Wireless headphones have improved immensely in the last few years. Where they were previously defined by poor sound, inconsistent connection and dismal battery life, the new crop of wireless stars deliver headphones with sound quality that rivals their wired counterparts and battery stamina that, in some cases, will get you more than a full day of listening. Bluetooth remains unpredictable and not ideal in terms of reliability, but companies are finding ways to improve on that final hurdle, like Apple with its W1 chip.
Though they can’t yet knock off the 3.5mm jack as the standard bearer for audio fidelity, wireless headphones are getting better every year, meaning that you can buy a pair today without sweating the details too much. Whether you’re looking for the best of the best, or a great budget option, we’ve got a selection of great Bluetooth headphones and earbuds that you can feel comfortable buying today.
These are the 10 best wireless headphones:
Though Bose has long been the most lauded manufacturer when it comes to noise cancelling headphones, Sony made huge strides toward capturing that crown with the MDR-1000X. A top-notch pair of headphones, albeit with a price to match, these cans are comfortable, have great battery life and offer some of the best sound you’ll find in a wireless form factor. As we mentioned, they will set you back a decent amount, roughly $400 ($50 more than Bose’s top offering), but the complete package you get is worth the price tag.
Because truly wireless earbuds aren’t quite ready for primetime, you’re better going with a pair like Jaybird’s X3. The X3 are the best all-around wireless earbuds you can get, with phenomenal, customizable sound, a ton of fit options and an 8 hour battery life. The company does offer a more premium pair with a higher-end build quality in the Freedom, but those come at a higher price and with a more finicky battery. For a great pair of wireless buds that offer a better value, go with the X3.
As we said above, Bose has long been a household name in noise cancelling headphones. The company’s latest effort offers the same excellent experience users have come to know from the QuietComfort series. The QC35s are a favorite among travellers for their supreme comfort, and their ability to block out nearly all surrounding noise. Add in a 20 hour battery life, and the QC35 are a great choice for anyone looking for a pair of Bluetooth headphones that checks every box.
JLab had a great pair of Bluetooth earbuds with the first pair of Epics, but the sequel delivers something truly special. Particularly if you’re an exercise fanatic, the Epic 2s are one of the best pairs of buds you can find. They are comfortable, with numerous sizing options to accommodate most ears, offer good sound that particularly shines in the bass and vocals and have a phenomenal 12-hour battery life. They are also extremely durable, and can withstand rain and sweat easily thanks to an IPX5 waterproof rating. Plus, they come in cheaper than the X3 at $100.
If you’re uncomfortable with spending $400 on a pair of headphones, and we can’t blame you, look to Plantronic’s Backbeat Pro 2s. These headphones offer a premium package with good sound and comfort for a cost that is $150 less than Bose’s QC35 and $200 less than the Sony 1000Xs. The aesthetics may not appeal to everyone, but it’s easy to overlook given how good the overall value is here.
Another great pair of Bluetooth earbuds, Optoma’s Sport3s offer a consistent, comfortable fit, great sound and solid battery life for the wallet-friendly price of $79. Instead of packing the earbuds with a host of extra features, which often does more to muck up the final product than improve it, Optoma simply focused on making a solid pair of workout earbuds with the Sport3s. That proved to be the right choice in the end as these buds are one of the best pairs you can find on the market, despite not offering any fancy extra sensors or tracking.
If you’re looking for a truly budget-friendly option in the traditional headphone form factor, look no further than the Jabra Move Wireless. This pair of on-ear headphones comes in at $80, making them far and away the best deal on this list. Though they won’t be able to compete in terms of build quality and overall sound with the $400 headphones, the combination of durability, comfort and great sound for the price is unmatched.
No truly wireless headphones are worthy of being chosen over the other options on this list, but if you absolutely can’t stand your earbuds having any type of cord, Bragi’s Headphones are the best value right now. At $149, they aren’t as terrible a financial decision as many of the fully wireless buds that have come to market, and for that price you get a well-built pair with decent sound, solid battery life and an integrated microphone allowing you to make calls as well as listen to music. On the flip side, if you’re integrated into Apple’s ecosystem, there is no better truly wireless option than the company’s own AirPods. Yes, Apple has a long way to go before these headphones become truly worth your while, but if you’re rocking an iPhone 7, you can’t deny the ease of use.
On a list of best wireless headphones, the Sennheiser entry you’ll often see is reserved for the excellent Momentum 2.0s. We opted instead for the PXC 550s because of the Momentum’s unpredictable, and often, sky high price point. With retailers asking $500-$650 for those pair of cans, the value argument is a tough one to make. While most will claim the 550s as lesser headphones, they bring a lot to the table in a similar price range as the QC35s and 1000Xs. Like its closest competitors, the PXC 550s offering great sound for Bluetooth headphones and good noise cancelling, though not at quite the same level as the offerings from Bose and Sony. They also have a few nifty features, like touch controls, to sweeten the deal.
The P7 Wireless are the pair of Bluetooth headphones for the stylish basshead in your life. They are an undeniably premium pair of headphones, with a handsome leather and metal construction, that come at a premium price. For $399, these are a serious pair of headphones. The good news is, thanks to their sound quality and comfort, they’ll be with you for a long time making that price tag look more like a reasonable investment.