It’s no secret that the best Xbox One headsets will let you play your favourite games the way that Microsoft and its ever-expanding roster of development studios initially intended you to play them.
Whether you’re blasting around the map in a Warthog in Halo or listening to the sounds of distant bombs dropping in Fallout 4, sound is just as important in modern video games as graphics. As experiences get more immersive and more realistic, a game’s audio is becoming more and more integral to the overall experience. Popping an enemy Covenant’s head with a sniper wouldn’t nearly be as satisfying without any sound effects, now would it?
The best Xbox One headsets need to fulfill a selection of criteria to live up to the lofty standards set by the best of the best. A good headset, in 2021, must deliver on sound, comfort, style, and provide decent voice chat, too. Whether you’re after something that fits all those criteria – or you’d prefer something that excels in one area – we have you covered in our list below.
There’s never been a better time to buy, either, as Black Friday deals have already begun, with the sales event officially taking place on November 26. It means we’re bound to see several headsets on our list have their price points slashed, so if you’ve been waiting to pick up a new set of cans, now’s the time. We’ll also be rounding up all the Cyber Monday deals so you don’t miss out on any of the best offers.
The Xbox One remains one of the best-selling consoles in the world, though we’re starting to see the newer, fancier Xbox Series X models take over now (for people lucky enough to be able to get hold of them, anyway). But, even if you’ve yet to upgrade, thanks to Microsoft’s consumer-first attitude towards tech and the new generation of Xbox hardware, any headset you pick up for the Xbox One will work with both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, too. It gives you one less thing to worry about if you’re thinking of if you’re making the jump into the crisp, HDR-focused new-gen pool.
So, whether you’re aiming for studio-quality sound, a battery life that will see you through even the most tedious of FPS campaigns, or a headset with a microphone that can deal with you telling your mates to – once again – cover you as you head into enemy territory, our essential selection of the best Xbox One headsets for 2021 should sort you out.
Best Xbox One headsets at a glance
- Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2
- Turtle Beach Elite Pro with Tactical Audio Adapter
- Razer Nari Ultimate
- Corsair HS50
- Steelseries Arctis 9x
- Astro A50
While there are more premium gaming headsets currently available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S players, Turtle Beach’s Stealth 600 Gen 2 delivers exceptional bang for your buck, thanks to its excellent sound quality and robust features.
Handily, Turtle Beach offers a Stealth 600 Gen 2 model that’s designed specifically for Xbox consoles, meaning users can pair the gaming headset directly to their Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S without the need for a USB dongle or optical connection – it’s as simple as pairing a controller.
From an audio standpoint, the Stealth 600 Gen 2 delivers vibrant spatial sound (the headset worked well with Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos for Headphones) with a decent amount of depth. This is due to their powerful 50mm drivers, which offer exceptional clarity and bass, depending on your audio preference.
A mode button allows users to cycle through four EQ settings: Signature Sound, Bass Boost, Bass + Treble Boost and Vocal Boost. Additionally, a quick press of the power button will enable Superhuman Hearing mode, which amplifies subtle sounds like footsteps and reloading weapons in order to give players a tactical advantage.
You also get a flip-down mic which mutes when flicked up, separate volume rockers for chat and game, along with the much appreciated inclusion of mic monitoring, allowing you to hear your own voice while you chat.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though – we experienced a spotty connection on a couple of instances during online matches in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, with dotted sound resembling Morse Code coming through. That said, it didn’t occur often enough to be a real cause for concern.
It’s also worth noting that the headset a somewhat cheap plastic feel, and it sits fairly tight on the head and around the ears, leading to some discomfort during long gaming sessions. That said, Turtle Beach’s Stealth 600 Gen 2 gaming headset is a terrific all-rounder for those who want to keep a lid on their finances.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach Stealth 600P Gen 2 review
Turtle Beach is the longest established specialist gaming headset manufacturer, with a fanatical following among pro-gamers – and when you unbox its top-of-the-range Elite Pro, you can see why. It simply oozes no-expense-spared design, and sports all manner of neat touches born from decades of pro-gaming experience.
