Winston is a VR developer focused on creating immersive storytelling experiences. Contact him on Twitter: @VRHeavenNews
January 17th, 2022

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VRChat

VRChat is my second most played game (after Beat Saber) on VR with 700+ hours logged. Time really flies in this game.

If you’re interested in VRChat, you’ll likely be spending 2-4+ hours per session. Therefore, the best headset for VRChat is one that’s light & comfortable which allows for prolonged use.

Here are the best VR headsets for VRChat, as well as which ones to avoid:

Things to Note Before Purchasing

There are two versions of VRChat:

  1. The Steam Store version
  2. The Oculus Store version

The Oculus Store version is extremely limited in what you can do:

  • You won’t be able to see all avatars
  • You won’t be able to visit most worlds
  • The people you encounter will generally be of a much younger age.

In order to get the most out of VRChat, you will need a powerful, VR capable PC and a headset that is supported by the Steam Store version.

Despite how it looks, VRChat is actually a very intensive game requiring both GPU and CPU power (a lot of this is due to poor optimization).

Also the PSVR cannot play VRChat.

Best VR Headset for VRChat

best vr headset for vrchat

Best Value: Oculus Quest 2 + Comfort Mods

The Oculus Quest 2, now known as the “Meta Quest 2” is indeed the “best value” headset to get for VRChat. It’s also the best VR headset for general gaming:

However, there is one caveat to the Quest 2:

You need to have a VR-Ready computer that you can link your headset to in order to play the Steam version of VRChat.

If you use the Quest 2 standalone without a PC, you’ll only have access to the Oculus Store version of VRChat which (as I mentioned before) is severely limited.

However, if you don’t have access to a powerful PC, then this is your only option anyways as there aren’t any other standalone headsets on the market.

Pros & Cons of the Quest 2

Pros:

  • Wireless (with the option to be plugged in)
  • Comfort: The Quest 2’s design is pretty horrible and makes it uncomfortable to wear, however, if you remove the face padding and the head strap and replace it with third party ones, it becomes the most comfortable headset on the market! This is because the Quest 2 is one of the lightest headsets on the market. These comfort mods will cost an extra $20-$40 each and here are the 2 comfort mods that I recommend.
  • Price: It’s much cheaper than all the other “modern day” VR headsets which usually go for $600-$2000 and it’s a great entry-way for beginners into VR.
  • Specs: Despite being so much cheaper, it’s not far off the specs of the thousand dollar headsets in terms of resolution, refresh rate and sound quality.
  • Resolution: It might not be as high as the thousand dollar headsets, but the resolution is more than good enough for stunning visuals.
  • Oculus Exclusives: Access to Oculus exclusive games like Resident Evil 4 in case you want to delve into other games.

Cons:

  • Low FOV: This isn’t too important for VRChat, but it can feel like you’re looking through a pair of binoculars. All VR headsets suffer from this to a degree, but the Quest 2 suffers from it the most.
  • 2 hour battery life (you can leave it charged in whilst playing though)
  • Requires either a 5G router for wireless connecting to your PC or an Oculus Link cable which can cost an extra $20-$70
  • Lack of full-body tracking: As of today (March 2022) there is few full body tracking solutions and these have multiple flaws. So if you want to dance in VR or become a streamer, then this is not the headset for you. Luckily we’ll probably get better full body tracking maybe some time this year!

Here’s a picture of my Quest 2 with the 2 comfort mods I recommended and it’s sooo much more comfortable!

Meta Quest 2 (modded)

Where to Buy the Oculus Quest 2:

You can buy the Quest 2 from Amazon or the official Oculus Store.

In-store pickups:

See our full review of the Oculus Quest 2.

Best Full Body Tracking: HTC Vive Pro + VIVE Trackers

HTC Vive Pro 2

Both the HTC Vive Pro 1 & 2 are ideal for this. The newer version has a much higher resolution and FOV (field of view), but is also much more expensive, and slightly heavier.

Also note: Resolution isn’t too important for a game like VRChat. If you want to save money then just go with the original Vive Pro (you can even buy a used one). Other than that, if you’ve got the money then go for the HTC Vive Pro 2.

The Vive Pro headsets + VIVE trackers is the most accurate full body tracking solution available today. It does require external sensors to be set up on the walls though and does cost a high price.

Pros & Cons of the HTC Vive Pro 2

Pros:

  • Decent comfort
  • Excellent specs: one of the highest resolution and FOV on the market makes this headset ultra immersive.
  • Wireless potential with the wireless adapter
  • Option for eye tracking with VIVE Pro Eye – ideal for becoming a 3D Vtuber
  • Capable of using Valve Index controllers for finger tracking – also a good option to have for Vtubing.

Cons:

  • Pricing. The headset + base stations are already expensive, but for full body tracking you’ll need to buy 2-3 VIVE trackers on top of that. Wireless adapter is also very expensive.
  • Microphone quality isn’t great (you can use external ones if you want).
  • Requires setting up external sensors on the walls

Where to buy the HTC Vive Pro 2

You can buy it from Amazon or the official VIVE website. Make sure to buy the full kit + 2-3 VIVE trackers if you want full body tracking.

