Let’s face facts: Wearing headphones at work has long been the hot topic of many Friday Face-Off’s and it shows no sign of fading. Truth be told, workspaces can be distracting especially in closed-door environments. Noise – in the form air-con humming, fax beeps, the occasional cough, and sneeze or even the phone calls add up to a noisy office. This is where a good pair of headphones for work enters the equation.
Other than to drown out the detesting noises, millennial choose to plug-in during work to enhance the productivity and to decrease boredom. That said, there are no one-size-fits-all work headphones.
So, what can we do? Let’s break things into smaller pieces for a hassle-free work headphone buying experience.
With many choices, deciding on the best headphones for work isn’t as easy as ABC. And that’s why you should ask yourself ''At work, why wear headphones?"
- Because the job profile – transcription, coding, typing – demands more accuracy and you prefer less external distractions.
- To set expectations that it’s your personal ‘Do Not Disturb, Please IM Me Instead’ signal and you’re occupied with the work
- To tackle the work pressure and to get work done on time by playing your favorite tunes
- To shut all noises out and focus only on the work
- To play some pick-me-up podcast/music to elevate your energy (btw, what’s that power song?)
- To make and receive client/customer calls during the day
Features You Should Look For When Buying A Headphone For Work
Alright, you have few answers and now come the ultimate – the important features you should look for when buying a headphone for work. Remember, you choose the wrong work headphone; the outcome can be nothing less than a disaster.
Noise Isolation Vs Noise Cancelling
The noise isolation feature physically blocks the acoustic ambient noise with the seal against your ear whereas noise canceling feature electronically cancels the disturbing sound waves.
Wired Work Headphones Vs Wireless Work Headphones
Now that headphone jack is the thing of the past (well, literally), you might want to focus on the wireless work headphones. In wireless headphones, you’ll have to make choice between different wire-free transmission methods.
You’re at work and you do not want to distract your colleagues – go for the work headphone that offers better leakage performance (and great sound quality).
Microphone & Controls
In general, headphones come with one-button and three-button mic. The one button mic will let the user answer or drop calls, play or pause the music, and some may even let users change the tracks. Whereas a three button headphone will let the user control volumes and allow many other functions.
Fit and Comfort:
Any work headphone will give ‘fine feel’ when worn briefly, but when worn for a longer time, many compromises the comfort zone. As a general rule, the larger the ear cups, the better the circumaural headphones. If you prefer work headphones that rest on your ear, smaller is better.
Portability & Durability:
You want your headphones to be lightweight and long-lasting. But with some brands, durability is synonymous with bulkiness. So make the selection wisely.
Single-sided or Double-sided Cables:
Another important consideration – Single sided ones have internal circuitry to transmit the audio signals; Working professionals prefer one-sided headphones as there are no tangle issues.
What Headphones Should You Wear While Working?
Buying becomes hard when you can have work headphones in 100 varieties. So we thought of covering the most comfortable and popular ones here.
Over-ear / Circumaural headphones
Modest in padding, great in keeping the sounds from leaking out, over-ear headphones are the preferred choice of working professionals and audiophiles alike. Plus, they come with super comfy headband and pads – meaning they don’t make your ears sweat.
Who should buy over-ear headphones?
Those who want a comfortable fit and don't mind the bulky piece ‘over their ear’.
You may call it the first cousin of over-ear headphones. They are compact, have smaller ear cups, and sits comfortably on the ears. And yes, they are less bass compared to the other types.
Who should buy on-ear headphones?
Those who prefer compact, lighter and less irritating headphones for work calls and conference calls.
Alright, these ultra-portable ones go into your ear canal and let you passively listen to the conversations in your cubicle or people calling your name. If you’re up for not completely cutting out the noise, go for it. Otherwise, get a noise-isolating one.
Who should buy in-ear work headphones?
Those who prefer an on-the-go headphone at work that offers a great fit.
No more struggles with cords as you pump up your music or on a client call. Plus, you don’t need to plug in when you have wireless headphones in your arsenal. Just pair the device and you’ll be synced automatically the next time. How cool is that?
Who should buy wireless headphones for work?
Those who love free to roam and hate clumsy wires.
Best Work Headphones and Earphones To Buy
Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up five best-selling headphones to use at work – all without putting you in the red. Give it a browse and thank us later.
When it comes to noise-canceling headphones, Bose still reigns supreme. Here’s the solid proof - Bose QuietComfort 35 II – the wireless headphone that took the brand’s noise-canceling line to new heights.
- The model comes with crystal clear soundstage and great sound-sucking capacity.
- Generous battery life of 20 hours – decent enough to cover your back-to-back video conferences. When using solely noise cancellation, the battery life can extend up to 40 hours. Win-win!
- When boredom sets in at work, you can ask built-in Google Assistant to tell a joke or give you a trivia question.
- Made predominantly of plastic – it’s very light and easy to handle.
- It comes with a non-replaceable battery; performance and design same as its predecessor.
- No aptX
Looking for great in-ear headphones for work but on a budget? Look no further. Best of all, it comes with detachable and Kevlar™ reinforced cables that enable easy replacement and a secure fit. Great buy at an entry-level price!
- Compact design that keeps the earphones out of your way.
- Vibrant sound system and can block up to 37 dB of ambient noise – a great buy if you’re blessed (?) with a noisy office.
- Future-proof by all means - lets you swap out the
cables or wireless bands as technology grows:
- Intuitive controls are another plus.
- The neckband isn’t up to the mark
- Securing or taking off earbuds effortlessly is still
- Lack of in-line controls
The ‘Pro’ in the computer and gaming sector knows the pulse of office workers. With Logitech Clearchat Stereo the tech giant has set clear expectations in noise-cancellation headphone manufacturing.
- The on-ear work headphone is excellent in filtering out the noises to give the users a crystal clear sound.
- The icing on the cake – a rotatable mic that can be kept away when not in use
- It’s lightweight and comfortable enough to move around.
- The plastic headbands and thinly padded cups means – better durability
- Handy in-line controls that ensure zero interruption when you’re on call.
- Very little noise isolation
- Can’t wear for longer hours
- Come handy only for conference calls
Well, its pricey but worth the splurge if you prefer to buy ‘no cord, great sound’ headphones for work. Not to forget, Sennheiser was the first to bring Bluetooth wireless and noise cancellation features in one convenient headphone.
- Top-tier look and detailing
- Inwardly foldable ear cups that promises maximum portability
- Comes with Bluetooth – aptX for higher quality transfers and NFC for speedy pairing with devices
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Quoted battery life of 22 hours
- Super pricey
- Not-so-great multi-function button
- Less feature-filled compared to competitors
This isn’t the usual plastic headphone you use at work. It is the stylish stainless steel earbuds that are elegantly crafted, durable, affordable, and hard-hitting in-ear headphones by RHA.
- 10 pairs of ear tips to choose from
- Great noise isolation
- Tuning filters for customizing the sound
- Adorable carrying case and accessories
- 3-year warranty
- Bass – heavy
- Little pricey
- A bit on the heavy side
- Over-ear hook that everyone won’t like.
Better sound, great noise-canceling... the best headphones for work can really be a revolutionary companion you can always lean on to. But… but… but… do keep one ear free at all times because ‘Coming Together Is A Beginning, Keeping Together Is Progress & Working Together Is Success’.
By the way, if we missed out any work headphones you swear by, let us know in the comment section below. And yes, we’d love you to read your experience on ‘Should you wear headphones at work’ face-off!