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The 5 Best VR Headsets Under $300: Ultimate Guide

It’s hard to believe how far virtual reality has come in a few short years!  From improved displays, controls and tracking – not to mention innovations in movement and sickness reduction – VR is well on its way to mainstream adoption.  Perhaps most importantly, prices have decreased to the point that great headsets are now available at prices that most consumers can stomach!  The following are the best examples of great VR headsets under $300!

The Top-Rated VR Headsets Under $300

Editor's PickVR HeadsetScore
Top PickOculus Quest 291%
Runner UpSony PlayStation VR90%
Budget PickOculus Quest88%
Best StandaloneOculus Go 85%
Best HardcoreHTC Vive91%

Got more to spend? See our guide to the best VR headsets under $500.

Top Pick: Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2
  • Next-level Hardware - Make every move count with a blazing-fast processor and our highest-resolution display
  • All-In-One Gaming - With backward compatibility, you can explore new titles and old favorites in the expansive Quest content library
  • Immersive Entertainment - Get the best seat in the house to live concerts, groundbreaking films, exclusive events and more
  • Quest 2 requires your Facebook account to log in, making it easy to meet up with friends in VR and discover communities around the world
  • Easy Setup - Just open the box, set up with the smartphone app and jump into VR. No PC or console needed. Requires wireless internet access and the Oculus app (free download) to set up device

The Oculus Quest 2 follows-up on the promise of its predecessor by improving in a number of impactful ways – perhaps none more important than the improved display that features a whopping 50% more pixels!  

This simple, yet comprehensive package comes with everything needed to get started in style – headset, controllers, cables and even built-in 3D speakers.  All that’s needed is a sufficiently powerful PC, and you’re ready to enter the world of VR!

If you’re ready to get lost in truly immersive gaming experiences at a reasonable price – and you do have the aforementioned PC hardware, there’s no better start than the Oculus Quest 2!

Runner-Up: Sony PlayStation VR

Sony PlayStation VR
  • Contains: PlayStation VR headset, Processor unit, PlayStation VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, Stereo headphones, AC power cord, AC adaptor, PlayStation VR Demo Disc
  • Games Come First - With gamers in mind, PlayStation delivers a new world of unexpected gaming experiences through PlayStation VR
  • Just Plug and Play - Getting into PlayStation VR couldn't be easier. Just plug the PlayStation VR headset and your PlayStation Camera into your PlayStation 4 system. Sold separately
  • Advanced VR Display - Seamless visuals keep you connected to the virtual world through an expansive 5.7” OLED 1080p display running at up to 120 frames per second
  • 3D Audio Technology - 3D Audio with PlayStation VR means that you'll be able to pinpoint sounds above, below, and all around you

The Sony PlayStation VR is a great headset for gamers who don’t have a gaming PC – but do have a Playstation 4 console!  It may come as a surprise to some that the experience rivals that provided by much costlier PC setups – but you’ll likely be too busy gaming to think much of it once you strap-in!

Included in the package is almost everything needed to get going – the headset, adapters and cables are joined by a demo disc of awesome games and experiences.  The set doesn’t include a Playstation controller, but chances are good that anyone considering this headset already has one!  Many games are also compatible with the PS Move motion controllers – which are also sold separately.

While PSVR isn’t quite on-par with the higher-end PC VR experiences, it is genuinely amazing for the price, and shouldn’t be dismissed by anyone who already has a PS4!

Budget Pick: Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest
  • All-in-one VR: Simply set up the device with your Oculus mobile app and Oculus Quest has everything you need to explore VR, right out of the box
  • Insight tracking: Oculus Insight tracking system instantly reflects your movements in VR without the need for any external accessories
  • Touch controllers: Oculus Touch controllers precisely recreate your hands, their gestures and interactions, so every game is real enough to reach out and touch
  • Beyond room-scale: Oculus Quest works with your environment, so you can play standing or sitting, in spaces big or small
  • Oculus Quest requires your Facebook account to log in, making it easy to meet up with friends in VR and discover communities around the world.

The Oculus Quest may not have some of the upgraded features included in the second-generation hardware that just launched, but it still does a wonderful job of introducing gamers to the world of VR – and now does so at a dramatically reduced price!

