Open or Closed Headsets for Gaming – Different Playing Styles

Choosing a gaming headset isn’t a black-and-white affair. Rather, the choice between open and closed headsets is more like “shades of gray.” Between open and closed gaming headsets, there is some variation that revolves around three unique qualities: sound quality, comfort, and awareness. You can choose a headset that focuses on your most pressing need.

To choose the right type of gaming headset, you need to know how open gaming headsets compare to closed ones. For this purpose, this article contains all the information you need to choose the right headset and explains the pros and cons of the two types (open and closed headsets).

Closed and Open Headsets aren’t too Different than Regular Headphones

Before we dive head-first into researching gaming headsets, check out our article that goes over the differences between closed and open headphones. The same aspects apply to gaming headsets. LINK HERE

I will still briefly list the most important differences between open and closed gaming headsets:

  • Comfort
  • Acoustic properties
  • Sound isolation

Comfort and gaming session duration

Comfort is somewhat subjective, but most people will prefer the comfort level of an open-back headset. This is because open headsets are lighter work better with breathable ear pads from an acoustic perspective.

How breathable your headphones’ earpads are is a big deal, especially if you’re a very active gamer. Open headsets gain the advantage here because they allow more air to infiltrate the earpads, rather than being sealed like closed headsets.

Open headsets also have fewer problems with sweating, though you should take into account that the ear pads are thinner and may deteriorate faster.

Acoustic characteristics for gaming

As far as sound quality is concerned, a closed gaming headset will probably sound more exciting and dynamic than an open headset. This is because internal sounds are usually blocked inside the closed earpiece of the headset.

Closed, over-ear gaming headsets are less likely to leak sound and therefore produce deeper bass, a fuller soundstage, more intimate sound, and distinct sound response.

Open headsets have a brighter, more transparent, and more musical sound. However, the bass is generally less dense but clear and tighter.

From a sound perspective, both open and closed gaming headsets have advantages and disadvantages. Which headset you should use is a matter of preference. The environment plays an important role in your choice of gaming headset.

But if we are to judge both types of headsets under ideal conditions, based strictly on sound, open headsets offer superior sound quality for gaming, as they allow sound to flow in and out of the headset.

The listening experience is more organic. Low bass distortion, lack of reverb, and clarity of sound are characteristics that distinguish open-air headphones from closed gaming headsets.

Optimal gaming environment

The last difference between open and closed headsets is their environment. A closed headset can be used for gaming anywhere: You can play games in the office, on smartphone during long commutes, or in noisy environments.

Open gaming headsets can only be used in strict environments: acoustically treated game rooms or quiet surroundings, as they let in all noise. And when I say all, I mean it.

Closed vs. Open Gaming Headsets – Which is Better?

The type of headset you use depends on your personal preferences and gaming environment. Quite obvious, eh?

Some people prefer open headsets for competitive shooters and team-based games. In contrast, closed-back gaming headsets are more appealing to people who prefer to listen to music and play games casually.

The difference between closed and open gaming headsets is basically the same as the difference between closed and open headphones. So you can learn more about open and closed headsets by reading the article I linked to.

Why Choose Open Headsets Over Closed Headsets as a Competitive Gamer

  • Open back headsets offer accurate and clear sound quality for gaming.
  • Positional awareness is crucial in competitive gaming. If you want to hear your enemy before they hear you, go for open gaming headsets.
  • Open back headsets don’t allow sound to bounce off the walls of the ear cups and give you clear bass reproduction.
  • Better auditory information: number of enemies, where shots are coming from, the distance between you and the enemy, and other information relevant to the game.
  • Godly comfortable, lightweight and airy

If you’re a competitive player, go for open gaming headsets to improve. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind:

  • You will be disturbed or have your game experience affected by external noise; You’ll hear your surrounding as if you have no headsets on.
  • Open back headsets can have a bright sound or shrill trebles, which creates listening fatigue if you play for a long time.
  • Open back headsets can’t block loud noises like shooting (they are actually designed to allow sound waves to pass through), which can be a problem in some gaming environments.
  • Harder to clean: dust and debris can get in through the open design, which may cause headphone problems.

Closed Gaming Headsets: Reasons to Switch from Open Headsets

Closed gaming headsets are great for gaming and they’re extremely common among PC gamers. If you choose a closed headset, here are the reasons to go for it:

  • You need to block out ambient sounds around you. Games are often played with teammates, friends, or strangers, so people will be communicating, and you don’t want their voices to leak out.
  • Sound quality is not as important – the sound quality is still good, but not as good as with open headsets. Gaming with closed headsets is more fun since the sound is fuller and more intense
  • You have a bad experience with open headsets or don’t like their sound character. If this is the case, the warmer sound of closed headphones may be more to your liking and more comfortable for your ears.
  • You’re on a tight budget, so you have a limited budget to spend on the perfect gaming headset that meets your needs in the most important areas.

The advantages of closed headsets are quite attractive: compelling sound quality, good noise attenuation, no sound bleed, and more lively music and gameplay.

There are plenty of reasons to buy closed headsets; However, the reasons why you should not buy a closed gaming headset are highlighted by the fact that it does not have the positive characteristics of open headphones, for example, it is not as comfortable, the sound is not as accurate and with good spatial reproduction, and it can distort the audio quality.


I have a dedicated gaming room with sound insulating walls – should i still buy open gaming headsets?

Absolutely! Open-air gaming headsets play an important role in your overall gaming performance. Many gamers are interested in the dynamic sound quality of closed-back headsets but prefer the edge of open-back headsets in competitive games because of the clarity and positional accuracy.

Are open or closed headsets better for gaming?

If we’re talking strictly about headphones, not headsets, the general consensus is that the open headphones allow you to better hear the surrounding environment as well as your own voice and the sound of the game.

With headsets, the experience is similar, although professional open hi-fi headsets are superior to headsets designed for gaming.

Nonetheless, open-style headphones and headsets offer a more competitive sound signature than their closed counterparts, with sounds and gaming effects reproduced with greater precision and clarity.

What are the best open headsets for gaming?

Sennheiser offers excellent open gaming headsets: EPOS I Sennheiser GAME ONE and Drop + Sennheiser PC38X. They are considered the best in their price range ($100-$200). However, I cannot easily answer this question without knowing your gaming preferences.

There's a lot to talk about, so check out this article on the best open gaming headsets for PC to learn more. LINK HERE

Should I play games with closed or open headphones?

To give you the best answer, you need to answer a few questions.

How much time do you play? How many hours a day do you actually spend in front of the screen without taking a break? A closed headset may be more suitable if you play for a long time, as it lacks the airy, bright sound that characterizes open headphones and tires your ears.

To know whether you need a closed or open headset, the games you play are important. Are they FPS or MOBA games? Are you in a noisy room or a secluded area? Are the games you play competitive, i.e., fast-paced and short respawn times?

For competitive gaming, headsets with an open enclosure can be more beneficial than headsets with closed ones. But if you don’t have a suitable game room and your environment is noisy, it’s better to play with closed headsets. Generally, they’re also cheaper.

Conclusion: Closed vs. Open Headsets | Two Different Gaming Styles

In the comparison between closed and open gaming headsets, both proved to be excellent options in their own rights. While both are viable for gaming, neither provides a flawless gaming experience without sacrifices/tradeoffs.

The fundamental choice between closed and open gaming headsets lies in how you prefer to play your games.

If you like competitive shooters and need the best possible positional awareness, it’s best to get an open headset. If you’re a casual gamer who likes to listen to music or podcasts as he plays, a closed gaming headset will serve you best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *