• Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More) 5

Top 10 Best VR Headsets in 2021 (HTC, Google, and More)

Virtual reality allows you to escape the real world and dive into a three-dimensional environment where you can literally fight zombies or teleport into a faraway land. And it's no longer challenging to get into the fantasy land of VR. With a VR headset, you can experience a computer-simulated reality right at the comfort of your home. 

After combing through the Internet, we've compiled a list of the top 10 VR headsets; our top pick is the Oculus Quest 2 for its high resolution, refresh rate, and field of view that brings you the most realistic experience. The other products on our list might also pique your interest, so read on to know what they are! Plus, there is a buying guide at the end with various tips to help you choose a product that works the best for you. 

Experts featured in this article

Tony
  • Last updated: 01-11-2021
  • 1,001 views
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best VR Headsets

To help you get started on your search, we've narrowed down the 10 VR headsets that are well-loved by consumers. They all have different specs and features, so read on to see which product fits your needs the most. 

1

OculusOculus Quest 2

$299.00

Headset typeStandalone
Field of view92º
Refresh rate90 Hz
Resolution per eye1832x1920 px
Peripherals2 touch controllers
2

HTCHTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System

$1,199.01

Headset typePC
Field of view110°
Refresh rate90 Hz
Resolution per eye1440x1600 px
Peripherals2 controllers
3

Samsung Electronics Samsung HMD Odyssey+

$799.99

Headset typeConsole
Field of view110º
Refresh rate60 - 90 Hz
Resolution per eye1440x1600 px
Peripherals2 wireless controllers
4

Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset

$299.00

Headset typePC
Field of view110º
Refresh rate80 Hz
Resolution1280x1440 px
Peripherals2 Oculus Touch controllers
5

PlayStationSony PlayStation VR

$298.84

Headset typeConsole
Field of view100°
Refresh rate90 - 120 Hz
Resolution per eye1080x960 px
PeripheralsStereo headphones, processor unit
6

MergeVR Headset

$49.99

Headset typeSmartphone
Field of viewNot provided
Refresh rateNot provided
Resolution per eyeNot provided
PeripheralsNot provided
7

DESTEKV5 VR Headset

$55.99

Headset typeSmartphones
Field of view110°
Refresh rate56 - 72 Hz
Resolution per eye-
Peripherals-
8

Google Daydream View HR Headset

MAIN-62303

$88.00

Headset typeSmartphone
Field of view100°
Refresh rate60 Hz
Resolution per eye-
Peripherals-
9

HTCVive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System

$899.00

Headset typePC
Field of view110°
Refresh rate90 Hz
Resolution per eye1440x1700 px
Peripherals2 controllers
10

Google Official Cardboard

2 pack

$25.00

Headset typeSmartphone
Field of viewNot provided
Refresh rateNot provided
Resolution per eyeNot provided
PeripheralsNot provided

