The Best VR Headset in 2021: The Ultimate Guide

We eat, live, and breath virtual reality. We’ve taken a look at all VR hardware and have come up with the best VR headset for 2021! Even further, we’ll break down the best option for any customer:

  • Overall best virtual reality headset
  • Best VR headset for PC users
  • Best Steam VR headset
  • Best headset for those on a budget
  • Which headset has the best game collection?
  • Which headset has you covered for 2021, 2022, and beyond?

If we didn’t answer your question, make sure to comment below and let us know.

RELATED: The top augmented reality smart glasses you can buy! (link will open in a new tab)

Our Picks for the Top VR Headsets in 2021

  1. Oculus Quest 2 – Best VR Headset Overall
  2. HP Reverb G2 – Best VR Headset for PC
  3. Valve Index – Best Steam VR Headset
  4. Oculus Quest 2 – Best Cheap VR Headset
  5. Playstation VR – Best Console VR Headset

VR Headsets in 2021: An Overview

In 2021, the outlook of virtual reality is as bright as ever. Following a relatively quiet year, the end of 2020 got really exciting with the new Oculus Quest 2 and HP Reverb G2. Both headsets made big improvements in their display, which had been a drawback for a long time before that with ghosting and sub-par display density being a problem.

Another new release at the end of 2020 – the Playstation 5, gives a preview of where console VR might go in the future too.

The VR statistics show exponential growth over the next 5 years. So with that in mind, what is the best VR headset to own in 2021 and beyond? Below, we’ve broken down our choice into a few different types of consumers:

  • People looking for the overall best headset
  • The best VR headset for PC
  • The best headset for Steam players
  • The best headset for cheap and budget-conscience buyers

The facts below break things down nice and simple to keep things easy for you!

Oculus Quest 2 – Best VR Headset Overall

best vr headset oculus quest 2

Facebook has been taking over the virtual reality space for a few years now. The new Oculus Quest 2 is the best VR headset available to buy in 2021.

The reason for this breaks down into 3 simple reasons:

  1. The price of the headset is unbeatable, just $299 USD to get full virtual reality hardware.
  2. The specifications of the headset appeal to the broadest audience.
  3. The combination of wireless VR games and wired PCVR options give the Oculus Quest 2 the biggest game library.

Price

At $299, the Quest 2’s price is just too good to pass up on its own. It is over $300 cheaper than the next available virtual reality headset. And for anyone who has felt and worn the Quest 2 alongside any other headset, the quality is as good or better as anything out on the market too.

Oculus has also done a really good job as providing accessories for power users that improve the quality up to match other more expensive options:

Need better sound? Logitech has official in-ear and on-ear headphones created specifically for the Quest 2.

Want a more comfortable headset strap? Oculus sells an elite strap and third parties have created their own options too.

Want to play your PC VR games? Pick up the official Oculus Link cable and turn your Quest 2 into a traditional VR display.

When all is said and done, the Oculus Quest 2 is the cheapest VR headset you can buy in 2021.

Specifications

oculus quest 2 display

Despite its killer price, the Quest 2 still packs some really nice power. Its display is a good contender for best in the industry. The resolution on the headset is 1832 x 1920 per eye. Overall, this is about 50% more pixels in the screen than the original Quest 1 and more than in the Oculus Rift S too.

The headset contains a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz. This higher refresh rate removes any flicker in the video and is more comfortable for longer gameplay sessions.

Audio on the Quest 2 has been upgraded to new 3D positional audio. This allows for good audio recognition in busy environments and an accurate audio representation of all 360 degrees.

The new headset has improved Touch controller with better ergonomics and 4-times better battery life.

If you look at the Quest 2’s specifications verses other headsets like the Oculus Rift S or the HP Reverb G2, you’ll see that it meets or exceeds in all situations.

Wireless and PC VR Gaming

In addition to its killer price and specs, the Oculus Quest 2 doubles as both a wireless Android VR headset and PC VR headset too. It has a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor which packs way more power than its predecessor, a 64 GB harddrive, and 6 GB of RAM.

Oculus has built up an impressive collection of good Quest-exclusive VR games to check out. And if you install SideQuest VR, you can sideload over 500+ more games to try out.

With an Oculus Link cable or Virtual Desktop, you can let your gaming PC power the hardware the same as all other PC VR headsets. This lets you play the entire Steam VR or Oculus Rift game collection on the headset too.

Overall, these factors make the Oculus Quest 2 the best VR headset right now. Its only big drawback is the Facebook ecosystem, which is forced into all new Quest 2 owners. Let’s hope Facebook comes with a solution to detach Facebook and Oculus accounts in the future again.

Click here to buy the Quest 2 from the official store. Or use the link below to buy it off of Amazon worldwide. Your local Amazon store and currency will show up when you click the link!

Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-In-One Virtual Reality Headset — 64 GB
  • Next-level Hardware - Make every move count with a blazing-fast processor and our highest-resolution display
  • All-In-One Gaming - With backward compatibility, you can explore new titles and old favorites in the expansive Quest content library
  • Immersive Entertainment - Get the best seat in the house to live concerts, groundbreaking films, exclusive events and more

HP Reverb G2 – Best VR Headset for PC

hp reverb best vr headset for pcvr

The HP Reverb G2 pushes the reset button on Windows Mixed Reality headsets and offers up the best VR headset for PC gaming in 2021.

We like the Reverb G2 over all other wired headsets for these reasons:

  1. HP’s new killer display is better than all other VR headsets, period.
  2. Inside-out tracking is a key advantage over most other PC headsets.
  3. Price relative to other VR Headsets for PC

Display

oculus quest 2 vs hp reverb g2 display

One of the biggest reasons to buy the HP Reverb G2 is its display, which is better quality than anything else on the market. The headset has 2160×2160 per eye resolution. The LCD panel was designed in conjunction with Valve to have higher brightness and contrast over the original G1 headset.

In addition, HP worked to reduce mura (cloudiness in the display), god-rays, and supply deeper black colors.

The G2 is the first PC headset released since the Oculus Rift S in early 2019. The two year advantage on the display is noticeable in the G2 and is a prime reason to select it as you rheadset.

Inside-Out Tracking

Oculus started the trend of inside-out in VR headsets. Instead of tracking cameras placed outside your boundary pointing in, inside-out uses cameras in the VR headset to look at the world outside. These cameras, along with sensors in the headset, pick up your movement, speed, location, and controller data.

As you move around, the cameras take into account your before and after positions and render the image in your headset accordingly. Inside-out tracking cameras do a good job of tracking your nearby body and hand movements.

Except for the Rift S and G2, all other PC VR headsets use outside-in tracking. Not having to install external sensors is a big win for the Reverb G2. Early reviews suggest that the tracking is sufficient too, giving it a big advantage for those looking for a quality VR headset for PC.

Price

At $599, the Reverb G2 comes in at $200 more than the Oculus Quest 2 and $100 more than the Rift S. Even still, it’s a competitive price for the PC VR market. It’s the same price or cheaper than options from Valve, HTC, and Pimax.

This makes the G2 good value when you consider how much better its technical specs are.

Why not consider the Rift S as the best VR headset for PC players? Well, Oculus has signalled the end of support for the Rift S in 2021 following the successful launch of the Quest 2 which doubles as both a wireless and wired option. Unlike the Quest 2, the Reverb G2 has a better display, audio, and head strap. It also supports all VR games stores including Steam VR, Viveport, and the Windows Mixed Reality store.

The one thing we don’t like about the G2 is its lack of exclusives. The Windows Mixed Reality store doesn’t offer any added incentive the way that Oculus and HTC do. This might be hard to draw unique interest to the G2. Even Microsoft Flight Simulator, after originally pledging early support for the G2, is going to be released for all VR headsets at the same time.

Click here to buy the HP Reverb G2 directly from the HP store.

Valve Index – Best Steam VR Headset

valve index best vr headset for steam vr

The Valve Index is our pick for top Steam VR headset. Released in June 2019, the headset has suffered from manufacturer and shipping delays, but has gathered rave reviews from those who have had their hands on the device.

We like the Valve Index as the best Steam VR headset for these reasons:

  1. Tight integration with the Steam VR platform, which is owned by Valve.
  2. Futuristic knuckle controllers which track all ten fingers and thumbs at once.
  3. Really good outside-in tracking.

Steam VR

Valve owns the Steam infrastructure if you didn’t know, and the new Index headset is optimized for the platform. Since Steam offers the most number of games, this opens the widest door to good VR games. Other VR headsets that aren’t the HTC Vive have struggled with Steam integration. The Oculus Rift requires a few extra steps to setup and some Windows Mixed Reality headsets have a lot of issues with the platform in general.

The Valve Index works great with Steam VR out of the box and you’ll become familiar with the platform in a hurry.

Tight Steam VR integration is also a perk in pushing adoption of Valve’s finger-tracking controller technology, which takes us to our next positive below.

valve index full kit

Knuckle Controllers

The knuckle controllers on the Valve Index are a big advantage over most other controllers. They are ergonomic and fit great in your hands. Capacitive touch technology can track all of your individual fingers and how hard you are holding each one on the controller.

Otherwise, the Index controllers are similar to what Oculus and HP offers: an analog stick, two top buttons, and trigger buttons on the back. They support all traditional VR games and a select few offer full finger-tracking functionality.

Each controller uses 87 sensors to track hand position, finger position, motion, and pressure to determine user intent. This creates the most advanced controller tracking in VRR today.

Outside-in Tracking

Putting the argument of inside vs outside aside, the tracking on the Valve Index is really good. Valve 2.0 base stations are placed on the outside of your guardian boundary and look in to track your position and motion in VR.

