Telephone Headsets: A Buyer’s Guide

This guide has been created to help Best4Systems » customers choose the ideal headset solution for their respective needs. There are many headsets on the market from a number of suppliers. When you first start looking for a headset solution, you can be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive when a wall of headsets appears on your screen. Hopefully, this guide will help you make sense of it all. It’s really a lot simpler then it looks.

Here we discuss considerations that should be made ahead of choosing a headset, and explain the differences and benefits offered by the various headset solutions. We have also produced a glossary, to help anyone confused by industry jargon or the definition of certain features.

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Considerations in choosing a headset

Request a Quote There are a number of things to consider before you purchase a headset. Very simply, you must understand the environment in which it’s going to be used, and any requirements the end user is going to need. Probably the best example of this is to compare an agent in a call centre, and someone working from home or in a quiet office. Clearly, these users will not need the same environment considerations when choosing a headset.

So here are the main points to consider:

  • What is the working environment?
  • Will they only be on the phone or do they need to interact with colleagues around them?
  • Do they need to be in front of a screen, or do they need to be mobile?

Thinking about these three main points will help you to make the right choice for you. When you have read through the next sections where we explain the various headset types, you will see how you can quickly filter out many of the headsets leaving you with a much more manageable selection.

Confused by any terminology used above? Skip to our glossary

Wired headsets?

As you may have already guessed, these headsets are connected to your phone or PC by a connection lead. Wired headsets have been around for many years now and are very common. They have the advantage of being available in all shapes and sizes and can be much cheaper than the wireless options. Although headsets are pretty resilient, they can be treated unkindly, so it can be useful to have a few of these spare as they can easily be changed over.

Most of these headsets come with a Quick Disconnect (QD) plug that sits between the headset and the connection lead. This allows the user to keep the same headset all the time, as someone else can simply plug in their headset (as long as both headsets are from the same manufacturer). This is great when you operate in shifts, but has the added bonus of being much more hygienic.

Cordless headsets?

Cordless headsets are a relatively new option. They use DECT technology though, which is the same as you will have in your home cordless phone. This has been around for ages making them very reliable. They work by having a base unit which is wired up to your phone or PC much like your home cordless telephone. The headset then sits on the base unit where it will charge. When you lift the headset off the unit, it connects to the telephone automatically, which means you can easily answer an incoming call when you get to your phone.

The range of the headsets varies depending on how your office is setup and whether there are many obstacles around. You can certainly move around the office and get documents or top up your coffee without fear of losing your call. You can't make any calls when you are away from your desk, as you still need a keypad, but you can answer incoming calls. Depending on your phone, you will either need a handset lifter or an electronic hook switch (EHS). If you can use an EHS, you simply press the button on the side of your headset and the call will come through to your headset. With a headset lifter, you need to install a little lifter below your handset piece on your hone. This will allow the handset of your phone to lift up, which will release the hook switch on your phone. This basically answers the call for you. The call will then be transferred to your headset. It's a bit of a crude solution, but it is very effective and simple.

Although they are a little more expensive then corded headsets, prices have gone down over the last few years, so the price break isn't enormous. This makes them a viable option for you and your business. Obviously, if you have to work in front of a screen when on the phone, it may not be required.

 Pros and Cons of Corded v Cordless headsets 
CostCorded headsets are still cheaper. There are some very cheap models on the market, but the gap between a good quality corded and the cordless has decreased significantly making cordless far more affordable. 
MovementAlthough you can buy extension leads for corded headsets, cordless headsets have a clear advantage here. The range you will get depends on where you are using it, but corded will only get you a few metres at best. 
SecurityYou would think corded headsets would be more secure then cordless. The reality is there is no difference here as cordless headsets use DECT technology which is very secure as it's digitally encrypted 
InterferenceOnce again, corded will clearly not suffer from any interference as they are wired into your phone. The reality is that cordless can handle a high number of headsets before it even becomes an issue. DECT technology can support 120 simultaneous users, which means it can handle even more headsets as long as they are not being used at the same time. This should negate problems for most businesses. 

Number of ear pieces?

Headsets come with either 1 or 2 ear pieces. These are known as monaural (one eared) or binaural (two eared). This is pretty self explanatory, and there will always be an element of personal preference when selecting a headset. One important consideration is that if you need to work predominantly on the phone, and you don't want to be distracted by things going on around you, a 2 eared headset can really make a difference. If you need to be on the phone, but also need to chat to people around you, a one eared headset makes things a little easier.

Different wearing styles?

There are 3 main wearing styles available. Confused about Headsets

  • Over the head
  • Over the ear
  • Round the neck

This is purely a question of personal preference. By far the most common wearing style that you will see is the over the head. The reason is mainly because it is the most comfortable style of headset when you need to wear it for most of the day. It has to be said that it you want an option that is less cumbersome and a little more stylish, the over the ear are certainly more discreet. There are only a few round the neck options on the market, and it's hard to really know when this might be needed.

You can also purchase convertible headsets. These headsets can support multiple wearing styles giving you a little more flexibility and options. Once again, this can be useful when sharing a headset as you can kill two birds with one stone.

Connection leads?

A wired headset will need a connection lead to connect the headset to the phone. There are many connection leads, and this can be quite confusing. In fact it's probably the area that causes the most problems when selecting a headset. The reason is simple. If you buy the wrong lead, your headset will not work. There are some tools to give you a helping hand though.

One important thing to remember is that the connection lead and headset must be from the same manufacturer. You can't chop and change!

Select the manufacturer of the headset you are buying, and click on the manufacturer compatibility guide below.

Then just find the phone you are trying to connect the headset to from the manufacturer list, and you will find the connection lead you require.

Still confused or unsure? Don't hesitate to contact us or call one of our friendly team for further help and advice.

Confused by any terminology used above? Skip to our glossary