The Best VR Headsets for 2024


The Best VR Headset Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our commerce team

Virtual reality is a fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. With a headset and motion-tracking technology, VR lets you look around a virtual space as if you’re actually there, or play a game as though you’re in it. These are the top headsets you can buy right now. Read on for our picks, followed by everything you need to know about VR to make a wise purchase.


Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Apple Vision Pro

Best AR/VR Interface

Why We Picked It

The Vision Pro is Apple’s first foray into AR and VR, though the company is careful to describe it as a “spatial computer” rather than a headset. Whatever you call it (we consider it an AR/VR/mixed reality headset), the Vision Pro is an incredibly ambitious device. The headset relies entirely on eye and hand tracking for controls that enable a far more intuitive and natural control system than any we’ve tested. As a first-generation device on a newly launched platform, VisionOS, it’s surprisingly full-featured, with some of the best hardware ever put into a consumer-available, head-mounted display.

Who It’s For

People with deep pockets. The Vision Pro costs $3,500, several times more than any other headset we’ve tested. That’s expensive, even for early adopters. If you’re willing to spend that much money on a new AR/VR experience, go for it. Just recognize that Apple will probably make even better and/or cheaper versions in the next few years. In addition, the Vision Pro has a few software omissions and stability issues that can be fixed with patches, but the headset’s front-heavy balance can’t.

PROS

  • Best AR/VR interface we’ve seen
  • Class-leading eye and hand tracking
  • No physical controllers needed
  • Sharp, colorful display
  • Outstanding video passthrough
  • Plenty of visionOS apps and features

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Short battery life
  • Front-heavy design gets uncomfortable
  • Gaps in iPad app compatibility

SPECS

Type Standalone
Resolution 22 million pixels
Refresh Rate 100 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls Eye and hand tracking
Hardware Platform Apple M2
Software Platform Apple VisionOS

Meta Quest 3

Best Standalone VR Headset

Why We Picked It

The Meta Quest 3 is $200 more than the Quest 2, but it adds color pass-through cameras that make augmented reality experiences feasible, along with a higher resolution and a faster processor—a processor that packs more power than even the Quest Pro. In fact, the only thing the Pro has over this headset is its awesome eye-tracking technology.

Who It’s For

Want to experience VR without cables? This is the standalone headset for you. The Quest 3 is wireless, powerful, sharp, and you can see through it in color. The Quest 2 is a good starting point if you’re looking to spend less, but the Quest 3 is enough of a step forward that it’s worth the extra cash.

PROS

  • Color pass-through cameras allow you to clearly see your surroundings
  • High-resolution picture
  • Powerful processor
  • Comfortable design

CONS

  • Short battery life
  • Lacks eye-tracking tech

SPECS

Type Standalone
Resolution 2,064 by 2,208 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls Meta Quest Touch Controllers
Hardware Platform Standalone
Software Platform Meta

Learn More

Meta Quest 3 Review

Meta Quest Pro

Best for Pros and Enthusiasts

Why We Picked It

The Meta Quest Pro is an impressive headset that features cool eye-tracking and face-tracking tech. It costs significantly more than the Quest 2 and Quest 3, however, so you really need to be sold on the eye tracking before you buy in.

Who It’s For

The Meta Quest Pro is for professionals who need a capable VR headset for collaboration purposes, and for enthusiasts who want to play with the excellent eye-tracking and face-tracking tech.

PROS

  • Improved design with a more comfortable fit than the Quest 2
  • Cool eye- and face-tracking tech
  • Color pass-through camera
  • Rechargeable headset and controllers
  • Doesn’t require a PC to operate

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Meta Horizon’s metaverse is often empty and sometimes buggy
  • Short battery life

SPECS

Type Standalone
Resolution 1,920 by 1,800 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 90 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls Motion Controllers
Hardware Platform Standalone
Software Platform Meta

Meta Quest 2

Best Affordable VR Headset

Why We Picked It

The Quest 2 (formerly the Oculus Quest 2) is Meta’s $300 standalone VR headset. It’s affordable for a VR platform, and you don’t need cables or additional hardware. It’s powered by mobile components, specifically the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, and that’s enough to run entertaining VR experiences. It has an incredibly robust library of those experiences, so you’ll find something entertaining. You can also use it as a PC-powered headset with the $79 Link Cable.

Who It’s For

This is a top VR headset, but its follow-up, the Meta Quest 3, is more compelling in every way (including a faster processor, a higher-resolution display, and color pass-through cameras). The Quest 3 also costs $200 more, which means the Quest 2 is the best budget-friendly VR headset you can buy. If you want to explore VR without spending a lot of money, this is a terrific starting point.

