You’re putting in the time, you’re sitting hard, and you’re using those thumbs.
And if you’re doing it right, you’re also talking smack to your friends (or having 13-year-olds tell you how much you suck) over your headset.
When all that time, all the thumb work, all the hard sitting, and all the smack talking adds up, an uncomfortable headset when gaming can be distracting, zone crushing, and even intolerable.
If you’re looking to enjoy yourself in comfort and get in the zone, whether you’re playing League of Legends on ESPN, World of Warcraft in your basement, or just casually getting online to hoop it up in some 2K21 three on three madness with your friends, you know how important a comfortable headset is, and this article is for you.
What are the differences between a gaming headset and standard headphones?
Standard headphones are designed to deliver a music-first audio experience. That means they’ll most likely be a stereo system with features focused on what audiophiles are really looking for, like equalizer settings, sensitivity and sound pressure, and even frequency response.
Although you can use regular headphones while gaming on some systems, gaming specific headsets are built with specially designed features intended to enhance or, at a minimum, provide for the gaming experience. If you are also intro streaming, you might consider getting a headset for streaming.
Because of the all-encompassing nature of gaming, gaming headsets are versatility machines with a focus on features like all-day wearability, upper end and often removable or retractable high sensitivity microphones, and immersive, high-quality sound provided by surround sound creating software.
How to choose the most comfortable gaming headset
Not all headphones or gaming headsets are created equal or with the same direct purpose.
Whether opting for killer sound quality, stunning looks, or everything you’d ever want, comfort should be king when searching for any gaming-specific headset that you’ll be wearing for hours.
If you’re looking for a comfort forward pair, here are some things to focus on.
A lightweight headset will be more comfortable than a heavy one because a more lightweight headset will require fewer muscles to hold up and will put less strain on the back and the neck.
Of course, durability is always an essential factor in all headsets, but a cheaper material like plastic will oftentimes be lighter weight than heavy metals. That said, if you can find an affordable headset made of thin, flexible aluminum, something durable and lightweight, go for it.
At the end of the day, when it comes to weight, no matter what the material, go light or you can always choose not to wear any headset if your gaming chair has speakers on it.
There is a fine line between having a headset that fits securely over your head and one that feels like it’s got your head in a vice. Clamping pressure is what keeps your over-the-ear headphones on and secure and allows for the perfect amount of outside noise canceling but also comfort. It’s also what can cause headphones to be uncomfortable while wearing glasses.
When checking reviews, look for a good-fitting headset that doesn’t have too much pressure.
Believe it or not, sound will affect the comfort of the headset as well. A headphone tuned poorly or with poor quality sound will leave you constantly adjusting the volume and position of the headset.
When purchasing your headset, look for ones that have a rich, broad sound without too much bass. When in doubt, flat tuning is always an excellent choice as well, as you’ll get an even sound across the board.
You’ll also find a ton of gaming headsets featuring 7.1 surround sound. If you’re looking for an immersive experience, go for it, but keep in mind that the surround sound may not work with all your systems.
What to look for in all your gaming headsets
Aside from the obvious comfort when looking for the most “comfortable” gaming headset you’ll want to consider a few basic things.
For a lot of gamers who use multiple systems, headset compatibility means holding out your hand Frodo, and reading the old world Elvish. It means having one ring to rule them all.
If you’re switching between your PC and Xbox or even your cell phone and Playstation, you’ll want to look for a headset that is multi-system compatible. This means it’ll most likely have a 3.5mm jack and can also mean it’ll be USB or wireless compatible.
A lot of high-end headsets will be marketed and sold for one system but may work on others with a few less features than you’d like. The bottom line here is to read the fine print and purchase any adapters you’ll be needing upfront.
Wired vs. wireless
When looking for that perfect headset, you’ll see a variety of wired and wireless options. Of course, wired versus wireless will play into compatibility, so the bottom line is to make sure you pick something adaptable to all the systems you’ll be using.
A wireless system will use Bluetooth to connect to most consoles or controllers, cell phones, and some advanced computer systems. However, a few systems will require a wired connection, sometimes one that can be plugged in using an adapter.
If you have the choice and are looking for the best audio quality, generally, a wired system will be your best bet. This is because wired systems work without compressing audio nearly as much, ensuring you’re getting all the sound you came for.
If you’re willing to sacrifice a wee bit of audio quality and want a clutter-free setup, ditch the cord and search for a wireless pair of headphones that work with your system.
Durability when it comes to gaming headphones means walking the fine line between a solid construction and a comfortable fit.
Now, in most cases you should steer clear of plastic or lower-quality materials when looking for a durable pair of headphones. However, if you’re searching for gaming headphones, that may not be the case, as you’ll want to consider weight as well.
When looking for a durable pair of gaming headphones, search for lightweight, flexible material and, more than anything, a quality-made product. That means well-stitched leather or more breathable synthetic fabric over memory foam pads and in a pair of headphones that won’t give in to the constant removing and replacing and occasionally rage throwing of the headphones.
If you plan on hanging out with friends or playing online multiplayer games, a microphone is a must. Now, you can purchase a separate microphone to clip on your shirt, but that means more cords and more fuss.
If you’re looking for a seamless gaming experience, opt for a gaming headset with a built-in microphone or try a gaming headset without mic or with a detachable mic.
Features are first when it comes to a good pair of comfortable gaming headphones, but do yourself a favor and don’t forget about the aesthetics. A good-looking headset is a headset that you’ll feel comfortable in, and one that you feel comfortable in is one that will help you get into that zone.
If you ever plan on playing in front of people, whether on a zoom call, when your friends are over, or at a competition, that zone will make all the difference.
Of course, looks are subjective but don’t worry; headset companies know that. That’s why you’ll be able to find every variety and variation of color for your gaming headset under the sun. If you’re a serious gamer, get the look you’re looking for.
For a lot of things and definitely comfortable gaming headsets, you kinda get what you pay for. More expensive headsets will feature quality lightweight material that was designed with comfort and durability in mind. Know the most expensive gaming headsets in this article.
If you’re on a budget, though, or just not willing to break the bank for a hobby, don’t worry. It’ll take effort to find the perfect pair, but with reasonable considerations and a clear understanding of your non-negotiables, you’ll be able to find the perfect pair you’re looking for.
Whether you’re a serious gamer or casual player, if you’ve played for more than 10 minutes with a headset on, you understand that a quality headset is more than noise-canceling features, killer sound, and a good mic. A quality headset is all of the above and beyond rolled into a comfort first shell that can keep you playing all day long.
If you’re looking for a great headset for all of your gaming needs, don’t forget, comfort is king.