The line between Bluetooth headphones and Bluetooth headsets has really gotten pretty blurry. Almost all Bluetooth headphones for iPhone have a built-in microphone and allow you to answer calls. The arrival of truly wireless buds, with each earbud completely independent, further confuses the water, since you can use a single bud as a earphone in a pinch.
However, traditional (and often mocked) dedicated Bluetooth phone headphones still have a place, and we’ll take a look at the best Bluetooth headphones for iPhone.
Why use headphones over headphones?
Bluetooth headphones have some advantages over just using headphones. First of all, they tend to be a lot less expensive. Secondly, they leave you free to listen to the outside world, often even from the side, the headset is mounted. Finally, they are designed from the ground up to be used for phone calls.
This means more clarity, better microphones, and much longer hold and talk times. If you need to talk a lot on the phone or spend a lot of time driving, an iPhone Bluetooth headset like the ones highlighted below is the perfect tool to get the job done.
This bundle package from Plantronics is the perfect choice for people who travel a lot and want to use their headsets at home or in the office on a desk. The included travel charger case doubles as a charging stand. The system comes with a wall charger and the headset is equipped with a sensor that will answer the call as soon as you put it on. This is a fantastic way to use one of these earbuds if you think about it.
It has multilayer noise cancellation, so using it outdoors or in noisy environments shouldn’t be a problem. With a full charge, the headset is rated for 7 hours of talk time, with 9 hours of standby time. The charging case increases that by another 14 hours of talk time.
The last feature of the Voyager that caught our attention is its broad compatibility with various smartphone apps. Like Cisco Jabber, GoToMeeting, and Skype to name a few. This allows you to stick with the app you like the most, instead of being forced to use a manufacturer-specific app.
Mpow EM16 V5.0 mini Bluetooth headset [no longer available]
One of the biggest complaints people have ever had when it comes to Bluetooth headsets is how intrusive they are. It seems that looking like a member of the Borg from Star Trek doesn’t appeal to so many people.
That’s why the MPow EM16 deserves to be on this list. If you need a hands-free Bluetooth headset that doesn’t scream “Wall Street yuppie,” the EM16 might just be the ticket. It is small enough to fit inside the ear. It is even more compact than the typical wireless bud!
The design of the EM16 allows you to use it in both ears with equal comfort and there are three sizes of silicone tips and a memory foam tip which should be universal. Despite its compact size, the EM16 is rated for eight hours of talk time, has active noise cancellation for call clarity, and is IPX4 water resistant. The best part could very well be the price as this little wonder comes at a very palatable price under $ 30.
Is New Bee meant to be a “Newbie” game? We’ll probably never know, but this particular Bluetooth headset has appeared on our radar thanks to what appears to be popular on Amazon. Some of that popularity is certainly due to its insanely low price, but thousands of people wouldn’t rate the New Bee that much if it wasn’t also at least decent to use.
Offered in three colors (although we can’t recommend gold), this headset has a very respectable spec sheet considering it’s budget persuasive. In fact, with 24 hours of talk time and 60 days of standby time, it seems like an impossible deal.
However, the actual user experience confirms a long battery life and good call quality. If you want a budget iPhone Bluetooth headset that will always be ready when you need it, there seems to be little reason not to choose the New Bee.
Aminy’s UFO is another very cheap crowd favorite, which immediately makes us wonder what kind of bang-for-buck magic is going on here to keep so many people happy.
Talk time is decent at a claimed 8 hours, but it seems the long-term comfort of the headphones is what won over most buyers. Distributes the weight of the headset across three discrete support points, making it less burdensome to wear all day.
Another innovation is the use of removable battery modules. There is one for the left ear and one for the right ear included here. So, if you don’t mind swapping your ears, you could get around 16 hours in total from two fully charged batteries. Putting the weight of the battery behind the ear is another way the Aminy UFO tries to improve comfort.
The final piece of the puzzle is call quality, which again is a surprisingly common praise customers have for it. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a Bluetooth headset but may have to wear one for long stretches, the UFO might be a good choice for you.
Unsurprisingly, to see another Plantronics headset on the list, as they are a behemoth in the market, but the Explorer 110 is quite a different beast than the Voyager.
It’s a compact, premium headset with a (in our opinion) fantastic design. It also comes with an air vent clip holder which is a very clever idea. It means you don’t have to wear the headset all the time, but you can quickly reach it safely while driving.
It can also hold a charge for up to 6 months, so if you’re not actively using it and storing it in a glove box, it’ll be ready to go the day you suddenly need it. Talk time is rated at seven hours, which is average, but sound and microphone clarity is reportedly a step above average for budget headphones.
The bottom line is that this premium iPhone Bluetooth headset will look great in any car, sound great with any content, and won’t make you look like a nerd while wearing it.
At first glance, the inclusion of a stereo headset like the Titanium may seem a bit of a cheat. However, tick the same boxes that a Bluetooth headset should have. The most important thing is that you can wear it without cutting yourself off from the world around you.
See, these are bone conduction headphones. They don’t get into your ears at all. Instead, they send sound directly to the middle ear through the bones of the skull. This allows the sound of the outside world to enter your ears normally.
We have used Aftershockz products over the years and the technology is disturbing. While the sound quality and aspects such as bass are not up to par with traditional headphones, it is surprisingly good. They’re primarily marketed as a way to jog or ride a bike safely while listening to music or navigation messages, but they also do a great job as a way to answer calls while keeping your hands free.
So they’re ideal for work environments where you have to listen to everyone else but don’t want your audio to bother other people. A very nice gadget overall!
OK, now we’re probably seriously cheating. Aren’t Apple’s AirPods Pro Just Wireless Bluetooth Headsets? Well … yes. Not even.
Thanks to Apple’s fantastic “transparency mode” you can easily hear what’s going on around you while using the AirPods Pro. Alternatively, you can just use a single unit. The other will remain off in the charging case. Both units have microphones, so both will.
The brilliance here comes from the choices you have as you can switch between transparent mode and noise canceling instantly. You also get the best iPhone integration imaginable and benefit from virtually lag-free audio.
The only real downside is the limited playtime of 4.5 hours. But if you don’t mind switching between the left and right units during the day, you will receive 24 hours in total via the charging case. So it will fit in a pinch!
Any of these Bluetooth headsets would be a great addition to your iPhone, but we’d like to hear your suggestions in the comments below as well. Why are you looking for a particular headset and do people give you funny looks when it seems to be talking to itself?