The early 2010s is when virtual reality really began to make its leap into the everyday gaming experience. Now that we’re about a decade into VR, things are getting real (pun intended). Virtual reality is getting insane with incredible and immersive gameplay that is inviting gamers to dive in (sometimes literally) into expensive and detailed environments. Plus, you can finally find high quality video games designed specifically to be played with the best VR headsets.
Gamers that want the absolute best performance from a VR headset should look into tethered options like the Oculus Rift S or Valve Index, but keep in mind, you’ll need a powerful gaming PC to power the headset. Gamers looking for a more immediate, less expensive and equally as fun experience should look at wireless VR headsets. We’ve rounded up our favorite options below so you can find the best VR headset for you.
1. Oculus Quest
The visuals and processing power are incredible, especially considering there’s no need to be tethered to a gaming computer. And creating your boundaries is as simple as pointing your controller and “painting” your VR area. Step outside of the boundaries during play and outward-facing cameras allow you to see what’s around you (so you don’t become YouTube famous for crashing into your TV). There are already over 50 games available for the VR headset including some multi-player games. Yes, the Oculus Quest comes with a $656 price tag, but with more than 3,700 reviews and a 4.7-star rating, this is the best all-in-one virtual reality headset for sale in 2020.
2. PlayStation VR
BEST GAMING CONSOLE VR HEADSET
For those who already own a PS4, this VR headset is a must. The available VR video game catalog on the PlayStation VR is tough to beat. With titles like Borderlands 2 VR, Creed: Rise to Glory and over 500 other games to choose from, you won’t be at a loss for entertainment. Even others can join in and watch what you’re seeing with Social Screen. When you’re done playing games and want to relax, you can turn on a movie and enjoy the headset that way. Even if you don’t have a PS4, you can buy a PS4 and the VR headset for less than other VR headsets alone.
3. Oculus Rift S
BEST PC VR HEADSET
You won’t have truly unlimited mobility like you would with the Oculus Quest, but the benefit to being tethered to a high-powered PC is that the gameplay on the Oculus Rift S is sharp, detailed and smooth. Boasting a 1280 x 1440 resolution (better than 1080p) and easy parameter setup, you’ll be submerged in 3D gameplay whenever you’re ready. The Oculus Rift S has an impressive library of VR video games, including backward compatibility with the old version of the Rift. Even if you owned the previous version, you’ll still be able to replay those games that made you fall in love with Rift in the first place.
4. Valve Index
For tethered VR units, the Oculus Rift S is hard to beat for the price, but if money is no object and you want top performance, the Valve Index is what you’re looking for. It’s comfortable, has a wide field of view and sports incredible graphics and smoothness. The big kicker is the strap-on controllers that track the individual movement of your fingers, providing even more immersion into your gameplay. A few downsides include the need for a powerful gaming computer to get the most from the Index, and updating it can cause pauses in gameplay. If you can look past those, and the $1,000 price, this is one powerful VR headset.
5. Nintendo Labo VR Kit
BEST FOR NINTENDO SWITCH
Some people are natural builders and creators by nature. If you’re one of those people, and you happen to own a Nintendo Switch, the Labo VR kit is right up your alley. You actually build all of your controls, or, at least, the components your joy-cons attach to. That includes your VR headset, which is similar to Google Cardboard, but more comfortable and sturdy. Each toy-con you build has associated games along with it, so it’s not like you have access to an extensive library like Playstation VR. It’s a clever take on VR that Nintendo Switch lovers should all give the ol’ college try.
6. HTC Vive Cosmos
The HTC Vive offers high caliber resolution without the need for external sensors, like the Oculus Rift S. Boasting 1,700 x 1,440 resolution, the gaming experience is nothing short of stunning. The motion controllers are rounded and ergonomic, making them comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions. There have been complaints about the cable that connects to the computer being a bit unwieldy. For a cable-free experience, we recommend the Oculus Quest, but if you want the hyper smooth and sharp graphics that only a tethered VR headset can provide, the HTC Vive Cosmos is easily one of the best VR headsets for sale right now.
7. Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset
BEST UNDER $200
Arguably the king of the VR sphere, Oculus has a range of headsets, but the standalone model is easily the most popular. Designed to maximize screen space, the Go is an all-in-one VR headset that you can literally use anywhere, anytime. No phones, no tablets and no PCs required — this bad boy has everything you need to get your game on. It also comes with a slick VR control and features built-in spatial audio drivers. And compared to other popular VR headsets, this is one of the most affordable products from a top brand.
8. VR Headset for iPhone & Android Phone
A budget option for budding gamers, the BNext headset works with both Android and iPhone models and offers a fully immersive 360-degree experience. The headset itself comes with a wide frame of view so you can see more games and more action through the goggles. With a fully adjustable head strap, eyesight protection and a comfy nose strap, you can game for hours without ever feeling uncomfortable.
9. HTC Vive Virtual Reality System
GREAT EXTERNAL SENSOR SETUP
Insanely realistic graphics with fully dimensional audio? Check. Extra precise motion tracking that makes you feel like you’re really there? Yup. The HTC Vive provides precise 360-degree video and comes with two handy controllers that offer an extra expansive 15×15 playing station. With more than 2,500 (and counting) games currently available on Steam, there’s no shortage of options, and the smart and comfortable design makes it easy for you to play standing or sitting down. This product isn’t as highly rated as similarly priced headsets, but the expansive game library makes this a great option for VR gamers.