Welcome to our Buyers’ Guide to wireless headsets for the office. In this article we discuss the various options that are available and discuss the key things you should consider in order to choose the ideal headset to use with your office desk phone. We choose and review our Top 5 products.
Wireless headsets have been a feature of many offices for more than a decade. We can increase both our comfort and productivity by not being literally tied to the telephone by a connection cord. With a cordless headset you can walk move away from your desk, consult with co-workers or call on other resources without having to place the caller on hold.
There is a growing range of UC (Unified Communications) cordless headsets, we are currently testing the best on the market and will review those in a separate post soon. In this Buyers’ Guide we focus on wireless headsets that are used predominantly with the desk phone in our office. We will discuss what to consider before making a purchase and help you to make the best purchasing decisions for yourself or for your organisation. We also recommend and review our Top 5 cordless headsets.
Firstly lets consider the wearing style. If you are going to be wearing the headset for long periods of time it’s important that it’s comfortable. There are also other considerations. A binaural or stereo headset is great for shutting out distractions and letting you focus on the call. A stereo headset is also great if you want to listen to music or other stream other web content. We find that with a monaural headset you are more inclined to keep the headset on when not on the phone and less likely to find yourself taking the headset on and off between calls.
Some models are also convertible, typically giving the wear the option of using an over-the-head headband or wearing it over the ear with an earloop or earhook. These convertible options are particularly popular when deploying a large number of headsets as you can order the same product and still offer a choice of wearing styles.
Connect Your Headset to Multiple Devices
The first thing we recommend you consider is what you want to connect it the headset too. In this post we focus on wireless headsets for office phones, so all of the products will connect to a deskphone. It is important to consider whether we will benefit from also being able to connect the headset to other devices.
One Headset For All Your Calls
An increasing amount of business is now done via Microsoft Teams or Zoom calls, video conference calls via our computer. So it makes little sense to have two separate headsets for our phone calls and our video calls. With a dual connectivity headset you can use the same headset for both and seamlessly switch between the two. This means you can also use the headset to listen to music or other content from your computer when not on the phone. Many of us also make and receive calls on our mobiles in the office, so having a cordless headset that we can also use for our mobile calls may also be of benefit.
Typically connection to the phone is via a modular plug connected to the deskphone, connection to a computer is via USB-A or USB-C and connection to a mobile device is via Bluetooth. A headset described as ‘triple connectivity’ will feature all three of these means of connection.
The majority of cordless headsets used in the office use the global standard DECT the wireless headset to its base unit. Most manufacturers advise a DECT range of up to 50m indoors and 300m outdoors. Internal walls and floors can greatly reduce the real-world range that you can achieve. Some cordless headsets use Bluetooth. If range is important is is best to avoid Bluetooth as it has a much shorter range than DECT, up to a maximum of 10m.
Whilst a cordless headset lets you move away from the desk whilst on a call, to answer calls from your desk phone you need an additional device. There are two ways of achieving this, either with a handset lifter, a mechanical device that physically lifts the handset, or an electronic hook switch (EHS) that answers electronically. Where as the hook switch is universal, the EHS switching are specific to your particular model of phone.
Top 5 Cordless Headsets
Below we review and recommend some of the best wireless headsets currently on the market. We have reviewed some long standing best sellers and some of the newest products on the market. Whatever your budget, we help to find the best cordless headset for you.
Would you prefer one ear piece or two? Or maybe you would prefer an over the ear design that doesn’t have a headband. There are also products that are convertible and have a number of wearing styles
Do you want to connect to your headset to anything else other than your desk phone? Many cordless headsets will also connect to a PC or laptop via USB and to your mobile via Bluetooth.
Just because you don’t need to connect to a computer now, it doesn’t mean you won’t do at some point in the future. Many companies are removing traditional desk phones in favour of softphones on computers. You can protect your investment by choosing a headset with dual deskphone/computer connectivity.
Number 1 – Jabra Engage 75 Stereo Headset
The Best Wireless Headset That Money Can Buy
In our opinion, the Jabra Engage 75 Stereo headset is the best wireless headset on the market. It is perfect for the busy office based professional who spends a large proportion of their day on calls. Whether the calls are on the office phone, audio or video calls from the computer, or calls on mobile devices, the Engage 75 has got you covered. Strictly speaking we would term the Engage 75 ‘triple connectivity’, but it goes beyond that. As well as your office phone you can actually connect simultaneously to two USB and two Bluetooth devices.
