Young woman wearing headset

The Best USB Headsets of 2021

By Marvin Moreno SoundNo Comments

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With people spending far more time at home and unable to meet up face to face at the moment, a good USB headset can make a big difference to how well you can stay in touch with the people in your life. If you need to communicate as clearly and easily as possible online, the earbuds that came with your phone won’t cut it.

USB headsets are particularly popular with both gamers and business users, since the wired connection tends to provide better audio and microphone placement than wireless earbuds and headphones. This is equally important whether you’re on an endless Zoom meeting with work colleagues or coordinating your teammates during a multiplayer match.

There can be big differences between the various models, though, and some are much better than others for certain types of task. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best USB headsets you can buy, from quality budget picks to gamer headsets you can wear all day, impressive business-focused models, and more.

Sale
Best USB Headset Overall: Corsair HS60 Haptic
  • Weight: 0.9 pounds (420g)
  • Connection: USB-A
  • Microphone: Retractable boom mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows PCs

Best USB Headset for Gaming: SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC
  • Weight: 1.15 pounds (522g)
  • Connection: USB-A, optical, line-out (via DAC unit)
  • Microphone: Retractable boom mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows and Mac PCs, consoles, mobile devices

Sale
Best Wireless USB Headset: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825
  • Weight: 0.35 pounds (156g)
  • Connection: Wireless via USB-A dongle or Bluetooth
  • Microphone: Adjustable mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows and Mac PCs, and Bluetooth devices

Sale
Best USB Headset for Music and Movies: HyperX Cloud II
  • Weight: 0.61 pounds (277g)
  • Connection: USB-A or 3.5mm
  • Microphone: Detachable mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows and Mac PCs, consoles, mobile devices

Best USB Headset for Work: Jabra Evolve 40
  • Weight: 0.55 pounds (250g)
  • Connection: USB-A or 3.5mm
  • Microphone: Adjustable mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows and Mac PCs, consoles, mobile devices

Sale
Best Budget USB Headset: Sennheiser PC 8
  • Weight: 0.19 pounds (84g)
  • Connection: USB-A
  • Microphone: Adjustable mic with noise cancellation
  • Works with: Windows and Mac PCs

Best USB Headset Overall: Corsair HS60 Haptic

Corsair HS60 Haptic Stereo Gaming Headset with Haptic Bass, Memory Foam Earcups, Removable Microphone, Windows Sonic Compatible, Discord-Certified for PC - Arctic Camo

The Corsair HS60 Haptic takes our top spot for a reason–it’s a highly versatile USB headset for both work and play.

Like any good headset, audio quality is the HS60’s best feature. The 50mm audio drivers deliver crisp, high-definition mids and treble and deep, resonating bass, with the signature haptic feedback producing matching vibrations. The result is realistic, immersive sound for music and shows, although if the vibrations get a bit much, they can be turned off.

The HS60 has on-ear volume and haptic controls that you can use to tweak audio on the fly. The bundled iCue software allows for more advanced EQ settings and audio presets if you want finer adjustments. Note that the software and the headphones themselves are Windows-compatible only.

The detachable unidirectional microphone has noise cancelation built-in to help cut out environmental noise and improve voice quality for those on the other end of the call. Whether you’re talking to colleagues on Skype or your teammates during a match, the HS60 helps ensure clear communication.

The HS60 is designed with gamers in mind, so comfort is a top priority even during extended wear, thanks to its memory foam ear cups and lightweight aluminum frame. Overall, the Corsair HS60 is an exceptional USB headset for Windows users that works well in a wide range of situations, at a very reasonable price.

