Imagine experiencing seamless coordination with your teammates, enjoying quality me-time with friends, and celebrating crucial victories with your trusted brother-in-arms, without worrying about issues like latency, audio drops, packet loss, or stutters.
Follow us as we explore the top free voice chat apps for gamers, handpicked after extensive research and in-house testing.
A Sound Tip: For the best voice chat experience, it’s essential to use quality headsets. Check out our 7.1 surround sound gaming headsets recommendations!
TL;DR – Top 5 Voice Chat Apps for Gaming for 2023
- Discord: The best app for voice chat while gaming, be it PC, PS5, or Xbox. Features a huge user base, plenty of customization of options, and seamless integration with Twitch and YouTube
- Mumble: Voice chat app with the lowest ping and latency, requiring very little bandwidth. Lacks the bells and whistles of Discord but is a highly functional app
- Steam Voice Chat: The ideal choice for Steam purists, allowing you to connect and engage with your Steam friends. Limited cross-platform functionality though
- BAND: A versatile chatting app for gamers on Android. Comes with an integrated shared calendar, community board, and mobile notification alerts
- TeamSpeak: A free-to-use, open-source voice chat app for PC gamers that doesn’t stretch your system resources. Features top-notch security. Not for beginners
- TL;DR – Top 5 Voice Chat Apps for Gaming for 2023
- Best Free Voice Chat Apps for Gamers—First-Hand Tested and Reviewed!
- Discord – Best Gaming Voice Chat Application Overall
- Mumble – Gamer Voice Chat App with the Lowest Latency
- Steam Voice Chat – For Loyal and Long-Time Steam Users
- BAND – Best Gaming Voice Chat App for Android Users
- TeamSpeak3 – Least Resource Intensive Voice Chat App
- Other Notable Voice Chat Apps for Gaming
- Comparing Top Gaming Chat Apps 2023
- Why is Voice Chat Important for Online Gaming?
- Voice Chat App for Gaming Vs. Game Built-in Voice Chat – Which is Better?
- How to Choose the Right Gaming Voice Chat Application
- Prime Gaming, Facebook Gaming, and Xbox Cloud Gaming – Can You Voice Chat on Them?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Gaming Voice Chat Applications
- What is the Best Way to Voice Chat for PC and PS5 Players?
- How Can PC Players Talk to Xbox Players While Gaming?
- Is TeamSpeak3 Better Than Discord?
- Why Do Gamers Use Voice Changers While Chatting?
- Are IPs Visible on Discord, TeamSpeak, and Other Gaming Voice Chat Apps?
- What is the Best Voice Chat App for Nintendo Switch?
Best Free Voice Chat Apps for Gamers—First-Hand Tested and Reviewed!
We scraped popular customer review sites like Alternativeto.net, Product Hunt, Slant, and even Reddit to see what apps gamers use for voice chat. These sites combined get over a billion visits every month, so they formed a good starting point for our research. In total, we analyzed 3,000+ customer reviews and ratings.
On top of that, we leveraged our in-house gaming expertise and experience to shortlist 9 gaming chat apps for lab testing.
Next, we objectively tested these voice chat apps in a controlled environment across multiple devices and platforms. Our goal was to test their audio quality, packet loss, and overall latency. We also evaluated their user interface, ease of use, cross-platform compatibility, and integration with gaming consoles like PS5 and Xbox. Pricing plans were also reviewed.
After carefully considering every aspect of these apps, we came up with our final list of the 5 best voice chat apps for gaming in 2023.
So what is the best voice chat app for gamers?
Discord – Best Gaming Voice Chat Application Overall
Discord is, without a doubt, the most popular gaming voice chat app. It doesn’t matter what your preferred gaming platform is, the app works cross-platform. It’s available on Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux. Additionally, you can also link it to PS5 and Xbox.
To use Discord, simply install the app to gain access to the Discord server of your choice via an invite. Once inside, you can send Instant Messages (IMs) to other users, reply to their messages, and add them in quotes.
For voice chat, you can join voice channels, where you can set the mic input to either ‘Voice Activity’ or ‘Push-to-Talk (PTT).’ Voice activity means the app will only broadcast your voice when the microphone detects a sound. Meanwhile, PTT allows you to manually control when your voice is transmitted by having to press a key.
Aside from the basic chat functionality, Discord also offers a variety of advanced and custom features. These include sending your friends custom stickers, GIFs, images, memes, and emojis. You can even add a music bot for listening to and sharing music.