Compare the Best VR Headsets

Image
1
Oculus Oculus Quest 2 1

Oculus

2
HTC HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System  1

HTC

3
Samsung Electronics  Samsung HMD Odyssey+ 1

Samsung Electronics

4
Oculus  Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset 1

Oculus

5
PlayStation Sony PlayStation VR 1

PlayStation

6
Merge VR Headset  1

Merge

7
DESTEK V5 VR Headset 1

DESTEK

8
Google  Daydream View HR Headset   1

Google

9
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System 1

HTC

10
Google  Official Cardboard  1

Google

Name

Oculus Quest 2

HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System

Samsung HMD Odyssey+

Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset

Sony PlayStation VR

VR Headset

V5 VR Headset

Daydream View HR Headset

Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System

Official Cardboard

Features

Sharp Image Quality for an Immersive Experience

Superior Graphics and Tracking

High Resolution and Wide Viewing Angle

Pass-Through Feature to Display the World Realistically

Solid, Believable Graphics and a Compelling Library of Games

Comfortable Cardboard-Type VR for Kids

Anti-Blue Light Lenses to Protect Your Eyes

Cushy and Breathable, with Decent Content

Convenient Flip-Up Design

Simple and Sturdy Headset Perfect for Testing Out VR

Price$299.00$1,199.01$799.99$299.00$298.84$49.99$55.99$88.00$899.00$25.00
Headset typeStandalone PCConsole PCConsole Smartphone Smartphones Smartphone PCSmartphone
Field of view92º110°110º110º100°Not provided110°100°110°Not provided
Refresh rate90 Hz90 Hz 60 - 90 Hz 80 Hz90 - 120 HzNot provided56 - 72 Hz60 Hz 90 HzNot provided
Resolution per eye1832x1920 px 1440x1600 px1440x1600 px1280x1440 px1080x960 px Not provided--1440x1700 pxNot provided
Peripherals2 touch controllers2 controllers2 wireless controllers 2 Oculus Touch controllers Stereo headphones, processor unitNot provided--2 controllersNot provided
Link

How to Choose a VR Headset – Buying Guide

When researching this article, we realized we wanted to talk to someone in the VR industry who was both a consumer and insider, who buys and plays around with headsets as an excited fan, but who’s also caught up on all the newest trends and developments. And so we interviewed Tony, the SkarredGhost.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony
Introducing Our Expert 

Tony has been interested in tech since he was very small. In 2014, he co-founded Immotionar, a VR startup aimed at bringing the entire human body into the virtual world (instead of just your hands and head). 


He currently pens the blog The Ghost Howls, where he talks about virtual reality, augmented reality, and startups. He's also active on social media, where he talks tech and business, sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly, but always with a lot of passion. To know more about him, follow his Twitter.

Pick the Right VR Headset for Your Preferred Device

VR headsets can be tethered–in other words, connected to a device that does the bulk of the processing. Or, they can be standalone or mobile-based. And the tethering will predetermine a lot of other factors, from quality, to price, to user-friendliness.

PC Headsets Have the Best Specs But Require the Most Setup

PC Headsets Have the Best Specs But Require the Most Setup
The most powerful piece of tech you have at your fingertips is probably your computer. So it stands to reason that desktop headsets, which require a continuous connection to a high-end PC, offer the best VR. These will give you the clearest and least laggy graphics, as well as a huge selection of games.

But all of that comes with a cost. First off, it’s the most expensive–pretty much always an upwards of $300. And that doesn’t even include the cost of the powerful PC and graphics card you’ll need to own to run the software. (The Vive Pro, for example, demands at least a GTX 1060 or RX 480–and the newer, the better.)


It also requires the most setup–whether that be of external cameras used to track the player’s movements or a huge cable connecting you to your desktop that might limit movement. 

Still, if you're looking for great graphics, PC headsets are the way to go since they can reach higher frame rates in comparison to consoles. Also, if you don't want to be tied down to your console or computer, go for a wireless headset! 

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

The best VR there is now is the one for PC. While, on a standalone like the Quest, this is impossible. If you render a huge number of polygons, you'll have something like one frame per second and you’ll probably vomit in 30 seconds of gaming. So it depends on the power of the device—this is the real problem of standalones.

Console Headsets Optimize Your Console Gaming Experience

Console Headsets Optimize Your Console Gaming Experience

Console headsets are designed to elevate your console gaming experience. Even though they cannot provide graphics as clean as the PC type, they are more affordable. Setting up should be self-explanatory as well since you'll just need to plug the headset into your gaming console. 


Also, keep in mind that console headsets are usually sold as a peripheral device to a specific game console. This is a plus point since you won't have to worry about any hardware compatibility problem.

For instance, if you own a PlayStation console, you'll need a PSVR headset. We think the PSVR is user-friendly and a good match for middle-class consumers, but it does have one big weakness, as Tony mentions below.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony
The problem is with the controllers. The tracking of the things that you hold in your hands is mediocre. I tried PSVR at the Gamescom exhibition some days ago, and I continuously saw, in VR, my hands going everywhere.

