Best Wireless Earbuds and Bluetooth Headphones for Making Calls


When buying a pair of headphones, sound and comfort are arguably the most important factors to consider before picking a pair. But with work from home in its prime, a headset for making phone calls has become a key feature to consider. 

I’ve created a list of best headphones for working from home, but this one is a little different. That list includes more “work” or “business” headphones that you’re more likely to use with both a phone and computer and features some enterprise headphones with boom microphones. Some of those are Microsoft Teams-certified and are also designed to work with Unified Communications applications. This list is less business focused and includes only consumer wireless Bluetooth headsets that work well for making calls on the go with your cell phone (and yes, most of these work just fine with video-conferencing applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams).

So, how do we determine the best earbuds for phone calls? Well, for starters, the best Bluetooth earbuds or headphones are able to reduce ambient sound even in loud environments, allowing people to hear you clearly when you speak during conference calls. Needless to say, you’ll want to hear people clearly, so sound quality — and often noise isolation (so you don’t hear external noise) or noise cancellation — are also important. And finally, it is important to not neglect the features that add convenience, such as essentials like comfort, decent battery life and touch control.

To that end, we’ve tested a bunch of Bluetooth headphones specifically for their audio quality during calls and wireless charging features to find you the best earbuds for phone calls, so that you can find the right pair of wireless earbuds for working from home. Here are our current top picks for the best Bluetooth headphones for calls, many of which feature active noise cancellation, which can be essential for countering ambient noise and providing sound clarity to any phone call you may face, no matter where you are. We’ll be updating this list of our picks for the best earbuds for phone calls regularly as we review new products.

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The QuietComfort 45 has virtually the same design as its predecessor, the QuietComfort QC35 II. It has the same drivers, according to Bose, and the buttons are in the same place. However, there are small but notable changes. First off, these thankfully have USB-C instead of micro-USB.

Secondly, the microphone configuration is different. Not only have the mics been shifted on the headphones, but there’s now an extra external mic for voice pick up, which means the QC45 has a total of six microphones, four of which are beamforming and used for voice. By contrast, the QC35 II has a total of four, two of which are used for voice. (The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 also have six microphones total.)

The result is that these are excellent for making calls and offer good microphone quality. They’re very close to the Bose’s Headphones 700 in that regard and also feature top-notch noise cancellation, as well as multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect these with a PC and your smartphone simultaneously. Read our Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones review.

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The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have been out a while but technically remain Bose’s flagship noise-canceling headphone. They offer slightly better sound than the QuietComfort 45 and fully adjustable noise cancellation along with top-notch headset performance for voice calls. They’re a strong all-around audio performer with up to 20 hours of battery life and a durable design. They’re comfortable to wear but some people may find the QuietComfort 45 to be even more comfortable.

Read our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.


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Though they’ve been out a while, the Apple AirPods Pro still manage to be a great pair of truly wireless premium earbuds. That’s largely due to their winning design and fit, solid sound quality, effective noise canceling and excellent voice-calling performance — and last year they were updated with spatial audio, Apple’s new virtual-sound mode for watching movies, TV shows and certain music tracks in Apple Music.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro review.



Released in mid-2020, the Jabra Elite 45h was essentially billed as the best on-ear headphone for the money. While there’s nothing terribly fancy about these Bluetooth headphones, they are one of the best on-ear headphone values right now, with good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit (for on-ear headphones, anyway). Additionally, they perform well as a headset for making calls and includes a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don’t talk too loudly. Battery life is also good and it has multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to both your computer and your smartphone at the same time and easily switch between the two should a call come in on your phone (it mostly works).

Available in multiple color options, it lists for $100 but sometimes gets discounted to as low as $60.

Note that the $250 Evolve2 65, which has an integrated boom microphone, is essentially the souped-up office version of these headphones.

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The LinkBuds are, in a sense, Sony’s answer to Apple’s standard AirPods. While they don’t sound as good as Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM4 noise-isolating earbuds, they offer a discreet, innovative design and a more secure fit than the AirPods, as well as good sound and very good voice-calling performance. Sony says it’s improved the noise-reduction algorithm and callers told me my voice sounded clear with minimal background noise in the noisy streets of New York.

Like the third-gen AirPods, their open design allows you to hear the outside world — that’s what the ring is all about. That makes them a good choice for folks who want to hear what’s going around them for safety reasons or just don’t like having ear tips jammed in their ears. They also have a few distinguishing extra features, including Speak to Chat and Wide Area Tap. Instead of tapping on a bud, you can tap on your face, just in front of your ear, to control playback.

They’re IPX4 splash-proof and thanks to their fins — Sony calls them Arc Supporters — they lock in your ears securely and work well for running and other sporting activities.

