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Black Friday's best Bluetooth headsets: The top wireless headsets for hands-free calls and virtual meetings

Dave Stevenson
23 Nov 2021

Improve the quality of your calls at home and on the go with our pick of the best Bluetooth headsets

Demand for the best Bluetooth headsets remains at an all-time high as millions of people continue to work from home as a result of the global pandemic.

Once the preserve of call centre workers and taxi and lorry drivers, Bluetooth headsets have become key tools for professionals in industries where remote working is now the norm.

They offer exceptional call quality during virtual meetings on platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype and reduce the impact of ambient sound that would otherwise interrupt conversations.

Bluetooth headphones may trump them when it comes to versatility and musicality, but if you're after features specifically designed to enhance your hands-free experience, you’re still better off with a dedicated Bluetooth headset, especially if it’s for use in a professional environment.

We've tested a wide range of Bluetooth headsets and below you'll find our selection of the best available, ranging from simple mono earpieces to premium stereo headsets designed with office use in mind.

If you require a bit more information, the buying guide prior to the product reviews will highlight the key things to consider before buying one of the best Bluetooth headsets.

READ NEXT: The best headsets for conference calls

Save £20 on the best budget on-ear Bluetooth headset

If you're after a cheap and cheerful on-ear Bluetooth headset this Black Friday, look no further than the JLab Go Work. It's currently available for just £30, which is a £20 discount on its typically RRP.
Was £50
Now £30

Best Bluetooth headsets: At a glance

How to choose the best Bluetooth headset for you

What style of Bluetooth headset should I buy?

The majority of cheaper mono Bluetooth headsets designed for use with mobile phones are of the in-ear variety. That may be offputting for those that don’t like things poking in their ears, but most models are small and light and come with a variety of different-sized eartips to ensure a secure and comfortable fit. It’s also common to find mono Bluetooth headsets that feature a loop that hooks over the back of your ear for additional stability.

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset for working from home or catching up with your family over Zoom, you’ll probably want to consider an on-ear headset. They’re more comfortable to wear for long periods than mono, in-ear headsets and the stereo audio experience is vastly superior. Such headsets are generally more expensive than their mono counterparts, but the extra outlay is worthwhile if you can afford it.

Do Bluetooth headsets offer decent audio quality?

For dependable audio quality, look for HD Voice support. This industry standard, also known as wideband audio, delivers a wider frequency range than your standard landline, so if your phone (and mobile provider) supports it, it should guarantee good, clear sound. A decent digital signal processor (DSP) can help too, using electronic processing to clean up and enhance the incoming voice signal so it sounds like you’re face-to-face.

How good is microphone quality on Bluetooth headsets?

The microphone quality on virtually any Bluetooth headset will be head and shoulders above that of your run-of-the-mill smartphone, so don’t worry too much about that. If you want to use your headset in noisy environments, however, it’s worth looking out for active noise cancelling, which monitors ambient noise and digitally cancels it out, to ensure your voice is clearly audible.

What other extra features should I look out for?

Thanks to Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, voice assistants are catching on in a big way. You can use them with most Bluetooth headsets, either by saying the trigger phrase (Alexa, OK Google) or pressing and holding the microphone button. Some headset manufacturers now include a dedicated button so that you can get your favoured voice assistant up and running that little bit faster.

If you use your headset for work, there’s a chance that you might want one that can handle Skype, Skype for Business and/or Google Hangouts calls on your PC or laptop, along with regular calls on your phone. That’s why you’ll now find some headsets sold in “UC” versions. This stands for Unified Communications and means that the headset is designed to work across multiple devices, switching between them, and may also include a USB Bluetooth adaptor for your PC.

Microsoft Teams is another extremely popular virtual meetings platform, and some manufacturers produce headsets featuring Teams-specific features. If Teams is an integral part of your working day, be on the lookout for Microsoft Teams support.

What kind of battery life can I expect from a Bluetooth headset?

Battery life is split into two variables for Bluetooth headsets: talk time and standby time. Manufacturers’ claims may not entirely translate to the real world, but if a headset promises a nine-hour talk time then that should see you through a few days of usage between charges. If you don’t want to be caught short, look for a headset that offers a display or audio notification to let you know exactly how much charge is remaining.

READ NEXT: The best wireless headphones

The best Bluetooth headsets to buy in 2021

1.Jabra Talk 25: Best cheap mono Bluetooth headset

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

Jabra’s headset lineup starts with the Talk 15 at less than £20, but for a few pounds more you can stretch to the Talk 25, at which point you’ll be buying into a better class of Bluetooth headset. It’s a very straightforward, compact headset weighing in at a lightweight 8.2g, with just a power button, an answer/end call button and volume controls. It’s supplied with a choice of three gel earpieces to ensure that you get a decent fit in the ear, along with two earhooks to hold it there securely. It’s comfy and easy to live with, which more than makes up for any lack of style.