There are options for video streaming and screen sharing too. This allows you to take your co-op gaming experience to the next level. Interestingly, you can also go the text-to-speech or voice dictation route using bots and extensions to chat with your friends.
The thing we liked the most about Discord was its community-building aspect. You can set up servers and invite gamers to form clans, share strategies, and make some new friends as you connect with like-minded individuals. The app really does foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie better than any other app on the market.
Bear in mind some of the above features are only available with Discord Nitro, a paid subscription plan for Discord users. Still, there are many things to enjoy for free users too.
Discord proved to be a formidable platform in testing thanks to its decently low latency and good audio quality. However, depending on your location, you may face ping and bandwidth issues when connecting to voice channels. We also found the app crashing sometimes, but we believe that was because we had joined some really crowded servers.
All in all, Discord is one of the world’s most customizable and user-friendly gaming chat apps. No wonder, it’s our top pick.
Mumble – Gamer Voice Chat App with the Lowest Latency
Mumble is a voice chat app built for competitive eSports players. It’s free-to-use, open-source, cross-platform compatible, and has the most impressive audio performance we’ve experienced and measured to date.
However, Mumble isn’t just all about performance. It’s also safe and secure and features a built-in encryption algorithm that’s always active.
On the voice chat front, the app allows you to have real-time conversations with other users. You can either create your separate channel or join an existing one.
Additionally, it comes with a feature called ‘positional audio.’ Positional audio allows you to hear the voices of your teammates based on their 3D location on the game map. This makes gaming far more engaging, giving you a virtual spatial awareness of your surroundings.
Mumble also features an overlay display. The overlay lets you see who is speaking in real time and the number of active users, notifying you when someone leaves the chat.
In our testing, Mumble had the lowest latency. We didn’t experience any lag whatsoever. It is designed to provide users with a safe, robust, fast, and secure voice chatting platform, and it definitely excels in that department.
We would have preferred if the app had some more bells and whistles. The blandness becomes more prominent, especially if you’re used to hanging out on Discord. The user base isn’t the largest either as other voice chat apps.
Still, Mumble is a solid voice chat gaming app!
Steam Voice Chat – For Loyal and Long-Time Steam Users
Steam’s built-in voice chat app is ideal for people who are either Steam purists, own a Steam Deck, or both. The app is 100% free and simple to use and offers great audio quality, reliability, and robust features.
In many ways, the Steam voice chat app mimics Discord’s design aesthetic and functionality. Like Discord, Steam users can create their private server and invite users from their Steam friends list. In addition, you can send server-wide text messages, GIFs, emojis, files, stickers, memes, and share files. The customization cannot be compared to Discord, though.
You can also start your voice channels. Communicate via Push-to-Talk or let the app broadcast your voice automatically whenever you speak into the mic. The advanced audio settings allow you to tweak and adjust echo and noise cancellation, automatic volume control, and mic gain control.
We found the Steam Voice Chat easily one of the most reliable apps during testing. The latency was low, the voice quality was excellent, and we didn’t encounter any audio drops. Overall, everything was rock solid and stable, as you can expect from a Steam product.
However, the Steam voice chat app has one big downside: you can’t communicate with other players who aren’t on the Steam platform. As such, we can only recommend it to gamer groups that are deeply invested in Valve Corporation’s gaming ecosystem.
BAND – Best Gaming Voice Chat App for Android Users
Looking for the best voice gaming chat app for Android? BAND can be a good option for you. It has over 50M+ downloads on Google PlayStore and boasts an impressive 4.4 out of 5-star ratings based on over 470K customer reviews.
With BAND, you can create groups, invite your friends, and seamlessly connect and communicate with them during gameplay. It is more than capable of handling in-game voice chats. You can easily initiate private or group calls while playing games on your smartphone or tablet.
The app goes beyond basic voice chat functionality and offers an integrated calendar too. This allows you to plan game nights and events with your brother-in-arms conveniently.
One of the standout features of BAND is its versatility. While it’s not exclusively designed for gamers, its robust features can easily be adapted for gaming purposes. Group voice calls are smooth and reliable, and you can upload a variety of video clips and memes to share with your online squad.
You also get in-chat polling and live streaming, which make your gaming experience more immersive. The app also provides unique privacy options tailored for gamers, ensuring that your conversations and interactions remain secure.
Have to rush to a nearby grocery store in the middle of a gaming session to fetch something? You can set up your notification settings to stay updated on all posts, comments, and tagged mentions without missing any important information.
