The Best VR Headsets in Canada
With VR headsets becoming more readily available and in different configurations from standalone goggles to full room-scale immersive virtual reality, there are a plethora of options to choose from to escape from reality (or just escape from winter for a few hours out of your day.)
Whether you want to play video games, virtually travel, learn hands-on training, or watch videos and live events – You can do it all with VR headsets. It can be done for little to no cost with something like the Google Cardboard or go all the way to the top with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. The sky’s the limit with virtual reality, and we’re here to help you choose the best one for you.
Our top picks
How to choose a VR headset
When choosing a VR headset that works best for you, there are a few important things to consider:
- Compatibility: Compatibility is important to research, as you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet only to realize that your shiny new high-end VR headset isn’t compatible or able to run with your PC set-up at home. Are you wanting a standalone headset that has no extra equipment needed, or a VR rig set-up that works with your PC or laptop?
- Features: Features vary from VR headset to headset depending on how in-depth and high-end you want to dive into. Google Cardboard allows you to simply watch VR videos or play mobile games, while high-end rigs like the HTC Vive feature touch-sensitive controllers and put out high-quality immersive games and video. The Valve Index has controllers that work each finger individually, allowing you to do more in the games like you would with your hands in real life.
- Cost: While it seems obvious that cost plays a part with everything, with VR headsets there are some rather significant differences in performance and ability when you compare something cheap like the Google Cardboard to high-tier headsets like the HTC Vive or Valve Index.
- Movement Freedom: There are corded and non-corded VR headsets available and depending on what your use for virtual reality is you might have a preference between being hooked up to a PC and other cables or being completely cordless.
- Comfort: Comfort is important when you’re looking to buy a VR headset, especially if you wear glasses or will be playing for long hours at a time. Most headsets do accommodate glasses wearers, but some are snugger. Keep an eye on fit and how it pertains to you.
Why trust us
With a handful of VR headsets out, with even more starting to dive into the market, it can be a bit stressful knowing what to look for or spend your money on. Our team has spent over 15 hours researching and comparing the best VR set-ups so that you don’t have to.
Best overall VR headset in Canada
Oculus Quest 2
With its ease of use, price point, and availability, the Oculus Quest 2 is our overall best choice for a VR headset for most people.
For most people, comfort and ease of use are the most important factors when looking to dabble with virtual reality. You can get high-spec headsets that are out in the market, but the Oculus Rift is the easiest to use and still has a vast array of games and fun apps to experience VR just as well as more expensive units.
Oculus is owned by Facebook, so you will need an account to use it. The controllers are easy to use and comfortable, and the Quest 2 has a wide selection of compatible content because you can download content from SteamVR libraries. Movies, games, and other VR experiences are all at your fingertips. The Quest 2 supports hand tracking, which means you can use your fingertips to go through menus, instead of needing to use a pointer in-game. It’s wireless and untethered which is becoming more and more prominent within the realm of VR – it’s safer and freeing.
- Easy to set-up.
- Requires a Facebook account.
Best VR headset for gaming
For those who want to do heavy VR gaming sessions, Valve’s Index is most likely the headset for you. With a 1440 x 1600 display per eye with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Index is one of the higher-end headsets that makes the ‘screen-door effect’ of older generation VR practically non-existent.
The Index is a bit heavier of a headset to wear compared to other models like the HTC Vive or Oculus, but with its padded helmet-like fit and ease of adjusting everything from the fit to even how far the lenses are away from your eyes to better increase your view, it makes up for the slight weight discrepancy.
There are built-in speakers that hover about an inch away from your ears, which also drastically improves the comfort level, especially for longer sessions. Not having anything crushing your ears is great, and the audio is still immersive. One caveat about the floating speakers is that everyone else around you can hear your gaming session as well. The Index does have the option to plug-in your own headphones still, however, and also includes a USB-A port in the front of the headset if you want to include anything else.
Finger tracking is the most exclusive and distinguishing features of the Index. Each finger can be tracked individually, and you don’t have to hold onto the controllers like you do with other VR set-ups. The controllers slip over your hand and work more like a glove. Much like other higher-end VR, Valve’s Index relies on two lighthouse style tracking base stations set-up in your room, and while it can be a bit annoying for some – it increases the tracking performance and assures a smoother experience with fewer issues with disconnecting.
The Index comes with everything including the bases, controllers, and headset. Well worth the price tag if you’re wanting one of the best VR set-ups currently on the market.
- Great performance.
