As a long-haul trucker, you’ve got a lot of reasons to stay connected. When you’re in charge of getting a 40-ton rig safely across the country, knowing the weather and road conditions ahead of time can save not just your time but your life as well. Plus, your employers and loved ones want to be able to stay in touch with you.
With laws now on the books preventing you from using a phone while you drive, Bluetooth headsets are your best choice for connecting on the road. We’ve gathered some of the best Bluetooth sets to help you make the right choice.
The Best Bluetooth Headset for Truckers
The Cowin E7 Bluetooth Headphones combine noise-cancelling technology with a built-in microphone for hands-free calls. The first thing you’ll notice about them is the comfortable fit. The second thing you’ll likely notice is how well they cut down on background noise. They don’t cancel all noise perfectly, but your average traffic sounds will be significantly muted.
What really makes these stand out as our top pick is the battery life. Cowin modestly claims they last for 30 hours, but they can go as long as 40—and that’s if you’re using them 24/7. The Bluetooth has a range of up to 80 feet, and the sound quality is clear enough to stand out even to listeners with hearing aids.
- Wireless headset
- Built-in microphone
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Padded earcups with 90-degree swivel range
- Brand Cowin
- Model E7
- Weight 0.85 pounds
Extremely long battery life
Very clear sound
Great for muting traffic and engine noise
Noise cancelling can crackle
Tight fit for larger heads
Slow connection to Siri
If you’re looking to make hands-free calls on a budget, or if you’ve never used a Bluetooth headset before, the Mpow Pro Trucker is one of the most popular entry-level products of its kind.
For a great price, you’ll get a headset built from durable plastic, a noise-cancelling microphone, and a 30-foot Bluetooth range. The sound is fantastically clear on both ends—everyone’s voice comes through without road noise getting in the way. It’s also a comfortable fit, no matter the shape of your head.
- Bluetooth headphone/microphone combo headset
- Pairs with two Bluetooth devices at once
- Rechargeable battery
- Brand Mpow
- Model Pro
- Weight 0.11 pounds
Durable, lightweight construction
Powerful noise cancellation
Short battery life
Slow Bluetooth connection
Can’t listen to voicemails
The VXI BlueParrott is the go-to brand for high-end Bluetooth accessories. This headset is a perfect choice for truck drivers willing to spend more. It’s voice-controlled, making it far more convenient than many other headsets to use while driving, and uses advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) technology to keep sound clear between your phone and the headset.
Other features that make the B550-XT worth the money include a rapid, power-efficient near-field connection, 24 hours minimum talk time, and ear cushions engineered for extra comfort.
- Earphone/microphone combination headset
- 96 percent noise canceling
- 24 hours talk time
- Brand BlueParrott
- Model B550-XT
- Weight 5.8 ounces
Best-in-class sound quality
Quick and easy connection
Slides around head
Hard to distinguish between control buttons
Sennheiser’s headphones are first and foremost about sound quality, and the HD 4.40 set is no different. These headphones offer some of the best wireless clarity available, whether talking on your smartphone or listening to the radio.
Controls mounted on the ear cups let you answer calls on your connected phone using the built-in mic. While mid-conversation, the Sennheiser HD 4.40s are diligent about preventing sound leakage, providing wonderfully complete noise cancellation for the price.
- Wireless headphones with internal microphone
- Around-the-ear cups
- Near-field connection technology
- Brand Sennheiser
- Model HD 4.40
- Weight 0.49 pounds
Superior sound clarity
Convenient earcup-mounted phone controls
Easily portable and connects instantly
Don’t fit over most people’s ears
Cheap build quality
No LED power indicator
ICOMTOFIT’s 4.1 earpiece isn’t built around full over-ear headphones. Instead, this is a rotatable in-ear bud attached to a microphone with a few buttons built in to control the connected device. It connects to a huge range of devices, from phones and tablets to laptops, desktops, and TVs.
We really like how clear the instructions are, and how easy it is to control your device with either voice commands or the buttons. It’s got an impressive battery life that can handle at least a day of sustained use.
- Earpiece and microphone combo
- Syncs to two devices at once
- Action button turns earpiece on and off, answers calls
- Voice commands
- Brand ICOMTOFIT
- Model 4.1
- Weight 0.03 pounds
Long battery life
Multiple control options
Customizable for extra comfort
Middling sound quality
Bad at cancelling heavy traffic
Not for those who don’t like earbuds
Another earpiece-only headset, the Plantronics Voyager 5200 is a great option for truckers looking to cancel intense noise. Its noise-blocking is strong enough to make an oil drilling site sound like a quiet office.
Other features that make the Voyager 5200 stand out include its four microphones, which create a richer sound, and how comfortable it is to wear for several hours. We’ve also noticed its battery life is longer than similar products in the same space.
- Noise-cancelling earpiece
- Engineered to dampen wind noise
- 7 hours of talk time
- Brand Plantronics
- Model Voyager 5200
- Weight 0.06 pounds
Comfortable to wear long-term
Four microphones for clearer sound
Best noise cancellation on an in-ear Bluetooth
Sometimes activates voice controls without warning
Low maximum volume
Compares poorly to older generations of the same product
Best Bluetooth Headsets for Truckers Buying Guide
For truckers, Bluetooth headphones and headsets are more than just the latest technological trend. Being in charge of a load on a long haul is like running your own business, and you can’t do that without staying connected to the people who are counting on you.
Beyond that, while truckers don’t always think in terms like “self-care,” psychological health is a huge factor on the job. Being able to listen to music and call home to your family can make many a trip more bearable. That’s not even getting into the fact that you can use Bluetooth to keep your hands free while getting much-needed reports on weather, traffic, and road conditions. Our guide is here to help you figure out exactly how to get started with Bluetooth, even if you’ve never heard the word before.
