Office headphones are typically versatile headsets that can be used at work or in an office-like environment. This means that headphones good for office use should have minimal leakage to not disturb the people around you. They should be comfortable to use for long periods of time and block the ambient noise of a moderately busy office.
We've tested 365 headphones so far and below are our recommendations for the best office headsets to buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones and the best noise cancelling earbuds.
The best office headphones we've tested so far are the Sony WH-1000XM3. They’re comfortable, well-built headphones with an outstanding noise cancelling system. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are a close contender since they’re slightly more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions, but the Sony leak much less sound, which can be very important at the office.
These headphones have a great 27-hour battery life with an auto-off timer to help save power. They sound decent straight out-of-the box, but some find them rather bass-heavy. That said, while the Bose have a more neutral default sound profile, you can EQ the sound of the Sony with their mobile app to better suit your tastes.
Unfortunately, for their price, these headphones don’t look as premium as the Bowers and Wilkins PX or the BeoPlay H9i. Their touch-sensitive control scheme can also be a bit difficult to use, especially in colder weather. If comfort is your top priority, the Bose may be a better choice, but the customizability of the Sony provides a slightly better experience for office use thanks to their versatile ANC feature that you can optimize for any environment.
If the Sony WH-1000XM3 are outside of your price range, take a look at the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They’re not as well-built as the Sony, but they’re significantly less expensive and have a physical control scheme that’s easier to use. They have an outstanding 30-hour battery life and exciting bass-heavy sound that’s great for enjoying your favorite tracks all day long. They are well-built, sturdy headphones that are comfortable; they're a good choice for office use.
Though they have decent noise isolation, enough to do an average job at blocking office chatter, their ANC isn’t quite as good as competing models. If you care a lot about noise isolation, take a look at the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC; they don’t sound as good as the Plantronics out of the box, but they’re more customizable, block out more noise, and leak less.
If you work in a noise-sensitive office environment but still want comfortable headphones, then get the Bose QuietControl 30. They’re noise cancelling earbuds that are more comfortable than traditional in-ears but leak a lot less sound than over-ear headphones. They have a neckband design that ensures the earbuds are always at arm’s reach and have a good control scheme that’s easy-to-use.
These headphones are more comfortable than typical neckband-style neck in-ears, so you should be able to wear them for a full work day without feeling much soreness or fatigue. They sound decently well-balanced and pack a lot of bass. Their ANC feature blocks a lot of noise and since they barely leak, you can listen to your music at higher volumes without distracting those around you.
Unfortunately, there have been reports of the neckband not holding up over time as the rubber neckband cover tends to unstick and peel off. The Sony WI-1000X feel better-built, but they’re less comfortable and leak more sound. Although not everyone will find the QC 30 as comfortable as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, they provide good isolation performance in a compact wireless earbud design that makes them a suitable choice for many office uses.
If you like the neckband style of the Bose QuietControl 30 but you find them too expensive, then consider the Jabra Elite 65e. They don’t isolate quite as well as the Bose, but they’re significantly cheaper and have a much better wireless microphone for taking calls. They have a very complete control scheme that includes a mic mute button, which can be handy during conference calls, and feel very well-built overall.
Although they sound okay, they don’t sound as balanced as the Bose. Thankfully, the 65e are compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app which provides access to a graphic EQ, so you can tweak the way they sound. Thanks to their better-than-average Bluetooth microphone and comfortable earbud design, they make for decent office headphones overall.
If you want to be able to enjoy some nice background music at the office without breaking the bank, the best office headset in the budget category is the Anker SoundCore Life 2. These are comfortable over-ear headphones that are reasonably well-built and come with a great hard carrying case. They perform fairly well for their price and provide good value overall.
They are decent-sounding headphones. They have a fairly well-balanced sound and provide a satisfying listening experience with most genres of music. They have an excellent 28-hour battery life but they don’t have any power-saving features, so make sure to turn them off when they’re not in use or else their battery will keep draining.
Unfortunately, they have mediocre noise isolation. They isolate well in the treble range, but not much else. The Mpow H10 have better noise isolation across the board but they also leak much more sound. Since the Anker leak less, you can listen to your music a bit louder to mask out more noise without bothering your colleagues.
If you like to have greater control over the way your headphones sound and prefer the portability of in-ears, then get the Jaybird Freedom. They don’t have ANC like the Anker SoundCore Life 2, but their in-ear fit actually isolates even more noise. They’re compatible with the Jaybird MySound app which gives you access to a great parametric EQ and they can pair with two devices simultaneously.
Unfortunately, they only have 4 hours of battery life. They charge quickly, in under 1.5 hours, but their battery performance is still rather mediocre. The JBL Endurance Sprint have a 9-hour battery life, but they aren’t customizable and they have a less comfortable fit. If you prefer the design and customizability of these headphones and don’t mind a bit of added bulk, you can attach their charging clip to the headphones to gain another 4 hours of battery life.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best office headphones for most people are to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for office headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and where you use the headphones will matter more in your selection.