Over the last 5 to 10 years, Virtual Reality, or VR for short, has taken the world by storm.
Once just a novel concept that occupied the realms of science fiction and fantasy stories, the virtual world has been slowly creeping into the gaming industry for decades, with cases like the ambitious-but-unsuccessful Virtual Boy from Nintendo in the mid-1990s, and the promised-but-never-finished Sega VR around the same time.
But over the last couple of years, there’s been an explosion of high-quality VR tech that made it big where Nintendo and Sega previously did not, and it shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it looks set up to become an even bigger player in the gaming market in the next couple of years.
And following this new wave of tech comes a whole range of new games and programs that have attempted to capture the magic of VR, with as many hits as there have been misses. From games like Beat Saber to the hundreds of ports of popular older titles with mixed success.
Out of all of these releases, perhaps one of the greatest and strangest has been the game VRChat. The game is just like its title suggests: It’s a social platform where players can interact with other people through the 3D avatars and worlds they create, including many from popular culture.
Imagine being a character or figure from popular culture. Now picture them having a conversation or playing a card game with another random character.
Imagine this and a player base that has only grown since the start of 2020, and you can see the recipe for unique and memorable moments it makes.
As the game and others like it continue to increase in popularity, and become more tailored to the VR experience as the technology becomes better and more immersive, you’re going to want to get in on that fun.
We’ve compiled a buyer’s guide of VR headsets and their attachments, and gone through their key features that will help you get started in VRChat and your virtual journey!
OUR TOP PICK
Probably the biggest names in the VR headset market right now, Oculus have followed up their original hit with the Rift S. With its improved optics over the original Oculus Rift with 115°, you’ll be able to see more of the VR madness around you at any given time!
The improved ergonomics of the headset make it so much more comfortable to wear too.
The weight distribution redesign and better light-blocking mean that you’ll be able to immerse yourself better in the virtual worlds you explore. No need to worry about discomfort or aches and pains after you finish a session with this sleek design!
The improved controller senses allow for more dexterous movement in-game too. No need for 10 or 20 tries to push that one object in your way aside: With these intuitive controllers, your movements will be translated into the gestures and actions you want.
- Great Optics - An excellent improvement over its predecessor.
- Well-Designed - Very comfortable, easy to wear for several hours at a time.
- Well-crafted controllers - Able to translate your finest movements into a VR session.
- Extra wires - Your headset will have a wired connection to your PC, and the headphone jack on the visor tends to dangle, which may affect your playing experience.
- Powerful add-on - The Oculus Rift S is going to need a strong PC to run. Make sure your CPU is at least Quad Core or an equivalent before buying.
Samsung’s alternative to the Oculus Rift, the Odyssey, is a great alternative if you’re looking for a VR headset with built-in headphones and a microphone. Be prepared to be immersed in your virtual worlds with their excellent sound quality.
The 110° AMOLED display gives you an excellent display to view the wonderful and varied character models around you. And with a 10% reduction in weight from its previous model, you’ll be able to wear it more comfortably, and for longer too!
- Built-in extras - Headphones and microphones are built into the device, with no need for frustrating wires.
- Efficient design - Headset is lighter and more comfortable, whilst still providing a great range of vision.
- Easy Setup - It only takes a few minutes to plug in and get started!
- Wired Connection - A wired link to your PC is still needed, so make sure to keep that in mind when you’re busy getting immersed in VRChat.
HTC’s answer to VR, the Pro Virtual Reality System, is an excellent choice if you are looking for something more up-market. Its excellent tracking system allows you to play in a 22’11” x 22’11” scale room. Plenty of room to move around with others in a virtual world of endless possibilities!
And when paired with the 360° coverage of the controllers, your every movement can be translated into VRChat.
If you’re the sort of person who enjoys moving your hands and body when talking to others, this will give you that same feeling in your player-avatar in all your weird and wonderful conversations.
And with the in-built noise-cancellation headphones, you won’t have to worry about the outside world interrupting!
- Excellent Motion-capture - makes for super-realistic gaming
- Varied gaming options - Whether sat down, moving around the room with other VR users or just standing, the Vive Pro VR System’s tracking system allows you to play however you feel in VRChat
- Noise cancellation - Stay immersed in VRChat with this headset’s 3D spatial sound headphones.
- Weight - At 3.82 lbs, this is a little on the heavier side when compared to its competitors.
Our second Oculus device on this list, the Quest All-in-One VR Headset is an excellent option for those who are still a little unsure about VR and all that entails.
Everything is built-in to the headset: The PC is needed, no extra setup is required. Everything you need to play in VRChat is packed into this little bundle of VR Gaming!
Simply connect and sign in to Facebook with your smartphone, and that’s it! You’re ready to start downloading and playing, all from the headset. Not bad for this little piece of hardware!
Plus, the controller designs are the same as the Oculus Rift S, so veteran Oculus VR players will feel right at home with the Quest All-in-One. Now with extra freedom!
- Wireless design - No wires to get tangled up in. If you don’t want to be tied down by a PC, the Quest has you covered!
- Easy setup - Less time setting up, more time for VRChatting.
- Ergonomic design - With a comfortable head strap, you’ll be able to comfortably play for hours with this thing on!
- Compatibility - Whilst VRChat is available on the Oculus Quest and is Cross-platform with PC players, you won’t be able to access PC-only levels and character avatars.
- Battery Life - Battery charge can get eaten up pretty quickly with more demanding games. If you’re in a large VRChat server, this might be pretty noticeable.
With a 2160p per eye headset, the HP Reverb G2 might be one of the most visually powerful headsets on the market right now.
Perhaps a little overkill for VRChat right now, but will mean that you’ll be good to play crisp kart games with a wacky range of player avatars for a long time to come. A good future-proofing feature on HP’s part.
