VoIP Headsets Selection Guide
VoIP headsets are popular accessories to IP phones as they enable both
privacy and ease of use. There are many different
manufacturers and models to choose from and not every device is
supported with every phone. In addition, there are some different
features available that can significantly increase the cost of the
headset. Some of the different types available are listed as
- Corded: These come in two different styles, either Monaural (one earpiece speaker) or Binaural (two earpiece speakers), and attach to the phone via a cable. The connection type can vary with the most common connectors used being 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and USB.
- Wireless: These often have a range of 300 feet or more so are great for the "wanderer" in the office. The downside of these are that they are typically more expensive than the corded models, but are a must if you need mobility in the office.
- Bluetooth: These use Bluetooth technology to connect to a base unit or USB stick. They have a shorter range, typically more like 30 feet, but has the added advantage of potentially being paired with your cell phone when you leave the office (if your cell phone supports Bluetooth).
- USB: Although some IP phones do support USB, these are more often used with PC's and softphones. With the introduction of micro-USB connectors you should be aware of which one is used and any compatibility issues.
To help identify which is the best solution for the IP
phone that you use, WhichVoIP has researched options and offers the
following ways to easily search and decide which option is best.
Selecting the Best VoIP Headset
There are a number of questions to ask yourself when making your selection, based on your business or employees needs.
- Do you really need one? Well if you
work in any sort of common area or office cubicle, you will find
that using a headset with your IP phone will make life a lot easier
and your work neighbors will like you a whole lot more. Even if you only
use the phone once in a while for the occasional meeting, you will
be much more comfortable and productive with a headset as opposed to
using the handset or the speakerphone. If you do have a habit of
using the speakerphone, on behalf of your neighbors, please stop
using it ASAP as the noise from your calls will be incredibly
- What features do you want?
- Do you want sound in one ear or both ears? You can choose if you want to have speakers in
just one ear (called monaural) or be able to listen with both ears
(called binaural). Some people like to have one ear free as it helps to actually hear what you are saying and also keeps one ear free for any important interruptions by the boss. Others prefer the two speaker option as it provides for better clarity, particularly if a noise cancelling feature is available. This can be considered valuable if you speak with colleagues in International countries with accents that can be hard to distinguish in noisy environments.
- Think about background noise. With a two speaker headset
covering both ears, it is less likely that noises from the
surrounding environment will be distracting during phone calls. Technologies such as noise cancelling can help remove background noise also to provide a clearer audio of the callers voice. We recommend a binaural selection if you work in a noisy environment.
- Flexible microphone: There are typically two types of microphones, the standard voice tube microphones with no noise cancelling and those with noise cancelling technology (electronically filters background noise for clearer audio). Having a flexible microphone "arm" helps you position it in front of your mouth when talking on the phone and to also move it away when not in use (so you can easily drink your coffee etc.).
- Wired or Wireless? Although wires can sometimes get in
the way, they can often be more convenient as wireless
headsets can sometimes lose their connection to the phone and need to be
re-paired (reconnecting the headset with the phone). If you need to move around at all during a call though, a
wireless headset is a must. This can be especially useful if you have a common area at work where you can get coffee and drinks so you dont have to worry about missing important calls. The downside is that typically they cost more
money than wired versions.
- Over the head or over the ear. This is really a personal
preference. Some prefer the stability associated with over the head whereas others dont like that feeling.
- Make sure the headset is compatible with your phone. Before making a purchase confirm that your selected model will work with the phones
that your company is using. Check what type of connection jack it
has (2.5mm, 3.5mm or USB) and ensure that your phone actually has
that port available.
- Comfort and Portability: Outside of the functionality aspects are personal choices like padding in the headband and padded or leatherette ear cushion for on-ear comfort. These can be important factors if you expect to be wearing them for long periods of time. From a portability perspective there are now models that are a foldable design that you can pack away in a carrying case and take with you on business trips.
- Audio response of the speakers: Last but not least, you may want to consider the audio frequency response of the speakers. This is mainly only a concern if you plan to use the headset as headphones to listen to music on your computer when not using with your IP phone. If listening to music is required then an audio range of 20Hz to 20kHz is appropriate (the typical range for a human ear), otherwise voice only requires a range of 300Hz to 3.4kHz.
- Do you need any headset accessories? Believe it
or not, as simple as they should be, there are accessories
available that are typically either for quick disconnect or to make
a particular headset compatible with a particular model of phone. An example is a handset lifter device which is typically required when using a wireless headset with most IP phones.
Popular VoIP Headsets Comparison
Use the table below to compare popular models that are available on the market today, including Plantronics and Jabra.
||Noise Canceling Monaural
||Noise Canceling Binaural
Wireless- up to 350 feet
Lightest Headset Avaialble
Wireless- up to 350 feet
Wireless- up to 350 feet
* Prices subject to change by manufacturer without notice.
In summary, selection is not quite as straightforward as it
could be as there are many different options to choose from and not
every VoIP headset is compatible with every IP phone. In the perfect
world there would be a single standard and every device would be compatible. So, take some time to research, compare
features and prices, to choose carefully.