Read our Sony LinkBuds review.


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Take one look at the new design of the third-gen AirPods ($179), and the first thing you’ll probably think is: “Those look like the AirPods Pro without ear tips.” You wouldn’t be wrong. While they’re more fraternal than identical twins, the AirPods 3rd Generation are shaped like the AirPods Pro, with the same shorter stems and same pinch controls as those of the Pro. Aside from the design change, which should fit most ears better than the AirPods 2nd Generation (though not very small ears), the biggest change is to the sound quality: It’s much improved. Also, battery life is better, and the AirPods 3 are officially water-resistant and support Apple’s spatial audio virtual surround feature (for Apple users only).  

Like AirPods Pro, the AirPods are top-notch for making voice calls. Callers said they could hear me clearly even with a lot of background noise in the streets of New York City. The only issue is that since they are open earbuds, they let sound in, so you may not be able to hear callers as well as they can hear you in noisier environments.   

Read our Apple AirPods 3 review.


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Available in four color options, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 hew more closely to the newer Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live, both of which have eye-catching glossy curved designs and the same compact charging case as this new model. In fact, it’s the Buds 2’s design and fit — they’re 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the Buds Plus — that make them a potentially more likable alternative to the slightly better-sounding Buds Pro. 

Like the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 are equipped with active noise canceling. That means all the latest Galaxy Buds models now feature some form of active noise canceling, though it’s slight with the Buds Live, which have an open design sans ear tips. While the Buds 2 look more like shrunken versions of the Buds Pro, I found them more akin to the Buds Live in that they barely stick out of your ears and are fairly discreet. Because they sit more flush with your ears — and have that curved design — they also pick up less wind noise. 

I found the Buds 2 to be very good for voice-calling, with excellent noise reduction during calls. While they don’t have pipes sticking out of them like the AirPods Pro, their microphones manage to pick up your voice well. They’re IPX2 sweat-resistant.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review.


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No earbuds are perfect, of course, and not everybody will love the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds or be able to afford their high price ($280). But if you’re looking for great-sounding earbuds with great noise canceling, solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these sets of Bluetooth earbuds check all the boxes.

Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds also have top-notch noise canceling and sound quality, but the Sony is right there with the Bose for noise canceling (and some might say it’s a touch better in that department). The Sony offers slightly better sound quality and also has a more compact design, particularly for the case (though the Sony buds certainly aren’t small).

While the earlier WF-1000XM3 was a bit lacking in the voice-calling department, Sony has made significant improvements in this model’s voice-calling capabilities, making it a strength rather than a liability. Alas, these earbuds don’t have multipoint Bluetooth pairing that would let you connect to a phone and computer simultaneously, but that’s the only real missing feature.

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Sony’s earlier WH-1000XM3 wireless earphones were great. But if they had a weakness, it was in the area of voice-calling capabilities, particularly in noisier environments. The new WH-1000XM4 improve a lot in that area and also add multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to two devices — such as your phone and PC — at the same time. That means that if a call comes in while you’re using the headphones with your computer, the audio will switch to your phone when you answer the call.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and Bose QuietComfort 45 probably still have a slight edge for voice calls, but the 1000XM4 headphones have some other slight improvements to noise cancellation and sound that make this model a great all-around choice.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.


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The Soundpeats T3 buds have two things going for them aside from their modest price tag: They sound decent and work well for making calls with very good noise reduction. They’re also comfortable to wear and have both active noise canceling and transparency mode. However, the noise canceling is only OK, not great (same goes for the transparency mode). But you can’t expect everything for such a low price.

Equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, they’re IPX4 splash-proof and have a battery-life rating of up to 5.5 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels. 

They have relatively smooth, balanced sound and ample bass. They’re not going to wow you with clarity or dynamic sound, but they’re pleasant to listen to, which is all you can ask for in a budget set of earbuds. 

Callers said that my voice sounded clearer when I was using the AirPods Pro but the Soundpeats actually reduced more background noise that the AirPods Pro. I was able to have conversations on the noisy streets of New York without a problem.

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Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series are kind of unusual, in that they’re new but not exactly an upgrade. They look and sound similar to last year’s Pixel Buds 2, which debuted at $179 but are now selling for less. However, instead of adding new features — like active noise canceling — they’ve actually lost a few. Why? They only cost $100: The “A” stands for affordability. That new lower price is the real story here and what makes these a bona-fide true-wireless value, particularly for Android users. They’re splash-proof with an IPX4 rating and worked very well for making calls in our tests, with good background noise reduction.

Read our Pixel Buds A-Series review.