PROS

  • Doesn’t require any cables
  • Sharp display
  • Powerful processor
  • Accurate motion tracking
  • Optional PC tethering via accessory cable

SPECS

Type Standalone
Resolution 1,832 by 1,920 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls Oculus Touch
Hardware Platform Standalone
Software Platform Oculus

Learn More

Meta Quest 2 Review

Sony PlayStation VR2

Best for PlayStation 5 Gamers

Why We Picked It

The PlayStation VR 2 is a significant upgrade over the original that combines the PlayStation 5‘s power with new eye-tracking and motion-control tech that makes VR games even more immersive. Plus, the lightweight headset has impressive specs, including a sharp OLED display that delivers a 2,000-by-2,040-pixel picture to each eye.

Who It’s For

The PS VR2 is for gamers willing to go all-in on Sony’s next-generation vision of virtual reality. After all, the headset’s not inexpensive at nearly $600 and it lacks backward compatibility with original PlayStation VR games (which is why that model is still on this list). However, this comfortable and impressive hardware has a strong launch library that includes Horizon: Call of the Mountain and the Jurassic World Aftermath Collection.

PROS

  • Excellent graphics and sound
  • Strong launch library
  • Useful eye-tracking tech
  • Lightweight build
  • Easy to set up

CONS

  • Not compatible with PlayStation VR games

SPECS

Type Tethered
Resolution 2,000 by 2,040 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls PlayStation VR2 Sense
Hardware Platform PlayStation 5
Software Platform PlayStation 5

Valve Index VR Kit

Best Controllers

Why We Picked It

Valve’s PC-tethered VR headset is pricey, and on paper it doesn’t stand out much from the competition. The headset is just one part of the VR experience, though, and the Valve Index really impresses because of the other major component: the controllers. They’re revolutionary, able to rack individual finger movements and make games (that take advantage of the feature) much more immersive than the standard trigger grips on other controllers. It’s amazing to see your fingers wiggle in Half-Life: Alyx.

The headset itself, while not outstanding, still offers crisp, smooth graphics with a high refresh rate, too. The system integrates with Valve’s Steam store through SteamVR, so there’s an incredibly large library of VR games, even if only a tiny fraction might bother with the finger support.

Who It’s For

This is the go-to VR headset for use with PCs, thanks to its strong performance and revolutionary controllers. If you’re just starting with VR on PC, go with this one. If you already have a SteamVR-compatible headset, though, such as the HTC Vive, the Vive Cosmos Elite (not the regular Cosmos), or the Vive Pro 2 along with their base stations, you can buy the controllers for $280 to breathe new life into your VR experience without investing in the full Valve Index system.

PROS

  • Immersive, finger-tracking controllers
  • High, 120Hz refresh rate delivers smooth motion
  • Lots of VR software available on PC via SteamVR

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Occasionally frustrating tethered design

SPECS

Type Tethered
Resolution 1,600 by 1,440 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls Valve Index Controllers
Hardware Platform PC
Software Platform SteamVR

HTC Vive Pro 2

Best for the Highest-Resolution VR

Why We Picked It

This advanced, semi-consumer VR headset targets both enthusiasts and professionals with the sharpest picture available at 2,448 by 2,448 pixels per eye. It easily offers the best visuals we’ve seen in VR so far, though at a hefty price: The headset alone is $799, and that doesn’t factor in the base stations and controllers (but on the bright side, you can use the Valve Index controllers with it).

It works with SteamVR just like the Index, and has its own VR software store in the form of Viveport. The store offers the subscription-based Viveport Infinity service that provides unlimited access to VR experiences, instead of a la carte software purchases. That’s a nice bonus outside of SteamVR.

Who It’s For

If you want the best VR experience available without diving into pro-level extremes, the Vive Pro 2 combined with Valve Index controllers is the combination to go with. It’ll cost you at least $1,300 before factoring in a PC with the specs to take advantage of the headset’s power, but you’ll enjoy amazing visuals and controls.

PROS

  • The best resolution for VR gaming
  • Smooth motion tracking
  • Works with Valve Index controllers

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t include necessary base stations or controllers

SPECS

Type Tethered
Resolution 2,440 by 2,440 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Motion Detection 6DOF
Controls None Included
Hardware Platform PC
Software Platform SteamVR

Buying Guide: The Best VR Headsets for 2024


Which VR Headset Is the Best?

