The best headphones for making phone calls
Whether you're working from home or living the digital nomad life taking calls on the go, it's important to have high-quality headphones so your important discussions can happen without any disturbance. While you can use any headphones to make calls, we recommend opting for options with excellent active noise canceling (ANC), clear sound quality, and an easy-to-switch transparency mode to get the best results. We've saved you the hard work and rounded up the best headphones with microphones for calls, and to be clear, we're talking about over-ear headphones.
Prefer earbuds? We've got you covered, too, with our list of the best earbuds for phone calls. Let's get to it.Show 2 more items Sony
- Excellent sound
- Very good comfort
- Ultra-clear call quality
- Best-in-class noise canceling
- Very good battery life
- Hi-res compatible (wired/wireless)
- Hands-free voice assistant access
- Classy, modern design
- Fold-flat, but don't fold up
With unmatched sound quality and top-tier noise cancellation, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is a solid 10/10. Their powerful noise cancellation "erases" outside sound, as our reviewer says, so you can take calls anywhere from a busy coffee shop to a noisy construction site. Thanks to their powerful processors, your sound reaches the person on the other end of the call quite clearly, even if you're standing in the middle of a bustling street or operating heavy machinery.
The transparency mode is just as impressive, giving you a good mix of inner and outer sounds for those moments when you have to be aware of the world around you. The XM5s get even better with their long-lasting battery life. You get 30 hours of continuous runtime with ANC on and a whopping 40 hours when ANC is off.
This means you can go the whole week without a charge. Just three minutes of charging gives you three hours of playback, making them one of the best pairs of headphones for phone calls as well as overall use. The only issue here is the hefty price tag setting you back £400.
But the remarkable features are quite worth the price, so if you have a bigger budget, absolutely go for it.Sony WH-1000XM5Apple
- Best-in-class ANC
- Amazing transparency mode
- Excellent build quality
- Excellent sound quality
- Top-notch call quality
- Charges via Lightning cable
- Heavy on head
If you're an iOS user, the AirPods Max are, no doubt, the best pick for you. Featuring excellent, clear sound and top-notch noise cancellation, these are perfect for both indoor and outdoor calls, snagging a spot on our list of the best noise-canceling headphones. The transparency mode and ANC features are everything you could ask for, giving you better performance than other similarly priced headphones.
Calling is as smooth as it gets with the AirPods Max. They handle wind noise and minimize disturbances to the point where you don't even realize there's noise around you. You also get a large, intuitive button to switch between ANC and transparency mode so you can handle calls and listen to music just the way you like.
Connectivity is excellent as well, especially with Apple products, although they're terrible for Android users. The £550 price tag also puts them out of many people's budget range, but if you're deep in the Apple ecosystem and have money to spend, we highly recommend the AirPods Max. There's also a wide range of great AirPods Max accessories to spice things up, too.AirPods MaxJBL
JBL Tour One
- Effective ANC
- Good sound quality
- Excellent call quality
- Great battery life
- No sidetone for calls
- No aptX/aptX HD/LDAC codecs
JBL isn't the first name that comes to mind when you think of headphones, but the JBL Tour Ones are seriously worth considering, especially for frequent callers.
These are cheaper than the popular Sony and Apple models but offer good ANC with brilliant call quality even in noisy settings. The noise cancellation isn't as good as the Sony WH-1000XM5, AirPods Max, or Bose headphones, but they more than make up for it with calling performance. The mic doesn't pick up external noise and keeps your voice crystal clear for perfectly smooth, professional-sounding calls.
You get a transparency mode called Ambient Aware to keep track of your surroundings, as well as a TalkThru mode for speaking to someone in front of you. But this doesn't work when you're on a call. The battery life is another plus point, giving you 50 hours of playback with ANC off and about 25 hours with continuous ANC.
Charging is also fast, adding three hours with a 10-minute charge.JBL Tour One
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
- Excellent noise canceling
- Extremely comfortable
- Remarkable voice clarity for calls and voice assistants
- Connect to multiple devices at once
- USB-C brings convenient quick-charging
- Boost to lower treble comes off as harsh
- Requires Bose Music App to control many functions
Bose delivers clean performance every single time, and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are no exception. You get impressive sound clarity on calls, and the mic is adept at canceling background noise so there are no pesky interruptions during your conversations. They're pricey at £400, but the great-sounding calls are definitely worth the investment if you always use your headphones for calling.
The Bose 700 work quite well with voice assistants, too, so you don't have to fiddle with the buttons for every little function. The ANC is already fairly decent, but using the Bose Music app gives you more control over your listening experience. The battery is good, too, giving you 40 hours of runtime with ANC off and 20 hours with ANC on, which is more than enough for everyday calling and general use.
The fast charging will also come in handy if you have an urgent call coming up, as you get more than two hours of playback with just 15 minutes of charging. These don't offer 10/10 sound quality and unmatched noise cancelation, though, which may make it hard to justify the heavy price tag. But the Bose 700 are really, really good for calling, so if that's your priority, you might want to pick these up.Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700Ted Kritsonis / Digital Trends
- Great sound quality
- Very comfortable for long periods
- Ridiculous battery life
- Solid ANC performance
- Great app support
- Affordable price
- No wear sensors
- Wired mode disables extra features
If you can't invest in a £300-plus pair of headphones at the moment, worry not.
You can still get good-quality calling headphones with a mic for just £100. Take the 1More SonoFlow, for instance. You get decent ANC considering it's a third of the price of other premium headphones, and the call quality is good enough for everyday use.
The sound quality is fairly good, too, with our reviewer gushing about the SonoFlow's punchy 40mm drivers and support for Sony's LDAC hi-res codec, if you're into that sort of thing. But where these cans really shine is with their impressive battery life. You get 50 hours of runtime with ANC on and an unbelievable 70 hours with ANC off, putting these ahead of most of the popular, high-end headphones.
You also get Bluetooth multipoint and 12 EQ presets, which are quite a lot of features for £100 headphones.
As expected, these aren't our best pick for noise cancelation and sound quality, though, but if calling is your focus, these will do a great job for a budget pick.1More SonoFlow