Whether to drown out distracting sounds or to not bother a roommate or significant other, headphones offer a slew of distinct advantages when working from home. And, in addition to offering better clarity on both sides of video or audio chats (when compared to built-in laptop and computer mics and speakers), high-end WFH headphones often offer a premium high-fidelity experience that would cost substantially more to achieve using a traditional speaker setup. So, with more and more employees finding themselves working from home as of late, we figured it was the perfect time to delve into the best work-from-home headphones currently on the market.
One of the first WFH essentials you should be checking off your list, WFH headphones vastly vary in style and quality. But with literally thousands of available offerings on the market, it can be tricky to hone in on the pair that’s right for you — an issue exacerbated by the fact that not all premium headphones lend themselves particularly well to WFH use. To help simplify things, we’ve scoured today’s latest and greatest in wearable at-home audio to help highlight which current models are most conducive to WFH applications. And while the brunt of our focus is on audio quality, performance, and amenities, we’ve also limited our selection to headphones with attractive and striking aesthetic industrial designs that would appeal to even the most design-conscious of consumers.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
While it is the least expensive pair of headphones on this list, Audio Technica’s ATH-M50XBT is a premium offering through and through. Offering up to 40 hours of battery life thanks to a potent Lithium polymer battery, these wireless headphones borrow tech from the manufacturer’s incredibly-popular ATH-M50x model, resulting in ultra-crisp, high-fidelity audio – an area that’s helped along by the model’s proprietary aperture drivers and neodymium magnet — with a 15-28K Hz frequency response range and a 99 dB/mW sensitivity. Also available in a slightly-cheaper wired version, the ATH-M50XBT features a microphone and control buttons (for the volume, music playback, and integrated voice assistant) that are neatly integrated into the ear-cups. Modeled after professional studio headphones, the ATH-M50XBT also connects to Audio Technica’s Connect smartphone app. And with a plush over-ear design and a weight of less than 0.75lbs, these headphones offer all-day comfort.
JBL Club 700 BT Headphones
JBL’s Club 700BT (Bluetooth) model takes lessons and technologies developed by the American brand for use in its top-shelf offerings — such as JBL Pro Sound with HiRes Playback – and crams them into a more accessible, yet still incredibly-high-performance pair of wireless headphones. JBL’s Club 700BT also boasts advanced noise-canceling tech, with the company’s AmbientAware that lets you remain privy to your surroundings, and TalkThru feature which is paired with an integrated dual-microphone setup. Bluetooth connectivity allows the headphones to pair with the JBL Headphone app, and/or be used to enable Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa commands, and A 610mAh battery affords up to 50 hours of battery life while only taking two hours to fully recharge. Buttons on the bottom of the headshells control volume and playback, as well as the headphone’s “bass boost” function. The Club 700BT also makes for a stellar pair of travel headphones with a folding design, included carrying case, and weight of just 283-grams (0.62lbs).
Apple Airpods Pro
Apple’s Airpods Pro were without a doubt one of the most anticipated pieces of tech released in 2019, largely in part due to the wireless gadget’s ease of use and versatility. And one of the many areas these wireless earbuds thrive in is the WFH arena. IPX4 sweat and water-resistant, the Airpods Pro distinguishes itself from its predecessor via the addition of replaceable, moldable ear-tips and an adaptable EQ that can conform the sound to best fit the shape of your ear, hands-free Siri summoning, and an advanced active noise cancelation system that uses a pair of outward-facing microphones to scan the surrounding area some 200 times per second, allowing for hazardous noises or regular conversation to be heard over audio playback. The wireless charging case — which only weighs 0.1lbs (or 1.24lbs when housing the 0.01lb earbuds) — gives the earbuds a collective 24-hours of battery life in 4.5-hour increments, too.
Plantronics Voyager 4220 Wireless Office Headphones
Built for customer service reps, sales personnel, agents, and dispatchers that spend the majority of their workday fielding and/or generating calls, the Voyager 4220 Wireless Office Headphones are some of the most popular high-end office headset ranges on the market, delivering exceptionally crisp and clear audio. Extremely comfortable even after prolonged use, these headphones weigh just a quarter-pound and feature padded leatherette cushions and a matching adjustable headband. On top of a sleek desk-top charging dock that can fully refuel the 4220’s battery’s 12-hours of talk time and 15-hours of listening time in just 1.5 hours, the headset also sports an LED indicator light to make other individuals at the home or office privy to the fact you’re on a call. Said charging dock also gives this wireless headset a wildly-generous 300’ range, allowing you to get up from your desk without compromising a call’s clarity.
Microsoft Surface Headphones 2
If one were to design a premium pair of smart-tech-era headphones specifically for work-from-home use, they would almost certainly look a whole hell of a lot like Microsoft’s newly unveiled Surface Headphones 2. Released earlier this month alongside the Surface Earbuds and Surface Go 2 and Book 3 tablets, the SH2s feature tap-enabled controls on the headshells’ exterior, as well as a pair of integrated microphones for controlling music playback, utilizing a smart assistant, making calls, or even using voice dictation for commonly-used software from Microsoft Office Suite like Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. The SH2 also feature high-fidelity Omnisonic sound and an adjustable 13-level active noise-cancellation system. And, not only does the battery offer a cool 20 hours of use, but a last-second five-minute recharge can afford almost a full hour of music. Offered in matte black or light gray, these headphones also automatically pause music playback when they’re taken off, before resuming again when put back on.