All Day Comfort
Often a cordless headset will be heavier than a standard wired headset. After all, it has to contain a battery, DECT and Bluetooth receivers. The Engage 75 Stereo weighs just 82g (the Mono just 56g) which for a headset boasting a talk-time of 13 hours is quite a feat. We find sometimes a stereo headset can feel as though it presses against the ears, or can not seem secure enough if for instance you move your head around quickly. The Engage 75 however feels perfectly balanced and after a while it is easy to forget that you are wearing it at all.
What Else We Liked
The in-use indicator is a great feature. A red LED on the ear piece and on the microphone boom that lets colleagues know when you are on a call. The sound is crystal clear, and the noise cancelling microphone was effective in cutting out the background noise in the office. We also liked the touch screen LCD display on the base. If security is important to you Jabra claim that the Engage 75 is the most secure cordless headset on the market. Authentication between headset and base is established with 128-bit level technology compared to the category standard 64-bit. The wireless connection is secured using 256-bit AES encryption. This gives a line of defence that goes beyond that of DECT Security Level C.
There are three versions of the Engage 75. In addition to the Stereo version that we tested there is an Engage 75 Mono and a the Engage 75 Convertible that can be worn with a head band, a behind the neck band or over the ear.
Number 2 – Plantronics CS540 Convertible Headset
The Best Selling Cordless Headset
The Plantronics CS540 has been around for well over a decade and during that time has been the best selling cordless DECT headset on the planet. Although Plantronics are currently revamping their range of wireless headsets, there are still no immediate plans to discontinue this product. Why? Because it is still a very capable and popular product.
When we compare the CS540 to some of the multi-connectivity devices currently on the market we aren’t comparing like for like. The CS540 is designed solely to be used with your desk phone. Like all cordless headsets, the base unit is a multi-purpose amplifier so compatibility isn’t an issue, whatever make or model of telephone you use. If you make calls from your computer, or want a headset you can use for Teams or Zoom calls this ‘single connectivity’ product won’t be for you. However, if you just want your headset to use with your office phone, the CS540 may well be the perfect product for you.
The SC540 is an ultra lightweight headset and at 21g we don’t know of a lighter product on the market. Part of the appeal, particularly for large businesses is the fact that the headset is convertible. In the box you get a range of ear tips and ear hooks, so there should be a combination to suit all ears! For those who prefer a headband there is one provided. A stylish behind the neck band is also available as an optional extra.
The battery life is 7hrs of talk-time, which is impressive for such a lightweight headset. Few people actually spend more than 7 hours continuously on the phone. We find that if you get in the habit of placing it back on the charger overnight and between calls you really shouldn’t ever run out of charge.
If you want a cordless headset only to be used with your desk phone, the Plantronics SC540 is still the best in the business. There are no binaural or stereo options. The convertible wearing styles should suit most users. With the HL10 handset lifter and a range of EHS cables, remote answering is taken care of. The CS540 is durable, stylish, reliable and still as good as anything on the market at this price point.
Unusually, there are no options. With it’s convertible wearing options out of the box, there are no product variants of the Plantronics SC540. There is however a version bundled with an HL10 handset lifter
Number 3 – Jabra Pro 920 Mono Headset
Best Value Cordless Headset
A cordless headset for the office for under £100. Yes, you are reading that correctly. The Jabra Pro 920 has been around almost as long as the Plantronics CS540 and remains extremely popular in both the corporate and public sector markets. If you are looking for the wireless headset that offers the best bang for your buck, the Jabra Pro 920 may well be the headset for you.
The Jabra Pro 920 is another single connectivity headset. There are plenty of variations on the same design which we will discuss later. The Pro 920, however, is designed for use just with a desk phone.
Why Should I Buy?
In terms of functionality, range and performance the Jabra Pro 920 is comparable with the Plantronics CS540. It weighs only slightly more at 27g and boasts an 8 hour talk-time compared to the 7 hours of the CS540. The Jabra Pro 920 is also a convertible headset with a headband and an ear hook option to wear without a headband. In our opinion the Jabra Pro is primarily a monaural ‘headband’ headset with an over the ear option. The Plantronics CS540 is an ‘over-the-ear’ headset with a headband option. Where comfort is concerned we acknowledge that it is subjective. However, when choosing between these two like-for-like products we would recommend considering what you anticipate your preferred wearing style to be.