Best of all, BAND is 100% free, and the company claims it’ll never charge users for its service. However, there are purchasable add-ons you can try. For example, users can buy up to 100 GB of paid cloud storage for storing pictures, videos, and files. Additionally, paid sticker packs are available to spice up your chats a notch.
While testing, we were most certainly impressed with BAND’s voice chatting capabilities. Its audio quality was easily the best among all the popular voice chat apps available on Android. And that’s why it’s our top recommendation for gamers who prefer to game on their Android smartphones.
TeamSpeak3 – Least Resource Intensive Voice Chat App
TeamSpeak3 is a free, open-source voice chat app, first released back in 2003. This makes it one of the oldest gaming voice chat apps in the market.
The hallmark of TeamSpeak3 is its customizability. Users can customize the UI, create custom channels, or add third-party plug-ins to improve their chat experience. For security, the app features the latest E2EE AES-256-EAX encryption.
TeamSpeak comes packed with features, offering offline functionality for LAN parties, in-game overlay, and anonymous usage. The company has pledged never to sell user data to any 3rd parties, which is great news from a privacy standpoint. You also get Opus, CELT, and Speex speech codecs, and its SDK is publicly available too.
On the messaging front, you can enjoy instant messaging functionality and send private, group or public messages to other users. Additionally, there’s also the option to share files and pictures. The best part is you don’t necessarily need to connect with the TeamSpeak server to share them.
Despite all these features, the app is surprisingly frugal regarding system resources. In testing, TeamSpeak was the least resource-intensive app, only requiring just over 50 MB of RAM. There were no noticeable spikes in CPU usage even when the server was loaded. Meanwhile, the audio quality and latency were beyond impressive.
That said, TeamSpeak3’s user base isn’t large, and that can be a problem if your friends don’t already use it. It can also be tricky to set up, especially for beginners. But aside from these minor nitpicks, it’s a solid option.
Other Notable Voice Chat Apps for Gaming
Element is a privacy-focused messaging app based on the open-source Matrix protocol. It offers cross-platform compatibility with end-to-end encryption and supports instant messaging, voice and video calling, as well as file and screen sharing.
While the app is free to use, a paid subscription called ‘Element One’ provides additional features such as unlimited bridging to other messaging apps and faster hosting. Although Element performs decently in terms of audio quality, it can experience occasional bugs and glitches due to its ongoing development.
Nintendo Switch Online
Nintendo Switch Online is a subscription-based service accessible on Nintendo Switch consoles. It allows you to voice chat with other Switch users, play online multiplayer games, as well as access classic Nintendo (NES) and Super Nintendo (SNES) game libraries.
The Nintendo Switch app isn’t exclusive to Switch consoles only. Users can also download the app on Android and iOS and send private and group instant messages to their friends.
Comparing Top Gaming Chat Apps 2023
|Voice Chat App||Latency||CPU Requirements||Feature Ratings||Action|
|Discord||Can be an issue on some servers||High||9/10||Download|
|Steam Voice Chat||Can be an issue on some servers||Low||7/10||Download|
Why is Voice Chat Important for Online Gaming?
Voice chat is important for online gaming for many reasons:
- In competitive FPS games, voice chat enables players to plan strategies. Teammates can discuss their fighting tactics, coordinate attacks, call out enemy positions, and coordinate flanking maneuvers.
- In racing games, players can use voice chat to coordinate overtakes and notify others about potential hazards or obstacles on the track. It’s also crucial for planning drafting, slipstreaming, and trail braking techniques.
- In Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games, players on the same side can coordinate their armies via voice chat. This makes it much easier to synchronize attacks, support each other, share resources, and flank enemy installations.
Voice Chat App for Gaming Vs. Game Built-in Voice Chat – Which is Better?
While games like Fortnite and Call of Duty offer basic built-in voice chat, dedicated gaming apps like Discord and Steam surpass them with a plethora of additional features. For example, these apps provide customizable channels, integrated bots, and the ability to share files and send instant text messages. In fact, gaming chat apps also outperform game-native voice chats in terms of audio quality and advanced audio controls.
Games design their voice chat feature to connect gamers seamlessly. Players can effortlessly communicate across platforms without compatibility concerns by having the feature directly integrated into the game. Voice chat apps cannot rival this advantage.
Wondering what features to look for before choosing a voice chat application?
