12 Day of Christmas – Gift Ideas for the Trucker in Your Life
Hand-held cell phone use has been documented to cause distracted driving and contribute to accidents. There are even laws with hefty fines for having your phone in your hand, whether talking or texting, while driving down the road. Those fines are significantly higher for professional truck drivers. So why not keep your trucker safe and keep money in your pocket in the long run by making sure he or she has a good working headset for hands-free cellular use.
There are many mobile headsets on the market ranging drastically in price and quality. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a headset for your trucker.
- How far of a distance from the phone does the headset work? You don't want the headset dropping its connection while your trucker is out inspecting the trailer.
- How good is the battery life? Truckers can be on the phone many hours throughout the day. Perhaps not all at one time. But between calls to and from brokers, shippers, receivers, office staff, and friends and loved ones to help pass the time, you definitely want a headset that has good battery life for both talk and standby times.
- Does the headset have good noise-cancellation? This is arguably one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a headset. Even with the windows up, the inside of a semi truck cab can be noisy while traveling down the road. What's the point in having a headset if they are unable to use it because background noise makes it impossible to talk, hear, or be heard.
- The final consideration is to make sure that the headset only covers one ear. Dual headphones or “stereo” headphones that have an earpiece that covers or goes in both ears are not safe for truckers. They need to have one ear free to pick up outside noise, things like the thump or wobble of a tire, an injector sticking, air leaks, or sounds from approaching police, fire, or ambulance vehicles.
One of my favorite headsets is the Blue Parrot B450-XT headset. We've tested and used many headsets over the years, including both well-recognized name brands and off brands. The 450-XT beats almost all of them in sound quality, comfort, ease of use, range, and noise cancellation. The 450 and several of Blue Parrot's other models all come with the one ear headphone and a rotating boom mic. This rotating mic allows for switching the headset from one ear to the other. The adjustable headband and over-sized cushioned ear piece make this the most comfortable headset I've ever used, even compared to all those I used through my gaming years.
Another plus for this headset is its range. We are able to get out and walk completely around our truck and trailer for inspection without losing connectivity to the phone still in the cab of the truck. Add in the superior noise cancellation, and you'll be hard pressed to find a better headset, especially at similar price point. With the windows down, running at highway speeds, we could talk on the phone and never get any complaints of wind or background noise. Allen even went so far as to stick his head out the window into the wind and he was still able to be heard with no complaints.
If boom mics aren't your thing, or you prefer a wrap around headset as opposed to a headband type headset, then check out the TrekzAir by Aftershokz.
We recently started testing these headsets and to be honest I had my doubts. Aftershokz headsets use bone conduction technology. That simply means instead of transmitting sound by a speaker being placed over or into your ear, or transmitting sound by picking up air and noise from a mic positioned near your mouth, it uses sound vibrations to transmit and receive, much like hearing aids do. This headset rests on the surface of your skin, just over the hinge of your jaw in front of your ear. I've used bone conduction earbuds in the past with no luck. I can hear fine, but most people cannot hear me. The curse of having the type of voice I have.
Imagine my surprise when testing the TrekzAir when Allen was able to hear me clear as a bell. We tested it from the house, the car, even traveling down the road in the truck. While it doesn't have the same level of noise cancellation as the Blue Parrot, it still has decent performance, and he was able to hear me in all situations. The neckband style headset is comfortable for wearing all day, and even for laying down listening to music or talking on the phone. The speaker and mic device rests on the skin, not in the ear, so it makes it safe and legal for use while driving since neither ear is obstructed from outside noise.
The one thing I wish was a little better in the TrekzAir was its battery life. The battery life isn't awful, but it doesn't hold up to bigger headsets like the Blue Parrot or even the Blue Tiger. Their websites boasts up to 6 hours continuous music or talking on one charge. This is sufficient if you aren't one to talk a lot. But if you spend a lot of time conducting business on the phone throughout the day then you may run into dead battery problems. The recharge time isn't long, but if you have to do so in the middle of your business day that's definitely problematic. The TrekzAir's compact size, behind-the-neck design, and super light weight makes it one of the most comfortable headsets, that is if its shorter battery life works for you.
There are a few other well-known brands worth checking out. I mentioned Blue Tiger earlier. Blue Tiger probably has the best battery life of all the headsets we've tested, and it has decent noise cancellation.
Two others to consider would be headsets from Mobile Spec and Tough Tested. Tough Tested's neckband style headset has fantastic sound quality and decent battery life. I've actually used mine for a couple years now for listening to music and guided meditation when going to sleep, it is that comfortable.
Mobile Spec and Road King have both headband style headsets with single ear piece and boom mic, as well as in-the-ear single earbud style headsets. All of these headsets listed can be found at truck stops and online shopping from places like Amazon.
What headsets have you used? Which is your favorite and why?