If you teach online, you need a good headset
As an online teacher, you need a modern, reliable computer as well as a fast, stable Internet connection. Next up on the list of your high priority equipment is a quality headset. Don’t stress though – you don’t need to fork out $200 for a headset for teaching online. Yes, you can own a decent headset for under $100 that looks and feels professional, and is also comfortable to wear. Let’s take a look at the best headsets for online teaching under $100.
Best USB Headsets for Online Teaching
Best Bluetooth Headsets for Online Teaching
Most Online ESL Companies won't hire you if you don't have a decent headset
- Your budget
- Your comfort
- Your lifestyle
When you apply for an online ESL teaching position, one of the first things employers will check for is your headset. To the employer, wearing a good headset is not just about high audio quality during lessons, though.
What you may not realize is that the headset you wear also determines how professional you look. A professional online ESL teacher should look like one, and online ESL employers tend to be sensitive about how professional their teachers look – how they dress, how much makeup they wear, and how much they look like the stereotypical online ESL teacher.
So what headset does the stereotypical online ESL teacher wear? That’s simple. Any successful online ESL teacher will confirm that a headset, ideally with a boom microphone, is what they wear while teaching lessons online. It looks like this:
It’s safe to say every online ESL employer will be pleased to see you wearing a headset with a boom mic during the hiring stage, and continuing to use one long after you’ve been hired.
Fortunately, you don’t need to lose an arm and a leg to own one of these beauties, though the temptation to splurge on an expensive headset will be high for some of you. Really though, expensive headsets don’t always give you a better result when it comes to videoconferencing, which is what online ESL teaching technically is.
Remember, your goal is to find a headset that will help you succeed at online teaching, and to not spend a fortune in the process. And that’s exactly what the best headsets for online teaching provide: affordability, comfort, and professionalism.
How to Choose a Good Headset for Teaching English Online
We realize each person is going to be unique, so we’ll aim for meeting the basic requirements for getting hired as an online ESL teacher, and not losing opportunities simply because you don’t have a good headset.
Choose a Compact Headset
Large, chunky headsets are popular these days, especially for gamers, and though we’re not against using one of these, they can be distracting during lessons, as they take the focus away from you while you’re interacting with your students. They can also get a little uncomfortable if you’re teaching for several hours. Notice how call center workers usually wear compact and lightweight headsets? Your headset should not feel heavy or uncomfortable while you work.
Now, some people simply feel more comfortable wearing heavier, padded headsets. If that’s you, no worries. One of the best headsets for online teaching we recommend is indeed a heavier gaming headset.
Get a Headset with Excellent Audio Quality
When it comes to teaching ESL online, you need to think not only about the audio quality coming into your ears, but the quality coming out through your mic. You don’t need super high-end audio quality specs, but you do need to be sure the headset you choose produces crystal clear audio input and output. The best headsets for online teaching either have a noise cancelling boom mic or a mic input built-into one of the ear muffs.
Avoid headsets with in-line mics, as these tend to produce a lot of noise when the line touches or rubs along your shirt, or accidentally hits your hand while you teach.
Buy a Headset that is Comfortable to Wear
Comfort should be at the top of this list, because this is online work, and you want to feel as comfortable as possible while teaching online. But comfort is relative, and in many cases, true comfort comes at a price. What we are looking for in headsets for online ESL teachers is a balance between comfort and utility.
Most online ESL teachers will find that on-ear or over-the-ear headsets offer more comfort than in-ear headsets. For those who feel discomfort with their ears being covered, a single-sided headset (commonly worn in call centers) will cover just one ear, making it more manageable.
In-ear headsets aren’t the best headsets for online teaching, mainly because many online ESL companies consider them to look unprofessional. In fact, some online ESL companies don’t allow their teachers to wear them. This may change with time, but for now, in-ear headsets are mostly frowned upon in the online ESL industry, and you would be wise to avoid them.
