Best VR Headsets for VRChat in 2021

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The gaming industry is experiencing unprecedented growth in popularity, fueled by technological advancements, mainstream exposure, and innovative game design. Virtual reality gaming and experiences are particularly growing at a furious pace, as all major designers of gaming hardware scramble to provide gamers with quality VR gaming solutions.

At the center of this is VRChat, a unique virtual reality gaming platform with more than 50,000 users and developers working on creating interactive experiences and environments where VR gamers can interact with each other.

VRChat is available through the Steam gaming marketplace, and it is free to use. Millions of VR gamers are playing VRChat and interacting with each other in different 3D worlds.

To fully experience VRChat and immerse yourself in the virtual worlds, you definitely need a VR headset. Being in its incipient phase, the market for VR headsets is very diverse and confusing for most casual gamers and people who might be interested in trying VRChat. The lack of standardization and common development goals are evident and a clear sign that the VR market is yet to mature.

To help you navigate this, we tested a bunch of VRChat compatible headsets available on the market and ran them through our VRChat tests. We came up with a list of our favorite VR headsets for VRChat and separated them into several categories. If you would like to learn more about which VR headset is a perfect fit for your needs, read on.

Best VR Headsets for VRChat Compared

HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System
HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System

Native VRChat Compatibility: Yes
PC Compatibility: Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, Mac
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: Yes
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 2880 x 1600

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Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: Yes
PC Compatibility: Yes
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: YES
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 2560 x 1440

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Samsung HMD Odyssey Headset
Samsung HMD Odyssey Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: Windows Mixed Reality
PC Compatibility: YES
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: YES
Refresh Rate: up to 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 2880 x 1600

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Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset
Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: Cross Platform
PC Compatibility: With Oculus Link cable
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: NO
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 3664 x 1920

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Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset
Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: Cross-Platform
PC Compatibility: With Oculus Link cable
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: NO
Refresh Rate: 72Hz
Screen Resolution: 2880 x 1660

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Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset
Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: Windows Mixed Reality
PC Compatibility: Yes
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: Yes
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 2880 x 1440

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Pimax 5K Plus Virtual Reality Headset
Pimax 5K Plus Virtual Reality Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: NO
PC Compatibility: YES
Motion Tracking: Only with 3rd-party sensors
3D Audio: Yes
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Screen Resolution: 5120 x 1440

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HTC VIVE Cosmos VRChat Headset
HTC VIVE Cosmos VRChat Headset

Native VRChat Compatibility: No / Possible with addons
PC Compatibility: Yes
Motion Tracking: 6 DOF
3D Audio: Yes
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Screen Resolution: 2880 x 1700

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Furthermore, let’s go again through our top VR headsets for VRChat picks in 2021, and review each device.

1. HTC VIVE Pro Virtual Reality System – Best Overall Choice

HTC was one of the first companies to pioneer the smartphone market with the first Android smartphone devices.

As major competitors in the mobile space took over those markets, HTC shifted its focus on virtual reality products, and HTC Vive Pro is their current flagship offering.

Sporting the industry-leading 2880 x 1600 resolution, along with the best AMOLED screens, no other device was able to match the visual experience offered by the HTC Vive Pro.

If you are looking for superior pixel density and fantastic image clarity, this is the device for you.

To complete the sensory experience, HTC Vive Pro comes with 360-degree spatial audio that puts your right into the middle of the action.

By buying HTC Vive Pro Virtual Reality System you get the whole package, including external sensors that you will install in the room you want to use for VR. It is a complete out-of-the-box system, as long as you can pair it with a powerful PC that will provide the graphics processing.

VRChat looks impressive when using HTC Vive Pro, and the tracking system is far superior to anything that the competition has to offer. Using the HTC Vive wireless adapter, you can get up to 2.5 hours of gameplay, which is just OK. Additional battery packs are available for purchase and extended gameplay.

All this performance and technology comes at a price, and HTC Vive Pro Virtual Reality System is undoubtedly expensive. Still, if you would like to experience the cutting-edge VR experience available on the market today, this is the best VR set for VRChat.

