Working from home has simplified many aspects of office life, such as not having to iron your pants, or just staying in your pajamas all day. But with so much time spent in meetings from your home office, having a great set of headphones is essential.
What if your chance to pitch an awesome idea is completely ruined when your voice gets garbled by the air-conditioner’s hum? That’s why crystal clear audio and microphone quality is essential for all your WFH meetings.
*Prices of headphones below may fluctuate.
Absolute Fave: SONY XM4
The Sony XM4‘s ($348.00) have long been widely considered to be the BEST noise canceling headphones on the market. They come in both over ear and earbud variants, but the over ear ones are indisputably better at both blocking environmental noise and delivering the best sound quality. (The newest model, XM5, was released less than two months ago, so I’m withholding judgment until I hear more testimonials on the quality and longevity of the product.)
The Dual Noise Sensor technology uses the input from two microphones on each ear cup to apply noise-canceling processing. You can switch between noise-canceling, ambient sound, and turning off sound control.
Great sound processing also isolates your voice from background noise when on calls.
Using the app, the Sony headphones can recalibrate based on atmospheric pressure, enabling a comfortable experience even in pressurized airplane cabins. Although there’s no noise canceling that can completely eliminate the roar of the engines, these come pretty darn close. These headphones let you hear the dialogue in onscreen flight movies without adjusting the volume to be super loud.
The Little Sister: SONY XM3
The sound quality and noise canceling are identically excellent, so getting the previous model, the Sony XM3 for $279.00 is well worth the savings, in my opinion.
I own these (here’s me on the plane with them above!), and the only difference between them and the XM4 model is that it’s missing a few nifty touch gestures. As someone who always forgets that I can double-tap my AirPods to skip songs, the extra features didn’t seem worth the price tag to me.
Sleek & Convenient: AirPod Pros
I’m sure that half the workers in your Zoom meetings are sporting AirPods Pros, the sleek white buds nestling discreetly in their ears. Three sizes of silicone ear tips ensure that these stay snug even when I’m working out.
The noise-canceling is incredible, and I always sound great on calls when I’m using them. Charging them for a mere five minutes in the case provides more than an hour of battery life.
As Apple detractors will happily point out, the AirPods do have a high price tag. But for me, the effortless convenience of pairing and switching between my iPhone and Macbook makes it worth it. Plus, AirPod Pros are currently on sale on Amazon for $179.99!
Awesome Mid Range Option: Anker Life Q30
If you’re on a tighter budget, the Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 ($79.99) is an excellent choice too. The noise-canceling features 3 modes: Transport (airplane engine noise), Outdoor (traffic and wind), and Indoor (human background noise). They can even filter out 95% of low-frequency ambient sound.
Its sound profile has extra bass and bright vocals, suited for pop and rock genres of music (while you’re typing up a report), but the sound profile is also customizable in-app.
Best on a Budget: TOZO T10 Bluetooth Earbuds
One of the most highly rated, cheap, Bluetooth 5.0, and true wireless earbuds on Amazon, with over 300,000 ratings. They’re currently on sale for only $25.98!
Not only do the TOZO T10 Bluetooth Earbuds deliver powerful bass, but they can also survive be dunked in water for up to 30 minutes.
The batteries last 6 hours on a single charge, and 30 hours with the charging case, which actually beats the AirPod Pros’ battery life by 33 percent.
They’re available in 5 colors: black, blue, gray, white, and khaki (which may sound unappealing, but actually looks like a paler rose-gold variant).
You can read the endless glowing reviews for yourself, but just to give another anecdotal opinion, my dad owns these and agrees that the bass beats out his previous, more expensive earphones.
The Bottom Line
Do yourself a favor and upgrade your headphones. You’ll be using them for a long time, especially if, like me, you never want to reenter the office!