Also keep in mind the size and shape of your head. Seriously. Though one would think headsets are one-size-fits-all, we all have different head sizes and shapes, and some headsets that might feel comfortable to others, may not feel comfortable to you.
Choose a Headset that is Affordable
How important is price? Pretty important. Many online ESL teachers go overboard and buy headsets with a price tag north of $100. They might be quality headsets, ideal for high-end audio and gaming purposes, but don’t add much value as far as teaching English online goes. Remember, your online ESL lesson is really not too different from a typical video call. You need to think like a businessperson as an online ESL teacher, and manage your costs.
If you buy a headset that costs $300, that’s a cost of $25 per month over the course of one year, which is just around what you would make from one hour of online ESL teaching. OK, doesn’t sound like much, but then you still have to pay for Internet, a good computer, props, a TEFL certification, and your living expenses. So, unless you’ve got a really good reason to spend more than $100 on a headset to teach online ESL, don’t.
The headsets we recommend for online ESL teachers neatly fit into this price range, and are adequate in terms of audio quality for online ESL lessons.
Should You Go with a Bluetooth Headset?
Bluetooth headsets are gaining popularity among online teachers, as they improve both in terms of audio quality and battery life. While we still recommend most online teachers go with a wired USB headset which are both more affordable and reliable, there’s no denying that our recommendation will change as Bluetooth headsets continue to improve.
The single greatest advantage of using a Bluetooth headset for online teaching is that you’re not restricted by a cable that you might trip over or pull your computer down with.
Bluetooth headsets are particularly ideal for online teachers who prefer standing while delivering lessons, because they allow you to be more flexible and active with your physiology without the constraints of a cable.
Bluetooth headsets have a serious downside: battery life. While high-end headsets can give you several hours of battery life when in use. If you’re only teaching a few hours a day and don’t mind charging your headset regularly, then a Bluetooth headset might be the way to go. But if you teach online several hours a day, a Bluetooth headset may start to cause issues as the battery level drops, such as audio dropping or cutting out during a lesson. They also are more expensive than wired headsets, and you should expect to invest quite a bit more for a decent quality Bluetooth headset.
What about Apple AirPods?
AirPods have incredible audio quality and noise cancellation, and are clearly designed for comfort. But they are expensive, and thus, not the best headsets for online teaching. Is it really worth spending $200 for a headset? After all, you won’t get paid a higher hourly rate if you use Apple AirPods. Also, we mentioned earlier that many online ESL companies require their teachers to wear an over-the-ear headset. In this case, it’s best to first confirm whether the company you work for will allow you to wear AirPods while teaching online.
If you plan to invest in AirPods for more than just online teaching, then it might be worth considering. Otherwise, stick to our more affordable recommendations.
- Active noise cancellation for immersive sound
- Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you
- Three sizes of soft, tapered silicone tips for a customizable fit
- Sweat and water resistant
- Adaptive EQ automatically tunes music to the shape of your ear
- Easy setup for all your Apple devices
- Quick access to Siri by saying “Hey Siri”
- The Wireless Charging Case delivers more than 24 hours of battery life
- Apple-designed dynamic driver provides high-fidelity audio
- Active Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise, so you can immerse yourself in music
- Transparency mode for hearing and interacting with the world around you
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking provides theater-like sound that surrounds you
- Computational audio combines custom acoustic design with the Apple H1 chip and software for breakthrough listening experiences
- Designed with a knit-mesh canopy and memory foam ear cushions for an exceptional fit
- Magical experience with effortless setup, on-head detection, and seamless switching between devices
- Easily share audio between two sets of AirPods on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV
- 20 hours of listening, movie watching, or talk time with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled
- Store in ultra low-power mode with the slim Smart Case
Best Headsets for Online Teaching: USB Headsets
We really can’t rank these headsets in any particular order, as each is going to suit different types of users based on the criteria we discussed above. We’re confident though that these truly are the best headsets for online teaching.
