We all know what a headset is. Essentially an earpiece and microphone that enables audio to be transmitted to and from the device it’s connected to. But when it comes to buying a new headset, it can be a bit of minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for. With so many different types with various uses, finding the right one can be problematic. Regardless of why you need a headset, this definitive buying guide should help make the finding the right headset easier for you:
Your decision comes down to whether you need a Wireless or a Corded Headset. Regardless of whether you’re buying a headset for use with a deskphone, cordless phone, PC or mobile; you will be able to weigh up the pros and cons of each:
Corded headsets are typically cheaper than their wireless counterparts, and will work as soon as they are plugged into the device you’ll be using it with. They don’t need to charged as there is no battery needed in order for them to work, so are very easy to set-up and use and a reliable choice when going to be used for hours on end. The majority of corded headsets feature in-line controls to adjust volume or mute your microphone, and offer excellent clarity.
The main drawback to using a corded headset is that it tethers you to the device you’ll be using it with: PC, mobile, telephone. Therefore, they are better suited for use in environments such as call centres, at a desk, or gaming, which don’t involve much moving about. Even so, wires can get tangled and getting tripped up or damaging the headset or connections can be a risk. Shop for all corded headsets here.
There are 3 types of Wireless Headsets; DECT headsets for use with PC or Deskphones, DECT/GAP headsets for use with Cordless Phones, and Bluetooth Headsets. The most obvious advantage of Wireless headsets is the flexibility to move around with DECT headsets offering up to 150metres of range, and some of the latest Bluetooth Headsets offering as far as 20metres. A lot of Wireless Headsets offer multi-device compatibility, which means they can be connected and used with more than one device at a time (eg. PC and Mobile). The disadvantage of opting for a wireless headset can be battery life. For anyone who works long hours and is on the phone a lot, the battery can quickly run down and will need to be recharged before the headset can be used again. Some Wireless headsets also require additional accessories so that you can answer and end calls remotely. Shop for all wireless headsets here.
As mentioned previously, headsets are most commonly used with telephones, mobiles, PC and laptops, and for gaming. The device with which you intend to use your headset will help to determine what the right headset is:
There are three types of headsets that you can use with cordless phones. The first being a corded headset usually a 2.5mm jack, which plugs into a socket on the handset. Corded headsets are ideally when you need to make a lot of outgoing calls using your cordless phone and need to do so hands-free. They are also cheaper than wireless headsets for cordless phones.
However, not all cordless phones have a headset socket. In which case, you are presented with option number 2: the DECT/GAP Wireless Headset. These work like an additional handset, and register to the phone’s base. You get excellent range but can’t make outgoing call without dialling out using a handset and then transferring the call to the headset, which can be an inconvenient workaround. These type of headsets are better suited for anyone who receives a high volume of inbound calls to cordless phone, as you can answer calls with the headset directly.
The final option is for Bluetooth enabled Cordless Phones, which gives you the opportunity to use a Bluetooth headset. Whilst the range of these headsets is not nearly as substantial as GAP wireless headsets; as they pair with the cordless handsets you can still get range away from the base so long as you keep the handset within 10 metres & they do enable you to dial out using the handset without the need for transferring the call. You can read our Headsets for Cordless Phones Buying Guide here.
A telephone headset for a business phone are an ideal tool for desk workers, as it means you can keep your hands free and still be on the phone, which can improve productivity. Most corded headsets for deskphones will require an adaptor or bottom to cable to connect to the make and model of your phone. Most deskphones are also compatible with Wireless Headsets for anyone who needs the flexibility to move about the home or office whilst on a call. You could also opt for a Unified Communication (UC) compatible headset so that it can be used with your deskphone, mobile, and PC (softphone) simultaneously. You can find out more about UC headsets in our Headsets for Office Phones Buying Guide here.
There are corded and wireless headsets compatible with mobiles and Smartphones. Wireless options are limited to Bluetooth but you can opt for a model with two ear-pieces so you can listen to music and other media in stereo. Some Bluetooth headsets for mobiles feature the microphone and volume controls on the cord, whilst others feature a small boom. Each type has benefits and disadvantages. You can read more about them in our - Headsets for Mobile Phones Buying Guide here.
Whether Wireless of Corded; PC headsets typically use USB , though some still do use the more outdated 3.5mm jacks (one for mic and one for earpiece) and can be used for longer periods of time as they don’t require a battery. Wireless Headsets for PC typically come with a base that connects to your PC and transmits audio to the wireless headset. They are often used for computer gaming, Softphones (or internet calls like Skype), and can also double-up as headphones for listening to music and other media files. You can read our Headsets for PC Buying Guide here.
Gaming has grown in popularity in recent years and the popularity of gaming headsets with it. Similar to headsets for PC, there are wired and wireless options that utilise 3.5mm or USB. They tend to feature a more robust design, and the cables of the corded headsets are usually a lot longer. You can read our Headsets for Gaming Buying Guide here.
Plantronics have been making headsets for decades and were used by Nasa for the moon landings. The headsets represent outstanding build and sound quality and are a reliable choice regardless of whether you need a headset for home, for office, wireless, corded.
Jabra are another American manufacturer and renowned in the business world for their top-class headsets. Offering style, ease of use, and quality you can depend on - you can be sure you are in safe hands if you opt for a Jabra headset.
Sennheiser are a recognisable brand in the world of headphones and are the top choice for many professionals when it comes to choosing a headset. Their stylish range of wireless and corded headsets deliver superior sound quality and ease of use.
We hope this buying guide has given you a clear starting point on how to find the right headset for you. For information on more specific headsets select from one of the Headset Buying Guides below or start shopping for Headsets now.