The 9 Best Bluetooth Headsets of 2021

On the go or in the office, take calls with ease

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The best Bluetooth headsets are for those who are on the phone constantly. Whether it's for work, or you're on the road, or you're working around the house, if you have a constant stream of phone calls coming in, you're going to want to answer those calls easily. Plus, answering calls hands-free is a liberating experience. Bluetooth headsets are designed to be really comfortable, have a long-lasting battery, and put a premium on call quality with great microphones and great headphones.

Some features you'll want to look for in a Bluetooth headset include comfort, noise cancellation, and battery life. After all, if your headset doesn't last all day, either because it's not comfortable or because the battery doesn't last, it's not doing its job. Certainly, the ability to answer and dismiss calls easily has to be a consideration as well. Making and receiving calls hands-free is the goal, and our experts have looked at many headsets in the space. Read on for our picks.

The Rundown
Considering the great sound quality and comfort, it's worth it for those who spend a lot of time on the phone.
Best for Gaming:
Logitech G533 at Amazon
You can set equalizer settings, adjust the surround sound, adjust the microphone, and more.
This earpiece is perfect for people who are on the phone all day and not listening to music in between.
Best Clear Voice:
Sennheiser Presence at Amazon
If your priority for a Bluetooth earpiece is crystal clear audio, the Sennheiser Presence is a great choice.
Best for Truckers:
Willful M98 at EBay
If you're on the road a lot, this is a great headset to ride shotgun with you.
Best for Phone Calls:
Plantronics Voyager Legend at Amazon
If you can get past the ear hook design, this is a solid buy with exceptional call quality.
Best Under $50:
Jabra Talk 25 at Amazon
If you're on a budget and just want something simple, the Jabra Talk 25 is a good choice.
This is a headset designed for voice calls and really great battery life.
Best for Loud Environments:
BlueParrot B550-XT at Amazon
We really like the BlueParrot B550-XT for those who work in noisy environments.

Best Overall: Plantronics Voyager 4220 Bluetooth Wireless Headset

The Plantronics PLNVOY4220 is a great Bluetooth headset
4

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Sound Quality
    4/5
  • Call Quality
    4/5
  • Battery Life
    3.9/5
What We Like
  • Alexa built in

  • Noise cancellation

  • Connects with or without a wire

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Our top pick comes from Plantronics who is one of the biggest names in workplace headsets. The Plantronics Voyager 4200 is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Our reviewer, Erika notes, "The microphone has active noise cancelation, utilizing a second mic to add opposing sounds to help cancel out background noises." The dual mics help filter out excess noise for exceptional call clarity

The headset uses 32mm drivers that have a good frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz meaning the headset is good for listening to music as well as taking calls. You can use this as a Bluetooth headset and connect to it wirelessly or wire it using the USB cable if you prefer. The latter reduces latency a bit which can be important if you're using the headset to watch videos.

The headset also comes with built-in Alexa, which is great for hearing the news of playing music between calls. The Voyager 4200 falls on the more expensive side of the spectrum, but considering the great sound quality and comfort, it's worth it for those who spend a lot of time on the phone.

Type: On Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth/Wired | Battery Life/Talk Time: 13 hours

"The person on the other end of my calls could hear me loud and clear and I never had to repeat myself." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Plantronics Voyager 4220 UC

Lifewire / Erika Rawes 

Best for Gaming: Logitech G533

The Logitech G533 is a great gaming headset
4

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Comfort
    2/5
  • Sound Quality
    5/5
  • Call Quality
    5/5
  • Battery Life
    4/5
What We Like
  • Surround sound

  • Customizable

What We Don't Like
  • Stiff ear pads

  • Requires USB-A

One of the most popular use-cases for headsets is for gaming. Connecting with your friends for a team-up or just a hangout in-game is very popular, and one of the best headsets you can use for that is the Logitech G533. But it only works on PC or Playstation because it uses a proprietary wireless transmitter that plugs into a USB-A port and transmits 7.1 surround sound. The headset sounds awesome though, as noted by our reviewer, Erika. "The headphones have more than enough bass, with a frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz, and the sensitivity rating of 107 dB means they can get pretty loud without using a ton of power."