Pros
  • Impressive, immersive sound
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Versatile headset suitable for both work and gaming
  • Competitive pricing
Cons
  • Haptic feedback can get tiring if used for extended periods
  • Windows-only
Buy on Amazon

Best USB Headset for Gaming: SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC

SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC Wired Gaming Headset - Certified Hi-Res Audio - Dedicated DAC and Amp - for PS5/PS4 and PC - Black

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC is one of the most highly regarded pro-gaming headsets, and the first to support High-Res Audio (HRA), a lossless sound format that’s much closer to the original recorded audio quality. It provides full surround sound, rumbling bass, and positional audio to give pro gamers a competitive edge in multiplayer.

The GameDAC is what makes the Arctis Pro a unique offering. This small digital to analog converter (DAC) ensures higher-quality audio than you’d usually get from a USB or wireless connection. It has robust EQ and audio adjustments for tweaking audio or quickly switching features, and you can connect it to other audio sources and outputs, including speakers, as well.

Aesthetics-wise, the Arctis Pro eschews the flashiness of typical gaming headsets and goes for a sleek, subdued exterior. There’s still a customizable RGB light on the earcups, but it’s far more subtle than usual, and can be turned off if you’re not a fan. The boom mic can be retracted into the earcup when not in use.

The fabric on the ear cups feels soft against the skin, but while the headband length can be adjusted for a better fit, its clamping force creates a lot of pressure and can cause discomfort during marathon gaming sessions.

The ClearCast microphone of the Arctis Pro is decent enough, delivering clear audio with excellent noise cancellation. It’s on par with most mics on this list, so nothing special there, but it’s unlikely to disappoint.

Despite a couple of minor hiccups, the Arctis Pro is one of the best gaming USB headsets you can get. Its exceptional sound quality and accuracy, combined with the power and flexibility of the GameDAC hub, make this an obvious choice for any avid gamer.

Pros
  • Fantastic surround sound quality with excellent positional cues
  • GameDAC allows for deep audio customization on the fly
  • Sleek aesthetics
Cons
  • Not comfortable for long sessions
  • Comparatively expensive
Buy on Amazon

Best Wireless USB Headset: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth USB B825 202652-101 Headset with Active Noise Cancelling

The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825 is the ideal wireless USB headset for remote workers, and anyone else who needs to make calls regularly and sound good while they do it.

How can a USB headset be wireless, you may ask? It’s similar to many wireless mice and keyboards, using a small dongle that plugs into your computer’s USB port and transmits wirelessly to the headset. 

As well as the dongle, you can also pair the headset with any of your Bluetooth devices for maximum flexibility, and switch between these devices on the fly. Smart sensors automatically answer incoming calls when you put the headset on, or pause the music when you take it off.

The Voyager Focus UC leans more towards crisp, clear audio than having a wide sound range, making it less ideal for music. That’s perfectly fine, since this headset is aimed at professional users, and you’ll likely be mainly using it for calls and work tasks. The noise-canceling microphone likewise delivers clear voice output during calls.

We also like the Voyager Focus UC’s useful set of controls on the headset that let you start, pause, or skip audio and mute or unmute the mic. An indicator light on the side tells you if the mic is off, which is a nice touch.

Bottom line: the Voyager Focus UC B825 is a great wireless USB headset for making calls, especially if you often need to switch between devices.

 

Pros
  • Long talk time (up to 12 hours)
  • Smart sensors can switch between music/calls automatically
  • Support for multiple devices
  • Intuitive headset controls
Cons
  • Narrow audio range, with weak bass
Buy on Amazon

Best USB Headset for Music and Movies: HyperX Cloud II

HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset, 7.1 Surround Sound, Memory Foam Ear Pads, Durable Aluminum Frame, Detachable Microphone, Works with PC, PS4, Xbox One - Red

The HyperX Cloud II boasts some of the best surround sound you’ll find in a USB headset. While marketed as a gaming headset, it’s a fantastic companion for audiophiles and movie lovers as well.

The headset features hardware-driven 7.1 virtual surround sound powered by 53mm drivers. You’ll hear positional audio that’s in sync with what you’re watching, help create a more immersive experience.

The noise-isolating, closed ear cups keep out outside sound, further adding to the realism. Cushy memory foam padding helps keep things relatively comfortable for binge-watching or listening.

