Virtual reality has come a long, long way since the days of Nintendo’s doomed Virtual Boy. Meta just unveiled its standalone Quest 3 headset, Sony continues to offer support for the PS VR2 and there’s plenty of PC-connected VR headsets available from HP, HTC, Vive and other companies. The industry’s growing at a rapid pace and picking up new converts in the process. If you’re an enthusiast, sifting through the sea of virtual reality accessories and add-ons can be tricky and overwhelming. That’s where we come in: here are the best VR accessories for folks tired of boring-old actual reality.
We tried to keep these picks as universal as possible, to suit the various VR ecosystems out there. However, some of the best VR accessories only work on certain platforms and we’ll note this stuff as we go. We also stayed away from experimental and expensive add-ons, like treadmills and force feedback clothing, to keep you from bankruptcy.
Meta Elite Strap With Battery
VR headsets are getting lighter every year, but it’s still not exactly comfortable to wear a 1.5-pound computer on your face. Meta’s Quest line ships with a decent, though not spectacular, cloth head fastener. To boost your comfort, go with the company’s proprietary Elite Strap. It’s available with or without a battery, but that extra component serves two important purposes. Not only will it give you an extra two hours of playtime, but it provides a counterweight when wearing the headset, taking much of the pressure away from the front of your head and balancing everything out. This counterweight is especially important when using the headset for long periods of time.
Meta’s Elite Strap with the battery pack is available for the Quest 2 and the Quest 3, but they are not universally compatible. In other words, make sure you get the right one for the headset that you own.
One of the nifty things about Meta’s Quest headsets is that they’re standalone, meaning they don’t require a computer. You can connect to one if you want, though, which gives you access to PC-exclusive games like the incredible Half-Life: Alyx. There are all kinds of link cables out there, but we recommend Meta’s first-party cable. You’ll pay a bit more but the build is solid and, at 16 feet long, it gives users plenty of maneuverability. These cables work with the entire Quest lineup, including the OG Quest, Quest 2, Quest 3 and Quest Pro.
Though many games allow you to sit and play, standing is really the best way to immerse yourself in action-heavy virtual environments. It comes with some risks, however, as you could step over a pet or knock down an item of furniture. These headsets typically feature software that discourages you from stepping outside of pre-determined boundaries, but it’s not foolproof. Something like the Skywin VR Mat will let you know the minute you’ve stepped out of bounds. Plus, it’s thick, plush and far more comfortable to stand on than a hard floor.
There are plenty of these mats out there, and they work with any VR headset. We chose Skywin’s due to its 35-inch circumference, which is large enough to move around in while being small enough for apartment dwellers.
If you want a decent, near-universal headset stand on the cheap, AMVR’s is your best bet. For less than $20 you get a stand that fits most VR headsets, like the original Quest, Quest 2, Pico 4, PS VR2, Valve Index and many more. There are no bells and whistles, like a charger, here. It’s just an easy-to-build stand that does one thing and does it well. The body’s made of non-slip silicone that keeps things tidy. Additionally, there’s a lens protector to avoid accidental scratches. The whole thing is pretty sturdy so it shouldn’t topple over, even if a curious cat jumps up next to it. There’s room for some small accessories at the base too, like chargers and power cords.
Moving VR headsets from place to place can be frustrating, as anyone who’s wrapped one up in T-shirts for a flight can attest to. You want a sturdy and durable case that doubles as a good spot to store the headset and controllers when not in use. Casematix’s budget-friendly hard case works with the original Quest, Quest 2 and Quest 3 out of the box. But the interior’s stuffed with easy-to-cut foam if your headset has a unique design. You can also do the same for accessories. The carrying handle is comfortable to hold and the hard shell exterior is durable. The price is also right: this thing costs $35 and most first-party cases double that price, with Meta’s proprietary cases running around $70.
Ever since the original Quest hit the scene in 2019, standalone VR has gone from niche curiosity to a gigantic industry. The lack of cords drastically increases immersion and freedom of movement, but you do need a good battery to support that. Most modern standalone headsets get just two hours or so per charge. Kiwi Design’s 10,000 mAh battery pack quadruples your playtime to between eight and ten hours.
The price is right and this battery pack isn’t just for VR headsets. It should work on any gadget that has USB-C connection, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. It does, however, weigh just 250 grams and is designed to fasten to the top of the head strap. The battery itself is universal, but the fastener may not integrate with every headset out there. For those instances, get a dedicated battery strap.
Let’s get something out of the way first: any pair of wired headphones will work with any VR headset. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 4 headphones aren’t specifically designed for VR headsets, but they have plenty of features for enthusiasts. They have 360-degree spatial audio, a real game-changer for VR experiences, an AI-assisted microphone that reduces ambient noise and a fully customizable EQ, which comes in handy when streaming video or listening to music on a VR headset.
These are alsowireless headphones with Bluetooth that connect to just about everything. But you may still want to plug in directly when shuffling around a VR space to reduce lag. When going wireless, however, you’ll get 36 hours of use per charge and a quick-charge feature that juices up the headphones in just 15 minutes.
Standalone VR headsets help reduce cable clutter, but a dedicated cable management system finishes the job. NexiGo’s VR cable management system includes a series of ceiling hooks and adhesive fasteners, in addition to traditional screws for a more permanent solution. Any cables for your headset hang from the ceiling and stay out of the way when not in use. There’s even retractable carabiners to increase your range of movement by around five feet or so. Even if you have a standalone headset, this is still great for headphones and charging cables.
This is obviously a no-brainer for those with wired headsets, as nothing ruins a play session like tripping over a cable and falling flat on your face. It’s also a pretty good way to keep your VR space free from clutter.
From Supernatural to the boxing sim The Thrill of the Fight, exercise apps have become the de facto system sellers for VR headsets. If you’re serious about virtual workouts, consider standard weighted exercise gloves. These are not specific VR gloves, nor are they particularly techy. They’re just well-made weighted gloves that give your workouts a boost. They’ll not only increase the efficacy of cardio workouts, but they could help increase muscle mass along the shoulders and arms as well. It goes without saying they’ll add a bit of immersion to boxing sims like Creed: Rise to Glory and The Thrill of the Fight. Ringside’s gloves are available in two-pound and four-pound versions and, of course, can be used at the real gym in addition to the virtual one.
Thanks to the massive popularity of Topgolf’s Golf+ and Walkabout Mini Golf, among others, the sport has found new life in VR. The problem, of course, is for the controllers. Golf clubs are long and heavy, while VR controllers are squat and light. Weighted club attachments solve this issue, and DeadEyeVR’s DriVR is one of the best around. This faux driver boasts a pleasing form factor, a near-universal attachment and a molded handle just like the real thing. It also features an iron core to add much-needed heft.
These clubs aren’t as long as their real world counterparts, but that’s actually a good thing, as swinging a lengthy club around the living room can get real hairy real fast. If minigolf is more your speed, check out the company’s line of putters.
Winter is here and unless you own an auger to drill a hole into ice, you probably won’t be fishing until the weather gets better. Luckily, there are some amazing VR fishing titles, like Real VR Fishing and Ultimate Fishing Simulator VR. If you want to get the most out of those, a fishing rod is a must. AMVR’s is a solid option, with both spinning reel and baitcasting configurations. The design also suits both right-handed and left-handed anglers, and boasts built-in bearings for a realistic feel as you pull in that big catch.
The downside is, they’re only available for the Quest 2. Since the rods have to be specifically tailored to match each controller, there unfortunately isn’t a universal option.
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