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Updated

Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Spring 2017
Reviews

Wireless Bluetooth headphones offer a cable-free listening experience and typically connect to your devices via Bluetooth. Below are our recommendations for the best Bluetooth headphones we have tested so far, both for over-ear and in-ear/earbuds.

Best Wireless Headphones

Usage Ratings
7.5Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.2Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.5Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.4Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.8Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

The best wireless headphones are the Sennheiser PXC 550. They are one of the most versatile headphones we’ve reviewed so far, and they have a comfortable and stable wireless design. These Bluetooth headphones isolate decently well in loud environments with various noise canceling modes for when you need to monitor your surroundings. Their sound profile is highly customizable thanks to the Sennheiser CapTune app giving you access to a full parametric equalizer and numerous other features.

See our review

Runner-Up

If you need a bit more isolation than the PXC 500 can deliver, then get the Sony MDR-1000X. These wireless Bluetooth headphones don't give you as much control over the active features as the Sennheisers but the noise canceling is far superior. They’re great for regular commuters or frequent flyers, and they’re also a bit better built (but more expensive) than the PXC 550.

See our review

Best Mid-Range Wireless Headphones

Usage Ratings
7.1Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.1Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.9Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
6.8Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.5Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

If you're looking for a well-rounded wireless pair of headphones with a reliable and fast connection, as well as an exciting sound, then the Plantronics Backbeat Pro are a good mid-range option. They have a better and easier-to-use control scheme than the PXC 550 and the MDR-1000X, but they do not isolate as well as some of the headphones on this list.

See our review

Runner-Up

If you don’t mind wireless in-ear headphones, then the Jaybird X2 are a good recommendation for most listeners.  They’re versatile sports headphones that have enough passive isolation to be suitable for commuting and traveling. They’re easy to carry on your person and deliver a decent enough audio reproduction and battery life for everyday casual use

See our review

Best Budget Wireless Headphones

Usage Ratings
7.1Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
6.6Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.0Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.3Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
7.6Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

If you want the level of customization of the PXC 550 and find over/on-ear headphones too bulky and cumbersome, then get the Level U Pro. They’re more comfortable than the Jaybird X2 thanks to their flexible in-ear tips and deliver a slightly better sound. They’re a well-rounded budget option that will please most casual listeners, but their build quality feels a bit flimsy which may be expected for wireless headphones at their price point.

See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wireless headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

A few examples of wireless headphones that didn't make the cut:

  • Bose QuietComfort 35.  Excellent isolation and simple to use design. Comfortable fit but slightly leaky at higher volumes. See our review
  • Samsung Level Over Wireless.  Customizable sound and good build quality. Mediocre at best isolation. See our review
  • Parrot Zik 3.0.  Great build quality and design. Good sound and isolation. But below average battery life for an over- headphone. See our review
  • Bose SoundLink On-Ear. Good sound and decent overall performance. However, they're slightly pricey for what they have to offer. See our review
  • B&W P5 Wireless. Great design and balanced sound. A bit pricey and the on-ear design is not always comfortable.See our review

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for wireless headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

 

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Questions & Answers

5 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
0
Do you plan on reviewing the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC? I just purchased it and while the ergonomics are good, for the cost, I'm less than thrilled with it's noise canceling performance across the board. (e.g. Mic picks up other voices / rustling papers. Speaker ANC does not really do too much to deaden background noise) It would be good to see how you rate it compared to Bose QC35's etc. Maybe it's worth buying those instead.

Thank you for your suggestion, we will add the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC to the list. But, since we do not have them yet, we cannot make a direct comparison to the Bose QuietComfort 35. However, based on our test results we can confidently say that the QC35 provide one of the best noise isolation performances.

Unfortunately, unlike the QC25, the mic does pick up voices/rustling papers when making a call. This does not occur when the phone mic is not active, and shouldn't be a problem during regular listening sessions.

0
Kanoa wireless earbuds look very interesting. They're not yet GA but I'd be curious to see how they stack up to the competition. Thanks!
Thank you for your suggestion. The Kanoa Earbuds do seem quite interesting, as they are truly wireless and feature packed. We will add them to the list. However, it may take some time until we can test them, as we have a lot of headphones currently in our review queue.
0
Great reviews! I could really use your advice. I am looking for Bluetooth fitness headphones, but I have very small ears and most all in-ear options will fall out if I do not have a "hook" that goes around the top of my ear. I haven't seen any good options. Any ideas? Thank you!
The Powerbeats 2 have a stable ear-hook design, and their in-ear fit is a bit more comfortable than typical in-ear models. However, they don't have the best audio reproduction. Alternatively, you could get the Soundpeats Q9A, which are very similar to the Powerbeats but at a much lower price. These are the best, of the few, ear-hook designs that we've tested so far but you can always manually place the audio cables of better sounding headphones, behind your ears, to simulate an ear-hook fit. For more options, please check our Sports/Fitness recommendations.
0
Any chance you guys could review the Bohm B76 headphones and maybe the Avantree Audition Pros? both seem to be pretty popular lower-cost alternatives that seem pretty interesting.
We will add them to the list, but the list has gotten quite long and we're not sure when we will get to them.
0
I prefer ON-EAR Wireless headphones because they seem to fit better and are less bulky, especially when my head is on a pillow (OVER-EAR headphones seem to get pushed around). I saw the Beats Solo 3 are ON-EAR and have favorable user ratings on Amazon, but I cannot find a review of this model at Rtings.com. Do you have a review of this pair of headphones, e.g. are they comparable to anything else?
You can check our latest review of the Beats Solo3 here.
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