A headset is part of every good piece of equipment for the home office (adviser) or the office. You don’t disturb family members and other colleagues during conference calls or video conferences. Confidential content from conversations is also hidden.
Not everyone wants to buy a large gaming headset (guide). We therefore limit ourselves in this overview to on-ear headphones with an additional microphone and cable or Bluetooth, as well as variants with only one earpiece. Business headsets are characterized by the fact that they are light and comfortable to wear for longer video meetings without sweating too much underneath. In addition, they do not isolate the user so much from the outside world. In the home office in particular, it can be useful to hear what the children are up to or when the parcel delivery service rings. In addition, due to their simple and functional appearance, depending on the industry, they better match the appearance of the company.
A business headset has different qualities than conventional headphones. The focus here is not on the reproduction of music, but on the clearest and most understandable transmission of speech. Conspicuous LED lighting also does not fit into the serious business picture. On the other hand, call control options integrated in the headset, such as muting the microphone, accepting calls or regulating the volume, are very helpful.
Opinions differ on this question: wired or cordless? Headsets are available with a jack connection and with USB plugs. Using a headset with a jack connection is the simplest imaginable variant: you plug it in and off you go. In terms of price, headsets with one jack are on average 10 to 15 euros cheaper.
A headset with a USB port may offer better sound, as many devices also have a built-in sound card and, depending on the device, additional setting options for the headphones are available via software. For this purpose, these headsets occupy an additional USB slot – which can be rare on computers with many additional devices, such as a mouse, keyboard or printer. A hub can help here. More on this in our guide USB-C docks from € 30: Conveniently connect monitors and the like.
The big advantage of a wired headset: You don’t have to worry that the battery will give up in the middle of a long online meeting. A wired headset also saves money – you can get good, high-quality headphones from Sennheiser or Plantronics for just under 40 euros. The disadvantages include limited mobility: with a wired solution, you are doomed to sit right in front of the computer. If you want to go to the filing cabinet or the bathroom quickly, you have to take off the headset and interrupt the video conference.
People who do not move away from the computer during an online meeting can confidently consider a wired solution when choosing a headset. This works without any problems, does not depend on the battery level and costs less than cordless headphones. Simple wired headsets start at just 10 euros. Devices with call controls, jack connections and microphones from companies like Logitech are available for 20 euros. Good headphones with a USB port from Jabra and Plantronics are available for as little as 25 euros. Even a brand manufacturer like Sennheiser is represented in the range of less than 40 euros.
Headsets with bluetooth
A headset with Bluetooth functionality has an integrated rechargeable battery and a Bluetooth receiver. We recommend models that can also be connected to the computer by cable if, for example, the battery is almost empty. The PC or tablet must also support Bluetooth for wireless telephoning to work. If you use an older device, you can use a USB Bluetooth adapter. We explain more about this in our guide to Bluetooth adapters for stereo systems, headphones and TV.
The advantage of a Bluetooth headset is its spatial flexibility. You can move around freely during an online call, for example to get something out of a cupboard or the kitchen, at least within the range of the Bluetooth signal of around ten meters. The Bluetooth headset is charged via the supplied USB cable or, depending on the version, via a separate charging station.
However, you should be careful to deactivate the microphone at inappropriate times. You also have to keep an eye on the charge level of the battery – so that the headset does not go on strike in the middle of a video conference. The pairing between headset and device does not always work the first time. In addition, good headsets with Bluetooth support are significantly more expensive than the purely wired representatives. If you like to stay on the move during online meetings or change your location more often, you should consider the surcharge for a Bluetooth headset.
Although there are also Bluetooth headsets from 40 euros, they usually disappoint in terms of sound quality or only have a poorly usable microphone. But at prices from 100 euros you are on the safe side. Headsets like the Jabra Evolve2 65 and the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC offer great sound quality. They were specially designed for telephone calls and therefore transmit voices particularly clearly. In addition, they only use restrained noise suppression. For example, children’s voices can still be heard while listening to music. During a video call, however, the devices effectively block out the background noise. However, this quality has its price at 150 euros or more.
Monaural headsets play a special role. This type of headphone with microphone only has a single auricle. Many stereo headsets are also available as monaural versions, for example. Both devices with cables and Bluetooth are used here, even if cordless representatives are particularly common in this device category.
The advantage of a monaural headset: You can better notice the surroundings – if you want to be approachable in the office or at home in the home office, for example. However, this advantage can quickly become a disadvantage: You can hear a lot of the external background noise. Listening to music with just one ear is no fun either. A monaural headset is particularly suitable for people who have to interact a lot with others on the side – be it at home or in an open-plan office. If you have more peace and quiet during a video conference, you should use a stereo headset. In addition, mono headphones should be much more comfortable for many to wear during very long conference calls.
Depending on the equipment, monaural headsets range between 15 and 150 euros. Devices with Bluetooth support from unknown manufacturers are available for as little as 20 euros, but good sound quality should not be expected here. Decent wired devices are available from 40 euros. High-quality monaural headsets from manufacturers such as Jabra and Plantronics can be found at prices from 90 euros.
Headphones as an alternative
Those who rarely sit in longer video conferences in the home office or at work in the office and therefore do not want to buy an additional headset can of course use conventional headphones. With our guide test winner: These headphones are the best in their class, we help with the selection.
Many headphones now have a microphone integrated into the auricle or cable. We do not recommend this, however, as it is usually difficult to understand. It is often better to use the laptop’s microphone or webcam. Very agile natures can use inexpensive True Wireless headphones (guide). Those who need as much peace and seclusion as possible at work prefer to use over-ear headphones with Active Noise Canceling (ANC). In this guide to ANC headphones, we show you how much you should spend on it.
A light and comfortable business headset will help you survive a long video conference marathon. Due to the design, you sweat less underneath than with a gaming headset and can comfortably wear it for a longer period of time and take it off or put it on quickly if necessary.
Quiet people who stay in front of the computer during the conference can safely use an inexpensive headset with a cable. Those who like to keep moving during an online meeting should choose a headset with Bluetooth. If you also have to remain approachable for your surroundings, you should take a look at monaural headsets with only one ear cup.