Gaming Headset Buying Guide

In order to give yourself the best advantage in gaming, you're going to want a good pair of headphones designed specifically to enhance the player experience. Headphones far outweigh speakers when it comes to full game immersion or listening out for the other team. In a nutshell, your headphone choice is important and crucial to your overall gaming experience.

Types of Gaming Headsets

Earbud Headphones

Earbuds have become a very popular type of headphone in the last decade. These are tiny speakers that fit just inside of the ear and are held up by the ear's natural shape. Earbuds have evolved in the last five years to have sound quality that is comparable to more traditional headsets and some models even include a built in microphone fitted to one side of the attached cables. The biggest benefits to this type of headset is that they are lightweight, easy to store, and can be used for most mobile devices. The downside is that the speakers on earbud headphones typically do not offer any sort of noise cancellation, nor are they known for having great quality microphones.

In-Ear Headphones

In-ear headphones are similar to earbuds in that they are also tiny speakers that sit inside of your ears. The difference is that in-ear headphones are fitted with removable rubber tips that sit inside the ear canal. This type of headphone provides a better sound quality and dampens noise better than earbuds do, but they also share the similar issues with voice clarity via the built-in microphone. The biggest benefit of in-ear headphones is that they are quite popular and very easy to find at very affordable prices.

On-Ear Headphones

As the name suggests, on-ear headphones sit right against your ears and are attached to an adjustable headband. These headphones come manufactured in many different ways. Some are collapsible for easier transportation, some come with built in microphones, some offer a wide variety of colors to choose from. From a gaming perspective, on-ear headphones are a great choice for someone who needs both better sound quality and easier communication with their teammates. The cons of these types of headphones is that they do not offer the best in noise cancellation, so they are not advisable for those who would be taking part in competitive events.

Over The Ear Headphones

This type of headset has large speakers that sit completely over the ears and are the best for noise cancellation. Over the ear headphones are the standard for professional gaming peripherals and typically offer the best in sound quality over the other types of headsets. This headphone type has two subcategories for the way they are built: closed back and open back. A closed back headset has a solid outer shell on the speakers and open back headset has a perforated outer shell. The difference between the two is the type of audio experience they provide. Closed back over the ear headphones are better at isolating the outside world and allowing the wearer to focus solely on what's coming through the speakers while the open back design gives listeners a sound that blends with their environment rather than block it out.

Pay attention to

Sound Quality

The quality of sound you'll require is going to depend on your gaming style. If you're participating in PvP game modes or are a professional gamer, you're going to want the highest sound quality possible in order to block outside noises and be able to hear both your teammates and every audible cue within the game to give you that edge over the competition. Someone looking to simply enhance their audio experience won't need as much emphasis on their overall sound quality.

Platform

Some headsets are only compatible with certain gaming platforms. When searching for the set that's right for you, make sure you're looking into which platform they were designed for. If you're a cross platform gamer there are headphones that are designed to work with multiple systems, though these generally require an adapter depending on the systems you'll be switching between.

Comfort

Marathon gaming sessions that require hours of wearing your headset can get uncomfortable quickly. Players who live stream or participate in tournaments are going to want a headset that's made of lightweight materials or built with larger speakers around the ears. As a general rule of thumb, XL and XXL sized speakers are optimal for long-term gaming comfort.

Microphone

Gamers who play online with teammates are going to need a way to communicate. Microphones come standard with many popular brands, but no two are the same. Some microphones provide noise cancelling while others boast automatic audio blending. Knowing what type of gaming environment you'll be using a microphone for will help determine what features are right for you.

Spare Parts

Every gamer knows that rage quitting happens. So does general wear and tear when putting your peripherals through heavy usage. Some headsets come standard with replaceable parts in the event of breakage. This can be a lifesaver in the long run, so it's always a good idea to see if the headset you have your eyes on ships with them.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Razer

This brand is currently one of the most popular for PC gaming peripherals. They have several different styles of headphones that are all unique from each other and allow consumers to have a wide variety to choose from in order to find the right set for them.

Turtle Beach

They are very popular with the console gaming community and are mostly known for their top notch noise cancelling technology.

Axent Wear

This brand thought outside of the box and delivered headsets that are aesthetically pleasing as well as providing consumers with great sound quality. Their newest headphones feature LED cat ears that are inlaid with speakers so you can share what you're hearing with the world.