Manipulating our body’s biology through biohacking is one way we can improve our experience of the world. Neurohacking, one of the forms of biohacking, has been particularly popular since the 80s. It refers to altering brain function to get a desired outcome, such as better focus, cognitive improvement, or creativity boost.
EEG headsets are neurofeedback devices that can help with neurohacking, as they have become commercially available in recent years. The idea is to give everybody a better insight into their brain and get some actual benefits like improved sleep, relaxation, and mental focus.
What Are EEG Headsets And What Are They Used For?
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a method of tracking the electrical activity of the brain. It measures small voltage fluctuations that result from ionic currents in neurons. In layman’s terms, it measures brain waves.
EEG is commonly used for diagnosing epilepsy, sleep disorders, coma, brain death, encephalopathies, tumors, brain disorders, strokes, depth of anesthesia, and more. Some of these uses have decreased with the development of MRI and CT, but EEG remains a valuable diagnostic tool.
The medical EEG procedure typically requires a medical professional to place several gel-coated electrodes on a patient’s head. However, the new generation of consumer EEG headsets usually don’t require gel, and are much easier to use than traditional medical EEG.
EEG headsets are now widely used for improving focus and productivity, reducing anxiety, accelerating learning, relaxing before bed, improving sleep, and enhancing athletic performance.
Buying The Best EEG Headset: EEG Headset Reviews
You’ll need to do a bit of research to find the best EEG headset. First, figure out what you need it for. You won’t need a clinical-grade EEG headset if you are looking to unwind and practice meditation.
EEG headset price will be one of the main factors when making your selection, but don’t let it be the only one. You should consider how many sensors (channels) the set has, as it affects imaging quality. More is, in this case, better.
You should also consider the ease of use, app and device compatibility, whether it uses saline solutions, gels, or is labeled as a “dry eeg headset,” etc.
Muse EEG Headset
The main difference between the two seems to be in battery life, as Muse S can track your brain activity for up to 10 hours, to last through the whole night, while Muse 2 only has a battery life of 5 hours. Other than that, the two headsets mainly seem to differ in software, while the hardware is relatively similar.
These headbands are perfect for beginners as they are fairly easy to use, but don’t expect high-level imaging as there are only four sensors. Both headsets can also monitor movement, heart rate, and breathing rate.
Best EEG Headset on Amazon
Yes, you can buy eeg headsets on Amazon. The top-selling EEG headsets on Amazon are the Muse 2 and Muse S, which we’ve already covered. They are truly popular, so you’ll find lots of online Muse EEG headset reviews.
Helps for meditation
Flowtime is a lesser-known EEG headset available on Amazon that can help you get detailed readings of your brainwaves, heart rate, attention, pressure levels, and more. The idea is to read this data during meditation, using the feedback to help you reach a deeper meditative state.
The design is light and modern, so it’s comfortable to wear. A few users have reported problems with the app, but fortunately this can be improved through software patches.
Emotiv EEG Headset
Emotiv is a well-known brand that offers several portable headband options. Their devices have been used in scientific experiments and showed high accuracy.
Emotiv’s Flagship Product
Emotiv EPOC X is their flagship product, with 14 fixed sensors to accurately measure brain activity. It boasts a battery life of up to 9 hours, and is mainly intended for neurohacking. It requires a saline solution, which may be inconvenient for non-professional users. But overall, it takes around 5 minutes to set up, and is fairly easy once you get down the basics.
Great for research purposes / expert users
Emotiv EPOC FLEX is an excellent option for research purposes and is reserved only for the biggest DIY fanatics. This device is a lot more complicated to use, as sensors need to be manually configured like with medical EEG, and it uses saline solution or gel to set up. It has 32 channels that allow high-quality analysis, but it won’t matter much if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Best for beginners
Insight is geared towards beginners, as it is much easier to use and doesn’t require gel or saline solution. With five 2D sensors, you can expect lower imaging resolution, but it’s still a good option for performance and wellness tracking.
NeuroSky EEG Headsets
EEG For Entertainment
Have you ever wanted to control things with your mind? Mindflex is a simple headset that allows just that, by using a simple EEG device as a controller for an electronic toy.
Once you put on the Mindflex headset, you’ll be able to move a ball over the game console using your mind. There are five challenging games available for 1 to 4 players, so you can play alone or with your friends. The goal is to move the ball through various funnels, hoops, hurdles, funnels, and other obstacles and test your speed and concentration skills.
Entry-level Neurohacking Headset
The Mindwave Mobile 2 is another headset from NeuroSky, but this one is meant as an entry-level neurohacking headset. It features only one sensor, and is intended for total beginners and children, or people looking for a cheap EEG headset to start with.
Mindwave is an excellent cheap EEG headset that comes with tons of free and paid apps in their store, compared to most headsets that only feature one. You can find anything from games to apps that help you relax, reduce stress, improve focus, and more.
Versus EEG Headset
Mainly intended for doctors, trainers, and researchers
This dry EEG headset by Senselabs is mainly intended for doctors, trainers, and researchers. Five powerful fixed sensors are placed around the head and allow high-quality readings in 3D. The whole setup is a little robust, but since the sensors are set and don’t require gels, the Versus headset is relatively easy to use.
Versus headset is on the pricier range of the spectrum, and you’ll also have to purchase a monthly or annual subscription to the Versus app. However, the Versus app has many functions and can help with impulse control, decision making, problem-solving, sleeping patterns, and more. And on top of it, you can play some fun games to unwind.
Another great feature is Neuroperformance Assessment, which allows Versus to identify the strongest and weakest brain functioning points and highly personalize each user’s experience.
Best EEG Gaming Headset
Interactive mind-controlled video platform
MyndPlay EEG Brainwave headset offers access to an interactive mind-controlled video platform that allows users to interact with video games, apps, and movies with their mind. The headset responds to your brainwaves, and it produces an appropriate action that stimulates your brain to improve attention, encourage relaxation, lower anxiety, and improve mental health.
Although using EEG headsets as controllers for complex video games is still in the future– right now they lack the needed precision and fidelity– MyndPlay has a number of simple games that can keep you entertained while you work on your focus and relaxation.
Imec EEG Headset
According to the Imec and Holst Centre, this portable EEG brainwave headset can measure emotions and cognitive processes in the brain. This could have serious potential in the therapeutic field, as well as gaming and deep learning applications.
It utilizes a dry method, and it is relatively easy to use. But, this wireless EEG headset is unfortunately not available to consumers right now; rather, it seems to be sold only to companies and research labs for use in developing their own products or conducting studies. It seems to be intended purely as a clinical-grade EEG headset.
Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to email@example.com.