The 6 Best 2023 Wireless Headphones Under $500 - Why Settle for Less?

We humans are simple creatures. Sometimes all we need is a roof over our heads, a hot meal every now and then, and the best bluetooth headphones money can buy. If you’ve found yourself pining after the top of the range cable-free experience, you’ve come to the right place. And, oh, what an experience it will be.

Whether you’re after the clarity and precision of a well-crafted, perfectly tuned audio vinyl experience, battery life that’ll make you feel like you’ve discovered some kind of perpetual motion machine between charges, or just the ability to drown out any and all background noise in an attempt to focus on your top tracks, you’ll find it all up here with the big players.

Full Reviews :: Best Wireless Headphones Under $500

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Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones aren’t just another notch in Sony’s belt; they’re a true tour de force that leaves competitors in the dust. This flagship model has sparked a revolution, creating an immersive, distraction-free listening experience like no other. The crux of this exceptional audio performance lies in the device’s cutting-edge technology. Two processors, eight microphones, and a novel driver unit, all optimized for noise cancellation and call quality. But the marvel doesn’t stop there; these headphones boast an industry-leading battery life of up to 30 hours, quick charging, and an ultra-comfortable, lightweight design adorned with soft leather. Now that’s the kind of champion worthy of the “Best Overall Wireless Headphone” title.

The experience they offer is every bit as impressive as the spec sheet suggests. The double noise-cancellation microphones effectively hush higher frequencies, providing a serene audio environment. Reviewers’ misconceptions about the touch controls may discourage some potential buyers, but they are, in fact, quite intuitive and polished once familiar with them. And as for comfort? The leather is sumptuously soft, making them potentially the most comfortable noise-canceling headphones for many. To top it off, they come with a robust case, ensuring your investment is well-protected. The WH-1000XM5 is a testament to Sony’s knack for pairing user-friendly functionality with top-notch performance, rightfully earning it the title of Best Overall Wireless Headphone at this price point.

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If you’re a globetrotter, look no further. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the ultimate travel companion, designed with an unrivaled voice pickup, adjustable noise cancellation, and luxurious leather cushioning for all-day comfort. They offer the complete package for the discerning traveler who craves an immersive audio experience no matter where they are. Built with a proprietary active noise cancellation technology that uses internal and external microphones, these headphones instantly generate an opposing signal to neutralize ambient noise. The capability to adjust this feature ensures you control how much of the outside world you hear.

Stories from long-term owners only reinforce the notion that these are indeed the best headphones for travel. The intuitive app provides accurate battery life readings and EQ controls, while the battery life itself is adequate for most situations, boasting up to 20 hours. Reviewers have praised the noise cancellation as incredibly effective, arguably outperforming even the AirPods Max. Whether it’s taking conference calls in a bustling airport or watching a movie on a noisy plane, you’ll be immersed in a world of your own. Users also applaud the comfort and neutral sound signature of these headphones, making them ideal for prolonged use during long flights or layovers. Finally, the sleek, low-key appearance and touch controls lend a premium feel to these headphones, setting them apart in a saturated market.

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Stepping into the spotlight, Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay EX takes the crown as the best in-ear offering. Comfort personified, these earbuds exude luxury with an elegant blend of jewel-like glass touch surface, sturdy aluminium outer ring, and feather-light comfort. And, of course, the IP57-rated build withstands the elements, acting as a steadfast companion, come rain or shine.

But what catapults the Beoplay EX to the peak of in-ear excellence is its potent, detail-rich audio reproduction. Its 9.2mm drivers consistently perform above expectations, serving you a bass-rich banquet encased in a compact form factor. The Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation skillfully filters out distractions, allowing you to soak in the aural majesty uninterrupted. The battery life is yet another feather in the cap, letting you jam to your favorite tunes up to 20 hours with the charging case. In comparison to over-ears, even the Apple AirPods Max, these in-ears win in the portability and convenience department, earning their king-pin status.