The earpads are a little on the stiff side, so they can get uncomfortable over long gaming sessions. But they are customizable using the G Hub software. According to Erika, "you can set equalizer settings, adjust the surround sound, adjust the microphone, and more. You can make these adjustments on a per-game basis or change them for the headset overall."

Type: Over-Ear | Connection Type: USB wireless transmitter | Battery Life/Talk Time: 15 hours

"The Logitech G533 offers a good battery life, several customization options, and stellar sound quality, but its bulky design and stiff ear pads affect the comfort during long gaming sessions." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Logitech G533

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Best Tech: Jabra Talk 45

The Jabra talk 45 is a great Bluetooth Headset
4

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Sound Quality
    5/5
  • Call Quality
    5/5
  • Battery Life
    4/5
What We Like
  • Great battery life for talk

  • Comfortable fit

What We Don't Like
  • Battery doesn't last for podcasts/music

One of the most popular Bluetooth headsets is the single earpiece. You've probably seen the average businessman walking around with an earpiece in. They can do that because they're extremely comfortable, and the Jabra Talk 45 fits the bill nicely. Our reviewer Rebecca frequently forgot she was wearing it during her weeks of testing it for calls, music, and podcasts.

While testing, Rebecca noticed a significant difference between calls (including zoom calls) and music or podcasts. Rebecca writes, "If I wanted to talk on the phone, for example, the battery life remained fairly consistent. Flipping to Spotify and Google Music, however, destroyed battery life." The Jabra Talk 45 went from hours of battery life on calls down to less than 40 minutes of life for a podcast.

Basically, as long as you're planning on using this earpiece for calls, and not for music or podcasts, you'll be fine. This is a mono earpiece anyway, so music definitely would not sound good on it, to begin with.  This earpiece is perfect for people who are on the phone all day and not listening to music in between.

Type: In Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 6 hours

"What’s really nice about the Talk 45 is that you can swap which ear you would prefer it to be on." Rebecca Isaacs, Product Tester

Jabra Talk 45

Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs

Best Clear Voice: Sennheiser Presence

The Sennheiser Presence is a great Bluetooth headset.
3.5

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Sound Quality
    4/5
  • Battery Life
    5/5
  • Range
    4/5
What We Like
  • Great sound

  • Very light

  • Supports your phone's voice assistant support

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not intuitive

If your priority for a Bluetooth earpiece is crystal clear audio, the Sennheiser Presence is a great choice. Sennheiser has a long history in sound production and audio quality and the Presence is no exception. Our reviewer Andy writes, "Conversations are pleasant, especially on the receiving end. People I talked to while using it mentioned that it sounded like I was talking on speakerphone. Single earpieces like the Presence-UC aren’t really meant for listening to music, but so long as you don’t mind listening through only one ear this earpiece is no slouch. The Presence-UC performed well throughout a range of frequencies."

In terms of using the earpiece, there is a bit of a learning curve here. Once you figure out how to use the earpiece, it's comfortable and intuitive, and includes support for your phone's voice assistant; it just takes a while to get there. The Presence is also expensive, but reviewers find it worth it because of the all-day comfort and battery life. If you spend most of your day on the phone, the Presence absolutely deserves consideration.

Type: In-Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 10 hours

"Its black and silver exterior is eminently preferable to the broken Q-tip-stuck-in-the-ear appearance of Apple Earpods."Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Sennheiser Presence-UC

Lifewire / Andy Zahn 

Best for Truckers: Willful M98

The Willful M98 is a great Bluetooth headset.
3.4

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Sound Quality
    3/5
  • Call Quality
    4/5
  • Battery Life
    3/5
What We Like
  • Charger/stand combo

  • Comfortable

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Not good for music

Long-range truckers who spend a lot of time on the will love to have the Willful M98 riding shotgun. Our reviewer tested the headset for over a week and often forgot she was wearing it. That's impressive considering this is an over-the-head headset. It has a single ear cup that can be set to either side and a headband that goes over your head to the other side, giving you a secure fit. The boom microphone extends up to 5.5 inches and rotates 180 degrees. The stand for the headset is also a charger, so any time you store it, it'll be ready for its next use.

