As a trucker, having a hands-free headset is non-negotiable. Since you might be spending up to 11 hours on long distance driving, you needing to have both hands on the steering wheel most of the time. We all know a cell phone can be a great distraction tool; therefore, as a trucker, you must get a great headset that is hands-free for ease of use, comfortable to wear for those long hours of talk time, and with great sound quality to enable you to communicate effectively with your fleet management, family members, and friends.
However, with so many Bluetooth devices out there, it can be quite daunting when you want to choose the best Bluetooth headset for you. This is why in this post, we will walk you through key factors to consider when choosing a best headset. We will also share with you our top 3 headsets for truck drivers.
6 Factors to Consider When Selecting A Bluetooth Headset As A Truck Driver:
i. Design and Comfort:
The first thing to consider when choosing a headset as a trucker is the design and comfort of that headset. Since you will be traveling for hours, you need to ensure that the headset you wear is comfortable for those long hours; therefore, the design and comfortability are essential. There are three things to consider when it comes to design and comfortability:
* Type Of Design
* Ear Cushion
* Adjustable Headband
Let's take a look at each:
a. Type Of Design:
When it comes to the type of ear design, there are three options out there: ON-EAR HEADSETS, IN-EAR HEADSETS, and OVER-THE-EAR HEADSETS.
* IN-EAR HEADSET:
In-ear headsets are designed to fit into your ear canal and they come with a body (strap) that holds onto your ear. These headsets have started gaining popularity due to their simple and portable design. Another reason why you might love these types of headsets is their lightweight nature.
Even though these headsets tend to be super portable, most people tend to find them painful after a few hours of use. Hence, when purchasing an in-ear headset, we recommend you purchase one with multiple ear tips to make it more comforting to use. Also, due to the compact size of these headsets, they might not give you the great sound quality and depth you might expect.
These types of headsets are the most affordable among the two, as such, they tend to be a great complementary headset to have, in such a sense that you can have them as an optional headset in case your main headset spoils; or maybe, when you want to switch things up a bit.
* ON-EAR HEADSET:
On-ear headsets have ear cups (cushion pads) designed to sit on your ear auricle. These types of headphones provide you with great sound quality when compared to in-ear headsets; however, they tend to share the same disadvantage as in-ear headsets, such that they become painful when used for prolonged hours. These types of headphones tend to be more expensive than in-ear headsets.
* OVER-THE-EAR HEADSET:
Over-the-ear headsets are designed to have your whole ear auricle fitted into the ear cups of the headset, as such, they tend to provide an immersive listening experience with top-notch sound quality as compared to the two above-mentioned headsets. These headsets are also comfortable to wear for long hours; however, they tend to be bulkier and quite heavy; which can be stressful on your head after long hours of use. Also, it is important to note that these types of headphones are the most expensive of the three.
b. Ear Cups and Cushion
Another factor to consider in terms of design and comfort is the ear cushions of the headset. This doesn't apply to in-ear headphones. There are two things to consider when it comes to ear cushions: the size and padding.
Generally, we recommend you get a headset that has a soft and well-padded cushion since they offer more comfortable fit. In addition, we recommend you get an ear cup with a leather or velour finish. These types of ear cups tend to be less sweaty and produce great sound quality.
In terms of size, you want to ensure that for an on-ear headset, the earcup should be the same size as your ear. Getting an ear cup with smaller ear cups will become uncomfortable after a while. Similarly, for an over-the-ear headset, ensure that it doesn't snug too tightly to your ear.
Generally, when choosing a bluetooth headphones - especially, an over-the-ear headset - ensure that it has a lightweight design and it doesn't weigh more than 0.75 lbs or 350 grams. This is because the heavier the wireless bluetooth headset, the more strain it will put on your head and neck.
d. Adjustable Headband
Finally, ensure that the headset has an adjustable headband to allow you to contract or expand it to your preferred size. This also makes it easy for you to share your headset with other truckers who might have a different-sized head compared to yours.
ii. Audio and Microphone Quality
The second most crucial factor to consider as a trucker is the audio and microphone quality of your headset. We all know how loud driving a truck can be, as such, you need to make sure that the headset you purchase produces a crystal clear sound over the ambient noise, and it also should be able to filter out the background noise from the sound you produce when you are talking to others. This will ensure that you enjoy your music or communicate effectively with your fleet management, work colleague, or family and friends without any interruption.
