Bluetooth Headset Buying Guide—All You Need to Know
- 21 Nov, 2018
So you want to make your life a little easier—and safer—with a Bluetooth headset? Before you pick up the first model you find in the store, read through this Bluetooth headset buying guide. There’s a lot you need to know if you want to make the right decision while shopping.
Headsets can make life easier, but they use complex technology. You need to ensure compatibility, comfort and make sure the features work for YOU. That can be a complicated discovery process.
So, we’re making it easy for you. Our guide has everything you need and even examples of the best wireless headphones around. Whether you need this for work, play or driving, let’s find you the best solution.
Vital Bluetooth Headset Buying Tips
First off you need to know what to look for in a headset. No, they’re not all the same, so consider this while you plan what to buy.
1. Find the Right Design
Once you start shopping you’ll be surprised at how many different designs you find. Why? Because some people prefer small and compact while others want large units that will guarantee better battery life. Which is most important to you?
Design also refers to aesthetics as some are sleek headsets you’ll be proud to wear. Some are even unnoticeable since they’re designed to be hidden behind the ear. If you need to look professional or you view this as part of your attire, it’s worth investing a bit more money, right?
2. Think of How You’ll Use it
It’s not only about purchasing the most expensive model on the market. Your unique application determines if it will be money well spent. Features, Bluetooth profiles, battery life and look must all relate to the how you’ll use yours and the environment you’ll be in.
If you spend money on features you’ll never use it’s an unnecessary expense. Also, if you don’t consider with which other Bluetooth devices you’ll want to use it, you’ll end up with incompatible equipment.
3. What Activities Will You Use it For?
Here’s a typical scenario: Having a morning run while listening to music or catching up on phone calls. For this task it’s vital your Bluetooth headset will block out most of the traffic noise. This is much different than simply using the device in an office setup.
Next, will you be answering calls or listening to music most of the time? These activities require different Bluetooth profiles and even different sound features. Some units will give you excellent audio, while others are designed to prevent the person on the other side of the call sound like a robot.
4. Pick the Right Size
Size will relate to battery life, as well as aesthetics and ease of use. You may also want to consider the weight: A larger unit may get heavy if you’re wearing it all day.
Also consider if your wireless headset suits the size and shape of your ear. You won’t enjoy using it if it falls off easily or pinches your skin. Some of them will have unique hooks and you must assess whether they will match your ear’s build.
Size also relates to how it fits inside your ear. The best Bluetooth headsets will come with different sets of eartips to ensure you don’t harm the inside of your ear. Ideally you also want an option between keeping it in place with one of the following:
- Resting inside the ear canal
- Sliding inside
A quality set will provide you with both options. You’ll only know which is best for you once you’ve tried it out for a few days.
5. How Often Will You Use it?
Using your Bluetooth earphones often can lead to two problems if you don’t plan ahead:
- Wearing them the whole day can cause your skin to become irritated or it simply feeling too heavy and uncomfortable. To counter this you need a compact design.
- Permanent use throughout the day will drain the battery which means you need a larger set of single-ear headsets so you don’t have to recharge it as often.
Which of these is your highest priority?
6. Do You Wear Glasses?
Luckily the best wireless headphones manufacturers cater for almost any scenario. This means you’ll find a pair of Bluetooth earphones even if you wear glasses. Double check whether this is catered for, otherwise you may find them uncomfortable.
As stated, you have a wide range to pick from. This list will help you make sense of it all.
Types of Bluetooth Headsets
The traditional Bluetooth headset will fall into one of these categories, designed to cater for unique applications.
The professional group of single-ear headsets represent what these devices were first made for: Giving you hands free options while doing your work.
They look professional, are usually focused on giving you clarity during phone calls and they’ll have acceptable battery lives. This means you can use them the entire work day. Of course this means there’s also some thought put into comfort so you won’t get tired of wearing them.
They also have Bluetooth profiles that enable them to connect with work equipment. This includes laptops, mobile phones and more. These are larger units than some, but their performance is impressive.
If you’re after a set that’s light but also unobtrusive you’ll find a range for that to. These mono headsets will fit discreetly, but know you’ll be sacrificing sound quality and battery life.
If you’re purchasing yours for music, gaming or watching movies without bothering anyone with loud audio, you’ll want stereo Bluetooth headsets. They cater for stereo sound, as opposed to mono. Many of them also have microphone features. This works for gaming and making calls& blocking out ambient noise.
Each Bluetooth headset will have different BT profiles. These will determine what it will be compatible with and which files it will be able to send. You even need a specific profile to connect to the internet. Make a list of the functions you need, then pick the profiles that will align with your application.