2.0 base stations have improved range and a wider 150 degree field of view. They also track quicker than before so that there is less latency. If you have a commercial business or need 100% reliability, you can also add a third base station to your setup for undeniable 360 degree coverage.

Setting up the base stations is relatively easy if you follow our guide here.

Buy the Valve Index complete package below. Click here to buy the Valve Index directly from Valve.

Oculus Quest 2 – Best Cheap VR Headset

oculus quest 2 more comfortable side band

If you are looking for the best cheap VR headset, it’s hard not to look at the Oculus Quest 2 again. At $299, it is the cheapest quality option. A few outdated best-of lists point to some Android phone solutions which can double as a VR headset. In 2020, the support for these devices is phased out or non-existent.

6 Degrees of Freedom

The other feature missing in other cheap phone VR solutions if 6 degrees-of-freedom (DoF) tracking. 6Dof allows you to move in three-dimensional space: side to side, up and down, and around in a circle. This is a big reason why VR is so immersive and is something phone VR just can’t do.

After you buy the VR headset, you also need to spend money on games to play. The Oculus Quest 2 is a price winner here too, since SideQuest VR allows you to sideload over 500 games and most are completely free. We keep track of the best SideQuest VR games, a lot of which are better than any paid alternatives.

Once again, click here to buy the Oculus Quest 2 from the official store. Or use the Amazon link below to buy yours worldwide.

Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-In-One Virtual Reality Headset — 64 GB
  • Next-level Hardware - Make every move count with a blazing-fast processor and our highest-resolution display
  • All-In-One Gaming - With backward compatibility, you can explore new titles and old favorites in the expansive Quest content library
  • Immersive Entertainment - Get the best seat in the house to live concerts, groundbreaking films, exclusive events and more

Playstation VR – Best Console VR Headset

playstation vr best vr headset

If you have a Playstation 4 or 5, then the best VR headset for you is the Playstation VR. The same answer applies if you are looking for the best console headset. In fact, the Playstation VR is the only console VR headset.

Regardless, its still a fine solution for a few reasons:

  1. The game selection on the Playstation VRR is large and impressive.
  2. It’s cheaper than any PC VR option.
  3. The Playstation 5 brings some exciting potential.

Game Selection

Most VR headsets share the same selection of games. Playstation VR is the clear exception here, with a number of Sony exclusive VR games available to check out. Blood & Truth, Iron Man, Astro Bot, and other games can be found on the PSVR but nowhere else.

As a bonus, some PS4 games can be toggled between VR and non-VR mode, giving casual virtual reality gamers a choice to switch between both.

Price

Other than the Quest, the Playstation VR is the only other virtual reality solution that does not require a gaming PC. The VR headset costs $349 (usually including a game), and attaches to any PS4 or PS5 (with a free cable supplied by Sony).

There are often deals on Playstation VR, offering the package for as low as $200 or throwing in a bundle of games to sweeten the pot.

Most PSVR players have already invested in the console, but this another $400 or so if not. Overall, this is a good price to get into virtual reality.

playstation vr console vr headset

Playstation 5

Playstation VR is serviceable in 2021, over three years after Sony released it. However, we are really excited at the possibility of a brand new PS5 VR solution coming soon.

A number of patents by Sony have been filed over the past year showing off a number of new features in the Playstation VR 2:

  • Inside-out tracking, which means no more Playstation Eye camera necessary.
  • New controllers which are similar to the Valve Index and including finger-tracking technology.

In addition, you can expect a whole slew of gorgeous looking PSVR games to come out alongside the new solution. The PS5 has backwards compatibility with the PS4 as well, so all old games should still work too.

Despite its unique game selection, we think the PS4 VR headset’s drawback is its lack of Steam VR support. This would bring the possibility of thousands of new VR games to the Sony Playstation 5 console.

Buy the Playstation VR Iron Man set directly from Amazon below.

Sale
PlayStation VR - Marvel's Iron Man Bundle
  • Bundle includes Playstation VR headset, Playstation camera, 2 Playstation move motion controllers, Marvel's iron man VR blue-rays disc, and Demo disc 3.0.
  • Using two Playstation move motion controllers Fire up iron Man's repulsor jets and Blast into the skies with an arsenal of iconic iron man Gear at your fingertips.
  • Face off against One of iron Man's greatest foes in high stakes, action-packed battles.

Final Verdict: Best VR Headset

In this guide, we’ve outlined the best VR headset for a variety of situations:

  • The best VR headset overall and for cost is the Oculus Quest 2.
  • The best VR headset for PC is the HP Reverb G2.
  • The best VR headset for Steam VR is the Valve Index.
  • The best VR console headset is the Playstation VR.

No VR headset is a 100% perfect solution. Outdated outside-in tracking, wired dependency to a computer, and restrictive social network user accounts are the biggest flaws in 2021. Still, we are confident that the solutions available today are better than 3 years ago and present a bright future for virtual reality.

What do you think the best VR headset is? Would you like to challenge us on any of our selections? Comment below and let us know today!

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