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Best Bluetooth headsets of 2021
If you pay attention to your coworkers on Zoom calls or watch the news enough, you may have noticed that more and more people are using AirPods for meetings and interviews. While the microphone on the AirPods and some other true wireless earbuds are good enough for most people, they’re not ideal. Not to mention battery life probably won’t last you through a full day of work. If you’re constantly in virtual meetings or on the phone having a top of the line Bluetooth headset is the way to go. Not only will you sound better, but they also tend to have better battery life than your favorite pair of true wireless buds. With more people working from home now more than ever before, we thought we’d ease the process of finding a new Bluetooth headset.
Editor’s note: This list was updated on April 6, 2021 to replace the Jabra Stealth with the Jabra Stealth UC.
Most people should just go with a tried and true classic and get the Plantronics Voyager 5200
If you like the idea of something that’s small and discreet, pick up the Plantronics Voyager 5200. Plantronics has a long track record of great Bluetooth devices but the Voyager series of Bluetooth headsets is probably what you’ll know them for. They sit securely around the ear and have a long noise-cancelling mic that sits right next to your mouth so it can pick up your voice better while ignoring ambient sounds.
It has moisture-resistant P2i coating and gets up to 7 hours of use on a single charge. It’s rocking Bluetooth 4.1 and has a range of about 30 meters, which is great when walking around the office or apartment. This particular model also has Alexa integration, something worth noting if you’re a smart home fanatic. It also has sensors that can tell whether or not you’re wearing it. While there are cheaper options available you won’t be upset if you go with the Voyager 5200.
For those worried about battery life pick up the Sennheiser Presence
It’s hard to find a company with a more trusted history in audio than Sennheiser. While it’s mostly known for its iconic headphones, the brand has solid products in basically every category. Case in point: the Sennheiser Presence. This headset has a design like a gadget from the future and snapping it open or closed turns the headset on and off. It also has an around-earhook if you want a little more stability.
The biggest practical benefit to going with the Sennheiser Presence though is its battery life. Sennheiser claims that you’ll get about 10 hours of constant talk time which is more than enough for the average workday. It also comes with a few different sized ear tips so you can get the best fit but on the downside it charges with a microUSB cable which isn’t great considering all newer devices have been making the move to USB-C. Still, picking nits about charging cables should tell you how reliable the Sennheiser Presence is compared to cheaper alternatives.
The Jabra Stealth is the slimmest Bluetooth headset that’s actually good
One reason why people use AirPods and other true wireless earbuds so much for calls is for the convenience. Bluetooth headsets aren’t what I’d call bulky but they also aren’t super slim. That isn’t the case with the Jabra Stealth UC. As the name implies, the Stealth UC is a fairly small headset that sits in your ear without looking huge. The included earhook looks a bit flimsy, but it comes with some unique ear tips to keep it securely in your ear.
You get six hours of constant talk time, and up to 10 days of standby time, which is plenty. Granted, fringe workers who spend their entire days on calls may need something else, but it’ll get the job done for most users. It has NFC, which allows for quick and easy pairing with most Bluetooth devices, and it’s compatible with the Jabra Connect app which brings additional features like Find My Headset, and an accurate battery indicator.
Unfortunately, NFC doesn’t work with Apple devices, since Apple has the NFC chips in its devices locked down. In that instance, you’ll just have to connect the old fashioned way by going through Bluetooth settings. Additionally, the headset also comes with a USB dongle, for when you need to talk through something that doesn’t use Bluetooth.
If you’re not a fan of earbuds then the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC are for you
Whether it’s because they can’t get the right fit or because they’re just not comfortable, not everyone is a fan of the earbud design. If that sounds like you, then you should check out the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC. These are a pair of on-ears with a comfortable adjustable headband fit for all-day use. Best of all though is that they come with active noise cancelling and a roughly 30 meter range. If you need to connect to a computer it also includes a USB adapter making for a stronger and more reliable connection.
For those that will be using these mainly with a computer it also comes with a charging dock so you can keep them juiced up when you’re not using them. Speaking of which these can last up to 10 hours with noise cancelling turned on. Plus, unlike the other models on this list you can also use these just to listen to music if you want.
Anyone looking to save some cash should check out the Mpow Pro Trucker Headset
Mpow might not have the same history as some of the other companies on this list but the Pro Trucker Bluetooth headset has been getting some love from the internet as a cheap alternative. The build quality isn’t great here and it’s not exactly portable, but there’s still a lot to love. Namely, the headset’s lightweight, has a 12-hour battery life, a 10-meter range, and an adjustable mic that rotates 360°, making it easy to find a comfortable position when using, or not using, the mic.
While this only rocks Bluetooth 2.1 and doen’t have some of the more premium features you’ll find in other picks on this list, it gets the job done. Plus, it only costs about $25, which is hard to beat if you don’t want to spend too much cash.
What you should know about Bluetooth headsets
Are Bluetooth headsets safe?
There are plenty of things in science that are still being worked out but thankfully this isn’t one of them. No, Bluetooth headsets are not dangerous. We have an entire piece on the science if you really want to dig deep (and we recommend you do), but for the purposes of this article all you need to know is that radiation like x-rays and ultraviolet rays fall into a category we call “ionizing radiation.” This basically means that the rays are powerful enough to knock electrons out of your DNA.
When the charge of an atom changes (because an electron was removed) we call the resulting charged atom an ion, hence the ionizing part of the name. This can result in some funky things happening and could potentially cause unwanted mutations in the cell. Suffice to say, you want to avoid this, and it’s why you need to wear a lead vest when the dentist takes an x-ray of your teeth. Thankfully, Bluetooth isn’t powerful enough to bully around electrons. It falls into a separate category called “non-ionizing radiation” which, aside from the very not creative name, means that it isn’t going to cause any mutations in the DNA of your cells.
Can Bluetooth headsets work with Xbox or PS4?
If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset to go with your gaming console, I’d recommend just checking out some of our lists for the best gaming headsets available for your particular console. While some of the Bluetooth headsets on this list might work with your console, they most likely aren’t compatible which means you’re not going to get the best experience out of them. Of course, you can always just get a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the headphone jack of your controller, but for the least lag, just go wired. To avoid entirely, get a pair of headphones that’s fully compatible with your particular system.
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