Let's talk business: When you're constantly in meetings or need to talk on the phone, your headset needs some specific qualities. It's especially important with so many people working from home. You need a headset with a great microphone, is comfortable to wear for long periods, and maybe includes active noise cancelation so you can focus on your call. The Sennheiser MB 660 UC are your best bet. They feature long battery life, are super comfortable to wear, and can pair to two devices simultaneously.
- Best Overall: Sennheiser MB 660 UC
- Best Over-Ear: Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC
- Best Wired: Jabra Evolve 80
- Best Earbuds: Jabra Evolve 65e UC
- Best Mono Headset: Jabra Evolve 40 MS
Best Overall: Sennheiser MB 660 UC
The Sennheiser MB 660 UC are slightly more expensive than most other options out there, but they're a great pair of headphones that basically do everything, including taking video conferencing calls.
Let's first talk about microphone quality, which is one of the critical strengths of the MB 660 UC. They isolate your voice well in loud environments and are also able to block out a good amount of background noise. The sound quality is excellent if you plan on using these for casual listening as well. They're a bit heavy on the bass and lack a tiny bit with the high notes. They feature active noise cancelation (ANC), but that can mostly be ignored as it ruins the sound quality when enabled. Their passive isolation is decent enough to block out most of the environment around you, though.
In terms of comfort, the Sennheiser MB 660 UC are solid. The ear cups aren't as deep as some other headphones, so you might have an issue if you have larger ears. However, the pleather they use on the ear cups and headband is super comfortable, making them great to wear for long periods for most people.
Battery life is excellent, with up to 30 hours of listening/calling time on a single charge. You can pair up to two devices simultaneously, which is excellent if you need to switch back and forth between two clients. Unfortunately, you don't have any wired options here. So, if your battery dies, you'll need to wait for them to recharge.
- Excellent mic quality
- Great comfort
- Long battery life
- Solid sound quality
- Can pair two devices simultaneously
- ANC destroys their sound and should be ignored
- Can be uncomfortable for those with bigger ears
- Cannot be used wired
Jack of all trades
They can pair up to two devices simultaneously, last up to 30 hours on a single charge, and are super comfortable.
Best Over-Ear: Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC
While over-ear headphones aren't typically great for video conferencing due to long term discomfort, the Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC are an exception to this rule. The headset is extremely comfortable for long term use, with little to no discomfort issues that we've discovered.
The microphone quality is excellent on the Voyager 8200 UC. Even in a loud office environment, the person on the other end of the call won't have much issue hearing you. Even in a non-office environment, they are great. There are no reported issues with other people being able to hear you when on the phone and vice versa. The noise isolation algorithm also isn't too aggressive like it is with some other headphones where they might cut off bits of your voice, making you sound robotic. This, combined with their active noise cancellation, really helps when needing to take that important phone call.
Unfortunately, while they can be used wirelessly, battery life is mediocre at best. You're much better off using them wired as that'll remove any latency or delay issues. Plus, the headphones only last up to 3 hours wirelessly, which is pretty pointless.
- Superb comfort
- Excellent mic quality
- Great noise isolation
- Poor battery life when used wirelessly
Comfortable over-ear headphones that are also great for conference calls are rare. The Voyager 8200 UC from Plantronics are the exception.
Best Wired: Jabra Evolve 80
As it turns out, not every industry needs to go wireless when it comes to headphones. Usually, with wireless headphones, they need to pack in an amplifier/DAC, processors, and a battery, which can add weight to the overall package. The Jabra Evolve 80 goes old school with wires and is all the better for it.
When we say classic design, we mean it. Similar to gaming headsets, the Evolve 80 includes a microphone that sticks out in front of you, and honestly, in 2020, looks a bit goofy. The upside to that design is that you can adjust the microphone position to be either closer or farther away from your mouth. In return, you get excellent microphone quality as the mic is right in front of your mouth. Your voice is clear and crisp, and the person on the other end won't have any issues hearing you no matter the environment.
In terms of comfort, the Evolve 80 are excellent. The ear cups are large and extend deep for even the largest of ears. The cups and headband are made of a lightweight pleather material. Their overall footprint isn't too terribly large nor heavy.
Their only downside is their in-line controls. Unlike most other headphones that build them into the cable, the Evolve 80 have it as a separate piece, requiring you to plug it in when you want to use it. The module in which you plug in the microphone is rather large, however, the Evolve 80 are meant to be used while sitting at a desk anyways.
A neat feature of the Evolve 80 is that they have a "do not disturb" light that you can toggle. With the indicator on, the headphones let people around you know that you're busy and not to interrupt. Some may find it tacky, but the feature is useful if you're always getting tapped on the shoulder while you have headphones on.
- Wired, so no batteries
- Excellent comfort
- Superb mic quality
- Useful do not disturb indicator
- In-line controls are a bit bulky
They might look tacky to gamers, but they function well. With an adjustable microphone and solid comfort, you can easily use them for hours.
Best Earbuds: Jabra Evolve 65e UC
If most of your work relies on flying, sitting at airports, or sitting through long commutes, the Jabra Evolve 65e UC are a solid option. Not only is their mic quality great, but their active noise cancelation (ANC) performance is excellent.
They also feature excellent sound quality. They're a bit bass and midrange heavy, however, you can use their companion smartphone application to change the way they sound in addition to adjust how much active noise cancelation you want, among other features. Battery life is excellent, with up to 13 hours on a single charge.
In terms of comfort, they're larger than most earbuds. They're comfortable, and you can use them for long periods without much ear fatigue. And the band that goes around your neck isn't terribly heavy, either. It'll be obvious that you're wearing earbuds; however, that's not a terrible thing.
- Great sound quality
- Long battery life
- Good comfort
- Weird weight along the neck
Jabra's Evolve 65e UC are perfect for those who travel a lot for business but are always on phone/video calls.
Best Mono Headset: Jabra Evolve 40 MS
If you're looking for something that doesn't cover both of your ears, the Jabra Evolve 40 MS is your best bet. It's a single mono headset that allows you to use your other ear to hear what's going on around you. Its microphone is excellent, and you won't have any issues hearing the other person and vice versa. Noise isolation is excellent here as well, helping you block out background noise in louder environments.
The headset features in-line controls for volume, muting the microphone and accept/declining a call. This means you can quickly pick up or hang up a call without having to navigate your computer.
The Evolve 40 MS is a wired headset, which means you are limited by how far your cord can reach. Not a huge deal, but it does mean that you don't have to worry about recharging. The headset features a standard USB-A port but also features 3.5mm out in case you need to take a call on a different device.
- Great mic quality
- In-line volume and accept call buttons
- USB and 3.5mm out
- Wired only could be an option for some
Best Mono Headset
Hello? I can hear you
Great headset with excellent comfort and flexibility for taking conference calls at home or on-the-go.
When it comes to business headsets, there's only one thing you need to know: the difference between UC and MS. UC is a universal standard and will work with nearly anything you have, and most, if not all, of your programs. MS is used specifically for Skype Business. It's not an open standard and will only work within Skype Business. Most headsets have two different models so that you can pick based on what you need.
Whether you sit at the office taking conference calls all day or on-the-go, there are tons of different headset options out there, depending on your needs. For those who tend sitting at the office, the Sennheiser MB 660 MS are your best bet. They're pricey, but offer everything you could want for video or phone conferencing, including extended battery life, amazing sound, and excellent mic quality for calls.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao spends most of his days testing and listening to headphones. While not at work, he likes to analyze music with headphones and play video games.
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