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Best Overall: Razer Kraken Pro V2 at Amazon
"It offers quality sound, plus it works with just about any device."
Best Budget: Razer Electra V2 at Amazon
"If you’re a casual gamer on a budget, the Electra V2 is a good way to dip your toes into gaming headsets."
Best Splurge: Razer Nari Ultimate at Amazon
"If you’ve got the money to spend and you’re a serious gamer, you can't go wrong."
Best Bass: Razer Kraken Tournament Edition at Amazon
"An enhanced version of the classic Kraken design that adds THX Spatial Audio with a highly tunable audio profile."
Best for PS4: Razer Man O’War at Amazon
"A solid option even today with both great wireless performance and solid 7.1 virtual surround sound."
Best for PC Gaming: Razer Tiamat 7.1 V2 at Amazon
"Not only offers fantastic positional audio but also makes some improvements over the original version in overall sound quality."
Best for iOS: Razer Hammerhead for iOS at Amazon
"A set of digital headphones that connect directly to the Lighting ports found on Apple's mobile devices."
Best for Android: Razer Hammerhead BT at Amazon
"A pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds that use the aptX codec, providing a reliable wireless audio experience for Android gamers."
Gaming peripherals are a different breed, with styles, designs, and features that run a wide gamut of tastes. However, we think that the best overall headset for gaming should focus on doing the important things well — sound, comfort, and durability — and that’s where Razer’s Kraken Pro V2 comes in. It’s not the flashiest headset that Razer makes, but it’s still a Razer product, and it offers quality sound, plus it works with just about any device. It's also lightweight and comfortable to wear for long gaming sessions.
In fact, the sound is surprisingly good for a headset in this price range, and despite it being an analog headset without any bespoke surround sound features, it’s got a pretty ample soundstage. You won’t find it hard to pinpoint the action in your game, so you’ll hear your opponents sneaking up behind you and get a sense of where nearby gunfire is coming from. In terms of actual sound profile, the mid-range isn't as well-defined as we’d like, but it produces good punchy bass that’s clearly present without being overbearing.
The Kraken Pro V2 also provides build quality that’s solid and sturdy enough that you won’t have to worry about tossing these in a bag for taking on the road with you. The unidirectional microphone is fully retractable so it stays out of the way when you don’t need it, and the ear cushions are removable so you can choose between circular or oval for optimal comfort.
While Razer's more expensive headsets are generally worth it, if you’re a casual gamer on a budget, the Electra V2 is a good way to dip your toes into gaming headsets without spending too much money upfront. It's a smaller headset that lacks the comfort and versatility of its more expensive siblings, but it still brings decent audio performance that distinguishes it from most other headsets in its price range.
There's no doubt about its Razer lineage either — everything about the Electra demonstrates Razer’s iconic design language, just on a slightly more modest scale. It's a basic black design with neon green highlights, with a plastic frame that fits snugly around most typical heads but doesn't provide much in the way of adjustment.
The Electra V2 also features a virtual surround soundstage, and although it's not quite as laser-precise as Razer’s more premium headsets, it provides good spatial sense and a good balance between sound effects and dialogue with sound that's not bad for the price. That said, this is definitely a gaming headset, and the 40mm audio drivers packed in here aren’t going to compete with most other similarly-priced headsets when it comes to listening to music or watching movies.
If you’ve got the money to spend and you’re a serious gamer, you can't go wrong with Razer’s Nari Ultimate, which as the name implies is the new flagship of Razer's headset lineup and the top tier among the Nari and Nari Essential. What makes the Nari Ultimate especially cool is Razer’s new HyperSense technology that lets you feel the action in a way that few other headsets do.
To accomplish this, Razer has packed a pair of Lofelt L5 haptic drivers into the Nari Ultimate, which provides modulated feedback using intelligent digital signal processing. In other words, it analyzes the game audio and actually turns it into haptic vibration effects that vary in intensity and even flow from side to side as the action moves around you. It really adds a new dimension to the gaming experience, and it's like virtual reality for your ears.
While Razer isn’t the first headset to add haptic feedback, it’s the first we’ve seen to embrace it in a quality headset design. The Nari Ultimate doesn't just stand on its flashy HyperSense tech — it’s a premium Razer headset through and through; solidly built, extremely comfortable to wear, and even incorporates cooling gel into the earcups. It also features the expansive and quality sound Razer is known for, with solid, punchy bass and wide and immersive spatial sound, and you can use it either in a 3.5mm wired mode with just about anything or wirelessly with your PC or PS4.
Razer's headsets are already known for their punchy and deep bass, but if you’re looking for something more, Razer goes even deeper with its Kraken Tournament Edition — an enhanced version of the classic Kraken design that adds THX Spatial Audio with a highly tunable audio profile.