The microphone, however, is the one weak spot of the Cloud II. Sure, it has noise-canceling capabilities, but the voice quality isn’t up to par with some on this list, like the Jabra Evolve 40 below. The microphone is also quite bulky, although it’s at least detachable if you decide not to use it.

For the money, though, the superb surround sound experience of the HyperX Cloud II makes it a great deal for gaming and entertainment enthusiasts.

Pros
  • Competitive pricing
  • Immersive surround sound
  • Comfortable memory foam ear pads
Cons
  • The mic is bulky and has only moderate voice quality
Buy on Amazon

Best USB Headset for Work: Jabra Evolve 40

Jabra Evolve 40 Professional Wired Headset, Stereo, UC-Optimized – Telephone Headset for Greater Productivity, Superior Sound for Calls and Music, 3.5mm Jack/USB Connection, All-Day Comfort Design

The Jabra Evolve 40 is the best USB headset for getting on work video calls, hands down. 

This headset has the rare combo of excellent audio output and a quality microphone, allowing you to hear and be heard clearly during voice calls even in noisy environments. Both the drivers and mic have noise-canceling features, so you can block distractions from interfering with your meetings.

The Evolve 40 has a lightweight frame and soft leather ear cups, making it a joy to wear throughout the day even for hours at a time. 

One nice touch is the indicator that lights up when you’re on a call, so people will know not to disturb you. A mute button is also conveniently located on the side of the headset, allowing you to quickly turn off the microphone when you don’t want to be heard. Finding the optimal mic position takes a bit of time, but once you find that sweet spot, it works flawlessly.

Overall, there’s nothing to hate with the Jabra Evolve 40, and a lot to like. It’s simply a top-notch professional USB headset to keep you productive at work.

Pros
  • Comfortable to wear for hours
  • Light indicators and noise-cancellation features help keep you focused and productive
  • The mic and headphones provide clear voice audio.
Cons
  • It takes time to find the optimal mic position
Buy on Amazon

Best Budget USB Headset: Sennheiser PC 8

Sennheiser Consumer Audio Sennheiser PC 8 USB - Stereo USB Headset for PC and MAC with In-line Volume and Mute Control, Black, Small

The Sennheiser PC 8 is a no-frills, budget-friendly USB headset that’s perfect if you’re looking for something to replace your existing earbuds without breaking the bank. It’s a versatile accessory that’s equally suited to music, gaming, and online calls.

At first glance, you’ll notice the small, lightweight nature of the PC 8. This is a perk rather than a downside: the headset doesn’t put excess weight on your head when you wear it and is still fairly durable, even if it looks flimsy. 

For the price, the PC 8 delivers above-average audio performance for music and gaming. Vocal clarity is a strong suit of this headset, making it an excellent cost-effective option for video calls or podcasts. The microphone’s noise cancellation can be spotty, though, as it sometimes doesn’t work for sources near you. As a result, it works best in relatively quiet environments.

Other than that, there’s nothing much to say about the Sennheiser PC 8 beyond its sound quality, comfort, and price. If you’re looking for a solid budget USB headset from a well-known audio brand, you’ve found it here.

Pros
  • One of the most inexpensive USB headsets you can buy
  • Crisp, clear vocal audio
  • Easy to use with no extra features to worry about
Cons
  • Noise cancellation function can be improved
Buy on Amazon

Conclusion

For the most versatile USB headset with excellent sound quality no matter where you use it, the Corsair HS60 Haptic wins hands down. If you only want to focus on one type of use, though, we recommend the Jabra Evolve 40 for work or the SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC for play.


Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Marvin Moreno

Marvin Moreno

Marvin is a tech writer and email copywriter based in Manila. A former web developer turned wordsmith, his travel dreams include a month-long cross-country Japan trip, a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and exploring Patagonia. He's also a craft beer brewer and can talk about alcohol all day.

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