The importance of finding the best headphones with a mic cannot be understated in 2021. Now, more than ever we have to be available for video calls, especially if we are working from home. Whether it’s on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype, it’s essential to be able to hear our colleagues and make sure that we don’t sound like we’re trying to go through data points from the bottom of a well. Oh, and try not to be that person who doesn’t know a speedy way of muting the mic when the washing machine does its spin cycle.
Thankfully, when it comes to finding the best headphones with a mic, there’s plenty of choice. Whether you’re looking for a set of headphones that you can use on your commute and days of virtual meetings in the office, or a pair of in-ear headphones that can take the odd call, we’ve got you covered. Of course, as is always the case with headphones, the sky's the limit when it comes to budgets but you don’t need to spend the earth to get a great set of headphones with a mic.
If you decide a mic isn't such a strong priority, don't forget we've got separate guides to the best wireless headphones, best wireless earbuds, best noise-cancelling headphones and best cheap headphones.
What are the best headphones with mic?
Our pick for the best headset for calls is the Creative Chat USB, which is custom made for chatting, as the name implies. The proper boom mic is excellent quality, the drivers offer impressive audio clarity, the ultra-comfy earpads mean you can wear them for long periods without pain, and the flexible USB-C connection makes them easy to hook up.
If you want to go true wireless for convenience, we recommend the Apple AirPods Pro particularly for Apple users (though they'll work with any Bluetooth device), or Enacfire A9 for a more budget option.
Or the best elite option is the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which offer excellent ANC, good awareness options, and the best mic quality of their kind.
Best headphones with a mic 2021: The list
The Creative Chat USB understands the assignment. This is a set of wired headphones that knows you need a great mic, multiple ways of muting it, and also that you like to listen to Spotify between calls. This isn’t a headset you’ll want to take away from your desk as it looks a bit call centre with the flip mic, but for home office use, it’s perfect.
The mic sounds great and comes down with a satisfying click, and the earcups are a spongy dream that means no sore ears even after a two-hour video call. Even better is the fact that the Creative Chat USB uses USB-C as standard so works across new Macs, PC, Android phones, tablets, and more. There’s a standard USB adapter too, so only Apple’s Lightning connector is left out, but that's not big problem. There's also a surprising heft to the audio when listening to music, making this a set of seriously useful cans, as our full Creative Chat USB review explains.
There’s a reason you can’t go a single news report without seeing someone with a set of tell-tale white earbuds. The Apple AirPods Pro are a brilliant set of earbuds for both listening to music and taking calls. The golf club style of Apple’s original earbuds has been toned down somewhat for the active noise cancelling versions but the microphone quality is still good enough that you’ll always be loud and clear on calls. The adaptive audio too means that whatever you’re listening to will always sound optimal.
It’s important to note that the AirPods Pro really are best for those with Apple devices (though they do work as regular Bluetooth headphones for any device) but there’s never been a better time to invest, as our full AirPods Pro review explains. N
ow a couple of years old, retailers have discounted them far below their launch price. This means getting the intuitive squeeze controls, excellent active noise cancelling and various smart features for what feels like a bit of a steal.
If you don’t fancy shelling out for Apple AirPods Pro but still fancy a noise cancelling experience, there is another option. The Enacfire A9 in-ear headphones deliver solid audio and offer up an impressive microphone for calls too. We were happily surprised by the performance of these budget earbuds in our Enacfire A9 review. The fit is good and there are three options of silicone earbud to choose from to make sure you get just the right level of snugness.
The touch controls are a little sensitive so you’ll want to make sure you get the right fit to make sure you don’t have to touch the buds unnecessarily but the ANC experience is great for the price. There’s also a surprising 32 hours of battery in the stylish little case so there’s plenty of noisy bang for your buck here for your commute as well as calls and meetings.
If you spend as long gaming at your desk as you do working, then you’ll probably want a headset that can do it all. The Logitech G733 happily delivers on multiple fronts and even comes in five different colours to escape the black obsession of the tech world.
The nice thing about a dedicated gaming headset is that good mic audio is a given and Logitech G’s recent acquisition of Blue microphones means the addition of what it called Blue Voice technology. This gives you a range of different EQs and presets to make sure you sound as clear as possible, we explain in our Logitech G733 Lightspeed Wireless RGB headset review.
The G733 is lightweight and comfortable with breathable earcups, which again is another benefit of making a gaming headset your everyday go to. These have been crafted for long periods of play and the G733 never feels even remotely vicelike, just giving you brilliant audio and a surprisingly long battery life. Just remember to turn off the RGB lighting if you want it to last longer.
If money is no object for your ultimate headphones with a mic then there’s no question that the T3 Platinum Award winning Bose NCH 700 headphones are the sleekest on-head option here. Beautifully designed, this headset delivers on pretty much everything.
The soundstage here is phenomenal and the world melts away entirely with Bose’s excellent ANC implementation. There are 11 noise cancelling settings to choose from too so there’s no need to make everything disappear if you don’t want it to.
And when it comes to calls, Bose has you covered. As we said in our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review: “As for the mics, there are six for noise cancellation and four more that ensure you’re coming through loud and clear (there are eight total, with two that are being shared by these two functions). Phone calls are easy with these headphones. Rest assured you’ll come through clear and crisp.” The battery life isn’t quite as long as we’d like but if you’ve got the budget, the Bose NCH 700 will never disappoint you.
Another gaming option that's ideal work work calls too now, but a significantly more expensive one. Astro – also now owned by Logitech G – is well known for its excellent sound quality and superior wireless connectivity that we describe as “bulletproof” after testing it. This means you can rely on the A50 for a work day of calls and meetings as well as a night of solid gaming on PC and console. The only thing is you’ll have to choose between getting one for PC, Mac and PS5 or PC, Mac and Xbox Series X as there’s a different model for each console.
The microphone isn’t detachable but all you need to do is raise it to mute yourself and the headphone band is snug but never too tight. As we say in our in our Astro A50 Gen 4 review, “comfort and adjustability are high on the agenda. The ear cushions are as soft as they are expansive, surrounding your ears without putting undue pressure directly onto them. The headband is equally soft and didn’t cause any discomfort, even during longer gaming sessions.” If you’re looking for a luxury option with superlative audio that's also elite for gaming, look no further.
How to choose the best headphones with mic
If you're looking for the highest mic quality in your headphones, then something with a boom mic is going to give the best results, unsurprisingly. Gaming headphones have them for this reason.
However, smarter wireless headsets get great results from downward-facing microphones and ambient noise reduction (where they use additional microphones to measure the sound around you, and then cleverly subtract that noise from your voice).
In our guide, we're also looking for good results with music too, so you can enjoy using your headphones throughout the day, and not just for calls. And to that end, they need to be really comfortable for long periods – again, something gaming headsets excel at, though they're not the only ones.
Finally, you may want a product with active noise cancellation, meaning that it uses processing to block out the sound around you while you're listening to someone else speak – great if you're in a location that can be noisy.