(Last Updated On: May 31, 2021)

Our top picks for the best headphones to use when teaching online.

NameConnectivityMic Polar PatternCompatibilityPrice
Jabra Evolve 75 UC Best OverallWirelessCardioidUniversal BUY
Mpow HC5 Pro V5 Strong Runner-UpWired (3.5mm) or WirelessOmnidirectionalUniversal BUY
Logitech H390 Budget Pick #1Wired (USB-A)CardioidPC BUY
Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Budget Pick #2Wired (USB-A)CardioidPC BUY
Corsair HS70 Pro Best for People With GlassesWireless (via USB dongle)CardioidPC & PS4 BUY
Plantronics - Blackwire C5220 Best for Teaching and Music ListeningWired (3.5mm or USB-A)CardioidUniversal BUY
Razer Kraken X Most ComfortableWired (3.5mm)CardioidUniversal BUY
Sennheiser SC 165 Best for Tablets and Mobile DevicesWired (3.5mm or USB-C)CardioidUniversal BUY

How to Pick the Best Headphones for Teaching Online

Since the pandemic started, online classes have almost become the new normal for many countries around the world. Because of that, gone are the days when teachers only needed to rely on a board, the lesson plan, and their voices.

Now, there are three additional things an online teacher needs: a PC, a reliable internet, and a good pair of headphones.

Headphones have now passed the point of being a luxury and a want. For online teachers, headphones are now a necessity to make sure they’ll be able to deliver the lessons clearly to their students despite the lack of face-to-face classes.

English teacher wearing headphones for online classes
English teacher wearing headphones for online classes

If you’re an online teacher, this doesn’t mean you should simply go shopping for headphones without knowing what to look for, though! Picking the wrong pair may result in wasted time and money.

For instance, you may grab a pair that has great sound quality but terrible mic quality. While you may be able to hear your students fine, the same can’t be said for them.

Below you’ll find the factors we’ve taken into consideration when compiling this list. Being aware of each one will help you make an informed decision.

Type of mic

The type of mic you have will determine how audible and clear your voice is based on where it sits and how well it isolates your voice from surrounding noise. There are two types of mics for headphones:

In-line mic

Headphones with an in-line microphone. (From: Unsplash)
Headphones with an in-line microphone. (From: Unsplash)

This type of microphone is built into your cable. It sits just below your chin and above your chest. Cost-wise, this is cheaper compared to the other type as it requires fewer materials to manufacture.

Because it hangs below your head, it can often struggle to pick up your voice if your head is turned. It’s also more susceptible to picking up the background noise around you in addition to your voice.

Boom mic

Headphones with a boom microphone. (From: Unsplash)
Headphones with a boom microphone. (From: Unsplash)

Boom microphones are attached to the headphones via a ‘boom’. They sit in a static position in front of your mouth and move with your head. This allows you the freedom of movement without worrying about whether your mic can still hear your voice. Boom mics are considered the better of the two but are usually more expensive. However, the price increase is justified by better mic quality.

Another reason why boom mics are better than in-line is the size, particularly the diaphragm size. Mics with a larger diaphragm can pick up more audio data. This results in clearer sound.

Mic quality

Mic quality is one of the most important factors when buying headphones for teaching. Unlike a traditional teaching environment, your voice isn’t always clear in a digital environment. Your headphones need a good mic so your students can hear you loud and clear.

In addition to the type of mic you choose, the below specs help determine which mic will work great for you.

Mic sensitivity

Sensitivity determines how easily the mic can pick up your voice (acoustical energy) and convert it into electrical energy. A mic with high sensitivity will pick up your voice (and other sounds) easier than one with low sensitivity.

Every mic has a different sensitivity. As a teacher, high-sensitivity microphones are preferred. High sensitivity mics capture your voice easier. If you choose a mic with low sensitivity, you may need to speak louder to compensate.

Mic sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB), and is often shown in negative values. The closer the value is the 0, the higher the sensitivity is. For teachers, the ideal sensitivity range is somewhere between -45dB to -30dB as it ensures the mic can capture your voice easily.

Most apps for calls, like Zoom, Discord, and Skype, allow you to adjust the sensitivity of your microphone. So, even if your microphone is sometimes too sensitive, you can scale it down to your liking.