- Controllers are fantastic.
- Not wireless.
Best VR headset for PS4
PlayStation VR Headset
If you’re looking for a compatible VR headset for the PlayStation 4 or 5, Sony’s PS VR headset has you covered. It not only works with the PS4 but is future-forward with compatibility extending to the PS5.
The PS VR headset works with the PS Camera as a tracker. It’s light, stable, and comfortable enough to be worn for hours of gaming and Sony has said that it was designed to be user friendly in every aspect. Some games require the PS Move controllers, while others can be used with the PS VR aim controller or the standard PlayStation 4 or 5 Dualshock controllers.
Worth noting is that anyone who already has a PS VR set-up can be shipped a free adapter from Sony that will allow it to work with the PS5 console system. The headset has nine LED sensors making it easy for the camera to effectively track where your movements are. The display is a 5.7-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 1080p. There’s a processor box that relays to the TV as well as process the 3D audio effect, and a 3.5mm headphone port for a more immersive audio experience if you wanted.
Sony has stated that it makes it mandatory for games to have no less than 60 frames per second, to ensure that everything will run smoothly while playing. Since its initial release in 2016, at this time of writing, there are over 600 game titles available to work with the PS VR. No shortage of options to choose from, that’s for sure!
- Good quality.
- Limited to the PlayStation.
Best VR headset for Xbox One
While PlayStation has its own brand of VR headset equipment, Microsoft does not natively support VR headsets to work with the Xbox One, even though the computing power is more than enough to support it.
That said, it is possible to play on the Xbox One with a VR headset – most notably with the Oculus Rift. The Rift and HTC’s Vive utilize the Xbox’s streaming app, while the PS VR can be used directly with an HDMI cable.
One major caveat trying to use the Xbox with any VR system is that it isn’t natively supported, which means that full-dive immersive experiences won’t work. Playing with the headset as a virtual screen is still an experience but it does lack the excitement of being able to use controllers and be immersed in a game.
Aside from that the Oculus Rift on its own is a great immersive VR headset for other uses, especially if you have a PC that can handle it. With a good price-point, Oculus Touch controllers, and whole-room size support it’s a good system to pick up. Requirements for the Rift are similar to what the HTC Vive can run on. The headset itself is fairly light and can be worn for long periods of time comfortably, though if you wear glasses it might be a tighter fit that can cause discomfort.
The Rift uses an external sensor that sits on a desktop or table, just as long as it can see the headset for tracking. The sensor can be tilted up or down, and there’s a second identical one that must be placed for the Oculus Touch controllers. Two sensors work together to make sure that you’re not disconnected or have poor tracking while watching a video or playing games.
In the box, the Rift comes with the Oculus Touch controllers as a standard now, and includes an Xbox One wireless controller, plus the Microsoft Wireless Adapter for Windows which you can use for VR games that employ conventional, non-motion-controls.
- Good price.
- It can be used for other VR apps.
- Not a fully immersive VR experience with Xbox.
Best VR headset for Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Labo VR
If you like to add some fun and a DIY factor to your games and VR experience, then the Nintendo Labo VR headset and expansion packs are where it’s at to mix some hands-on learning with colourful virtual reality.
With Nintendo’s VR Plaza, you have the choice of over 60 games and experiences designed by the Nintendo Labo designers. Along with being able to use the VR headset for a handful of games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, the Labo VR has a decent amount of content to delve into. You can even see how they were made by opening one up in the Toy-Con VR Garage app and see for yourself how things were developed.
It’s a great learning tool for children and adults alike, especially if you’re interested in engineering and more hands-on products rather than just immersive VR with no extra outer components.
The quality of the Nintendo Labo VR headset isn’t the highest tier, but it does what it’s supposed to and for the price you can’t lose.
- Quality isn’t high-tier.
Best VR headset for under $100
Homido V2 VR Headset
Another VR headset meant for mobile phones, the Homido is top-quality for the price point. If you want to step into the VR world without breaking the bank this might be a good place to start.
With over 1,500 applications and games to choose from and with a size that fits most mobile phones, even the larger ones like the OnePlus X, or Samsung Galaxy Note, this is already a step-up from most other mobile phone use VR headsets.
The lenses are developed and created by Homido themselves and are adjustable for near and far-sighted users, including the FOV. There’s a capacitive button that allows you to interact with VR apps and it even works with Google Cardboard. It’s completely wireless and can be set-up just by simply installing the app and choosing what to play.
