What are cheap effective headsets

These are the best monaural Bluetooth headsets in the market review

Make hands-free calls

Daniel Nusser

The products were rated by the specialist editors of the CHIP editorial team. More info.

With the mono Bluetooth headset you have one ear free for your surroundings while you can make wireless calls with the other ear. This is very practical in the office, on the go or during sports. On the one hand, it is important to have a long battery life that will get you through the day. On the other hand, you need a good noise-canceling microphone so that the other person can hear you effortlessly. The sound quality of the headphones for listening to music is of secondary importance. Our top recommendation of the monaural Bluetooth headsets is the Poly / Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC, the high-quality model is available for around 120 euros. If you want to spend less money, you can find viable alternatives for as little as 20 euros. If you are looking for a gaming headset, we have some tips for you in the video.

You can read that in the article: In the market check we identified several recommendations for Bluetooth headsets. We will present these to you first in a table and then in detail. Our price-performance assessment gives you an overview of what is available on the market and we explain what the various types of Bluetooth headsets are all about. We will give you the relevant criteria for the purchase and then answer any open questions.

These are the Bluetooth headset recommendations in the market check

recommendationPrice tipMiddle class tip

Poly / Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC

New Bee LC-B41

Jabra Talk 45

price

price

around 110 euros

around 25 euros

around 70 euros

Customer rating

Customer rating

Talk time

Talk time

around 6 hours

up to 24 hours

around 6 hours

transmission

transmission

Bluetooth 4.1

Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth 4.0

Sound quality

Sound quality

very good

satisfying

Well

Most popular shop

Most popular shop

from 110 €

TO THE SHOP (Amazon)

from 25 €

TO THE SHOP (Amazon)

from 70 €

TO THE SHOP (Amazon)

To price comparison

To price comparison

Compare prices

no further prices

Compare prices

Top recommendation: Poly / Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC

  • Poly / Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC

    According to users, the Bluetooth headset Poly (previously: Plantronics) Voyager 5200 UC offers very good sound quality when making calls and comes with a practical charging box.

advantages
Very good sound quality
Effective noise cancellation
Practical charging box
disadvantage
Limited comfort
Running time without charging box is a bit short
High price
Manufacturer Plantronics is firmly established in the headphone and headset market. After a merger with Polycom, the company is now called Poly, but the quality of the products has been retained. The Poly Voyager 5200 UC model represents the flagship among the Bluetooth headsets, which is shown not only by user reviews, but also by experts. At Amazon, the model gets 4.3 out of 5 stars with around 2750 reviews and is a bestseller despite the rather high price.
The UC for “Unified Communications” should show that the device is compatible with all telephony applications. The Poly Voyager 5200 UC is lavishly equipped: you can transport and charge the Bluetooth headset in the box supplied. The headset itself has a specified talk time of around 7 hours, the battery in the charging box has stored two more charges, so you get a total of over 20 hours. The standby time per charge is around 9 days.
The Bluetooth 4.1 standard is sufficient for all applications. A USB dongle is also included with the device so that you can connect the headset to non-Bluetooth-capable players. A quadruple microphone with noise cancellation ensures clear voice transmission. Various voice assistants are supported, there is also a button control and the headset is activated automatically when it is worn. Interchangeable ear molds are included. A coating is supposed to protect against water droplets, but water and dust protection is not certified.
Customers on Amazon mostly confirm that the Poly Voyager 5200 UC has a very good sound. This is how the microphone's noise cancellation works great and the voice is transmitted clearly. But there is also little to complain about the quality of the mono headphones: the sound is a bit thin for music, but the voice reproduction is convincing. Most users give the talk time at around 6 hours, a little less than the manufacturer promised. This is a little short on its own, but thanks to the charging box there are hardly any restrictions. Most of the criticism was for the comfort, because for many customers the device is too bulky and does not sit securely on the ear. Despite the interchangeable ear shapes, the headset tends to wobble with many head shapes.
The headset Poly / Plantronics Voyager 5200 UC (model 206110-101) is not a bargain: You pay around 120 euros. But you get a very high quality device with good sound.