You’ll need a VIVE tracker for each leg + optionally 1 more for your waist to track it.

In-store pickups aren’t available.

Best Budget Option: Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift cv1

If you want to get into VR in the cheapest way possible, you’ll need to find a headset that’s discontinued. These headsets include:

  • Oculus Rift
  • Oculus Rift S
  • Oculus Quest 1
  • Windows Mixed Reality headsets (like the Samsung Odyssey+)

You can often find them for really cheap on the Facebook Marketplace or eBay. Avoid paying full price for these!!

Even if you find a cheap one, I would also recommend saving for a Quest 2 instead if you can.

Pros & Cons of the Oculus Rift

Pros:

  • Very light and comfortable even without comfort mods
  • Has full body tracking support
  • Oculus exclusive games
  • Top notch tracking and the best headset for Beat Saber if you’re interested in that.
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Very low resolution that’ll cause screen-door-effect (meaning you can see the individual pixels). You get used to this real fast though and won’t even notice it when you’re immersed.
  • Low resolution might make it hard to read small text.
  • Low FOV (field of view)
  • Requires external sensors to be set up on the walls.

Where to Buy an Oculus Rift

These headsets can be hard to find nowadays as they’re discontinued. Your best bet would be Facebook Marketplace or eBay, although you might be able to find it elsewhere like Craigslist.

In-store pickups aren’t available.

Best Mid-Range: HP Reverb G2

HP Reverb G2 HMD

The HP Reverb G2 is a mid-range headset that falls somewhere along the Quest 2 and HTC Vive Pro 2 in terms of pricing and specs. I personally wouldn’t recommend this headset for VRChat alone, but if you intend on playing lots of other games, it could be a good deal.

It’s got a high resolution of 2160 x 2160 which is in the middle of the Quest 2 and HTC Vive Pro 2. You won’t feel the high resolution in VRChat, but it’ll make a difference in games like Half-Life: Alyx. It’s also a great option for watching movies.

Pros & Cons of the Reverb G2

Pros:

  • Good value for the specs it offers
  • High resolution (this is where it stands out the most).
  • Inside-out tracking that doesn’t require setting up external sensors on the walls
  • There’s option to get external sensors for better tracking + full body tracking capabilities.

Cons:

  • Tracking quality is pretty poor if you want to become good at games like Beat Saber.
  • Headset is slightly uncomfortable due to it’s weight
  • Headset heats up a lot more than other headsets.

Where to Buy a HP Reverb G2

You can get this from Amazon or the HP official site.

Avoid: PSVR, Oculus Go, GearVR

These headsets can’t play VRChat at all:

  • PSVR
  • PSVR 2
  • Oculus Go
  • GearVR

Headsets I don’t recommend:

  • Valve Index (too heavy + too pricey + you can’t make use of the full 120/144 Hz refresh rate in VRChat)
  • Pimax (too overkill for VRChat)

Things You Can Do on VRChat

VRChat is an extremely fun, social experience where you can visit thousands of player-made worlds:

  • Learn a new language by socializing with foreigners
  • Experience “horror” worlds (which are terrifying in VR)
  • Visit “game worlds” full of obstacle courses and puzzles (and even storytelling)
  • Experience “atmospheric” worlds or “sightseeing” ones.
  • Socialize at a bar
  • Sing/Play music
  • Go exploring worlds to find avatars and assets to customize your look
  • Go shopping at VKet where you can buy 3D art, assets, soundtracks, and even physical items
  • Try the VRChat dating app

The list is endless! If you get into VRChat, you’ll likely sink hundreds/thousands of hours into this game.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I play VRChat without a VR headset?

Yes you can, but you won’t be able to move your arms and body (if you have full body tracking).

Can VRChat be played on a Mac?

Unfortunately, the game isn’t supported on Mac. You’ll need to emulate Windows if you want to play it.

Luckily there’s a tool called Base Camp which makes it very easy to emulate Windows.

Is VRChat worth it without full body tracking?

Yes, you just won’t be able to dance or kick things, but you’ll be able to enjoy most of what VRChat has to offer. If you aren’t sure, just pick up the Quest 2 as there’ll definitely be full body tracking solutions in the future.

Will I experience dizziness or VR motion sickness in VRChat?

You can play VRChat on 2 settings:

  • Normal settings
  • Comfort settings

Comfort settings is unlikely to cause motion sickness.

Normal settings will cause motion sickness in most people, but they get used to it quite fast. This is known as getting your VR legs.

Tl;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read)

If you don’t care about having full body tracking or you’re unsure, then go with the Quest 2.

If you want full body tracking, you have 2 options:

  • Mid range: HP Reverb G2
  • High-end: HTC Vive PRo 2

If you want to get into VRChat for the cheapest price possible, try and find one of the discontinued headsets and buy a used one. I recommend the Oculus Rift. Try and find these on Facebook Marketplace.

Overall, my recommendation is to get the Oculus Quest 2, especially if you’ve never used VR before.