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Best Bluetooth Headset
How to Choose a Bluetooth Headset
We spent over 50 hours researching and testing 10 Bluetooth headsets hands-on. We used each headset in multiple environments to simulate a typical user experience. The best choice is the Plantronics Voyager Edge. This wireless Bluetooth headset has impressive voice and audio quality, a good around-the-ear fit, and great background noise elimination.
Best Bluetooth Headset Overall
The Plantronics Voyager Edge beat out every other Bluetooth headset in our tests with its audio quality, plethora of useful features and comfortable fit. In our tests, it earned A’s across the board for voice quality and clarity, as well as clear music and phone audio playback. It also boasts solid battery life and comfortable all-day fit and stability. The Edge has an around-the-ear fit and includes three different earbud sizes so you can find the optimal fit. It works with smartphone assistants, is compatible with some phone apps and has a caller ID feature.
Best Value Bluetooth Headset
The Motorola Boom 2 provides all the basics, with comparable functionality and battery life to the best Bluetooth headsets we tested – but without the premium price. In our tests, it wasn’t a superstar when it came to audio and voice quality, but it worked well otherwise and could support loud volumes. It’s compatible with smartphone apps and supports assistants like Siri and Google Now, and even gives you the choice to wear it either around your ear or in it.
Bluetooth Headset Worth Considering
Although not quite as comfortable to wear as the Voyager Edge, the Jabra Stealth still earned impressive marks, even for extended wear. It even slightly outperformed the Edge in overall audio quality, and matched it with voice quality and background noise isolation. The Stealth is compatible with smartphone apps and assistants and has a caller ID function. It supplies two earbud sizes to choose from. Impressively, it has a 10-day standby capacity, which is more than any other Bluetooth headset we tested.
Bluetooth Headsets: How We Tested, What We Found
We spent over 50 hours testing and evaluating Bluetooth headsets, and to find the best, we scrutinized their call performance, hands-free capabilities, comfort, durability and battery life. We wore the headsets while walking to work, in the car, at the store and in the office.
In general, you should look for a headset that has controls for answering and ending phone calls as well as adjusting volume. Devices that are compatible with voice commands and work with Siri or Google Assistant rank higher in our review than those that do not. When you use a headset that’s compatible with either Siri or Google Assistant, you can quickly dictate text messages, check the weather and get traffic reports without having to fish your smartphone out of your bag or pocket.
Comfort & Fit
Because Bluetooth headsets are for folks who frequently talk on the phone, it’s important to find one that’s comfortable. If the headset is irritating or falls out often, you probably won’t wear it. We made sure the headsets on our lineup fit most people and come with various earbud tips for different ear canal sizes. To test stability, we performed a number of vigorous movements while wearing the headset; we shook and nodded our heads, drove in cars, lightly jogged, and jaunted up and down stairs.
We evaluated the Bluetooth headsets’ audio performance by pairing each one to an Apple iPhone SE. As with any call, there are two parts – your voice and the caller’s. To test the quality of each device’s speaker, we had the caller recite portions from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address while the reviewer wearing the headset took down what they heard. We then compared how well the listener transcribed what was said on the call with the original. It’s important that the headset’s speaker effectively transmits what is being said without any static. There were typically one to five transcription errors with the devices we tested, though nothing was lost in translation with the best headsets.
To test the quality of each headset’s microphone, we called a Google Voice number and recorded conversations in three different environments: outside on a windy day, in our office and in a car. The best Bluetooth headsets filter out background noise. We also wore the headsets on a half-mile walk where we passed a school, a park, a business district and roads.
Most manufacturers claim their Bluetooth headsets can be used for between six and 10 hours before they need to be recharged. To put these metrics to the test, we played a 10-hour Learn to Speak French track through the headsets and recorded when each one’s battery died. We converted the MP3 track to mono, since Bluetooth headsets don’t play stereo sound. Some headsets come with a charging case so you can charge the battery quickly on the go.
Bluetooth headsets can reach volumes between 40 and 70 dB. To measure the max volumes of the devices in our review, we placed a decibel reader 1 meter from each headset, set our iPhone’s volume at 100 percent and then played the same portion of a song through each one. It’s important to note that with every increase of 3 dB, the volume doubles.
Help & Support
Typically, manufacturers include a one-year warranty with their Bluetooth headsets. The standard manufacturer warranty on the market for Bluetooth headsets is one year, though some have longer warranty periods up to five years. It’s also important for these companies to have easily accessible support in case you have problems with your device. Most manufacturers have FAQs pages and downloadable manuals that help you troubleshoot issues, such as pairing, on your own.
There are Bluetooth headsets out there for every style and budget. Whether you need a way to take phone calls while multitasking or just want a cord-free way to listen to music, finding a Bluetooth headset with the right balance of features and performance quality is key.
Contributing Reviewer: Suzanne Humphries