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Working from home has its upsides, but there is one aspect that can be infuriating: noise. Whether it’s your kids asking for something, roommates being loud, or simply ambient noise from the street, there always seems to be some intrusive sound that interferes with work. This makes video calls and conferencing with co-workers downright difficult. And besides the annoyance, interfering noise can also come off as unprofessional.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix: a great headset. We’ve found that plug-and-play USB headsets make a great companion for any stay-at-home worker, allowing you to make calls and conference without noise interference.
Plug-and-play USB headsets have been around a while, but the headphones were primarily used for gaming. However, their key features make them great for working as well, with comfortable designs that allow for hours of use, and microphones that reduce background noise.
What to Know Before Buying a USB Headset
There are few things to know when shopping for the best work headset for you. The best USB headsets all feature varying degrees of versatility and compatibility, and features can range from basic calls to full-scale sound.
Comfort: Chances are you’ll be spending long periods of time using this headset. You’ll want to check out the cushions on the headphones as well as adjustability for the ideal fit. If you wear glasses, check reviews to see if the headset is comfortable with your frames. Lastly, the longer the headset’s cord the better, as you’ll be able to move around more.
Microphone Quality: All the headsets on our list feature a microphone with noise-reducing technology. However, some are better than others.
Sound Quality: As with any pair of cans, you’ll want to check the speakers’ power. This is sometimes listed as a dB measurement, but usually, you’ll need to peruse the headset’s reviews. Some of our headset picks also feature optional surround sound, but this usually requires downloadable software to utilize.
Compatibility: Not all headsets work with all hardware. Most are compatible with PCs, but some won’t work with Macs or specific gaming consoles (if you want to game as well). Be sure to check compatibility before buying.
Controls: All of our headphone picks have in-line controls, meaning there is a small control panel attached to the cord. This is very convenient for changing volumes and muting during a call. However, each headset has a different control setup – some being more intuitive and reliable than others.
What Are the Best Headsets for Working from Home?
If you’re looking to invest in a dedicated headset for work — or working from home — read on. We’ve sifted through dozens of popular USB headphones to find the best ones to get right now.
1. Jeecoo USB Pro Gaming Headset
If you’re up for a more serious pair of cans, we recommend this gaming headset from Jeecoo. The sleek headphones are ready for all-day work, with earpads and a headband made using memory foam. A seven-foot cable also means you can move around while mic’d up.
The microphone itself is slim and low-key. Unidirectional sound sensitivity picks up your voice while getting rid of outside noise. Speaker sound quality is also great with a 50mm driver unit.
The sound and microphone can all be altered via intuitive in-line controls that use a microphone mute switch and volume dials. This makes it easy to turn off your mic as well as adjust incoming volume and your own voice.
In terms of downsides, all we could find were a few complaints about difficulty downloading the software that enables surround sound. But if you’re just using these for calls, that’s not a problem.
2. Jabra Evolve 40 USB Headset
Jabra’s headset is chock full of features that will help boost your productivity by reducing distractions.
One of our favorite additions is a “busy light” on the headset which automatically turns on during calls, or can be manually activated, if you need to let others in your home know not to disturb you. The soft, leather ear cushions are not only comfortable enough for all-day wear, they’re also great for drowning out background noise, especially human voices.
But you do have the flexibility to get up and go with Jabra Intelligent call transfer, which lets you switch over from your PC to your smartphone with ease. Certified for Skype for Business, Cisco, and more, Jabra’s compatibility with online voice call services is also unmatched. If you spend a lot of time in virtual meetings, you’re in good hands.
3. SADES USB Gaming Headset
This gaming headset from Sades offers some of the best features, with premium sound quality, an effective noise-canceling microphone and serious comfort.
Unlike some brands, Sades isn’t afraid to list the exact specifications for this headset. Most importantly, the microphone sensitivity is rated at -38db, meaning your voice will sound clear to co-workers or clients.
The headphone speakers are nice as well, with a loudhailer diameter of 40mm, which translates to high-quality sound for conferences, videos or games. Sades’ headset also does well in terms of comfort. The headset weighs just 7.1 ounces and features thick pads on the ears and head, making long workdays a little more bearable.
4. Sennheiser PC 8 USB Headset
Sennheiser says it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing their headset with it’s lightweight design, which makes it a good choice for long hours in your home office.
While it’s one of the least bulky options on our list, what it lacks in extraneous features it makes up for with easy-of-use. Just plug the USB into your PC or Mac port and you can connect to a virtual call instantly, as well as regulate the volume from the headset without having to mess around with setting on your computer. The sound quality is crisp and clear enough for both work calls and gaming, The noise cancellation on the mic is also fairly solid for its size, so you won’t have to talk louder than normal to be heard.
For a headset that offers durability and a high-quality stereo sound without too many bells and whistles, look no further.
5. Beexcellent USB Gaming Headset
If you’re concerned about comfort, check out this headset from Beexcellent. Users have lauded the headphones for incredible comfort thanks to chunky leader pads and quality materials, and the overall look is sleek and futuristic.
Another reason why we recommend this Beexcellent headset is its noise cancellation powers. The microphone not only blocks ambient noise during your calls, the earcups also block out noises from entering your ears. The headphones don’t have active noise cancellation (like most noise-cancelling headphones) but their snug fit does a great job of keeping things quiet while wearing the headset.
Other specs are all fairly standard for good headphones: 50mm driver, PC and Mac compatibility and solid in-line controls. Overall, it’s a good headset.