Wireless headphones are one of the best ways to listen to music on the go, whether you're on the road, heading to the gym, or lounging by the pool on a sunny day.
You'd be forgiven for thinking wireless headphones aren't as good as wired models - that's because a few years ago, Bluetooth wasn't the best way to listen to your favorite music.
Basically, Bluetooth headphones don't sound as good as their wired counterparts, have problems connecting, and have become notorious for short battery life.
Fortunately, times have changed. Thanks to improvements in wireless transmission standards such as aptX and innovations in battery technology, headphones are quickly becoming the most popular way to listen to music, and many of the best headphones are equipped with wireless connectivity.
When it comes to wireless headphones, the big question is: which brands have emerged as the best when it comes to big Bluetooth improvements and the future of audio innovation?
Audio companies like Jay, Plantronics, Nuforce, RGA and Jabra are all great options, as they have all spent a lot of time and money to improve sound quality without sacrificing battery life – and there are some good options from big players like Sony, Apple and Bose, too.
- We'll be at IFA 2019 where we expect to see some new wireless headphones - can the new model take the crown? Stick to the latest from Berlin tech show.
Wireless vs True Wireless: What's the Difference?
Wireless headphones – the main purpose of this document – have long existed now, mainly since Bluetooth was invented. Although the batteries are not physically connected to your phone, they do have a cord connecting both kidneys and sometimes a band around your neck too.
True wireless headphones have a cord at all. And wireless allows you to wear the headphones a few feet from our music players, wireless cuts the wire between the headphones, which gives us true freedom. If you want to go through the full Internet, we also round up from best true wireless headphones.
Read on for our best picks wireless bluetooth headphones.
- Wireless Headphones vs. True Wireless Headphones: Which Design Is Best for You?
The NuForce Sport4 is a rare-to-find wireless earbud: earbuds that are good for just about every situation, whether you're looking to take them on a run or just wear them around town. They are ideal for exercise, although any city dweller will also find their lightweight functionality and impressive sound isolation quite attractive. If you want proof that wireless headphones can now compete with the best of them, look no further.
Read the full review: Optoma NuForce be Sport4
While they're not the kind of headphones you'll want to bring to the gym, the Zdra MA390 Wireless are the perfect companion for anyone looking for a pair of home listening wireless headphones. The headphones are very well built, have a fun sound signature, and come on at an affordable price.
Its archrival, the Bullet Wireless divorce, is also excellent, however we give the go-ahead to the RHA MA390 for more dynamic sound and better build quality.
Read the full review: RHA MA390 wireless
Divorce is best known for its “flagship killer” phones OnePlus 6but the company also makes headphones – the best example of which is the company's excellent wireless bullets, which offer incredible value in the neck-bud headphones category. They probably shouldn't be your first choice in workout buds or your first choice for better sounding audio, but if you need cheap headphones, these are the ones to buy.
Read the full review: OnePlus wireless bullets
Jay Tarah Pro Headphones Wireless sports headphones for endurance runners, athletes and fitness nuts out there. With cable necks to keep the headphones together, they're not exactly 'wireless' but will be practical for those concerned about falling and losing expensive earbuds in the heat of a race or workout.
As the first in Jay's new "Pro" range of headphones and aimed at offering higher quality sound and materials, the Tara Pro will suit anyone who doesn't want to sacrifice sound quality in the harsh outdoors or at the gym and who doesn't mind spending a little more to get premium product.
Read the full review: Jay Tarahe pro
Beats hasn't always gotten the best rap when it comes to sound, but Beats x is trying to set the record straight. The beats of the x, therefore, make them a slightly bassy, limited sound with rock solid connections and pairing that on iOS devices is at least as painless as possible. If you're shopping for a no-fuss pair of headphones that charge in 5 minutes, work with iOS and don't mind spending a little extra money on them, beats the X for you.
Read the full review: beats x
Life is full of compromises, and that's no different with the Bose QuietControl 30. On the plus side, you get a level of noise cancellation that approaches what brands offer for in-ear headphones, but a concession to a sound that's just not up to par. other in-ear or on-ear headphones that we have tested.
There is also that with a neckband that adds Navalny's unfortunate level to what should otherwise be thin headphones.
Read the full review: Bose QuietControl 30
Or, cut the umbilical cord with these truly wireless models
Given that it's still rare to get noise canceling wired headphones at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack in a pair that's not only wireless, but right wireless are very impressive.
The Sony VF-1000X manages to offer a level of noise cancellation that's very good for a pair of headphones - it doesn't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor, then the trade-off is well worth it.
There may be a few minor issues with these wireless headphones, but we think Sony has already kicked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3; Not only are these hands down the most beautiful true wireless earbuds, but they combine serious noise canceling tech with punchy musicianship.
