The Best Speaker & Headset Buyer’s Guide – Fall 2022
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This guide features a dozen of our favorite models at every price point and meeting every need, from home office, to on-the-go listening, to gaming. Whether you want to listen out loud with a big set of speakers or just want to throw on a set of cans and lose yourself in the music, we’ve got what you’re looking for.
Our Latest Picks
For Fall 2022, our Speaker and Headset Buyer’s Guide lists 10 of the best audio products on the market, each representing a different market niche. On the home office and portable side, we have “truly wireless” earbuds for working out or commuting, the best noise-canceling headset, and the USB studio microphone we personally use for all our audio work
On the gaming side, we have fantastic headsets starting at $50 and going all the way up to $400 or so, plus a top speaker set for good measure. Seriously, we cover the whole personal audio and gaming market in just 10 products, and half of our picks are under $100, proving that if you buy for performance rather than prestige, you can actually get a tremendous value!
In the end, no matter how you want to interface with your music, games, streaming and videos, we’re going to help you find the right setup for your needs! And remember, you can support continued development of this guide by using the links to the products we recommend!
The Basic PC Speakers –
Creative Pebble 2.0$19Because desktop PCs, unlike laptops, don’t have internal speakers, we recommend you pick up Creative’s Pebble kit. Whether it’s music, You Tube videos, TV, or movies, Pebble will sound great.
The USB cable on these speakers is exclusively for power, while a 3.5mm audio cable is still used for audio. That eliminates the bulky power adapter and the need for a free outlet. With that said, there is a newer USB-C version on the same product page at about twice the cost that eliminates the audio cable for an even more streamlined setup, if you have Type-C on your PC!
The Deluxe PC Speakers –
Logitech Z207 Multi Device Speakers$52Logitech’s Z207 speakers sound and look great without taking up much space. They’ll also work with any Bluetooth audio device, so you can switch over to phone or tablet audio with the push of a button. Logitech has packed a ton of value into this slimline speaker kit!
The Z207 has a special trick up its sleeve - it has built-in Bluetooth so you can also stream music to it wirelessly, and it will even auto-switch sources when you stop the music on one source and start it on another!
Bluetooth Sports Headphones –
Soundcore by Anker Life P2 Mini$35Anker has been making Bluetooth accessories for a long time, and its Life P2 true wireless earbuds are a great example of why it dominates the market. They offer 8 hours of playtime, 10mm drivers for great sound, and an ultra-light weight.
The charging case included with these earbuds an extra hour of playback in just 10 minutes and a total of 32 hours of playback.
Noise-Cancelling Headphones –
Sony WH-1000XM5$398There are a lot of headphones out there marketed as noise cancelling, but most just aren’t very good. Sony’s WH-1000XM5, on the other hand, is very, very good. In fact it’s the best! That’s because not only does it have excellent noise cancellation, it also sounds awesome, which is something the other big contenders miss. Isn’t that the main reason people use headphones in the first place?!? Other great features include 30 hours of playback on a charge, a quick-charge mode (add 3 hours in 3 minutes), touch controls, a slim, folding design with collapsible case, and a crystal-clear mic for making calls.
These headphones are available in a classy white color scheme, which Sony refers to as silver on the product page.
USB Microphone –
Elgato Wave:3 USB Condenser Microphone$120For seriously-professional audio quality, i.e. what you want if you’re recording content or conducting video calls for a living, you need more than a headset microphone or a mic built into a webcam. That’s where a powered USB microphone comes into play, and the best pick is Elgato’s Wave:3. It offers a sophisticated built-in pop filter and “clipguard” to avoid the various audio problems so many other mics suffer from. It’s also sleek and compact, unlike competitors that try to impress with the space they take up on your desk!
We use this mic for all our video and collaboration work, and it's so much better than the tiny mic built into laptops or webcams!
The Bargain Gaming Headset –
HyperX Cloud Stinger 2$40 The Guru’s Tip
These connect using a 3.5mm analog jack, meaning they are fully-compatible with any device that supports this standard, including many smartphones and gaming consoles.
The Budget Wireless PC Headset –
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless$100 The Guru’s Tip
You can also use this headset in wired mode via an included USB Type-C dongle for Nintendo Switch and Android smartphones.
The Deluxe PC Headset –
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset$174 The Guru’s Tip
We've been using our Virtuoso headset daily since it was released, and we wouldn't trade it for anything!
The High-End 2.1 Speaker Set –
Logitech Z625 THX 2.1 Speaker System$180 The Guru’s Tip
Need wireless connectivity? Then go for the Z625/Bluetooth adapter bundle on the same product page!
The Ultimate Gaming Headset –
SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless$370 The Guru’s Tip
The key to this headset's power is the base station, which even has a built-in LCD display!
- The Basic PC Speakers – Creative Pebble 2.0 ($19)
- The Deluxe PC Speakers – Logitech Z207 Multi Device Speakers ($52)
- Bluetooth Sports Headphones – Soundcore by Anker Life P2 Mini ($35)
- Noise-Cancelling Headphones – Sony WH-1000XM5 ($398)
- USB Microphone – Elgato Wave:3 USB Condenser Microphone ($120)
- The Bargain Gaming Headset – HyperX Cloud Stinger 2 ($40)
- The Budget Wireless PC Headset – SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless ($100)
- The Deluxe PC Headset – Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset ($174)
- The High-End 2.1 Speaker Set – Logitech Z625 THX 2.1 Speaker System ($180)
- The Ultimate Gaming Headset – SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless ($370)