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The Momentum True Wireless II remain Sennheiser’s flagship true-wireless earbuds. But shortly after the release of the CX ($130), Sennheiser’s second-generation midrange buds, the company followed up with the CX Plus, which add noise canceling for $50 more ($180). They look nearly identical to the standard CX buds but have a glossy black finish on the touch-sensitive exterior surface — cosmetically, they’re more akin to the older and slightly larger CX400BT.

I like the CX for the money, and the CX Plus delivers the same excellent sound while rounding out the feature set with active noise canceling and a transparency mode. Battery life is rated at up to eight hours at moderate volume levels and these are splash-proof, with an IPX4 rating. They do stick out of your ears a bit.

The noise canceling isn’t quite as good as the Sony WF-1000XM4’s, but I thought it was effective and the headset’s performance was decent, though not stellar. These are all-around solid noise-canceling earbuds that can count sound quality as their biggest strength.

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Some of Tribit’s 2020 true wireless earbuds were decent for the money, but none of them truly stood out from the pack. Its new Flybuds C1, however, are top-notch as far as inexpensive true wireless go. Not only do they sound very good for their modest price, with good clarity and strong, punchy bass, but their call quality measures up well to the AirPods’, with good noise reduction — the earbuds have two microphones in each bud — and a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the buds when you’re making a call.

They also have strong battery life (12 hours at 50% volume) and 30-meter range with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. They use Qualcomm’s QCC3040 chip, which includes aptX audio streaming for compatible devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy phones. 

While they don’t have active noise canceling like the AirPods Pro, if you get a tight seal, which is crucial for optimizing sound quality, they do a good job of passively sealing out a lot of ambient noise. They’re IPX4 water-resistant (splashproof) and have a compact matte-black charging case with USB-C charging. I also liked how they have tiny physical buttons on their stems that work well for controlling playback and volume control.

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Yes, they’re expensive, but the AirPods Max deliver richer, more detailed sound than lower-priced competitors from Bose and Sony, and work very well as a headset for making calls. While I wouldn’t recommend them for Android and Windows users, they’re the ideal work-from-home headphones for iOS and Mac users who want to switch easily between their devices. 

They also feature arguably the best noise canceling on the market, along with premium build quality and Apple’s virtual surround spatial audio feature for video watching. While they’re heavy, they manage to be surprisingly comfortable, though I did have to adjust the canopy headband to sit a little more forward on my head to get a comfortable secure fit when I was out walking with them. They should fit most heads well, but there will be exceptions.

Read our Apple AirPods Max review.


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The No. 5909 are premium audio brand Mark Levinson’s first headphones and yes, they’re really expensive at $999 and certainly overpriced. But they’re also amazing. They have a sturdy design without managing to feel hefty on your head (read: they’re substantial but not too heavy) and they’re comfortable to wear over long periods thanks to their nicely padded (and replaceable) leather-covered earcups and headband.

Not only do they have good noise canceling and excellent sound but their voice-calling performance is top-notch (they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can pair them with two devices, such as a computer and a smartphone, simultaneously). 

The No. 5909 are high-res certified with support for Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codecs that allow for near-lossless streaming over Bluetooth. Apple’s iPhones and iPads don’t support those codecs while certain Android devices do. Using the No. 5909 headphones over Bluetooth on my iPhone 13 Pro, it sounded a tad more natural and refined than the AirPods Max (the No. 5909 had a touch more “pure” and accurate sound).

I did notice a difference when I paired the No. 5909 to my Google Pixel 4 XL, which has support for LDAC, and using the Qobuz audio streaming service that offers high-res streaming. Overall, the sound had a little more depth and texture, and there’s a touch more sparkle, definition and openness.

Read our Mark Levinson No. 5909 review.



I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s recent Galaxy true-wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds Plus fit my ears really well and have become one of the better true-wireless values, sometimes selling for less than $100 online. And the Galaxy Buds Live, also discounted a bit since their original debut, feature a discreet and innovative “open” design and I like to use them for running and biking. Now the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro — Samsung’s long-awaited active noise-canceling model — have arrived with upgraded sound and high expectations. (Yes, the Buds Live also have noise canceling, but it’s rather modest.)

The Buds Pro are mostly impressive, although just how good you think they are will ultimately depend on how well they fit your ears. The other caveat is that Samsung’s new 360 Audio virtual surround feature (similar to Apple’s spatial audio) only works with Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 models. Over time firmware upgrades will offer small improvement and performance when making calls was very good, with solid background noise reduction.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review.


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Jabra describes the Elite 85t as “semi-open” earbuds, meaning you don’t have to jam the tips all the way into your ear canal. Rather, the new, more oval-shaped tips nestle in your ear for a more comfortable fit — according to Jabra, anyway. A touch of sound will leak in, however, because you’re not creating a super tight seal. Engineered on Qualcomm technology, Jabra calls the Elite 85t’s noise-canceling Advanced ANC, which is designed for earbuds that don’t have true noise-isolating designs.