Mic frequency response

Mic Frequency Response
Mic Frequency Response

The frequency response of a mic indicates the lowest and highest frequencies the mic can reproduce. It’s measured in hertz. For vocals, a frequency range between 80Hz to 15kHz is ideal. However, most headphone mics are commonly 100Hz to 10kHz.

While the frequency range tells you the range of frequencies your headphones can reproduce, it doesn’t mean all frequencies will be equal. This depends on the frequency response curves.

Frequency response curves will visually show the sound decibels at each frequency. For example, a good vocal range will have a spike in its upper midrange which indicates it can reproduce the sound clearer.

Mic polar pattern

Mic polar patterns
Mic polar patterns

The polar pattern of your microphone is the space around the mic where it’s most sensitive to sound. Understanding the polar pattern of your mic is important in knowing how to position yourself when using it.

There are four most common types of headphone mic solar patterns:

  • Omnidirectional – Sound is sensitive evenly from all directions.
  • Cardioid – Also known as unidirectional, this type of mic is most sensitive to sound from the front and sides.
  • Supercardioid – The mic is most sensitive to sound from the front, and slightly from the back. Noise coming from 127° and 233° angles is rejected.
  • Figure-of-eight – Sound is most sensitive from the front and back of the mic.

When teaching, your voice needs to be loud and clear. Additionally, your mic needs to reject noises coming from other directions. Cardioid mics are best for this as the mic will focus only primarily on your voice.

Noise reduction

Having a headset mic with high sensitivity is great most of the time. But, sometimes it can be more of a burden than anything. The more sensitive the mic is, the more noise it can absorb. That’s why some headphones incorporate noise reduction technology to filter out noises that don’t need to be heard.

There are two main types of noise reduction technology to be aware of: Active noise-cancelling (ANC) and clear voice capture (CVC).

ANC often refers to the hardware installed in the headphones speakers to ‘cancel’ external noise so you can hear better. CVC, on the other hand, is a software that focuses on reducing the amount of external noise going into the microphone, so you can be heard better.

ANC and CVC are both noise-canceling technologies but they do very different things. Look out of companies that loosely use the term ‘noise-cancelling’ to market their headphones without clearly referring to whether it’s for the headphones’ speakers or the mic.

But while CVC has different versions, with 8.0 as the latest, some companies have developed their own proprietary technologies similar to CVC. So instead of expecting all mic noise reduction technologies to be the same, check the reviews instead to get a more accurate understanding of how well the headphone mic performs.

Mute feature

If you teach online, you must be aware of the mute function that’s often built into learning environments. Just like you’d find in apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, headphones can also come with a built-in mute feature.

As a teacher, you’re talking almost constantly. If you need to sneeze, cough, or suddenly block out a noise in the background, having a mute function handy is a life-saver. You can mute, do what you need to do, then pick right up where you left off.

Built-in mute features can usually be accessed manually via an in-line button. However, some headphones automatically mute the mic whenever the user rotates the boom mic upwards.

Comfort and fit

Has this happened to you? You’ve just finished a long day of teaching, you take off your headphones and can feel your ears aching. This isn’t uncommon for people who use headphones that aren’t comfortable for long periods of time.

Comfortable headphones are essential for teaching online. They cause fewer distractions and you don’t have to keep touching them to make sure they stay in place. Here are three factors we took into consideration when evaluating comfort:

  • Adjustability – Every head is shaped differently. Therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for headphones. Instead, you need headphones that you can adjust yourself to fit your head shape comfortably.
  • Padding and materials – What your headphones are made of impacts how they feel and how long they’ll last. A comfortable pair of headphones should have ample padding to reduce pressure on your head.
  • Weight and clamping force – Headphones need to be light enough so that it doesn’t feel like you’re balancing a rock on your head and secure enough that they remain in place without feeling constrictive. A well-balanced pair of headphones goes a long way in affecting how they will be worn.

For more info, check out our guide on how to make headphones more comfortable.

Design and durability

The design of your headphones should be simple so they don’t become a distraction for your students. Bright colors, LED lights, and fancy designs can put the attention on your headphones and away from your voice. This is especially important when teaching teenagers or young adults.