So it’s not reliable in that sense because it uses PS Move, which is old technology. In general, though, the experience is worse than PC but good enough that it still sells well. 

Smartphone Headsets are Affordable and Easy to Set Up

Smartphone Headsets are Affordable and Easy to Set Up
You could say there are two kinds of VR headsets for smartphones–the kind that is basically a piece of cardboard you strap onto your head and high-quality devices with smooth, colorful graphics. Everything looks a bit angular and cartoonish, of course, but the individual pixels aren’t that noticeable, and it’s a pleasant experience overall.

Set-up is also pretty easy; you just strap your phone into the cardboard ones or plug them into the fancier headsets. The problem with VR headsets for smartphones is that not all of them work for both iOS and Android devices. So check carefully what operating system the VR headset is compatible with before making a decision!

Also, while cardboard headsets can technically be used with any device, always check out the recommended screen size. Otherwise, your phone might be too big and not fit into the device, or it might be too small and slide around inside the device–thereby preventing the illusion from working.
Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

The advantage of cardboards is that you pay very little money, and the experience can work with almost any mobile phone. And the phone must feature gyroscopes because if it has no gyroscopes, then it can’t detect that you’re rotating it. The problem is that the quality is low. 


On the other side of the spectrum, there are high-quality headsets like the Samsung Gear VR. They provide great visuals, comfort, and all the rest. 

Standalone Headsets are Wireless and Portable

Standalone Headsets are Wireless and Portable
Standalone is perhaps the most user-friendly. It's the easiest to configure as it doesn't rely on any external technologies like a smartphone, PC, or console. You take it in your hands, you turn it on, you put it on your head, and you’re gaming. 

Of course, you have to fit all of that processing power into a device light and small enough to go on your head, so the graphics aren’t going to be as crisp, the movement not as smooth. 

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

The problem with standalones is that they’re mobile devices, so they can’t provide high-quality VR. On PC I can play awesome games with fantastic graphics; on mobile devices, the game maybe is inside a room so there are few things that it has to render. 

Check the Specs of Your Headset

To make yourself really believe you’re in a virtual world, the main things you have to trick are your eyes. Does everything look solid and not pixelated? Does the world around you seem to move in conjunction with your body? Many factors contribute to graphics; here are a few of the most telling.

For an Immersive Experience, Go for a Resolution of at Least 1080×1200 per Eye

For an Immersive Experience, Go for a Resolution of at Least 1080×1200 per Eye

The image quality produced by a VR headset is determined by the resolution per eye. Basically, resolution per eye is the number of pixels that the VR headset can display and is shown as a pixel width x a pixel height. 


Sometimes, the product listings might use a combined resolution instead of a resolution per eye. But they can be calculated from each other and technically describe the same thing. For an immersive experience, you'll want products with a resolution per eye of at least 1080×1200 per eye (or 2160x1200 pixels combined). 


Some high-end models such as HTC Vive Pro and Oculus Quest feature a resolution of 1440x1600 pixels per eye (or 2880x1600 pixels combined). And currently, Reverb G2 is the VR headset with the highest resolution at 2160x2160 pixels per eye, which totals more than a 4K resolution when combined (3840x2160 pixels). 

As for the display, it can be either LCD (liquid crystal display) or OLED (organic light-emitting display). Generally speaking, OLED will give you richer, saturated colors and cleaner images. LCDs, however, offer brighter images.


However, LCD technology is still evolving. If you look at newer LCD screens, oftentimes, they change colors just as quickly and look almost as good as OLED displays.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

There are lots of factors to be considered when talking about graphics. For instance, there is a resolution, and there is how the pixels are arranged. Just keep in mind that the more resolution you have, the better—the visuals are better, it is more credible and such.

