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Best Earbuds for Phone Calls for 2022: Earbuds with Mic

Find the perfect pair of wireless headphones and ear buds to make and take voice calls.

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You can find a microphone in pretty much every pair of wireless earbuds or headphones these days -- and the better ones often have multiple beam-forming mics -- making it easy to switch between listening to music and making phone calls. With so many different options on the market, how do we determine the best pair of headphones or earbuds for making phone calls? Well, we test them vigorously in the streets of one of the busiest and loudest cities in the world: New York.

The best headphones and earbuds for calls will help reduce background noise so people can hear your voice loud and clear as you chat. They also allow you to hear callers well within loud spaces, which is why we tend to recommend noise-isolating earbuds for phone calls, although we do have a few open earbuds on the list for those who like that style of earbuds. 

In addition to having a quality mic, features like sidetone, which allows you to hear your own voice in headphones and earbuds as you talk (so you don't shout), and multipoint Bluetooth pairing, which allows you to pair your headphones or earbuds with two devices at the same time, are also noteworthy. 

We also have a list of best headphones for working from home, but this one is a little different. That list includes more "work" or "business" headphones that you're more likely to use with both a phone and computer. This list prioritizes consumer wireless Bluetooth headsets that work well for making calls on the go.

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

The new AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are powered by Apple's new H2 chip, which delivers more processing power while being more energy efficient, according to Apple. The new chip, combined with new low-distortion drivers, allows for improved sound that offers better clarity and depth. The noise canceling is also improved -- Apple says the new AirPods have "double" the noise canceling of the original AirPods Pro.

The voice-calling performance for the original AirPods Pro was very good and now it's even better, as Apple has upgraded the microphones and changed their positioning on the buds. Additionally, the AirPods Pro 2 add an extra hour of battery life, up from five to six hours with noise canceling on. Plus, there's now a speaker in the case that emits a sound that helps locate your buds via Find My should they decide to hide from you.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated Up to 8 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IP57 – Can Be Submerged for 30 Minutes Up to 1 Meter)

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved noise canceling along with very good sound and voice-calling performance, plus support for high-resolution wireless audio streaming if you're a Galaxy device owner with the right setup. That said, their biggest upgrade may be their new design and smaller size, which make them a better fit for more ears. Aside from their somewhat high price tag, their only drawback is that some of their key features only work with Samsung Galaxy devices. They're fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

 

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Earfun

Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

In the past, we've recommended Earfun's AirPro SV and Air Pro 2 as excellent budget noise-canceling earbuds choices (they're still good values). But the new-for-2022 Earfun Air S may be the best of the trio, with multipoint Bluetooth pairing, and the latest Qualcomm QCC3046 chip with the aptX audio codec for Android and other devices that support it. They have the same 10mm wool drivers as the AirPro SV and features surprisingly impressive sound for its modest price point. They also work well as a headset for making calls with decent background noise reduction.

The buds have an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they're splash-proof and can withstand a sustained spray of water.

Note that the earbuds cost as low as $49 when you apply the CNET-exclusive discount code EFAIRS07 at checkout at Amazon or the code E4AH201 at Earfun's online store (at Amazon you have to clip the instant 10% coupon, then apply EFAIRS07 to get an additional 20% off).

$70 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 32 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

When you have a product that a lot of people love, change can be risky. Such is the case for Sony's WH-1000XM5, the fifth generation of the 1000X series headphones, which were first released in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless and have become increasingly popular as they've improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to the design, but nothing as dramatic as what it's done with the WH-1000XM5. Other than the higher $400 price tag ($50 more than the WH-1000XM4), most of those changes are good, and Sony's made some dramatic improvements with voice-calling performance as well as even better noise canceling and more refined sound.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 10 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (Adaptive)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

Over the years, JBL has put out some decent true-wireless earbuds, but nothing that really got me too excited. That's finally changed with the arrival of the Samsung-owned brand's new Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 buds. Both sets of buds -- the Live Pro 2 have stems while the Live Free 2 have a pill-shaped design -- offer a comfortable fit along with strong noise canceling, very good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust set of features, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating and wireless charging.

The Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life; the stemless Live Free 2 is rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 is rated for 10 hours. The Live Pro 2 is available in four color options.

Read our JBL Live Pro 2 first take.

