Update, 05/12/2022: We have reviewed our recommendations and are convinced that these are still the best VR headphones you can buy.
What to look for in VR headphones in 2022
The technical specifications for VR headsets can be quite confusing, but you only need to concentrate on a few key areas to narrow things down to the good ones.
First, are the headphones connected or a stand-alone unit? A connected VR headset requires a device such as a gaming computer or console to provide all the processing power for VR applications. So, you need to make sure that your computer has the appropriate components to run games and support for VR headphones at the same time. Standalone VR headsets contain all the necessary hardware to run their VR applications, taking away some of the technical work from a PC or console.
The method of tracking the position of VR headphones is an important consideration. The modern trend is towards inside-out monitoring, where the cameras on the headphones scan your environment and then calculate your movement in relation to these fixed reference points.
The alternative, which is external monitoring devices, are usually more accurate, but internal monitoring devices are more portable, more elegant and reduced to wires.
Then, the high-resolution screens inside the headphones help with the image by making images smaller. This reduces the possibility of seeing a grid of pixels while using the headphones and makes the experience even more intense. The refresh rate also affects the immersion factor, and 90Hz is a good operating minimum for headphones.
Finally, there is one aspect you may not have considered regarding VR headphones: your pupillary distance (IPD). Many VR headphones (including our best choice) have adjustable lens spacing. Our best choice should work well for 95% of people.
However, if you fall on either end of the IPD range, you may get a blurry image. You can check your IPD using the app or, for the most accurate measurement, measure it by an optician.
This is just a scratch on the surface of what you need to consider when buying VR headphones. But don’t worry, because we did all the research and below we have selected the best VR headphones for you.
RELATED: Best VR games for Oculus Quest, PC and PSVR
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ Versatile
- ✓ Strong developer support
- ✗ A Facebook account is required
- ✗ It could be more comfortable, you may need to buy mods for comfort
- ✗ The IPD setting range may exclude some users
The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t the most premium VR experience, but it’s still probably the only VR headset you’ll need to buy. These headphones offer a level of pure flexibility that no other VR system can match.
These are standalone battery-powered headphones that offer the best VR visuals and performance currently possible using mobile PC technology. You can play PC VR titles with Quest 2 via USB-C connection and WiFi.
Quest 2 also has a significant library of games and experiences explicitly developed or transferred from other VR platforms. It’s as user-friendly as any modern gaming console, but still allows those who like to mess with their technology to load applications from the side.
The latest Oculus Quest headphones aren’t perfect, but the overall package makes up little more than the sum of its parts. Indeed, the biggest problem with Quest 2 has nothing to do with the product itself.
Facebook is the parent company of Oculus and has introduced a requirement that every Quest 2 user must also have a Facebook account. If you don’t already have it and don’t want it, make sure we didn’t have a problem setting up a basic throwing account just for Oculus.
We recommend the 256 GB version of Quest 2 because you can’t upgrade the device’s storage space, so it’s better to choose a larger model in case you need space. However, there is a 128 GB model if you want to save.
The best VR headphones overall
Oculus Quest 2,256 GB
Oculus Quest 2 does it all, no matter what VR you want to experience, at a price that is surprising in the best way.
- ✓ The base model is the lowest price for a top VR
- ✓ Access to cheap PC VR games
- ✗ Native Quest stand-alone games could be expensive for some
The Oculus Quest 2 is also, in our opinion, the best cheap VR headset you can buy. The base 128GB model sells for just $ 299. That’s an incredible price, considering the Quest 2 is both a standalone VR headset and a PC VR headset.
As such, you don’t have to spend more money on hardware other than Quest 2 if you don’t want to. With Quest 2, you actually get two headphones for the price of one — which further enhances the device’s high-quality credentials.
The price of the original Quest 2 apps may be a bit high for some, but Oculus hasn’t locked the headphones to one game store, and you can download apps from third-party sources if you want. If you already have a PC that supports VR, you benefit from cheaper PC VR titles.
In some cases, Quest and Rift versions of the game like The Star Trek Bridge team are sold as a single purchase. If it happens to be on sale in one store, you can save some money and still be able to play it on Quest 2!
There are no VR headphones at this price – or even twice the price – that offer the same value per dollar, so it’s easy to recommend Quest 2 to anyone looking to enter the world of VR on a budget.
As mentioned in our overall category, the only hurdle of my Oculus product is the Facebook account requirement. But, it is a relatively small difficulty if you decide to create a throwaway account or you are already on Facebook.
