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With virtual reality breaking through some long-standing barriers in recent years, there's never been a better time to pick up a VR headset.

In terms of price and usability, they are now infinitely more accessible than they were a decade ago. It's not just about the rise of standalone headsets, either, with high-end models now easier to use.

As ever, we've been testing some of the very best options on the market, experimenting with games and apps to see how well they perform. We assess plenty of different areas when reviewing the latest and greatest VR headsets, including their graphical prowess, how comfortable they are to wear for extended periods of time and what level of compatibility they can offer.

So, let's detail the best selections around today to help you decide which is best for your needs.

Meta Quest 3 (3)
Meta Quest 3
1. Best VR headset

The most powerful standalone headset

Not only is it the best standalone VR headset, it's the best mixed-reality headset currently available, too.

  • Great passthrough quality for MR
  • Improved graphics and performance
  • Slimmed-down headset and controllers
  • More expensive than its predecessor

Meta's latest standalone VR headset has been upgraded in just about every conceivable way. It brings higher resolution displays, better optics, a more powerful processor, a slimmed-down design and, crucially, the ability to play MR games.

This means that you can enjoy immersive gameplay without fully closing yourself off from the world around you, and AR elements will be brought into the real world for you to interact with. It's an exciting new playstyle that wasn't possible on previous headset generations.

We think it's hands-down the best VR experience for the money. It's a shame that it costs so much more than its predecessor, but when you look at everything it adds, the bump in cost is completely understandable.

the best vr headsets to buy 2020 top virtual reality gear photo 10
Oculus Quest 2
2. Best budget VR headset

More affordable than ever

A fantastic upgrade to the original Quest, and the improved visuals, features and price make it a must-consider.

  • Amazing value
  • Standalone
  • Comfortable
  • Not as impressive as wired headsets

The Quest 2 may not be the latest and greatest anymore, but it's still one of the most affordable virtual reality headsets around, and it certainly bears mentioning here.

Just like the newer model, It's a wire-free headset that doesn't need a PC to run, as it packs enough hardware inside to play some of the best VR games around.

Wireless VR is glorious and gives you plenty of freedom. Other highlights, like hand-tracking, inside-out tracking (meaning no external sensors), passthrough cameras and a clever guardian system, make Quest 2 incredibly fun to play with.

Great visuals, superb audio and the ability to plug in and play more with Oculus Link make Quest 2 even more special, as well.

best vr headsets photo 18
Pico 4
3. Best Quest alternative

An amazing headset, if you can find one

$385 $460 Save $75

It's better than the Quest 2 in almost every way, but there are fewer games available for it and it hasn't launched in the US.

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Improved visuals
  • Great standalone and tethered performance
  • The standalone library is much smaller than Meta's
  • Not available in the US

The Pico 4 is very similar to the Quest 2 and 3 in that it's an affordable standalone headset that can also be used to play PCVR titles.

However, the Pico improves on the Quest 2 in numerous ways: it's more comfortable, has higher resolution displays with better lenses and it's often available at a lower price.

Unfortunately, the standalone game library is much smaller than that of Quest 2, and it's also not officially sold in the US. If you're in a supported region and have access to a gaming PC, we definitely recommend it over the competition. Otherwise, you may want to wait and see which titles get added to the Pico platform.

the best vr headsets to buy 2020 top virtual reality gear photo 14
HTC Vive Pro 2
4. Best VR headset for PC

PCVR bliss

The Vive Pro 2 is a great headset, offering an elite display, superb comfort and excellent tracking.

  • Amazing display
  • Nice and comfortable
  • Plays nice with most games
  • You'll need a fancy PC

The HTC Vive Pro 2 is the upgraded version of the HTC Vive Pro, and the very best that HTC has to offer.

It has one of the most impressive displays around, with an incredibly high pixel count, great field of view and up to a 120Hz refresh rate, too.

Like the previous Vive Pro, it needs a high-end gaming machine to run properly but delivers a superb experience that stands out from the crowd.

If you already own a Vive or Vive Pro, this makes for a nice upgrade, while the full package (including base stations) is a must for those new to the Vive experience.

Varjo Aero VR headset review
Varjo Aero
5. Best premium PCVR headset


The Varjo Aero is a high-end PCVR headset with superb features and specs that make it incredibly appealing. This does come at a cost though. 

  • Incredibly clear display
  • Comfortable and immersive fit
  • Excellent features
  • Useful software
  • Very costly
  • Requires additional purchase to work
  • No built-in speakers

The Varjo Aero is an expensive headset but one that offers some serious specs and impressive features for those looking for the very best VR experiences around.

The highlights of this device include eye-tracking that not only assists IPD adjustments but is also used for foveated rendering. This helps render the image you're looking at in higher quality while reducing the image quality of your surroundings in your peripheral vision. Which in turn improves performance and the overall experience.