More importantly, audio quality is excellent, thanks to a super-clear omni-directional mic and HD voice support. Battery life is distinctly better than the budget norm, with eight hours of talk time and up to ten days standby, while Jabra’s app is crammed with useful features, including a battery check, a text-message reader and a handy headset finder that tracks down the last place where the Talk 25 was while paired. You can go cheaper, but you won’t get anything quite this good.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.0; Profiles: Hands-free 1.6, headset; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: No; Charge connector: Micro-USB; Talk time: 8 hours; Standby: 10 days; Dimensions: 47 x 17 x 20.5mm; Weight: 8.2g

2. Jabra Evolve2 65: Best Bluetooth headset for working from home

Price: From £130 | Buy now from Amazon

The Jabra Evolve2 65 is the ultimate choice for those wanting an on-ear Bluetooth headset that can be worn comfortably throughout the working day. Its soft memory foam cushions sit delightfully on your ears and the headset is so light it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing it.

Sound and microphone quality are both excellent, and the headset’s manual controls are simple yet very effective. A handy Busylight activates when you’re on calls, letting your colleagues know not to disturb you, and Jabra’s Sound+ app lets you tinker with the EQ level of the headset if you want to customise your audio experience.

Battery life is top-notch, with up to 37 hours of music playback or 35 hours of talk time. Available in mono or stereo, with or without a charging stand, and with a choice of USB Type-A or USB-C Bluetooth adapters, the Evolve2 65 has everything you could ever want from a Bluetooth headset.

Read our Jabra Evolve2 65 review for more details

Key specs – Bluetooth: 5.0; Profiles: Headset 1.2, Hands-free 1.7, A2DP 1.3; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: No; NFC: No; Charge connector: USB-C; Talk time: 35 hours; Standby: Unknown; Dimensions: 186 x 157 x 60mm; Weight: 180g

3. JLab GO Work: Best budget on-ear Bluetooth headset

Price: £50 | Buy now from Argos

JLab may be a familiar name in the world of affordable headphones, but the GO Work is its first attempt at a product designed for work. It’s a successful one, too, with the headset proving comfortable to wear, easy to use and offering the ability to be connected to two devices simultaneously.

The lightweight foam earcups don’t exert undue pressure on your ears and the controls, which cover all the necessary actions, are all sensibly laid out on the right earcup. The boom mic can be rotated over 180 degrees, allowing the headset to be worn either way round and muting it couldn’t be simpler thanks to a depressible button on the outside of the right earcup. A small LED at the tip of the mic indicates whether it’s muted or not, which comes in very handy during conference calls.

Microphone quality is a little tinny - we were likened to a 1980’s football commentator on one call - but it’s good enough for £40 and the GO Work does a decent job of articulating voices both during meetings and while listening to songs in Music mode.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 5.0; Profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: No; NFC: No; Charge connector: USB-C; Talk time: 45 hours; Standby: 19 days; Dimensions: 190 x 200 x 54mm; Weight: 170g

4. AfterShokz OpenComm: Best bone conduction Bluetooth headset

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

Bone conduction technology allows you to listen to audio without having anything in, on or over your ears by delivering it through vibrations against your cheekbones. AfterShokz is the leading manufacturer in the field and its OpenComm headset is designed specifically with working from home and office use in mind.

The noise-cancelling boom mic can be easily adjusted into your preferred position, while a single multifunction button gives you quick access to all of the commands you’ll need during your working day. The OpenComm also comes with IP55 certification for dust and water resistance, so you don’t need to worry about getting caught out in the rain between meetings.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 5.0; Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP; Range: 10m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: Yes; Charge connector: USB-C; Talk time: 16 hours; Standby: 14 days; Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 6.5cm; Weight: 33g

5. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC: Best noise-cancelling Bluetooth headset

Price: £158 | Buy now from Amazon

This on-ear stereo headset is supremely well made and very easy to use. It can be worn either way round as the microphone rotates 180 degrees, and physical controls are smartly incorporated. Volume is adjusted via a wheel on one earcup, inside which are the audio playback controls. The other earcup houses power and Bluetooth pairing buttons, along with a button handling call functionality.

But what really sets the Voyager Focus apart is its use of active noise cancellation. This clever technology reduces the impact of ambient sound and is particularly handy in busy office environments or when the kids suddenly burst in during a call. It won't create perfect silence – on-ear headsets always let in a bit of sound as they don’t completely cover your ears – but it does an impressive job at dampening human voices.

Microphone clarity is top-notch and audio quality is good enough to enjoy a spot of music during your lunch break. The assistant that updates you about the headset’s battery level and whether your mic is muted can be overly chatty at times, but despite that minor issue, the Voyager Focus is an excellent choice for home and office workers alike.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.1; Profiles: A2DP; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: No; Charge connector: USB-A; Talk time: 12 hours; Standby: Not stated; Dimensions: 137 x 89 x 154mm; Weight: 155g

6. Jabra Elite 45h: Best Bluetooth headset for battery life

Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon

Despite technically being headphones rather than a headset, the Jabra Elite 45h earn a place on this list thanks to their excellent microphone and audio quality. They’re similar in design to the Jabra Evolve2 65, but cut the flip-down microphone in favour of a dual-mic built-in to the right earcup. Call quality doesn’t suffer, though: we were heard exceptionally well during Zoom meetings and phone calls.

