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Wireless headphones are a great choice for exercising, travel, or just regular listening without getting tangled up in wires while you move around. There are a variety of different models on the market at a number of different price points. We've considered the best headphones on the market to come up with the main points to consider when you choose wireless or Bluetooth headphones.
This is always going to be the most important consideration when you choose any type of headphones. It’s a good idea to check out the sound quality for bass, treble, and mid-range sounds as well as how well the audio quality holds up at higher volumes since some headphones can handle treble very well but don't transmit the bass as clearly as they should. To an extent, you'll be getting what you pay for since you'll get excellent sound quality in many top-end wireless headphones such as Bose QuietComfort 35 and Sennheiser Momentum, which both retail at $300 and up, but deliver an incredibly crisp, balanced, and clear sound quality.
That said, there are some lower-priced headphones such as the Jabra Move Wireless and Jaybird X3, both of which cost $100 or less for better sound than you’ll get from the Sennheiser PXC 550, Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless, or the Sony MDR-1000X, which will all cost you well over $300 for sound which is very good, but not great.
Wireless Bluetooth headphones with noise cancellation features don’t automatically have the best sound quality, but it certainly makes it more pleasant to listen to your music on public transportation or in busy public spaces when you can block out the noise around you. Bose QuietComfort 35 is one of the best noise canceling headphones around, with built-in microphones around the earcups that pick up on background noise and automatically adjust the sound accordingly. However, you can’t turn the noise canceling mode off on the Bose unless you plug in the wire. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 allows you to turn on the Active Noise Canceling mode if you’re in a noisy environment, and turn it off again when you no longer need it.
Some noise-canceling headphones use a smart approach. Sony MDR-1000X wireless headphones have top noise cancellation both with and without music playing, so you can use them to block out the hubbub around you without turning on your own music. If you need to hear what's going on around you temporarily – like to listen to a train announcement – you can touch the right earcup to activate a built-in microphone that lets you hear the sounds around you.
Style of Headphones
Your personal choice of whether you prefer on-ear, huge over-ear headphones, or in-ear earbuds is also going to determine which wireless headphones are best for you. Apple Airpods, Jaybird X3, and Jabra Elite Sport are all in-ear earbuds. The Jaybird X3 comes with extra optional ear fins which hook over the back of your ear to stop them from falling out or getting lost if they do come out, but earbuds are meant to fit snugly.
If earbuds are not your style, there are many on-ear and over-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones like Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless and Bose QuietComfort 35 just have slightly bigger earcups so that they sit over your entire ear, which is good for noise cancellation but can make them heavier than on-ear headphones. On-ear headphones are often thought of as classic headphones, such as Plantronics Backbeat PRO 2 and the Jabra Move Wireless. You can still pick from many prices, sound quality, and features no matter which headphone style you prefer.
If you’re traveling long distances or exercising for extended periods of time, battery life is very important. You can get wireless headphones with batteries that will last for over 20 hours, such as Sennheiser PXC 550 and Momentum, with up to 30 hours and 25 hours respectively, or the Bose QuietComfort 35 and Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, each of which manages up to 20 hours per battery charge.
It’s worth noting that some headphones with much shorter battery life do recharge fast. The Apple Airpods have a battery life of just 5 hours maximum but can get an extra 3 hours from just a 15-minute recharge. Most wireless headphones do also come with a wired connection, including Bose QuietComfort 35, Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, and Jabra Move Wireless, so you don’t have to stop listening just because you ran out of juice.
Good looks aren’t everything, but there’s no denying that some wireless headphones are better designed than others. Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds come in a choice of five colors including red and gold, so there’s no need for your headphones to be boring. Jabra Move Wireless also stand out aesthetically, with a bold and fun design that comes in a variety of colors.
Luxury headphones made from premium top-quality materials will add a level of pampering and richness to your listening experience, like the top of the range Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless headphones which are made from genuine leather and metal; Not a scrap of plastic in sight. Finally, travelers will appreciate wireless headphones which fold down to a more compact shape and size for packing purposes, like the Sennheiser PXC which easily fold up into a ball and fit within their dedicated light-weight material carry case.
Listeners who use their headphones for sport and exercise are likely to be interested in headphones with sport-friendly features. Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds come with multiple sizes of ear tips so that you can find the ones that fit the most comfortably without getting in the way of your helmet, and they’re all sweatproof. Simple, intuitive controls like those boasted by Jaybird and Apple Airpods are easy to use when you’re moving too, and it’s convenient to have headphones that save your sound settings for different devices (also offered by the Jaybird earbuds).
The Jabra Elite Sport earbuds are ideal for sports’ users. There’s an external microphone which you can easily turn on to hear ambient noise such as instructions from your coach, and a companion running app that delivers instructions and encouragement during your run.
One last concern is the weight of your headphones. If you'll be listening for long periods of time, then over-ear and on-ear headphones can get heavy on your head. Some wireless headphones rank much lighter than others, such as the Sennheiser PXC 550 which clocks in at just half a pound. In contrast, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless weighs 11.2 ounces, and Jabra Move Wireless headphones are a weighty 1 pound.
Unplug Your Headphones and Start Listening Today
Wireless headphones are available for every budget and all styles, so why not stop getting tangled up in your headphones and seek out wireless and Bluetooth options today? For runners, travelers, or just home listeners, wireless headphones like the ones we mentioned above are a great choice.