3 Must-Have Free Voice Chat Clients for Gamers

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Voice chat is now standard fare in video gaming communities. Gone are the days when you had to share a couch to socialize while playing. Why bother when you can stay at home and chat over the internet all the same? The technology exists!

But with so many options available, you may be confused as to which one is right for you and your circle of friends. We’ll show you the five best voice chat solutions for gaming and each of their pros and cons.

1. Discord

Discord is a free app that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and as a web app (not as feature-rich as the desktop versions as far as voice configuration). If you’ve ever used Slack or IRC, then you’ll feel right at home on Discord. In addition to voice chat, Discord supports text chat and video chat (for up to 10 people).

The Pros of Discord

Anyone can create a “Discord server” How to Set Up Your Own Discord Server How to Set Up Your Own Discord Server Setting up your own Discord server is easy! Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process. Read More for free. Users can join as many servers as they want, and each server is essentially its own independent community. Servers can have text channels and voice channels, and the server owner can tweak pretty much everything about it. Discord hosts the servers itself, and here’s how you can find the best Discord servers to match your interests.

In other words, you and your friends can get set up and running within minutes. Servers are private and people can only join them through invite links (a “public” server is one with a permanent public invite link that anyone can use). Discord has many features beyond just the voice chat client—it’s one of the best game launchers to organize and launch your PC games The 6 Best Game Launchers to Launch and Organize Your PC Games The 6 Best Game Launchers to Launch and Organize Your PC Games Here are the best ways to launch all of your PC games without hopping between game launchers. Read More . It’s also one of the best social networks for gamers 3 Awesome Social Networks Just for Gamers 3 Awesome Social Networks Just for Gamers Are you looking for a social network where you can meet other like-minded gamers? Here are the best sites to check out if you need a bit more gaming chatter in your life. Read More !

The Cons of Discord

Since all servers are hosted through Discord, an outage means all Discord servers go down and you can’t do anything about it except wait.

Furthermore, Discord servers are only hosted in the following locations: U.S. East, U.S. Central, U.S. West, U.S. South, Europe West, Europe Central, Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. If you’re outside those regions, then latency may cause intolerable delays in voice chat.

Discord may actually be a bit overkill if you only want voice chat. It’s best to use if you’re already participating in a few other Discord servers, in which case you’ll already be running the Discord app and have nothing to lose.

For Discord tips and tricks 9 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know 9 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know Using Discord is simple. However, by using these Discord tips and tricks you can get even more out of Discord. Read More , check out these helpful suggestions.

2. Mumble

Mumble is a free and open-source app that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. On mobile, you can use a third-party app: Plumble for Android and Mumblefy for iOS. It’s mainly used for voice chat, though it also supports primitive text chat.

The Pros of Mumble

Mumble specializes in low-latency communication What Is A Ping, And Is Zero Ping Possible? What Is A Ping, And Is Zero Ping Possible? Ping is a command used to measure the latency between two devices on a network. When your internet feels fast, you're experiencing a low ping. But why does your ping change, and how can you... Read More , which makes it great for high-octane games with lots of fast action, especially ones that involve teamplay. It can also do positional audio based where you are in the game world, but this is only supported on some games (such as most Source Engine games and Guild Wars 2).

Everything is in your control. If you want to host a server, you just download the server version of Mumble and run it on your computer. Then everyone else downloads the client version of Mumble to connect to your IP address. You can create channels to keep everything organized.

If you want 24/7 uptime without leaving your computer on all the time, you can buy Mumble server hosting. Expect to pay about $2.50 per month per five slots, although the price-per-slot drops drastically as slots increase. And you can get hefty discounts by paying for multiple months at once instead of going monthly.

The Cons of Mumble

You can only connect to one Mumble server at a time.

The clunky interface is probably its worst aspect, followed by the learning curve. While Mumble is extremely easy to use once you get familiarized, that initial experience can be pretty frustrating, especially when you’re trying to set up the server software on your computer and can’t figure out why your friends can’t connect. (Hint: You need port forwarding What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] Do you cry a little inside when someone tells you there’s a port forwarding problem and that’s why your shiny new app won’t work? Your Xbox won’t let you play games, your torrent downloads refuse... Read More !)

3. TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak is a free app that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS (the mobile apps are client apps only). TeamSpeak is very similar to Mumble in design and operation, but offers some unique features while also falling short in certain aspects.

The Pros of TeamSpeak

TeamSpeak has an easy-to-use interface with high-quality audio, though with slightly more latency than Mumble. However, the difference is negligible in most cases.

TeamSpeak also has a flexible and powerful permissions system that allows different users to have control over different areas of the server based on their “power level.” The permissions also divide into groups, so you can grant control over a channel to one user and grant control over the server to another. This makes community management much easier.

Like Mumble, you can self-host TeamSpeak or you can pay for hosting.