 

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The Pixel Buds Pro are Google's first earbuds to feature active noise canceling. While it's nice that they finally have a feature that a lot of true-wireless earbuds have had for a while, what ultimately sets the Pixel Buds Pro apart and makes them worth considering -- particularly for Android users -- is their distinct design and winning fit. That helps enhance their performance on both the sound quality and noise-canceling fronts. While not quite elite for voice-calling, they did perform well as a headset for making calls. A couple of features were missing at launch -- spatial audio and a five-band equalizer -- but the equalizer has now been added with a firmware update. We're now just waiting for spatial audio. They're IPX4 splash-proof.

Read our Google Pixel Buds review.

$200 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 25 hours

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

The QuietComfort 45 has virtually the same design as its predecessor, the QuietComfort QC35 II. It has the same drivers, according to Bose, and the buttons are in the same place. However, there are small but notable changes. First off, these thankfully have USB-C instead of micro-USB.

Secondly, the microphone configuration is different. Not only have the mics been shifted on the headphones, but there's now an extra external mic for voice pick up, which means the QC45 has a total of six microphones, four of which are beamforming and used for voice. By contrast, the QC35 II has a total of four, two of which are used for voice. (The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 also have six microphones total.)

The result is that these are excellent for making calls and offer good microphone quality. They're very close to the Bose's Headphones 700 in that regard and also feature top-notch noise cancellation, as well as multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect these with a PC and your smartphone simultaneously. Read our Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones review.

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David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated Up to 6 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- Splash-Proof

Bose's second-generation QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are not only about 30% smaller than their predecessors, but their case is about 40% smaller and truly pocketable. They feature best-in-class noise canceling and improved sound, thanks to Bose's new CustomTune sound calibration system that customizes the sound for your ears. Voice-calling performance is also much better than that of the original QuietComfort Earbuds with excellent noise reduction during calls.

The other big change is to the ear tips. Bose has ditched its one-piece StayEar wing tips for a two-piece Fit Kit system that features separate ear tips and "stability bands" in three size options, giving you more flexibility to get a secure fit and tight seal. 

The buds initially ship in the Triple Black Color with the Sandstone color to follow later in the year. They're IPX4 splash-proof.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review.

 

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The Soundpeats T3 buds have two things going for them aside from their modest price tag: They sound decent and work well for making calls with very good noise reduction. They're also comfortable to wear and have both active noise canceling and transparency mode. However, the noise canceling is only OK, not great (same goes for the transparency mode). But you can't expect everything for such a low price.

Equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, they're IPX4 splash-proof and have a battery-life rating of up to 5.5 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels. 

They have relatively smooth, balanced sound and ample bass. They're not going to wow you with clarity or dynamic sound, but they're pleasant to listen to, which is all you can ask for in a budget set of earbuds. 

Callers said that my voice sounded clearer when I was using the AirPods Pro but the Soundpeats actually reduced more background noise that the AirPods Pro. I was able to have conversations on the noisy streets of New York without a problem. 

$24 at Amazon
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Jabra

Battery Life

Rated up to 50 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

On-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Released in mid-2020, the Jabra Elite 45h was essentially billed as the best on-ear headphone for the money. While there's nothing terribly fancy about these Bluetooth headphones, they are one of the best on-ear headphone values right now, with good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit (for on-ear headphones, anyway). Additionally, they perform well as a headset for making calls and includes a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don't talk too loudly. Battery life is also good and it has multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to both your computer and your smartphone at the same time and easily switch between the two should a call come in on your phone (it mostly works).

Available in multiple color options, it lists for $100 but sometimes gets discounted to as low as $60.

Note that the $274 Evolve2 65, which has an integrated boom microphone, is essentially the souped-up office version of these headphones.

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Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Take one look at the new design of the third-gen AirPods, and the first thing you'll probably think is: "Those look like the AirPods Pro without ear tips." You wouldn't be wrong. While they're more fraternal than identical twins, the AirPods 3rd Generation are shaped like the AirPods Pro, with the same shorter stems and same pinch controls as those of the Pro. Aside from the design change, which should fit most ears better than the AirPods 2nd Generation (though not very small ears), the biggest change is to the sound quality: It's much improved. Also, battery life is better, and the AirPods 3 are officially water-resistant and support Apple's spatial audio virtual surround feature (for Apple users only).

Like AirPods Pro, the AirPods are top-notch for making voice calls. Callers said they could hear me clearly even with a lot of background noise in the streets of New York City. The only issue is that since they are open earbuds, they let sound in, so you may not be able to hear callers as well as they can hear you in noisier environments.

