With the best headset, you'll get superior audio, both in terms of what you hear and the sounds other people get from you. So whether you're podcasting, streaming or just making a video call, you'll appear much more professional. Which means it's worth spending a little more to get a decent model.
First, we should define our terms. Headsets are different from the best headphones because they feature an integrated mic. That means you can use them both to consume content, like normal headphones, but also to make your own, as well as take part in meetings, Zoom calls, online games, and more, with crisp and clear delivery.
Below, you'll find the best headsets for a variety of purposes, and covering a range of budgets. If you're not sure what you're looking for, though, first read our section on How to choose the best headset.
In the meantime, if you need to complete your home working kit, read our guides to the best laptops and the best Chromebook. And if you're looking for peripherals, we have roundups of the best portable monitors and the best monitor arms too.
The best headsets in 2023
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It may be technically aimed at gamers, but you can use the HyperX Cloud II in a variety of scenarios thanks to its strong emphasis on sound quality, mic quality, and wearer comfort. And that makes it the best headset we can recommend today for all-round use.
Large 53mm drivers deliver a healthy 15Hz-25kHz frequency response, while wide device compatibility is assured by the convenient 3.5mm connection. The drivers are capable of Dolby 7.1 virtual surround to enhance both gaming and movie immersion, and you don't even need to install software to enable it.
Comfort is paramount with the Cloud II, as its large over-ear earpads are clad in soft leatherette and lined with memory foam. The focus on quality materials also extends to the solid-steel frame.
However, while this is great for toughness, it does contribute to the headset's relatively heavy 350g weight. We're also not that impressed by the mic's 50Hz-18kHz response, but at least you do get noise cancellation to keep your voice sounding its clearest.
Here's the best headset we can recommend for a low price. Again, it's targeted squarely at gamers, but it's just as versatile when used as a regular headset. The plush memory foam earpad cushions are as comfortable for a day's home working as they would be during an evening's gaming.
Underneath the left earcup is a conveniently placed volume slider and mute button, and inside are 40mm drivers with a respectable 12Hz-28kHz frequency response, and with a low 32-ohm resistance, they can be driven by any device and still produce plenty of volume.
Connectivity is via a good old wire (1.3m long) that terminates in a regular 3.5mm audio jack. The bendable and directional mic utilizes a cardioid pic-up pattern to zone in on your voice and exclude background noise, though there's no active noise cancellation.
If you're specifically looking for a gaming headset, then the Audio-Technica ATH-G1 Premium Gaming Headset is our top pick. Sound quality takes center stage here, with the relatively large 45mm drivers tuned to deliver studio-quality sound; something that's backed up by the highly impressive 5Hz-40kHz frequency response. Even the mic boasts a respectable 30Hz-20kHz response.
The mic boom is also flexible for optimal positioning, it features a highly directional pickup to help zone out background noise and improve your voice clarity, plus it can be removed so you can use the headphones on the go.
You also get an in-line volume control and mic lock switch on the 2m cord, and the cable connects to your device with an ultra-compatible 3.5mm audio jack. The brushed aluminum headband helps keep weight down to a reasonable 257g while also helping the headset look like a quality product.
But don't just take our word for it. Here's what our sister website, TechRadar, had to say after their time testing the ATH-G1:
If you regularly work from home and want to improve your voice clarity in video conferences, check out Jabra's Evolve2 75 wireless headset. We were big fans of its predecessor, the Evolve 75. This new model adds USB-C connectivity, includes a better battery - which now promises 24 hours of talk time and 36 hours of music playback - and boosts audio quality with an 8-mic array.
This headset has been designed for professional use in an office environment, so its mic is blessed with advanced active noise cancellation, and it boasts official certification by the likes of Microsoft and Cisco.
There's even a 'busy light' on the outside of the earcups to tell passing colleagues (or family members) that you're on a call. Leatherette padded on-ear ear cushions have been sculpted to allow comfortable day-long use, and you get complete freedom to move thanks to Bluetooth wireless connectivity that enables up to 30 metres of roaming range.
Our sister website TechRadar had this to say after extensively testing the Evolve2 75:
Smart, functional, and feature-packed, the H820e is a versatile option for home working, whether you're using a computer, tablet, or your phone. This is also a wireless headset, giving a huge 300-foot maximum roaming range.
Simply stick the tiny 'Nano' receiver into a spare USB port on your computer, or activate the built-in Bluetooth to pair with your smart device. The built-in rechargeable battery is good for up to 10 hours of talk time, yet the headset is still comfortably light at 128g.
Audio quality is improved by a flexible mic for more accurate positioning, and it's equipped with noise cancellation to reduce background noise. Buttons on the ear cup give you convenient access to volume, mute, and call-handling controls. The only weak link here is the headphone drivers' frequency response, which at 150Hz-7kHz is more restrictive than the 20Hz to 20KHz average - this headset is very much designed for the office, not the audiophile.
Here's another excellent choice if you're looking for a low-priced headset. With its large closed back, over-ear earcups, plus a well-padded headband, the SB45 is designed with comfort very much in mind.
The earcups can be folded up and into the headband for more compact storage, and inside are anisotropic ferrite magnet drivers boasting a pretty respectable 18-20,000 Hz frequency response, though at 100 ohms they're not quite as easy to drive as some headsets, so you may find volume levels a little low when used with some portable devices.
