Gaming headphones gift guide for 2021

Find the perfect pair of headphones for the gamer on the shopping list.

Image via Sony

Every gamer knows sound can be just as important as visuals. However, it can be hard to shop for gaming headphones due to their wide variations in cost and quality. And on top of this, not every gamer wants the same features. For example, some gamers may want a wireless connection, while others prefer a wired connection to reduce input lag. 

When gamers go to buy a pair of headphones, it’s important to understand the distinction between open back and closed back headphone design. Closed-back headphones completely seal off the user’s ears, whereas open-back headphones allow airflow and leak sound. This makes closed-back headphones better for traveling and blocking outside sound. In contrast, a pair of open-back headphones may leak sound but create larger, more immersive soundstages.

Below are 10 gaming headphones that make ideal gifts for gamers this holiday season.

Closed-back gaming headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4

Image by Sony via Amazon

Sony’s WH-1000XM4s are Bluetooth headphones with a frequency response of 4Hz to 40kHz that feature noise-canceling technology, making them a solid choice for gamers on the go. However, if speed is a top priority, users can always plug in the headphones to reduce latency. 

OneOdio Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones

Image by OneOdio via Amazon

OneOdio’s Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones are a budget-friendly alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM4s, boasting many of the same features and identical frequency response. Although the OneOdio’s Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones don’t have noise-canceling technology, they feature a few impressive features, like a 110-hour battery life and a deep bass response. And, like the Sony WH-1000XM4s, the OneOdio Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones can be plugged into a device using the included 3.5-millimeter cable.

Sennheiser HD 450BT 

Image by Sennheiser via Amazon

The Sennheiser HD 450BTs are Bluetooth headphones with a frequency response of 18Hz to 22kHz that feature noise cancellation and touchscreen controls. They also feature a built-in equalizer and can be adjusted using the Sennheiser App. Having access to the Sennheiser App allows gamers to edit their sound settings without needing advanced knowledge of optimal audio configurations.

Open-back gaming headphones

Philips Audio SHP9500

Image by Philips via Amazon

The Philips Audio SHP9500 are reasonably priced over-ear headphones with everything a quality pair of gaming headphones needs. This includes a double-layered headband cushion, a five-foot cable connection, and a frequency response of 12Hz to 35kHz. Because of its five-foot cable, the Philips Audio SHP500s can be used from the comfort of a couch, making them a convenient choice for console gamers.

Hifiman HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version 

Image by Hifiman via Amazon

The Hifiman HE400SE are planar magnetic headphones that feature Hifiman’s Stealth Magnet design. Hifiman’s Stealth Magnet drivers help remove distortion by allowing waves to travel through the magnets without issue, ensuring gamers hear clearer sounds. Additionally, the HE400SE has a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, which is the average for a gaming headset. 


Image by AKG via Amazon

The AKG K612 Pros are a pair of lightweight headphones with an open-back design that produce a sizable soundstage. They ship with a leather headband and have a frequency response of 12Hz to 39kHz. Most importantly, the AKG K612 Pros has the longest cable on this list at 10 feet, making them an ideal choice for console gamers.

AKG Pro K712

Image by AKG via Amazon

AKG’s Pro Audio K712 Pros are built for comfort with their velour pads, leather headband, and ergonomic design. And, like the AKG K612 Pros, the K712s produce a large soundstage with a frequency response of 10Hz to 39,800Hz. However, unlike the K612 Pros, the K712s have a flat wire voice coil that functions as a pseudo amp to improve reverb and treble response. 

Beyerdynamic TEAM TYGR Streaming Bundle

Image by Beyerdynamic via Amazon

The Beyerdynamic Team TYGR Streaming Bundle comes with a desktop microphone and a pair of open-back gaming headphones. The open-back design of the Beyerdynamic headphones creates an immersive experience with a gaming-standard frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. Additionally, the headphones include velour earpads to make them comfortable enough for long gaming sessions. This bundle is a decent choice for anyone that wants an all-in-one package for streaming.

Hifiman Sundara

Image by Hifiman via Amazon

Like the Hifiman HE400SE, the Hifiman Sundaras are planar magnetic headphones. However, the Sundara brings a few improvements to sound and build quality with their premium price. These improvements include a thinner diaphragm that creates a wider frequency response of 6Hz to 75kHz and an all-metal headband. 

Sennheiser HD 560 S 

Image by Sennheiser via Amazon

The Sennheiser HD 560 S headphones use a wired design with a frequency response of 6Hz to 38kHz. However, what makes the HD 560 S’ unique are their vented ear cups. These ear cups improve the HD 560 S headphones by giving sound waves more room to expand, making the audio more natural. 

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