When it comes to audio and microphone quality, there are two main factors to consider:
* Sound Quality
* Noise cancellation
* Design of microphone
a. Sound Quality
As stated earlier the sound quality will greatly depend on the type of headset you choose. However, sound quality is relative; so, regardless of the type of headset you choose, ensure that you test it out to ensure that it has low distortion and a wide frequency response between 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Another thing we recommend is to play some of your favorite tunes from streaming sites or have someone call you to test out the sound quality. However, if you will be buying one online, your best bet will be to read reviews and check out the features of the headset.
b. Noise Cancellation
Noise cancellation is another thing to consider when selecting a headset as a trucker. This feature blocks out or reduces any background noise (such as road noise) and enables you to increase the audibility of the sound coming from the headset. This can be a great feature to look out for since the noise coming from the engine revving and wind can be a nuisance to the clarity of your audio reception.
There are two types of noise cancellation options out there:
* Active Noise Control/Cancellation: Headsets with this feature have in-built mechanisms in the speakers and microphone to listen, detect, and negate any background noise, giving you a crystal clear sound. With this feature, you have to manually turn it on by using a button on the headset or you might have to use the headset's app to turn on the feature.
* Passive Noise Control: Headsets with this feature have ear cups designed to block out any external noise.
c. Design Of Microphone
Again due to the noise generated in a truck, you need to ensure that your headset is capable of capturing your voice as you speak to another person over the headset. Essentially, you want to ensure that the microphone of the headset you choose is prominent and extends to reach your mouth. This will ensure that it fully captures whatever you say.
Some microphones come with a noise cancellation feature as well, which blocks out any background noise and captures only your voice. This feature is often referred to as "Mic Noise Suppression" and it is often expressed in percentages. We recommend that you get a microphone with a Mic Noise Suppression rate of at least 70 percent. This means the microphone should be able to block out at least 70% of the background noise.
Finally, ensure that the microphone is rotatable to allow for flexibility and ease of switching sides (either right side or left side).
iii. Battery Life Features:
Since you will be trucking for long hours non-stop, you must ensure that you have a a headset a long battery life. As a truck driver, knowing the battery features of your wireless headset can go a long way to save you from hours of boredom. There are three main battery features to consider:
* Standby Mode Time
* Battery Life
* Talk Time
a. Standby Time
Standby time refers to the number of hours or days the battery can last after a single charge when the headset is switched on, but it isn't being used actively. This is a crucial feature because sometimes, you can charge your headset; however, you might forget to turn it off. In such situations, you do not want your battery running out within a few hours even before you actually use it. Therefore, we recommend you get a headset with at least a 24 hours standby time.
b. Battery Life/Play Time
Playtime often referred to as battery life determines how long your headset can play out only audio after a single full charge. This is the most crucial feature you should look out for, and we recommend that you purchase a headset that has a battery life of at least 12 hours on a single charge; however, for in-ear headphones, we recommend at least 5 hours of battery life. What this means is that you can use your headset for long periods of time before the battery runs out. It is important to note that some batteries can last up to 40 hours or above.
c. Talk Time
In addition, another factor to consider is the talk time, this refers to how long you can talk or communicate with someone via the headset before the battery runs out. When compared to using the headset to listen to only music, talking over the headset drains the battery faster since it uses both the microphone and speakers, as opposed to listening to music that uses only the speakers. With Talktime, we recommend you get a headset with a talk time of at least 6 hours.
Another crucial feature to look out for is the type of Bluetooth connectivity a headset has. Since you will be using Bluetooth technology to connect your device or phone to your headset, you must have this in mind.
If you have been searching for a Bluetooth headset, you might have noticed some have Bluetooth 3.0 technology, while others have Bluetooth 4.0 technology, and others have Bluetooth 5.0 technology. When you see these, do not be overwhelmed, essentially, what these technologies tell you is how up-to-date the technology is, and also, the range of the device, thus, how far the Bluetooth device can transmit and receive signals.
Let's take a look at these grades of Bluetooth technologies:
* Bluetooth 3.0: This is a later version of the Bluetooth technology which has a range of 10 m or 32 feet.
* Bluetooth 4.0: This is the recent grade used in most Bluetooth headsets, with a range of up to 60 m or approximately 200 feet.
* Bluetooth 5.0: This is the newest Bluetooth grade out there with a range of up to 240 m or 800 feet.