Modern VR headsets now fit under one of two categories: tethered or standalone. Tethered headsets, such as the HTC Vive Pro 2, PlayStation VR, and Valve Index are physically connected to PCs (or in the case of the PS VR 2, a PlayStation 5). Their cables makes them a bit unwieldy, but putting all of the video processing in a box that you don’t need to directly strap to your face means your VR experience can be a lot more complex. Either external sensors or outward-facing cameras provide full 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) movement tracking for both your head and your hands, thanks to motion-sensing controllers.

The least expensive tethered options are currently around $400, and that’s before you address the processing issue; the HP Reverb G2, Valve Index, and Vive Pro 2 need powerful PCs to run, while the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4 and the PS VR2 requires a PlayStation 5.

Standalone headsets offer the greatest physical freedom by completely removing the cables and not requiring an external device to handle processing. The Meta Quest 2, Quest Pro, and Quest 3 use similar outward-facing cameras to the now-discontinued Oculus Rift S to provide 6DOF motion tracking, and similar 6DOF motion controls. They lack a dedicated gaming PC’s processing power on their own, but their high-end mobile processors (especially the Quest Pro’s Snapdragon XR2+) push detailed, smooth graphics. They also support PC-tethered VR with an optional cable.

Apple Vision Pro

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The Apple Vision Pro is the most advanced of the standalone headsets by far, and the most advanced headset in general. Apple doesn’t call it a VR headset but rather a “spatial computer,” but as a device it’s very similar to the Quest Pro. It relies entirely on eye and hand tracking for control and has the most intuitive interface we’ve seen by far. It’s also $3,500, which is a huge ask compared with any other headset in this list. It’s also a first-generation device on a new platform, even if the platform (VisionOS) is built on iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS.

Sony Spatial Reality Headset

Sony “spatial reality” headset (Credit: Sony)

Sony’s “spatial reality” headset announced at CES 2024 is the other model to keep an eye on. Details are scant, but Sony says it will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ chip, indicating it could be standalone headset like the Meta Quest. More interesting are its controllers: a ring and a wand that are designed for “intuitive interaction with 3D objects and precise pointing.” Aimed at content creators, it could be a major release for VTubers and other streamers.


Meta emphasizes that the Quest 2, Quest 3, and Quest Pro are all devices for its “metaverse,” which is still fairly ill-defined apart from a few specific apps under the Meta Horizon name. It remains a vague concept, but the Quest headsets are the best jumping-off points for exploring the company’s vision. Our metaverse guide will help you understand what’s happening, based on the few hard details.

Meta’s vision of the metaverse hasn’t really panned out, and the aforementioned Horizon Worlds app is a ghost town. On the other hand, platforms and games that don’t call themselves metaverse like Roblox and VRChat have effectively become popular multimedia experiences crafted and curated by users. You can also use them outside of VR.


The Best Augmented Reality (AR) Headsets

You might have seen other headsets pop up over the last few years, including the Microsoft HoloLens and the Magic Leap One. They aren’t on this list for a few reasons, but the biggest one is that they’re augmented reality (AR) headsets, not virtual reality headsets. And yes, there’s a difference.

Basically, these AR headsets have transparent lenses that let you look at your surroundings instead of completely replacing your vision with a computer-generated image. They project images over whatever you’re looking at, but those images are designed to complement and interact with the area around you. You can make a web browser pop up in the middle of a room, for instance, or watch animals run around your coffee table. It’s fascinating technology that could hint at the future of computing.

Recommended by Our Editors

The emphasis here is on the future, as in several years away. That brings us to the second biggest reason the HoloLens and Magic Leap One aren’t in this list: They aren’t consumer products. Both devices are purely intended as development hardware, so AR software can be made for their platforms. Considering each headset costs several thousand dollars, you shouldn’t expect a large library of AR experiences for a while. Outside of specific enterprise and education uses, AR headsets are an early adopter playground at best, and not for most people.

The Apple Vision Pro is the closest to a comprehensive AR headset we’ve seen, and the Meta Quest Pro isn’t too far behind it. They use passthrough cameras instead of transparent lenses, so your view of your surroundings won’t be as clear as transparent displays, but they still show everything around you, in color, and scan those surroundings to properly place virtual objects in that space.

If you can’t wait for the technology to mature or become more affordable, we’ve found several consumer-available smart glasses that are very useful, though don’t deliver on actual augmented reality. They project large images in front of your eyes and can have limited head tracking to keep that virtual screen fixed in place before you, and make great privacy-minded external monitors if you want to watch movies, play games, or work on the go.

With that in mind, we’ll continue to track the best new VR headsets as they are released, so make sure to check back soon for updates. And after you find the right headset, check out our list of the best VR games.



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