Because this is a single earpiece, the headset is already not great for music, but our reviewer noted that the narrow range of frequencies, which is ideal for the human voice, is definitely not suited for the full range of frequencies you'd want for music. Of course, if your tastes are geared more toward podcasts, this headset is even better. For under $50 it's a great pickup, especially if you're on the road for long hauls and want someone to keep you company along the way.

Type: On-Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 17 hours

"The microphone extends in both directions, so you can have the speaker and mic on either the left or right side." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Willful M98

Lifewire / Erika Rawes 

Best for Phone Calls: Plantronics Voyager Legend

Plantronics Voyager Legend
3.3

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Comfort
    3/5
  • Sound Quality
    4/5
  • Call Quality
    4/5
  • Battery Life
    5/5
What We Like
  • Great call quality

  • Smart controls

  • Great battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky design won't fit everyone

Some headsets use a hook around the earlobe to keep the headset in place. The Plantronics Voyager Legend really leans into that design by incorporating a bigger battery into an integrated hook design. If you're not a fan of ear hooks, it's not removable, so you'll want to look elsewhere. The ear hook also incorporates controls as well. Our reviewer Jason says that it's a lot to get used to and a lot of extra weight on the ear. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but combined with the unusual fit of the earpiece, it's enough to give us pause. 

Speaking of the controls, the ear hook includes a power/Bluetooth pairing switch and a volume rocker. But when it comes to call quality, Jason writes, "There’s a three-mic array that aims to pick up sound and cancel noise from a variety of angles. There's an internal DSP that suppresses noise coming through the mic to ensure a good level of crispness when you’re speaking, and paired with a 20-band equalizer that adapts to the environment, the voice quality is impressive." Overall, if you can get past the ear hook design, this is a solid buy with exceptional call quality, but it comes with a very large caveat.

Type: In-Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 7 hours

"The sound quality on these was serviceable, providing a great level of detail without any substantial amount of low end."Jason Schneider, Product Tester

Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset

Lifewire / Jason Schneider

Best Under $50: Jabra Talk 25

The Jabra Talk 25 is a great Bluetooth headset.
3

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Sound Quality
    5/5
  • Call Quality
    5/5
  • Battery Life
    5/5
What We Like
  • Low price

  • Comfortable

  • Good battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Loose fit

If you're on a budget and just want something simple, the Jabra Talk 25 is a good choice. This is a single earpiece like others on the list, but what sets it apart is the low price and the long battery life. It's smaller than most of them, and therefore lighter which is great, but it's also prone to looser fit. Our reviewer Rebecca tested the earpiece for over six hours every day, and had the earpiece fall off twice, which as Rebecca puts it is twice too many. That won't necessarily be the case for everyone, but it's something to keep in mind.

Still, despite the fit issues, you'll get 8 hours of talk time from the battery, which is boosted by the "power nap" feature which shuts down the headset after a certain amount of time to prolong the battery. More headsets should have that. As for sound quality, Rebecca writes, "Sound quality was solid, lacking any serious instances of garbling or distortion. People on the receiving end of my phone calls could hear my voice in natural tones, without any background noise. With the manual volume adjustment buttons located on the top of the device, the audio can be altered to suit your needs."

Type: In-Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 8 hours

"The design is nice because it isn’t blatantly visible or obvious in your ear. Overall, it looks quite professional and suitable for a work environment." Rebecca Isaacs, Product Tester

Jabra Talk 25

Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs

Best for Battery Life: New Bee LC-B41 Bluetooth Earpiece

The New Bee Bluetooth headset V5.0 is a great Bluetooth headset.
4

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Sound Quality
    3/5
  • Call Quality
    3/5
  • Battery Life
    5/5
What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Nice design

  • Multiple accessories

What We Don't Like
  • Music playback is not great

The New Bee LC-B41 is our resident battery champion, boasting 24 hours on a single charge which will get you through several workdays. The New Bee comes with a detachable ear hook, along with quite a few other accessories to get just the right fit. Our reviewer, Erika writes, "In addition to a portable carrying case, you get two extra ear hooks and three extra ergonomic ear cushions (small, medium, and large sizes). You can wear the New Bee with or without an ear hook; if you opt for the New Bee in the black color, it comes with both clear or black hook colors."

