When it comes to headphone vs headset, there seems to be a lot of confusion.
Headphone does not mean this...
Headphones don't have a microphone boom whereas a headset does.
Depending on your application will determine if you should get headphones or a headset.
Usually you'll get a pair of headphones for personal use like listening to music or if you're in a loud office environment a professional grade pair of headphones with a built in noise canceling microphone would be preferred.
When you think of headphones, you will typically associate that with Sony or Bose.
Other popular brands that provide headphones are manufacturers like Sennheiser, Jabra and Plantronics.
Headset vs headphone wearing style differences
Headsets that are worn in the ear will be an earpiece wearing option like the Plantronics CS540. Other people prefer a headset that's worn as an earpiece but doesn't have an ear bud or ear gel to rest inside of your ear. In that case, you would want a headset like the Discover D904 that rests on the ear, rather than in the ear.
On-ear: Whether you get a pair of headphones or a headset, an on the ear wearing style will rest against both of your ears, rather than fully enclosing your ears. A headset will have a microphone whereas headphones usually won't or the microphone will be built into the outside of the speaker.
Over-ear: If noise is a problem, the best solution is a pair of over-the-ear headphones like the Bose 700 UC or the Discover D722U for a headset. This wearing style will fully enclose your ears to block out as much background noise as possible.
Important features to consider
Noise canceling microphone- Not all headsets are created equal. If you're in a loud work environment you'll always want to choose a model with a noise canceling microphone. Apple Airpods for example, don't have a noise canceling microphone, so when you're on a call, although you may be heard clear, the caller will hear every noise happening around you.
ANC (Active noise cancellation)- ANC further helps reduce unwanted background noise so you can zone in on your calls or music.
Wireless technology- When you think of a wireless headset or headphones, you think Bluetooth. For business, in many cases you want a DECT 6.0 wireless headset for long wireless range, better security, replaceable batteries, better audio and overall a much better experience for certain business applications.
Connectivity- It's important you know which devices you need connectivity to. Some businesses only need connectivity to a desk phone, whereas others need connection to a desk phone and computer. Knowing your connectivity needs will help narrow down the best models for your needs.
For example, if you're a business that uses desk phones, you'll want a DECT 6.0 wireless headset for your phones, not a Bluetooth model.
If you're a company that has employees who use laptops/cell phones and are in/out of the home or office, then a UC Bluetooth headset would be recommended.
If you want to make the best recommendation for your needs and are unsure what you should get, contact us and an Advisor can help.
Which should you choose?
Before you choose whether to get a pair of headphones or headset, there's several questions you need to ask.
Do you prefer wired or wireless?
If your job by nature requires you to be at the desk the entire work day and you're on a budget then a wired headset would be recommended. It will keep costs down and give you the benefits of a headset to keep your hands free, pain free and ability to multitask with both hands.
Anytime you can invest in a wireless headset, that's what I would recommend. Although it may be more of an investment up front, there's case studies that show the long term benefit of being wireless outweighs the cost.
When you invest in a wireless headset your productivity will increase by being able to walk and talk away from your desk and multi task, you'll have more answered calls and less voicemails to return. Employee satisfaction increases and in return that results in happier customers and more business.
If you prefer wireless, how much range do you need?
A Bluetooth headset will typically be rated at max 100ft, but in a home or office environment it can be cut in half, the more barriers you walk through.
If you need longer than 50-100 feet, you'll want to get a DECT wireless headset which are typically rated up to about 350 feet.
How important is the microphone quality to you?
Headsets with a noise canceling microphone will always be a superior choice in comparison to headphones. We get asked often if headphones like Beats By Dre will work for their business application. You may be able to connect with your computer or cell phone, but I can tell you the experience will be less than ideal.
What's the intended use?
If you want to listen to music, a pair of consumer grade headphones is the way to go. If you like the idea of headphones but want the best of both for personal and business, you'll want a UC headset like the Bose 700 UC.
For a business application, typically a headset will always be recommended.
There's not a one size fits all pair of headphones or headset so depending on your needs is what would be recommended. There's a lot of models to choose from and it can quickly get confusing on which is the best to choose. Contact us today and we'll help narrow down a few of your best options.