It comes with quite a lot for such a cheap price tag, including the VR headset itself you get an optimal fit smartphone clip, carrying case, adjustable head strap, an additional foam band, cleaning cloth for the lenses, and a one-year warranty, which doesn’t generally come with many VR headsets in general unless you’re getting a more top of the line expensive set-up.
Quality-wise it’s great for the price and can even be used with games with a separate controller purchase if you’d like. You can watch movies, play games, do virtual tours, and look at photos and videos in 360-degree 3D immersive VR.
- Compatible with most phones.
- Quality could be better.
Best VR headset for racing
Samsung HMD Odyssey+
Samsung’s HMD Odyssey+ is a mixed reality VR headset, part of Microsoft’s family of headsets that has dual AMOLED displays that almost rival the HTC Vive for pixel density and uses an anti-screen door technology that diminishes the ‘cross-hatching’ issue that plagues a lot of VR headsets.
There are few headsets available out now that match the Odyssey+ for price and quality, especially if you’re looking to dip your toes into more mid to top-tier sets.
The Odyssey+ is compatible with Steam VR’s massive library of games and is even compatible with the HTC Vive. A few ounces lighter than its predecessor, Samsung has also upgraded not only the weight but the comfort of the system as a whole, making it far easier to wear for hours at a time during longer gaming or movie watching sessions.
An updated AMOLED display with denser pixels solves the earlier issues of screen door effect cross-hatching that happens with VR headsets as the lenses are close to your eyes. The slight blurring they’ve used should help alleviate most unpleasant side effects that first-time users and even experienced VR users can experience such as dizziness or nausea when trying to focus on fast-moving objects or moving from place to place, which is especially noticeable and worth it for games that involve racing and other fast-paced environments.
- Decent quality.
- Compatible with Steam VR.
- Wired system.
Best standalone VR headset
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite
With the highest visual resolution that minimizes screen-door effects, and with the flexibility to be upgraded at any point, HTC’s Vive Cosmos Elite is the best standalone VR headset on the market in 2021.
A new flip-up display design allows you to go between reality and VR with a quick flip up on the front of the visor. As stated before, it’s flexible enough to be upgraded to a new Vive set-up as you see fit and is compatible no matter what the future holds past 2021. It includes a free VivePort Membership for anyone who purchases one, which is a nice incentive on its own.
The 2800 x 1700 combined pixel resolution that has a 88% increase over the original Vive that was already beautiful to look at for hours at a time has been upgraded with all new LCD panels that reduce the distance between pixels even further, all but eliminating the frustrating cross-hatching effect that most VR struggles with.
It has versatile compatibility with the VIVE Base Stations 1.0, SteamVR Base Stations 2.0, as well as all Vive controllers and Valve Index controllers. Designed mainly for gamers, this set-up delivers hours of fun. A crown fit design makes putting the headset on quick and easy, with adjustments being even easier to set. It fits almost every shape and head size, and most importantly for those who wear glasses – it fits over them without crushing or painfully pressing anything against the face or behind the ears.
SteamVR tracking and advanced controllers make every movement seamless and easy to do, without getting entangled in too many wires or cables. Rich stereo audio is built into the form-fitting headphones, and it all has refined inside-out tracking with six camera sensors. There is a wireless adapter that makes the whole set-up completely wireless, allowing you to just use the headset and controllers freely which is important when you’re playing a fast-paced game or even just might tend to be clumsy. It’s easy to get immersed in detailed worlds and not notice cords around your feet.
The HTC Vive has been top-tier from the beginning and continues to only get better as time goes on.
- Amazing quality.
- Exceptionally comfortable.
Best VR headset for iPhone
Merge VR will take you on 360-degree virtual tours of almost anywhere you want to go, including space, or going back in time to walk among the dinosaurs in proper scale.
Working with mobile phones, most notably iPhone, which is nice for those running Apple devices as a lot of mobile VR is mainly built for Android – with the Merge VR Headset you just have to download the apps from merge EDU or the Merge Miniverse and you’re on your way. Slide your phone into the headset and you’re off on adventures.
Merge also has the ‘Merge Cube’ if you want to take your learning and VR immersion even further using AR, it allows you to project and hold anything in your hand that’s programmed to show with the Cube. Which is great for students or anyone that just wants to learn more about the world around us. Included in learning – the Merge VR has a Refugees Study section that allows you to walk in others’ shoes around the world.
It’s affordable, relatively stylish with a bright purple hue, and is light enough to be comfortable for hours of viewing and playing.
