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The best Xbox One headsets for 2021

The Xbox One has an amazing array of multiplayer games, but a multiplayer gamer is only as good as its headset. Having a good headset can be the difference between life and (virtual) death in most multiplayer games. Quality headsets can help you hear footsteps behind you, call out instructions to teammates, and even point out locations of enemies. Not hearing a teammate can destroy a winning streak.

We’ve compiled a list of the best wired and wireless headsets. Our choices below are based on sound quality, comfort, and cost. The Astro Gaming A50 is a high-quality headset that has everything to offer, including Dolby Digital surround sound. These picks are also a worthy choice for the Xbox Series X|S for the time being as we wait for more next-gen optimized headsets.

If you’re looking for more affordable gaming headsets, see our picks for the best cheap gaming headsets.

The best Xbox One headsets at a glance

The best: Astro Gaming A50

Astro A10 review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this? It’s the best headset available for Xbox One, and offers a wireless connection to boot.

Who’s it for? Xbox gamers who want a headset with everything (and can pay for it).

Why we picked the Astro Gaming A50: 

The refreshed A50 lives up to the Astro name, and then some. Showcasing a futuristic design imbued with wireless 5.8GHz technology, this high-end headset delivers some of the best audio of anything in our roundup. The A50 boasts Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound that provides an immersive soundscape no matter what you play. To further enhance your gameplay, three varied EQ modes allow you to adjust the sound — giving you a quick way to boost the bass or treble — while the unidirectional microphone helps isolate your voice from ambient noise.

The Astro Gaming A50 also includes all the extra perks you’d expect from a high-quality headset, including auto shutoff, hassle-free wireless connection, and long battery life. But most importantly, the A50 makes games more engrossing and entertaining. For the serious gamer, the audiophile, or those who just love great sound, it’s a must-have — provided you’re willing and able to cough up the cash. For Xbox gamers, Astro offers an Xbox One-specific version, which includes a wireless adapter for the console to get the most from the headset.

Read our full Astro Gaming A50 review

The best premium wired headset: Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2

Why should you buy this? It’s the best-sounding wired headset for virtual surround available for the Xbox One.

Who’s it for? The audiophile gamer who doesn’t need a wireless connection.

Why we picked the Turtle Beach Elite Pro 2:

Wired headset connections may be a little more limiting, but they come with their own advantages, too — you don’t have to worry about wireless audio cutting out at a key point, for example. That’s one reason this Turtle Beach headset has such a good reputation as a reliable competitive gaming headset.

This stylish headset also has excellent 50mm drivers, but gamers may be even more pleased with the unidirectional, flexible gaming mic with noise-canceling capabilities, which can be adjusted into any position depending on your competitive gaming habits. You can also pair it with the Turtle Beach SuperAmp for more control if you prefer. The gel-infused ear cup material is also designed to keep things cool while providing passive noise cancellation. Oh, and the whole design is also made to be more comfortable for those who wear glasses.

Finally, we’ll point out another advantaged to choose wired over wireless: You can get many of the same audio perks and sound quality at a significantly lower price, while also makes this Turtle Beach headset one of the more affordable picks at the higher end of gaming headphones.

The best premium wireless headset: Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One

Why should you buy this? Razer’s headset is perfect for streaming and immersive sound — and the haptic feedback is an interesting plus!

Who’s it for? Gamers who want a unique headset that’s fit for every type of gaming experience. 

Why we picked the Razer Nari Ultimate for Xbox One: 

Razer crafted this headset for competitive gaming and added a very unique feature it calls HyperSense, or haptic feedback, which creates mini vibrations to indicate in-game actions from gun recoil to explosions (and is fully adjustable). It also supports Windows Sonic audio for Microsoft-certified surround sound and will work with the Series X if you ever decide to upgrade.

But even outside of haptic feedback, this is an extraordinary headset. The aluminum frame is extra durable, the headband and swiveling ear cups accommodate nearly any position, and the gel-infused cushions help the headset stay cooler to the touch for more comfort during long gaming sessions. The retractable stays out of the way when not in use and offers chat mix controls to find just the right balance for you.