The Elite 45h charge via the included USB-A to USB-C cable, and battery life clocks in at a whopping 50 hours of audio playback. We used them throughout a working week without needing to charge them, but if you do ever run out of battery, 15 minutes on charge will get you a further 10 hours of use.

Audio is detailed and rich and there are plenty of ways to customise your listening experience via the Sound+ app. When setting up, Jabra’s MySound technology analyses your hearing to create a personalised EQ. The difference between our profile and the default one was negligible, but individual experiences are likely to vary. There are numerous other settings to play around with, too. Want more treble or bass when you’re on a call? There’s an option covering that. Need to reduce how loud you sound in the headset? The sidetone slider has got you covered.

It all adds up to make the Elite 45h an extremely appealing alternative for those wanting clear communication without a discrete microphone.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 5.0; Profiles: Headset 1.2, Hands-free 1.7, A2DP 1.3, AVRCP v1.6, PBAP v1.1, SPP v1.2; Range: 10m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: No; NFC: No; Charge connector: USB-C; Talk time: 50 hours; Standby: 1 year+; Dimensions: 186 x 157 x 60mm; Weight: 160g

7. Jabra Talk 45: Best Bluetooth headset for drivers

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

This affordable headset from Jabra includes an in-car charger, making it our top choice from those that spend a lot of time talking on the phone while driving. Its battery life may not be quite as good as its cheaper sibling, the Talk 25, but call quality is superior thanks to its dual noise-cancelling microphone setup, and wireless range is three times as wide at 30m.

It also features a built-in voice assistant button, allowing you to access Google Assistant and Siri extremely quickly, and can be worn with or without the earhook. To ensure a stable fit in your ear, three different-sized eartips are supplied along with small and large earhooks.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.0; Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: No; Charge connector: USB; Talk time: 6 hours; Standby: 8 days; Dimensions: 57 x 15 x 24mm; Weight: 7.2g

8. Plantronics Voyager 5200: Best premium mono Bluetooth headset

Price: £105 | Buy now from Amazon

Looking for more than a simple Bluetooth headset? Want to make sure your voice is heard? The Plantronics Voyager 5200 should satisfy on both counts, thanks to a slick design that combines a four-microphone array with active DSP processing, echo cancellation and six layers of protection against wind noise. Call clarity is nothing short of excellent: even in noisy environments, you can hear conversations and be heard.

And that’s not the only thing this headset has in its favour. You can pair it with multiple devices at once – using NFC – then switch between them with ease. You can also use built-in voice commands to dictate text messages, get directions or talk to Siri or Google Assistant. The bundled app has a useful “find my headset” feature, and the range is superb; as long as phone and headset are in the same room, even a conference room or open-plan office, you should be fine.

The battery lasts for around six hours, charging through a USB cable, and if you need to use it in the office the slightly more expensive UC version comes with a USB adapter for your laptop or PC and a portable charging case, giving you another 14 hours of talk time.

While the 5200 isn’t the smallest or lightest headset, it’s comfortable, thanks to the moulded earpiece and lightweight mic. It’s pretty much the perfect business option.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.1; Profiles: A2DP, hands-free 1.6, headset 1.2; Range: 30m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: Yes; Charge connector: Micro-USB; Talk time: 6 hours (plus 14 with optional charging case); Standby: 7 days; Dimensions: 67 x 23 x 23mm; Weight: 20g

9. Jabra Evolve 75e: Best premium in-ear Bluetooth headset

Price: £180 | Buy now from Amazon

With big audio brands behind them and improved built-in mics, Bluetooth in-ear headphones have stolen market share from the specialised mono headsets. When you can get a decent pair for well under £50, how can Jabra’s in-ear headset justify its price?

Well, it comes down to all-day comfort and microphone technology. The neckband takes the weight of the controls and battery away from your ears, and contains a three-microphone array that works with an additional in-line mic unit for clear voice and conference calls, complete with high-class noise cancellation. It also vibrates when you get a call. And if you want to hear what’s going on in the outside world, you can press and hold the ANC button to open up the mics.

The Evolve 75e is certified for use with Skype for Business, CISCO WebEx, Google Meet and GoToMeeting, and the headphones have an integrated busy light to let your colleagues know you’re busy, not just catching up on your favourite tunes.

If you are sneaking some music in, sound quality is excellent, with the active noise cancelling reducing the office hum to nearly nothing. Call quality isn’t a problem, either, with the mic array filtering out unwanted sounds and voices. The buttons are a little tiny, but they give you instant access to calls, music and the voice assistant of your choice, and the supplied ear hooks and buds make it easy to get a decent fit. Add the bundled USB dongle for unified comms and you have a superb premium headset for everyday business use, albeit not one every business will splash out on.

Key specs – Bluetooth: 4.2; Profiles: A2DP, hands-free 1.6, headset 1.2, BTLE; Range: 10m; Multipoint: Yes; HD Voice: Yes; NFC: No; Charge connector: Micro-USB; Talk time: 13 hours; Standby: 11 days; Dimensions: 176 x 186 x 54mm; Weight: 50g