Working from home has its upsides, but there is one aspect that can be infuriating: noise. Whether it’s your kids asking for something, roommates being loud or simply ambient noise from the street, there always seems to be some intrusive sound that interferes with work. This makes video calls and conferencing with co-workers downright difficult. And besides the annoyance, interfering noise can also come off as unprofessional.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix: a great headset. We’ve found that plug-and-play USB headsets make a great companion for any stay-at-home worker, allowing you to make calls and conference without noise interference.
Plug-and-play USB headsets have been around a while, but the headphones were primarily used for gaming. However, their key features make them great for working as well, with comfortable designs that allow for hours of use, and microphones that reduce background noise.
If you’re looking to invest in a dedicated headset for working from home, read on. We’ve sifted through dozens of popular USB headphones to find the best ones to get right now.
What to Know Before Buying a USB Headset
Comfort: Chances are you’ll be spending long periods of time using this headset. You’ll want to check out the cushions on the headphones as well as adjustability for the ideal fit. If you wear glasses, check reviews to see if the headset is comfortable with your frames. Lastly, the longer the headset’s cord the better, as you’ll be able to move around more.
Microphone Quality: All the headsets on our list feature a microphone with noise-reducing technology. However, some are better than others.
Sound Quality: As with any pair of cans, you’ll want to check the speakers’ power. This is sometimes listed as a dB measurement, but usually, you’ll need to peruse the headset’s reviews. Some of our headset picks also feature optional surround sound, but this usually requires downloadable software to utilize.
Compatibility: Not all headsets work with all hardware. Most are compatible with PCs, but some won’t work with Macs or specific gaming consoles (if you want to game as well). Be sure to check compatibility before buying.
Controls: All of our headphone picks have in-line controls, meaning there is a small control panel attached to the cord. This is very convenient for changing volumes and muting during a call. However, each headset has a different control setup – some being more intuitive and reliable than others.
1. Logitech USB Headset H390
Unlike the rest of the headsets on our list, the Logitech H390 is specifically designed for calls. It’s minimal, well-equipped and great for phone calls or conferences from home.
The best part about Logitech’s headset is compatibility. It works seamlessly with every major hardware and calling/conferencing software (including Chrome OS) – no installation or adjustment required.
In terms of comfort, we’re split with this headset. It’s lightweight and uses a very long 7.64-foot cable so you can move around or stand up while on a call. However, the headset sits on top of the ear instead of around the whole ear. For most, this isn’t quite as comfortable as real over-the-ear headphones.
The headset also features a minimal in-line control panel for adjusting volume and muting. These controls are handy, although not as extensive as the other headphones below.
PROS: Easy-to-use, great compatibility, long cord.
CONS: Less comfortable.
2. Jeecoo USB Pro Gaming Headset
If you’re up for a more serious pair of cans, we recommend this gaming headset from Jeecoo. The sleek headphones are ready for all-day work, with earpads and a headband made using memory foam. A seven-foot cable also means you can move around while mic’d up.
The microphone itself is slim and low-key. Unidirectional sound sensitivity picks up your voice while getting rid of outside noise. Speaker sound quality is also great with a 50mm driver unit.
The sound and microphone can all be altered via intuitive in-line controls that use a microphone mute switch and volume dials. This makes it easy to turn off your mic as well as adjust incoming volume and your own voice.
In terms of downsides, all we could find were a few complaints about difficulty downloading the software that enables surround sound. But if you’re just using these for calls, that’s not a problem.
PROS: Comfortable, long cord, intuitive controls.
CONS: Some may have issues with software.
3. SADES USB Gaming Headset
This gaming headset from Sades offers some of the best features, with premium sound quality, an effective noise-canceling microphone and serious comfort.
Unlike some brands, Sades isn’t afraid to list the exact specifications for this headset. Most importantly, the microphone sensitivity is rated at -38db, meaning your voice will sound clear to co-workers or clients.
The headphone speakers are nice as well, with a loudhailer diameter of 40mm, which translates to high-quality sound for conferences, videos or games. Sades’ headset also does well in terms of comfort. The headset weighs just 7.1 ounces and features thick pads on the ears and head, making long workdays a little more bearable.
PROS: High-quality sound, great microphone, lightweight. Great for gaming as well as video conferencing.
CONS: Not compatible with some consoles.
4. Beexcellent USB Gaming Headset
If you’re concerned about comfort, check out this headset from Beexcellent. Users have lauded the headphones for incredible comfort thanks to chunky leader pads and quality materials, and the overall look is sleek and futuristic.
Another reason why we recommend this Beexcellent headset is its noise cancellation powers. The microphone not only blocks ambient noise during your calls, the earcups also block out noises from entering your ears. The headphones don’t have active noise cancellation (like most noise-cancelling headphones) but their snug fit does a great job of keeping things quiet while wearing the headset.
Other specs are all fairly standard for good headphones: 50mm driver, PC and Mac compatibility and solid in-line controls. Overall, it’s a good headset.
PROS: Very comfortable, great noise cancellation.
CONS: The look may not be for everyone.