Wireless headphones are one of those rare innovations which are ostensibly so simple that it becomes difficult to imagine what life was like before you made the switch.
For most people, once you cut that cord that tethers you to your pocket, snags on everything going, and irrecoverably tangles within about four seconds, you’re simply never going back. And for good reason: it’s a thoroughly freeing experience that’s hard to explain to someone who has yet to try it. It’s never been a better time to buy wireless headphones. There’s solid competition in the market at all price points, and the amount you have to spend to get a quality experience just keeps going down. So whatever you’re looking for, you can be pretty sure you’ll be able to find it. And absolutely certain it won’t have wires.
8 Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones:
With the QuietComfort 35s, Bose has improved upon the already incredible performance of the QC 25s in terms of both audio quality and noise cancellation. Bose basically invented active noise cancellation as we most commonly use it today, and nowhere is that expertise more obvious than in this top of the range, must buy pair of headphones.
The Skullcandy Grind Wireless is an excellent choice, and about as good as it gets at this price point. A seriously good looking design that manages to pack a proper punch in the audio performance department, it’s difficult not to recommend these headphones to anyone in the market for new a new pair at this price point.
The JBL Synchros E40BTs are an excellent proposition, combining a pleasant (though unassuming) form factor with a solid feature set and good audio quality. If the bass response is lacking a little, the rest of the listening experience is solid, and with such a great battery life, it’s an easy decision to make. A great offering across the board.
Beats have knocked it out of the park with their Solo3 Wireless. Improving on the 15-hour battery life of their predecessors with a 40-hour offering, the combination of a great design, strong feature set, and very solid listening experience make these a fantastic purchase if you’re looking to spend this much on wireless headphones.
Bose have gone great things with the SoundLink range. Combining a keen eye for visual flair with all of the portability you would hope for from a pair of wireless headphones, the overall effect is one that is both lightweight and high-quality. With audio that outperforms much of the competition, this is a very safe bet.
Sennheiser’s HD 4.40BTs are a strong entry at this price point. A fairly ubiquitous, unassuming design and spartan feature list are overshadowed by a fantastic listening experience that can be customized to your tastes via the app. 25 hours of battery life is a really solid offering, and takes a lot of the pressure off when it comes to charging.
With the Move model, Jabra has done a great job in combining a design that is strikingly simple with performance that ticks almost all of the boxes. While the battery life leaves a little to be desired, the sound quality, addition of a wired mode, and general quality of the device means it’s a safe bet for this bracket.
Sony’s MDR-1000X is a bold proposition that has attempted to dethrone Bose in the active noise cancellation realm and deliver a top-quality audio experience. Unfortunately, although it comes close to both, it cannot fully achieve either. It’s a solid product, but go Bose for noise cancellation, or dispense with it and look elsewhere for audio bang for your buck.
The fact that for less than $100 you can end up with a pair of headphones that not only outperforms your stock earbuds in every conceivable way but which is also accompanied by all of the added benefits of, you know, being wireless is pretty mind-blowing. And pretty recent. The lower-end of the market has seen a lot of love over the last few years, and it’s no longer the case that wireless means spending hundreds of dollars on a gimmick that may or may not work. You can now be assured of quality no matter the price point.
In our longer breakdown of this category, we describe this price point as something of a sweet spot. You’re going to notice a significant increase in the amount of features which come bundled with your headphones, as well as in the quality and variety of the visual and practical designs on offer. If battery life can be variable between models, sound quality remains fairly consistent (and consistently good) across the board. You’d have to try pretty hard to pick a bad pair of headphones at this bracket.
As with any ‘as good as money can buy’ product, in a ~$500 pair of wireless headphones you will pretty much be getting as good as it’s currently possible to get. And a big part of that is choice: if you lean towards a more audio purist outlook, you’re more than able to prioritize clarity and accuracy of audio performance; if you’re big into removing background sound so you can focus on your tunes, the active noise cancellation at this price point is beyond compare and broadly exceptional.
What Makes a Good Pair of Wireless Bluetooth Headphones?
It used to be the case that choosing a pair of wireless headphones for your budget was a fairly simple proposition. There just weren’t very many options in the market, and even fewer of those were remotely viable as a long term, serious investment. But all that has changed. Substantially. And the modern landscape when it comes to wireless options is now far more similar to the overwhelming quantity of options you find in the wired headphone market.
This means two things: firstly, you need to do more research; secondly, it has never been more important that you take the time to properly consider and decide upon your personal requirements and priorities before committing to a purchase of any price. Choice is, as usual, a blessing, but with that blessing comes the responsibility to ensure that you are making as optimal a choice as you possibly can. Anything less would just be wasting your money on a product that won’t suit you as well as it could, and which you may end up replacing (and thereby spending even more on) when something ostensibly better comes along. Don’t be that person!
There are a lot of factors which go into making a decision as to which pair of wireless headphones are going to be the best for you. But the main three are as follows: audio performance, battery life, and design. There’s no point having the best audio quality money can buy if your headphones routinely run out of charge before you make it home from work every day. It’s frustrating and unnecessary, and we hate to think of you suffering. As with so many things in life, defining what ‘good’ means for you simply comes down to working out how best you would like to balance these three (and other, minor) attributes in order to arrive at the fabled Perfect Headphones. They exist. We’ve seen them. And they have your name on them.
How to Choose Wireless Bluetooth Headphones?
As mentioned above, choice comes down to assessing your priorities and then working out their relative importance in order to arrive at the perfect balance of attributes for you. This can seem like something of a daunting task, of course, and so the best place to start is probably the most objective measure which is battery life. It’s pretty easy to look at how long a particular model lasts between charges, consider how often you will be able (or, importantly, willing) to charge them up, and see if these two figures lead you to a viable or nonviable conclusion as to the usefulness of each particular model.
After starting out with the comparatively easy to measure issue of battery life, it’s time to move on to features and see which compromises you are and are not willing to make. For example, if you want active noise cancellation this will drastically narrow down your options to the point that you could reasonably get your hands on the majority of major offerings and road test them until you’re entirely happy with a particular pair. The baseline for wireless headphones these days is inline controls and an integrated mic, but if you’re someone who makes a lot of calls, then something like the quality of the mic may be another useful way to cut through a vast swathe of the products on offer to arrive at a more manageable pool of potential purchases.
Lastly, and most subjectively, comes the all important matter of audio performance. It may seem strange for us to suggest that this is bottom of your list of considerations—these are wireless headphones after all, audio performance is the whole point they exist!—but it’s for good reason, we promise. Whilst it’s easy to read up on things like battery life, included extras, and features, and whilst you can generally tell from a couple of photos whether the size and style of a given device matches your needs, the listening experience is difficult to convey via text and varies dramatically from person to person. Once you’ve cut down your list to a manageable quantity of maybes, then it’s time to get your ears involved. Work out the kind of sound signature you enjoy, look into the extent to which various models allow you to customize the listening experience, and work from there.
Final Thoughts + Conclusion
Wireless headphones are something of a revolution, and their momentum isn’t going to stop anytime soon. No matter your budget or preferences, there is almost certainly something that will satisfy your needs—even if your only need is based on a no longer manageable frustration at quite how tedious it is to untangle your stock earbuds every time you need to use them. The wireless hype train is ready to leave the station, and it’s high time you jumped firmly aboard with both feet and rode it to a brighter, cable free future.