(Pocket-lint) - Plugging in a proper gaming headset for the first time can be a bit of a life-changing experience - in particular, the realisation that your TV speakers really weren't cutting it like you'd hoped they might can be a shock.
Whether you're trying to get as immersed as possible in solo gaming sessions, or seeking any little advantage in the world of multiplayer modes, a good-quality gaming headset can really change your prospects drastically.
However, the range of headsets available for each console is subtly different, and they're often not compatible across all devices. Lucky for you, we've been exhaustively testing headsets for PlayStation consoles specifically, to work out which are the very best if you're an owner of Sony's console, or are picking up a new PS5. All the headsets we've picked should work on both the PS4 and PS5, although going for a wired option is the most surefire way to guarantee this.
How can I connect a headset to my PS5 or PS4?
Connecting a headset to your PS5 works in much the same way as with the PS4.
If you're opting for a wired headset (where you'll generally get better sound quality for the price), your life should be very simple. In most cases, headsets can connect via a 3.5mm jack to your PS4 or PS5 controller to get game and chat audio easily. Some more premium headsets might instead opt for an optical audio cable via a passthrough, but these will come with detailed instructions of how to set the system up (and will most likely be an issue of the PS5, which has no optical audio port at all).
The PS5 and PS4 also support wireless headsets in a few different ways. For one thing, if your headphones have Bluetooth they should in theory be able to connect to the console, via its settings - however, due to the way Sony sets up its Bluetooth connections, don't expect any old pair of Bluetooth headphones to work. Really, only specifically-branded PlayStation-compatible options will work properly.
In point of fact, most of the wireless headsets on this list come with a dongle to plug into a USB port on your console, which will let them easily and quickly connect when they're powered on. This is both the easiest and quickest way to connect to your PS5 or PS4. If you need a step-by-step guide, here it is:
- In Settings, navigate to Devices and go into Bluetooth Devices
- Put your headset into pairing mode and plug in any supplied dongle
- Wait for it to appear on the list and select it when it does
- Await a success message to confirm the connection, and register the device to your PlayStation if it's requested
With that out of the way, let's move on to the headsets we've been testing.
Best overall PS5 and PS4 headsets
The Audeze Penrose is a wireless version of the company's Mobius headset. It boasts some serious specs including 100mm Planar Magnetic drivers, up to 50Khz frequency response and a broadcast-quality microphone.
This is a premium, well-designed headset with a solid build quality and closed-back ear cups which nicely block out external noise and help you focus on the game. The Penrose also has multiple connection options with 2.4Ghz wireless, Bluetooth connectivity and 3.5mm options too.
15 hours of battery life is enough for most gaming sessions and all told the Penrose is a serious bit of kit and a joy to game with.
Steelseries Arctis 9
We absolutely love the Arctis 9 - it's got eveyrthing most people want in a headset. The sound, first off, is superb, with deep bass but also good range, and its wireless receiver makes it comfortable to use, alongside its pillowy ear cushions.
The microphone is superb, and retractable, with a convenient mute button and a red LED strip to let you know if you are muted.
The clincher, though, is a set of amazing on-headphone controls letting you change volume, mute yourself, and most importantly dial your party chat volume up or down separately. It makes it a dream to use and our pick of the bunch as far as headsets for your PS5 or PS4 go.
Steelseries Arctis 7P
Steelseries' newest headset for PlayStation gamers is an absolute doozie - it's a beautiful headset that's designed to match the PS5 in the looks department and we think it succeeds nicely.
It's got a small dongle for wireless play and sound quality that comes within a whisker of the more expensive Arctis 9. The only real difference is a very slight decrease in the solidity of the build, which some people could even prefer since it's more lightweight. In short, this is an absolute beast of a headset at a lower price point, perfect for next-gen gaming.
Razer Nari Ultimate
Razer has come up with an interesting new selling point for the Nari Ultimate, in the form of haptic feedback in its large, and extremely comfortable earcups.
That means that as you play, the Nari Ultimate will translate sounds that cross a certain threshold of intensity (something you can easily change on the fly using a dial) to light vibrations on your ears. It's as odd as it sounds, but once you get used to it is actually surprisingly effective at getting you into the game even further than you already were. We're all for innovation, after all.
Of course, the key to the Nari Ultimate's success is more so that it has cracking, deep and powerful sound to immerse you in your game world of choice, and is really well-made and entirely comfortable to wear for long periods. We're not won over by how extraordinarily large the headphones are as a whole, but if fashion isn't a priority you likely won't mind. Plus, you've got wireless audio on board as standard.
Logitech Pro X
Any manufacturer knows that hitting the sweet spot between value and quality is a dream, and Logitech has absolutely nailed that landing spot with the Pro X headset. It's a premium device by every performance and material metric, but with a seriously impressive price.
You get a premium experience from the options it comes with, to start - a detachable microphone and leads that'll help it work with your console, PC or mobile, and even a choice between leatherette and velour earpads, easily swapped and at no extra charge. Plus a lovely carrying bag, elevating above all the others on this list from a packaging and accessories standpoint.
Happily, its sound profile is a winner too, with superb balance and great bass making sure that you'll get the best sound you can expect from a headset priced so extremely reasonably. We, frankly, can barely understand how Logitech's doing it for this price, which is saying something. If you want a wired headset without a mixing station, this is a really great bet.