Why You Need a Bluetooth Headset
In case you’re still unsure what we mean by “Bluetooth,” it’s a simple enough tool. Bluetooth devices connect wirelessly to other devices, like phones, computers, and some radios, and replace their speakers for receiving and transmitting sound. You can make calls with your phone, but the sound will all route through the Bluetooth headset.
There are several reasons this is something you need as a trucker:
- State laws. In much of the U.S., it’s now illegal to use any device in your cab if you don’t have a hands-free headset. Distracted driving is responsible for traffic fatalities every year, so the laws make sense, but you’ll still have to work around them.
- Convenience. Even without accounting for the law, or the risk of distracted driving, Bluetooth headsets are way easier than trying to use your phone on the freeway. They’re also far more user-friendly than messing around with wires that restrict where your head can move.
- Sound clarity. You can try making important calls through the speaker on a dash-mounted cell phone. However, both you and the person you’re calling will have to deal with scratchy sound and background noise. Bluetooth headsets can cancel ambient noises while providing far clearer sound.
Types of Bluetooth Headsets
Bluetooth technology can be incorporated into a huge range of appliances, from speakers and headphones to unexpected items like watches, shoes, and doorknobs. For our purposes, though, we’re only looking at hands-free headsets that transmit sound. Those are divided into two main categories: over-ear headphones that fit atop your head, and headsets that are inserted into the ear.
- Over-Ear Headphones
These large headsets are easily recognizable as the kind of headphones people wear on a helicopter or in a DJ’s booth. You might already use some like them at home. They almost always have sound cups that fit around your ear, and an adjustable bar to find the best fit for your head.
Not all Bluetooth headphones can be used to make calls—some are just for listening. Those that can be used for calls will have either a built-in microphone, or a mouthpiece that extends out from one side. Some have buttons that can be used to control the attached device.
- In-Ear Headsets
These look a lot more like the earbuds you might be familiar with if you own an iPhone, with a bit more machinery attached. They’re inserted into the ear, usually with some kind of cuff or other device to help them stay in place.
If one of these can be used for calls (like all the in-ear headsets we’ve named on our best list), it will have a mouthpiece that can pick up sound. While smaller than over-ear headphones, in-ear headsets often still have buttons you can use to accept phone calls, control the volume, or perform other tasks on the connected device.
What to Look for When Buying a Bluetooth Headset
There are a lot of Bluetooth sending and receiving devices available for purchase, and a lot of factors to consider when choosing between them. Some are more intuitive than others. Sound quality matters a lot, as does the headset’s ability to cancel noise from the environment. Price is always a factor, and comfort is a huge priority. A few other critical points might not be so obvious, so we’ve done our best to unpack them in this section.
Without using the controls on your phone—which you shouldn’t be doing, because it’s usually illegal—typical Bluetooth headsets give you either buttons, voice controls, or both. Buttons can be difficult to use: They’re often small, hard to tell apart, or one button confusingly performs multiple functions. However, once you’ve gotten the hang of them, they’re extremely convenient.
Voice controls are more immediately intuitive, but less reliable. Shouting at Siri to call somebody can feel cumbersome when the buttons are right there. Ultimately, it’s all down to what you’re comfortable with. Know how you plan to control your Bluetooth headset before you buy it.
- Charging method
Bluetooth headsets are wireless, and will need to be charged. Sometimes, this can be done via USB in the same way you charge your phone. But not all headsets have USB ports—some have unique charging cables.
We prefer USB-charging headsets, because if you’re going wireless, cutting a wire out of the charging process as well just makes sense: It means more convenience and less clutter in your cab. Some truckers prefer the visual distinction of two different cables. The main takeaway here is that it’s important to know how your headset charges while you’re shopping for it.
- Connection speed
Near-field connection (NFC) sounds like a tech buzzword, but all it really means is that your Bluetooth headset is able to connect quickly to other wireless devices over its own small-scale internet. Bluetooth devices with NFC won’t necessarily connect faster, but on average, it provides a huge boost to both connection speed and distance.
Read reviews about connection speed before you buy. If you keep your headset turned off to save its battery, and need to reconnect to talk, slow Bluetooth connections can cause you to miss calls. On the highway, this can be a huge inconvenience, so you can see how fast connections might make a big difference.
Tips for Buying and Using Bluetooth Headsets
The best advice for buying a Bluetooth headset is to think about your own needs. How many hours of talk time will you need? How much noise will you be using it around? How important is durability? Do you need voice control?
- Think about Bluetooth wearables like you think about shoes. Remember, this is something you’ll be wearing for hours at a time, so try to get a feel for long-term comfort instead of going with your first impression.
- If you’re going to take calls using buttons, practice using them before you start driving. Learn to identify the proper button by feeling alone.
- You can clean your headphones quickly using a small cloth dampened with hand sanitizer.
Best Bluetooth Headset for Truckers FAQs
In summary, Bluetooth headphones, headsets, and earpieces are a great way to use your phone on the road without engaging in unsafe distracted driving. They allow you to place and take calls wirelessly, and listen to music from your own device. In many U.S. states, they’re legally required if you want to talk on the phone while driving.
Q: How does noise cancelling work?
Small microphones in your headset will pick up ambient sound and add an opposite noise of the exact same strength, resulting in no noise reaching your ears.
Q: Which U.S. states and territories ban handheld phone use?
Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, and West Virginia.
Q: Why do I need to clean my earpiece?
We often leave our earpieces in places where they pick up bacteria, then put them back in our ears. This can lead to infections and blockages.
Our Top Pick
The Cowin E7 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are our favorite headset for hands-free calls. We love how well they’re able to take a hit, along with their incredible battery life. They can be a bit small, but once you’ve gotten the fit right, this is a product that can last you for years of long hauls.