Some people like to just use the earbuds that came with their phones—and that’s okay.
Most of the time, those actually work pretty well. And if you have the popular wireless AirPods, those seem to do the trick too. But alas, AirPods are actually pretty expensive to buy on their own, and while they’re great for listening to music and the odd phone call, they do lack some unique features that you’d want in a headset if you’re on conference calls a lot.
We’re talking back-to-back meetings with super-important clients and prospects on the phone and big team meetings on the daily. In these cases, you might need something a little more high tech and sophisticated.
Specifically, you probably need a headset that’s actually designed for conference calls, with crystal-clear audio, a great mic, and of course, noise-cancelling features.
Because sometimes we don’t take conference calls in an office—or even our home office. Sometimes, you need to take a call in your backyard, while you’re on a walk around your neighborhood, or even during a dinner party for those dreaded after hours emergencies.
A good conference call headset will let you do that. So, how do you choose a good headset for conference calls? And which ones are the best? Let’s look at a few options. Now, we won’t just give you a huge list of headsets and say, “Off you go. Have fun digging through every single one.”
We’re going to look at five headsets and show you what type of use case each one is good for. (For example, you might need something that has a particularly good mic or has a huge wireless range.) Or, if you already know what you’re interested in, you can skip ahead here:
- Best headset for hours-long conference calls
- Best headset for working from home (and exercising)
- Headset with the best padding and comfort (Bonus: headset with the best mic)
- Headset with the longest range
- Best USB headset for customer service (and conference calls)
Want to learn how to transition to a remote work environment? Download this step-by-step checklist.
But first, let’s look at a quick four-question checklist that’ll help you choose the best headphones for you.
How to choose the best headset for video conferencing (for you)
Because the amount of choice out there is so overwhelming, we’re going to keep it simple. Here are the top four things you should consider when choosing the best headset for business calls:
Do looks matter? We hate to be shallow, but yes—looks do matter to some people. And often the headsets with the objectively best features in a business context don’t look the sexiest. They’re not ugly either, but it’s a toss-up, and you have to decide what’s most important to you.
How long will you spend on calls? Spending five or six hours a day on a call can really wear on you—and your ears. And some headsets have more padding and are more comfortable than others. (Like the Voyager 8200 below.)
What business phone system or communication tools are you using? If you already have a phone service, you should look at which phones are compatible with it. For example, here are a bunch of headsets and conference phones that are compatible with RingCentral. There are a few reasons for doing this: if the headsets are compatible, then it’s probably easier to sync them up to your tools—and equally importantly, you know that you can call, say, RingCentral’s customer service team for support if you run into any problems with the headsets or phones.
What environment do you want to use the headset in? We say “want” here very consciously, because in an increasingly WFH world, you may very well want to take your calls somewhere other than your desk or office. You may have a nice terrace or backyard that’s nice to work at, or you may enjoy taking strolls around your neighborhood while on calls.
And there are days when you might just be taking a call from the comfort of your bed. (No judgement!) Those cases would all call for a conference call headset that has some kind of active noise canceling so that your team can hear you clearly, even if your dog is going psycho from boredom or your kids have decided to start a band in the kitchen.
1. Best headset for hours-long conference calls: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
If you spend a ton of time every day on calls, you want something that helps you do your job. The Voyager Focus headset does that. It syncs up easily with whatever device you’re using, whether it’s your laptop, desk phone, cell phone, or even tablet.
One of the features that people love about Apple AirPods is the fact that it automatically pauses your music when you take one of the earbuds out (to talk to someone, for example). Well, these take that to the next level.
The smart sensors in the headset will automatically answer a call—all you have to do is put on the headset. And like the AirPods, taking it off will mute your call. If you’re listening to music, taking it off will pause the tunes.
The headset also has not one, but three precision-tuned mics, both to pick up your voice better and also for background noise canceling, while the OpenMic button lets you turn your surroundings back on and hear what’s going on in the world around you.
2. Best headset for working from home (and exercising): Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC
If you’re one of those people who has a laptop stand on your treadmill, or you just really value exercising and keeping active throughout the workday, then this one’s for you.
There’s a reason the Voyager 6200 UC is one of the best earbuds for conference calls. It looks like those sports headphones that you see around athletes’ necks on TV ads and the gym. It’s a Bluetooth neckband-style conference call headset that lets you get on calls with your team, drop an earbud to mute your call or music (it’s definitely not an AirPod-specific feature anymore), and yes, listen to music too.