Read the full review: Sony VF-1000XM3
Cambridge Audio is renowned for its high-end audio equipment, but has yet to venture into the world of true wireless headphones. Enter Cambridge Audio Melomania 1C: With an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, they combine absolutely award-winning technical with the convenience of truly wireless listening.
For a pair of wireless headphones, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1C is sensational. In fact, its rivals are some of the best on-ear headphones that are virtually unheard of for a kidney of this size.
They may not have the noise canceling technology offered with the Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones, but they cost $100 (about £80) less – and have improved battery life.
They certainly outperform Apple's AirPods in every way except for the lack of wireless charging. It's a small price to pay for this exceptional sound quality though, and we think they represent much better value for money too.
Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
With their great sound and build quality, long battery life and what might be one of the coolest cases we've seen, we would argue that the t5s is a Klipsch system and some of the best models on the market right now..
Of course, you're buying a Klipsch product because it has Klipsch's signature sound, which is warm, detailed, and not harsh. The acoustic music is lush and detailed, and the detail extends to the highs as well, given the headphones to sing in the upper register but never whistled.
Battery life is rated at 8 hours on a single charge, with an extra 24 hours on occasion, meaning these true wireless in-ear headphones will last you through a long flight, no problem.
Read the full review: technical T5 wireless
Although TrueConnect is the company's first wireless on-ear headphone, they have done their research and development, making it one of the best true wireless headphones on the market today. The combination of sound quality, battery life, and wireless reliability are these headphones you can count on every day.
The Jabra Elite 65T speakerphone sets the standard for what true headphones should be and, no matter what RHA has done here with TrueConnect, they are still excellent headphones. Compared to the TrueConnect RGA, the Jabra headset has more features, with its useful background noise mode to help with situational awareness and an app that lets you customize the sound.
Zdra doesn't have any of these features, but we didn't miss them, thanks to better sound quality and wireless reliability. The Zdra also feels more like a premium product than the all-plastic Jabra.
All said, if you're shopping for a pair of wireless headphones, the $170 (£150, about au$265) RHA TrueConnect should be at the very top of the list.
Read the full review: RHA TrueConnect
If you want a pair of high quality truly wireless headphones, look no further. by Apple AirPodsthen the Jabra Elite 65T headset should be at the top of your list.
After spending over a month with them, I was impressed with the clean-cut package that Jabra's headset managed to create: the headphones offer a slim, mature and reliable wireless connection, which is not always the case with truly wireless headphones. Plus, they are good compared to the competition.
If you want an alternative to the TrueConnect RGA, go for the Elite 65t.
Read the full review: headset jabra elite 65t
The new truth about Beats on-ear wireless headphones isn't exactly what analysts predict, of course, but they're something special - they're incredibly comfortable, sound decent, and never seem to fall out.
That said, they are, in our opinion, Apple's best true wireless headphones to date thanks to small additions like the reduction of micro-laser atmospheric air vents, their long battery life and superior sound quality. If we had to choose between wearing these and AirPods around the house or office, this is what we would be wearing.
Read the full review: overhead bits pro
It feels like Samsung has finally gotten it right with the Galaxy Buds, and they are some serious competition for Apple's AirPods in terms of design, sound, and ease of use. We loved the pearlescent effect on the receptors of the outer shell and the sleek design of the shell, and we found that they felt comfortable and secure.
The sound quality of these wireless buds is also very good, with deep bass and a wide sound stage. The downside here is that the other features available on the app like background noise and equalizer presets are useful but don't always work as effectively as we hoped. Worse, these features are also almost illegal for iOS users, as you can only download the app on devices running Android 5.0 or later.
However, if you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds are a fantastic pair of true wireless headphones, with several quality-of-life features that make them stand up confidently in competition. If not, you risk being left without these extra features, but the quality sound, comfortable fit and attractive design means these receptors can be a smart buy, even for the iOS crowd.
Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Buds
The second generation of Apple AirPods, the AirPods (2019), are not quite the AirPods 2 we were hoping for - they still have the classic design of the original AirPods (good or bad depending on your point of view), and the sound quality hasn't changed at all. The bulk of the upgrade comes from the new H1 headphone chip, which improves connectivity and battery life, and enables a new 'Hey Siri' voice activation feature.
The big difference is that the AirPods (2019) also come with a wireless charging case, meaning you can use a Qi-compatible charging mat to power up rather than plugging a cable into the lightning charging port at the bottom of the case. Like their predecessors, they're very easy to pair, but they're very heavily optimized for use with iPhones - and they're not exactly cheap.
Read our full review: Apple AirPods (2019)
- Want more string-cutting buds? Check out the best true wireless headphones in 2019