Among the many decisions a gamer makes, choosing between a wireless gaming headset vs a wired one relates the most to their comfort throughout their gaming session. The two types come in both on-ear headsets and over-ear headsets, letting you decide on the best gaming headset for yourself. The biggest difference between the two is the connection type: wireless uses a USB dongle or Bluetooth, and wired uses, well, a wire.
- A wireless headset features a USB dongle that plugs into the USB port on your console or computer or Bluetooth connectivity.
- Wired headphones plug directly into your gaming device, TV, or controller for ease of use and little outside interference.
- Both wired gaming headsets and wireless gaming headsets provide noise cancellation to immerse you in the game.
When deciding between wireless gaming headsets and wired headphones, consider how interference, ease of use, and cost can make a difference in your gaming experience. If you opt for a wireless headset, consider whether you want a wireless gaming headset with RF vs Bluetooth.
Difference Between a Gaming Headset with a Wired Vs Wireless Connection
Many gaming headsets feature a USB dongle or a wire to connect to your preferred console or computer. As the names imply, the connection method is the main difference between wired headphones and wireless gaming headsets.
|Feature||Wired Gaming Headset||Wireless Gaming Headset|
|Connection Type||Connects via a cable, usually USB or 3.5mm jack||Connects wirelessly via Bluetooth dongle or a dedicated wireless adapter|
|Latency||Virtually no latency||May have slight latency due to wireless transmission|
|Convenience||Limited mobility due to the cable being tethered to the device||More freedom of moment with no cables tethering headphones to the device|
|Battery Life||No battery is required; it draws power from the device||Built-in or replaceable battery with varying battery life (typically 15-20 hours)|
|Audio Quality||Consistent and reliable audio quality||Audio quality is generally high but may be affected by the wireless transmission|
|Compatibility||Widely compatible with various devices*||Compatibility varies based on what wireless protocols are used (Bluetooth or other adapter)|
|Interference||Not susceptible to wireless interference or signal dropouts||May be susceptible to interference or signal loss based on wireless connectivity|
|Price||Usually more affordable (A good pair can be had for less than $50.)||Generally more expensive (A good pair will typically cost closer to $100+)|
|Setup||Plug-and-play, no software needed||May require pairing and setup depending on wireless connectivity|
|Durability||No battery degradation, but the cable may wear out over time||Battery degradation over time. No cable-related issues unless it uses a charging cable|
In addition, you might be interested in the differences between an open vs closed-back headset for gaming.
A wireless headset features a microphone built-in to the pair of headphones that connect using a USB dongle or Bluetooth.
Meanwhile, a pair of wired headphones include a microphone in the wired headphones and an audio cable, which you plug into the headphone jack on your gaming device.
However, you should notice several other differences, including sound quality, connectivity, and prices. Additionally, some wireless headsets may experience interference from other devices using the same radio frequency nearby.
If you want the best audio quality, use a wired headset.
This problem is less common in Bluetooth headsets since Bluetooth pairs with two Bluetooth devices.
Experts consider the sound quality of wired headphones superior to that of wireless models. Because wired headphones have been around longer, brands have perfected their product.
However, the sound quality tends to decrease after long-term use because the cord starts to weaken or break in different places due to normal wear and tear.
On the other hand, wireless headphones offer consistent quality over long periods. This feature allows you to use the headset as long as you want.
Unfortunately, wireless headphones tend to pick up interference from nearby headsets using the same radio frequency, leading to static or sound cutting out. This interference can be common in apartments.
A pair of wired headphones outranks a wireless headset if you prefer an easy-to-use connection method. Your headphones or earbuds include a cord to connect to the 3.5 mm audio jack of your controller, computer, or laptop.
STAT: The ability to plug directly into the 3.5mm jack or the USB connector on whatever device you’re gaming on and immediately have great audio clarity is a big benefit. (source)
This product remains particularly easy to use because you simply plug and play with virtually no latency.
A wireless headset allows console or computer gamers to move around while listening as long as they have some battery life left. As a result, using Bluetooth’s wireless connection tends to take more work because you have to pair your devices.
Wireless headsets may suffer interference if nearby devices use the same frequency, so you might want a wired product if you live in an apartment building.
A USB dongle remains easier since you plug it into a USB port and are ready to play. Either of these devices may require you to activate the microphone.
Additionally, depending on the connection, there may be some latency. However, as wireless technology has continued advancing, this latency is not much of an issue anymore.
Wireless headsets require more technology built into the device, often raising their prices. This wireless technology requires a transmitter and receiver built into both the headphones and the USB dongle.
Additionally, wireless headphones need a battery or rechargeable battery, further increasing the cost of this option.
You may find a wireless headset for a lower price, but it probably sacrifices sound quality or features to accommodate the cost of production.
Wired headphones transmit their sound signals through the cable connected to the headset using the audio jack. This feature eliminates the need for expensive technology by keeping the design simple for each wired gaming headset with a microphone or without a microphone.
Additionally, wired headphones are more common, making the production process less expensive.