But just as with almost any product you're seeking out these days, even a cursory Google search will show you that the competition is steep, and the options seemingly endless. This may leave you wondering if noise-cancelling features are worth the extra cost, if there's a difference between Bluetooth and wireless, or if you like the look of bulkier headsets as opposed to more discreet ones with earbuds.
Below is a list of important questions to ask when shopping around for headsets, with answers to illuminate the benefits as well as disadvantages of the multitude of choices available on the market. We've also made some suggestions for your particular working environment, budget, and preferences along with resources where you can find more information.
What are your options?
The first feature that you'll probably notice when looking at a headset is what kind headphones it includes: whether they're in-ear, on-ear or over-ear. In-ear devices such as earbuds or AirPods are, as the name implies, smaller and meant to be worn within the ears. On-ear and over-ear may sound similar; the difference being that on-ear headphones are generally lighter with smaller ear cups, while over-ear headphones have ear cups that cover the ears completely.
Headsets can also be categorised by how they connect to the intended device, i.e. with a wire or without. Most people have also heard the terms "wireless" and "Bluetooth," but many aren’t sure what the difference is between these terms - or even if there is one. It's easiest to think of wireless as one device transmitting wirelessly, while Bluetooth involves the pairing of two devices.
If you choose to use Bluetooth for VoIP communication, make sure to connect the appropriate adapter to your device to enhance quality and lower interference. For example, if using the Jabra series, use the Bluetooth adapter provided with or designed for your specific headset.
What sound quality are you looking for?
Most workers want the best sound quality that their budget will permit. Before even setting up your headset though, you need to make sure that your device, system, and internet connexion are all running optimally. While using a state-of-the-art headset can compensate for some issues such as distant voices (which can happen if one party is using a jack) and background noise, problems with echoing, static or dropped calls need to be addressed at their root cause.
Here at Ringover, our favourite model is by far the Jabra Evolve 80. Online reviewers routinely have good things to say about the Plantronics Voyager 4220 UC as well, with a less costly alternative to these being the Sennheiser PC8.
In what conditions will you be using your headset?
Like many workers today, even if you have a permanent office, you're likely carrying out various tasks for your job from home or on the road at least some of the time (even when you're off the clock!) In any case, wherever you find yourself working from, you need make sure that communication is optimal.
Also keep in mind that your choice will be determined by the type of device you intend to connect to your headset. If you often use your mobile phone or tablet for VoIP calls, you'll need a headset with a corresponding connexion or adapter. Laptop and desktop computers offer more flexibility in that they allow you to connect a USB cable as well as most types of headphones, but your movement will be limited with this type of setup.
Noise-cancelling features are one of the most important aspects to look for, even if you don’t work on a construction site with jackhammers constantly going all around you. Unless you only make VoIP calls from one single, virtually silent place, any ambient sounds can be picked up by your microphone and even amplified for the person you're talking to (or people, if you routinely take part in conference calls).
If you tend to walk or move around a lot during your conversations - to take clients on remote tours of your premises or make interactive demos of your product or solution, for example - you may prefer a wireless or Bluetooth option paired to your device via the corresponding adapter.
If you need to wear your headset for several hours at a time, such as in a call center or customer assistance department, comfort will be important, so make sure that the model you select is lightweight and adjustable, with padding or other protective elements in the right places. We're aware that in many work situations it's typically management who makes decisions regarding standard materials used rather than employees, but a good manager will be open to suggestions on how to make life easier for the people working for them!
How much can you spend?
Think of the headset you're looking to purchase as both a long-term and short-term investment. Clients will remember having to repeat themselves because you couldn't hear them over the train station announcements blaring around you, and colleagues won't like you shouting at them over the sound of the neighbour's barking dog. You won't be your best working self either if you're in pain because of a headset that's too heavy or pinches!
And aside from the fact that cheaper headsets are more breakable and likely to need more frequent replacement, poor communication quality will negatively impact your professional image, which is why making a choice based strictly on price will wind up costing you more down the road.
Which VoIP solution are you using?
The best headset is, after all, only as good as the communication channel it's being used with! The Ringover solution provides the best sound quality on the VoIP market, a free video conferencing platform, and VoIP mobile and landline numbers worldwide.
See what we can do for your company for free for 7 days, or request a demo from one of our sales reps.