For Minimum Lag, Try to Get a Refresh Rate of 90Hz

For Minimum Lag, Try to Get a Refresh Rate of 90Hz
Refresh rate is a measure of how fast your display updates the image on its screen; if a frame is illuminated 70 times per second, then you have a refresh rate of 70 hertz (Hz). Usually, the higher the refresh rate, the smoother-looking the motion is. 

90Hz will give you fluid motion and it's also the lowest value where you won't experience flickering. Some models such as the Valve Index have a refresh rate of up to 144Hz to bring you a highly responsive gaming experience. But a high refresh rate tends to reduce the battery life substantially. 


If you need to compromise, try not to go below 60Hz. If the game lags too much, your brain gets confused. You would turn your head, only to have the system update the visuals two seconds later–the perfect recipe for motion sickness.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

I think that that the minimum to have a good VR experience is 60Hz, 60 frames per second. And the current standard is around 90Hz. 

Field of View: You’ll Be Fine with Something Around 100°

Field of View: You’ll Be Fine with Something Around 100°

The wider the field of view (FOV), the more real the environment feels. Humans have a monocular FOV of about 170 - 175 degrees (what you see through separate eyes) and a binocular FOV of around 100 - 110 degrees (what you see through both eyes at the same time)–this overlapping area is where we have depth perception. 


In an ideal world, your entire field of view–including the monocular–is covered by your VR headset. However, it takes a lot of computing power to provide that much image in high quality.

Field of View: You’ll Be Fine with Something Around 100°

That is why devices out now aim to cover just your binocular FOV. After all, we see only a tiny, focused region in high resolution, and our peripheral vision is blurry. So, with current technology, we would say a FOV of 100 degrees is a good threshold for an immersive VR experience as it's basically the same as our binocular FOV.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

The problem is that all the VR headsets we’ve had lately have a very similar field of view—maybe 10 degrees more or 10 degrees less, but no big evolution. There are some headsets that feature a bigger field of view of like 180, 200 degrees. And it is a mind-blowing experience because it is not like seeing through binoculars anymore. 


And there is also this little thing that few know about—a bigger field of view means also more motion sickness. So it's a little drawback of having a bigger field of view. 

Inside-Out or Outside-In Tracking? Your Choice!

Inside-Out or Outside-In Tracking? Your Choice!

Some headsets offer a huge play area and can now follow your movements across a space–this is known as room-scale VR (room-scale virtual reality). We hardly need to talk about how much more immersive the experience is if you can use your own two legs to move around.


For a high-quality room-scale VR, headsets use either an inside-out or an outside-in tracking system. In inside-out tracking, motion trackers and sensors are attached to the headset itself, offering you more freedom and mobility. 


However, this type of tracking needs good computer vision, and this technology is actually lagging behind the outside-in tracking. 

Inside-Out or Outside-In Tracking? Your Choice!

On the other hand, outside-in tracking needs external cameras and sensors. Setup is, therefore, more of a pain, because you have to position the sensors or cameras in such a way that they can keep track of you across the entire play area. If you move out of a camera's view, you will break your immersive experience.


Still, compared to inside-out tracking, outside-in tracking provides better latency and also accuracy. You're also less likely to experience nausea.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

I ran some tests here in the office with the Vive Focus and the Lenovo Mirage Solo. I moved in a little yard continually to see if the tracking was stable enough. It was fantastic because I could move and see everything moving smoothly around me. You get a sense of freedom when you have untethered VR with room-scale tracking.

See if Your Favorite Games are Available

See if Your Favorite Games are Available
Chances are, you want a VR headset with access to a bunch of content. Manufacturers that have been around for a while, that have a number of devices out, are going to have the most extensive libraries.

But there are a few other things you can consider when looking at content. Do the manufacturers have any partnerships? Vive, for example, works with Steam, which is an extensive game library. 

See if Your Favorite Games are Available

Moreover, do you like any of the games currently available on the device? Not only can you play those, but you can also look forward to sequels in the future.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

I think that currently, Oculus is doing the greatest job in creating good content. They fund lots of games on the platform. After Oculus, we have Steam. Steam is the best place to find games for PC, and even for VR.