The Cons of TeamSpeak

You can only connect to one TeamSpeak server at a time.

Self-hosted TeamSpeak servers have a maximum capacity of 32 simultaneous users. If you request and acquire a non-commercial non-profit license, you can raise that limit to 512. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay an annual fee based on maximum capacity. Not a big deal for private groups of friends, but a possible deal-breaker for public communities.

Notable Mentions: Hangouts and Skype

The options above are the Big Three, and almost every gamer develops a preference for one of them. If you don’t like any of them for whatever reason, there are two other voice chat solutions you can use. But be warned: they have some glaring flaws.

Hangouts lets you make free voice calls to other Hangouts users, plus video conferences with up to 10 total participants. It’s fine for lounging around with fellow gaming friends, but not the best for actual gaming because the quality isn’t optimized for it, you don’t have options for push-to-talk, and there’s no persistence between calls.

Skype is more fit for gaming because you can have persistent group chats between voice chats, but the Skype software itself leaves much to be desired. It’s buggy and prone to errors When Skype Isn't Working: 7 Key Settings You Must Check When Skype Isn't Working: 7 Key Settings You Must Check Skype won't connect or has no sound? We'll walk you through the simple steps to troubleshoot Skype issues. Read More , plus the voice quality is generally bad and has a distinct Skype “tinnyness” to it. But if you decide to use it anyway, here are some tips for more efficient Skype usage 10 Tips to Make You a More Efficient Skype User 10 Tips to Make You a More Efficient Skype User Skype can do more than you think. With this article, you'll learn all about its best hidden and advanced features. It's the Skype productivity manual. Read More .

Which Voice Chat Client Do You Like Best?

I personally use Discord and haven’t looked back since. Once you’ve picked a voice chat client, you’ll want to make this quick router tweak to eliminate lag, and you don’t even need a gaming router for it. If you’re looking for more free apps to up your pc gaming, check out this list of free apps for PC gamers. Lastly, to truly maximum performance, you should tweak your PC for gaming Optimize Your PC for Gaming With These 4 Vital Tweaks Optimize Your PC for Gaming With These 4 Vital Tweaks Wondering how to optimize your PC for gaming? Use these vital tips to keep your gaming PC setup running at its best. Read More and tweak Windows 10 for gaming How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming and Performance How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming and Performance Are you gaming on Windows 10? You can optimize Windows 10 for gaming with Game Mode and other tips and tweaks. We show you how. Read More .

Explore more about: Chat Client, Discord, Online Chat.

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  1. Josephine
    May 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    "You can only connect to one TeamSpeak server at a time."

    That is totally NOT TRUE and 100% wrong. You can have as many open server tabs as you want. Like all other software, you can only SPEAK at one at the time, but that's the same with EVERY software.

  2. CyFire
    April 3, 2018 at 9:20 am

    I have not used the first two but I do use TeamSpeak and can say that the con you listed is just not true. You just need to bookmark your servers the right click on them and you get an option to open in a new tab. You can open several sessions that way.

  3. Rayan khan
    January 24, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Discord is fantastic, and it has a good future, particularly with the many investments it has received. Discord generally is a little exaggerated in case you handiest need a voice chat. Discord may really be a bit overkill if you just want voice chat.
    The app has a welcoming look with cute graphics, and the concept that it is possible to grow your very own digital garden as you learn will pull in the playful learners among you. The app includes audio-visual learning lesson, where you find an image with each word or phrase and you'll hear them spoken by natives. The app isn't difficult to download, easy to work out, enjoyable to take a look at, and even more enjoyable to use. This app may also be used if you're already really good in that language and you simply need to repeat stuff or wish to chat to natives or if you will need somebody to review that which you have written

    • Keith
      April 14, 2018 at 2:24 am

      Discord is fantastic? My brother and I downloaded it to get away from Skype and it won't even work. It lights up the green bar when I talk, so it hears me, but nothing goes through to my brother on the call. I can hear him. I tried all the reset settings, changing input/output devices, manual sensitivity, etc etc. Rebooted the PC. Nothing made Discord work. So, no, it does not seem very fantastic.

  4. Breadlord
    January 14, 2018 at 8:06 am

    You can connect to multiple teamspeak servers at once. They have tabbed servers.

  5. John A.
    December 10, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Bless you! I use a phone that is locked with a particular provider, and they use their own proprietary software. I have Android 4.4.2, and Google's installed apps were eating away at the 4 GB onboard storage. Now I'm only using 3.4 GB, which is some nice headroom. Thank you for showing me how to essentially make them disappear!

  6. spyjoshx
    December 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    If all you need is one to one voice chat on computers running Linux Mac or Windows, Tox is a good solution. Because it is peer to peer, you get the ABSOLUTE BEST quality possible. It's also open-source and runs on a decentralized network, so no outages EVER. I love using it.