Some units will allow you to walk as far as 50ft away from the signal source. However, others limit you to much less. Imagine the scenario of using yours and make sure your headset won’t limit your actions.
Key Features to Consider When Choosing Your Bluetooth Headset
Perhaps shopping for your Bluetooth headsets seem complicated now? Actually, all you need is this checklist of features, and you’ll make the right decision:
- Perfect customizable fit: Enjoy the headsets for their functions, but also their comfort. Ideally you need a set with multiple earbud sizes and an adjustable fit.
- Sound quality and HD: It’s worth spending more money if you’re guaranteed quality audio. Whether you’re listening to music or a phonecall you don’t want distortion or a robotic sound.
- Multipoint pairing: With the number of Bluetooth devices in your home you want a headset that can connect to more than one at once. If not, pairing can waste a lot of time.
- Dual microphones: With dual microphones the Bluetooth headset can cancel out ambient noise. You’ll hear your music or call much better.
- Battery life: This is a matter of personal preference. If you’ll use it for long periods it will be best to invest in a better battery. It’s not as important if you’re wearing it for an occasional gym session. You may also sacrifice battery life if you want a compact unit.
- Price: Expensive isn’t always best. Rather look for features than price tag.
- Technology: You want your Bluetooth headset to stay compatible for years to come. Invest in the latest technology so you won’t need a newer one for a while.
- Voice prompts: If you’re getting yours to ensure safer driving or to make life ultra effortless, voice prompts are essential. You’ll get these in most (except budget purchases), but make sure the profiles are included before you buy.
- Ear loop/hook: A headset that feels loose can be uncomfortable and distracting. The sets with securable ear loops or hooks are worth investing in, especially if you’ll move around while using yours.
- Near field communication technology: The easier pairing the better, right? Few things are as frustrating as not getting two items connected. With NFC technology this becomes easier. That makes it worth investing in if you often switch between devices.
- Standard USB charging: If your battery is flat you want to be on the go soon as possible. A USB charging option makes this possible in almost any scenario such as driving in your car. We all have USB chargers with us, right? A very unique charging setup may be a frustration as you won’t always have access to it.
To give you an idea of which one you should take home, we list some of the best on the market.
This pair uses 4.2 Bluetooth technology and come in a handy carrying case. This serves as its charging console. The case can recharge them up to four times. You’ll have 3.5 hours of use each time. You can pick between mono mode or using the set as stereo Bluetooth headphones.
These should be comfortable for anyone as the brand provides different sized tips. The brand also provides different designs; align the look with your style. These impress with battery life of 7 hours (280 hours on standby).
These also come in a charging case and the technology includes equalizer profiles. That makes it perfect for enjoying your music. Dual microphone technology ensures a clear audio experience.
From this popular brand comes a pair that’s sweat and water resistant. This makes it ideal for those morning runs. NFC technology ensures quick pairing. The 6 hour battery life is acceptable for most applications.
On our list this is the one you’ll get for professional applications. The 10 hour battery life will last you all day (up to 10 hours). It weighs only 0.46oz so you won’t get tired of wearing it. In addition the noise cancelling feature will block out office or street noise while you’re on an important call.
Found your favorite yet?
Frequently Asked Questions
— Are Bluetooth headsets safe to use?
Yes Bluetooth headsets are safe. They are situated close to your head, but they’re probably safer than most other devices you use. This includes your mobile phone. One reason is that they radiate much less power (radiation) than others.
— How do you connect a Bluetooth headset to an Xbox One?
First of all you need to understand the Xbox One range wasn’t designed with Bluetooth functionality. However, you can use your Bluetooth headset after making a few adjustments to your setup.
You can connect a headset to the Xbox One wireless controller with a 3.5mm port. Alternatively you can use the Xbox Stereo headset adapter.
Note that not all headsets may work.
— Can you use your Bluetooth headset with the PS3?
Yes, you can connect these devices. It’s possible for all devices that support Bluetooth 2.
— Why does my Bluetooth headset not connect the first time?
It’s a common occurrence that devices don’t pair on the first try. One reason could be previous uses. To counter this you should delete previous items your device—such as your mobile phone—connected with. Then try again.
Have you found all your answers? Hopefully you found the best Bluetooth headsets for your application so you can soon upgrade your gear.
One set can enhance your personal, business and gaming life. Or, do you need a different set for each scenario?
Share with us how you prefer using your Bluetooth headsets so others can learn from you.