The VIVEPORT is lagging behind a bit because it is a new ecosystem, so it has a few high-quality games at the moment. PlayStation is another topic; it has some exclusive titles like Resident Evil that everyone is vying for.

Check if It Includes Any Peripherals

Check if It Includes Any Peripherals

Sometimes, peripherals can be game-changing. Some VR headsets still use gamepads, which are fun, but many new controllers are streaming onto the market, such as motion-tracking wands. The more streamlined the design is, the more real everything feels.


The Tracker for the Vive, for example, looks like a big hockey puck. You attach it to things, which it automatically turns into a controller. You can stick it onto a racket and play a virtual game of tennis, for example. Or you can mount it on a gun, and where you point the gun, your digital crosshairs will follow.


Also, check if the headset comes with integrated audio. If not, you will have to plug in separate headphones. If you’re an audiophile, you might prefer this because then you can use your own high-end audio system. But it is extra weight on your head. 

Check if It Includes Any Peripherals

Integrated audio systems will be much more comfortable, and while the sound isn’t topnotch, it’s good enough for a believable VR experience.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

Out of controllers that are out at the moment for consumer headsets, I think that the best are the Oculus ones. I like the Touch because it can provide some kind of hand emulation. But it is not perfect at all. You can move only some fingers in some fixed state, so it is not as using your true hand. 


Valve is developing these controllers called the Knuckles. And these Knuckles are very interesting because the hand emulation will be better than Oculus Touch and let you, for instance, squeeze objects in VR. It also lets you completely open your hands

Look for a Passthrough Feature for a Real-Time View of the World

Look for a Passthrough Feature for a Real-Time View of the World
VR was made to help us escape from reality, so pass-through–the ability to see footage of the real world through your display–is still a relatively new and unpopular feature. However, it’s worth checking out, for a couple of reasons.

If, for example, you need to read a text message, or respond quickly to something in the real world–a strange sound, for instance–you can do so without taking off your headset. It also opens up lots of gaming and programming possibilities, where you can digitally manipulate the real world in whatever way you wish.

Tony
The SkarredGhost
Tony

There are a lot of new applications that can mix the real world with the virtual world or can change the real world. I shared some videos on Youtube on some experiments with the Vive Focus. For instance, I changed the world that I see, giving it a Matrix-like look. This can be useful for the arts, showing you the world in a different way. 

Gaming Essentials to Enhance Your Experience

Gaming Essentials to Enhance Your Experience

Are you a die-hard Playstation fan? We've got many interesting games to keep you entertained! So check out our articles to know what they are. 

Summary

As there are various options available online, choosing the best VR headset that meets your needs is not an easy task. You also have to make sure that it's compatible with your device.


Hopefully, our buying guide can help you understand all the confusing tech jargon and quickly figure out the right headset that can provide you with an immersive experience. 


