Many people aren't just looking for a headphone that's comfortable to wear and sounds good. It's also got to be top-notch for making voice calls. What does that mean exactly? Well, plenty are OK at communications, but the best headphones are able to reduce ambient sounds around you, which allows people to hear your voice and not all that extra chatter, whether it's wind or traffic noise.
Here are our current top picks.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 cost $400 (£350), which is $50 more than the QC35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3, CNET's current top-rated noise-canceling headphone. (The latter has recently sold for $300 or less, in fact.) But leaving aside the debate over the new design and higher price tag for a moment, I'll say this: The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sound and perform better than their predecessor, and shine as a headset for making calls. Read Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review
Jabra's new premium noise-canceling headphone, the Elite 85h ($300), is an excellent all-round noise-canceling model that's top-notch for making calls. It's right there with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and clearly beats the Sony WH-1000XM3 on the communications front. Read Jabra Elite 85h review
Plantronics' new premium true wireless earphones, the BackBeat Pro 5100 ($170, £160, AU$299), are among the handful of true wireless headphones that are very good for making calls. For calling, they're on par with the AirPods (they have good noise reduction) and sound better for listening to music. Read CNET first take
The AirPods' look may not be everyone's cup of tea, but they do work really well as a headset. The new second-generation version features greater noise reduction, which helps callers hear you better when you're outside in noisier -- and potentially windier -- environments. It also adds hands-free (always-on) Siri. Read Apple AirPods 2019 review
The Bose Frames audio sunglasses are actually really good for making calls. Read Bose Frames review
Apple owns Beats, and one of the pluses of that relationship is that much of the technology that went into the AirPods also went into Beats' true wireless earphones, the Powerbeats Pro. Like the AirPods, they too are excellent for making calls, and with a noise-isolating design, they keep more ambient sound out so you can hear callers better. Read Beats Powerbeats Pro review
Jabra's Elite 65t, which soon may get overshadowed by the new Elite 75t (due out in October), feature dual microphones in each bud and a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the earphones as you talk. They work extremely well as a stereo headset for making calls. I have even worn them under a ski helmet and callers said they could hear me fine as I skied! Read Jabra Elite 65t review
While pricey at $400, the third-gen Momentum Wireless headphone features improved noise cancellation, excellent sound quality and voice calling. Read the CNET first take
Beats Studio Wireless 3 works quite well as a headset, with a side-tone feature that allows you to hear your voice inside the headphone as you talk. Read Beats Studio3 Wireless review
With a list price of $300, the Plantronics Voyager UC is pretty pricey, but it delivers business-grade voice calling performance. Read Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC preview
Sennheiser's PXC 550 Wireless is soon getting upgraded to the PXC 550-II. After the new version arrives and we try it, we'll most likely add to this list. But until then the original PXC 500 can be had at a discount and delivers business-class headset performance along with very good sound quality for music (yes, it's a noise-canceling headphone). Read Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless review
While Logitech calls its Zone WIreless a headset, it's really an on-ear active noise-canceling headphone with an integrated boom microphone. What makes it unique is that you can set it on a Qi wireless charging pad to juice up its battery, which is rated for up to 15 hours of talk time or music listening. The headset also charges via micro-USB.
I found it comfortable, especially for an on-ear headphone, and it's great for making calls, with a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice inside the headset so you don't speak too loudly while having conversations. Its only drawback is that it sounds just OK for music listening, not great. But if communications is a priority at work, this is a good choice (it's not really meant to be a mobile headphone though you can walk around with it just fine). Read the Logitech Zone Wireless hands-on evaluation