- Limited capacity for games.
Best VR headset For movies
GOOVIS Pro 2
The GOOVIS Pro 2 Personal Cinema is a no-brainer for those who want to watch movies on their own personal theatre sized screen without owning an actual cinema or an expensive 100” TV set-up.
It’s easy to use and has its own controller that runs Android – meaning that unless you install communication apps onto it yourself, you won’t get interrupted by any pesky messages or calls while you’re watching films, unlike most other movie based VR headsets that are mobile use only.
The headset itself is lightweight, good for hours of viewing time without becoming uncomfortable, and you can separately adjust each lens and focal view for your individual needs to make any viewing experience that much better.
You aren’t getting the most top of the line quality in terms of immersive VR for games or the like, but for movies and cinephiles, this is a must-have headset that not only produces great sound but essentially allows you to have your own private 800” theatre in your own home, all in one small package.
Best cheap VR headset
Google Cardboard is the cheapest and most affordable way to dip your toes into VR, for everyone.
Whether you fold your own cardboard viewer or purchase a ‘Works with Cardboard’ headset viewer, you’re on your way to set your mobile phone up as a VR device. You can even make your own apps and games.
There are countless apps for Google Cardboard out, anything from watching movies or shows to rollercoaster simulators, space exploration, relaxing travel locations, and dinosaur zoo park viewing. The open-source Cardboard SDK allows you to build immersive cross-platform VR experiences for Android and iOS. With all of the essentials such as motion tracking, stereoscopic rendering, and user interaction functions you can build entirely new experiences within VR or enhance existing ones to your liking.
Fun for children and adults alike, especially if you like a more hands-on approach or just want to see what basic VR can do, you can’t go wrong with trying out the Google Cardboard. It definitely won’t burn a hole in your wallet anytime soon and can only get better with time.
- It costs less than $20.
- Lower quality.
How we picked the best VR headsets
For this buying guide, we focused on the different features and price points for each VR headset and chose the best based on top user reviews, along with availability within Canada. We wanted to ensure that the choices are varied and available for whatever your virtual reality needs or wants are, within every budget level.
Frequent VR headset questions
What is a VR headset?
A VR headset or Virtual Reality headset is a head-mounted device that provides virtual reality for the wearer. VR headsets are widely used for video games but have been utilized for other uses such as simulations and trainers, for years. Flight simulators for pilots, as an example. Some headsets come with eye-tracking capabilities and gaming controllers.
How does a VR headset work?
VR headsets use either two feeds sent to one display or two LCD displays, one per eye. The lenses focus and reshape the picture for each eye and create a 3D image by angling the two 2D images to mimic how each of our two eyes views the world, creating the depth and scale that makes VR realistic.
Are VR headsets worth it?
Whether VR headsets are worth it is a matter of personal preference depending on what you would want to use VR for. That said good VR isn’t cheap, and cheap VR isn’t bad. 2021 is a great year to get into using VR headsets, as they can be utilized for exercise, games, and even travel simulators. With the technology advancing and equipment becoming cheaper it’s worth diving into.
What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to the real world or be entirely different, the sky’s the limit with VR. It has uses for entertainment such as video games and has been used for years for training and educational purposes such as for pilots, medical use, or military training.
What can you do with a VR headset?
With a VR headset you can play immersive video games, do virtual travel and exploring, try out extreme (or not so extreme) sports, watch movies and live events, and any other manner of things along those lines.
DIY VR headset: Can I make a VR headset at home?
Google Cardboard is one the easiest ways to cheaply experience VR if you have cardboard, clear plastic, and magnets in your home. You can buy the lenses yourself if you want a better experience rather than using water and plastic, but you can absolutely build a VR headset at little to no cost yourself at home. There are many tutorials available, such as this one on MakerPro.
How much does a VR headset cost on average?
The price for VR headsets vary depending on what you’re looking for – the cheapest headsets are just cardboard and magnifying plastic sheets for little to no cost, while the high-end top of the line VR set-ups are upwards of over $1000. There are ways to experience VR no matter your budget.
Where can I buy a VR headset in Canada?
Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon Canada, and directly from the manufacturers themselves such as from Vive or Oculus.
Which Oculus to buy?
The Oculus Rift S is more for those who are looking for a more definitive VR experience and have the gaming PC set-up and storage. The Quest however is more user-friendly for most as it’s more portable and has no wires. The original Oculus Rift is a few years old but still a viable option for anyone that wants a cheaper but still worthy VR experience.
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