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    Looking for a way to listen to your favorite music without compromising situational awareness? Wearable speakers are the way to go. These nifty devices allow you to listen to music and make calls without having anything blocking your hearing. Take Bose's Soundwear Companion, for example. It's ergonomically shaped to sit on your shoulders and give you immersive sound with the upward-facing speakers. We've compiled nine more wearable speakers which you can hang, clip, even use as a cap, and added a buying guide to help you get started in choosing the best wearable speakers.
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    8,010 views
  • Top 10 Best Electric Knives in 2021 (Cuisinart, BLACK+DECKER, and More)
    Top 10 Best Electric Knives in 2021 (Cuisinart, BLACK+DECKER, and More)
    Electric knives can make carving meats and cutting into fish and veggies so much easier since they minimize movement and take the pressure off your arms and hands. Of course, they can be a bit scary, since they are moving on their own, but there are safety features included on many of them to protect you and the convenience they offer can't be beaten.When choosing an electric knife, though, there are many factors to consider and you have to know what you plan on using it for. In this guide, we’ll help you find an electric knife that’s perfect for you. To lead you in the right direction, we've also got a list of the top 10, with our favorite for cordless being Bubba's FIllet Knife and for cord, Cuisinart.
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    12,769 views
  • Top 7 Best Japanese-English Electronic Dictionaries in 2021 (Sharp, Casio, and More)
    Top 7 Best Japanese-English Electronic Dictionaries in 2021 (Sharp, Casio, and More)
    If you’ve been studying Japanese for long enough, you’ve probably considered investing in a Japanese-English electronic dictionary. Ubiquitous in Japan and full of more (and better) resources than you could ever have on your phone, it makes sense to have one if you’re serious about your study. But with so many models each with different functionalities, it can be hard to pick one out. We did the research and compiled a list of the top 7 best Japanese-English electronic dictionaries. For a well-rounded device that's great for learners, we recommend Sharp's Color Electronic Dictionary Brain High School Model. Aimed at students, it contains a wide range of topics as well as study tools to help with memorization. See the rest of our picks below. And if you're having trouble deciding, our buying guide is full of tips and information to help you out.
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    7,998 views
  • 10 Best Japanese Dehumidifiers in 2021 - Tried and True! (Mitsubishi, Sharp, and More)
    10 Best Japanese Dehumidifiers in 2021 - Tried and True! (Mitsubishi, Sharp, and More)
    When humidity levels rise, you might find yourself sweating profusely at home. Extra moisture in the air can make your home feel muggy and you may feel sticky and gross. This is where a dehumidifier can come in handy! Japan is no stranger to high levels of humidity, so, naturally, dehumidifiers are made to address these issues. To figure out which were the best, though, our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as Kakaku.com, Amazon, and Rakuten) and then chose some of the most popular products and tested them.We focused on four things: how well it removed moisture, whether it could be used to dry clothes, ease of use, and noise level. We then compiled everything we learned into a buying guide about and list of the best Japanese dehumidifiers available online. We loved the Clothes-Drying Compressor Type Dehumidifier by Sharp for it's efficiency and ability to perform multiple tasks, including deodorizing and drying clothing. Check out more below!
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    5,247 views
  • Top 10 Best Ergonomic Mouse Pads in 2021 (Gimars, Lizimandu, and More)
    Top 10 Best Ergonomic Mouse Pads in 2021 (Gimars, Lizimandu, and More)
    For most of us, spending hours on the computer is almost an inevitable part of life. Unfortunately, that can leave our arms and wrists stuck in uncomfortable positions for an unhealthy amount of time, leading to issues like carpal tunnel syndrome. But using an ergonomic mouse pad can help!Ergonomic mouse pads are designed to keep your hands and wrists in more natural positions to prevent injury. But because we all use the computer differently and have different needs, it’s important to pick the right one for you. This guide will help you to figure out what just you’re looking for. If you’re still stuck, we’ve also got a list of our ten favorite mouse pads for you to start your search, including our favorite, CushionCare Foam Mouse Pad and Keyboard Wrist Rest Pad!
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    10,714 views
  • Top 10 Best Vertical Mouse in 2021 (Logitech, Anker, and More)
    Top 10 Best Vertical Mouse in 2021 (Logitech, Anker, and More)
    Facing wrist and hand pain can make it difficult to use a computer, so if you face them, you could get a vertical mouse. These mouse are designed for people to use them in a natural position which reduces pain and strain. Since finding a vertical mouse can be difficult, we wanted to create a list of the 10 best vertical mouse available.We like the Logitech Vertical Mouse since it lets you connect to computers through Bluetooth, is a comfortable mouse, and includes a rubber thumb grip. As you go through our top 10 list, you can also review the buying guide to find the ideal vertical mouse for your computer, so let's go through this information!
    Home electronics, PC, camera
    54 views
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