The 6 Best Office Headphones - Summer 2018
- Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
- Retest after major updates
- Easily comparable results
- No ads; unbiased reviews
Office headphones are typically versatile headsets that can be used at work or in an office-like environment. This means 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 216 headphones so far and below are our recommendations for the best office headsets to buy in the summer of 2018.
Best Office Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The best office headphones we have tested so far are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They cancel enough noise to be suitable for most office environments and even loud, noisy workplaces, as long as you're playing some music. They're also one of the most comfortable over-ear headsets that we've tested so you can wear them for hours while working and not feel any strain or fatigue around your ears.
Overall, the Bose are a versatile option for most use cases, and their strong noise cancellation, comfortable design, and well-balanced sound make them a great choice for the office.
Earbuds Alternative: Bose QuietControl 30
If you work in a quiet or noise sensitive office environment, then the Bose QuietControl 30 will be a better choice for you than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They won't be as comfortable for everyone as our top pick, and their battery life doesn't last as long. However, they have a good isolation performance in a compact wireless earbud design, better than that of the Jabra Elite 65e. They are more comfortable than typical in-ear designs, they sound great and are decently well balanced with a lot of bass. Since they barely leak, you can listen to your music at higher volumes than the QC35 without distracting those around you.
Best Mid-Range Office Headphones: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
If you want a cheaper alternative to the Bose QC35 II, the best office headset in the mid-range category is the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2. These headphones do not cancel noise as well as the Bose, so they won't be as suitable for very noisy office environments. They're also not as comfortable but should be good enough for most listeners.
On the upside, they have an exciting sound with a powerful but well-balanced bass to get you pumped and focused while you're working. They have a good battery life, a great range if you want to use them wirelessly, and they also come with an audio cable to use passively with most of your devices or while they are charging at your desk.
Overall, they're a great and relatively affordable option for work and most other use cases.
More Portable Alternative: Samsung Gear IconX
If you want something a bit more portable and breathable than the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, then get the Samsung Gear IconX. They're a truly wireless in-ear so they won't last as long on a single charge and won't have the wireless range or connection options of the Plantronics. On the upside, they're very compact and come with a great charging case that will easily fit into your pockets. They sound decently balanced and barely leak, even at high volumes, which makes them a great choice for noise-sensitive office environments. They also block a lot of ambient chatter passively with their in-ear fit for more noisy workplaces.
Best Budget Office Headphones: Samsung U Flex
If the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 and the Samsung Gear IconX are too expensive, the best budget office headphones are the Samsung U Flex. They're not noise-canceling headphones like the BackBeat Pro 2 and they won't last as long on a single charge or be as comfortable for all listeners. But on the upside, they have a flexible design that's decently compact and better-built than that of the Samsung Level U Pro. They also have an above average sound that you can heavily customize if you have a Samsung phone or tablet. They barely leak so you can listen to your music at high volumes without distracting your colleagues, which make them a decent option for the office.
More Versatile Alternative: Jaybird Freedom
If you want a more versatile option for non-Android or Samsung users than the Samsung U Flex, we recommend the Jaybird Freedom. They do not have the continuous battery life of the U Flex since you have to use their clunky and cumbersome charging clip. They are also a bit less sturdy in terms of build quality but overall they have a decently durable design that's good for the office and the gym. They do not leak much so you won't distract your colleagues when listening to music at high volumes and they have a decently comfortable in-ear fit that's stable enough for most use cases. They're a good choice if your job involves a lot of moving around.
- Bowers and Wilkins PX. A well-made and luxurious looking headphone with good noise isolation and low leakage suitable for an office environment. Tight, uncomfortable fit on some listeners. See our review
- Beats Studio3 Wireless. A less leaky alternative to the QC35. Stylish and comfortable design but somewhat mediocre adaptive isolation. See our review
- Sony WH-1000XM2. Outstanding isolation and above-average sound. Slightly pricey and bulky design. See our review
- Sennheiser PXC 550. Customizable sound, comfortable and stable fit. Leaky at higher volumes. See our review
- Bose QuietComfort 25. Comfortable design and great isolation. A wired alternative to the QC35 but also quite leaky. See our review
- SteelSeries Arctis 7. A versatile gaming headset with a lot of connection options, a good sound and a great mic for making calls. They do not block the most noise and can be a bit tight on some heads. See our review
- Jabra Elite 65e. A cheaper alternative to the Bose QC30 with a comfortable earbud fit. They have a better mic for making calls but do not isolate as well in loud environments and do not sound as balanced as the bose. See our review
- BeatsX. A good alternative to the Samsung gear Icon X if you're an iOS user. They have a good sound and a good isolation performance with low leakage for the office. See our review
- Samsung Level Over Wireless. Good versatile audio reproduction and low leakage. But bulky design and mediocre noise cancellation. See our review
- JBL Everest Elite 700. Good noise isolation and customizable sound. A bit tight on the head and bulky design. See our review
- Sennheiser HD 4.50. Low leakage and above-average noise canceling. See our review
- Samsung Level U Pro. Good alternative to the Samsung Level U Flex but not as well-built. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best office headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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.
Questions & Answers
We could probably be more helpful if we knew about your budget, and about your priorities in terms of sound, isolation and leakage. Having said that, our recommendations would be the QuietComfort 35 II/QuietComfort 35, WH-1000XM2/MDR-1000X, and PXC 550 Wireless.
Alternatively, you can go to the bottom of the Sound Quality page, add Noise Isolation filter and set the slider to 6.9, then add Leakage and set the slider to 6.5. Now you can sort based on Sound, Isolation, and Leakage while cutting headphones that score worse than 6.9 for isolation, and worse than 6.5 for leakage.
Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.