If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more information.
A lot of games on the PS5 feel designed to be played with headphones on, especially with the focus on 3D audio. When playing a game like Returnal, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if playing without 3D audio. Fun fact, all headphones/earbuds support 3D audio! This is not something you need a special headset for. However, this article just focuses on wireless headsets, and I wanted to talk about the best of the bunch here. For me, I don’t want a dupe when it comes to something such as audio. Plus if you’re wanting to save money, you can still get great audio and just go wired to the controller as I mentioned here:
Here’s what’s important when evaluating wireless gaming headsets:
- Wireless connectivity
- Is the Bluetooth protocol up to date?
- Is it buggy?
- Does it work with multiple devices, Switch, PC, etc?
- Sound quality
- Battery Life
Unfortunately with console gaming using a wireless headset isn’t quite as simple as just buying any Bluetooth headset and connecting wirelessly. Consoles usually use Bluetooth for the controllers and restrict other connections. One exception is the Switch, which was recently updated to allow the use of any Bluetooth audio. I found this to not work very well in practice with my Powerbeats, as I had to dig through settings to manually connect most times.
With all these things in mind, let’s start with my favorite brand:
Steel Series Arctis Headsets:
These headsets are my favorite brand, and they come in different models for different budgets. My favorite is the 7P+, with the P meaning for Playstation. There is an Xbox version 7X+, though it’s currently only available direct from Steel Series.
These things work so well and have the craziest battery life on them. What I like the most is that there is a USB Bluetooth dongle plugged into the console to ensure a good wireless connection, therefore bypassing the system’s Bluetooth restriction. You can take this same dongle and plug it into your Switch and basically, it’s like having headphones plugged in through the audio jack, with no settings to fiddle with. You can even buy an extra dongle so that you don’t have to move it around! The big downside is that there are wide reports of audio switching issues on PlayStation. Basically, when you turn the headphones off, you have to physically remove the dongle or manually change the output in the settings for the PlayStation to revert back to the TV speakers (on Xbox sound always comes from the headset and TV so you need to turn down or mute the TV volume by yourself, therefore this isn’t a problem). If this is a big issue you may want to consider Sony’s Pulse headset, however there are some large caveats with the Pulse (see below). If you have both an Xbox and a PlayStation, get the Xbox version! It will work with either while the PlayStation version only works with PlayStation.
- 60+ hour battery life
- Wireless via dongle
- Can buy extra dongles
- Custom sound settings
- Great sound
- Physical mute switch
- 7P+ Model added USB-C charging (why I didn’t recommend the 7P)
- 3.5mm input
- Audio switching issue
- Doesn’t play well with Windows if trying to use the microphone
For a budget pick you can try the Arctis 1 or 7, or 7p/7x. You’ll basically only be sacrificing battery life and USB-C charging.
Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset
UPDATE: I did not follow my own advice below and I bought these, but I found a fix. As I mentioned, they are one size fits all. It’s almost funny that they are too tight on my head and too large for my girlfriend. I just replaced the ear pads and they are great now, here’s how I did it.
These are Playstation only, and since they are made by Sony have the best Playstation integration. The audio switching issue on the Arctis headsets is gone, but so too is the amazing battery life. These claim 8-10 hours, so these should be charged after every 2-3 uses to be sure.
The only reason these aren’t my go-to is that I have a larger head, and these are said to be tight on the head by some. This is my biggest issue with headphones and has ruined many headphones in the past for me.
- Perfectly integrated with the Playstation
- Great sound, but not $300 dollar headphones great
- Physical buttons for mute switch and volume control
- 3.5mm input
- One size fits all, so too large or tight on the head for some
- Battery life is only 8-10 hours, good but pales compared to the Steel Series
- When connected the mute switch on the controller no longer works, so you have to use the one on the headset which is slightly less convenient.
And that’s it! I would stick with these two above or one of the Arctis variants. The only other one I almost covered is the Roccat Elo 7.1 Airs, but the reviews were not quite good enough. There are also some other more expensive options, but I didn’t find the extra money to be worth it. Sony has been teasing new Inzone headphones that are Playstation compatible and look more similar in design to their excellent XM headphones. I would expect these to cost closer to $300 or more based on the XM4 and XM5 pricing but I’m totally guessing. I’ll update this when I know more about these!