Make the Call
One report by the Pew Research Center stated that the average adult American with a cell phone would use their phone to make approximately five calls per day.
If you happen to be among them, then you know full well that phone calls are still extremely relevant, despite the rise of other forms of communication. You also know that the last thing you want to be doing while making all those calls is holding the phone in your hand. To make matters much more convenient, you need the right pair of headphones.
What Are Headphones for Phone Calls?
In simplest terms, they are headphones which come with a microphone and the ability to let you make and answer phone calls. Some are primarily designed for this purpose. Those are the headsets that see a lot of use in offices or call centers, for example. They tend to come with numerous features designed specifically to aid voice calls. And, those features often come at the expense of some other functionalities.
On the other hand, you also have those headphones which are not chiefly aimed at making phone calls but offer that possibility among other features. They are much more versatile than the previously mentioned variety, but that comes with tradeoffs of its own. To make sure all bases are covered, this list will include examples of both types.
Finally, it’s obvious who will appreciate these headphones the most. Usually, it will be the people who have a telephone-intensive occupation. But, it’s also possible someone simply needs to make a lot of personal calls. Either way, headphones like this can be a big help.
What to Look for in Headphones for Phone Calls
If phone calls are your primary concern when getting a pair of headphones, these are some of the features you should take into account.
The mic may not be among the first things people usually look at when choosing between headphones, but it should be in this case. It is of paramount importance for the headphones to transmit your voice in an optimal manner – you want to be loud and clear. But not too loud.
The same applies in the opposite direction. You want good audio in order to be able to understand the other speaker. Particularly if there are less-than-ideal conditions for the call.
You should decide whether you want a pair of headphones with a boom mic or not. A boom microphone can increase the quality of the audio you’re producing. This feature also allows you to position the microphone at the ideal distance from your mouth.
On the other hand, these headphones are primarily designed for indoor use. Plus, the microphone itself can sometimes be rather large – a model without it can offer a much sleeker look.
If the headphones boast any additional features that can improve the quality of phone calls, that is a big plus. Noise cancelation can come in handy, for example, but there are many more possibilities.
If you need to make long phone calls because of your work, comfort is very important. When you’re just listening to music, you can take off your headphones if you start to feel the strain. That’s not an option in the middle of a marathon conference call.
As always, you have to decide if what you’re getting is worth the price tag.
Before anything else, it’s clear that the microphone and audio quality played a crucial role in creating the list that is to follow. You want to hear the person you’re talking to, and you want them to hear you back – it doesn’t get much simpler than that. Additional features which impacted this were also a welcome sight. After that, we took everything else into account.
However, a very important note is that we made a purposeful effort to diversify the list. Let’s explain it like this. If you’re sitting behind a desk all day and taking calls, then a wired set of headphones with a boom mic will likely be the best choice. But we didn’t want to simply fill the list with nearly identical products that serve the same purpose.
This is because you may not be behind your desk when the calls come. Perhaps your job involves a lot of traveling, and you need to talk on the move. Or, maybe you’ll get the call when you’re out for a run.
Therefore, we’ve included different headphones which shine under different conditions. This allows you to make the choice depending on the most likely usage scenario – you know when you’ll be making those phone calls, so focus on the most appropriate set of headphones. You’ll also have a few different styles to choose from – you may simply prefer one over the other.
Six Headphones to Help You with Phone Calls
As mentioned, we wanted our picks to cover several different scenarios. Thus, the products are not listed from best to least good. These are six sets of headphones that will, under different circumstances, all do a really good job of allowing you to make voice calls. Which one’s better will depend on what you’re looking for exactly.
- Jabra Evolve 80
- Type: Over-Ear
- Weight: 11.4oz / 324g
- Boom Microphone: Yes
- MSRP: from $329.00
- Comes with active noise cancelation
- “Busy Light” (a handy “do not disturb” feature)
- Good sound, both incoming and outgoing
- Rather expensive
- The headphones are also a bit heavy
When it comes to headphones designed for voice calls, the Jabra Evolve 80 fulfills just about every requirement. The boom microphone makes your voice easy to hear. The active noise cancelation means you’ll have an easier time hearing the other speaker when you’re in a noisy environment (such as a busy office these headphones are primarily made for).
Additionally, the “busy light” will inform your coworkers you’re in a call or don’t want to be disturbed. There’s even a button to quickly allow external sound in without removing the headphones. And when you’re not talking, you can “camouflage” the boom mic by rotating and storing it in a channel on the headband.
On the other hand, all these benefits do not come cheap. Still, you absolutely can see where the money is going – if you’re looking for a pair of headphones with a very comprehensive set of features, the Evolve 80 delivers.
- Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
- Battery Life: 12 hours (less with active noise cancelation)
- Type: On-Ear
- Weight: 5.46oz / 155g
- Boom Microphone: Yes
- MSRP: $299.95
- Features active noise cancelation
- Mute alert
- Comfortable and light
- The price (a bit more affordable than the previous option, but not by much)
With the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, we have another set of headphones we could safely describe as the total package when it comes to making phone calls at the office. The active noise cancelation keeps the distractions at bay, the elegant boom microphone provides great voice quality, and the headphones are packed with many other features.
For example, we really liked the mute alert. In case you forget you’ve put the mic on mute and try to talk, the sensors will pick up on it and warn you. Or if you take the headphones off while you’re listening to music, the auto-pause will kick in. And thanks to the accompanying software, you can customize numerous aspects.
Just like with the previous product, the main sticking point comes with the price. But if you’re looking for a set of headphones to take your phone calls to the next level, the Voyager Focus UC can get you there.
- Jabra Biz 2400 II USB Duo BT
- Wired (with Bluetooth connectivity when plugged into an appropriate device)
- Type: On-Ear
- Weight: 2.32oz / 66g (4.48oz/127g including the USB controller)
- Boom Microphone: Yes
- MSRP: $209.00
- The microphone eliminates background noise
- It also eliminates breathing sounds (which can sometimes be heard if the microphone is too close to the speaker’s mouth)
- Durable construction
- The noise canceling could be better
- Lacks versatility
You can tell even at first glance that the Jabra Biz 2400 II USB Duo BT is not as complex and feature-rich as the previous two sets of headphones. But, it is not trying to be. The manufacturer recommends it for use in call centers, and that is where it shines. The microphone is great, the audio coming from the other speaker is also good (the headphones even protect you against excessively loud sounds), and the sturdy design will stand up to rigorous everyday use.
These headphones do not have the versatility of the other products on our list, but you may not need it. If this is the usage you had in mind, these headphones are a great pick.
- Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
- Battery Life: up to 30 hours
- Type: Over-Ear
- Weight: 8oz / 227g
- Boom Microphone: No
- MSRP: $349.95
- Excellent voice call quality considering these are primarily music headphones
- Naturally, the sound quality is superb
- Great overall performance
- As mentioned, voice calls are not the main focus of these headphones (this means you are paying for numerous features not directly connected to this aspect)
The first three headphones on our list were made primarily with phone calls in mind. But we mentioned we wanted to diversify the list – that is what the remaining three picks are for. Among them, the Sennheiser PXC 550 stands out for its overall performance. These are outstanding headphones which offer active noise cancelation, great audio, superb battery life, and much more.
But, they are also very good at providing excellent speech clarity during voice calls. There is a lot of advanced technology inside these headphones, and it shows.
If you are only going to be making phone calls from behind a desk, you should pick one of the previous models. But if you travel a lot or simply want a pair of headphones which are good at many things, you should consider Sennheiser’s product.
- Phiaton BT 150 NC
- Battery Life: 10.5 hours (without active noise canceling) / 6 hours (with ANC)
- Type: In-Ear (neckband)
- Weight: 2.22oz / 63g
- Boom Microphone: No
- Price: The manufacturer did not state it, but the product was available for $99.00 on Amazon
- “Clear Voice Capture” technology
- Active noise cancelation
- Sweat resistant
- Battery life could be better (particularly when noise cancelation is switched on)
- The retractable ear buds are a neat idea but appear fragile
For people who prefer neckband headphones, the Phiaton BT 150 NC manages to pack an impressive amount of features into a relatively small frame. As far as phone calls are concerned, the definite highlight is the “Clear Voice Capture” technology. This feature suppresses background sounds and cancels out potential echoes, benefiting voice quality. Coupled with active noise canceling, the BT 150 NC makes a strong case for itself as it can provide notable performance under varied conditions.
- AfterShokz Trekz Air
- Battery Life: 6 hours
- Type: Bone conduction (neckband)
- Weight: 1.06oz / 30g
- Boom Microphone: No
- MSRP: $149.95
- No ear buds due to the bone conduction technology
- Dual microphones suppress outside noise to improve voice quality
- Very lightweight
- No noise cancelation (this is the intent)
- Battery life
Bone conduction headphones do away with ear buds. This can be useful to anyone who doesn’t enjoy how they feel. They also leave your ears open so you can keep track of your environment. This can be great if you are, for example, running or cycling through areas with traffic. If both of these apply to you, and you also want to make phone calls while you’re at it, then the Trekz Air could be the answer.
To help with this, they come with dual microphones which suppress noise while you speak. Naturally, the quality will not be on the same level as some of the other picks, but it is still good. And, these headphones do come with some unique benefits.
You Never Know When You’ll Get the Call
An important call could come while you’re at the office. Or when you’re commuting. Perhaps even when you’re exercising. There are many possibilities, and a single pair of headphones cannot be ideal for all of them. That is why we have given you different options. If you manage to pick the right one, any phone call you need to make can sound a lot better.