How to Choose the Right Gaming Voice Chat Application
Here’s a quick rundown of all the key features that you must consider when choosing a voice chat app for gaming:
Audio Quality and Latency
Audio quality and latency are the two most important aspects of any voice chat app. Audio quality is pretty much self-explanatory, as you want to be able to hear your teammates loud and clear. Similarly, the latency must be as low as possible, as high latencies can potentially disrupt team coordination by adding a delay in conversations.
Stability and Reliability
You want your voice chat app to offer a stable, reliable experience. Frequent audio drops and system crashes can be highly detrimental to your team’s effort and the overall gaming experience.
Control and Customization
Look for an app that allows you to customize the chat controls, features, and overall experience. For example, being able to control your microphone’s sensitivity, adjust the volume of individual users, and mute or block users with whom you don’t want to chat is very important.
Using a cross-platform voice chat app is best if you play games on multiple platforms, i.e., a PC and console. It will allow you to connect with your friends and teammates regardless of your platform.
Security and Privacy
Last but not least is user privacy and security. Always look for a chat app that respects your privacy and keeps your data and personal information safe and secure.
Prime Gaming, Facebook Gaming, and Xbox Cloud Gaming – Can You Voice Chat on Them?
Among the three services, only Xbox Cloud Gaming offers voice chat functionality. Prime Gaming is an Amazon gaming hub that offers in-game perks and a selection of free games. Meanwhile, Facebook Gaming is a streaming service similar to YouTube Live, offering only text-based chat functionality.
- Prime Gaming from Amazon offers various games and in-game benefits such as loot, perks, add-ons, and downloadable content to Amazon Prime members for free. To access Prime Gaming, install the Amazon Games App or link your Steam account to Amazon Prime.
- Facebook Gaming is an online game streaming service similar to Twitch or YouTube Live. It allows content creators to stream their gameplay to Facebook’s vast user base. Viewers can interact with streamers via the built-in text-based chat functionality. However, Facebook Gaming doesn’t offer a direct audio voice chat feature.
- Xbox Cloud Gaming, or ‘xCloud’ for short, is a Microsoft online cloud gaming service. With Xbox Game Pass, users can stream hundreds of popular games directly on their Xbox, PC, or smartphone without downloading them. Xbox Cloud Gaming also features ‘Party Chat,’ allowing gamers to live chat with their Xbox friends.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gaming Voice Chat Applications
What is the Best Way to Voice Chat for PC and PS5 Players?
The best way for PC and PlayStation 5 users to voice chat is via Discord. In addition, many popular multiplayer eSports games include built-in audio chat features that work across various platforms. This functionality, however, is not available in all games.
How Can PC Players Talk to Xbox Players While Gaming?
The best option for PC players to communicate with their Xbox friends is via Xbox App for Windows. Thanks to its integration with Xbox Live, PC players can log in to their Xbox account, access their friends’ list, and initiate ‘Party Chats.’
Is TeamSpeak3 Better Than Discord?
TeamSpeak3 is not better than Discord, especially when you consider both apps’ overall features and offerings. While TeamSpeak3 does offer better privacy, bandwidth, and CPU usage efficiency than Discord, those advantages are limited. Discord surpasses TeamSpeak3 in all other areas, including its superior interface, extensive chat options, diverse customization features, and more.
Why Do Gamers Use Voice Changers While Chatting?
In most cases, gamers use voice changers just for fun. Often, they use voice chargers for roleplay and embody the persona of their in-game character. However, there are instances where players, particularly females, use voice changers to hide their identities to avoid any potential cyberbullying.
Are IPs Visible on Discord, TeamSpeak, and Other Gaming Voice Chat Apps?
No, IP addresses on Discord, TeamSpeak, and most popular voice chat apps are hidden from other users. However, the service providers have access to IP addresses and can ban an IP address in case of rules and regulations violations.
What is the Best Voice Chat App for Nintendo Switch?
The best voice chat app for Nintendo Switch is the Nintendo Switch Online app. The app is compatible with several highly popular games, including Among Us, Mario Party Superstars, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, to name a few.
Choosing the right voice chat app is crucial for a great online gaming experience. While built-in voice chat offers accessibility and simplicity, dedicated voice chat apps offer a much wider range of features with large user bases. Discord is arguably the best voice chat gaming app for PC and console players. The gaming community loves it, and our test results agree with them.
Ultimately, each app covered in this blog has its strengths and weaknesses. You can’t go wrong with either as long as you know what you need.
In the world of gaming, it’s not just about teamwork, it’s about tribe work. So are you ready to join the rallying call of your gaming friends tonight?