Which Bluetooth headphones are the best for calls?

It’s relatively easy to find an acceptable pair of headphones for listening to music. Making phone calls, though, relies a little more on specific aspects of Bluetooth connectivity and microphone capabilities. There are some Bluetooth headphones that are decidedly poor at making voice and video calls, but luckily, there are plenty of great choices if you need dependable voice capabilities compatible with your phone or PC. Many of those great models are even available at reasonable prices.

What to know about Bluetooth headphones and phone calls

There are two types of noise cancellation

The most well-known form of active noise cancellation (ANC) helps to eliminate noise that you hear around you. Headphones with ANC will let you turn the feature on and off, and generally offer significantly different sound quality and battery life depending on whether ANC is activated or not. This type of ANC isn’t incredibly important to making phone calls, although it can help if you frequently call from busy locations.

The more important type of noise cancellation in terms of making calls, though, has everything to do with your primary microphone. Specifically referred to as Clear Voice Capture (CVC) noise cancellation, it uses algorithms to isolate your voice and remove echo and background noise that might otherwise distract the person you’re calling. This type of noise isolation goes so far as to reduce the sound of keyboard keystrokes and mouse button clicks (when it’s implemented well, at least). In contrast to ANC, CVC noise canceling is especially important when choosing wireless headphones for making calls.

Over-ear headphones vs. earbuds for making calls

Over-ear headphones almost universally sound better when listening to music and true wireless earbuds are practically infinitely more convenient. Both of those items hold true in terms of calls, and there are even more definite considerations. It’s harder to find earbuds (whether true wireless or tethered) that offer pristine call quality, simply because earbuds have smaller and fewer microphones that are essentially located in the ear canal, nowhere near your mouth.

For that reason, you’ll notice that over-ear headphones get the majority of recommendations for voice and video calls. Nonetheless, there are some earbuds that are great at picking up your voice, and we’ve gone to great lengths researching which models are best.

What Bluetooth version do you need for phone calls?

Headphones’ call quality isn’t directly tied to their Bluetooth version, but look for headphones with version 4.2 or later. Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.2 is ideal because it ensures a robust connection and advanced connectivity options like multipoint pairing (which lets you connect to two devices at once and switch between them at will). However, you’ll notice that some models from big-name manufacturers like Sony and Bose still use Bluetooth 4.2, and ultimately it doesn’t cause any significant drawbacks when making calls.

Best Bluetooth headphones for voice and video calls

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

These are some of the best headphones on the market in nearly every facet, including sound quality, Bluetooth codec support, active noise cancellation and microphone isolation and effectiveness. They also have a great battery life and charge quickly via USB-C.

Sold by: Amazon

Anker Soundcore Life Q20

Anker Soundcore Life Q20

Don’t be fooled by their low price; these high-quality headphones punch well above their class and deliver surprisingly good audio quality. In particular, they’re better at making phone calls than such cheap headphones have any right being.

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Bose 700

Bose 700

Bose has made industry-leading wireless headphones for years, and the 700s are no exception. They’re exceedingly simple to use and offer great background noise removal, although they’re not ideal for Android phones due to subpar Bluetooth codec support.

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Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

Anker Soundcore Spirit X2

While true wireless earbuds can be hit or miss when it comes to microphone capabilities, these are an excellent option for both listening to music and talking on the phone. Since they’re also waterproof and have secure ear hooks, they’re great for everyday use like during workouts at the gym.

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Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45

The evolution of Bose’s famous QC35 II headphones, the QuietComfort 45 offer arguably the most effective active noise cancellation on the market with advanced features such as transparency mode, which lets you hear your surroundings when needed.

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Corsair Virtuoso XT

Corsair Virtuoso XT

Since they’re marketed as a gaming headset, these headphones are specially designed with a flexible boom and a microphone engineered for peak clarity, even in crowded environments. In case you do plan on gaming with them, they use a low-latency proprietary wireless connection in addition to Bluetooth 5.0 and wired support.

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Jabra Evolve2 65

Jabra Evolve2 65

If you need professional-grade performance, consider this headset from corporate audio giant Jabra. Their flip-up boom mic ensures you’ll be heard clearly and their on-ear design helps to ventilate and cool your ears during a long workday.

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Apple Airpods Pro

Apple Airpods Pro

If you want unobtrusive headphones that are made specifically for phone calls on your iPhone, these are the best on the market. They even work well with some Android phones, but unfortunately not all of them.

Sold by: Amazon

JBL Tune 125TWS

JBL Tune 125TWS

These are some of the most affordable true wireless earbuds available, but in spite of their affordable cost, they sound great with most genres of music and enable clear communication over the telephone as well as Zoom and other PC-based voice and video calling.

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Sennheiser Momentum 3

Sennheiser Momentum 3

Most people buy these because they’re especially stylish and deliver pristine audio when listening to music. Their lesser-known feature is that they pick up and reproduce voices on phone calls as good as or better then almost anything else.

Sold by: Amazon

Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra Elite 85h

If you need headphones for both work and play, it’s hard to beat this pair from a leader in telecommunications. Their active equalizer and noise cancellation algorithm go into effect only when needed, ensuring the best possible audio quality at all times.

Sold by: Amazon

Plantronics Voyager 8200

Plantronics Voyager 8200

A four-microphone array allows the Voyager 8200 to reduce background noise for you and your call’s recipient better than most of the competition. They even include a USB-A Bluetooth adapter in case there isn’t one built into your PC.

Sold by: Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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