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The 4 Best SteelSeries Headsets of 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best SteelSeries Headphones

We've currently tested 22 SteelSeries headphones. This brand is known for its gamer-oriented design that focuses on low latency, sound reproduction, and microphone performance.

Updates

Best SteelSeries Headphones


  1. Best SteelSeries Headset

    The best SteelSeries headset we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless. These headphones have a wireless transmitter that comes in Xbox and PlayStation variants, so it's important to get the right one to match your console. The transmitter offers low latency, which is great when the timing is everything, and it has an interface that puts controls like EQs, volume, and chat mix directly at your fingertips. Since the headphones also come with two swappable battery packs, you can use one while the other charges inside the transmitter. Each battery has about 25 hours of continuous playback time, and you can even use the headphones wired when not in use. If you prefer a completely wired design, you'll want to check out the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro, which come with a GameDAC.

    Out of the box, these headphones have a somewhat neutral sound profile. Their sound has a bit of extra boom to help emphasize sound effects in gameplay. You can also finetune their sound using their companion software's robust features, including a parametric EQ. They also support Bluetooth, which is great if you want to stay connected to your console and smartphone simultaneously, and their boom mic offers very good overall performance, ensuring teammates hear you clearly. They have an ANC system too, and while it doesn't block out sound as well as more casual-use over-ears, it can still help tackle ambient chatter.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range SteelSeries Headset

    The best SteelSeries headphones in the upper mid-range we've tested are the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless. These headphones have fewer extra features than the previous pick—they don't have ANC or swappable batteries and don't come with a GameDAC. Their wireless USB dongle may not give you easy access to volume and sound controls. However, buying the 7X variant provides a low latency connection with Xbox, PlayStation, and PCs, which is great if you use multiple systems. Their boom mic makes your voice sound clear and full-bodied and does a good job of separating it from background noise.

    They have a bass-rich sound profile with extra rumble and punch that can help action-packed games feel more exciting. However, dialogue and instruments sound veiled and lack some detail. They work with companion software that includes a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. However, some users have reported that applying customizations with the Ngenuity software causes very high latency with PlayStation consoles. While the 7X variant is compatible with PlayStations and PCs, it was designed for Xbox. Fortunately, you can get the 7P for PlayStation or the 7 for PC gaming. The 7X is the only variant that can connect wirelessly with PCs, Xbox, and PlayStation, so it's the best choice if you're concerned about versatility.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range SteelSeries Headset

    The best SteelSeries headphones in the mid-range are the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3. At this price point and below, you'll mostly find wired headphones. However, this doesn't mean that they lack features. Unlike the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless, these over-ears have full audio and mic compatibility, whether using the default wired USB connection or analog. They also support customizable RGB lighting, so you can make them reflect your style. They're less well-built than their upper mid-range counterpart, but they still feel sturdy and solid. They also have a comfortable fit but have a small range of adjustability, so if you have a large head, they may not fit you correctly.

    Out of the box, these over-ears have a warm sound that helps bring sound effects like footsteps. However, we noticed a warping sound coming from our unit when using the USB connection, and this sound wasn't present when using the TRRS cable. You can customize their sound using their companion software's parametric EQ and presets. Their mic offers good overall performance, ensuring your voice is clear to enemies and teammates.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget SteelSeries Headset

    The best budget SteelSeries headphones we've tested are the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. While most headphones tend to dive in build quality at this price, these retain a similarly well-built design as their mid-range counterpart, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3. Instead, they're lighter on extra features, so don't expect companion software, customizable RGB lighting, or wireless connectivity. These wired headphones offer solid performance if you don't mind their no-frills design.

    These over-ears have the same warm sound profile as the Nova 3. However, they don't have EQs or customization features, so you can't adjust their sound. Although their ski-band headband design ensures a comfortable fit, they're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, so it's important to take the time to adjust them on your head each time you use them. Their boom mic offers good overall performance, so you sound clear and understandable.

    See our review

Compared To Other Brands


  • Xbox-compatible.
    Fairly uncommon among gaming headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X and SteelSeries Arctis 7X Wireless are fully compatible with Xbox consoles using Microsoft's proprietary Xbox Wireless Connection.
  • Great audio reproduction.
    SteelSeries headphones produce a well-balanced sound profile that's great for gaming, but they're also versatile enough to listen to other audio genres like pop or podcasts.
  • Clear-sounding microphone.
    SteelSeries headphones have good microphones. Their solid recording quality and noise handling mean those on the other end will clearly hear your voice.
  • Limited fit.
    Most SteelSeries headphones use a ski-band style headband, making getting the right fit hard. If your head is too big for the elastic headband and it reaches the frame, there's no way to adjust them further to accommodate a larger size.
  • Inconsistent frequency response.
    Due to SteelSeries' unique ski-band style headband, you may not get a consistent sound each time you wear these headphones. If they don't fit you properly, you'll notice deviations like a drop in bass.
  • Poor noise isolation.
    If you're using these headphones at a gaming tournament, you'll hear a lot of background noise, including cheering fans and clicking keyboards.