In fact, the Kraken TE comes with a new in-line USB amplifier that provides a whole set of audio controls including overall volume, bass volume, a microphone mute button, balance controls for in-game audio and chat, and a toggle for the THX Spatial Audio feature. This last option takes the Kraken’s already great directional sound up to the next level, letting you pinpoint the in-game sounds around you with a surprising degree of accuracy. You can also tweak the sound using the Razer Synapse 3 software if you prefer.
The design is otherwise virtually identical to the Kraken Pro V2, although the TE comes in a rather stark neon green by default, there is a black version available if you'd like something a bit more subtle. The Kraken TE also packs in the cooling gel ear cushions found in the Nari lineup, which will add to their comfort level over marathon gaming sessions.
Most gamers swear by wired accessories, and headsets are no exception. After all, wired connections don’t have the issues with latency and interference that many wireless accessories do, and in fact Bluetooth headsets can be particularly abysmal in this regard.
Razer, of course, has tackled this with its lineup of wireless gaming headsets, and its classic Man O'War was not only a pioneer in this area but remains a solid option even today with both great wireless performance and solid 7.1 virtual surround sound. Razer accomplishes this miracle by avoiding the standard wireless audio and instead uses its own 2.4 GHz wireless connection to a USB receiver that plugs into your PC or PS4.
The USB receiver can be stored inside the headset when not in use to help avoid losing or misplacing it, but if you regularly only game with a single console, you can just as easily leave it plugged in. Note that there's no wired option, but if you’re looking specifically for a PS4 headset, this is one of the best ones you can get for the price, as it has great sound quality, a solid 14-hour battery life, and even slick Chroma RGB lighting.
For hardcore PC gamers, Razer’s upgraded Tiamat 7.1 V2 not only offers fantastic positional audio but also makes some improvements over the original version in overall sound quality. While it doesn’t come cheap, it may be worth the investment if you regularly find yourself being taken out from behind in your favorite shooter.
The Tiamat 7.1 V2 uses a staggering total of ten drivers to provide "pinpoint positional audio," with each side containing a pair of 30mm drivers for the front and center, two 20mm rear and side surround drivers, and a 40mm subwoofer. There's an audio control unit that lets you separately adjust the volume of each audio channel, as well as fall back to standard stereo sound when you don't need the full 7.1 surround experience.
Despite all of this audio hardware, the Tiamat 7.1 V2 remains extremely light and comfortable to wear. There’s a boom mic that rotates and folds up into the earcup when you don’t need it, and Razer Chroma RGB lighting for both the headset and the audio control unit. It's also worth keeping in mind that the 7.1 surround isn’t just for gaming — the Tiamat 7.1 V2 makes for a great way to watch movies as well, although of course only on your PC.
Mobile gaming is already a pretty big deal, and with Apple launching its new Apple Arcade subscription service, we expect it's going to get even bigger on iPhones and iPads. Razer, of course, gets this, and its answer to the Apple ecosystem is found in the Hammerhead for iOS, a set of digital headphones that connect directly to the Lighting ports found on Apple's mobile devices.
While you’re not going to get the kind of positional audio from a set of in-ear monitors that Razer’s full headsets can offer, the Hammerhead is still no slouch, packing in a pair of 10mm drivers and optimized acoustic chambers that provide a level of acoustic clarity and deep bass that’s been optimized for gamers, but still works well with music too.
Razer has developed a custom-tuned DAC for the Hammerhead for iOS that pulls that digital output straight from the Lightning port, allowing it to produce a more accurate sound with zero latency, and a companion iOS app lets you customize the sound signature by using a predefined EQ or crafting your own, and since no set of Razer headphones would be complete without lighting, the app lets you control that too.
While Bluetooth headphones have traditionally been a horrible choice for gaming, new Bluetooth codecs have reduced the traditional latency to levels that come pretty close to what wired headphones can deliver, and Razer has embraced this with its new Hammerhead BT, a pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds that use the aptX codec, providing a reliable wireless audio experience for Android gamers.
Although the Hammerhead BT also technically work with iOS devices too, the lack of support of the aptX codec by iOS means you won’t want to use these for gaming on the Apple side, but on any aptX-compatible Android device — which should include any gaming-capable Android phone released in the past three years — the Hammerhead BT is a great choice for gaming without wires on your mobile device.
The pair of 10mm dynamic drivers are custom-tuned for a sound signature that will sound just as good in games as it does for music, and the built-in rechargeable battery will keep you going for up to 8 hours. There's also an in-line remote and mic that can be used to place and receive calls and control music playback.