Price-performance recommendation: New Bee LC-B41

  • New Bee LC-B41

    The New Bee LC-B41 is an affordable Bluetooth headset with a long battery life and usable sound quality.

advantages
Long battery life
Good wearing comfort
Clear voice quality
disadvantage
Overall sounded mediocre
Microphone ok, but quite quiet
No dust and water protection
The Bluetooth headset New Bee LC-B41 is the bestseller in its category on Amazon. The manufacturer is the Chinese group Shenzhen Link Dream Electronics, which has been producing and exporting audio equipment specifically since 2013. The good and numerous reviews on Amazon show that it is not a cheap product. In around two years, the Bluetooth headset was rated over 3,000 times and commented on almost 1,000 times, and has leveled off at 4 out of 5 stars.
The technical details leave little to be desired: The radio connection is via the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard with a range of around 10 meters. The power is provided by a 250mAh battery. The manufacturer promises a pure talk time of 24 hours and a standby time of 60 days - that's a lot. The microphone uses Qualcomm's cVc 6.0 technology for noise suppression, which is the standard for Bluetooth headsets and nothing unusual.
Voice control is possible, and there is a three-button control on the device itself. Unfortunately, there is no certified dust and water protection. The battery is charged via the micro USB interface and you can also connect the included earplugs to use the headphones on both ears. The scope of delivery also includes different sized ear tips and a carrying case. The device is available in white, gold and black.
The buyers on Amazon mostly praise the battery life, which is actually as long as stated. Most users like the wearing comfort and the controls are intuitive. The Bluetooth connection is also mentioned positively because the coupling is quick and easy. When it comes to sound quality, the prevailing opinion is that it is reasonable for the price: the mono headphones are not really designed for listening to music, even if the manufacturer advertises it. The sound is acceptable, but tinny and with little bass - which does not bother when making a call, because the voice output is clear. The microphone is usable and the noise filtering also works. However, it is mentioned several times that the volume is too low.
The New Bee LC-B41 Bluetooth headset is of solid quality and is available at a reasonable price: you currently pay less than 20 euros. Therefore, the model is our price-performance recommendation.

Mid-range recommendation: Jabra Talk 45

  • Jabra Talk 45

    The Jabra Talk 45 Bluetooth headset is a solid mid-range device with good sound quality and a comfortable fit.

advantages
Good wearing comfort
Solid sound quality
Strong bluetooth connection
disadvantage
Long battery charging time
No volume buttons on the device
Alongside Poly / Plantronics, Jabra is one of the better-known manufacturers of Bluetooth headsets. The models in the Talk series are available in versions for all price ranges. If you don't want to spend more than 100 euros on a premium device, you will find good mid-range alternatives here. The Jabra Talk 45 shows a satisfactory quality / price ratio. The Amazon offer includes all models and only provides one rating for the entire Jabra Talk series. This is solid with 4 out of 5 stars.
The Jabra Talk 45 features a dual microphone with noise canceling in the headset tip. Bluetooth 4.0 ensures connectivity and the model can be worn with or without a plastic bracket. According to the manufacturer, the battery offers around 6 hours of talk time and up to 8 days of standby time. The device is charged via the USB cable with a micro-USB interface. Many settings can be made via the Jabra app; the headset itself has buttons for accepting calls, but no volume buttons. There is also no certified dust and water protection.
In the customer reviews on Amazon, the wearing comfort is praised: The lightweight Jabra Talk 45 sits firmly and comfortably. The Bluetooth connection works quickly and the range is good. The sound of the mono headphones is good for voice reproduction, ok for listening to music. The quality of the microphone with noise suppression is convincing. The talk time corresponds to the specified 6 hours, which can be a bit tight for some users. Charging also takes a long time. The best talk time and a charging case are only available with the expensive Jabra Talk 55. Some of the cheaper models also have a longer battery life, but there are other restrictions.
The Jabra Talk 45 is available for around 75 euros. This is the solid middle class among the models in the series. The Jabra Talk 55 costs around 100 euros, you can get cheaper models for 20 to 60 euros, but sometimes only Bluetooth 3 is on board and the sound quality is poorer.

