This is a pretty expansive topic so I am going to stick to the basics. What you need to know is that a decent wired headset will run about $100, and a decent cordless headset will run $300-400. Those numbers include the various accouterments that make the headset work, be it a cord converter piece or a lifter or electronic hookswitch (EHS).
Why are office phone headsets so expensive?
I can only guess, but I think we are looking at a market with just a handful of competitors (Plantronics, Sennheiser, Jabra/GN Netcom, mainly, with a host of small Chinese manufacturers competing too) and production runs that are not as big as you would think. I would imagine that only a fraction of today’s workforce has a headset. In addition, call centers – traditionally the heaviest headset users – are moving to softphones on the computer and USB headsets, making office phone headsets even less popular.
Bluetooth or DECT?
I tend to prefer DECT because of battery life and range. DECT headsets can go as far as 400′ from their base, seem to hold power all day in busy use, and don’t make your computer speakers go nuts. Every office is different and will product different results, but in our office, I can’t go more than 15′ away from my base station with a Bluetooth headset. If you are mostly stationary, or if you want a single headset to sync with a mobile phone as well, though, Bluetooth is a good bet.
The Mitel DECT cordless headset is pretty great. It works with the 5330, 5340, 5330e, 5340e, and 5360 telephones. It has about a 300′ range, works all day, and integrates with your telephone so you don’t have a weird robot lifter arm. Similarly, you can get the cordless handset with all the same features, and can even combine the two, to show the world that you will not be tied to your desk and be strangled by the cords of your phone.
The new Mitel Aastra phones (6863, 6865, 6867, and 6869 models) support electronic hook switches from Plantronics (model APS-11). This gives you a little more choice as far as headsets go, and eliminates that robot lifter arm you otherwise need to pick up and hang up on calls.
The 35i and 37g Zultys phones support electronic hookswitches too. For Sennheiser integration you would use the DHSG Adapter kit with the 35i, 37G and the discontinued 53, 55, and 57 model phones. The Plantronics APS-1 works with the Zultys 35i and 37g telephones as well for lifter-free operation.
- For the best audio quality, it is hard to beat the Sennheiser OfficeRunner. It also happens to have the best range we have seen.
- For a lightweight, low range Bluetooth headset, look at the Plantronics Voyager Legend CS. It is comfortable on the ear and has a variety of ear buds you can swap out for a decent fit.
- Plantronics Savi 700 is a neat attempt at an all-in-one headset, so you can combine an office phone, softphone and mobile in one. I managed to snap the flimsy band off the $400 headset immediately, ruining the headset, so perhaps this is not a great headset for clumsy or ham handed users. It supports DECT and Bluetooth which is a novelty.
- The VXi V150 is our vote for best off-brand wireless headset. We proudly sell the VXi lineup if you are looking for a ‘good enough’ headset and don’t need the cutting edge acoustics and noise cancelling of the industry leaders.
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