Combined with the BMR headphones that come built-in to the device, and that's a great combination for immersive gameplay and talking through chat.
All this is crammed into a device that comes quite a decent amount cheaper than other high-end VR headsets, and you’ve got quite the kit to take online with.
- Incredible graphics - Excellent for playing
- Tracking issues - While base stations aren’t necessary, the surrounding light has a pretty noticeable effect on tracking. Not too light or too dark for this one.
The providers of hit games and the Steam games store have added their addition to the VR headset tech-race with the Index.
With a refresh rate that beats some of the more expensive VR headset models, the Index’s rendering rate is surprisingly powerful, especially for a first-try at VR Headset technology.
That rendering power is put to good use, as the graphical power of this wide-screened device is equally impressive. Great for if you’re entering a busy VR server!
The controllers are a great work of engineering too. Being able to move individual fingers in a game is mind-bogglingly amazing. In terms of immersion, the Steam controllers are nothing to sneeze at.
- Great View and High-Powered graphics - Excellent field of vision for VRChat.
- Controller design - Incredibly natural feeling, and produces great results in-game.
- A powerful piece of Kit - No need to upgrade your PC for this. Index VR can work on a surprising range of GPUs.
- Base Stations required - For something that feels as powerful as this headset, these devices needed to map out your play-space feel a little old-fashioned and cumbersome.
The HTC Vive Cosmos is the second VR set from the company, so seeing what they charge for this product is quite interesting.
The crisp 2880 x 1700 pixels are a welcome addition and, combined with the LCD screen included in the headset and in-built, makes for an immersive experience for players. All great features when you’re running around the virtual worlds of VRChat.
Although base stations are needed to reach the headset’s full VR potential, the 160 feet of space up for grabs is a great offer.
Plus, with the ability to be compatible with other controllers brands, you’ll be able to tailor your Virtual experience to your tastes! Want the HTC headset, but the HP Reverb’s controllers? The Vive Cosmos has you covered!
- Crisp Graphics - The new LCD screen cuts the space between pixels in the screen, leading to a more immersive experience in VRChat and other games.
- Flip design - A novel but useful way of going from the real world to a game world quickly.
- Compatibility - Great if you want to mix the headset with controllers from other brands.
- Bulky - This is one of the heavier pieces of VR kit out there.
- Base Stations - As we see VR space-awareness improve, seeing these in modern setups feels a little strange.
For those players who are still unsure of how to get VR, the Acer Mixed Reality Headset might be just the gateway you need into a new virtual world of possibilities.
With a surprisingly good refresh rate for its price range and easy installation, the Mixed Reality Headset might be just the thing you’re looking for to get into VR.
The adjustable straps on the headset are great if you want to show the experience to your friends and family. A great little feature that goes a long way for accessibility.
And with the Windows mixed reality portal app on your computer/laptop, you’ll be well supported to start your journey into virtual gaming and VRChat.
- Easy Setup - No need for extra installs of other programs or intricate PC building. Just plugin and get started.
- Adjustable headset - This can be tailored to you for the most comfortable experience. Plus, the flip-visor means you don’t need to take it off when interrupted!
- No base stations needed - Everything space-related is built into the headset.
- No in-built headphones - While there is a headphone jack on the side of the visor, you’ll have to bring your own to get a full experience.
Best VR Headsets For VRChat Buying Guide
Now, if you’re new to the world of VR, the temptation might be to grab a cheap headset and controllers and get started. After all, you may not even be that into Virtual-Reality games, so why waste your wallet on something that will both disappoint, and cost a fortune?
Whilst this isn’t a terrible idea, there are a few different options that won’t break your bank if you’re looking in the right places, there are a few other things you should consider when buying a headset for virtual gaming, especially for a social game like VRChat.
If you’re feeling brave and want to search for other VR options, here are a few features you’ll want to keep in mind when you buy.
Wired vs Wireless
This is a pretty self-explanatory point: Wires can be a real hassle sometimes. They get tangled up easily, they can get in the way of your movement when you’re moving around, and they can break your immersion.
If you have a wireless VR headset, none of that will matter: You can move about freely, and won’t have to worry about pulling on or tripping over the cord from your headset to your computer.
There are a couple of drawbacks with this model to keep in mind though: All wireless headsets will be limited by what their onboard processors can run, whereas a wired headset will have the benefit of an external computer to handle all that processing.
This isn’t a deal-breaker: VRChat isn’t the most demanding game to run, but that could be an issue if you enter a larger, more busy server/level.
Immersion is a tricky element to nail down when talking about VRChat, but it can be the thing that makes or breaks an experience in VR.
For example, if the headset doesn’t block out real light from your vision, or the equipment you’re using is particularly heavy, it can get tiresome very quickly to have to constantly adjust your headgear whilst playing the game.
Some headsets will also require devices called base stations to read your movements in a designated safe space, whilst some will have their spatial-awareness features in-built with the headsets. The technology is still very young, so who knows how this will look in just a few years.
Other small details can have just as much of an impact as well. Being able to move in-game objects around the world realistically can lend to a sense of being in a different space. VR headsets and controllers will allow for very delicate and realistic movements like finger-tracking and gesturing.
In a game like VRChat, you want to be able to express yourself to other players, so this is a big feature to keep in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I need any extra equipment to use my VR headset?
Any extras you will need will depend on what brand of headset you get. All newly-bought headsets will come with the wires needed to connect to your PC, though some VR controllers do not come as chargeable models, so make sure to top up on your batteries
Headsets that don’t need PC’s like the Oculus Quest will have most of their necessary gear ready to use out of the box. Some do not come with built-in headphones, however, most come with audio jacks, so you may need to attach your own.