Of course, stylish headphones do have their place. Headphones with animal ears and funny accessories might be a good idea when teaching preschoolers to keep them engaged when teaching online.

No matter what pair you choose, they need to be durable. Stay away from headphones that are thin and flimsy, and instead go for ones that are solid but flexible enough to sit comfortably. Since they will be used all year long, they need to survive accidental drops and general wear and tear.

Price

The price of each pair of headphones is determined by many different factors. Materials used, features, and design elements are some to consider.

As teachers, you may think that investing in a high-end product that can help your classes is the best choice. However, just because the headphones are expensive doesn’t mean they’re high quality. Sometimes, you may only be paying for the brand name.

In fact, some cheaper headphones can outperform more expensive ones, depending on their intended application.

Buying headphones for the sake of having all the features is unnecessary. The ideal pair of headphones should include just the right features that will benefit you, your profession, and your lifestyle.

8 Best Headphones for Teaching Online [2021]

Jabra Evolve 75 UC

Best Overall
Close look at Jabra Evolve 75 UC (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Jabra Evolve 75 UC (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth wireless
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 150Hz – 6.8 kHz
  • Wireless range: 100ft
  • Battery life: 18 hours
  • Additional Features: Hybrid noise-cancelling technology, Integrated busylight that acts as a do-not-disturb sign

The Jabra Evolve 75 UC headphones are our overall top pick because they feature a lightweight design (only weighing 13.6 ounces), active noise-cancelling for the headphones and microphone, and a battery life of up to 18 hours. The ultimate package.

Jabra’s incorporated listen-in feature uses small microphones that allow you to hear your surroundings while the headset is on. There’s also a built-in busylight feature that activates whenever you are on a call (or activate it yourself) to let those around you know that you’re busy.

Reduce background noise with the included active noise-cancelling to help you focus. And, the mic is also noise-cancelling, so won’t have background noise distracting students. Enjoy two-way noise-cancelling so you and your students can enjoy top-quality audio!

Compared to their predecessor, Jabra’s Evolve 75e MS, the expected battery life has increased from 14 hours to 18 hours. Additionally, the entire design has changed from earbuds to headset, which is something more fitting for the intended environment.

One commonly faced problem by consumers, though, is Bluetooth connectivity. For the best connection, Jabra recommends using their included dongle rather than onboard Bluetooth features. This can be a problem for those who have limited ports or need to travel a lot, as it can quickly become cumbersome.

The Evolve 75 UC’s are certified to be used with Skype, Zoom, Google, and Microsoft Teams. Although their price tag is quite steep, they’re a feature-rich pair of headphones that deliver super clear audio.

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Mpow HC5 Pro V5

Strong Runner-Up
Close look at Mpow HC5 Pro V5 (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Mpow HC5 Pro V5 (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (3.5mm) or Wireless
  • Directional pattern: Omnidirectional
  • Mic frequency response: 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Wireless range: 50ft
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Mic sensitivity: -38 dB (±3dB)
  • Additional Features: Superior noise reduction, on-ear controls

The HC5 Pro V5’s by Mpow is the closest contender for number one on this list, only falling behind the Evolve 75 UC due to the omnidirectional mic and slightly higher sensitivity when compared to others on this list.

Thanks to the CVC 8.0 noise reduction algorithm and dual noise-cancelling technology, the microphone will isolate your voice from the environment around you to produce crystal-clear audio for those on the other end.

Incoming audio is super detailed thanks to the 40mm drivers. They work great in reproducing excellent sound, so you can also use them to listen to music or watch movies when you’re not teaching.

They have the best battery life out of all the headsets on this list with a whopping 22 hours before needing another charge. And, even charging is super easy with the provided headset charging stand. You can put your headset down and it will be ready to use by your next lesson!

Since the headset is both wired and wireless, compatibility is quite wide. You can use the provided USB or 3.5mm cables, or connect wirelessly up to 50ft using the Bluetooth 5.0 receiver.

The ear cups feature protein leather. The material is lightweight, comfortable, and most importantly, breathable so your ears don’t get sweaty. However, despite the adjustable headband, the headset can still feel tight around the ears for users with larger heads.

