Meeting and Voice Headsets in 2021-2022

Even before the COVID shutdown/remote work situation, I pretty much was working at home far more than in the office due to meeting load, and even in office, meeting with people all over the world.  

I also wind up at numerous times taking calls from my car, made more complicated by the fact it’s a convertible, and, well - I kind of prefer to drive a bit….spiritedly, and top down whenever possible.  

Considering both, what this really means is this - good noise cancellation is your friend, and I consider it mandatory.

Initially, it may sound like another marketing ploy that does nothing, but I was finally sold on it both by driving top-down, as well as sitting outside one day for lunch, also doing a work call, with my wife 15 feet away in her own conference call, with her on her laptop audio and myself on my headset.  To me, her meeting was crazy loud, but no one I was meeting with could hear it at all.  Point to noise cancellation.

What else to care about?

Well - it depends. Personally, I’d prefer to have as few extra devices as possible, and rather than a half dozen cheapy headsets I need to replace every few months (been there, done that - hello eBay and cheap Plantronics knockoffs, among others..).

Noise cancellation is key. Even if you can hear them perfectly, assuming you actually speak during your calls and meetings, it’s a given it would be helpful for them to hear you, as well.

Boom-type microphones are always going to be better than the earbud-with-a-stub (e.g. Airpod/Airpod Pro and design clones), although some of them are reasonably decent. I’d use the latter for occasional calls and travel, but an over-the-head/full-size for meetings if you do a lot of them, at least currently.

If you only have at most a meeting a day, it’s not a huge deal, but if you’re in 4-10 hours of meetings a day - comfort is key.
This applies whether using an in-ear or over the head or neck setup.

For me, in-ears with silicon like AirPod Pros and look-alikes are much more comfortable vs the hard plastic ‘sits in ear’ types…while over the head or neck setups are impacted by both the ear to headset interface/surfaces as well as the around the neck or around the head tension.

How many devices will you be connecting to?

This one is worth considering before you buy. If you only plan to connect your headset to a single device - basically, it doesn’t matter.

Me, I prefer to be able to connect to at least two devices. Why? Because I can then use it for work or personal travel, and at minimum pair to both my computer and my phone (or tablet, or FireTV, …). In reality, this is somewhat of a mixed bag on devices that are always on and live next to each other (e.g. laptop and phone), so sometimes you’ll need to do a ‘disconnect’ on some devices, so for example, when on a laptop meeting, a text from your phone doesn’t interrupt.. Note this varies from headset to headset type in it’s behavior, e.g. some headsets have both a dongle and native bluetooth, and if one device is on the dongle and the second device paired with is Bluetooth, things tend to work a bit better overall.

In reality, I use my in-ears for both my phone and FireTV (late night watching tv when wife is sleeping), and have my over-head headset paired to laptop, tablet and phone.

All day meeting headset

Over the years, you name it and I’ve tried it or something like it.  Corded headsets for a looong time, due to them holding up for some days with 8 hours or more of meetings.  

For some time, my best and most comfortable option was the Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC (Universal Communicator) .  This was my long-running ‘do it all’ - while other, newer models and brands came and went - this thing is still pretty solid.  In heavy use, the non-replaceable battery is effectively gone in a couple of years, and it can’t do full 8 hour-days of meetings, but if you can charge it here and there, it’s not bad.  

Do NOT buy the eBay and other clones on this, however - they’re awful.

I would still consider the Plantronics (I’d love to see a true new model with the UC/mult-pairing, but there hasn’t been a true successor for some reason) today, for doing up to 4 hours of calls per day.  It’s comfortable, lasts a reasonable length of time, and has decent sound quality, between the fully in-ear-with-stubs and a boom headset.

In my case, my meeting times skyrocketed, with up to 10 hours in a day on some days, so I needed - more.  More battery life, or back to cables.

I did try a number of smaller, in-ear versions, but eventually had enough.  After far too much time and $ spent, I wound up going with the Sennheiser MB Pro  on a friend’s recommendation which has replaceable parts, including the battery - and lasts a true and actual 10 hours of talk time, even a year later.  

It’s not the most expensive, nor the least, but I’ve been thrilled with it in over a year’s use at this point, and this is the winner for me, and comes in either single ear or dual ear models.  The only downside is for me, on a Mac and with multiple devices paired is I usually need to give it a minute or two to re-pair to the laptop after coming off the charging stand, but overall - it’s great all around.


Everyone wants the ‘perfect earbud’ which for me, would pair to multiple devices, have a charging case, ideally one doing wireless charging of the case itself.  

The biggest consideration is comfort - for me, it’s in-ear with silicon like the AirPod Pros, while others can do the ‘hang in ear’ styles like the original Airpods and others.

Not everyone chooses Apple, and there are other options, but it’s a good idea to start with a known model like the Airpod or Airpod Pros and check for competing models, whether from Samsung, or others - but be aware, I’ve yet to find an inexpensive-but-somehow-excellent knockoff, at least at a similar level of noise cancellation, battery life, charging case etc. at under $100 or so.

In my case, I’m not thrilled with the disposability of a high $ but non-rpelaceable battery item, so didn’t go with Airpod Pros, but found a decent compromise in the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2.

In general, Anker is a decent brand and I have a collection of chargers, cables and other devices from them.  They stand up well overall to the Airpod Pros and clones, although use a USB-C cable for charging instead of wireless to charge the case - and they have held up well.  I’d buy them again.  There are some other variants, like the Liberty Pro 2 which appeals more towards audiophiles, but I was looking for not-easy-to-lose and good for calls so went with the Air 2. 

Of course, Jabra also has their own options such as the Jabra Elite lineup.


We use the Jabra ‘pucks’ at work, and they work overall OK.  They don’t really do great on noise cancellation, and their different sized models - aren’t very different internally, so don’t get caught up between the 410, 510 and 710 - the electronics are pretty muc hthe same, same quality, same signal handling etc.  Pick the Jabra 510 for a one-size fits all and save a few bucks (I’ve had 2 of the 510s and a 710 to date).  Be careful on the model variations - I generally get the Jabra 510 UC as it can use a dongle, native bluetooth or a USB(A) cable so it goes into the travel kit for impromptu conference calls.

Anker and others make a few competing models and I’ll eventually give the Anker PowerConf a try if/when the current 710 dies off or I need another.

Jabra also makes the Jabra Speak 810 which is a longer oblong speakerphone - I’ve used it, and it’s better for bigger group conference room activities vs the 510 or 710, but it’s also a lot more expensive.