The best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls show how tech you'd normally associate with sound output alone can have a secret talent for two-way communications. It’s extremely common nowadays for headphones, especially the best wireless headphones and the best wireless earbuds, to have microphones built into the headset.
As such, they’re incredibly easy to use for calls on whatever device — phone or computer — you have them connected to. However, not all headphones are created equal, and even some high-end models can disappoint with low mic clarity of spotty connectivity. Save yourself some trouble and just consult our list below, where we’ve gathered the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls that we’ve tested.
- Our picks of the best microphones overall
- The best USB microphones for PCs and laptops
- The best streaming microphones, based on our testing
Latest headphones news and releases (updated October 18)
- Apple has announced the AirPods 3, the new version of its best-selling wireless earbuds.
- Bose launched the newest entry in the QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones series, the QuietComfort 45. See where it ranks on this list.
- The flagship Jabra Elite 7 Pro is currently on store shelves and combines proprietary MultiSensor Voice technology with a VPU (Voice Pick Up) sensor that promises clearer call quality.
What are the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls?
Not every single pair of headphones has a mic — audiophile models like the Focal Clear might not see the need — but there are lots of great options to choose from. Bose has the honor of producing both the best over-ear headphones for calls and an extremely capable pair of wireless earbuds: the Bose 700 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds respectively. These both use intelligent microphone arrays that minimize the amount of ambient noise that could interfere with how you sound on the other end of the line.
Our third pick is the AirPods Max. This ranks highly on our rankings of the best headphones overall, and its crisp call quality is one of the reasons why. The AirPods Max cuts out more background noise than other AirPods models, and can even help you hear yourself, so you can be sure that you’re coming through loud and clear.
The best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls
Bose is a class leader on active noise cancellation (ANC) on headphones, and that microphone mastery extends to voice calling capability as well. That’s why the Bose 700 is the best pair of headphones for making calls, and by a comfortable margin too.
The 700’s extensive mic array picks up your vice with outstanding clarity while simultaneously blocking out loud ambient noises, allowing fewer distractions in you calls even when you’re in busy places. Combine that with a comfortable fit, excellent sound quality for music and the absolute best ANC on the market, and the Bose 700 is worth paying a little extra for.
Read our full Bose 700 review.
In a similar vein to the Bose 700, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is a pair of largely music-focused headphones that nonetheless manages to deliver outstanding overall quality in voice and video calls. Only this time, everything is squeezed into a much smaller pair of truly wireless earbuds.
Again, the integrated microphones are brilliant at cancelling out ambient sounds, so during calls you won’t have to worry about being drowned out or interrupted by nearby noises. And, while recording clarity can take a nosedive on lesser in-ear buds, it’s the opposite on the QuietComfort Earbuds — in testing, we were complimented on how clear we sounded. A new software update introduces new ANC modes engineered for specific activities and places, along with Aware Mode, which automatically reduces “loud distractions as they happen,” returning to full transparency mode when they pass.
Read our full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.
While not quite on Bose’s level, Apple knows a thing or two about making headphones that can double as great calling headsets. Its best effort is also the most expensive, but the AirPods Max has a few tricks that help justify the high price. Transparency mode is one: this lets you hear you own voice when speaking, which in turn helps you moderate your own volume and make sure you’re coming through clear.
Not that the latter takes much effort, as the AirPods Max do fine work in reducing the impact of ambient sound on the microphones. Apple’s pair of ANC headphones also feels a lot lighter than it actually is, which might help for long meetings — or just if you have particularly talkative friends.
Read our full Apple AirPods Max review.
The Jabra Elite 65t is a curious case: there are much newer and more advanced Jabra earbuds, like the Elite 85t and Elite Active 75t, but strangely these all represent downgrades on the Elite 65t’s fantastic call quality. If, then, you want a pair of headphones for voice and video calls specifically, it’s arguably best to go with this older pair.
A four-mic array delivers that golden combination of clear voice and minimal ambient intrusion. The Elite 65t is particularly effective at resisting wind noise, so will suit those who like to take calls while out walking. You can also use the transparency mode you hear yourself, and adjust your own loudness through the mobile app.
Read our full Jabra Elite 65t review.
Another good showing for Apple, the AirPods Pro effectively cuts out background noise and provides a better seal in your year than the standard AirPods (below). This improves passive sound isolation so you can better hear our friends and colleagues on the line, and that’s not even taking into account the AirPods Pro’s ANC.
It's not much of a factor for voice and video calls specifically, but the AirPods Pro also has a few special features that only work with compatible iOS devices. If you have the right phone, then, you can take advantage of faster pairing and spatial audio, which provides a neat surround sound effect when watching certain video content on your phone.
Read our full Apple AirPods Pro review.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is an excellent upgrade to the critically acclaimed QuietComfort 35 II with better ANC, sound, and battery life. Proprietary TriPort acoustic architecture and a volume-optimized Active EQ combine to produce rich, detailed audio. Bose’s mic array is powerful, not only blocking out large amounts of ambient noise across the frequency spectrum, but also demonstrating great intelligibility to understand words and voice commands when using your native assistant. The mics work well for voice and video calls too. We like that the QC45 produces loud and clear results in most environments, though wind resistance isn’t its strongest suit.
