Many companies, brands, and users are veering away from the staple wired headset and opting for something more convenient: a Bluetooth earpiece. These are becoming increasingly popular with brands like Apple, Google, and possibly Samsung in the future, as well. Cords become a hassle, and headphone jacks take up too much space in progressively slimmer devices.
Now that the Bluetooth earpiece has made its mark though, there are a lot of options to choose from: so where do you start? In this article not only will we give you the top 5 brands to be looking at, we will also help you know what you want and need from a Bluetooth earpiece so finding the right one can be less of a hassle.
What Is a Bluetooth Earpiece?
As we mentioned earlier, a Bluetooth earpiece has no long cord to drag in front of what you are doing, tangle with your hands, or get caught against anything you walk past. While some have a small cord to connect the two earpieces, they have essentially eliminated a hazard and an annoyance in one swoop.
There are also many different styles for a Bluetooth earpiece, just like there are many styles for earbuds, headsets, and headphones. Some are earbuds that can wrap around your ear for a snug fit while others can be over the ear headphones.
Bluetooth operates through radio waves, which means that even if you have no service, signal, or W-fi, you can still use your Bluetooth earpiece.
Though Bluetooth is not necessarily new, there are still a few kinks in the system. Sometimes Bluetooth can cut out or refuse to connect, for example. While these are not daily issues, they are issues that many users have come to expect.
How Does It Work?
A Bluetooth earpiece works by connecting - or pairing - with a device that is Bluetooth enabled (typically most phones, laptops, speakers, and cars). This pairing needs to be enabled on both devices. For example, to pair a Bluetooth earpiece to a phone both the phone and the earpiece needs to be scanning for available devices to pair with.
While each earpiece has different instructions on how to scan, generally a phone has a Bluetooth icon that just needs to be switched on in order to start scanning. Depending on the device, there may also be a code to put in (this is most common in vehicles). Overall though, it is a very simple set up and takes only seconds.
What Do I Need In a Bluetooth Earpiece?
What Will I Use it For?
This is always going to be one of the most important questions to ask. Do you need it for work or for the gym? Does it need to be multifunctional? Does it need to be weather proofed? It all depends on what you need. For work, you may need something subtle that only covers one ear and needs to be professional. For the gym, you may want something like a wireless headphone set up that covers both ears and is built for music.
While we will list our recommendations for each of the five brands we will cover, it is good to start thinking about it now so you can skip the unnecessary options.
Do I Need 1 or 2 Earpieces?
What we mean here is to ask yourself if you are going to be using only one earpiece or if you want something in or on both ears. One earpiece is ideal for work and for phone calls. Having two is best for music.
How Far Away From the Device Will I Be?
This may seem strangely specific, but if you will be working a certain distance away from the device your Bluetooth earpiece is connected to, that is an important thing to consider. Some Bluetooth pieces only have a limited range of 1-2 feet, while others can work through rooms and across halls. While this may not matter for most, for those that will not be able to be within close proximity of the paired device, you will need to take range into consideration.
How Long Will You Be Wearing Them?
This is important for those needing call-focused pieces. If you are wearing them all day, or even two to three hours at a time, you will need something that is easy and comfortable to wear. Whether that means minimalistic and lightweight or heavily padded is up to your preference.
Top 5 Best Bluetooth Earpiece Brands
Now that you have at least somewhat of an idea of what you want or need from a Bluetooth earpiece, let's get into the top 5 brands to look at.
- Cutting edge noise cancellation: Voyager 5200 features four microphones and a proprietary...
- Exclusive windsmart technology: Six layers of our Unique WindSmart technology detect wind...
- Comfort-tested design: Rigorously tested for stability and comfort on a wide range of ear...
Plantronics Bluetooth earpieces have come first in many different areas like comfort, value, and versatility, so we felt they were well-deserving of the top spot. While they have four to five options that tend to rotate in everyone's favorite list, we have included two that we felt hit two different needs.
The Voyager 5200 has been one of their most popular single earpiece options, as it has ranked high is superior call quality, long battery life and range, and built in voice commands. It is also sweat proof for those that need it. This model is good for outdoor users.
You can find it listed here.
The Voyager Focus UC has won many over for comfort alone. This is a full headphone set instead of a single earpiece and has excelled in sound balance and quality, battery life, and of course, comfort. With active noise canceling, different connection set ups, multiple mics, and a long range, this set does not fall behind in other areas either. This would be a good option for those needing to be on the phone consistently.
Jabra also has a few options that always end up on everyone's favorites. These Bluetooth pieces do well in the compact and rugged areas of use and are often minimalistic and durable.
The Jabra Steel is a single earpiece that has superior noise cancelation, dust, dirt, and water resistance, and is drop resistant as well. It is great for those working in noisy environments and need something durable and rugged to survive.
The Jabra Wave is an option for users that do not need something discreet like the Steel. This single earpiece wraps around your ear to ensure a snug fit and is well known for its long battery life. Pair that with noise suppression and good sound quality and you have another option for users on the go.
Jabra also offers the most compact option in their Stealth model. This model includes GPS tracking in case you misplace your earpiece, great noise cancelation and quality, and can pair with multiple devices at the same time. This is a great option for on the go users.
- Mobile Communications: For professionals using Skype for Business, who require a...
- Improved Flexibility: Connects to two mobile phones, or a cell phone & PC, to allow for...
- Optimized Speech Clarity: Unique SpeakFocus technology with three digital microphones...
Second overall to Plantronics, Sennheiser only has one model we want to focus on here, though there are other models that may fit your needs. The Sennheiser Presence UC has a little bit of everything. It offers great noise cancelation, good battery life, Own-Voice detection technology, optimized speech, and can connect to multiple devices. This is the perfect device for working in an environment that requires heavy multitasking.
- -Real Wireless Stereo – experience the real freedom of wireless earbuds with no tangling...
- -Dual MEMS Microphones – never miss a moment of the conversation with microphones built...
- -Balanced Armature Speakers – immerse yourself in music with crystal-clear audio.
Similar to Sennheiser, we only have one model we want to highlight here. The LG Tone Free is a double earpiece set up that offers earbuds instead of headphones. We are including this set for its design, as the Tone Free includes a neck band that charges the ear pieces, which revolutionizes charging and makes it much more convenient as the band can alert you of texts or calls and well as provide a simple place to store the buds.
The buds themselves are small and minimalistic and offer good sound quality and battery life as well as SMS reading ability, and auto connect technology. This model would be good for working out and work in general.
Finally, we have BlueParrot. This brand and model tend to lean more towards wireless headphones, and the model we are highlighting in this list is just that. The S-450 XT are headphones that offer wired and wireless use and well as a visible microphone. It has a great battery life and noise cancellation and is also comfortable for wear for hours at a time.
It also offers basic controls and stereo quality sound. We would recommend this model for gamers and all day users who will be close to a charging station and do not need to multitask.
There are a lot of Bluetooth brands out there and they each offer something different to each user. While all of the specs and features can sound and look great, they may not be what you need. Hopefully this list has included good information to help you decide what exactly you do need as well as give you some places to look.