The market for VR headsets is still young, but HTC’s Vive Pro Virtual Reality System has a significant lead on the rest of the competition. Cutting-edge motion tracking and industry-leading visual performance make the Vive Pro the best headset for VRChat, as long as you can afford the price tag.
We Liked
  • Industry-leading screen resolution
  • Native VRChat support
  • 360-degree spatial audio
  • Cutting-edge motion tracking technology
We Didn’t Like
  • Quite expensive

2. Oculus Rift S – Value Native VRChat Choice

Oculus, owned by Facebook, made its entry into the VR world with the Oculus Rift headset, which offered a lot of promise but ended up being a flawed device.

It took Oculus almost five years to come up with Oculus Rift S, their new flagship device.

Oculus Rift S offers better resolution than its predecessor, maxing out at 2560 x 1440.

Unfortunately, the image quality cannot match our top choice HTC Vive Pro, since the Oculus Rift uses LCD screens, rather than AMOLED ones. Support for 360-degree spatial audio is there as well.

The headset also has improved ergonomics and an easy VRChat setup, one of the areas where the Original Oculus Rift struggled. The headset still gets quite hot and made us sweat quicker than some competitors, but the overall experience of using it in VRChat was comfortable and rewarding.

The redesigned tracking system provides better motion tracking and deals away with unreliable tracking sensors from the original Oculus Rift.

Overall, Oculus Rift is a solid headset with native VRChat support that offers plenty of improvements compared to its predecessor. The fact that it is also $100 cheaper and far more affordable than the HTC Vive Pro, makes Oculus Rift S our value pick for a native VRChat headset.

Oculus took all the negative feedback and press from the original Oculus Rift and released a much-improved Rift S. Oculus Rift S provides an excellent VRChat experience for just a fraction of the price of more premium solution like HTC Vive Pro, and that makes it our value king.
We Liked
  • Excellent value for the price
  • Improved tracking capabilities
  • No external sensors necessary
  • Native support for VRChat
We Didn’t Like
  • Lacks the premium image clarity and colors due to LCD screens
  • Controller battery drains even when not in use

3. Samsung HMD Odyssey Headset – Premium WMR Choice

Samsung is one of the largest manufacturers of electronics in the world and has been one of the early adopters of VR technology.

Although their initial efforts were focused on VR smartphone devices, their Windows Mixed Reality VRChat headset Samsung HMD Odyssey+ caught our eye in testing. 

Sure, you are not getting the full immersion with this device like on the HTC Vive Pro or Oculus Rift S, but Samsung packed the HMD Odyssey+ with fantastic hardware to make the WMR experience feel premium and the VRChat requirements are met.

The image is crisp and vivid, thanks to the 2800×1600 Super AMOLED displays that Samsung is famous for. HMD Odyssey+ also offers 360-degree spatial audio for better immersion.

Where Samsung dropped the ball a bit was in the comfort area of the headset. The device is lightweight and fits well on the head, but anyone wearing glasses will have a hard time with this one, as the chamber is quite tight. Otherwise, the headset has excellent build quality and the battery in the controllers will offer up to 5 hours of autonomy.

None of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets offered the image quality and immersion that HMD Odyssey+ from Samsung does, making it our pick for Premium WMR VRChat headset.

Samsung took a leap into the WMR headset niche with Odyssey+ and managed to create a device that offers unmatched image quality and performance in that segment.

Some might feel that a lack of true native VRChat support is an issue here, but honestly we believe the experience is still fantastic. The only downside we felt was the cramped VR chamber of the headset.
We Liked
  • Superior image quality due to 2880 x 1600 Super AMOLED screen
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Excellent battery autonomy
  • 360-degree spatial audio for better immersion
We Didn’t Like
  • Unsuitable for gamers with glasses
  • No native VRChat compatibility

4. Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset – Top Cross-Platform Choice

While devices like HTC Vive Pro and Samsung HMD Odyssey+ offer fantastic image quality and performance, they also come with a hefty price tag.

The premium pricing of the headsets and VRChat equipment is just a part of the problem since the real expense is investing in a powerful gaming PC that is necessary to play VRChat and other VR games on them.

Oculus has gone in a different direction and tried to provide an all-in-one VR headset that is both affordable and performs well. Their second-generation device, Oculus Quest 2 is built on ARM-architecture using Samsungs XR2 processors to power the headset.

