From the Oculus Quest 2 to the Valve Index, there’s no shortage of VR headsets to tempt us into the immersive world of VR. Prices are considerably more palatable than a few years ago. Headsets are now easier to use than ever. And, more importantly, we have a bonafide big-name game in the shape of Half-Life: Alyx. All things considered, VR is primed for the mainstream, and it’s no wonder more people than ever are taking VR for a spin.
With a quality headset in hand, you may think you have everything needed for the best VR experience around, but in the wake of VR’s popularization, companies have jumped in to offer all manner of accessories. These aren’t just gimmicks. They pick up the slack where a headset falls short, whether that’s maintenance, cable management, or heightening the immersive qualities of the VR experience.
In today’s guide, we’ve pulled together some of the best VR accessories designed to tap into the full potential of a VR headset.
How We Picked
As VR continues to make steady in-roads towards becoming mainstream, there is an ever-growing abundance of VR accessories to choose from. Eyeing up all of the options can be off-putting, especially if you’ve only just bought your first VR headset. To save you the hassle, we honed in on accessories that either enhance the VR experience, make it safer, up the convenience chops of a VR setup, or help keep your headset in tip-top condition.
We’ve narrowed it down to five essential VR accessories. Each of our recommendations makes the VR experience better. They are sure bets for those on the hunt for the very best way to spice up their VR headset and setup.
Below, we’ll introduce you to each accessory and explain why it may be the perfect add-on to complete your VR setup. And, as always, we try to demystify the whole shopping experience with a handy ‘Things to Consider’ section near the tail end of our guide.
Best VR Accessories in 2021
Keeps headset safe and easily accessible
Compatible with all major headsets
USB-A charging port
Tasteful adjustable built-in LED
USB cable not included
While a VR headset is more affordable than ever before, it’s still an expensive piece of kit that needs the requisite care and attention to keep it running well. One of the best ways to do this is to pick up either a storage case or a stand, and among these options, the Universal Illuminated VR Stand combines two important facets of owning a headset: a secure place to call home and charging.
The Universal Illuminated VR Stand cradles the headset in an elevated upside-down pyramid made of clear acrylic. The stand ensures your headset is well protected from accidental scrapes and scratches, a much better solution than simply placing it on a desk.
When seated in the stand, the headset is perfectly angled for easy pick up for when you want to get up and going fast for an impromptu VR session. Conveniently, the stand is compatible with all major VR headsets, including the HTC Vive, Oculus Quest 1 and 2, Valve Index, and PlayStation VR, to cite a few.
An in-built LED adds some tasteful flair to the stand. The LED can be adjusted to red, gold, green, cyan, blue, indigo, lavender, white, and a cycling color mode, so you can fine-tune it to match or jazz up your existing RGB setup.
On to more practical features, the Universal Illuminated VR Stand houses a USB-A charging port in the base to quickly funnel juice to HMDs like the Oculus Quest 2 and PlayStation VR. The Universal Illuminated VR Stand doesn’t ship with the required USB cable, though most battery-dependent headsets come with one as standard.
At an affordable $30, the Universal Illuminated VR Stand is relatively inexpensive, and you easily get your money’s worth for just how well it keeps your headset safe.
Expands VR play area
Clever ceiling-mounted pulley system
Broad headset compatibility
Fast installation and easy adjustments
Pulleys quite noisy despite ‘silent’ design
While we’re way beyond the days where headsets required multiple USB cables to work, most headsets remained tethered. And, even those that aren’t, such as the standalone Oculus Quest 2, come with tethered PC modes for when you want to dip into Steam’s growing catalog of VR games. The problem? Cabling can limit freedom of movement and, by extension, the sense of immersion.
If you need a solution to route cables off the ground so they don’t pose a tripping or tangling hazard when playing, the KIWI design VR Cable Management offers a novel 360° rotation ceiling-mounted six-pulley system to declutter and expand your play area. The pulleys mount to your ceiling either via adhesive or screw hooks, routing cables away from your feet and body for a surprisingly convincing untethered feel. Plant one above your PC, then stagger the rest throughout the room.