The best cheap VR headphones
Oculus Quest 2 128 GB
The Oculus Quest 2 128GB model offers more than enough space for most users while selling you the best complete headphones at a price that is very affordable for your wallet.
Best VR Headphones for PC: Valve Index
- ✓ Top quality headphones
- ✓ The best SteamVR experience that money can buy
- ✓ Modular shopping choices
- ✗ How much ?!
- ✗ No tracking from the inside out
While there are headphones, such as the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, that outperform the Valve Index in some specific ways, the Index is the best headset for the computer as a whole.
Valve’s VR headphones are quite expensive, but that’s a bit of a contrast thanks to Valve’s modular approach. You can buy any component of the kit as you wish, whenever you want.
So, for example, if you already own older Index controllers, you can upgrade to new headphones, but keep the previous motion controllers to save money. This is great news for owners of previous Valve headphones, but the overall price of the kit that newcomers have to buy is high.
Another important thing in favor of the Index is that you will not find something that works better with SteamVR. After all, this is the hardware that SteamVR is designed for. Half-Life Alyx, probably the best VR game, was designed for Index. You can play it quite well on other SteamVR compatible headphones, but Index is definitely an experience for this title and a few others.
It is also important to note that the Valve Index is a virtual reality headset for position tracking. While the overall trend in VR seems to be moving towards standard inside-out monitoring, the Index relies on base stations to provide this accurate room monitoring.
Position tracking is better and more accurate than inside tracking, but it has some drawbacks. You need to set up a permanent VR space using base stations and reset it whenever you want to move somewhere new.
Compared to the PC VR experience Oculus Quest 2, where you can take your computer anywhere, plug in Quest 2 and be in business in seconds, and you can see why internal tracking is perhaps more popular, even if less accurate.
- ✓ It is currently the only VR console option
- ✓ PSVR has a lot of great exclusive games
- ✗ Seriously outdated my modern VR standards
- ✗ A special camera adapter for the PS5 is required
- ✗ PSVR 2 will be out soon
So, there is currently only one VR console option, and that is Sony PlayStation VR. This PlayStation 4 add-on has long been the most affordable way to access superior AAA VR experiences that are comparable to those on a PC. Sony has achieved this with its Move controllers and accessories for PS4 cameras and by combining them with cost-effective headphones.
For a long time, buying a PS4 and PSVR was cheaper than a docked PC VR headset per se, not to mention a powerful computer that you also had to own. If you own a PS4 today and want to get into VR, we can wholeheartedly recommend PSVR, especially considering that there are many great exclusive VR games. You can also use the PSVR with the PS5, but you need Sony’s special (free) adapter.
The biggest reason for giving up PSVR is the recent release of PSVR2 for PS5 only. These are headphones that promise to bring VR consoles to a climax, and maybe a little further than that.
However, since so few people can get their hands on the PS5 and no headphone release date is in sight, the PSVR remains the best (and only) VR console option.
Best standalone VR headphones: Oculus Quest 2
- ✓ Powerful, VR-specific built-in SoC
- ✓ A powerful library of Quest games, including exclusive titles
- ✓ Standalone VR features like the Guardian are unmatched
- ✓ Offers direct manual tracking
- ✗ Requires a Facebook account
- ✗ It can be annoying without subsequent modifications
Yes, we’re back to Oculus Quest 2, but this is the category the headphones are designed for. It’s not just that Quest 2 offers solid stand-alone hardware; it is also that it has a robust app store. It’s best to think of Quest as the VR equivalent of a game console if it has dedicated versions of VR apps created for it.
Quest 2 is a significant step forward compared to the original Quest in several ways, and Quest 2 exclusive titles that rely on its increased power are on the horizon. The Quest 2 hand tracking system and excellent perimeter Guardian technology make it one of the best VR devices you can own today.
Although there have been other standalone VR headsets in recent years, they have more or less fallen apart as none have received long-term support and support like Facebook. While the need for a Facebook account to use Oculus products is not ideal, there is no denying what the support of the social media giant has done for this line of VR headsets.
If your Facebook account is not a problem, then Quest 2 is the best standalone VR headset on the market.
The best standalone VR headphones
Oculus Quest 2
Quest practically invented and perfected the concept of standalone VR. Quest 2 improves it in most ways and is a clear sign of what the future of VR will look like.