Listening to music on this headset is not the greatest. It's mono, but besides that, this headset really focuses its sound on the midrange where the human voice lives. You just won't get the range of frequencies of sound you'll want for music. You can definitely get away with podcasts on this headset though. But overall, this is a headset designed for voice calls and really great battery life. If that's what you're looking for you can go wrong here.

Type: In Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 24 hours

“The New Bee LC-B41 offers a lot of functionality and accessories for a very small price tag.” Erika Rawes, Product Tester

New Bee LC-41

Lifewire / Erika Rawes 

Best for Loud Environments: BlueParrot B550-XT

The BlueParrot B550-XT is a great Bluetooth headset.
3.3

Our Ratings
  • Design
    3/5
  • Comfort
    2/5
  • Sound Quality
    3/5
  • Call Quality
    4/5
  • Battery Life
    5/5
What We Like
  • Mic noise cancellation

  • Solid battery life

  • Assistant access

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Pricey

We really like the BlueParrot B550-XT for those who work in noisy environments. It has a noise cancellation microphone on the boom that can filter out 96% of background noise. It's great for busy areas, call centers, and when you're out in an environment where you can't control the noise. It has a durable build with buttons on the ear cup for power/Bluetooth, volume, and a customizable button that can perform a number of functions like launch your phone's voice assistant. 

You get 24 hours of battery life, which is way above average. The headset comes with a hefty price tag though. It also comes with a build that isn't going to be stylish anywhere outside of an office environment. In short, it looks like it belongs in a call center. But if you're in an environment that is noisy, this will prevent your caller from being distracted by your surroundings. 

Type: Over Ear | Connection Type: Bluetooth | Battery Life/Talk Time: 24 hours

"The BlueParrot B550-XT headset has excellent noise cancelation and a few neat features, but its rigid feel and basic companion app detract from the overall experience." — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

BlueParrot B550-XT

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Final Verdict

For people who want to have a great Bluetooth headset for taking calls on the go, the Plantronics Voyager 4220 Bluetooth Wireless is a great choice. It has stereo sound and is great for calls and music besides. Otherwise, if you're just looking for a discrete headset that takes calls and still has great battery life, it's hard to do better than the New Bee LC-41. It's an attractive headset with a very attractive price.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. She is an expert in consumer technology, and has reviewed several of the Bluetooth headsets on our list.

Jason Schneider is the resident audiophile for Lifewire, offering his audio expertise on everything from Bluetooth headsets to speaker systems. He has been writing for tech and media companies for almost a decade.

Rebecca Isaacs has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. She's covered a variety of products including Bluetooth headsets, e-readers, accessories, and mobile devices.

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He specializes in consumer technology and gadgets, including Bluetooth headsets.

Adam Doud has been writing in the technology space for almost a decade. When he's not hosting the Benefit of the Doud podcast, he's playing with the latest phones, tablets, and laptops. When not working, he's a cyclist, geocacher, and spends as much time outside as he can.

FAQ
  • Who makes the best Bluetooth headset?

    Jabra is a trusted name in headsets, but they tend to be a bit pricier than some of the budget brands, many of which make great headsets as well. For professional users, we're partial to Mpow's affordable Pro Trucker Bluetooth Headset. We also like Willful’s M98. These are both comfortable over-ear Bluetooth headsets with built-in microphones that offer crisp call quality at an affordable price. For general users, New Bee’s LC-41 provides an excellent battery life. 

  • What is the best Bluetooth headset for music?

    Most Bluetooth headsets aren't really geared for music since they are designed for calls, and many have mono audio rather than stereo. You want to take a look at our list of the best wireless headphones for your best options there. That said, if you still want a headset that can do double duty, the Plantronics Voyager B4220 will serve you well for calls, music streaming, and traveling. 