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Best Sound + Best Battery Life

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Continuing with B&O, here we have Beoplay HX, a perfect confluence of power and aesthetic. For one, it houses custom-made 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets that give you a sound experience that’s powerfully precise. And second, its design is a masterstroke of minimalism, offering a pleasing aesthetic that’s also sturdy and comfortable to wear. Combined with an adjustable noise cancellation feature and highly sensitive microphones, your audio experience is never compromised.

Battery life is another one of the HX’s superpowers, lasting up to 35 hours with active Bluetooth and ANC. In the realm of best battery over-ear headphones, the Beoplay HX is a clear front-runner, offering up to 40 hours of Bluetooth play. The customizable sound EQ accessible through the Bang & Olufsen App adds to its adaptability. The real magic, however, is how all of this comes together as part of the user experience – they laud its comfort, build quality, and of course, the sound profile, are all unmatched. For an audiophile seeking the best sounding over-ear headphones for casual use, the Beoplay HX might just be the perfect companion.

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Best Quality + Best User Experience

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Emanating a blend of magic and high-fidelity audio, the Apple AirPods Max bestows upon listeners an experience unrivaled in quality. A perfect embodiment of “luxury listening,” these headphones have been meticulously designed to provide an optimal acoustic seal for different head shapes, fully immersing you in sound. With Apple-designed dynamic drivers producing sound across the audible range, these headphones live up to their hefty price tag.

Though the AirPods Max may fall short in battery life compared to others, they shine with their state-of-the-art tech features. Their industry-leading Active Noise Cancellation rivals any headphone of any price, creating an unimpeachable sound fortress. Moreover, personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking takes immersion to new heights. In terms of build, the aluminium ear cups set the AirPods Max apart, providing a sturdiness seldom seen in the realm of headphones. All-in-all, if you’re looking to be wowed each time you pick up your headphones, look no further.

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If comfort tops your list of headphone must-haves, the KEF Mu7 Noise Cancelling headphones may just be the perfect fit for you. These headphones are the culmination of a collaboration with renowned designer Ross Lovegrove, resulting in a product that doesn’t compromise on sound quality, style, or comfort. With their high-resolution audio and Smart Active Noise Cancellation, these headphones ensure exceptional sound, wherever you are.

The Mu7 headphones come into their own once you get past the initial break-in period. Many users notice a significant improvement in sound after the first 24 hours of use, recommending you leave them playing music before making final comparisons. After that, you’ll experience a more dynamic and cohesive sound. While some may point out that the headphones feel slightly heavy, this really adds a premium touch to the overall experience. The headphones have a sturdy feel and a luxurious design that truly sets them apart. Although they may not include a transparent mode, their balanced sound and stylish aesthetic more than compensate for this shortcoming. They may be a jump from the Sony XM5 in terms of sound details and bass tightness, but their comfort-centric design makes them a worthy contender for those seeking the utmost comfort in their listening experience.

 

2023 Wireless Headphone Under $500 Buyers Overview

The Good

Where to even start? It’s all pretty great. Best of all, though, is the fact that you can find exactly what you need whilst making far fewer trade-offs than you would at other price ranges. If you’ve put the time in to evaluate all of your options, then you will be all too aware that buying a new pair of bluetooth headphones—as with so many things in life—is often a game of finding the perfect balance between an often large range of features and properties in order to end up with the best possible product for your individual needs.

At this price point, however, you’re not going to have quite so much trouble. Pretty much everything that retails for this price (with some exceptions, of course) is going to function well across the board. And by ‘well’ we mean there won’t be a whole lot more you can ask for.

What to Look For

One of the reasons why higher end headphones cost so much is the hardware different brands choose to put inside these models. You are going to run into much more advanced driver designs which deliver impressive performance all around since most of these headphones come with the latest and greatest flagship technology of each brand. This typically results in you getting a package that not masters the fine details of the overall experience, but increased long-term reliability as well.

Final Thoughts

Spending this kind of money on a pair of headphones is a big step for most new listeners. However, the performance you get in return is well worth it. On top of that, you are going to end up with a very comfortable tool which will make your daily work so much easier. The models we have chosen for this list are definitely some of the best you can find out there. No matter which one you go with, you won’t be disappointed.