SteelSeries vs Astro

Astro makes gaming headphones for PC as well as PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Most have a conventional padded headband instead of a stretchy ski-band design, so they deliver audio more consistently. They also make open-back gaming headphones, which create a more immersive passive soundstage. However, for the same reason, many SteelSeries headsets block out a little more noise, and they even sell an ANC gaming headset, unlike Astro. Several of SteelSeries' high-end headsets are Bluetooth-compatible, which allows you to mix chat or music from your phone with game audio. Plus, SteelSeries headphones usually have a sleeker, less bulky design that you may prefer. Check out our picks for the best Astro headsets for more info on Astro.

SteelSeries vs Razer

Razer makes over-ear gaming headphones, hybrid headsets for gaming and casual use, and earbuds for gaming. Their headsets are more likely to support Bluetooth, and they make some options for mobile gaming, like the Razer Opus Wireless 2021. Both brands make headsets with great mics, so it depends on the model. Still, if you're looking for a high-end, feature-packed headset with a strong mic performance, SteelSeries headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 offer a better mic performance than similarly-priced Razer products. If you're interested in Razer's gaming lineup, check out our article on the best Razer headsets.

SteelSeries vs Audeze

Audeze makes audiophile headphones with planar-magnetic drivers. These drivers aim to deliver a more neutral sound and deeper bass extension than dynamic drivers in the audiophile space can. However, they've recently made a big splash in the gaming world by releasing the Audeze Maxwell Wireless, a planar-magnetic gaming headset with a detachable boom mic and many extra features. While the Maxwell has dethroned the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless on several of our lists as the best gaming headset you can buy, SteelSeries still offers more variety for a wider range of gamers.

The SteelSeries are good gaming headphones. Most of their headphones have balanced audio reproduction and solid microphones, making them suitable for gaming with others. Generally well-built, SteelSeries only makes over-ear headphones, and many of their designs have unique ski-band headbands for comfort. However, it may not be the best fit for everyone, especially large heads.

Lineup

Arctis

Headphones with SteelSeries' classic stretchy ski-band headband design. Lower-numbered models are cheaper and have fewer features (like the Arctis 1), while higher-numbered models have more premium features, like Bluetooth and RGB lighting.

Many come in console-specific variants. For example, the Arctis 7+ Wireless are intended for PC gaming, the Arctis 7P+ Wireless for PlayStation, and the Arctis 7X+ Wireless for Xbox.

Arctis Pro

These headphones are generally more expensive and advertised as having more premium materials and better sound quality. They come with accessories like a ChatMix dial for easy channel mixing (Artis Pro) or a base station with controls like channel mixing and volume (Arctis Pro Wireless).

Arctis Pro headsets don't come in console-specific variants but are intended for PlayStation and PC.

Arctis Nova

The newest line of SteelSeries headphones. Most 'Arctis Nova' gaming headsets are compatible with Sonar, companion software that includes a parametric EQ and spatial audio controls and represents a step up from the graphic EQ available in the SteelSeries Engine software.

The Arctis Nova Pro comes with an updated version of the Arctis Pro's GameDAC, and similarly, the Nova Pro Wireless support Bluetooth and come with a wireless base station, like the Arctis Pro Wireless.

This line still focuses on headphones for PC and PlayStation, but some models come in console-specific variants, including for Xbox.

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 14, 2023: We've updated this article's text to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  2. May 19, 2023: Added a brand comparison to Audeze now that the Audeze Maxwell Wireless is out and being compared to the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.

  3. Feb 02, 2023: Replaced the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 7 Wireless [7, 7P, 7X].

  4. Oct 21, 2022: We've added the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3, and SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1.

  5. Apr 27, 2022: Replaced the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ with the SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless as the 7+ have even more customization features than the 7P+, thanks to their Sonar software support.

Conclusion

SteelSeries offers headphones catered to gamers. Their unique design and good battery life make them great for long gaming sessions. Most of their headphones have impressive sound reproduction, too. However, getting a consistent sound each time you wear them can be challenging, and users with larger heads may not find the unique ski-band headband comfortable or fitting.

Test Results