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2
Turtle Beach is one of the old names of the gaming headset world, long a provider of solid mainstream headsets for purchase in the chain stores of the world, and the latest version of the Stealth 600 is a great continuation of that tradition. It's got a wireless dongle for you to connect to your console with, and impressively great audio.
The build quality is nicely improved, which we're really pleased by, while the dongle is now nice and tiny. It's decently comfortable to wear and has good battery life, to boot.
Turtle Beach Stealth 700P Gen 2
If you like Turtle Beach and want to spend a little more to get some added comfort and build-quality, the Stealth 700P has also had a welcome update.
With a more solid feel and really comfy leather pads for your ears, it's pleasant to wear, and the sound is extremely impressive, with booming bass making shooters particularly impactful. Battery life is similarly impressive to the 600, as is its small dongle and easy pairing.
Astro A40 TR with MixAmp
There's no way around it - the Astro A40s, hooked up to the MixAmp station, are as good sounding as you're likely to get from a console. They're stunning to use, every sound precisely located and with superb depth and range.
The bass is frightening and the detail is pin-sharp, and they're also super comfortable to wear. They might not be wireless, but that is quite literally the only thing that you can criticise about them, which is saying something.
They're also priced at a level that reflects their built quality, which is to say they're expensive. That makes sense though, reflecting on how comfortable they are to wear, with premium materials on show throughout and a microphone that's clear and easy to manipulate in front of your mouth.
However, because the PS5 has no optical audio port, if you're looking next-gen you'll need to pick up an adapter direct from Astro, an added expense.
Astro A20 Wireless
Astro's new version of the A20 headset is a really impressive lower-cost option that sounds far better than you might expect for its price.
It's got a similar design to Astro's more premium headsets, with a boxy look that honestly isn't our favourite, but the really soft and comfortable earpads and massive, easily manipulated microphone make it really great to use, which is clearly the more important factor.
Wireless connectivity is easy to set up, and battery life is also nice and solid. Be sure you pick up the new, second-generation version, which you can distinguish by its white design.
Steelseries Arctis 1 Wireless
Steelseries strikes again, this time at the other end of the pricing scale (although it's still not exactly the cheapest). The wired version of the Arctis 1 is one of the best-value headsets you can pick up, its 3.5mm wired connection working across every console, but you can also take it wireless.
The latest version of the Arctis 1 Wireless is marketed as being for the Xbox One, since older versions wouldn't work on Microsoft's console, but the headset actually works across all of the PS4, Switch, mobiles and PC. That makes it a superb shout from the compatibility side of things, and great sound and comfort has seen it leap to the top of our estimations if budget is a priority (although the wired version is still the peak offering from a value perspective).
The Arctis 1 Wireless uses a USB-C dongle to connect to your console, connecting instantly, and its stereo sound is great for its price. As with all Steelseries cans, the microphone is also really great, making for a compelling package.
JBL Quantum 600
JBL's Quantum range of headsets is relatively new and has options at every price point, but the one that's impressed us most is the Quantum 600, which sits very much in the middle of the spectrum and has wireless connectivity for PlayStation users.
It's the best value offering from the range, with really good sound quality for the price and a solid build that's comfortable to wear, if a tad on the tight side. The microphone has a great flip-to-mute feature and you'll come through really clearly on it. It's a good package that bodes well for JBL's presence in the headset space.
Corsair HS70 Bluetooth
This headset from Corsair is a wired one, but with the caveat that it's also got Bluetooth connectivity. The idea here is to get your game audio wired, while you can connect to a chat service like Discord by Bluetooth. It all works nicely, and the build quality is superb.
They're comfortable to wear for long periods, and microphone quality is similarly solid, so if you use a separate chat service for your parties this could be a great shout.
HyperX Cloud Stinger Wireless
HyperX's Cloud Stinger Wireless is an entirely solid headset that didn't blow us away, but has some great features to help elevate it. For a start, it's got a wireless connection to boast about, using a dongle that you can plug in, and making for really convenient play.
It's also nice and comfortable, partly due to how light the headset is, although this also has the consequence of making it feel slightly cheaply made, which is slightly less than ideal. Sound performance is really solid, though, and the microphone can be swivelled out of the way when you're not using it, which we always appreciate.
Razer Kraken X
Razer might have an expensive pair up at the top of our list, but its cheaper offerings are also really solid. The Kraken X is a headset that'll work with all your consoles, and might not be wireless or too premium but has still impressed us.
It's really nice and lightweight, and looks very nice in the white finish especially, plus is far, far smaller than the Nari Ultimate, which counts for plenty. It still packs in great sound, though, and is really comfortable to wear. A volume dial and mute switch are there on one earcup, and while it might not stand out from the crowd all that much on the features front, its nicely-tuned drivers and comfy build are quietly impressive.
Fnatic is an eSports brand that's doing a pretty excellent job of breaking into and disrupting the world of gaming accessories, and we've been pleasantly surprised by a few of its devices, not least the React. This is a really nicely-made, classy pair of headphones given its price bracket, which boast impressive sound and a tasteful design.
They won't win prizes for comfort or audio quality, but given the price you'll likely be pleased with both, and good microphone quality further augments the package.