How much do I have to spend on a good bluetooth headset?

Some manufacturers such as Poly and Jabra have specialized in Bluetooth headsets, especially for the business sector, and can look back on years of experience. In the online mail order business, however, you can now find plenty of cheap alternatives from mostly Chinese companies. The quality differences are usually not immediately recognizable. You can get the cheapest models for 10 euros, but you shouldn't expect too much from the sound quality. On the other hand, there are some useful bargains to discover in the price range around 20-30 euros. In the range of the established manufacturers you will usually also find inexpensive entry-level models for less than 20 euros, but mid-range models for 50-80 euros or the upper class from 100 euros are more worthwhile. Here you get a high-quality microphone, headphones with good sound quality and, in the case of expensive models, often a charging case. Business models with a base station can also cost 200 euros and more.

What types of bluetooth headsets are there?

Monaural in-ear headsets
The Bluetooth headsets discussed here are models that are worn monaurally on one ear and have a remote microphone. To ensure stable attachment to the ear, the devices are usually only available as in-ear models, in which the headphones are placed in the ear. The advantages of in-ear headsets are their compact size and mostly low weight, so they do not interfere with long-term use as long as they are comfortable to wear. In addition, the models are usually worn with an ear hook and are therefore not only suitable for use at the desk, but also outdoors. Disadvantages can be a short battery life or poor sound quality from the small speakers.
Monaural on-ear headsets
The headband headsets are specially designed for use in the office. They work in a similar way to the in-ear headphones, but the mono headphones lie on the ear for comfort and are not attached with an ear hook but with a headband. As a result, the on-ear headsets are less suitable for use on the go, but can be worn throughout the office. Often the business models also come with a base station so that they are always charged.
Binaural Bluetooth headsets
With the mono headsets, one ear remains free, which can be an advantage especially in the office environment, because you can make calls, but you are not completely isolated from the environment. But it also ensures that you don't forget your surroundings when jogging or similar activities. If that is not a factor, you can of course also use classic headphones with a microphone boom. These are particularly widespread in the gaming sector, but can also be used for all other activities where you want to communicate without being disturbed by the outside world. You can find good recommendations, for example, in our comparison of wireless gaming headsets.
Hands-free true wireless headphones
Many wireless in-ear headphones have a built-in microphone with a hands-free function. But this is usually just an extra: Since this is not a remote microphone or even a microphone boom, continuous use is not intended. You can use your music headphones to take occasional calls from your cell phone, but only the highest quality models are suitable for business calls. You can find a selection of good true wireless in-ear headphones in our list of the best. You can see whether the model has a microphone in the detailed view.

What should I look out for when buying a Bluetooth headset?

  • Comfort
    The mono Bluetooth headset is larger and bulkier than an in-ear headphone and therefore needs to be attached well. Some lightweight models fit easily in the ear on their own, but an ear hook is usually necessary so that the headset does not come off. The exact fit is necessary so that the comfort is right. The models differ in design: With some headsets, most of the device sits behind the ear, which can be uncomfortable for some users. Alternatively, the technology is positioned on the side and a removable plastic bracket guarantees that it is held behind the ear. In many models, the in-ear headphone tip is interchangeable and the device comes with ear molds in several sizes so that you can find the right fit. Most of the time, the headset can be modified to be worn on either the right or left ear - the right side is the standard.
  • Microphone quality
    Since the Bluetooth headset is intended for phone calls, the quality of the microphone should of course be right. That depends on several factors such as the Bluetooth signal strength and you can only assess the voice transmission based on the feedback from your conversation partner. In general, however, you should be able to expect clear voice transmission, especially with more expensive Bluetooth headsets, many manufacturers even advertise "HD Voice". If the microphone quality is not satisfactory, it could possibly be a manufacturing defect, but it could also be partly due to the settings. Most Bluetooth headsets employ noise cancellation, which filters out background noise such as wind or traffic noise and only transmits your voice. In some cases, however, this reduces the quality of the voice transmission. However, you may be able to make settings in the supplied PC software or app or switch the function off completely.
  • Sound quality