Not only will it run VR games for the mobile platforms but, also can be tethered to a PC with an optional Oculus Link cable. It offers the best of both worlds.

VRChat, unfortunately, does not have native support on the Oculus Quest 2, but the cross-platform experience is still great and enjoyable.

One thing that is extremely annoying is the requirement from Oculus (owned by Facebook) for players to have a Facebook account in order to download and play games.

By closing a Facebook account you will also lose access to your games on Oculus Quest 2. In our opinion, that is a major flaw in an otherwise great budget cross-platform VRChat headset.

Oculus has improved on the original Quest and offered both PC-tethered and pure All-in-One features in an affordable headset. The silly Facebook account requirement and sometimes unreliable tracking are the only things that put a blemish on this device.
We Liked
  • Great support for All-in-One and PC-tethered VR experiences
  • Affordable
  • Good battery autonomy and build quality
  • Comfortable and lightweight
We Didn’t Like
  • Tracking can be unreliable
  • Facebook account requirements are silly and offensive

5. Oculus Quest All-in-One – Top Budget VR Gaming Headset

We already covered most of the advantages that all-in-one VR headsets bring to the table in the previous entry about Oculus Quest 2. So, you might ask what is Oculus Quest doing on this list then.

Well, we believe with the Quest 2 on the market, Quest is available at a lower price and if you are ready to make a few compromises, you are getting tremendous value at this price.

This is Oculus’ cheap VR headset for VRChat.

The image quality in VRChat is still great, as the 2880 x 1660 OLED resolution screen will show plenty of details and vivid colors. The motion tracking and audio are on-par with the Quest 2 and the recent support for Oculus Link provides PC-tether functionality as well. Of course, there is no native compatibility for VRChat, but rather just a cross-platform one.

If you are a beginner, looking to enter the VRChat world at an affordable price, this is the best VR for VRChat for budget gamers.

Oculus Quest is arguably better value now after the price drop and addition of Oculus Link PC-tether functionality. The compromises compared to the Quest 2 are minor, making this a fantastic budget VRChat headset that does not require additional VRChat VR gear.
We Liked
  • Fantastic value
  • Cross-platform support and Oculus Link PC-tether functionality
  • Solid image quality and vivid colors on OLED screens
  • Sturdy build quality
We Didn’t Like
  • No native VRChat compatibility
  • Requires the use of a Facebook account

6. Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset – Budget WMR Choice

Sometimes you want a device that will provide you with a wider set of applications and features and still allow you to enjoy VRChat in downtime.

Windows Mixed Reality devices excel in this area since they provide also business and industry compatibility with different types of software and VR experiences.

Finding a budget WMR device that provides excellent performance and image quality without breaking the bank was surely a challenge. 

Still, Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset was just fantastic in this segment. Vivid colors and impressive image quality with 2880 x 1440 screen resolution and butter-smooth 90Hz refresh rate impressed us.

The headset is also very comfortable and designed with ergonomics in mind. Sure, native VRChat compatibility is not there, but the added features and WMR applications make this a headset of choice for the budget aware VRChat gamers that use WMR features as well for work or hobby.

Acer was a surprise name on this list with their WMR Headset, but make no mistakes this a fantastic budget WMR unit. No compromises on the image quality and immersion, along with solid ergonomics and build quality, this is a great budget VR set for PC for VRChat and WMR enthusiasts.
We Liked
  • Great budget VMR Headset
  • Excellent image quality
  • 3D spatial audio
  • Ergonomic design
We Didn’t Like
  • No native VRChat compatibility

7. Pimax 5K Plus VR Headset – Wide-Angle VRChat Headset

Another unexpected entry on this list is the Pimax 5K Plus VR headset.

Pimax launched the product after a successful Kickstarter campaign, with the aim of bringing a wide-angle approach to VR gaming and superior resolution and refresh rate.

Boy, did it work? The 200-degree field of view in VRChat and other VR games is just fantastic, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes the movement smooth and realistic.

The headset is also very lightweight and comfortable for longer gaming sessions. Still, it would be unfair not to mention the main drawback of this Pimax 5K Plus VR Headset.

Gaming at such VR resolution is extremely demanding, and the PC needed to power this headset alone will costs you several thousands of dollars. That is a big NO for budget aware gamers.