  • Which motorcycle Bluetooth headset is best?

    Motorcycle Bluetooth headsets are a handy way of being able to take calls and listen to music while driving a motorcycle. Our list of the best Bluetooth motorcycle helmets can provide good guidance for your best options. You'll want a helmet with a Bluetooth intercom system that lets you talk to more than one person at a time, which is handy if you're biking with friends. Comfort and safety are also important, along with hands-free control.

What to Look For in a  Bluetooth Headset

If you’re driving, shopping, exercising, working, or even just hanging out around the house, a Bluetooth headset allows you to answer the phone and control some of your phone’s features and functions without having to constantly have it in hand. A Bluetooth headset also helps those working at a desk, as you don’t have to be tethered to your laptop by that dreadful cord when you’re sitting in a meeting.

"Look for a Bluetooth headset that features a good amount of playback controls and voice commands. Overall, you want to avoid Bluetooth headsets that don't offer onboard controls that are convenient." — Jeremy Bongiorno, Founder of Studio Frequencies

When picking out a Bluetooth headset, there are several factors to consider. In addition to choosing a headset that looks and feels good while you’re wearing it, you also want to make sure it fits your needs. Factors like battery life, compatibility, pairing, sound quality, noise cancellation, water resistance, and cost all come into play. We put together an in-depth guide, including just about everything you need to know to choose the right Bluetooth headset for you.

Bluetooth Headphones Vs. Bluetooth Headsets

If you’re primarily interested in music playback, you’ll want to look for the best wireless headphones. Headphones don’t necessarily provide a microphone for speech, while a headset always has a microphone. Headphones are optimized for sound quality, so you can get the best possible listening experience.

A headset is optimized for conversation, so you can talk on your phone (or another Bluetooth device) hands-free. Headsets often have other controls, like a button to answer calls, so you can use your phone’s voice assistant. Features like noise cancellation help promote the best environment for conversing back and forth, and a headset’s engineering focuses on the listener and the speaker.

Styles: Headband, Neckband, Or Earpiece

Headband style headsets are often larger and heavier than the other Bluetooth headset styles. They’ll typically have an ear cuff that goes on the ear with a speaker for listening, and a microphone that protrudes out for speaking. The headband portion goes around the top of the head and then rests against the opposite side. The headband style is often the preferred style for business professionals who work at a desk.

If a headband style isn’t comfortable for you, but still you want the stability of a band, you may want to go with a neckband style, which wraps around the back of the neck. Some neckbands have short wires that connect to earbuds that go into the ears, and other neckbands are foldable for easier storage. Many runners and gym-goers prefer the neckband style.

If you want a smaller, less noticeable Bluetooth headset, go with an earpiece or in-ear style headset. These types of headsets are very small—often around two to three inches in size—and they may wrap around one ear. Instead of having an ear cuff that rests on the outside of the ear, they usually have an ear cushion you gently place in your ear canal. This type of headset is more versatile, and the style is ideal for gym-goers, business professionals, and regular day-to-day users.

Plantronics Voyager 5200
 Lifewire / Jason Schneider

Battery Life

Battery life is perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing a Bluetooth headset, especially when you’re using your headset on-the-go. There are four main battery life numbers you need to pay attention to: mAH (which stands for milliampere hours), charge time, talk time, and standby time. 

When you look at mAh for a battery, it’s basically just a formula that calculates battery storage capacity. It’s the product of the time a battery lasts times the discharge current. So, a 1,000mAh battery in a headset that draws 50 milliamps of power would last for 20 hours (1,000 divided by 50 milliamps equals 20 hours). 

Charge time represents how long the headset takes to reach a full charge. Most Bluetooth headsets should take between one and five hours to reach a full charge. Talk time represents how long you can use the Bluetooth headset in calls and meetings before a single battery charge runs out, and standby time represents how long the headset can sit off of the charger without being used and still maintain a single battery charge. Sometimes, you’ll also see a metric for music time, which represents how long you can listen to music on a single charge. 