The system is made of tough ABS and rubber to ensure durability and keep cable tug to a minimum. Additionally, the quick latch system on each pulley makes it easy to feed cabling in and out as desired. The KIWI design VR Cable Management is also designed to accommodate all types of headset cabling, including those used for the Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Cosmos, and more.
The KIWI design VR Cable Management ostensibly features noise dampening technology, but the pulleys can be quite noisy in practice. Whether the noise levels affect the VR experience is subjective. If outside noise is likely to detract from your enjoyment of virtual worlds, be warned, the pulleys are anything but silent.
10/16/20 feet options
USB 2.0/3.0/3.1 Gen 1/3.2 Gen 1 compatible
Oculus Quest 2 compatible
Cheaper than official Oculus Link cable
Though most of our accessory recommendations are headset agnostic, we’ve made an exception with this pick – the KRX Link Cable for VR Headsets – which is designed to work specifically with the Oculus Quest 2, arguably the hottest VR headset on the market today. Affordable, versatile thanks to both standalone and tethered PC modes, easy to use, and with performance equivalent to HMDs priced twice as high – it’s the headset many have been waiting for.
While a universal USB A to USB C and USB 2.0/3.0/3.1 Gen 1/3.2 Gen 1 compatible cable, it’s also fully compatible with the Oculus Quest 2. As such, it’s a cost-effective alternative to the full-fat official Oculus Link cable required to hook the headset up to a PC and access a more extensive selection of games than those found on the Oculus store.
The Oculus Link costs a steep $80. In comparison, the KRX Link Cable for VR Headsets is priced at $16 for the 10 feet model, $23 for the 16 feet option, and $30 for the longest 20 feet variant.
The KRX Link Cable for VR Headsets is pieced together for durability with multi-layer protection, light materials, and a welcome fully-braided cable despite the lower cost. It’s pleasantly flexible and soft as opposed to the bulky stiffness of most standard USB cables.
While in-game Oculus Quest 2 performance is comparable to the Oculus Link, and you can play any PC VR game under the sun, the KRX Link Cable for VR Headsets charging chops aren’t up to par. It certainly works to juice up the headset, but charging times are considerably longer. A compromise for the lower asking price, it seems, and one many will happily live with.
Double-ended brush and clean design
Keep headset lenses free of dirt and smudges
Better than microfiber cloths
Works on most major headsets
Pricey for what it is
VR headsets are reasonably low maintenance tech, but the lenses need proper care. Regular cleaning is a must, and we’re big fans of covers for when our headsets aren’t in use. Contending with a distracting smudge or dust cluster while dispatching a barnacle or headcrab is no fun.
A microfiber cloth, such as the ones included in glasses cases, works well enough, but the CNBEYOUNG Lens Cleaning Pen does a much better job of it and is more in line with what professional camera operators and picture snappers use. Indeed, expensive tech requires the right tools.
Designed as an easy-to-handle pen made of top-quality aviation-grade aluminum, the CNBEYOUNG Lens Cleaning Pen features a double-ended design. On one end, there’s a filament brush to remove dust and dirt, and on the other, a suede carbon powder tip to wipe away smears, stains, and smudges caused by sweat or skin oils. A slider mounted on the side of the pen extends or retracts the brush, and there are two caps to keep both ends protected when the pen isn’t being used.
The CNBEYOUNG Lens Cleaning Pen is designed to work just as well on the lenses found on most major headsets, like the Valve Index, Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, and camera lenses, telescopes, and even drones.
Though the CNBEYOUNG Lens Cleaning Pen keeps headset lenses in great shape, the asking price of $17 may be a little steep for some.
35-inch diameter mat
Textured, durable surface to enhance positioning awareness
Anti-fatigue high-density cushioned center
Even the most well-versed VR players are prone to occasionally overstepping their play area and knocking into furniture and walls in the heat of action. The XPACK VR Mat largely confines this problem to the past by giving players a 35-inch diameter surface that enhances the player’s positioning awareness.