We found this headset offers great visual fidelity, superb comfort and a fantastic VR experience. It's brilliantly designed and wonderfully immersive. The downside is though that you'll need to buy Steam VR controllers and base stations as they aren't included as standard.

Pimax Crystal (3)
Pimax Crystal
6. Best VR headset for image quality

Incredible visuals

Absolutely stunning visuals and the promise of a wireless standalone future make the Pimax Crystal an appealing option.

  • Incredible QLED + Mini LED displays
  • Controllers included, no base stations required
  • Eye-tracking and standalone mode coming soon
  • Many features are yet to be implemented
  • Massive and heavy

The Pimax Crystal offers some of the best visuals we've ever seen on a VR headset, thanks to its wide-FOV QLED displays with Mini LED backlighting and exceptional local dimming.

It's a large headset, and it requires a powerful gaming rig to run it, but if you're looking for the best image fidelity, you should definitely consider the Pimax Crystal. Not only is it significantly cheaper than the Aero, but it comes with everything you need in the box, so you won't need to track down Vive base stations or anything like that.

It launched without its eye-tracking functionality and standalone mode, but with the latest update, they're finally here. The standalone mode is very barebones at the moment, so we wouldn't recommend choosing it based on that, but the eye-tracking and foveated rendering certainly add to the value of this unique headset.

The bottom line: Best VR headset

We think the best VR headset for most people's needs is the Meta Quest 3. It offers significant upgrades over its predecessor and is currently the best-performing standalone VR headset on the market. There are higher-end options available, sure, but none come close to offering the convenience of the Quest 3, which can be used without the need for an expensive gaming PC and completely free from wires. It also offers the best mixed-reality experience of any headset available today, it's amazing what it can do at such a low price.

Meta Quest 3-1
Meta Quest 3
Editor's Choice

Simply put, the Meta Quest 3 is the best standalone VR headset available. If you want all the fun and none of the hassle, this headset offers the best experience of the bunch.

That said, if you're a die-hard PC gamer looking for the best quality then we'd recommend looking at the HTC Vive Pro 2, which we reckon is the best-value high-end tethered headset. On the other end of the scale, if you just want the best value for money, the Quest 2 is currently unmatched in what it offers for under $300.

How we chose these VR headsets

We've spent countless hours testing each and every headset on this list. We've played a variety of VR titles in standalone modes and while tethered to a gaming PC both wired and wirelessly. As avid fans of VR ourselves, we know what makes a good headset, but everyone values different things, so we've tried to include a wide variety of options on this list.

Of course, it's not possible to include everything, but whether you're looking for a lightweight standalone experience or a PC VR headset with uncompromising visuals, there's an option for you here. We take many things into consideration before adding a product to this page. Not just build quality and performance, but also reliability, ease of use, brand reputation and value for money.

How to choose a VR headset

There are plenty of questions that you'll want to ask yourself before you take the plunge on what could most likely be a quite pricey purchase to enter the world of VR. Here are some of the things you should be asking:

How much should you spend on a VR headset?

This is a question that can apply to basically any purchase in the world of technology, but that doesn't make it any less apt when we're talking about VR headsets - you need to set your budget!

Work out how much you'd be happy to spend, and that will go a long way toward deciding what headset is best for you. This is more true for VR than other areas, too, since the hardware we're dealing with can get seriously pricey.

And keep in mind that it doesn't always have to be the most expensive option, since there are now plenty of VR headsets that are available for a relatively cheap price.

Do you want to go wireless?

A huge question about VR headsets comes down to whether they require a tether or not - in most cases, they do need to be plugged into a PC or console to work. Some, like the Oculus Quest 2, have the ability to work standalone, with reduced graphical prowess, but can still be plugged in for tethered fun when you need a boost, which is arguably the best of both worlds.

Others, like most HTC Vive headsets, can be converted to work wirelessly using accessories that will add a bit of cost and could take a little while to set up, but once you do so you'll have amazing graphics without worrying about wires. If you've ever tried VR before, this will be an area to decide on before buying.

Is resolution the key for you?

Another key variable between different VR headsets, and, in fact, one of the main ways to tell the difference between them, comes down to what level of resolution they can offer you. This is about the number of pixels in their displays, as close to your eyes as they are, and the higher the number the crisper the visuals will be able to look.

However, it's not the be-all-and-end-all, so it might be that you care more about what games you'll be able to play than exactly how sharp they'll look while you do so.

What are you going to use VR for?

That leads to our final point - what do you want a VR headset for? There are plenty of amazing videos out there to explore in VR, as well as brilliant productivity tools and coworking spaces to help you combat isolation. Of course, there's also a whole world of gaming, too.

So, it's worth figuring out what your priority is in order to pick the headset that best fits your aims. This is the surest-fire way to ensure you don't accidentally pick one that isn't so ideal.