Inside, the 50mm drivers offer excellent sensitivity and response to pick up the quietest sounds while delivering smooth bass. While Razer may be known more for its gaming machines than its audio, the hardware here is top grade and doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. The only thing to note is that this headset is pretty heavy, which may affect comfort levels after long periods of play.

The best budget wired headset: Corsair HS50

Why should you buy this? It’s more versatile, features better performance than headsets that are twice as expensive, and is often on sale.

Who’s it for? The budget-minded gamer.

Why we picked the Corsair HS50:

The Corsair HS50 is the most affordable of our Xbox One picks, and while that’s great news for anyone on a tight budget, even big spenders will want to consider this model.

The Corsair HS50 uses a 3.5mm wired connection, which means not only does it easily plug into your Xbox One controller, it’s also compatible with the PlayStation 4, PCs, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices — you won’t find that kind of versatility in a wireless model. The Corsair HS50 also provides excellent sound quality that rivals that of other headsets costing two or three times as much — if not more.

Since it’s a wired model, there are some trade-offs, however. Due to its single 3.5mm connection, the Corsair HS50, unfortunately, lacks virtual surround sound. Thankfully, the stereo mix offers accurate positioning even without DSP assistance. To top it off, the headset sports an attractive, minimalist design, with a detachable mic that makes it possible for it to double as a pair of headphones in a pinch.

We won’t pretend there aren’t benefits to opting for a pricier pick, including the luxury of wireless freedom, but the Corsair HS50 makes a strong case that even a modestly priced, entry-level headset can work for just about everyone.

The best budget wireless headset: PDP Afterglow AG 9+ Xbox One edition

Why should you buy this? You’ll get a comfortable, great-sounding headset without going broke.

Who’s it for? Those on a tighter budget looking for a wireless option.

Why we picked the PDP Afterglow AG 9+:

PDP’s Afterglow AG 9+ is a great wireless headset, and best of all, it manages to make a strong impression despite being in the sub-$100 price range. The primary reason for this is a solid audio performance. While the mix can be a bit top-heavy at times — favoring the treble and midrange over the bass — it’s still a great audio device overall. Unlike some wireless headsets, there’s practically no wireless hum, which becomes especially welcome during quieter listening moments. No one wants to be exploring The Witcher 3‘s Island of Skellige with an annoying buzz along for the ride.

While the aesthetics are less than subtle (something that afflicts many gaming headsets, to be fair), the build quality is top-notch, providing heft and sturdiness that is often woefully absent from other headsets in this price range. Like the Corsair HS50, the Afterglow Ag 9+’s mic is removable, which is helpful for instances you don’t need a mic and want it out of the way. We like the simple, on-ear volume and mic controls, too. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Afterglow AG 9+’s design, however, is the comfort of the earcups and headband padding. These generously padded sections feel more like soft fabric upholstery than thin leather or polyester. The fabric is light and breathable, keeping your ears cool during long-haul gaming nights. 

Speaking of long playing sessions, the PDP Afterglow AG 9+ has a 15-hour battery life and can seamlessly swap to a wired connection for charging simultaneously.

How we test

Like we do for all the products we test, including PS4 headsets, we put gaming headsets through the wringer. We base our recommendations on our observations regarding audio quality, comfort, mic performance, and other features like wireless connectivity and battery life if applicable. We play games of various sound experiences to ensure the headsets will sound great during frenetic action sequences, as well as quieter moments. We assess audio quality by listening to music and videos. We use songs from various genres and try different bit rates to see how well the headphones perform in different situations. 

For mic testing, we record clips of ourselves speaking in quiet and loud environments, with any noise canceling or enhancements toggled on and off. Our testing process lasts for several days. The best way to get a feel for how comfortable the product is or to see how well the battery performs is to use the headsets while playing video games, listening to music, or watching videos over the course of several days.

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