A textured surface lets the player know exactly where they are and which direction they are facing, acting as a tactile barrier, a physical limit to the designated play area to keep them safe.
Alongside, the XPACK VR Mat consists of a high-density cushioned core that helps reduce fatigue and reduce joint stress, perfect for those marathon VR sessions. The bottom of the floor mat has a grippy surface to prevent slippage, whether that’s on hardwood, tiles, or marble. The top layer has a stain-resistant coating that’s also durable, meaning it can handle the stomping of even the most enthusiastic VR players.
Despite the excellent build quality of the XPACK VR Mat and the invaluable feedback provided by the embossed shapes on the top layer, it doesn’t come cheap, at a somewhat pricey $80. It’s worth every penny in our estimation, if only because it adds some much-needed comfort to the VR experience.
Things To Consider
This point very much depends on the accessory in question, but for more technical ones such as USB cables, wireless adapters, sensors, trackers, straps, controllers, carrying cases, and charging stations, you’ll want to check beforehand whether they are compatible with your specific headset. Valve, Oculus, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR are vastly different platforms, so compatibility with one doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the case with another.
For accessories that don’t directly interface with the proprietary aspects of a headset, such as cable management systems, cleaning, basic maintenance accessories, IR illuminators, mats, earphones, and sweat covers, there’s more leeway, but we suggest checking to avoid a nasty surprise and the disappointment of having to begrudgingly send back your new toy for a refund or replacement.
Maintenance and Convenience
Though current VR setups are far more streamlined and easy to use than in the past, they are still quite elaborate, especially when paired with the cabling of a PC. Any accessories that help inject some order into the mix is a win in our book: cable management systems, controller grips (nothing kills the VR vibe than accidentally splintering a TV screen after the controller leaves your hand in the wake of a particularly enthusiastic gesture), neat charging stands, and so on.
As with any pricey take, maintenance is key to ensuring longevity. Taking proper care of your VR setup pays dividends in the long run. Look out for accessories such as storage/carrying cases and lens covers to shield your headset from dust and accidental damage when it’s not powering your virtual excursions. Lens cleaners are also a boon for families that enjoy VR; the curious hands of younger virtual explorers will inevitably smudge the lenses at some point, and sustained use should see the occasional droplet of sweat sap immersion levels, too.
The Wild Side of VR Accessories
While most accessories are logical add-ons that serve a distinct purpose, there’s a side to VR accessories that really pushes the VR experience to new immersive heights.
Vests, gloves, and haptic bodysuits will have you looking like you’ve stepped out of Ready Player One with integrated climate control, biometrics, and even electro-stimulation. Others include olfactory masks, underfoot rudders, PC backpacks, and even treadmills to offer full-body and sensory immersion.
Given their almost sci-fi qualities, these types of accessories don’t come cheap and, truth be told, are only really suited for the most dedicated and enthusiastic VR players. For most, the standard spread of convenient and practical VR accessories is more than sufficient.
A VR headset needs a home. The Universal Illuminated VR Stand delivers just that alongside tasteful adjustable LED lighting, sturdy build quality, broad compatibility with most headsets, and a handy charging port. It’s inexpensive, too, making it a cheap way to improve your VR setup.
VR cabling can be a nightmare, not least because of the risk it poses to the player. The KIWI design VR Cable Management’s six-pulley system takes cables off the ground to expand the VR play area and enhances immersion by introducing a new level of freedom. Broad compatibility, a durable design, and an easy latch system also score points despite the system producing quite a din.
The Oculus Link is expensive, but fortunately, the KRX Link Cable for VR Headsets delivers virtually the same functionality at a much-reduced price. Available in a range of lengths and sporting a braided cable, it’s a cost-effective way to make use of the Oculus Quest 2’s most compelling feature – PC VR gaming.
The CNBEYOUNG Lens Cleaning Pen keeps your headset lenses in top shape thanks to its double-ended design: brush away dirt, then buff out any smudges with ease.
Ward off accidental knocks and bumps with the textured surface of the XPACK VR Mat. Non-slip, comfortable, and durable, your feet will thank you.
If you have any pressing questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the comments section below.