X version also only comes with a 3.5mm jack and not the USB. The regular version is a great deal in itself and pretty much gets my Best Headset for 2021 award.
Logitech Pro X
Release Date: August 2020
Another brand that should be familiar to most gamers, Logitech usually produces top of the line peripherals. The Logitech Pro X and the Pro Wireless are some of their newest offerings. While relying on brand names for quality often end in heartbreak, it seems that the Logitech Pro X performs acceptably.
The memory foam earpads and headbands make it comfortable to wear for extended gaming periods when sore losers don’t know when to quit. Its steel and aluminum build is also a great addition in case you happen to be on the losing side. Anything that can withstand getting thrown across the room in anger a couple of times is a win in my book.
Big caveat though, if you’re going to be buying the Logitech Pro X, download the Logitech G Hub Program. This allows you to fully customize earphone and mic equalization options, which eliminates most of the customer complaints regarding the product. You’re already paying top dollar for the thing, so why wouldn’t you get the appropriate software for it?
This of course means that if you’re playing on consoles, you might consider getting something else.
Here are a few notable features of the Logitech Pro X:
- Durable construction
- Comfortable memory foam material
- 7.1 surround sound.
Razer Kraken Ultimate
Release Date: November 2019
Yes, another Razer product, so sue me. Also, this is the headset that I use. It’s not my fault that they make good headsets. Also, it came out more than a year ago, so its presence in this list means it’s still worth getting even after all that time. If you’re getting a Razer Kraken, though, it’s much better to get the Ultimate or the Tournament rather than the standard Kraken models. Sure, they cost almost twice as much but you wouldn’t be here if you wanted cheap headsets.
Whenever people talk about Razer headsets, these are the ones that come to mind. The large circular earphone cups being almost a signature feature of the Razer series. The LEDs on the cups can be changed and sync with other Razer peripherals you may have. Just don’t get the cat ear models or you’ll find yourself getting shot at by everyone in the map, including your own team.
Weeb version notwithstanding, the Kraken Ultimate and Tournament has a clear and crisp sound, with bass levels that can rattle your teeth. It also has a durable steel and aluminum build that will endure a lot of gaming sessions.
One of the only downsides of the Ultimate is that it only comes wired. Also, it doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack so if you want a Razer for your console, you’re better off with the Blackshark, or the Razer Nari models.
Here are a few notable features of the Razer Kraken Ultimate:
- THX 7.1 Spatial surround sound
- Razer Chroma compatibility
- Durable steel and aluminum build
- Retractable cardioid mic
JBL Quantum One
A brand known more by audiophiles than gamers, JBL enters the gaming headphone arena because, why not? They already make good audio peripherals, so adapting one for the gaming market wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. The Quantum One is their flagship product and it looks rather sweet.
You can consider this one of the best gaming headsets available. The sound is clear and crisp, the noise canceling is designed specifically for gaming, and it can be used on all gaming platforms, even the Switch or mobile. The Quantum Sphere 360 tech in the headphones themselves adjust gaming sounds as you turn your head. The boom mic is detachable and the headset comes with RGB LEDs that can change color.
What’s not sweet though is the price tag. At over $200, this is probably the priciest headphone on the list. If spending that much for a gaming peripheral doesn’t bother you, then this is a good choice. You probably didn’t need that second kidney anyway.
Here are a few notable features of the JBL Quantum One:
- Quantum Sphere 360 head-tracking
- True active noise cancellation
- Headset RGB lighting effects.
- Compatibility with all gaming platforms.
Steelseries Arctis 9X
Release Date: June 2019
Another older headset model that still rivals the performance of newer ones, the Steelseries Arctis series has been one of the top choices in gaming headsets. Coming in both wired and wireless versions, the Arctis 9X can pair with both PC and Xbox by using Bluetooth. This means that you can seamlessly switch between the two platforms rather easily. The optimal placement of the controls prevents you from accidentally rendering yourself deaf by pushing the wrong button.
The sound is clear and the noise reduction does its job well. The steel-reinforced headband means that it’s designed to take a bit of punishment. Just avoid using it as a stress ball and it should last you a while.
The wireless version has been designed to sync with Xbox, so PlayStation users should probably either try the wired model or look somewhere else. Yes, there’s a wireless PS4/PS5 version out, but it’s worth almost twice the normal wireless model. With the Xbox version alone going for $200, paying more than half the price of a PS4 or PS5 for just the earphones may be a deal breaker.
Here are a few notable features for the Steelseries Arctis 9X:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Clearcast mic
- On-ear chat controls
- Windows Sonic surround sound
Release Date: April 2020
This is a runner-up of sorts for people that don’t have the budget for an expensive headset. Sure, it doesn’t have a recognizable brand name and it isn’t as snazzy looking as the other products on this list, but at a price point of less than $50 there are a lot of things to like about it.
It comes with a comfortable design that allows you to wear it for hours on end, and the omnidirectional noise cancellation allows you to concentrate on your game. Just be sure to get gud, as I don’t think these headphones will survive any violent tendencies you may have when losing.
The headphones are compatible with all gaming platforms, though you’ll need to buy an adapter for old Xbox controllers. It may not be the Cadillac of headphones, but if you’re looking for a pair to tide you over while you wait for that kidney money to come in, this a great choice.
Here are a few notable features for the EKSEA E900:
- Multi-platform compatibility
- Good noise canceling
- Quite affordable
Overall, if you’re looking for a headset that won’t break your budget but still offer excellent gaming features, get the Razer Blackshark V2. It’s worth the price you pay for it, and perhaps you’ll actually hear the footsteps behind you to prevent you from getting stabbed for the nth time.
If you have too much money on your hands, the JBL Quantum One can change that rather quickly. If you want a cheap alternative get the EKSEA E900, I won’t judge.