Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

The future is wireless. The future is now.
by Adam MolinaApril 4, 2017

The world we live in is going wireless, and this includes headphones. Wireless headphones have been available for a while, but in the early days of Bluetooth they got a bad reputation that they can’t seem to shake off. But Bluetooth is leaps and bounds better than it used to be, and that’s reflected in the wide range of headphones that are now available on the market. For the average person, it’s way harder (if not impossible) to hear the difference between wireless and wired headphones now that nit’s ever been. They’ve gotten that good. Whether you’re commuting, traveling, or simply listening to music around the house, wireless headphones are just way more convenient than their wired counterparts.

We broke this list down into the five different categories we think matter the most to most people. Each category has a pick for the best option if money isn’t a problem, and also a bang for your buck pick for those of us who aren’t looking to break the bank on a pair of headphones. So without further ado, let’s count them up. These are the best Bluetooth headphones you can get so far in 2016.

You might also like: Best noise cancelling headphones | Best wired headphones

Best All-Around

Sony MDR-1000x

One of the best headphones we’ve tested so far has been the Sony MDR-1000X. They have their faults like every other product, but they probably get the closest to checking all the boxes you need out of any pair of headphones. They sound great and also support Sony’s LDAC codec for even higher quality streaming over Bluetooth. Besides that they have a solid build with touch sensitive ear cups for controlling playback. All that said, the standout feature of the MDR-1000X’s is the superb active noise cancelling that got many people wondering whether Bose was the best ANC anymore. Whatever Sony did with these, it’s working and they’ve quickly become the go-to pair of Bluetooth headphones for plenty of people.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes
Noise Cancelling
Yes
Water-Resistance
No
Battery Life
20 Hours
Size/Weight
6.3 x 4.5 x 9.5 inches/9.8 ounces
Pros
Sound qualityStrong ANCBattery life
Cons
PriceFinnicky touch controls

Best bang for your buck

CB3 Hush

If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, then maybe the CB3 Hush will be more up your alley. These are also noise cancelling headphones and though that’s not a requirement for good Bluetooth headphones, it’s always a plus. Starting with the build and design, these are very comfortable. The padding on the headband and ear pads feels nice to the touch and allows them to rest comfortably on your head for even the longest listening sessions. If you need to pack them in a bag they’re also fairly flexible and can fold at the hinges so you can throw them in a backpack if you need to. With Bluetooth and ANC turned on, these should get you a solid 15 hours of playback time which is enough for the average flight or commute. The two best features about these headphones are arguably the most important when it comes to a pair of noise-cancelling headphones: the ANC and the sound. A lot of times headphones with weak ANC will simply get a little louder in order to block out the outside noise, but that isn’t the case with the Hush. Voices and dog barks will still slice through, but the low hum of trains and even nearby air conditioners get noticeably less audible when you switch it on.
Pros
Active Noise CancellingComfortablePrice
Cons
Build Materials
Best Headphones for Travel

Bose QC35

The Bose QC25s were on everyones shortlist if you wanted one of the best noise-cancelling headphones out there, but they never made it onto our wireless lists because they were still wired. The new QC35s however, aren’t. They don't improve upon many of the specs of the previous model, but making the jump to wireless is probably enough for a lot of people. Bose is known for their great ANC, and the QC35s carry on that tradition. It’s some one of the best we’ve seen and now that they’re Bluetooth they’re an even better value. The padding on the ear cups isn’t only extremely comfortable, it also passively blocks a good amount of outside sound too. Pair that with the strong ANC, and these are in a class all on their own. As far as quality goes these tend to be more embellished in that classic Bose way, so if you’re looking for super-heavy bass or an accurate sound you might have to look elsewhere. Whether you’re rocking an Android or iOS device the playback controls should function exactly the same when you’re connected via Bluetooth. These also now have a solid 20 hours of battery life with ANC and Bluetooth turned on.
Pros
Active Noise CancellingComfortable
Cons
Price

Sony H.ear On Wireless NC

These look vaguely futuristic with its rounded off edges and sloping aesthetic. It’s not for everyone, but it isn’t unattractive by any means. Being over-ears, these headphones might give you the impression of being big and bulky but they’re actually fairly slim for what they are. Bluetooth parts, the battery, and the ANC components are all tucked away neatly somewhere in these headphones. As far as battery life goes, these are spec’d at 20 hours but many people have been seeing as much as 25 without issues. If you want a pair of headphones that will last a few days without requiring a charge, these are them. Sony claims that the headphones will listen to your surroundings and select the most appropriate Noise Cancelling mode. Whether or not it actually does that is hard to test, but either way these do have some effective noise cancelling which is always a plus. Sony is also all about the accuracy now and these are Hi-Res certified so if you have the right kind of audio file you can easily stream lossless files.
Pros
Battery LifeActive Noise CancellingHi-Res
Cons
Price

