Hopeful enthusiasts waited years for virtual reality (VR) to become accessible enough for the home. And with many of us suddenly stuck at home more, the idea of ‘leaving’ and entering a world of VR has become much more appealing.

But it’s not just boredom that’s made VR more enticing; it’s the tech too. Many things had to come together before at-home VR was plausible. Vendors needed to improve head-mounted displays (HMDs) so that VR gaming didn’t lead to nausea. We also needed headsets that were somewhat affordable. Of course, games and apps that make the next-gen tech worthwhile, like Half-Life: Alyx, are crucial. Today, it’s fair to say that VR gaming has all but arrived. We’re here to help you find the best VR headset for you so you can enjoy incredible, immersive games and experiences right at home.

VR has grown so much that there are various ways you to get into VR gaming. There are HMDs that connect to gaming desktops / gaming laptops, smartphones, as well as the PlayStation VR (PSVR), which connects to a gaming console. There are even standalone headsets, or HMDs that don’t need to connect to anything at all. Just strap it on, and you’re in VR. Plus, with distance learning growing, adding VR into the mix can help keep lessons immersive and engaging (Microsoft Flight Simulator counts, right?). 

Below are the best VR headsets for PC and gaming that are actually worth escaping reality to enjoy. And if the VR headset you’re after doesn’t include a great set of headphones, be sure to check out our Best Gaming Headsets page so that sound quality and isolation isn’t the weakest link in your VR immersion.

When looking for the best VR headset for gaming, consider the following:

Best VR Headsets You Can Buy Today

The Oculus Quest 2 is the best VR headset for most gamers today.  (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

1. Oculus Quest 2

Best VR Headset

Connectivity: None | Display: 1x Fast-switch LCD | Per-eye Resolution: 1832 x 1920 | PPI: ? | Refresh Rate: 72 Hz or 90 Hz | FOV: ? | Weight: 1.1 pounds (503g)

Amazing resolution

Much more powerful than original Quest

White picks up dirt and grime

Poor controller ergonomics

Officially available for purchase today at $399, the Oculus Quest 2 is the best VR headset for most, offering a great upgrade over the original Oculus Quest. Qualcomm’s modern Snapdragon XR2 (Snapdragon 865) SoC proved to be a powerful chip bringing a fantastic VR experience even without any tethering to a powerful PC or even a smartphone. If you want, however, you can buy an Oculus Link cable for a PC connection 

Oculus bumped the Quest 2’s resolution up to 1832 x 1920 per eye compared to the Quest’s 1440 x 1600 per eye. There’s also a unified panel here instead of one for each eye, as well as the ability to hit up to a 90 Hz refresh rate once the apps arrive.

But while the HMD is an upgrade over the last generation, the new Touch controllers accompanying the Quest 2 are not. Due to their bulky shape, these Touch controllers are hard to grip and lack balance. Additionally, the Quest 2 is sporting a brand new color, but unfortunately that white gets dirty easily. 

Oculus is so sold on standalone VR that it’s discontinuing the Rift lineup of PC-only HMDs, including the Oculus RIft S. So if you want to get into VR, the Quest 2 is the easiest and best way to do it — and at a good price too.

Read: Oculus Quest 2 review

The best VR headset for PC gaming is the Valve Index. (Image credit: Valve)

2. Valve Index

Best VR Headset for PC

Connectivity: PC | Display: 2x LCD, canted | Per-eye Resolution: 1440×1600 | PPI: ? | Refresh Rate: 80, 90, 120 or 144 Hz (experimental) | FOV: Up to 130 degrees | Weight: 1.78 pounds (807.4g)

RGB subpixel array eliminates screen-door effect

Wider FOV than comparable headsets

Excellent audio quality

Very heavy

Less comfortable than the HTC Vive Pro

Cushions are glued on

If you’re looking for the best possible VR experience at home, you should get a HMD that tethers to a PC. Today, the best VR headset for PC is the Valve Index. It comes from Valve, the company behind Steam and the Lighthouse tracking system used by the HTC Vive Pro and HTC Vive. The Index also uses Lighthouse base stations (including those Vive owners would already have), but is a step up for consumers from the Vive Pro.