But more importantly than that, it sounds spectacular, with huge bass and crystal-clear treble adding up to a sound which will allow you to get deeply immersed into whatever game you’re playing. Comfort-wise, it’s exemplary, with big, thick earpads that eliminate all ambient noise, and can be easily adjusted to fit all head-sizes. A neat feature lets you add spacing to the earpads to accommodate a pair of glasses.
On an Xbox One, we’d recommend teaming it up with piece of kit called the Tactical Audio Adapter, which clips into the Xbox One controller and operates as an amplifier, adding some of the extra sound-control features which come in a separate graphic equaliser-style box called the Tactical Audio Controller (which is pricey but adds Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound).
Those features include Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing, which enhances the sound of incoming players’ footsteps and is great for hardcore first-person shooter fans, and Dynamic Chat Boost, which keeps chat-levels audible even when background noise rises. Plus, it lets you independently adjust game and chat volumes.
Add tank-like build-quality to the equation and you have a headset which has become something of a status symbol for those who take their gaming seriously.
Read the full review: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Headset.
There’s an old saying that states “a ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”, and Razer really has pushed the boat out with its Razer Nari Ultimate headset.
The Razer Nari Ultimate is an interesting concept, and something that needs to be tried to be believed. Razer’s designed a strong pair of headphones, with a very out-there feature, making the Nari Ultimate one of the best Xbox One headsets, when it comes to wireless models, on the market.
Check out our Razer Nari Ultimate review.
A high-quality, low-cost headset from Corsair, this wired option may be the best Xbox One headset for anyone on a budget on the market. It may only feature stereo sound (instead of surround sound), but it’s hardly a noticeable deficit. It produces dynamic sound, and the actual headphones are plush and comfortable. This hardly seems like the budget headset that it is.
Check out our full Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset review.
One of Xbox One’s ‘interesting’ little quirks is its own wireless audio system, which requires headsets to go the extra mile to interface with. That’s meant historically it was difficult to get the higher end Arctis models from Steelseries to play ball here, but with the 9x the pain all goes away.
The first clue here is that green colorway – this is structurally very similar to the Arctis 7 and Arctis Pro models available for PC and PS4, but with the requisite hardcoded Xbox One compatibility. Being essentially the same shell, that means the ski goggle headband is just as comfortable as it is on other models, and the layout of the controls is still just about perfect. Chat mix and volume scroll wheels, mic mute, all located on the rear of the earcups. Simplicity itself.
What you’ll always hear about Arctis cans is that they sound ‘flatter’ than others. This is a reference to its flat EQ response (imagine a straight line along an equaliser) rather than any notion the sound will leave you feeling flat. It’s lively and detailed, like affordable audiophile gear – it just doesn’t smother on the bass like many PC gaming manufacturers feel compelled to.
The only fleck of spittle in your ointment is that it’s quite tricky to get these to play nicely with Windows. You’re relying on the Bluetooth connectivity only in Mr Gates’ ecosystem, which means dropouts and connection issues are that bit more common. This is one for the Xbox One devotees searching for the best Xbox One headset, then.
COD and Astro headsets. Since the earliest days of Xbox One, the two have gone hand-in-hand like lovelorn teenagers, skipping off together into aspiration purchase territory for those of us who don’t feel completely fine with dropping $250+ on a headset.
And as the gen 4 version of the A50 turns up, well, plus ça change. It’s still incredibly comfortable, right away, and for long sessions. It still sounds like sellotaping a high-end surround sound speaker system to your head (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it). And you’ll still notice the whole in your current account. But the A50 does enough to retain its crown.
The wireless base stand has been whittled down to a slimmer profile that takes up less space on your desk or TV stand, retaining the LED functionality to let you know volume and charge levels, whether surround is enabled, and when Xbox or PC mode are selected. A PS4-compatible version’s available too, if the space under your telly is platform-agnostic.
While wireless charging seems to take a while longer than traditional USB charging, we think the sound and comfort here make that tiny grumble all but a moot point. It’s a perfectly balanced, weighted, and cushioned design that hugs your head and simply never gets heavy.
As for the sound – clear, crisp, throaty in the low-end – heaven in games, and just as suited to music and movies. The Command Center app accompanying these cans isn’t quite as fancy as the hardware, but in truth you won’t need to fiddle with it much in the first place to enjoy the best from it.