Voice capture is taken care of by a mic incorporating Koss's Clear Voice Technology to help minimize background noise, making for more accurate speech recognition and better video conferencing audibility. Two versions are available: a USB version, and one with traditional dual 3.5mm audio jacks.
If you're fed up with background noise distracting you from important conference calls, the Voyager Focus UC headset is the answer. From the highly-respected headset brand Poly (previously Plantronics), this headset's advanced active noise cancellation can cancel out unwanted ambient sound so you can better hear your colleagues or friends in your video conference.
What's more, the mic is also blessed with noise cancellation tech, so those on the other end of your call can also hear you more clearly. There's even a Dynamic Mute Alert feature that senses if you talk when muted and alerts you, saving potential embarrassment.
The Voyager Focus UC can be used with your PC, phone, tablet, or even a smartwatch, thanks to its USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity that gives up to 30m of roaming range. Battery life is good for up to 15 hours of listening time and 12 hours of talk time, and there's an included magnetic charging stand to ensure the headset never runs out of juice.
If you're involved in esports, or just a very competitive online gamer, the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro is a great choice. Its proprietary design divides the driver into three parts for the individual tuning of highs, mids, and lows, making for brighter, clearer audio with richer highs and more powerful lows.
The removable 9.9mm mic has excellent voice isolation, the advanced passive noise cancellation will help you with your focus, the wireless battery life is 24 hours, and the soft, memory foam ear cushions are lovely and comfortable too. They're pretty heavy at 320g, though, and it's quite expensive. More generally, we wouldn't necessarily recommend this headset for console gaming, but for PC battles, it's got an awful lot to offer.
How to choose the best headset
What earcup design should I go for?
When you're spending long periods in front of a computer, comfortable earcups are a must. For this reason studio headphones don't tend to use an in-ear, earbud design, and instead are generally classified as 'on-ear' or 'over-ear'.
On-ear headphones are less common in the studio sector. These earcups rest flat on the surface of your ear, which can be fine for shorter periods, but could cause fatigue after a while.
Over-ear cups (also called circumaural) solve this by adding a thicker perimeter ring of padding around the cup so it sits around your ear, rather than on it. It's a more comfortable solution, and also creates a seal around each ear to seal out background noise; a feature called noise isolation, or passive noise reduction.
Then there's the choice between open-back and closed-back earcups. Closed back are more common in the reference headphone market, as they help to further isolate sound. Open-back earcups will have a vented exterior casing to allow some sound to escape. This can create a wider, airier sound profile, but it also means others around you can hear the audio leakage.
Frequency response: a headset's all-important sound range
Frequency response conveys the breadth of tones that the headphone drivers are able to produce, from the lowest bass notes to the highest treble frequencies. The human ear can usually hear a range from 20Hz up to 20,000Hz (or 20kHz), so a pair of headphones that at least covers this range is a must. Most boast an even wider response range though, which at the low/bass end can be beneficial, as while you may not be able to hear these frequencies, it is possible to feel them.
What does impedance mean, and what specs are best?
Measured in ohms, and symbolized as Ω, impedance quantifies how easily the speaker drivers are to 'drive' - vibrate - sound waves into your ear. Headphones with a low impedance (below 50 ohms) are easy to drive and don't require additional sound amplification above and beyond what your laptop can produce. High impedance headphones are designed for use with a dedicated headphone amp or pro studio equipment, otherwise they can sound too quiet. On this list we're only recommending low impedance models to ensure maximum device compatibility.
Do I need noise reduction?
Background noise can easily detract from what you're saying, but fortunately most headset manufacturers incorporate directional microphones that are tuned to only pick up the sound waves emanating from the direction of your mouth. If that's still not enough, higher-spec headsets can feature active noise cancellation, whereby the mic actively filters out background interference.
At its most basic, a good mic should be able to be positioned so it can sit just beside or below your lips; close enough to pick up your voice at its clearest, but not right in front where your breathing will make you sound like Darth Vader.
Consider your connection
Most of the headphones on this list use a traditional corded connection to your device, usually via a good old 3.5mm headphone jack. This ensures the best possible audio fidelity with no risk of degradation or dropout due to wireless interference. More expensive headphones may have the option to unplug the headphone cord from the earcup, so you can swap it out for shorter, longer, straight or coiled cables.
How we chose the headsets in this guide
To choose the headsets on this list, we considered several key features that should make a great headset. Firstly, the quality of the earcup speaker drivers. A wide frequency response, low impedance, and lastly driver diameter - larger drivers should help produce a broader soundstage. The physical shape of the earcups also has a significant effect on both sound quality and comfort, which is why most of the options here feature over-ear earcups, as these tend to be more comfortable while also insulating the ears from external background noise. Extra features like additional cable length, onboard sound controls, Bluetooth connectivity and fancy materials like memory foam ear pads are all nice to have, but we weigh these against a headset's pricing to determine which products offer good value for money. We've also chosen headsets that cover a range of prices, so you should find at least one option that fits your budget.
Now you've chosen your perfect headset, don't forget the Best webcam for home working. Top audio quality is also a must when shooting video, so check out the Best microphones for vlogging and filmmaking and the best audio recorders for video production. When it comes to the edit, the best video editing monitors will give you the best view of your footage, while the Best keyboard for video editing can help streamline your workflow.