The 10 Best Wireless Headphones

Updated December 10, 2017 by Christopher Thomas

Best High-End
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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. It's always a good time to cut cords. In fact, today's iPhone users don't have much of a choice in the matter, thanks to the death of the 3.5-mm jack. Luckily, today's smartphones can transmit hi-fidelity audio to these wireless headphones at the touch of a button. Our top choices have the right mix of portability, sound quality, and convenient features. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best wireless headphone on Amazon.

10. Plantronics Backbeat 500

The Plantronics Backbeat 500 offer an 18-hour battery life as well as a headband and earcups made from comfortable memory foam. Unlike most other models, these can reliably connect to two devices at once, so you won't miss any phone calls while exploring that new album.
  • good sound quality for the price
  • won't stay put while exercising
  • earcups do not adjust vertically
Brand Plantronics
Model BackBeat 500, Grey
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Beats Solo3

If you want to make a fashion statement while grooving to your favorite tunes, look no further than the Beats Solo3. Their 40-hour-maximum battery life leads the industry, and they're great for Apple users, thanks to their integrated Siri support.
  • onboard battery level indicator
  • wide variety of colors
  • all-plastic construction
Brand Beats
Model MP582LL/A
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Skullcandy Grind

The Skullcandy Grind offer value that is hard to beat. Their straightforward design and on-ear placement make it possible to forget you've been wearing them all day. While they're easy on your wallet, they don't have the durability or rich bass of most other options.
  • analog jack for wired use
  • available in 6 color combinations
  • lack high-end feel of some units
Brand Skullcandy
Model S5GBW-J543
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. JLab Neon

The JLab Neon are a lightweight and simple way to listen to music wirelessly. Because they're so inexpensive, you don't have to worry about them being lost or damaged whether you're travelling across the continent or just not so good at holding onto electronics.
  • foldable for easy storage
  • don't have a standard audio jack
  • not ideal for larger heads
Brand JLAB
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Sennheiser PXC 550

Designed for the traveling businessperson, the Sennheiser PXC 550 utilize three internal microphones to capture crystal-clear audio. This helps not only with your end of any phone calls, but also in effectively isolating your favorite podcast from noisy surroundings.
  • among the best sound quality around
  • easy-to-understand controls
  • somewhat heavier than most models
Brand Sennheiser
Model PXC 550 Wireless
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Bowers & Wilkins P5

Users of Apt-X-ready Android and Windows devices will find that the Bowers & Wilkins P5 surpass the listening quality of traditional Bluetooth headphones thanks to optimized compression. No matter what your audio source is, these deliver rich lows and crisp, clear highs.
  • soft carrying pouch
  • do not use active noise canceling
  • cost is on the high end
Brand Bowers & Wilkins
Model P5 Wireless Headphone,
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 are a stylish option that sound as good as they look. They feature Noise Gard technology to combat the pervasive roar of air travel, and their 22-hour battery life is enough for the longest flights.
  • superior fit and finish
  • high-quality aptx codec
  • plush memory-foam earcups
Brand Sennheiser
Model M2 AEBT Ivory
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Jabra Move

The reasonably-priced Jabra Move are an on-ear solution for music listeners with an active lifestyle. Their light weight and moderately flexible headband make them great for jamming out while running, biking, or working out.
  • soft and durable earpads
  • intuitive onboard controls
  • can operate while charging
Brand Jabra
Model 100-96300002-02
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Bose QuietComfort 35

Having long been the benchmark for high-quality audio devices, the latest Bose QuietComfort 35 are no exception. They use a two-microphone setup for thorough noise reduction and an active, volume-based equalizer, so your music always sounds great.
  • exceptional phone call clarity
  • nfc-capable for easy pairing
  • impressive 20-hour battery life
Brand Bose
Model 789564-0010
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Sony WH1000XM2

The Sony WH1000XM2 feature a multifunctional noise-canceling system that offers distraction-free listening or napping. You can also set them to block out background sounds while allowing nearby voices to cut through, so you can hold a conversation even in loud settings.
  • easy touch-enabled attenuator
  • ideal for in-flight use
  • pressure sensor prevents imbalances
Brand Sony
Model WH1000XM2/N
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The Rise of Headphone Culture

Before headphones replaced shoulder-riding boomboxes, virtually eliminating music-made noise pollution on the streets of major cities around the world, headphones were made for work, not leisure.

