Trying to find the best Nintendo Switch headset is a more complicated proposition than it may at first seem. Your audio needs can vary pretty wildly depending on how you tend to use the console.
On top of that, there’s the usual gaming audio questions to answer. Do you need something with a microphone? Is surround sound important to you?
Don’t fret! It may seem a little overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered.
This article was updated on January 10, 2020 to reflect price changes.
What you should know about Nintendo Switch headsets
Before we get into our main recommendations, it’s important to clear a few things up first. For starters, the Switch is a hybrid console—it works at home, plugged into your TV, and while out and about. What this means for audio considerations is that the Switch can actually work with both 3.5mm and USB inputs, at least to a point.
The Switch’s dock has a pair of USB ports that, following the console’s 4.0 firmware update, now support wireless audio using a dongle. However, that only works if the console is docked. Unless you plan to use the console’s USB-C port in some unholy double-dongle situation, you’re stuck with wired 3.5mm audio options when you go portable (except in the case of the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless). So whether you’re more of homebody or an on-the-go gamer, it’s important keep your available of connections top of mind when looking for a headset.
Other, more typical gaming headset considerations are a little bit less important with the Switch. Having a microphone is important if you’re into Fortnite, but a lot games don’t have voice chat enabled. Most games, including the ones made by Nintendo, use a mobile app that requires splitting audio between a Switch and a smartphone. To be frank, it’s routinely such a terrible experience that it’s hard to recommend any headset that uses this method.
Surround sound is also a less prominent concern. In fact, while Fortnite is one of the most popular games to use it, it only offers stereo sound on Switch, regardless of your audio hardware.
With all that in mind, here are some of the best Nintendo Switch headsets.
For the best all-around solution, try the HyperX Cloud Alpha
The HyperX Cloud Alpha offers best in class audio for a for far less than many of its competitors. This 3.5mm headset comes with a detachable 3.5mm mic, a durable frame, and deep cushioned headphone pads which make long gaming sessions very comfortable.
This headset is a community favorite—just look to the myriad Twitch streamers who wear it every day—and for good reason. It’s reliable, comfortable, and it nails the basics. Sure, it doesn’t come with the added bells and whistles many other gaming headsets offer, like surround sound or flashy customizable lighting, but most of that wouldn’t work on a Switch anyway. Instead, the HyperX Cloud Alpha focuses on covering the basics, and it does so with aplomb.
For under $100, you probably can’t do better, regardless of the platform. That this works with the Switch docked or undocked is just icing.
The Beyerdynamic Custom Game offers an expensive, but high quality gaming experience for Bass heads
If you’re in the market for a big heavy headset with big heavy bass, the Beyerdynamic Custom Game is your best bet. This is a highly customizable headset, and it’s built to last. Almost every part is designed to be replaceable—you can take off everything from the headband and earphone pads to heaphone plates. Additionally, the parts that can’t be replaced like the earphones and frame, made of sturdy metal that should hold up to whatever you throw at them.
The Custom Game features big, plush earpads that make long play sessions comfortable. Its cardioid mic is perfect for voice chat, with clear audio and a flexible stem.
However, the headset’s biggest draw is its bass customization features. The Beyerdynamic Custom Game has a variable bass switch in each headphone, sporting four positions that let you pick from a light bass, linear, vibrant bass, and heavy bass setting. That way you can switch back forth depending on when you want well defined highs and mids, and when you want explosions to bruise your eardrums. It’s the best of both worlds.
The Razer Kraken X is best option for Nintendo Switch gaming on a budget
Having a great gaming headset with surround sound, booming bass, and crystal clear audio is great, but sometimes spending a couple hundred dollars on a headset just isn’t in the cards. The Razer Kraken X is a fantastic option if you don’t have much more than the cost of a new game to spend on a headset.
On the Switch, you won’t use the full features of this headset, as its surround sound features are locked to Windows 10. However as I mentioned above, a lot of games that support surround sound on other platforms don’t offer it on the Switch, so it’s kind of a moot point.
The Razer Kraken X offers clear decent audio from both its headphones and mic, and its volume and mic controls are easy to reach in the left earcup—plus it lacks the obnoxious LEDs of many Razer devices. In short, it’s an affordable option that gets the job done, plain and simple.
If wireless audio is what you need, look no further than the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless
Wireless audio has been something of a bugbear for Switch owners. Recently, a software update to the Nintendo Switch opened up the USB ports on its dock to support wireless audio, allowing an additional level of convenience for gamers. However, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is the Nintendo Switch headset to offer a wireless solution, whether the console is docked or not.
The Arctis 1 Wireless brings 2.4GHz RF wireless audio using a USB-C receiver. Just plug it into the USB port on the bottom of the Switch and you’re all set for wireless, undocked listening. When you want to dock, the headset also comes with a USB-A to USB-C adapter, so you can plug the receiver in and stay wireless.
Outside of that, the Arctis 1 Wireless is built from largely the same materials as the rest of the Arctis line. It drops the comfortable suspension band of more expensive headsets in the line for a simpler plastic band, but it’s still plenty comfortable. The headphone pads are made of SteelSeries’ signature airweave fabric, so heat buildup really isn’t an issue.
This headset comfortable enough for multi-hour gaming sessions, and it can last for much longer than that. In our testing, we found the Arctis 1 had no trouble lasting over 25 hours on a single battery charge. In short, if you’re looking wireless audio on the Switch (or just about anywhere else), there’s really no option more versatile than this.
For the undocked gamer, the Razer Hammerhead Duo offers the best mix of portability and features
If you’re more of the out-and-about type, a lot of these options won’t do a ton for you. Most of these headphones will work just fine when you’re gaming undocked, but they’re clumsy when you leave home. Enter the Razer Hammerhead Duo, earbuds for the gamer who wants something a little more low profile.
The Hammerhead Duo uses two drivers, one just for bass, and one for mids and highs. The result is a pair earbuds with more accurate sound reproduction than most gaming headphones, in-ear or otherwise.
The earbuds’ microphone handles voice calls just fine, but struggles when it brushes against clothes or gets hit with wind—pretty standard stuff for a mic embedded in the cord of some earbuds. Again, voice chat has pretty inconsistent support across the platform, so this won’t be much of an issue.
All in all, this is an affordable option that’ll work like a charm if you want something portable, and there’s a version built just for the Switch.
How we chose the best Nintendo Switch headset
When it comes down to it, I don’t just review gaming headsets because I’m passionate about good audio. Pretty much everything I do here at SoundGuys focuses on gaming content, and that’s because I’ve been a gamer my whole life. You name it, I’ve probably played it. I know what kind of audio features are important for different kinds of games, and maybe more importantly: which ones aren’t.
The gaming headset space, much like many other parts of the audio industry, is rife with exaggerated language and gimmicky sounding features that often don’t add much of anything to your experience. It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy lights and promises of immersive audio and bass so intense it’ll rupture your eardrums (but in a good way), but most of that stuff flat out doesn’t matter. That’s why we review headsets, and why we have lists like this. As a Switch owner myself, I know what you need from a headset—and what you don’t.