The 5 Best VR Headsets of 2021
The best VR headsets transport you out of the mundane world we find ourselves normally surrounded by and into spectacular landscapes, alien worlds, and fantastical realms that were only previously accessible through giant leaps of imagination. After an initial explosion of interest, virtual reality adoption has slowed a little in recent months, but it continues to steadily drive sales and innovation, and every time there’s a big step forward technologically there’s an attendant spike in coverage.
If you’ve never gotten your hands on a virtual reality headset before, you may be very confused at to where to begin shopping around. The most important factor you should consider before diving is in a headset’s library. PlayStation VR, for instance, doesn’t have the massive number of titles that some of the PC HMDs offer, but it does have some of the most incredible exclusives available anywhere. You always want to think about your play space, and whether you have room to set up sensors, or if multiple cables are feasible.
How We Tested
Our expert reviewers and editors evaluate HMDs based on design, performance, display type and resolution, FOV, SDE, and features. We test their real-life performance in actual use cases, including spaces of various size, and note whether or not they require a high-end PC to deliver satisfactory frame rates across their libraries. Our testers also consider each unit as a value proposition—whether or not a product justifies its price tag, and how it compares to competitive products. All of the models we reviewed were purchased by Lifewire; none of the review units were furnished by the manufacturer or retailer.
About Our Trusted Experts
Meredith Popolo is an experienced tech journalist who specializes in PC hardware, peripherals, and accessories, and a number of other corners of the consumer technology landscape. Originally from New York, she now resides in Stockholm, Sweden.
Emily Ramirez is a tech writer and narrative designer who’s extensively covered AR, VR, and XR trends, and specializes in wearable technology and audio and visual equipment.
Andrew Hayward has been covering the tech industry for more than 14 years now, and developed expertise in wearable technology, smartphones, and gaming. His work has appeared in a number of top tech publications.
Zach Sweat is a tech writer, photographer, and editor, who specializes in gaming, mobile tech, and consumer electronics. He earned a dual degree in multimedia journalism and photography from the University of North Florida.
Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019, covering consumer technology, gaming hardware, and more.
The Ultimate Virtual Reality Headset Buying Guide
Virtual reality is here to stay, and the impressive variety of virtual reality headsets on the market means that it isn’t just for hardcore gamers with money to burn anymore. You’ve probably at least heard of the big players, including Facebook’s Oculus, HTC’s Vive, and maybe Valve’s Index, but dozens of others have their own take on the technology, including mobile virtual reality headsets that are designed to work with your smartphone.
If you’ve never tried virtual reality before, it’s worth giving the technology a shot at least once. Some people experience uncomfortable motion sickness, but the technology is game-changing for just about everyone else. The combination of a stereoscopic display and motion tracking combine to help transport you into a virtual world in a way that you’ve never experienced before.