I think you will agree with me when I say:
A great gaming headset is a must if you love to game!
Well, as it turns out, a great gaming headset can and will take your gaming experience to the next level.
In today’s article I will cover exactly what to look for when searching for the best gaming headset within your price range.
Gaming headsets are very popular nowadays as they not only add a sense of realism to your gaming session through the better sound quality; they also give you the opportunity to talk smack (or strategy 😉 ) with other gamers online. This helps enhance your gaming experience while also giving you the chance to meet and talk to some like-minded gaming friends.
However, as with any product in this world, there are good headsets and there are definitely bad ones, just like there are headsets that suit your needs and there are ones that do not. The key is to identifying exactly what it is you want in your headset, and then to match a product to these needs.
I have had extensive experience in all sorts of gaming hardware, including headsets, so I know exactly what is needed in such a product. Below is my guide of what details you need to know before you commit to buying a gaming headset.
Is Your Gaming Headset Compatible With Your Gaming System?
This is absolutely key. There is no point in buying a gaming headset if it is not compatible with the gaming platform that you intend to use it on.
Some headsets are compatible with several different platform types while others will only be of us on a single type. Therefore, it is essential that this be one of the factors that you keep in mind when you go to buy a headset.
Is the Headset Comfortable?
This may seem like a no-brainer but it is still important to mention. Also, there are actually headsets out there that are dreadfully uncomfortable to wear for more than an hour. My first gaming headset was a twenty dollar cheapo, and it definitely started to feel like a cheapo after wearing it for only twenty minutes! Tight squeeze on the ears, awful sound quality, terrible fit… you get the point.
If you are like me, then your gaming probably runs into the hours every day. This means that you will want to find a headset that is comfortable to wear for an extended amount of time.
The easiest way to find out if a headset is comfortable is to read the reviews online before you make any type of financial investment. Important factors of a comfortable headset will include thick yet soft padding, ear cups that are big enough to contain your entire ear, a flexible headband, and an overall weight that won’t be too heavy to have on your head for hours on end.
How Durable is the Headset?
Now you may not be as rough on your headset as a college football coach, but you still want to ensure that you gaming headset is made of good quality materials so that it will last the test of time. In my experience, the price of a headset is usually a fair representation of its quality. The cheaper models tend to be flimsy and break rather easily.
Look for reviews that mention how the headband is attached to the ear piece. Cheaper ones will have tiny screws that back out or cheap plastic that will tend to break. I also know this first hand!
Don’t Pass On Great Sound Quality!
Another kind of obvious requirement is that the sound of your gaming headset must be of high quality. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Again, as with gauging the comfort level of a headset, there are a few things to look out for in terms of sound quality that might help you to separate the good products from the bad.
Bass – I have found that a headset capable of powerful bass is a must have for first person shooter games. The sounds of gunfire and explosions are brought to life with the use of bass.
Simulated Surround sound – Not absolutely necessary, but in some higher end headsets is nice as it supplies the sense of realism to your gaming experience. Stay away from so called surround sound in cheap headsets. It is a gimmick and the sound quality will dreadful.
Noise cancellation – this is a very handy feature that some headsets employ. An external microphone is used to invert any outside noise and thus cancelling it. This means that you can play away on your game console no matter what chaos is going on around you.
Open vs. Closed Headsets – What’s the Difference?
Closed headsets have a solid cup around the speaker and ear piece that completely isolates your ear from the outside. This is great if you are gaming where there is ambient noise you do not want to hear while gaming. It also helps to contain the sounds in the headphone so people around cannot hear your game if they are in the same room.
Open headsets on the other hand have a perforated ear cup that helps create a more natural, less muffled sound. Many people prefer open headsets, and some games will actually be more enjoyable with the sound quality of an open headset..The drawback to an open headset is that of course, it lets in more outside noise. They will also let more sound out, so people around you will also be able to hear what you hear from the headset.
A Good Microphone is a Must!
A huge aspect of gaming nowadays is the ability to play online and talk with gamers from all over the world. This appeal has taken gaming to the next level and thus it is important that your headset has the ability to communicate with others.
In order to do this, the gaming headset that you buy will have to be equipped with a microphone for you to talk through. You can try and use a combination of a headset to listen through and a separate microphone to speak through but this is usually more hassle than its worth.
Check to see if the reviews of the gaming headset you are looking at mention the microphone. Nothing is worse than a crackling or open mic when you are trying to game. Also if you have an open headset, make sure the mic will not pick up sounds from the ear speaker.
A good headset will be able to differentiate between background noise and your voice. That is to say, when you talk, it listens. When you don’t talk, your fellow gamers will not hear an open mic, or anything for that matter, from your headset.
Should I Go With a Wired or Wireless Gaming Headset?
This might seem like as an easy enough question to answer, after all a wireless headset removes the chore of untangling wires and the danger of perhaps tripping yourself up.
While I would agree that going wireless is overall a better idea, it is not as full proof as people believe. Due to the fact that wireless headsets connect to gaming platforms via Bluetooth and wireless networks rather than wires, this can lead to interference occurring now and again.
While this is rare, it does happen on the odd occasion. Overall, though, wireless headsets are far more proficient and are getting better with every passing year.
How Much Should I Spend on a Headset?
As with most products, especially those related to electronics, the pricing structure for gaming headsets is quite wide. You could comfortably get a decent gaming headset for under a $100.
Or you get one of the top end ones that could be several hundred dollars.
Or you get one that sits somewhere in between!
It really depends on what you are looking for. However, more often than not, price is usually a fair reflection on quality. The cheap option will result in a cheap product, while the more expensive one will mean a far better product that will last much longer. It is as simple as that.
If you are on a budget or price is a big concern (as it is for many, including me!) be sure to read our reviews on the best gaming headset under $50, and the best gaming headset under $100. Both solid picks in their respective price ranges.
Final Word On Choosing the Best Gaming Headset
As a self-proclaimed gaming enthusiast, I understand the importance and almost necessity of having the latest software and hardware in order to not only make your gaming experience the greatest that it can be, but also so that you can keep up to date with the latest goings on in the gaming world. A quality headset is a must in achieving both these things.
If you take all these aspects that I have talked about into consideration then you shouldn’t have any problems in picking up a gaming headset that is perfect for your needs. Thank you for reading and best of luck with your gaming!
Continue reading our Best Gaming Headset article series!
Page 1: How To Choose The Best Gaming Headset (you are here)
Page 2: The Best All-Around Gaming Headsets 2015 – Sennheiser G4ME ZERO vs G4ME ONE
Page 3: Best gaming headset under $100 – HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset Review
Page 4: Best budget gaming headset under $50 – Turtle beach Ear Force X12 Review
Page 5: Best High-End gaming headset – Sennheiser PC 363D Review
Page 6: Best Wireless Gaming Headset – Logitech G930 Review (coming soon!)