Headphones were not originally designed for us to keep our music to ourselves. On the contrary, they were designed, in part, to allow late 19th-century telephone operators to cram into a single space like sardines in a can without fear of eavesdropping on other operators' calls and therefore dropping the ball on their own. Not only that, but an operator only has two hands and no longer having to hold a receiver to one ear allowed operators to work more quickly and more efficiently, reducing the number of operators required to connect calls as telephones became increasingly popular, everyday items.

Needless to say, the Navy took great interest in the first full pair of headphones invented in 1910 by Nathaniel Baldwin--a fundamentalist Mormon who got rich selling a hundred pairs only to go bankrupt funneling all of his proceeds into a campaign against monogamy. Due to the superior sound quality of Baldwin's invention, early radar technicians and, later, sonar technicians, could communicate through the din of naval artillery constantly firing overhead.

By the 1980s, headphones surged in popularity. The invention of the Sony Walkman allowed people to walk to work or ride the subway with a newfound lack of stress and frustration. What was once a chore of trying to ignore the oft-infuriating subject matter of private conversations held in public quickly became an enjoyable exercise in literally tuning people out.

Unfortunately, not getting caught up in small talk anymore meant getting caught up in wires, sometimes absurdly long, other times obnoxiously short. Figuring out what to do with your wires became a matter of fashion. There were hot-pink running suits with special pockets that carried your Walkman just a little bit closer to your ears, circular fanny packs to advertise the fact you had finally upgraded to a Discman, and even motorcycle jackets with holes near the collar so your wires don't flap in the wind. But as with all technology, practical solutions eventually rendered the fashionable ones obsolete.

Thanks to the introduction of portable mp3 players and wireless headphone technology in the early 2000s, you can now carry your music around in the tiny change pocket of your jeans and never have to worry about getting hung up on a doorknob. Better yet, you can even wear top-of-the-line stereo headsets without having to stuff ten feet of zip-tied cord in your pocket.

The Pros and Cons of the Two Types of Noise Cancellation

When choosing a pair of noise cancelling headphones, regardless of whether or not they are wireless, it is important to understand the two types of noise cancellation, active noise control and passive noise isolation, otherwise known as soundproofing. Where active noise control uses additional power to reduce the amount of noise in the signal, passive noise isolation uses additional materials that reduce the amount of noise getting in or out of a certain area.

One good look at a bulky pair of headphones will tell you that most noise cancelling headphones are of the passive type. There are a few reasons for this. First, by requiring an additional power source dedicated solely to producing frequencies that cancel noise on both the left and the right sides of the headphones, the amount of total power required for the headphones to function properly is drastically increased. This results in either a significant loss of battery life or the need for additional batteries, which in turn significantly increases the overall weight of the headphones.

Soundproofing, on the other hand, can be achieved with the use of cheap, lightweight materials, as is evident by the use of empty egg cartons nailed to the walls inside many recording studios. Not only are they cheaper and weigh less, but the same materials can be shaped and fitted for comfort, in a sense killing two birds with one stone.

Why Go Wireless?

Of all the many reasons to ditch corded headphones in favor wireless ones, the argument I find most convincing, and the one that often goes unstated, is that sometimes the best technology is technology you forget that you're using. It's invisible. You aren't constantly reminded that you're wearing contact lenses every time you try to comb your hair or wash your face. You aren't constantly reminded that you have a prosthetic leg that fits perfectly in your favorite pair of pants and your favorite pair of shoes because people are no longer staring at you all the time.

Likewise, it's easy to forget you're wearing headphones when they're wireless. They don't get caught on the edge of your desk or the arm of a friend who just gave you a hug. The jack don't get in the way and poke your palm when you decide to play a smartphone game instead of listen to music or a podcast. And they don't come unplugged when you toss your bag on the counter or your pants on the floor and walk away.

Wireless headphones aren't about looking chic when you walk down the street to get coffee. They're about getting lost in whatever you're listening to and never being yanked out of the comfort zone they put you in.

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Last updated on December 10, 2017 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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