Talk time and standby time will vary widely by the manufacturer, the type and style of headset, and the features it offers. The price of the unit doesn’t necessarily have an impact on its battery life. For instance, the New Bee earpiece Bluetooth headset sells for less than $20, but it provides 24 hours of talk time and about 60 days of standby time. However, the Jabra Steel retails for around $100, but it has six hours of talk time and around 10 days of standby time.

Charging Stands, Charging Cases, And Backup Batteries

Some headsets offer charging accessories that can help manage battery life. If you’re worried about running out of battery, you may want to look at a headset that comes with a charging stand, a charging case, or a backup battery. 

Some headband style headsets may include a charging station or stand where you can rest your headset when it’s not in use. You may also be able to purchase a compatible charging stand after the fact. For instance, Plantronics offers its Plantronics Spare charging stand, which is compatible with its Voyager Focus UC headset. If you’re using your headset primarily at a desk, charging stands can be particularly helpful because they allow you to keep the device charging when you get off of a call. 

You may also see charging cases. The case can extend the battery life by adding additional on-the-go charges. You may get ten hours of talk time on a single charge, but the charging case lets you charge the device three more times without having to connect to an electrical outlet.

While not as common, a handful of headsets (like the Aminy UFO) come with two batteries. This allows you to charge one battery while you use the other.

Compatibility And Connectivity

Before choosing a Bluetooth headset, you’ll want to make sure it’ll connect seamlessly to all of the devices you need it to. Take note of the Bluetooth version. Most headsets will be either Bluetooth version 4.1, 4,2, or 5.0. In the product’s description, it’ll also sometimes indicate which devices it works with. However, most headsets will work with most modern phones and Bluetooth compatible laptops/PCs, as modern Bluetooth versions are backwards compatible. 

If you plan on using your headset on multiple devices, you’ll want to make sure the headset can connect to more than one device. The product should indicate that it connects to more than one device, or it may say it has a multi-pairing feature that allows you to use it with more than one device at a time. For instance, the Jabra Steel can connect to up to eight devices, and it can connect to two devices simultaneously with its multi-use feature.

Mpow Pro Trucker Bluetooth Headset
 Lifewire / Jason Schneider

Wireless Range

How far is the wireless range? This number indicates how far you can travel away from the device to which the headset is connected, and still experience clear audio. If the range is up to 10 meters, this means you can go up to 10 meters away from your phone or laptop before you start to experience connection issues. Keep in mind this is an “up to” number, and obstructions like walls, floors, and appliances may impact the range. If you’re planning on traveling to a different room than your device when you’re using your headset, look for a headset with a longer range.

Sound Quality 

With headphones, you’ll often see metrics that measure sound quality like sensitivity (which measures sound efficiency), frequency response (which measures the speaker's ability to produce low and high tones), and impedance (which measures resistance). You’re less likely to see these metrics with headsets because the focus is less on music playback and more on battery life, call quality, features, and overall performance.

Noise-Canceling

There are two main types of noise-canceling in the context of Bluetooth headsets: Noise-cancelling in the headphone (speaker) and noise-canceling in the microphone. The first type of noise-canceling—in the speaker—helps block out background noise in the vicinity of the person wearing the headset, so they can better hear music or speech without disturbances from background noise. The second type—noise-cancelling in the microphone—blocks out noise for the person on the other end of the call, so they can hear your speech over background sounds like planes flying by, people talking in the background, or a television.

Most Bluetooth headsets, even budget headsets, will have some type of noise-canceling technology in the microphone. This is an important feature for those who are using a headset for business, or for those who are using a headset out in public areas.

Active Vs. Passive Noise-Canceling

If a headset has active noise cancellation, this means the headset uses sound waves to help counteract, or cancel out, background noises. 

Passive noise cancellation means the headset uses hardware (extra padding, tighter seals, etc.) to reduce background noises.

If noise cancellation is an important feature for you, and you need your conversations to be as clear and noise-free as possible, look carefully at the product’s noise-canceling technology. Look at how it cancels out noise, and not just whether or not it has noise-canceling.

Water Resistance 

Water resistance is less common on headband style headsets, as the headband style is more often used indoors by a business professional at a desk. However, for neckband and earpiece style Bluetooth headsets, water resistance is becoming more of a common feature. 