There are plenty of options along the same basic design with a non-convertible Jabra Pro 920 Duo model. The same headset is available in a UC ‘PC Only’ USB-A version, the Jabra Pro 930 Mono and Jabra Pro 930 Duo. The Jabra Pro 925 offers the somewhat unusual dual connectivity option of Deskphone and Bluetooth. The Jabra Pro 935 offers dual USB and Bluetooth connectivity for softphone and mobile. The dual, desk phone and PC version, and triple connectivity versions of this popular design have now been discontinued and replaced by the new flagship Jabra Engage range.
Number 4 – Sennheiser IMPACT DW Pro 2 ML Binaural Wireless Headset
The Most Stylish Cordless Headset
If we were were rating the most stylish wireless headset, the Sennheiser DW Pro 2 would be the undisputed number 1. The angled cube shaped base really does create quite an impact. But there is plenty of substance to this product, it’s actually one of the best dual function headsets on the market.
Trademark Sennheiser Sound
As you would expect from a company with such a heritage of high quality audio products, the DW Pro 2 sounds superb. The wideband audio has a nice full range with plenty of bass. These are ideal for the busy office and, as you would expect, the microphone is equipped with noise cancelling so your callers can hear you loud and clear, above any background noise in the office around you.
The sound is superb and the base is super stylish, but the large base lacks the visual feedback you get from the the Jabra Engage 75. The headset itself is light and comfortable and the in the DW Pro 2 Sennheiser provide a viable alternative to the market leaders, Plantronics and Jabra.
There are plenty of different versions, in fact we find one downside of the Sennheiser range if the rather unclear naming of the products which feels as though it lacks clarity. The DW range consists of the DW Pro 2 Phone, for deskphone only and the DW Pro 2 USB which is for computer only, as well as the dual function DW Pro 2 ML reviewed here. All versions are available in Pro 1 (monaural) and Pro 2 (binaural) wearing styles.
Number 5 – Poly Savi 7220 Office Binaural
Brand New From Plantronics
For years, alongside the CS540 Plantronics had the CS510 (monaural) and CS520 (binaural). Although very different in appearance, these were the headband style members of the ‘CS family’ of headsets. With the rebrand from Plantronics to Poly 2021 sees the launch of number of new products. These include the Savi 7000 range of wireless headsets. We recently got our hands on the new Savi 7220 headset
The Plantronics CS520 that the new Poly Savi 7220 has replaced has long been an office workhorse. In terms of its position in a rather crowded market the 7220 fills exactly the same place. It is a single connectivity, desk phone only cordless dual ear headset. Both the headset and the base have been completely redesigned and both are an improvement. The rather chunky base unit replaced by a sleek one with a cut out section and the headset itself is lighter and more comfortable with super-soft leatherette ear cushions. It feels and sounds an improvement on the model it is replacing.
It is without doubt a quality bit of kit, but we were left wondering why you would buy a product at this price point which can only connect to the office phone. Alongside the launch of the new Savi 7000 range is the introduction of the Voyager 4200 range of headsets. This slightly more UC focussed product has a range of connectivity options. There are PC Only, PC and Bluetooth and a top of the range triple connectivity option. The launch of the Voyager is expected Q2, 2021, so you can expect us to get hold of one and give our verdict soon. However, if you want a high quality cordless headset and don’t need to connect it to anything other than your office phone, the Savi 7200 is the best in the business right now.
Alongside the Poly Savi 7220 is the monaural version, the Savi 7210. There are multi-function versions of this headset, the top of the range Savi 8200 range. The Poly Savi 8220 adds triple connectivity and the added benefit of Active Noise Cancelling (ANC). When we refer to noise cancelling with regard to headsets, usually we talk about the microphone cutting our the noise your callers hear. However, in the case of ANC it actually suppresses the sounds going on around you, letting you really focus on your caller without distraction. This is a great feature if you work in a busy office. If this is something that is important to you, the top of the range Savi 8220, may well be a viable alternative to our number one overall choice, the Jabra Engage 75.