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When you think about the best headphones, built-in microphones are probably low on the list of features that first come to mind. Instead, we usually focus on how our music sounds, if that battery can last through a day of Zoom meetings and how comfortable they feel.
All of these things are important, but another key feature to think about when looking for a new pair these days: the best headphones with a microphone.
Owning a great pair of headphones or earbuds with a built-in mic — or several — has recently become a necessity, with virtual meetings, remote work calls and a growing number of ways we can connect with virtual assistants while working from home (not to mention gaming or live streaming).
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The best microphone headphones let you communicate clearly with the people you’re interacting with, with built-in mics that pick up your voice more accurately while tuning out the excess noise around you. What that means: more focused phone calls, work calls, gameplay, and recordings.
Here, we’ve picked some of the best headphones that also happen to include their own microphones, so you can control your music, call your mom more and easily communicate wherever you’re working or traveling.
What Are the Best Headphones With a Microphone?
Battery: So long as your phone’s not dying and charged up, you can rest easy knowing that the headphones you’re using to carry on a conversation should have more than enough power to last you without needing to recharge. Today’s headphones are built to last longer, giving you a few hours of use, whether you’re chatting, streaming, or working while listening to music.
Connectivity: While the best headphones that have built-in microphones should produce solid sound, you’ll also want to make sure that your connection won’t drop out while you’re in the middle of your meeting or phone call. The headphones and earbuds below should be able to maintain a strong connection between your ears (and mouth) and your device, no matter wherever you’re using them.
Bluetooth: We can’t say that we miss having to connect our headphones to our phone or laptop. From over-ear headphone models to earbuds, these pairs all come with Bluetooth so you can quickly sync them to the device of your choice, sans wires.
Noise-Cancelling Features: The best noise-cancelling headphones aren’t just going to help you focus on your tunes, but also the person on the other end of the line. Some models also feature noise-cancelling mics that keep out excess noise when you’re talking or when you’re trying to communicate with a virtual assistant like Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.
Design: Whether you’re more of an over-ear or earbud headphones wearer, many of today’s mic’ed-up headphones come in a few different designs, so you can easily find the right style for you and your situation.
1. Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
No matter if you’re joining a virtual meeting or hopping on a conference call, you’ll want to have a set of high-quality headphones nearby.
And unlike your phone or computer, these Jabra headphones can actually help improve your calls. That’s thanks to the brand’s SmartSound tech, which can gauge the noise around you and adjust the sound coming from your headphone mics. And you’re not just getting one single mic when using the headphones either — Jabra says these water-resistant headphones use eight total microphones for upgraded sound during calls. Put simply, whether you’re sitting inside or outside on a windy day, no one should be able to really hear the difference.
They’re a pair of headphones that pack a mind-boggling amount of sound tech and battery power. They can even last for over a day at 36 hours when you’ve fully charged them and you’re using the noise-cancelling feature.
Buy:Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Headphonesat$249.99
2. Apple AirPods Pro
There’s a reason why everyone from musicians to professors use Apple’s AirPods Pro when on a call, live performance or presentation. The wireless earbuds may be small, but the built-in mics pick up your voice accurately and efficiently, without that fuzziness or “whooshing” you often here from other buds.
The sleek buds come with a charging case that can produce up to 24 hours of battery life. Unlike previous Apple buds, the AirPods Pro support noise cancellation so you can hear your music clearly without disruptions, whether you’re on your commute or running outdoors. Plus, they include a Transparency Mode, which lets you hear what’s going on around you better while you have them in your ears.
These water- and sweat-friendly earphones also feature three different silicone tips so you can get a better-fitting seal for both music and so you don’t risk losing them when you’re en route.
Buy:Apple AirPods Proat$219.00
3. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
There are a whole host of cool features that make these Sony headphones worth a look, from what the company calls “Speak-to-Chat,” which will turn down whatever you’re listening to if you’re trying to ask someone in real life a question, to the massive 30-hour battery life.
Of course, you can also control your tunes with these noise-cancellers by touching the ear cups to play or stop a song, or to pick up a call from a colleague or friend. Sony added five microphones to these wireless over-ear headphones, too, so they’re ideal for everything from video chats to asking Alexa if there’s rain in the forecast.
Buy:Sony Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphonesat$348.00
4. Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones
These Bose headphones combine versatile sound tech with a comfortable design that you can wear for workouts, work and everything in between.
The 700s can power through for 20 hours per charge, so they’re a great option for working from home or traveling without needing to find an outlet. The over-ear cups sit at a slight angle, and Bose covered them in a synthetic leather for a more wearable design. You’ll probably sound and hear better with them on your ears, too: Multiple mics work together to minimize background noise and make sure your voice is extra clear. To use them, you simply tap the cups to control calls or your music.
Of course, you won’t be using the mic all day long. The 700s are designed with music lovers in mind, too, with super strong bass and 11 different noise cancellation levels. Bose also made it easier to listen to your Spotify with these headphones’ design, too. Have an iPhone or using the headphones with a MacBook Pro? You can tap and hold the ear cup to start your Spotify stream directly from your headphones.
Buy:Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphonesat$379.00
5. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones
Bang & Olufsen makes some of the best-designed audio gear we’ve seen. The brand’s headphones are no exception, including these Beoplay wireless headphones, which are just as functional as they are extremely stylish.
The Beoplays rest over your ears and can be used for 18 hours at a time. If that’s not enough, the addition of two built-in microphones make them a great work-from-home contender. B&O says you can connect them with other Bluetooth devices and they have a range of about 120 feet, so you don’t always have to have your device right next to you.
They’re also noise-cancelling so you can really settle in, turn on an album and listen to it start-to-finish while ignoring any outside sounds. We like that B&O also included Transparency Mode, as well as a feature that will automatically pause a track or podcast when you take them off your ears, and start things back up when you put them back on.
Buy:Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i…at$399.92
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