Best wireless headphones

Headphones

Some in-ear wireless headphones hook over each ear to help keep them in place while exercising.

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Which wireless headphones are best?

Headphones give you the freedom to listen to music wherever you are without disturbing those around you, but having wires trailing between you and your phone or other devices can be a pain. Wireless headphones let you listen without being tethered to one spot or getting tangled up.

Read our brief guide to learn more about wireless headphones. Out of all the models on the market, the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are our top choice. We love their excellent sound quality and effective noise-canceling function.

What to know before you buy wireless headphones

In-ear vs. over-ear

There are two main types of wireless headphones: in-ear headphones and over-ear headphones.

In-ear options are often referred to as earbuds. They’re compact and discreet so many people prefer them for on-the-go use. They’re great for exercising, too, and are small enough to slip in a pocket when you’re done listening. The main drawback is that they don’t tend to sound as good as their over-ear counterparts.

Over-ear wireless headphones might be bulky, but the sound quality is superior. They’ve fallen back into fashion so you don’t need to be self-conscious about wearing a big pair of headphones around town. They tend to be more expensive than wireless earbuds, but there’s no other option for audiophiles.

Controls

It’s fairly common for wireless headphones to feature control buttons either on the body of the headphones or, in the case of earbuds, on the wire that connects the two together (where applicable). These buttons may allow you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, turn on noise cancellation, or take calls without needing to get your phone or other devices out.

Sound quality

You are buying headphones, after all, so sound quality matters. The cheapest wireless headphones tend to have tinny sound and can become distorted at high volumes. High-end wireless headphones should have well-balanced sound with bright treble, rich bass, and clarity across the whole range. If you don’t care that much about audio quality, that’s fine, but even the untrained ear can notice extremely poor sound quality, so at least choose a mid-range option.

What to look for in quality wireless headphones

True wireless

Standard wireless in-ear headphones still have one wire connecting the left and right earbuds. However, true wireless models feature completely independent earbuds.

In-line microphone

Wireless headphones with an in-line microphone allow you to take calls when they’re connected via Bluetooth to your phone.

Noise-canceling

Noise-canceling wireless headphones are able to block out some of the ambient sounds in your environment so you can listen to music in peace. They’re great for busy environments or for blocking out traffic noise or similar other background noises at home.

How much you can expect to spend on wireless headphones

You can pay anywhere between $10 for basic in-ear wireless headphones and up to $350 for high-end wireless over-ear models. Bear in mind that you get what you pay for in terms of sound quality and features.

Wireless headphones FAQ

Q. What devices can I use my wireless headphones with?

A. Wireless headphones are Bluetooth compatible, which means you can use them with any Bluetooth-capable device. Smartphones and tablets are almost certainly compatible with wireless headphones and many newer laptops and desktop computers are Bluetooth compatible, too. Standard TVs and stereos usually don’t have Bluetooth capabilities, but you can buy Bluetooth receivers so you can use your wireless headphones with them.

Q. How long do wireless headphones take to charge?

A. The majority of wireless headphones charge fully in somewhere between two and four hours. However, you can find some with “quick charge” options, allowing you to partially charge them from flat in an hour or less, giving you at least another few hours of playtime.

What are the best wireless headphones to buy?

Top wireless headphones

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

What you should know: With well-balanced audio at all volumes and excellent noise canceling properties, these wireless headphones are clear winners.

What you’ll love: Comfortable to wear with swivel ear cups. Battery lasts up to 20 hours on a full charge. Compatible with Alexa and with Bose AR. Quality volume-optimized EQ.

What you should consider: Pricey.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top wireless headphones for money

SoundPEATS Magnetic Wireless Earbuds

SoundPEATS Magnetic Wireless Earbuds

What you should know: These inexpensive earbuds might not rival high-end options, but the sound quality is decent enough, especially at lower volumes.

What you’ll love: You can control the volume from the headphones themselves. Magnetic design. Waterproof.

What you should consider: Battery life doesn’t always live up to the eight hours advertised.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

What you should know: The hooked design makes these affordable wireless headphones an excellent choice for exercising.

What you’ll love: Bluetooth range of around 30 feet. Feature an in-line microphone for taking calls. Comfortable to wear.

What you should consider: Sound quality could be better.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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