- PROFESSIONAL HEADSET – The Jabra Evolve 40 pro headset is built for greater productivity and amazing sound quality for calls and music
- BE MORE PRODUCTIVE – Stay in the zone and avoid interruptions thanks to the busylight that automatically turns on during a call to let others know to not disturb you. It can also be manually activated, so it’s a call center headset that keeps you focused
- FLEXIBLE CONNECTIVITY – The 3.5mm jack lets you connect this Jabra headset to your personal device, such as a smartphone or tablet, so you can work or listen to music wherever you are. It also has a USB connector for even more flexibility
- ALL-DAY COMFORT – The on-the-ear headset design along with the leather-feel cushions provide all-day comfort. Plus, simply wearing them eliminates high-frequency noises, such as human voices, to help you stay comfortable and connected
- COMPATIBILITY – This office headset works with all leading UC platforms and is optimized for Microsoft Teams. Certified for Skype for Business, Cisco, and more. It is also compatible with all of the most popular online voice call services
- 【2 Speaker Drivers In Each Ear Cup】- Dual 30mm+40mm High precision speaker drivers, clear sound and operating strong bass, it delivers quality simulated surround sound to enhance the crystal-clear sound of bombing, footsteps, in the flight. Perfect for various games like Fortnite, PUBG, CS:GO, Halo 5 Guardians, Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty, etc.
- 【Cylindrical Tensile Headband Design & 45° Rotatable Ear Cups】- 45°Rotatable ear cups with comfortable foam can be adjusted to fit different sizes. The adjustable cylindrical tensile head beam is more robust and stable than the average headband. And this light-weight material is for pressure-free fit that won't over heat your head.
- 【720°Adjustable & Noise Cancelling Mic】-It filters most environmental noise around you and provide real-in-time talking without any delay. The noise canceling on the mic is great that you can talk with crystal clarity. And this headset provides high-end noise cancellation to enable you clearly receive or deliver messages that isolate yourself while gaming.
- 【Humanized Design & Premium Material】- This item is ergonomically designed with Superior comfortable and good air protein over-ear pads. Soft leatherette ear cups allow for long gaming sessions without fatigue. And there is an adjustable headband that every player could enjoy the optimal wearing comfort.
- 【Multi-platform Compatibility & RGB Light】- Support PlayStation 4, Xbox One , Xbox One S , Nintendo Switch, PC, Laptop, Tablet, Mobile Phone, etc. Please note you need an extra Microsoft Adapter (Not Included) when connect with an old version Xbox One controller. The RGB LED light highlight the atmosphere of the whole game. The USB plug only for light.
Best Headsets for Online Teaching: Bluetooth Headsets
If you prefer having flexibility of moving around while teaching online, and don’t mind recharging your headset regularly, then here are some of the most affordable quality Bluetooth headsets for online teaching:
- Incredible Sound Loved by 20 Million+ People
- Hi-Res Audio: Custom oversized 40 mm dynamic drivers produce Hi-Res sound. Life Q20 active noise canceling headphones reproduce music with extended high frequencies that reach up to 40 kHz for extraordinary clarity and detail.
- Reduce Ambient Noises By Up to 90%: Our team of engineers conducted more than 100,000 tests in real-life scenarios to fine-tune Life Q20’s 4 built-in ANC microphones and digital active noise cancellation algorithm. As a result, the hybrid active noise cancellation can detect and cancel out a wider range of low and mid-frequency noises such as cars and airplane engines.
- 100% Stronger Bass: Our exclusive BassUp technology conducts real-time analysis of the low frequencies to instantly strengthen the bass output. Double press the play button when listening to bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop for an amplified listening experience.
- 40-Hour Playtime*: Up to 40 hours of non-stop playtime in wireless active noise cancellation mode (at 60% volume) is extended to an enormous 60 hours in standard music mode. A single charge gives you enough juice to listen to over 600 songs or soundtrack multiple long haul flights. And when you’re in a rush, charge Life Q20 active noise canceling headphones for 5 minutes and get 4 hours of listening.