Like the Voyager Focus, it comes with stereo sound and active noise-cancelling. Unlike the Voyager Focus, it has not three, but four omnidirectional mics to make sure you’re coming across loud and clear on conference calls. Plus, the neckband vibrates when you have an incoming call! Really cool.
Here’s a super work-related feature that’s unique and sets this headset apart from the other sports-styled ones: you can pair it with up to eight devices—and have it connected to two at a time. That’ll come in handy if you want to pair these with your phone and laptop at the same time. Why would you want to do that? Well, if you’re on the move and taking a call on your phone, you can easily switch the meeting to your laptop.
For example, RingCentral’s desktop and mobile apps let you do a “meeting flip” between devices without interrupting the call:
🕹️ Get a hands-on look at how RingCentral works by booking a product tour:
3. Headset with the best padding and comfort: Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC
**Bonus: This is also the headset with the best mic!
Like the other Plantronics Voyager conference call headsets, the 8200 UC has four mics, the ability to connect to two devices at once, call and music auto-pause when you take off the headset, and dynamic mute alerts to tell you when you’re talking while muted.
But this one is definitely on the stylish end (it also comes in white/bone), and its noise-cancelling features one-ups the other headsets: the 8200 UC has a best-in-class dual mode active noise cancelling, meaning you can choose your noise reduction level. Need to be able to hear what your toddler is doing in the next room? Just set it so that you can still hear a little of your surroundings. (Or block everything out. Up to you.)
As a bonus, we also gave these particular conference call headphones the award for “headset with the best mic.” It scored points for not having the mic boom (which is that little part of a headset that sticks out and makes you look like you’re working in a call center) while retaining the power of four mics, the OpenMic feature (which you’ll find in some other Plantronics headsets), and most importantly, this glowing review from Gear Patrol:
“In my two weeks using [Voyager 8200 UC], I never had one person who I was on the phone with complain about not being able to hear me, which is actually a common complaint I have when taking calls on my AirPods… the Voyager 8200 UC is designed specifically for office workers who talk on the phone a lot.” – Gear Patrol
Even if your coworkers (or kids) are going absolutely nuts, the people on the other end of the line will have no idea.
4. Headset with the longest range: Jabra Evolve2 65
Most of the other conference call headsets we’ve looked at give you pretty decent wireless range already, about 100 feet.
But if you want a headset with absolutely ridiculous range (because oh, we don’t know, maybe you like going on really long walks without your cell phone in your pocket or something), then the Jabra Evolve2 65 might be a good option for you.
The New York Times tested a bunch of headsets, and they found that the Jabra Evolve2 had the best range and longest battery life of all of them.
However! It does not have active noise cancellation like the other headsets, so if you’re going to be in busy-ish or loud-ish environments, you’ll have to think about whether it’s worth the extra range in wireless connectivity. Speaking of which, that range is a whopping 490 feet.
5. **Bonus: Best USB headset for customer service (and conference calls if you need them): Poly EncorePro 500 USB
Sometimes, you need a headset for not only conference calls, but also to do a little customer service.
Whether you have a full-on contact center or just for the one person who’s in charge of taking customer calls day in and day out, it’s better to have an actual headset designed for that job. Most of the time—especially if it’s a busy company—a basic office phone isn’t going to cut it.
So, here’s an option for you multitaskers who are regularly on both conference calls and customer calls. The EncorePro 500 USB Series is Poly’s best-selling contact center headset, and there’s a reason why.
Unlike the other options on this list, it’s not wireless, but it comes with enough other perks to make up for it. The flexible noise-cancelling mic boom has handy visual and tactile indicators to let you know if you’ve positioned it in the best spot to pick up on your voice.
It also comes with SoundGuard technology, which protects your ears by acoustically limiting sounds that are above 118 dBA (just in case you have an angry or yell-y customer on the line).
And the coolest part: it’s made of lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum joints, making it super durable, and it has soft ear cushions that swap out easily to help you find the perfect fit.
Which conference call headset is best for your team?
Whether you need a comfortable set of headphones or something that has a long battery life for those lengthy discussions, one of these headsets will probably do the job.
Take a look at the different features and keep an eye out for them as you’re online window-shopping!