Virtual reality can provide a great escape from the real world — especially these days — but it doesn’t always come cheap. Fortunately, you don’t need to shell out for a $299 Oculus Quest 2 in order to explore exciting new virtual worlds. One of the best VR devices out there is already in your pocket, and you just need a bit of extra hardware to unlock its full potential.
If you’re an iPhone owner, there are a variety of great and affordable VR headsets out there that let you tap into the many virtual reality experiences available on the App Store or get lost in immersive 360-degree videos on YouTube. These devices let you visit new countries or explore outer space from the comfort of your couch for less than $50, and are especially ideal for younger users looking to learn and play in VR for the first time.
Not all iPhone VR headsets are created equally, which is why we scoured the web to find the models that are actually worth your money. Here are the best virtual reality headsets that will turn your iPhone into a portal to a fun new dimension. (Spoiler: Many of these work great on Android too!)
Destek V5 VR headset ($23.99; amazon.com)
One of the sleekest and most affordable options on this list, the Destek V5 VR headset offers a wide 110-degree field of view for getting fully immersed in VR games and videos on your iPhone. This headset works with phones ranging from 4.7 to 6.8 inches in screen size, and packs anti-blue-light coating lenses to keep your eyes from getting strained during long play sessions. The 11-ounce Destek V5 is also built with comfort in mind, with a washable, breathable fabric face cover and a generously spaced design that leaves room for users with glasses. If affordability and comfort are your main priorities, this one is well worth looking into.
BNext VR Headset ($36.97, originally $49.99; amazon.com)
A highly popular and well-rated VR headset, the Bnext VR headset works with nearly all smartphones ranging from 4 to 6.3 inches in screen size. This device allows you to adjust the field of view to find the perfect viewing angle for immersive VR games and movies, and packs an adjustable head strap and breathable face cushion designed to keep you comfortable during long play sessions.
Merge AR/VR Headset ($49.99; amazon.com)
Another big name in mobile virtual reality, the Merge AR/VR headset stands out with its focus on educational content. This headset taps into the Merge Miniverse, a curated feed of videos from channels such as National Geographic and Discovery VR that let you do things like see a hammerhead shark up close or explore the Alamo. It also works with the Merge Cube (sold separately for $19.99), opening up a variety of fun augmented reality experiences that let you “hold” 3D objects and see wildlife, planets and gadgets up close. If you’re looking for a fun way to help your little one learn from home, the Merge AR/VR headset is made for you.
VR Wear 3D VR Glasses ($31.95; amazon.com)
For those who care about style and personalization, VR Wear’s mobile virtual reality headset is worth a look. This compact VR headset comes in six color options, from a plain black option to a Kung Fu Panda-inspired model for kids, and includes additional stickers for making it truly your own. VR Wear’s headset fits phones ranging from 4.5 to 6.5 inches, and sports a magnetic button for use with Google Cardboard apps that require a button press. The VR Wear headset stands out with some handy design touches, including a convenient hole for slotting in your headphones or phone charger as well as ventilation holes up front that are designed to keep your device from getting too hot.
Pecosso 3D Virtual Reality Glasses ($19.99; amazon.com)
Another affordable, no-nonsense mobile VR headset, the Pecosso 3D Virtual Reality Glasses support phones ranging from 4.7 to 6.53 inches and feature a breathable mesh face cover as well as an adjustable strap to keep you comfortable and immersed during marathon VR sessions. This headset offers up to a 100-degree field of view, complete with a glasses-friendly design and anti-blue-light lenses to keep your eyes safe. As a nice extra touch, it also includes a cleaning cloth for keeping those lenses clean.