Many retailers are still sitting on a large supply of original Oculus Quest headsets, and are going to great lengths to liquidate stock – some may argue TOO great lengths considering that the OG unit still packs a punch.  

Perhaps best of all, the first Quest has lower system requirements, allowing gamers with older/less powerful PCs to get in on the action!  

Best Standalone: Oculus Go 

Oculus Go
  • Personal Viewing: The littlest, big screen. Crystal clear optics and state-of-the-art 3D graphics make your headset feel more like a personal theater
  • Viewing with Friends: Watch with friends. Meet up in VR with friends and fans from around the world to catch live sports, concerts, or just your favorite TV show
  • Portable & Easy to Use: Ready when you are. Experience portable, all-in-one VR. That means no PC, phone, wires or hassles
  • Controller: Effortless control. Whether it's navigating to your favorite shows or to a far-off land, the intuitive controller makes getting there a cinch
  • Built-In Audio: Surrounded by sound. Spatial audio drivers are built right into the headset, providing dramatic, immersive sound without the need for bulky or tangled headphones. Oculus Go also features a 3.5 millimeter audio jack

The Oculus Go is the ideal VR headset for those who don’t have a gaming PC or video game console, as it has a mini computer built into the unit which does all of the work typically offloaded to more powerful hardware.

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor – like those used by high-end cellphones – the Oculus Go is able to provide a great introductory VR experience without complicating matters or breaking the bank.

If you want to get into quality VR experiences at the absolute lowest price point, this is your best bet!

Best Hardcore: HTC Vive 

HTC Vive 
  • FLEXIBLE PLAY AREA - Use VIVE seated, standing or in a space up to 11'5" x 11'5". SteamVR Tracking provides the most ideal experience possible, so play the way that works for you.
  • FULLY IMMERSIVE - Realistic movement and actions from precise, 360-degree controller and headset tracking with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback in the virtual world
  • POWERED BY STEAM VR - Enjoy over 1500 games for SteamVR, plus everything you love about Steam, including new releases, automatic game updates and millions of your closest friends
  • PLAY SAFER - The Chaperone system warns you when you reach the boundaries of your play area and the headset's front-facing camera gives you a glimpse of the real-world when you need it
  • VIVE VIDEO - An immersive, cinematic VR video player for standard, 3D, 180 and 360 degree videos. Available free on VIVEPORT and Steam.

The HTC Vive is the ultimate gateway to hardcore gaming in VR as it’s the first (and most affordable) headset to be released with the Steam PC gaming platform in mind.  This means it has access to the widest array of games out-of-the-box, many of which are exclusive to the platform!

While you won’t be getting additional hardware such as controllers or motion tracking at a sub-$300 price point anytime soon, most games are playable in VR while using your existing keyboard and mouse – or controller- allowing you to ease-into VR gaming one piece at a time!

For those who think this is just the beginning of something bigger and better, the HTC Vive is the ideal starting point!

What to Look for in a VR Headset Under $300

There are an ever-increasing array of VR headsets coming onto the market, each with its own set of perks and qualifiers that make it ridiculously hard to even know where to start.  Not to worry – the following are all you really need to focus on:

Do you have pre-existing hardware?

The most important thing to consider is:  what are you going to hook this headset up to?  If you have a gaming PC, that will undoubtedly be your best choice.  If not, but you do have a PS4, you can still have a great VR experience!  Many mobile headsets are worth considering, but at a lower price point.  Most standalone headsets are less-than-desirable, but the Oculus Go is definitely worth a look as well!

How much of a gamer are you?

This may sound like a silly question to ask – especially considering that VR may very well be the thing that turns you into a gamer in the first place – but it’s an important consideration!  Serious gamers may already have a massive library of games on Steam that support VR; for this group, HTC VIve is the unequivocal way to go.  For those who aren’t serious about gaming, but nonetheless want a great experience, Oculus Go is a great low-barrier point of entry!

Do you want to do more than just game in VR?

More and more companies are bringing non-gaming experiences to VR and if that interests you, it’s important to consider that before you make your big purchase!  PSVR will exclude you from a lot of content, as will Oculus Go as these units won’t have wide access to the free web.  Due to those sets’ closed nature, many apps, movies and websites simply won’t be accessible. 

Last Updated on March 1, 2021 by Thomas Bush