Master & Dynamic MW60 Headphones
Though the company was only founded in 2013, Master & Dynamic has quickly emerged as one of the market leaders in the high-end headphone space, with the New York City firm steadily unleashing a top-notch catalog of models that combines state-of-the-art audio tech with a clean, retro-inspired industrial design. M&D’s MW60 headphones maintain this MO, with a wireless Bluetooth design that boasts a best-in-class Bluetooth range — threefold that of the industry average. The MW60 also has active noise-isolation, 16 hours of battery life, and the audiophile-approved sound quality the American brand has built its name on. All of these modern elements are encompassed by a beautiful, vintage-inspired design constructed from aluminum, stainless steel, and lambskin and cowhide leathers. The MW60 also comes in a bevy of unique color ways, including all-black, OD green, and camo versions.
V-Moda M-200 Headphones
If you’re the type of consumer that can readily identify the difference between a regular MP3 and a large-sized, fully-uncompressed recording, then the V-MODA M-200 may be just what you’re looking for. Hi-Res Audio-certified by the Japan Audio Society, these audiophile-grade aluminum cans pack 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets and CCAW voice coils, and were fine-tuned by the expert engineers at Roland. This ultimately results in an over-ear studio monitor pair of headphones that deliver crisp, precise audio. Built around a durable metal chassis with an adjustable PU leather headband, the M-200 features large comfortable magnetic memory foam cushions that are easily replaceable. Sporting a compact folding design, these sweat-resistant headphones also come with a supplementary carabiner-equipped “Exoskeleton” travel case. The company also offers custom colors, designs, and laser-engravings on the M-200’s aluminum shell shields, for an added touch of personalization.
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Headphones
Though Sennheiser’s Momentum 3 Wireless Headphones may closely resemble the outgoing, second-gen model, the latest version packs a plethora of upgrades and new tech. Built around an over-ear matte steel chassis adorned in genuine leather with memory foam cups, these headphones rely on a Bluetooth connection to link to Sennheiser’s free proprietary app, allowing the Momentum 3 to use a voice-commanded smart assistant or control playback. The app can also be used to customize the headphone’s EQ, or adjust the level of “Transparent Hearing” (active noise cancelation). They also feature a built-in Tile Bluetooth tracking device, so, should you misplace them, they’ll be a breeze to relocate. And, like the Surface 2 headphones, the Momentum 3 automatically pauses music playback when the headphones are removed, and continues it when they’re put back on, plus folding in one of the shells automatically powers the headphones down.
DALI IO-6 Wireless Anc Headphones
Developed and designed in DALI’s native Denmark, the IO-6 is unequivocally one of the finest pairs of WFH headphones that money can buy, boasting incredible performance that includes multiple best-in-class figures. This includes a class-leading custom 50mm paper fiber cone that delivers high-fidelity sound with minimal distortion, and a battery that affords a best-in-class 30-hours of battery life — a feature made all the more impressive by the fact said battery can receive a full recharge (via USB-C) in only 2.5 hour’s time. And, on top of offering Bluetooth (AptX) connectivity, the IO-6 — which boasts advanced active noise cancelation — can also support AptX HD and Apple AAC, as well as being able to connect to digital audio streaming on Mac or Windows via the aforementioned USB-C. Sporting an unmistakably Scandinavian design, the headphones feature memory foam ear pads that DALI opted to cloak in a soft synthetic leather: a more sustainable material that stays supple and soft for much longer than a genuine animal hide.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Headphones
Another quintessential Scandinavian-designed pair of top-shelf headphones, Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9 headphones aren’t just some of the best WFH headphones, they’re some of the best premium wireless noise-canceling headphones on the market, period. The latest (third) generation of the Beoplay H9 offers even more impressive audio quality thanks to a redesign deep-bass port along with a battery that offers 25 hours of use while only requiring one-tenth that time to fully recharge. There’s also a dedicated physical button to summon the 3rd Gen H9’s Google’s smart assistant, and an improved “Transparency” (active noise cancelation) mode. Housing all of this cutting-edge tech is a sleek design with memory foam cushions upholstered in soft lambskin leather and a polished, anodized aluminum frame complemented by swaths of genuine cowhide leather.
Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
Since 1966 Bowers & Wilkins has been producing exclusive, super-premium, British-made audio gear, delivering elite products with world-class audio and equally-impressive industrial designs. And the West Sussex-based business very much continues this tradition today with its P9 Signature over-ear headphones. Appropriately touted as “Headphones that deserve a night in,” the P9 Signature delivers unparalleled audio quality, largely due to specially-coated nylon damped cones and highly-optimized cabinets that help to better control the drivers, thereby offering utterly superb sound. Outside, the brushed-metal chassis has been paired with ergonomically-desired shells wrapped in genuine Italian Saffiano leather decorated in a cross-hatched pattern. Developed by the same engineers that were responsible for the iconic 800 Series Diamond speakers used in the famous Abbey Road Studios, the P9 also gets integrated microphones and connectivity to Apple devices.
Bose A2 Aviation Headset
Though they’re admittedly a bit overkill for the task at hand, when it comes to ultra-high-performance, microphone-equipped, long battery-life, Bluetooth-connected, noise-canceling headphones, it really is hard to beat models engineered for the aviation industry. Of today’s most popular pilot units, one of the nicest, and most applicable to non-cockpit-use is Bose’s A20. The mic — which can be swapped from the left to the right side — offers noise reduction that’s said to be 30% greater than conventional aviation headsets (which already offer the best noise-reduction cancelation that money can buy). There’s also a hand-operated control module with options for customizable audio prioritization and a built-in EQ automatically shapes and adjusts audio properties to optimize clarity. FAA and TSO-certified, the headset itself also clamps down on its wearer almost one-third less than the average aviation headset while still providing a snug and comfortable fit — an area bolstered by the use of sheepskin cushions. A single pair of AA batteries will also give the A20 more than 45 hours of life, too.
The 20 Best Work From Home Essentials
With your headphones picked out, you still may want to grab a few additional WFH staples, and our guide to the best work from home essentials has everything you need to operate from your abode like a pro.