Also, it is important to note that the more recent a Bluetooth technology is, the less power it consumes. Generally, we recommend you get a headset with Bluetooth 4.0 technology.
Another connectivity feature to look out for is the Multipoint Technology. Essentially, headsets with this technology allow you to connect and switch between two or more devices simultaneously.
v. Control Options:
Control options are another feature to consider when purchasing a headset. There are two options available:
* Voice Command
a. Manual/Call Control:
These are the typical headsets where you will have to press a button to control all the operations; such as answering phone calls, shuffling music, and whatnot.
b. Voice Control:
This is a new feature some headsets have; even though it might not be necessary to have, it can be a great addition. Headsets with voice control features allow for hands-free control of the headset together with other devices that have voice-control compatibility. This means you wouldn't have to use your hands for a second whenever you have these headphones on.
However, most voice control headsets come with some manual controls.
Now you know what it takes to choose a headset, let's dive into our top 3 recommendations.
Finally, you want to ensure that your device has a mute function. This becomes important when you do not want a caller to hear what is going on in your immediate environment. Or, when someone wants to tell you something while you're on a call, you can use the mute button to prevent the caller from hearing whatever is being said.
Our Top 3 Bluetooth Headset For Truck Drivers (and their important features):
1. Eska H1: Best Value For Money (Over-The-Ear Headset)
* Battery Features: 57 hours music/play time with 30 hours of talk time.
* Range:30meters/ 99feet and up to 50 meters with no obstacles.
* Noise Suppression: 99.6% noise suppression percentage
* Control Option: Call Control
If you are on a tight budget but you still want to enjoy some good quality sound on an over-the-ear headset, then we present to you the Eska H1. This Bluetooth headset is a great choice and comes with all the bells and whistles you need to have an enjoyable and comfortable trucking experience. This headset can be connected to two devices simultaneously (such as mobile phone and cb radio) to ensure a seamless transition between any two devices of your choice.
Also, the noise cancellation feature is automatic and ensures that you block out any unwanted background noise for a crystal clear hearing and speaking experience.
The comfort of this device is on another level. First of all, it features a soft ear cup that is large enough to host your ears for those long-haul moments. The ear cup is removable, and anytime it is dirty, you can easily clean it for crystal clear audio. In addition, the adjustable headband together with the rotatable microphone ensures that you choose the optimal position for your maximum comfort.
2. Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset: Best In-Ear Headset
* Battery Features: 7 hours of battery life and talk time.
* Range: 30 meters / 99feet
* Noise Suppression: Not Specified
* Control Option: Voice Commands
Looking to enjoy some good music or make some calls without having to deal with a bulky headset, then we present to you the Plantronics Voyager. This headset features cutting-edge technology which ensures that truck drivers can either answer or ignore a phone call with your voice. In addition, you get to enjoy crisp sound on phone calls thanks to the four-noise cancellation microphones coupled with the Exclusive WindSmart Technology.
The Multipoint technology feature allows you to connect between two devices simultaneously, which can be a great feature if you have multiple phones.
For maximum comfortability, this in-ear headset comes with three different ear tips: small, medium, and large, to ensure that you get the right fit for your ears. Finally, the whole piece is coated with a P2i sweat-proof nano-coating to make sweat and moisture resistant; this means, you do not have to worry about sweat or water compromising the device.
3. TECKNET TK-HS001: Best On-Ear Headset
* Battery Features: With only 1.5 hours of charge time, you can enjoy 48 hrs music/play time and talk time, and 85 hours of standby time
* Range:10meters/ 33foot
* Noise Suppression: 99.6% noise suppression percentage
* Control Option: Call Control
Looking for a comfortable yet affordable on-ear headset, then the Tecknet TK-Hs001 is what you might be looking for. We all know most on-ear headphones can be a pain in the ass; however, this headset is designed ergonomically for your comfort. First of all, it comes with a 270-degree rotatable mic which makes it ideal for either right or left-side use.
The cushion is made from leather, which means you can enjoy your headset all day without having to hurt your precious ears. For additional comfort, the adjustable headband together with the memory foam makes it comfy to wear for hours.
Just like all two other headsets mentioned above, this headset features multipoint connectivity. However, one thing I love about this headset is its LED indicator light which makes it easy for you to identify the mute button, even in the dark. Also, you have an optional USB dongle just in case you are struggling to connect the headset to a device.