The Index experience is quite customizable with canted lenses that allow for FOV adjustments of up to 10 degrees. There’s also mechanical IPD control. But the Index is less comfortable than the Vive Pro due to a less balanced distribution of its slightly heavier weight (1.8 pounds versus 1.7 pounds) and a bulky data cable. 

Gaming on the Index offers your choice of refresh rate, allowing for up to 144 Hz as an experimental feature. This means you can pick your refresh rate based on your system’s capabilities, but you’ll need a pretty powerful graphics card to surpass 90 Hz. The most exciting part of the kit is the long-anticipated Index controllers, which secure to your hand with various adjustments and allow open-hand movements for in-game actions like picking something up. Additionally, the Index controllers have capacitive touch sensors for finger movements and pressure sensors that can tell a game how firm or light your grip is.

Read: Valve Index review

The Oculus Go is the best VR headset for entry-level VR. 

3. Oculus Go

Best Budget VR Headset

Connectivity: Smartphone | Display: 1x 5.5-inch low-persistence LCD | Per-eye Resolution: 1280×1440 | PPI: 538 | Refresh Rate: 60-75Hz (depending on the app) | FOV: ~100 degrees | Weight: 485g

Great priceLightweight

Tons of content

High-quality build

No spatial tracking

Longer charge time than run time

While this is still a great headset, Oculus recently announced that it’s discontinuing the Oculus Go. Since the Go won’t be getting any new features or apps after December 4, it’s remaining life is limited. However, Oculus will keep providing this budget-friendly headset with security updates until 2022. If you’re looking to futureproof, the Oculus Quest listed above is your next best option for more affordable VR. Sadly, any Oculus headset will require a Facebook login soon. 

A quick, easy and affordable way to get into VR, the Oculus Go is the best VR headset for maintaining your budget. Like the Oculus Quest, the Go doesn’t need to connect to a PC or smartphone to work. Bonus: it’s great for glasses-wearers too.

On the other hand, the Go is the only headset here that has only 3-degrees of freedom (3-DoF) instead of 6-DoF. That means you’re not meant to walk around with  it. In other words, don’t expect the same quality or level of immersion as you’d get from a PC-connected headset, like the Go’s more capable sibling the Rift S.

Read: Oculus Go review

The HP Reverb is the best VR headset for Windows Mixed Reality users.

4. HP Reverb

Best Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Connectivity: PC | Display: 2x 2.89-inch LCD | Per-eye resolution: 2160 X2160 | PPI: ? | Refresh Rate: 90Hz | FOV: ~114 degrees | Weight: 498g

Exceptional visual clarity

Lightweight

Simple setup process

Poor controller ergonomics

Faulty controller tracking with limited FOV

No IPD adjustment

Keep in mind that the follow-up to this headset, the HP Reverb G2, is scheduled to arrive this fall. The new headset will have lenses and speakers made by Valve. If you can wait, it’d be wise to see what sort of improvements this brings, as it’s specifically geared toward gamers, unlike the current Reverb. 

But if you need to enter Windows Mixed Reality (MR) headset now, the HP Reverb is the best VR headset for you. Its display resolution is a noticeably higher than the Valve Index, Rift S, HTC Vive and even the Vive Pro. As a result, menu text never looked more clear. Plus, the Reverb is shockingly comfortable and easy to set up.
 
But you may have noticed that the Reverb has the lowest rating on this page. That’s because it’s limited by Windows MR, which generally suffers from poor tracking of hand controllers. With the Reverb, our controllers floated all over the screen if we left the tracking’s narrow FOV. Only buy the Reverb over the other headsets here if you have a need to prioritize higher resolution over good controllers (or are committed to Windows MR). 

For business use, the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition is supposed to open new doors, with biometric sensors for reading your facial expression, heart rate and eye tracking, when it arrives next year. 

Review: HP Reverb review

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