Having longer battery life (24 hours on a full charge) than its predecessors is a huge deal, but so is not being able to turn off ANC mode for power preservation. Some of the absent features from past Bose releases are missed as well.
Read our full Bose QuietComfort 45 review.
The Surface Headphones 2 is an amazing upgrade for both commuters and work-from-home types that want solid overall performance from their wireless headphones. Sound and noise cancellation practically remain untouched, rewarding your ears with deep sonics and interruption-free listening, thanks to Microsoft’s powerful eight-mic system that helps filter out 75% of ambient noise.
Adjusting ANC and volume levels is seamless via the dial controls on the side of each earcup. Where these headphones really shine are in the productivity features, such as voice dictation with Microsoft 365 to verbally jot down notes in Office programs (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Outlook), and multipoint technology, which lets you connect to 10 devices simultaneously. Business users who want to ramp up productivity should look at the Surface Headphones 2 Plus, an updated version certified for Microsoft Teams calls and offers “super reliable connectivity” when using the Surface USB Link.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 review.
This is the most affordable pair of Apple AirPods you can get — and in fact it's even cheaper now that Apple has just announced the AirPods 3. With the new model due to be released very soon, Apple has cut the price of the second-generation AirPods to $129. This model is no slouch, either, including for call quality: the dual microphones and Apple H1 chip in each earbud help to minimize background noise and keep your own voice as intelligible as possible.
There’s no ANC here, nor any replaceable in-ear tips; if you want these features you’ll need to pay more for the AirPods Pro. But the regular AirPods handle voice and video calls well enough to earn a spot on this list, especially with other benefits like a long Bluetooth range and fast pairing with iOS devices.
The AirPods 3, meanwhile, have a shorter-stem design, sweat/water resistance, support for new features such as Spatial Audio and an increased battery life of 6 hours. Look out for a review very soon.
Read our full Apple AirPods review.
A few years old but still going strong, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II could be a very smart choice. It offers Bose’s characteristically high call quality and noise-cancelling effectiveness, all at a much lower price than the newer Bose 700.
It’s worth noting that the 700’s microphones are upgraded, so you will get better performance in calls, especially if you’re outside and exposed to heavy winds. But indoors the QuietComfort 35 II still makes for a great chatting tool, and proved very capable of quietening ambient noise in our testing.
Read our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.
Very few sport headphones offer solid audio and call quality, and by few, we mean only the Beats Powerbeats Pro and the Amazfit Powerbuds Pro. We currently prefer the latter for how well it performs indoors, more so its strong connectivity to keep calls going strong when teetering around the max wireless range (40 feet). Active noise cancellation also comes as part of the package, which helps bring ambient noise down a few notches during video chats and listening sessions. Speaking of audio, these buds pump out vibrant sound to keep your workouts energized, while features like activity tracking and heart-rate monitoring mean you can leave your Apple Watch or Fitbit at home during runs.
Read our full Amazfit PowerBuds Pro review.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 sits atop our best headphones and our best over-ear headphones list, so it might be a surprise it’s not further up here as well. But although the WH-1000XM4 isn’t the absolute finest pair of headphones for calls, it’s still good, and you’d get its myriad of other qualities (including ANC) on the side as well.
In our testing, we apparently sounded loud and clear indoors, though going outside had something of a muffling effect. Keep that in mind, through for Zoom calls and Google Meets you’d probably be at home or in an office anyway.
Read our full Sony WH-1000XM4 review.
How to choose the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls for you
Take a look at Tom’s Guide’s comprehensive guides for the best headphones and earbuds you can buy, per category and price point.
First, consider whether you’d prefer over-ear headphones or a pair of in-ear buds. There’s no rule of thumb that suggests one style is inherently better than the other for calling quality, though both have their pros and cons.
Wireless earbuds, for example, are more portable but don’t create a seal around your ear; as a result, over-ear headphones might be better if you expect to take calls where there’s a lot of ambient noise that could make it harder to hear what other call participants are saying.
Over-ear headphones also tend to have longer battery life, though most true wireless earbuds will last upwards of 4.5 hours between charges. That’s enough for all but the longest voice and video calls.
Don’t forget, also, that the main benefit of buying a pair of headphones over a headset or standalone microphone is that you can use it for music and podcasts too. So think about whether you want to pay extra for ANC, which enhances your listening experience in busy areas or on transport, as well as how important sound quality is for you more generally. All of the headphones on this list sound good for their respective prices, though some — like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 — perform exceptionally well in playback.
How we test the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls
We test the calling capabilities of mic-equipped headphones exactly as you’d expect: by making calls. This lets us make sure each pair delivers the sound quality needed to ensure other callers are clearly audible, and we ask whoever we call for their feedback on how we sound. This helps us identify any problems with microphone volume or clarity — or, conversely, if we sound clear to others.
This is one of many tests to which we subject each pair of headphones. We also judge overall audio performance by how well each pair handles a variety of music genres, and will measure how long we get out of the battery before it runs empty.
To test comfort, we make sure to use the headphones over several says, including sessions wearing them for 2-3 hours at a time. This gives a good indication of how comfy each pair is, and whether that comfort is maintained in extended use.
Finally, we score each pair of headphones on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is the lowest, 5 is the highest, and the most impressive headphones might get an Editor’s Choice badge as well.