Read our Apple AirPods 3 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 8 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX7 -- can be submerged for 30 minutes up to 1 meter)

Available in four color options, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 hew more closely to the newer Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live, both of which have eye-catching glossy curved designs and the same compact charging case as this new model. In fact, it's the Buds 2's design and fit -- they're 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the Buds Plus -- that make them a potentially more likable alternative to the slightly better-sounding Buds Pro. 

Like the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 are equipped with active noise canceling. That means all the latest Galaxy Buds models now feature some form of active noise canceling, though it's slight with the Buds Live, which have an open design sans ear tips. While the Buds 2 look more like shrunken versions of the Buds Pro, I found them more akin to the Buds Live in that they barely stick out of your ears and are fairly discreet. Because they sit more flush with your ears -- and have that curved design -- they also pick up less wind noise. 

I found the Buds 2 to be very good for voice-calling, with excellent noise reduction during calls. While they don't have pipes sticking out of them like the AirPods Pro, their microphones manage to pick up your voice well. They're IPX2 sweat-resistant.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review.

 

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Featuring excellent sound, improved noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well a smaller, more refined design that includes stabilizing fins (so the earbuds stay in your ears more securely), the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are among the best new true-wireless earbuds for 2022. They're also one of the best true-wireless earbuds overall, giving the Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for their money.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.

 

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Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay EX buds are the company's best true-wireless earbuds yet. They feature a comfortable, secure fit (except perhaps for those with really smaller ears), top-notch build quality, great sound, good noise canceling and improved voice-calling performance over B&O's EQ buds, with three microphones in each earbud they help with reducing background noise while picking up your voice. While they're out of most people's price range, they're arguably the best earbuds out there with stems and offer superior sound to the AirPods Pro with better clarity, deeper more powerful bass and richer, more accurate sound. 

Battery life is rated at 6 hours at moderate volume levels with noise canceling on and there's an extra 14 hours of juice in the brushed aluminum charging case (wireless charging is supported). The buds have an IP57 water-resistance rating, which makes them waterproof and dust-resistant. They feature Bluetooth 5.2 and multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to two devices at the same time, such as a computer and smartphone. You can use a single bud independently and the earbuds have ear-detection sensors so your music pauses when you remove them from your ears. 

The buds support aptX Adaptive for devices like Android smartphones that support Bluetooth streaming with the aptX HD audio codec (AAC is also supported). They're available in the gold tone pictured as well as a graphite color.

$381 at Amazon
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Shokz

AfterShokz has changed its name to Shokz and released new ninth-gen bone-conduction headphones that offer slightly improved bass performance compared to the company's earlier flagship model, the Aeropex (now called the Shokz OpenRun). That makes the OpenRun Pro the best bone-conduction headphones you can get right now, although they still can't match the sound quality of traditional headphones.

Bone conduction wireless headphones don't go on your ears -- they actually deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology as a safety feature for running is that, thanks to its open design, you can hear what's going on around you -- traffic noise in particular -- while listening to music or having a phone conversation (yes, they perform well for voice calls). Also, some race coordinators don't allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where headphones like this come in handy.

Like the Aeropex, the OpenRun Pro have a lightweight, wraparound titanium frame and are rated for up to 10 hours of music playback and you can get 1.5 hours of battery life from a 5-minute charge (they have a proprietary charging cable instead of USB-C, which is unfortunate). I found them comfortable to wear but you may occasionally have to adjust them on your head to relieve potential pressure points. While they do offer a bit fuller sound with more bass -- it's an incremental improvement, not a huge leap forward -- like other bone-conduction headphones these are strongest in the midrange where voices live so they're good for podcasts, talk radio, newscasts and audiobooks. A hard carrying case is included. 

Note that Shokz makes other, more affordable bone-conduction headphones, including the OpenRun, if you don't want to drop $180 on its current flagship model. Also, for around the same price AfterShokz has the OpenComm, which adds a boom microphone.

$180 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 5 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

The third-gen AirPods are a nice upgrade over the second generation. That said, the AirPods 2, which came out in 2019, are now selling for around $100 and sometimes a little less. While they don't sound as good as the AirPods 3 and have a longer stem, they fit some people's ears better (those with smaller ears may prefer these older AirPods due to their slightly smaller design). As for voice calling, they remain in the upper echelon for earbuds.

Read our Apple AirPods 2019 review.

 

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