Although Bluetooth audio quality can’t hold a candle to wired options, it’s convenient for most and preferred by many. Seeing as the consumer market is settling comfortably around wireless earbuds and headphones, we present to you a truncated version of our sister site SoundGuys’ list of the best Bluetooth headphones.
Editor’s note: this list was updated on October 17, 2019, to include information regarding Google Assistant headphones.
Best Bluetooth headphones
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT takes everything that we loved about the original ATH-M50x and adapts it for wireless listening. These headphones have up-to-date Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and support aptX HD for high-quality streaming from your favorite services. Features are sparse, but Audio-Technica has never relied on gimmicks. Instead, the headphones deliver excellent Bluetooth sound quality at a fair price. Plus, the 31.2 hour battery life is a huge perk. If you need a pair of wireless headphones to take from the home to the streets, these are promising.
2. Sony WH-1000XM3
We’ve sung Sony’s praises since the WH-1000XM2 and the Sony WH-1000XM3 are even better. These ANC wireless headphones boast some of the best noise cancelling on the market and come in at a competitive price. A slew of high-quality Bluetooth codecs are supported by this headset among which are LDAC, aptX HD, and AAC. No matter your source device, high-quality audio is at your fingertips. What’s more you can make granular EQ adjustments via the Sony | Headphones Connect app. Be aware though: doing so automatically drops streaming quality down to SBC. The WH-1000XM3 charge via USB-C and have a 24-hour battery life. If you’re itching to hush your cubicle neighbors, this headset is a brilliant investment.
3. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose’s beloved QuietComfort II wireless headphones have received a huge overhaul with the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Sound quality is markedly improved from the previous flagship model as is the design, which has a more modern touch than before. Speaking of which, these headphones support touch controls via the ear cups. It’s not quite as intuitive as Sony’s headphones but remains easy to use. ANC is excellent and can handle most situations, though not as well as the Sony WH-1000XM3 or AKG N700NC.
4. V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex
V-Moda’s Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex are some of the toughest and best Bluetooth headphones on the market. They’re MIL-STD 810G certified and can be contorted any which way without damage to the headband. Both aptX and AAC high-quality Bluetooth codecs are supported to the benefit of both Android and iOS users. If you opt for wired listening, you’ll benefit from zero latency, which makes these a great option for gamers who want a versatile headset. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even get a customized pair of headphones by going directly through the V-Moda website.
Regardless of whether you deck them out or not, you can rest easy knowing that V-Moda backs its products with its Immortal Life program. This lets you swap your old V-Moda cans for a coupon worth up to 50% of the headphone’s value. This can then be used toward a new pair of headphones. Suffice to say the expense is justifiable for some with such a program in place.
5. Anker Soundcore Vortex
The Anker Soundcore Vortex Bluetooth headphones are an absolute bargain. These can usually be found for ~$50. Spacious ear cups allow for long listening sessions sans-temple pain and they even play nicely with glasses. They support aptX and boast 20 hours of playback on a single charge. Of course, corners had to be cut somewhere: these use a microUSB charging input rather than USB-C, a small sacrifice to make. If you want a Beats-like design at a bargain hunter’s price, pick up a pair of Anker Soundcore Vortex headphones.
What you should know about the best Bluetooth headphones
- The effectiveness of Bluetooth codecs depends on your source device. For instance, AAC doesn’t perform well on Android devices, and generally speaking, LDAC isn’t hi-res. If you’re using an Android phone as your source device, check for headphones with aptX or aptX HD support. Either of these codecs will provide high-quality streaming to your device with minimal lag.
- Bluetooth connectivity is fallible, even with Class 1 Bluetooth and Bluetooth 5.0 technology. If you’re having repeated issues with a headset, you may need to manually reset it. Since there isn’t a universal protocol for doing so, you’ll have to check your respective wireless headphones’ manual.
- Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive than non-noise-cancelling options, but they can reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
- On a related note, both noise-cancelling picks listed feature virtual assistant integration. Both the Sony and Bose Bluetooth headphones support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa integration. This means you can access your notifications, set reminders, and more all from the headset.
- Needless to say, many of the options listed are expensive. While the initial investment is painful, it often affords premium features and extended or lifetime warranties.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
As our sister site, we entrust the folks over at SoundGuys to know their way around consumer audio, Bluetooth headphones in particular. Each writer has years of experience keeping tabs on the audio industry and understands that audio requires both subjective and objective analysis.
None of the writers may benefit from featuring one product over another, and ultimately want readers to enjoy what they listen to without spending an exorbitant amount of time researching products. If you have the time and desire, feel free to read up on the ethics policy.