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The best headset for working at home in 2021

best headset for working at home
(Image credit: Roberto Westbrook on Getty Images)

It's crucial to find the best headset for working at home now that doing your job from a home office (or perhaps just a kitchen table) is becoming increasingly common. A good headset will not only benefit you, but also your colleagues and anyone else you happen to live with.

Conversations that would have happened in person now take place over video call, so you likely want a microphone to join in properly. You may also appreciate noise cancellation if you're prone to getting distracted. And of course you want to make sure your new 'phones sound good and fit well. All our picks below offer a wide variety of options for you to make your choice from, both in terms of features and price.

You're perhaps picturing a traditional wired pair of headphones with a microphone sticking out in front of your face. That type is still around, but you've got far more choice than that. True-wireless headphones eliminate both the cables and the mic boom, swapping in wireless connectivity and concealed built-in microphones instead. There are also earbuds that offer everything full-size headphones can, but in a smaller and more convenient package.

These work from home headphones will suit your WFH lifestyle whether you're staying put or need something that can accompany you out and about. We've got guides for other kinds of headphones too, such as the best noise-cancelling headphones and the best headphones for video editing; if your job needs absolute silence or top-quality sound for editing.

Best headset for working at home

Sony WH-1000XM4CB endorsed

(Image credit: Sony)

01. Sony WH-1000XM4

The best noise cancelling headset for work

Specifications
Driver size: 40mm
Battery life: 30 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm audio
Microphone style: Internal
Reasons to buy
+Stellar ANC+Comfortable
Reasons to avoid
-No microphone when wired

Whether you need them for work or play, the Sony WH-1000XM4's noise-cancelling wireless headphones are top of the class. The only downside is that they're quite expensive, even if you're sure to get your money's worth.

Like the XM3 'phones that came before, the XM4 offer some of the best active noice cancelling (ANC) on the market, along with excellent audio quality that can be customised within Sony's companion app. The soft ear pads and overall light design means you can spend your whole work day wearing these and experience no discomfort.

If the battery runs down, you still have the option of a 3.5mm connector to continue listening. That's good as a backup only though, since you can't use the microphones when plugged in like this.

Earfun Air ProCB endorsed

(Image credit: Earfun)

02. Earfun Air Pro

The best budget work from home earbuds

Specifications
Driver size: 10mm
Battery life: 7 hours (buds, ANC on), 21 hours (case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Microphone style: Internal
Reasons to buy
+ANC for cheap+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Unresponsive controls-Poor microphone

You won't find ANC that really works for less than the Earfun Air Pro cost. These 'buds work whether you're at your desk or out for a lunchtime workout, and will keep going afterwards, since they last an impressive 9 hours on a charge. 

It's just a pity that the tap controls on either bud don't always pick up your inputs, which can lead to frustration. These won't make for the best video call companions either, since your voice comes through a bit distant and muffled through the on-board microphones.

Audio Technica ATH-M50xBTCB endorsed

(Image credit: Audio Technica)

03. Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT

The best headphones for remote work for extended periods

Specifications
Driver size: 45mm
Battery life: 40 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm audio
Microphone style: Internal
Reasons to buy
+Long battery life+Comfortable to wear
Reasons to avoid
-Slow to charge-External sound leakage

If you've got to spend all day every day in your headphones, this pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT will suit you well. Its battery will last you almost 40 hours, which is just as well since it takes a while for the battery to fill up again.

When they're not slowly recharging, you won't want to take the ATH-M50xBT off unless you need to, since its design balances build quality and comfort brilliantly. They're not good for shutting external sound though, so be warned if you're working from a noisy household.

Jabra Elite 85T

(Image credit: Jabra)

04. Jabra Elite 85T

The best earbuds for work from home

Specifications
Driver size: 12mm
Battery life: 5.5 hours (buds), 19.5 hours (case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Microphone style: Internal
Reasons to buy
+Super portable+Active noise cancelling
Reasons to avoid
-Short battery life-Inconsistent fit

The pocket-size Jabra Elite 85T are great if you need something unobtrusive that offers great sound wherever and whenever you need it. The active noise cancelling feature is also excellent if you need to block out anyone else who might be at home so you can concentrate.

