Right now, lots of people are discovering working from home for the first time, with all the joys and challenges that brings. One consideration that is often overlooked until it’s too late is having a good quality headset. Sure, you can use the mic and speakers from your laptop - or your phone - but that’s not always the best option. It means everyone can hear your conversations, and it can be hard to concentrate properly in noisy situations. So today we’ll be looking at a selection of headsets to help your home office!
A quick note on availability - with the current situation, headsets are in high demand, and stocks online can be very unreliable. We are also aware you will probably not want to break the bank for something that is (hopefully) a temporary situation. Therefore this selection of headsets concentrates more on the cheaper - but still effective - end of the spectrum. All the following products were in stock at the time of writing.
Let’s start simple - the Logitech H150 is an excellent choice if you just want to be able to talk to your co-workers. Logitech are known for functional, good quality PC gear, and this is no different - it has a discrete single wire, comfortable earcups that sit on (rather than over) the ears, and a microphone that can be rotated 180° so that it can be worn in a variety of orientations.
The H150 comes with a good quality microphone, which has the welcome addition of noise cancelling - therefore reducing the background noise when you’re talking. Unfortunately they don’t come with noise cancelling on the earcups - so in very noisy situations you may have to turn the volume up to hear anything.
Most importantly, the H150 isn’t going to break the bank - it’s a very cheap headset that will get the job done. The design won’t make you look stylish, and it is wired rather than wireless, but the H150 is still a great budget choice.
Staying with Logitech for a moment, the H600 is a step up from the H150. Most importantly - it has wireless capabilities. This is extremely helpful - no longer will you be tied to your chair during calls, and no more tripping or getting caught in the cable from your headset. It’s one of those things that you’d wonder how you did without when you upgrade!
Outside of that, the H600 are pretty similar to the H150s. They have the same movable noise-cancelling microphone and similar earcups and sound - though they are somewhat heavier, due to the need for in-built batteries.
The lack of wires also means that the controls (mute, volume, etc) have moved onto the side of one earcup. This is a helpful addition - it means you don’t have to reach back to your computer to fiddle with settings while you talk.
As you’d expect, the H600 is more expensive than other wired headset, but the freedom really is worth the price!
Compared to the standard black designs of other headsets here, the MPow 071 wired headset certainly have more pop - they are a vivid blue colour, even if the specs underneath are largely the same.
The 071 headset is a lightweight headset, designed to be worn for long sessions without pain. I’ve actually used this set for a couple of years, and I can confirm they are indeed comfortable! The earcups also have pretty good noise insulation - they don’t block out everything, but background noise is suppressed enough to make listening to quiet calls far easier.
The microphone is unfortunately inferior to the Logitech headsets - it is on a bendy arm that theoretically allows you to position it perfectly in front of your mouth. Unfortunately in my experience it tends to wiggle about when you move your head, which can lead to subpar mic quality. As long as you don’t gesticulate too wildly, you should be fine though!
The 071 is rather good - it’s not too expensive, though not as bargain as the H150. Personally I found it a good headset for calls over the years, so I can recommend it.
Moving to something completely different - the Plantronics Voyager Legend is a bluetooth earpiece rather than a headset. This means it only has a single earbud attached to a microphone, rather than the full headphone + mic that the others do. These earpieces were traditionally designed to be paired with mobile phones, but the Voyager Legend works just as well with a desktop or laptop as it does with a phone.
The main benefit of the small design is portability and size - this is a headset that can easily be stored in a drawer or bag, and is extremely portable. It has a 7-hour talk time, which should be enough for even the longest meeting! It also automatically turns itself on and off when you put it into your ear, which is helpful for saving battery. It also has an excellent quality microphone with noise cancelling - so you'll always be heard clearly
Unfortunately the Voyager doesn’t really have any active noise cancelling on the audio, since it only covers one ear. Finally, as a nice extra - with compatible phones or programs the Voyager will announce the name of the caller when they ring, meaning you can answer immediately, without having to be near your computer to see who’s calling.
On the whole the Voyager Legend is a good choice for people who want the lighter option for headsets - the price isn’t super cheap, but not as expensive as the Airpods either. As long as you can live with the background noise, it’ll serve you well.
Finally, something a little bit different - if you have an Apple computer and some money to spend, then the Airpods Pro are an excellent choice for a work headset. Much like the Plantronics Voyager, they are wireless and extremely light - however they have active noise cancelling built into the earbuds. This means that the world is silent when you put them in - it’s a little bit magic honestly. Apple have done a fantastic job building active noise cancelling into such tiny earbuds - and the microphone quality is very good as well. It’s a great pairing, which makes the Airpods wonderful to use when working from home.
Being an Apple product, they work the best with an iPhone or Macbook. They will work with other types of computer and phone, but you'll find certain functions will be limited. Also, as you’d expect, they don’t come cheap. The Airpods Pro are eye-wateringly expensive - over £250 while the other headsets on this list come in at £20-£60.
So it’s hard to recommend them just for talking on Skype - if you’re buying the Airpods Pro, do so because they are excellent earphones in their own right, and will be great for other parts of your life - music, running, whatever you want. And since we’re all stuck inside for the next while, why not treat yourself?
If the Airpods Pro are a touch too expensive, you could also consider the standard Airpods - they are predominantly similar to the Pros, but lack the noise cancelling… and they’re about £100 cheaper!