- 【Premium Sound Quality】 Experience outstanding audio quality from powerful, high precision 40mm Hi-Fi stereo drivers - delivering a well-balanced sound profile with an emphasis on clarity and rich bass.
- 【Active Noise Cancelling】 Active Noise Canceling (ANC) technology reduces unwanted low frequency background noises, allowing you to focus on your music, watch movies or make phone calls without distraction – wherever you go. Enjoy up to 35 hrs of playtime using Bluetooth mode or up to 21 hrs with ANC switched on.
- 【Ultra Comfortable Design】 The combination of soft, plush protein leather earpads, an optimized clamping force structure and a fully adjustable headband provides for a highly ergonomic and comfortable fit. Enjoy listening to your music for extended periods without compromising on your comfort. Foldable design makes them perfect for traveling and listening on the go.
- 【Boom Mic & Extra Features】 Enhance mic pickup by using the flexible boom microphone and ensure crystal clear voice quality for all of your personal & professional calls. Dedicated Siri/Google Assistant button and multimedia controls for volume or skipping tracks all integrated into an intuitive user-interface.
- 【24M Warranty & Life-Time Support】 Manufacturer-backed 24 month warranty upon product registration. Video User Guide & FAQ available on website. Life Time Technical Support with 8hr-guaranteed response via Email, Live Chat, Phone Call Booking, etc.
- CSR Bluetooth Chipset & CVC 6. 0 Noise Reduction: The CSR Bluetooth chipset technology provides a fast, efficient, and stable signal and low-latency, you can walk around your house with headphones on for moving up to 50ft/15m away from your connected device. It also enables us to connect to two devices at the same time for calls and music. Advanced CVC6.0 noise-canceling microphone would blocks out the noise in your area, pick up your voice clear and loud to meet your voice communication need
- Dual Microphone & Crystal Sound: Wireless Headphones have adopted boom dual-microphone technology that blocking the outside noise and allowing you to focus on your meetings or music. The detachable pole microphone would pick up your voice more clear and loud. The boomy and spacious soundstage is at the forefront, reproducing a full range of frequencies, so you can feel every low, mid, and high that blasts out of the 40mm unit's drivers
- Feel the Comfort and Easy Control: The Bluetooth Headset is designed for maximum comfort. Made by high-quality soft memory-protein memory foam earpads create a soft seal over the ears that block out background noise and makes the headset pleasant to wear for hours-long stints without feeling any burden to your head and ears. You can redial/answer/reject/end/transfer calls with the multifunction button, adjust the volume with the “+” or “-” button
- Wired and Wireless: The headset play longer with up to 40 hours of battery life in wireless lifestyle mode and full charge only take 2 hours. With the wired cable which has no Bluetooth function would provide all-day power whether you are play games, listen your favorite playlist, make a phone call, or at a conference meeting. Never powered off! Note: The mute button can only be used on cellphones, if you need to mute on calling software, please set it through software
- Multi-purpose & Wide Compatibility: Headphones would compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled devices easily, like smartphones, cellphones, tablets. It also support with any online software like Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, Skype for Business, FaceTime, MS Teams, Google Hangout, Viber. Whether you're working home and need to do a conference, or just have a video catch-up with your mum, play games with your friends, or just enjoy your music, you'll need one of our headphones to catch up your daily use
Which Headset is Best for You?
As we mentioned earlier, everyone is going to have unique preferences and comfort levels. We’ve aimed at balancing out the range of preferences we’ve heard about from online ESL teachers, so that different people will find a headset that feels right for them. You’ve noticed that 3 out of the 5 best headsets for online teaching are MPow headsets, and we can’t stress enough that these are extremely good value for the price tag. We think most online ESL teachers will be happy with the MPow headsets we’ve selected.