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Logitech H390

Budget Pick #1
Close look at Logitech H390 (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Logitech H390 (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (USB-A)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Cable length: 2.33m
  • Mic sensitivity: -17 dBV/Pa (± 4 dB)
  • Additional Features: In-line controls to mute your microphone and control volume levels.

The Logitech H390 is an affordable headset for online teachers on a budget. It features adjustable ear pads and a padded headband that offers a comfortable and customizable fit.

The headset comes ready to plug in and use. It’s natively compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10. It’s also compatible with Mac OS systems running 10.2.8 or later.

You can easily raise the unidirectional boom mic when you want it out of the way. And, mute the microphone and control your volume using the convenient on-cable controls. Students will also hear you, and only you, thanks to the noise-cancelling mic.

Its predecessor, the Logitech H340, only had a cable length of 5.9ft. Compared to that, the Logitech H390 has a 7.64 cable, giving you more freedom if you want to stand at your desk. The new in-line controls are also a welcomed addition to this newer version.

With the lowest price tag on the list, it’s great as an entry-level headset. However, the -17 dBV/Pa (± 4 dB) microphone sensitivity can be too high for some. But if you live in an environment that’s generally quiet and don’t mind manually adjusting the mic sensitivity settings on your PC, this headset will work great for you.

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Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000

Budget Pick #2
Close look at Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (USB-A)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Cable length: 1.8m
  • Mic sensitivity: -43 dB
  • Additional Features: In-line volume controls, pivoting boom microphone, noise cancellation

As the second cheapest on the list, Microsoft’s LifeChat LX-3000 headset is the go-to for teachers looking for an affordable solution that captures great audio. It’s lightweight and durable so you don’t need to keep reinvesting in new headsets.

The unidirectional mic on this headset is crystal clear. It sits on a boom that reaches around to the front of your mouth so that it can easily capture your voice. The acoustic noise cancellation filters out unnecessary background noise. When you’re not using the mic, it easily moves upright so that it’s out of the way.

The 6-foot cable is more than enough length for wearers to stand up while on calls. The in-line controls make adjusting the volume quick and easy. The leatherette ear pads are comfortable, even for long teaching sessions.

In terms of compatibility, this headset is graded to only work with systems running Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10. However, Mac users won’t be able to use this headset. Audio levels are also quite low. In order to reach an adequate level of sound, volume levels usually need to be turned all the way up.

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Corsair HS70 Pro

Best for People With Glasses
Close look at Corsair HS70 Pro (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Corsair HS70 Pro (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wireless (via USB dongle)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Wireless range: 40ft
  • Battery life: 16 hours
  • Mic sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Additional Features: Flip-up mute function, LED mute indicator, detachable microphone

The Corsair HS70 Pro is a headset that’s rich with features to make your teaching life easier. The over ear design includes ear pads with soft memory foam padding which makes them perfect for those who wear glasses.

The custom-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers deliver high-quality audio so you can hear every detail. Completely immerse yourself with the 7.1 surround sound experience when used on your computer.

The detachable mic has a built-in function that mutes the microphone if you flip the boom mic up. When your mic is muted, there is an LED indicator to let those around you know that you shouldn’t be disturbed.

The lightweight aluminum yokes ensure long-lasting durability. Even though it’s commonly seen as a gaming headset, the clean black design gives it a professional look that’s suitable for any environment.

The adjustable memory foam earpads mould to your ear for comfort and reduce noise leakage. Adjust the volume and mute or unmute your mic using the accessible on-ear controls.

You don’t need to stay tethered to your desk. With the wireless Bluetooth connection, you can move up to 40ft away from your device before facing connection problems.

The HS70 Pro’s 16-hour battery life rating is questionable, though, as the headset often needs a charge after a few hours. This especially stands out considering that its previous version, the HS70, had a battery rating of 30 hours.

Either way, there’s no doubt that the HS70 Pro’s are a feature-rich powerhouse.

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Plantronics – Blackwire C5220

Best for Teaching and Music Listening
Close look at Plantronics - Blackwire C5220 (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Plantronics – Blackwire C5220 (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (3.5mm or USB-A)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100 Hz to 8 kHz
  • Cable length: 2.1m
  • Mic sensitivity: -45 dB
  • Additional Features: Noise-cancelling mic and SoundGuard DIGITAL to protect against harmful noise levels

If you wish to use your headphones even after your classes, the Blackwire C5220’s by Plantronics is the way to go.

