Best Wireless (Bluetooth) Headphones: Welcome to TechRadar’s guide to the best wireless and Bluetooth headphones you can buy in 2018.
Years ago, we might’ve tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones. At the time, the technology had issues with wireless connectivity over Bluetooth and sound quality took a dive as a result. On top of all that, the batteries that were put into these headphones only lasted a few hours, max.
Thankfully, we’ve left those days behind us and are now living in the golden age of wireless. Thanks to advancements in Bluetooth, the latest batch of wireless headphones not only stay connected in every situation, but they sound just as good as they’re wired counterparts to boot.
Sure, a wireless pair of headphones might cost a bit more than a similar wired model, but wireless headphones offer greater freedom of movement – making them perfect for a trip to the gym or a great companion for phones like the iPhone X and Pixel 2 that simply lack a 3.5mm aux port to connect with.
Whatever your reason for upgrading, we’re here to help you pick out the best wireless headphones, regardless of your budget. What you’ll find below are the top headphones we’ve reviewed with a mix of in-ear, over-ear and on-ear headphones, plus some with neat features like noise-cancellation – all vetted by our staff so you can shop with confidence.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 are an excellent revision of an already great pair of wireless headphones: They sound great, deftly wield noise cancellation technology and cost just as much as a pair of Bose QC35s. They might have a slightly shorter battery life than some other headphones on our list, but Sony’s WH-1000XM2 outclass them all in terms of performance and feature-set.
Not only do they provide awesome noise-cancellation, but they have three neat tricks that few other wireless headphones have: One is an ambient noise mode that only lets in mid-to-high frequency tones (announcements over a loudspeaker, for instance) and another being Quick Attention mode that allows you to let in all outside noise without taking off the headphones. (The latter is perfect when giving a drink order on a plane or speaking to a coworker for a brief moment before diving back into your work.) The last trick Sony has up its sleeve is the LDAC codec. Alongside the widely adopted aptX HD standard, LDAC enables Hi-Res Audio playback using the 1000XM2.
Great-sounding and feature-packed, the Sony WH-1000XM2 are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones.
Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM2
Bose took the already-excellent QC35 and updated with Google Assistant. The headphone is identical in every way save for the new Google Assistant button. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort. Said simply, they sound great and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
If you’re looking to save some money, however, consider the original Bose QuietComfort 35. They can also be found for far cheaper these days, and if you’re not fussed about having Google Assistant built into your headphones then you can save yourself some money while you save up for QC35 II.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Although they’re a much better looking, and sounding, pair of headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (not to be confused with the smaller, cheaper, Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Wireless) are kept off the top spot of the list by their premium price point, which puts them out of reach of all but the most committed of music lovers.
But for those that can afford them, these are a no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities. They’re comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
If you’re a frequent traveler you’re probably all too familiar with headphones that can’t hold a charge and can’t block out sound, let alone sound very good. Let us introduce you to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, one of the few headphones on the market that can do all of the above and cost less than half as much as one of the bigger names like Beats, Bose and Sony.
They also include a neat little feature that allows them to automatically turn off when you’re not wearing them, meaning you’re able to easily maximise their battery life without much effort.
If we had to boil it down to its core, the BackBeat Pro 2 offers an excellent travel headphone with incredible battery life, supreme comfort, the ability to pair two device as once and, most importantly, good sound quality for the cost.
Read the full review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
The AKG N60NC Wireless sound like a pair of headphones that should be much more expensive than they are.
At their mid-range price point the headphones offer fantastic value for money, with great sound quality and a level of noise-cancellation performance that’s on a level with the much more premium entries on this list.
Our biggest issue with these headphones is the fact that they’re on-ear rather than over-ear, meaning that we found that they got uncomfortable over longer periods.
Regardless, the benefit of this is that this is a fantastically compact pair of headphones, and if you’re willing to make the trade-off then these are great for the price.
Read the full review: AKG N60NC Wireless
If you want a pair of wireless headphones without breaking the bank, and you don’t fancy the in ear Optoma’s above, your next best bet is the Jabra Move Wireless.
These headphones may look like a budget buy, but don’t let that fool you: this set of on ear Bluetooth headphones is nothing but an all-around stellar product. From the fun and edgy design to excellent performance, these cans come recommended for anyone interested in wireless on the cheap.
Read the full review: Jabra Move Wireless
You might have expected to see the Apple AirPods on the list. While Apple’s true wireless earbuds are fine for certain folks – cough, iPhone users exclusively – they’re not the best for everyone. If you’re looking for an egalitarian pair of true wireless earbuds, you can do no better than the Jabra Elite 65t.
Not only are these competent Bluetooth buds for use around town, with a long-enough battery life and good sound quality, but they are easily some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, offering a perfect balance of usability, features, and sound quality. If you’re in the market for the ‘ultimate’ set of true wireless headphones and don’t mind paying for them, then they are a strong choice.
Read the full review: Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless
Here’s where things get a bit murky – the term ‘wireless headphones’ is often used interchangeably with ‘Bluetooth headphones’ – i.e. headphones that don’t use a 3.5mm jack to connect to your phone, but still have a wire running between them. While we contemplated leaving these off our list entirely, Bluetooth headphones are still well-worth considering – even if it means having a wire wrapped around your neck.
That being said, if we had to pick a pair of Bluetooth headphones to go with, it’d be the NuForce BE Sport3 headphones: They’re an incredible value for a pair of wireless headphones that sound good, last all day, have a bulletproof build and incredible noise isolation. While they’re not the most dynamic or resolving headphones, NuForce shows us that the future of Bluetooth is a bright one.
Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Sport3
When Jaybird released the Jaybird X2 wireless headphones, they quickly became a favorite for athletes and casual listeners alike. Their reputation grew thanks to rugged construction, impressive sound quality and, above all else a respectable price that just kept dropping.
The appropriately named X3s carry the Jaybird torch onwards, improving on almost every feature of their predecessor and managing to hit the market at a lower cost while doing so. That said, we would comfortably recommend these to gym junkies, audio purists and average Joe’s alike (don’t worry, you’re special in your own way), and while waiting for Bluetooth connections to improve their reliability is an option, at this price it isn’t worth missing out.
Read the full review: Jaybird X3 Wireless In-Ear Headphones
When you think of noise-cancelling headphones you probably picture bulky over-ear cans like the Bose QuietComfort 35 or the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, but three years ago Bose turned its noise-cancelling chops to in-ear headphones, and the result was the excellent Bose QuietComfort 20i.
Soon after that came the Bose QuietControl 30 (QC30, for short). These neckbuds offer the best noise cancellation of any in-ears we’ve tried and are comfortable enough to wear around your neck for long flights. Add to that the fantastic wireless capabilities of these headphones and you have the recipe for success.
While we’d love to see a true wireless pair of headphones from Bose, the QuietComfort 30 are a tried-and-true stopgap that you’ll enjoy all the same.
Read the full review: Bose QuietControl 30
- Check out TechRadar’s exhaustive guides to the best headphones to buy today including the best on-ear headphones, the best in-ear headphones and the best over-ear headphones.
- For some more specialist pairs, take a look at our guides to the best noise-cancelling headphones.
- Looking for some headphones you can take in the pool or on a run? Check out our guide to the best swimming headphones and best running headphones.
Can’t decide which headphones to buy? Check out our guide video below!
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