The 10 Best Invisible Headsets
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in March of 2016. Those looking to make phone calls or listen to music and audiobooks discreetly should check out our ranking of invisible headsets. These mini marvels provide great sound quality in such a small package that most people will never know you're wearing one. We're not suggesting you use them in class or at work, but they may make a boring lecture or stuffy board meeting a little more bearable. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 18, 2020:
Our latest update has seen a number of additions and revisions to the previous ranking, starting with the inclusion of four more items. This is a reflection of the increasing popularity of small headsets, and the influx of new models that have become available in a relatively short space of time.
We selected the Essoy V4.1 due to its affordability, tried and tested functionality, and its being available in a choice of different tones. We also chose the water-resistant SZHTFX Enhanced Comfort, as a good option for use while exercising or playing sports. Next, we opted to include the Fashionlive Super Mini for its ultra-compact profile and longevity, making it an ideal choice for use during long working days. These three are all single-ear units, and while they are perfect for making conference calls on the go, or for listening to audiobooks at the gym, for example, these are not well suited to playing music.
For this, the stereo Motorola Vervebuds and Avantree TWS110 are stereo headphone-style options, with the former boasting exceptional range and talk time and a super-slim charging capsule that extends their standby time to 70 hours. For a slightly lower price, you could opt for the Avantree, which share many features, such as Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and over 30 feet of range, but have physical buttons on the earpieces instead of the biometric functionality of the Motorola set.
November 26, 2019:
"Invisible" is a bit of a stretch, as, upon close inspection, these devices can, of course, be seen, but they're easier to keep hidden than most other wireless earbuds. The GoNovate G11 is one of the most discreet because it can fit snugly in the folds of most people's ears, while the Fantime IPX-8 and Petu Mini are worthy considerations simply because they're so incredibly tiny. If you're willing to use something with a little more bulk, check out the Pasavant T2 Plus; they are considerably more noticeable than the rest, but they should also sound quite a bit better. As far as traditional true wireless earbuds go, they're just about the least intrusive. The AmorTech X12 is worth a look if you're concerned about microphone quality, as their CVC-compliant mic promises to block out at least a little surrounding noise.
As with any earbuds, take care not to keep them at too loud of a volume for too long for health reasons. Also, because these are all considerably smaller than most others, you should take extra care to not insert them too far, which can be especially bad for ear health.
When And Why To Use An Invisible Headset
What you may not realize is that an invisible headset isn’t just meant for radio communications.
Your first thought when you see the invisible headsets on our list might be that they’re specifically designed for use by spies and other entities who need to be in at least one-way radio contact with other team members. It might seem like a piece of tech that has nothing to do with you and your everyday life. The reality is that there are a number of uses for invisible headsets that might surprise you, and that you might find incredibly helpful in your daily activities.
For starters, let’s imagine you work in an office, or for any company that requires you to attend potentially boring meetings at which your attendance is mandated, but hardly required given your duties at the company. You could sit there, paying close attention to a slew of information that means little to your job, and go back to your desk feeling drained and misunderstood. It’s what the majority of office workers do.
What you may not realize is that an invisible headset isn’t just meant for radio communications. It can also serve you as a single-ear earbud, giving you the ability to listen to whatever music you might like while suffering through an otherwise insufferable board meeting. Since many of the invisible headsets on the market occupy only one of your ears, you’ll still be able to tune back into the meeting if you hear anybody say your name, and you’ll head back to your desk feeling inspired and energized, instead.
In another example, you may spend a lot of time on the road in an area where even common hands-free cellular devices are frowned upon by local statutes. With an invisible headset, especially one that has a built-in microphone, you can engage in conversations with anyone who calls you without attracting unwanted attention from police.
Of course, it’s also possible that you’re a spy, and that you need an earpiece with as low a profile as possible that can still provide you with clear audio and the potential for two-way communication. Just make sure you keep your ears clean, because if you get caught, you’re going to have to swallow the unit, and nobody wants to eat earwax.
How To Choose The Right Invisible Headset For You
At first glance, most of the invisible headsets on the market look very much alike. In fact, there are companies out there that have almost identical products, the only real difference between which is the printed brand name and accompanying documents. Fortunately for you, we’ve done our best to keep such duplicates away from our list, and the differences among the best of the market are important enough to make sure you can find the perfect headset for your needs.
At first glance, most of the invisible headsets on the market look very much alike.
In order to ascertain which model is best for you, it’ll help to look at some of the things that separate one set from the next, and to ask yourself whether you need one available feature over another. For example, the majority of the headsets on our list come as individual units designed to be worn in a single ear. There are available sets that come as a two-pack, however, and these can be a significant advantage in certain situations. If you want your invisible headset to double as a set of stereo headphones, you’re going to want that second earbud. You can also use the pair to share whatever you’re listening to with a friend in your class or a colleague your meeting.
The models on our list each have slightly different degrees of invisibility, as well. If you know you want a model to be as discreet as possible, then you should look for something significantly small and something that comes in a color that closely matches your skin tone. If you’re less concerned with hiding the unit, but perhaps you prefer their design to that of a bulkier Bluetooth headset, you should opt for the model with the best technical specs.
Among those technical specs, you’ll see a rating for battery life. More often than not, you'll want a model with the longest possible battery life, as this will mean you’ll have to charge it less often. But if you know you’re only going to use it for a brief period each day, and that you’ll have an easy time keeping it fully charged, then you can look for a model that sacrifices battery life in the name of sound quality or price.
A Brief History Of Invisible Headsets
Invisible headsets sit at an intersection between headphones and hearing aids, utilizing the audio amplification technology of the former along with the design of the latter. As such, we’ll need to take a quick look at the histories of each technology to understand how they came to be.
Electric hearing aids came after, but not before the history of recorded music took its first steps in 1877.
Hearing aids have a longer history than headphones, as they predate the history of recorded music by arriving on the scene in the 17th century. You may have seen an image of the great composer Beethoven at some point in your life — whether in a drawing or a biopic film — in which he can be seen holding a kind of horn up to his ear. These ear trumpets were designed by instrument manufacturers of the day, and were among the first such devices in human history.
Electric hearing aids came after, but not before the history of recorded music took its first steps in 1877. Still, the headphone wouldn’t make its way to the world until some 30 years later, when the devices were developed for use in naval communications. These early headphones were enormous, and they posed a high risk of electrical shock to their users.
Over the course of the next century, both headphones and hearing aids got smaller and smaller. In the case of hearing aids, the desire to make them smaller came from the threat of stigma, from the embarrassment users felt at needing a device to help them hear. In the case of headphones, size was a matter of convenience, and the launch of the Sony Walkman in the late 1970s made small, inexpensive headphones a mainstay in musical culture.