Audio quality is great, and the headset even automatically switches between wideband for telephony and hi-fi stereo for music playback.

Wideband communication is used to extend audio signals for higher quality speech and hi-fi is used to try replaying music as close to studio quality as possible.

Additionally, the SoundGuard DIGITAL feature helps protect your ears against sounds over 118dBA and sudden loud noises.

The noise-cancelling microphone ensures that your voice is the only thing being transmitted to the other side. The design includes ultra-soft leatherette ear cups that contain memory foam that shapes to your ear. Even though the headband is made of metal, it’s very flexible allowing you to customize the fit.

In-line controls are handy in taking control of your headset while you’re using it. The headset works natively with both Windows and Mac OS, as well as softphones from Avaya, Cisco, and Microsoft.

Moreover, the C5220 weighs slightly lighter than its predecessor, the Plantronics Blackwire C3220, despite the added features and durability. This is a great improvement, as wearing a lighter headset throughout the day makes a considerable difference to comfort during long lessons.

Although the ear cups are soft and comfortable, they can be very insulating. On warmer days, the ear cups can make your ears quite hot. This can be a problem for those that need to wear the headset all day.

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Razer Kraken X

Most Comfortable
Close look at Razer Kraken X (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Razer Kraken X (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (3.5mm)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Cable length: 1.3m
  • Mic sensitivity: -45 (± 3 dB)
  • Additional Features: 7.1 surround sound, bendable noise-canceling mic, on-ear controls

The Razer’z Kraken X is rated as the most comfortable thanks to their super light construction and memory foam ear cups. They’re so light that you’ll forget you’re even wearing them!

Audio quality is excellent thanks to the 40mm drivers and software-enabled 7.1 surround sound on PC. The unidirectional boom mic sits at the end of a bendable arm, so you can fully customize the distance of the mic from your mouth. And, noise reduction technology helps isolate your voice from your surroundings.

Razer proudly boasts this headset being 40% lighter than their competitors, with it weighing only 250 grams. It has a flexible frame that can be adjusted to fit your head. Each ear cup also contains memory cushions that mould to your ear shape and help to isolate sound. All of these attributes combined contribute toward a comfortable, lightweight fit.

However, the headset’s ultra-lightweight design may cost its durability and passive noise reduction. A common issue with the headset is cracking or splitting. Another problem stems from noise leaking into the mic from the headphones despite the memory foam ear cups, which can cause echoes for anyone on the other end.

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Sennheiser SC 165

Best for Tablets and Mobile Devices
Close look at Sennheiser SC 165 (From: Amazon.com)
Close look at Sennheiser SC 165 (From: Amazon.com)

Key features

  • Connectivity: Wired (3.5mm or USB-C)
  • Directional pattern: Cardioid
  • Mic frequency response: 100 Hz – 10 kHz
  • Cable length: 2.3m
  • Mic sensitivity: -43 dB
  • Additional Features: Bendable noise-cancelling mic, in-line controls

The Sennheiser SC 165’s are our top pick for handheld devices. You effortlessly can move from your computer to your phone or tablet using the provided 3.5mm and USB-C cables.

The bendable boom arm is flexible and makes adjusting the mic super easy. It also features noise-cancelling technology to filter out unwanted background noise.

Design is mostly black, with most parts being very slim to promote the professional look. Plus, the fold-flat ear cup design keeps the headset light and easy transportable thanks to its compactness.

To keep your hearing safe, this headset also includes Sennheiser’s ActiveGuard technology. In the event that a dangerously loud sound is played, this feature instantly reduces harmful sounds to safe levels to keep your hearing safe.

When compared to its predecessor, the Sennheiser SC 160’s, the SC 165’s include the option to switch out the foam earpads for ones with a leatherette finish for improved comfort. There was also a slight weight increase from 3.34 oz to 3.44 oz.

There isn’t much you can do to adjust the fit, though, which means they can start to feel tight during long lessons. Another issue is that when used with mobile devices through the 3.5mm jack, the in-line controls don’t work for all devices. This forces you to use on-screen controls instead.

Overall, it’s a headset with some great qualities that are geared towards those who work from multiple devices.

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