The 10 Best Phone Headsets
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in March of 2018. Modern telephony has advanced enormously from the days of switchboards and analog devices. A good headset will let you make the most of today's technology while leaving your hands free to take notes, drive safely, or enjoy a cup of tea while making calls. Most are designed to connect using Bluetooth, but we've included some meant for use with softphones and landlines, as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 12, 2020:
Hands-free phone headsets aren't just trendy and convenient, they're essentials for many lines of work. Plus, they're legally required in most states if you plan on talking on the phone while driving. Models such as the Plantronics Voyager Legend 5200 and Sennheiser Presence have been around for a while, and especially in the case of the 5200, have undergone quite a few incremental changes over the years. If you want something lightweight, reliable, and clear-sounding, both are great choices. The GoNovate C20 is highly reminiscent of the 5200, and while it isn't of quite as high of quality, it's a perfectly acceptable option for many users. Then there's the Jabra Talk Series, which comes in several varieties that should satisfy a wide range of needs. We'd particularly recommend looking into the 25 and 45 models.
Those looking for a more stable fit without breaking the bank should consider the TaoTronics BH041, which is another in the company's long line of reasonably priced yet high-performing audio devices. If you frequently work on the phone and want something that will remain comfortable for long periods, the Plantronics CS540 might be what you need, thanks to its clear call quality and a modular design that lets you wear it three different ways. The Plantronics Blackwire C435 is another interesting choice because it's one of the few sets of ear buds with a microphone boom; its only major drawback is a lack of wireless connectivity. Speaking of wireless functionality, the Plantronics Voyager Focus B825-M does offer it as well as all-day comfort and a good battery life. The Plantronics Savi W720 is another high-end model from this popular manufacturer and it's worth checking out if you need a powerful DECT-compliant headset for the workplace.
We've also included the Bose 700, which is the latest release from a well-known high-end audio manufacturer. Not all headphones meant for music listening are ideal for talking on the phone, in part because over-ear designs tend to get warm pretty quickly, but these new releases from Bose are just too good to ignore. They offer above-average call quality, high-end microphones, and highly customizable noise canceling and equalizing.
Sennheiser OfficeRunner If you spend a considerable amount of time on the phone each day, it might be worth making the relatively large investment that this high-end model requires. It's not intended for use with smartphones and doesn't have Bluetooth connectivity, but it offers nearly 600 feet of wireless range and is compatible with standard desk phones as well as most major softphones. sennehiser.com
Keeping In Touch, No Hands Required
Underlying many of the connections between devices these days is a technology first developed in the mid 1990s: Bluetooth.
In a long enough conversation with any dedicated technology watcher, the concept known as Moore's Law is likely to come up. Simply stated, Moore's Law asserts that the number of transistors (conductors that regulate the transfer of electrical current) in a given system of circuitry will double every two years, essentially meaning more processing power and capability in ever smaller devices. Moore's Law is often used as a shorthand reference to the pace at which technology develops and improves, and indeed even a cursory review of the range and type of devices currently available on the consumer market speaks to the incredible advancement of current computing power and modern hardware design.
From secure mobile banking to the stabilized drone to the micro SD card to the 4K television to the latest personal fitness app for your smartphone, devices and software abound. Technology is no longer just a part of everyday life, it is the frame of our daily lives. This is arguably most evident in the increasing interconnectedness of the devices and programs so many people rely on for everything from business to entertainment to travel to leisure. Underlying many of the connections between devices these days is a technology first developed in the mid 1990s: Bluetooth.
Bluetooth is a technology standard that governs the wireless connection of myriad devices. Invented by telecom giant Ericsson and now managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and now closing in on its fifth generation of improvements and enhancements, Bluetooth technology helps link two or more properly enabled devices together, provided they are in close enough proximity.
Bluetooth technology allows a smartphone to control an audio system, a keyboard to connect with a computer from across a room, or for a iPhone to communicate with its owner's headphones even while the phone is tucked in a gym bag or desk drawer. Bluetooth enabled devices make many tasks easier by freeing up the hands and by removing the need for corded connections. The technology can also enhance security measures, creating alerts if linked devices are separated, for example.
But perhaps the most convenient, most popular use for Bluetooth technology is the application with which most people associate its use in the first place: the Bluetooth headset.
Popular Uses For Bluetooth Headsets
Bluetooth headsets come in all shapes and sizes, which means their use appeals to all types of users. In fact, these devices range so greatly in shape, size, and design, that there are perhaps fewer points in common than there are distinctions from unit to unit. At their core, though, all Bluetooth headsets provide the same basic function: the ability to listen and talk through a wirelessly connected device while your hands are kept 100% unencumbered.
In addition to helping with efficiency and multitasking abilities, Bluetooth headsets can also enhance user safety in a variety of ways.
In addition to helping with efficiency and multitasking abilities, Bluetooth headsets can also enhance user safety in a variety of ways. Hands-free telecommunication keeps home contractors, industrial inspectors, road surveyors, and even dog walkers react at a moment's notice in case of emergency.
Because we care about our users' health, it's important to note that talking on a cell phone while driving a car is very dangerous. Unfortunately, using any type of hands-free device doesn't seem to make it much safer, if at all. So while it may be legal to use a headset where a handheld device would warrant a citation, it's still highly recommended to pull over and dedicate some time to your phone calls.
Convenience is the major reason for Bluetooth headset use. From the peripatetic businessman who paces while on his conference calls to the gamer who needs her hands free but wants to stay in constant contact with the other members of the team, a reliable wireless headset is a treasured commodity.
Some Bluetooth headsets fit their user so snugly they can even be used during exercise, allowing the multitasking individual to stay fit while chatting away or to simply enjoy music streamed from the nearby Bluetooth enabled device such as an iPhone or tablet computer.
Choosing The Right Bluetooth Headset For You
The price range you'll find from the most expensive Bluetooth headset to the most affordable option around is vast. As in seven to eight times the cost, in fact. Most Bluetooth headsets are reasonably affordable, though, so you can shop based on features and design instead of price.
Most Bluetooth headsets are reasonably affordable, though, so you can shop based on features and design instead of price.
First choose whether or not you want an extended microphone attachment or a more compact device. These microphone "arms" are a good choice for the person constantly on the phone for work, but away from a desk and on the move, they might be more annoying than their reliable voice pickup is worth.
Next consider in-ear or over-the-ear speaker type; if you're comfortable with an ear bud style of speaker, you can consider the smallest Bluetooth headsets on the market. If you prefer over-the-ear models, you'll be looking at slightly bulkier units. And if you want a more immersive audio experience, then consider headset style options that put a speaker on each ear.
And of course battery life and range aren't to be overlooked. All decent Bluetooth headsets fulfill their primary goal of providing wireless aural and oral connectivity, but you can't have a conversation if you're out of range or out of battery.