If you’re looking for a USB headset, you’re probably looking for a headset for play or work and all-round use. While each application lends itself to different strengths, the Jabra Evolve 20 is our pick for a compact on-ear headset that’s great for work and desk work, but might not be captivating enough for gaming. The Razer Kraken Ultimate, on the other hand, offers an over-ear design and plenty of gamer-friendly features.
We did the research so we could find a full range of options in both categories, including some niche options.
The Best Pack: Jabra Evolve 20 UC Wired Stereo Headphones
When choosing a versatile, business-friendly USB headset, striking the right balance between quality, usability and price is crucial. Jabra Evolve 20 gives you the most bang for your buck without cornering too much. One of the best things about Evolve 20 is that it works right out of the box; Just plug in the USB cable and you can instantly start video calls with the USB controller.
The soft foam cups feel good in the ear and provide adequate insulation (although not as much as if you were wearing in-ear headphones). The in-line connected boom microphone is specially optimized for video calling and the sleek black frame looks professional and durable. There are no bells and whistles here like Active Noise Canceling (ANC) or high-end drivers (sound-creating components).
Best Splurge: Jabra Evolve2 85
Jabra has an interesting history of headphone and headphone gaming. While the brand has made a name for itself in the world of Bluetooth and business headphones, its consumer Bluetooth headphones and headphones are strong contenders for everyday users. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Jabra Evolve 2 85 is a high-end model for the audio brand. Combine the functionality of USB headphones with high-quality headphones bells and whistles.
Super soft ear cups, an excellent folding microphone boom for crystal clear calls, nearly four hours of wireless battery life and even adaptive noise cancellation can be your everyday headphones. The headphones also come with a USB adapter so you can use them wirelessly as USB headphones, and there’s even a handy indicator light to show those around you that you’re on a call so they don’t disturb you. If you have the budget for these headphones, you probably won’t regret the purchase.
Best Surround Sound:
Audie ditched the Mobius 3D Surround headphones in 2020 with the aim of bringing truly high-end gaming functionality into a flat magnetic headphone space. Usually reserved for the audiophile line of Audie, Planar Magnetic drivers deliver sensitive yet powerful responses across the audio spectrum. Audie loads this technology into its flagship gaming headsets to provide broad reach and momentum for gaming mixes.
Integrated digital signal processing also equals a rich 3D surround sound experience. Combine this with special software to optimize location maps and you will have a first-class gaming experience. A detachable boom microphone completes this, allowing for better communication and online play. The Mobius is firmly in the higher price range and the large size and the lack of a hard case make these headphones less suitable for travelers. But overall, the feature set on offer here is incredible.
Best Game: Razer Kraken Ultimate
Kraken Ultimate is the best choice for any gamer when it comes to reliable headphones. The aluminum and steel frame offers incredible wear resistance. The extra thick soft ear cushions are perfect for long session gamers, with built-in Chroma RGB lighting for plenty of style.
The boom mic is retractable so it won’t get in your way when you don’t need it, and THX 7.1 surround sound is great for even more gaming fun. The design is very player-oriented and is big on the head, so this could be an issue for those who want something subtle. The price may be a little high, so we recommend a discount for purchases. Overall, it’s an easy purchase if you have the money.
Second place, best game: Razer Kraken X USB Gaming Headset (RZ04-02960100-R3U1)
The Razer Kraken series offers a wide variety of USB gaming headset options, and the Kraken X places these options squarely in the budget-conscious category with some really solid features. The lightweight aluminum frame is sturdy and comfortable, while the soft ear cushions are comfortable for long sessions.
The device has a foldable microphone with decent sound quality and good 7.1 surround emulation. Well-tuned 40mm drivers produce sound with enough support at the lower end of the spectrum. The green Razer logo is brightly emblazoned on each pavilion, which may be fine for some and too loud for others. Thanks to the reasonable price, a few corners have been cut in the build quality department, but nothing too breakable.
Best value for money: Asante’s 8090T multipoint Bluetooth headset with detachable arm
You may not have heard much about the Asante Aria series of wired and wireless headphones, but this series is a great contender if price is a limitation for you but you don’t want to sacrifice features. The Aria 8090T is a wireless USB headset with a wide range of accessories and numerous wireless features.
Sure, you can stream the old fashioned way with the included USB adapter, but there’s also Bluetooth connectivity, including support for Qualcomm’s high-quality apt codecs. Aria 8090T is also equipped with a convenient charging stand and an active noise reduction device. All of these features come at a price that certainly isn’t cheap, but when you factor in the additional features, the value is pretty obvious.
Best sound quality: Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II gaming headphones
You might be surprised to see the Bose Quiet Comfort series on this list. But just a few years ago, Bose realized that there was enough overlap between “average consumers” who love Bluetooth QC headphones and gamers who want Bose-quality sound for casual gaming.
Detach the USB Desktop Remote and you get the standard Bluetooth noise canceling headphones that many people like. When you connect the USB cable, you have a sturdy and comfortable gaming headset with a built-in microphone and a desktop touch remote control. The price is high, but for the versatility and Bose-level sound, you really can’t go wrong otherwise.
Best Design: SteelSeries Arctic 5 Gaming Headset
When choosing a gaming headset, it can be easy to go overboard with insanely strong colors, more RGB lighting effects (red, green, and blue) than you probably need, and bulky, bulky builds. The SteelSeries Arctic 5 earns our design points because it strikes a good balance, offering a sleek, all-black design that looks professional and a sleek RGB ring on the outside that adds a touch of gamer flair.
The build quality has a lot of nice details. The Arctic 5 has excellent sturdy headband material and soft “ski goggle” fabric details, so they are comfortable to wear. It has a detachable USB desktop controller for easy audio and chat, and the RGB ring on each ear cup can also be adjusted and synced with your RGB desktop setup.