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As working from home becomes increasingly more common, little earbuds have taken on a big role.
A good pair of wireless earbuds is an essential work from home accessory, allowing you to take phone calls, video calls and listening to music (or presentations) without disturbing those around you. Having a dedicated pair of work or office earbuds rather than using your computer’s speakers also ensures clearer, more focused sound. You can also use the earbuds’ built-in mics for two-way talking and listening.
The best work earbuds can realy cover all your needs, and keep the music and communication going all day long, from exercising in the morning, a full workday of video and conference calls, evening gaming sessions, and anything else – sometimes all on a single charge.
So why go for a wireless pair of buds instead of some big over-the-ear headphones? If you’re in a workplace setting, a home office, or taking a call while walking around, completely blocking all background sound may not be beneficial if you should be keeping one ear on your surroundings.
An earbud’s size is also infinitely more travel friendly than bulky cans, and can easily be shoved in a pocket, purse, or just kept in your ears. Same goes for exercising: getting sweaty in full headphones can turn your ears into damp and sticky mini saunas, with the big over-the-head band getting soaked too. Small, in-ear buds are way more efficient and practical, especially waterproof pairs, and take less effort to clean. Buds also have smaller drivers, and since they’re right up against your ear, they don’t require as much power to push out amplification and still sound clear, full, and rich.
Even with buds that sound great for music, that’s only part of what you should be looking for. Mic quality is vitally important too, especially for work calls. A low-quality mic makes you sound like you’re calling in from the moon, so a set with omnidirectional multi-mics that can isolate your voice while speaking can help your coworkers hear you without lag or choppiness.
There are an overwhelming amount of earbuds out there to choose from, but we’ve picked our four favorites that cover all the bases here, making your audio, as well as your speaking voice, loud and clear as you work from home.
1. Voyager 6200 UC
Poly (formerly Plantronics) has been creating high-quality headgear since the early Sixties, when their founder invented the first lightweight communications headset the FAA supplied to all air traffic controllers.
Since then, their products have literally been to the moon and back – Neil Armstrong even wore one in space.
The Voyager 6200’s most noticeable feature is its neckband, with four omnidirectional microphones to capture every nuance of your voice. It fully vibrates when a call is coming in, and does a nice job cancelling out a significant amount of background noise naturally (there’s also a noise cancellation switch for an extra boost).
Though it may take some getting used to at first, and seem a bit bulkier than just in-ear buds, it soon becomes a welcome convenience. Each earbud is connected to the band, ensuring you’ll never lose them ever again, and you can easily switch between stereo and mono (or between taking calls and talking IRL) simply by dropping a bud out of one ear, knowing it’s hanging right below and ready whenever the next call comes in.
There’s also a “Dynamic Mute Alert” feature, which subtly sends you a voice prompt when you start to talk while still on mute.
The Voyager can handle up to nine hours of talk time, 16 hours of listen time and 14 days on standby. For those upgrading from wired buds to their first Bluetooth set, this is an excellent step up, and an instant life-changer to not be tethered to your phone or laptop anymore. It works well for music and podcasts too, pairing fast with your other devices, but with a wearable microphone like this, calls are what it was born to handle. Plus it comes in a nice carrying case too, with a charger and different sized buds.
2. Lypertek TEVI True Wireless Earbuds
Take your next conference call with these TEVIs, which support a solid connection with Bluetooth 5.0, and do a nice job of reducing background noise.
Battery life is noteworthy here – 10 hours on a single charge, plus another 60 hours if the case is charged. These are also IPX7 waterproof up to a meter deep, meaning they’re protected from sweat, or if you want to take a call in the shower (or even bath).
The TEVIs perform well for office needs, but also sound great for music and gaming too. The bass is clean and punchy without distorting, and rival some of the bigger brands out there for a fraction of the cost.
3. Cambridge Audio Melomania Earbuds
Audiophiles will instantly recognize Cambridge as a company that’s been delivering great sounding gear for half a century. These earbuds, despite their small size (only 4.6g each) pack a powerful and balanced mix of quality, durability and professionalism — perfect for music during a morning run and then getting right into your workday.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is strong and steady, pairing automatically, and letting you stray up to 30 meters thanks to the latest Qualcomm chip tech inside. One charge will get you about nine hours of battery life, with another 36 from a fully-charged case. They integrate nicely with your device’s AI assistant, and the memory foam tips are comfortable to keep in your ears for long stretches (and for those Zoom meetings that seem to go on forever).
They’re not fully noise-cancelling, but still block out background distractions due to the bud’s tight seal inside your ears, and the mic is able to isolate your voice while speaking so your coworkers can clearly hear you too.
4. Anker Soundcore Life P2 True Wireless Earbuds
A ten-minute charge on these Anker Soundcore earbuds will get you an hour of battery life, perfect in a pinch when the indicator lights show that you’re nearing 0% and you’ve got an important call coming up. The case conveniently charges through a USC-C port too, and adds an additional 40 hours of playtime. They’re also fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating, meaning they can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes and still play without issue (but dry them off before you stick them back in the non-waterproof case).
The buttons are minimal, but still manage to offer an array of functions, with the four microphones reaching down towards your mouth to better pick up voice while minimizing background noise. Plus the buds fit firmly in your ears, even while exercising and moving around.