Personally, I didn’t find the 85t earbuds any more comfortable than the 75t. They didn’t stay in my ears quite as securely, though they did stay in. While the 85t buds are bigger — and so is their charging case — they definitely seem like siblings design-wise. They do sound richer than the 75t, with more bass, and their voice-calling capabilities are also very good. They do feature multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can take a call on your smartphone while being connected to your computer.

Available in multiple colors, they’re splashproof like the AirPods Pro (IPX4 water-resistance rating) and list for $230, but we’ve seen them sporadically discounted to $180.

Read our Jabra Elite 85t review.


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Say what you will about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live’s bean-shaped design — yes, they’re affectionately known as the Beans — but they might just be the most innovative new true wireless earbuds of the year. Like the standard Apple AirPods, they have an open design, so you don’t jam them into your ear, and they’re quite comfortable to wear and fit my ears more securely than the AirPods (that said, they won’t fit everybody’s ears equally well). Additionally, they’re discreet and basically sit flush with your ear without a little white pipe extending out from them.

They deliver good sound and work well as a headset for making calls, with good background noise reduction so callers can hear you clearly even when you’re in noisier environments. While they feature active noise canceling, it’s mild compared with the noise canceling in earbuds that have a noise-isolating design. In other words, buy them for their design and sound, not their noise-canceling features.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review.



Water-resistantYes (IP55 rating — can withstand sustained sprays of water and is dust-resistant).

AfterShokz has changed its name to Shokz and released new ninth-gen bone-conduction headphones that offer slightly improved bass performance compared to the company’s earlier flagship model, the Aeropex (now called the Shokz OpenRun). That makes the OpenRun Pro the best bone-conduction headphones you can get right now, although they still can’t match the sound quality of traditional headphones.

Bone conduction wireless headphones don’t go on your ears — they actually deliver sound to your ear through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology as a safety feature for running is that, thanks to its open design, you can hear what’s going on around you — traffic noise in particular — while listening to music or having a phone conversation (yes, they perform well for voice calls).  Also, some race coordinators don’t allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where headphones like this come in handy.

Like the Aeropex, the OpenRun Pro have a lightweight, wraparound titanium frame and are rated for up to 10 hours of music playback and you can get 1.5 hours of battery life from a 5-minute charge (they have a proprietary charging cable instead of USB-C, which is unfortunate). I found them comfortable to wear but you may occasionally have to adjust them on your head to relieve potential pressure points. While they do offer a bit fuller sound with more bass — it’s an incremental improvement, not a huge leap forward — like other bone-conduction headphones these are strongest in the midrange where voices live so they’re good for podcasts, talk radio, newscasts and audiobooks. A hard carrying case is included. 

Note that Shokz makes other, more affordable bone-conduction headphones, including the OpenRun, if you don’t want to drop $180 on its current flagship model. Also, for around the same price AfterShokz has the OpenComm, which adds a boom microphone.

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Yes, the Bose Frames are both sunglasses and headphones — and they sound surprisingly good for a sunglasses-headphones combo. What’s also impressive about them is how good they are for calls. 

The two original Frames, the Rondo and Alto, are still available for $200. But the recently released second-generation models, which cost $250, have some performance enhancements, including better sound and call quality. The Tempo, Bose’s new sports model (pictured), has the largest drivers and best sound along with better battery life. The Tenor and Soprano Frames are also excellent for making calls.

Read our Bose Frames review.


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The third-gen AirPods are a nice upgrade over the second generation. That said, the AirPods 2, which came out in 2019, are now selling for around $100 and sometimes a little less. While they don’t sound as good as the AirPods 3 and have a longer stem, they fit some people’s ears better (those with smaller ears may prefer these older AirPods due to their slightly smaller design). As for voice calling, they remain in the upper echelon for earbuds.

Read our Apple AirPods 2019 review.


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If you’re looking for clean-sounding headphones with more of a neutral sound profile, the well-built Shure Aonic 50 are those noise-canceling headphones. The treble is clear and articulate and the bass is well-defined, but may be a little underpowered for those who want a little more oomph. The noise canceling is good but not quite up to the level of top noise-canceling models from Bose and Sony that cost a little less.

The headphones fold flat, but they’re a bit bulky, as is their case. But they work very well as a headset for making calls — Shure is known for making excellent microphones — so they’re good work-from-home headphones that are comfortable to wear (but might be a little big for some folks). 

While the Aonic 50 suffers from being a little too expensive, they’re excellent headphones that seem built to last. Battery life is rated at 20 hours — the headphones charge via USB-C — and they support a variety of audio codecs, including aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency audio, Sony LDAC, AAC and SBC.

More headphone buying advice 


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