If the product is water resistant, this means it can usually tolerate rain, sweat, spills, and splashes. The product will indicate water resistance in the description of if it has this feature. It should also indicate a water resistance rating (something like IPX5 or IPX8). This indicates the degree of water resistance a device features—an IPX5 rated headset can withstand water jets from any direction, for instance, while one with an IPX8 rating is protected from being immersed in water of more than three meters in depth. Some devices will be rated with a pair of numbers, in which case the first number indicates particle protection, shielding it from dust and dirt, and the second indicating water resistance. In both cases, IP stands for Ingress Protection.

Some headsets may also be shockproof, which means the headset won’t easily break if you drop the device. If you’re planning on using your headset outdoors or during periods of heavy activity, this may be important for you.

Plantronics Voyager 5200
 Lifewire / Jason Schneider

Brands And Manufacturers

With some devices, like phones and laptops, the brand is significant. Going with a trusted brand typically leads to a better experience. With Bluetooth headsets, this isn’t necessarily the case, and you can find quality headsets from big-name brands like Jabra, Plantronics, and Sennheiser, as well as from brands you’ve never heard of. We’ve tested a number of headsets here at Lifewire, and we’ve included information on a few brands below.

Jabra

Jabra is known for making headsets for workers across every type of profession, as well as headsets for the everyday user. Products like the Jabra Steel headset are durable and designed for an outdoorsy professional, while headsets like the Jabra Evolve 65 UC are meant for the professional who primarily sits at a desk. Jabra also makes units like the Jabra Style, which are ideal for the everyday user or worker on the go. Most Jabra headsets are high quality, but the battery lives on Jabra sets often aren’t as good as you’d see in other headsets, even those that cost less.

Poly

Plantronics, a subbrand of Poly is a leader in business headsets, and the brand creates a lot of headband-style units. Plantronics units are pricey but you can usually expect high quality. Most modern Plantronics headsets also offer excellent noise cancellation and more advanced features. The Voyager 5200, for instance, has Alexa built-in, it has four-microphone noise cancellation, and it has technology that detects wind direction so your voice comes through clearly outdoors.

New Bee

A lesser-known brand, New Bee, has a highly rated headset that costs less than the price of two large pizzas, yet it has 60 days of standby battery and comes with all the accessories you could ever want. A budget headset like this won’t offer the same performance and features as a flagship headset from a brand like Plantronics, but it will serve its purpose well for those who don’t want to spend a ton of cash.

Accessories

Headband-style headsets may not come with too many accessories outside of a charging cable, but in-ear style headsets often come with a variety of accessories like extra ear cushions, ear hooks, charging cables, and carrying cases. Neckband style headsets also typically come with accessories like a charging cable, carrying case, and extra ear gels. Look for accessories that promote comfort and flexibility. 

Different sizes of ear cushions can be important because there’s nothing worse than having a headset that doesn’t fit properly. If your headset is too big for your ear, it won’t feel comfortable, and it may even fall out while you're running errands or working out. An ear hook can provide additional support, and help the headset stay in place. It helps to have both a left and right ear hook, so you can choose which side feels better for you.

Conclusion

When you’re shopping for a Bluetooth headset, you’ll find hundreds of different types and styles from a number of different brands. It can be tough to sort through all the fluff and find a quality product that fits your needs, but if you choose a headset with a long battery life, good noise cancellation, water resistance, and the right features and accessories, you should find a headset that’s right for you.

If the headset is for working at a home at a desk, you’ll probably be happy with a comfortable headband unit with a reliable connection, good noise cancellation, and a long enough range to travel into the kitchen for a snack. If you’re looking for a headset you can use at the gym, focus more on factors like stability and making sure the headset will comfortably remain in place during heavy activity. Gym enthusiasts may want a headset with some range, so they can leave their phone in a locker or bag. For outdoor users, durability and battery life may be important factors—water resistance ratings, shock proofing, and battery life. 

Finding the right Bluetooth headset is less about cost and brand and more about features and reputation. We have some great options listed above.

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