Also, Pimax does not offer controller or motion tracking with this headset, and you have to purchase them separately from either Steam or other 3rd-party manufacturers. Yet, if a budget is not an issue and want to experience a true next-level VRChat experience, this is the headset to do it.

Pimax 5K Plus was a breakthrough for us and we truly enjoyed every minute of that high-res wide-angle VRChat experience. The cost of entry is extremely high though, due to the need for a premium gaming PC to power it and 3rd-party motion tracking and controllers.
We Liked
  • Fantastic 5K VRChat resolution
  • 200-degree field of view
  • Lightweight
  • 120Hz refresh is amazing for fast-paced gameplay
We Didn’t Like
  • Only a headset. Needs third-party VRChat controls and motion tracking
  • No native compatibility for VRChat

8. HTC VIVE Cosmos – Modular VRChat Headset

The final entry on this list is the first and only modular VRChat headset, the HTC Vive Cosmos.

Launched in 2018, Cosmos takes a different design approach to VR headsets, as it allows for a variety of modules and accessories to be added to the headset to improve functionality and features.

HTC is the only company that was able to provide a headset in this segment that works well and does not cut corners on performance.

This is an ideal choice for VR gamers who want to customize their experiences and find the sweet spot that suits their gaming style. VRChat is not natively supported out of the box, but with addition of HTC base stations motion tracking, it can be upgraded to the full VRChat Steam experience.

The image quality is superb due to 2880 x 1700 screen resolution and 90Hz refresh rate.

If you would like a VRChat headset that can be used for other applications as well, then give HTC Vive Cosmos a try.

HTC Vive Cosmos is the only modular VRChat headset on this list. It performs really well and offers unmatched versatility, yet the add-ons are quite pricey and the future of the modular approach entirely depends on HTC’s plans.
We Liked
  • Modular design for added features
  • Excellent image quality
  • Ergonomic design
  • 90Hz refresh rate
We Didn’t Like
  • Pricey, especially with add-ons

Buying Guide for Best VR Headsets for VRChat

Picking the right VR headset for your needs and budget is quite complicated, as you need to take many factors into account. The quality of the hardware is just one of the major factors that contribute to the VRChat experience. This is why we have prepared a short guide with the most important things you should consider when choosing a VR headset.

Hardware VR Chat Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel® i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 970 / AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
Most of the budget gaming rigs should meet these requirements, as long as you have a non-integrated (dedicated) graphics card that can run the 3D environments.

Bear in mind that these are not the only hardware requirements you have to meet. Different VR headsets have different hardware requirements, so you will have to meet those as well. We recommend always double-checking the minimum hardware requirements of both VRChat and the VR headset of your choice.

Also, go for the recommended hardware configuration always, rather than minimum requirements.

Future updates to the VRChat platform could increase the hardware requirements, and your minimum spec setup might not be able to offer a proper VRChat experience anymore.

VRChat Smartphone

VR smartphone headsets are the most affordable entry into the VRChat experience. These VR headsets do not have screens or any processing power, but rather an attachment module for a supported smartphone that does the heavy lifting.

Unless you have a powerful smartphone and your VR headset supports it, you will not be able to use this platform.

Bear in mind that VR smartphone headsets suffer from overheating because smartphones are working on their thermal limits to push the VR environments, and the level of VR immersion leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, quite a few users report issues with dizziness and nausea when using the VR smartphone headsets.

VRChat Terminology

To make a smooth transition into VRChat gaming, it is necessary to get familiar with some of the VRChat terminology. Do not worry. The whole experience is relatively intuitive, and you will get the hang of it in no time.

VRChat Worlds

VRChat community of developers is creating countless environments for virtual reality interaction, called Worlds. In this section, you can go through various worlds and search for those that spark your interest.

Another cool option is that there are separate sections within each world with specific themes that provide an even more customized VRChat experience.

VRChat Avatar

Your VRChat avatar is the way you will appear in the virtual reality environment.

You can fully customize the way you look, including choosing to appear as an animal, robot, or any kind of mutant creature you can think of.