While their 5.5-hour battery life may just be enough for a day's work, and is above average for earbuds, it pales in comparison to the larger headphones on this list. Similarly, while you get a few different ear tip sizes in the box, it'll be harder to find the perfect fit with these than with a pair of headphones.

HyperX Cloud Mix

(Image credit: HyperX)

05. HyperX Cloud Mix

The best work from home headset with microphone boom

Specifications
Driver size: 40mm
Battery life: 20 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm audio/3.5mm stereo and mic
Microphone style: Detachable boom
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable boom mic+Wired and Bluetooth options
Reasons to avoid
-Separate mic for wireless-Not suited to travel

HyperX is known for its gaming-focussed hardware, but thanks to a subtle all-black design, the HyperX Cloud Mix are a pair of gaming headphones you won't feel awkward wearing during a video call.

Even better, this headset also has a wireless option, although it uses a smaller built-in microphones rather than the boom mic for this. The wireless mode goes some way to addressing the problem of portability with the Cloud Mix, but even without a cable, these are not compact enough to sling in a bag if you need to work from beyond your desk.

Grado GW100

(Image credit: Grado)

06. Grado GW100

The best wireless headset for working from home comfortably

Specifications
Driver size: 44mm
Battery life: 40 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm audio
Microphone style: Internal
Reasons to buy
+Light and comfortable+Excellent audio quality
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy open-back design-Unusual fit

A good pair of headphones can feel like they disappear when you wear them, but Grado's first pair of wireless 'phones will genuinely have you patting your ears and head to make sure they're still around. Although considering you'll be enjoying excellent music all day thanks to these beautifully tuned headphones, you shouldn't forget about them.

That lightweight comes at the cost of them being open-backed, rather than close-backed like most of the other 'phones on this list. It means you'll still be able to hear the outside world as you use the Grado, which isn't ideal if you're trying to concentrate. Plus some users may not like the fit of the GW100 since it sits directly on your ears, rather than around them.

Shure Aonic 3

(Image credit: Shure)

07. Shure Aonic 3

The best WFH wired earbuds

Specifications
Driver size: N/a (balanced armature)
Battery life: N/a
Connectivity: 3.5 /6.3 mm jack
Microphone style: In-line
Reasons to buy
+Superb ear tip customization+Ultra compact
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for wired earbuds-Noise isolation varies

The Shure Aonic 3 earbuds are small and reliable, making them an excellent back-up for another headset or as your daily driver if you aren't fussed about bigger audio or wireless connectivity. These are expensive for a pair of wired earbuds though, which even with the quality of its features, you may find hard to accept.

While the Aonic 3 doesn't offer active noise cancellation, it offers excellent passive sound reduction by offering nine different ear tips in the box, allowing you to find the perfect fit. That's not the same guarantee of noise reduction offered by ANC, but with so many options you should be able to find something that works for you.

Sennheiser RS-175

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

08. Sennheiser RS175

The best home theatre headphones

Specifications
Driver size: TBC
Battery life: 18 hours
Connectivity: Wireless transmitter (3.5mm/optical)
Microphone style: N/a
Reasons to buy
+Transmitter features charging dock+Low-latency
Reasons to avoid
-Not meant for travel-Short wireless range

If you're seeking headphones for movie and TV showing viewing only, the Sennheiser RS175 wireless headphones are ideal. They work via a radio transmitter that you plug into your screen, allowing a low-latency wireless connection, albeit a fairly short one. The transmitter also contains a charging dock for the headphones, preventing messing around with cables when you need to power them up.

These are not a pair of 'phones you can take back into the office though, due to the need for a transmitter and their bulky frame. You'll simply have to appreciate them when you come back home and need to unwind instead.

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Richard is a tech journalist and writer for Tom's Guide.