 

Best Battery

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 SE

The Plantronics Backbeat series has had its ups and downs, but the Backbeat Pro 2 SE is definitely one of the ups. These headphones have a unique design that we grew to love. It’s super comfortable thanks to plush padding on the ear cups along the headband, and it does everything you need from a wireless pair of headphones. Good sound, check. Great battery life (24 hours), check. Unfortunately, it does have a good amount of buttons that can be a little confusing, but once you get over the odd placement they offer plenty of functionality like answering phone calls and controlling music playback. They offer Class 1 Bluetooth for a range of 100 feet and decent active noise cancelling for the price.
Microphone
Yes
Bluetooth
Class 1
Noise Cancelling
Yes
Water-Resistance
No
Battery Life
24 hours
Pros
Battery lifeComfortableGood sound
Cons
Lots of buttons

Skullcandy Grind Wireless

Skullcandy might not be the first name you think of when you’re looking of the best in anything, but maybe they should be. Their Grind Wireless headphones aren’t just inexpensive, they’re also a really solid pair of on-ears. The headphones sit nicely on the ears and even though they don’t have much padding, the ear cups aren’t uncomfortable at all. The headband is also made of a hard metal thats sturdy but flexible. the Grind Wireless don’t have any hinges for folding and the ear cups also don’t even rotate to lie flat, so if you want something compact these might not do it for you. That said, I had no issues throwing them in my backpack while reviewing them so they seem to be fairly sturdy. Battery life is good enough for all day usage as well. In our full review we were able to squeeze about 11-12 hours of constant playback out of them. Sound quality is definitely embellished but that could be a good thing in this case. Chances are you’re not going to be mixing sound with these, so why not enjoy a little more bass in your music. These also have playback controls built into the right ear cup allowing you control volume, skip tracks, and even answer phone calls.
Pros
PriceSound
Cons
Don't fold or rotate

Best Sound

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

It would be easy to point to our 9.2 score and Editor's Choice pick for the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless and call it a day, but that wouldn't be doing these headphones justice. In terms of design the Momentum Wireless combine a bit of the old-school with the ultra-modern, and this results in a striking pair of headphones. You might have noticed that these headphones also make an appearance on our list of the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones, and for good reason. Combine that with the wireless connectivity and the great sound, and these are nearly impossible not to recommend. Sennheiser briefly pulled the Momentum Wireless from sale and issued a voluntary recall due to issues with Bluetooth connectivity. This problem has since been fixed and the headphones are on sale once again
Pros
Excellent sound qualityVery effective noise cancellation
Cons
Lacking in the onboard controls department

Creative SoundBlaster Jam

Creative isn’t only good at making Bluetooth speakers, they make good headphones too. Like Anker, Creative specializes in bang for your buck and though it’s hard to say that they sound better than some more expensive headphones, they still sound really good for the price. These sell for around $40, which is only $10 less than the price they launched at, so there are some trade-offs. Compared to many other Bluetooth on-ears, the Jam feel much more in common with the small and light headphones of the 1990s and 2000s than today’s hulking giants. The look fits in with this too, right down to the font choice for the word “Jam” in the logo. There is an upside here aside from the price though: these are very light compared to most Bluetooth headphones out there. It’s a bit surprising considering the price, but the Jams feature NFC connectivity, which is a feature we don’t often find on headphones that cost ten times the price. Sure, you won’t use it all that often, but it’s still nice to have. Another nice feature is the 12 hours of playback time. We’ve seen more to be sure, but again considering the size and price, this is nice to see. The bass is somewhat absent and highs can be harsh at higher volumes, but overall sound is fairly decent. As we’ve mentioned before, this is not the kind of pair of headphones that will have you unable to believe the sound. Still, if you don’t want to spend much or you’re looking for a backup pair of wireless headphones, these are more than worth the asking price.
Pros
PriceDesignBattery Life
Cons
Build MaterialsNot much padding

As with every “best of” list, these things are always very subjective. Everyone’s ears are different, so your best bet is to try out a few different pair of headphones and see which of them sound best to you. Still, these are some great starting points. They’ve all been fairly well reviewed (both by us and by reviewers on sites like Amazon) and they represent a fairly wide range of prices.

Have we left anything out? Let us know. What do you think are the best Bluetooth headphones out there?

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