VRChat Social

This section of the VRChat game provides you with an overview of who are players you are currently interacting with, as well as a look into people populating other VR worlds within VRChat. It is easy to keep up with your friends and see when they are online or invite them to join you in different worlds.

VRChat Camera

VRChat offers two distinct camera views you can use when playing, Panorama and VRChive Panorama. Classic Panorama captures 360-degree pictures of your virtual environment and stores them on your computer, while VRChive Panorama takes the same images and uploads them to your VRChive folder on the cloud.

VRChat Emotes and Emojis

One of the best ways to express your mood and emotions in VRChat is by using emojis in the chat. The emojis will appear on the screen, and your friends and other players you are interacting with can see them.

To take your emoji game to the next level, you should go for the Emote option of animating your VRChat avatars to show emotions in a more subtle yet interactive way.

VRChat Respawn

Exploring virtual worlds, especially if you are a novice, can often get overwhelming and confusing, and you might get lost. An easy way to get back on track is to use the VRChat Respawn option, which takes you back to the original spot you entered the virtual world at the beginning of your session.

VRChat Environments

VRChat is available in several environments, each offering a different level of immersion. They are:

  • Native VRChat environment (supported only on HTC Vive Pro and Oculus Rift S headsets)
  • Windows Mixed Reality environment
  • Cross-Platform environment available for Oculus Quest and Quest 2 headsets

VRChat Headset Selection

By far, the most confusing part of the VRChat experience is picking the right VRChat headset to use. This is mostly due to the lack of uniform hardware and standardization, as well as different visions for VR gaming by hardware manufacturers. Therefore, it is impossible to put all VR headsets into the same basket.

Full-Immersion VRChat Headsets

There are currently only three headsets on the market that have native support for VRChat and offer full immersion with advanced gestures and motion tracking.

Two of them are manufactured by HTC, HTC Vive, and HTC Vive Pro. The third one is the Oculus Rift S.

If you want to experience VRChat in its full glory, the Oculus Rift S is the VR headset for you.

Cross-Platform VRChat Headsets

The launch of All-in-One Oculus Quest VR headsets caused a bit of a tumble in the VRChat community. Developers who want VRChat worlds to be eligible for Oculus Quest need to develop a separate, cross-platform version for those worlds.

The advantages are that you get the full-immersion experience at a lower price point, while the downsides are that the number of VRChat worlds available is drastically smaller.

Windows Mix Reality (WMR) VRChat Headsets

These devices lack the native support and motion tracking mentioned in the previous groups but still can be used with VRChat, although in a limited way.

The major advantage of these headsets is their lower-price and PC hardware requirements that are much lower than on the full-immersion headsets. There are many VR headset manufacturers in this category.

Depending on your budget and what you expect from your VRChat gaming experience, any of these headset groups could be the right choice for you. Ensure that the headset you choose is comfortable and the right size for you; otherwise, the experience will be frustrating, regardless of how good the hardware is.

VR Headsets for VRChat FAQs

1. What VR headsets work with VRChat?

There are many VR headsets that will work with VRChat, but not all of them offer full immersion due to weaker hardware. In those cases, VR headsets might provide a limited VRChat experience. Currently, only HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, and Oculus Rift S provide full immersion VRChat experience in the market.

2. Do I need a VR headset to play VRChat?

Technically, you do not need to have a VR headset to play VRChat, as there is an option to run the VRChat game in Non-VR mode. Your avatar will still load into the 3D world of your choice, and with the use of a regular headset and controls, you can interact with other players in the game.

Still, this is a somewhat limited experience compared to the VR immersion that VR headsets provide.

3. How to play VRChat without a VR headset?

Open Steam on your computer and find the VRChat app. After downloading and installing this free game, choose “Launch In Desktop (Non-VR) Mode”.

The game will load into a mode that does not require a VR headset. Make sure to use a regular headset so you can chat with other characters and use keyboard or gamepad controls to move your character.

Conclusion – What’s the best VR Headset for VRChat?

Putting this VRChat headset guide was an amazing experience. We believe that we have chosen the best devices that can bring VRChat to life for all tastes and budgets.

If you would like to experience VRChat in its full glory, take a look at HTC Vive Pro and its industry-leading image quality and performance. Budget VRChat gamers, should check out Oculus Rift S.

Andrew Smith