Many of us are remote workers nowadays, and work-from-home productivity relies heavily on a good wireless headset to both communicate with colleagues and block out the sounds of noisy roommates. Sure, Bluetooth audio quality can’t hold a candle to wired options, but it’s convenient for most and preferred by many. Here are the best Bluetooth headphones you can get today.
Best Bluetooth headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
- Sony WH-1000XM4
- Bose noise-cancelling Headphones 700
- V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex
- Sennheiser HD 350BTAnker Soundcore Vortex
Editor’s note: We’ll update this list as new and noteworthy Bluetooth headphones are released. This month we added the Apple AirPods Max to the notable mentions section.
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 headset lasts over 31 hours which is a huge perk. If you need a pair of wireless headphones to take from home to the streets, these are promising.
2. Sony WH-1000XM4
We’ve sung Sony’s praises since the WH-1000XM2 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 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 handful of Bluetooth codecs are supported by this headset among which are LDAC, AAC, and of course, SBC. 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.
Unlike its predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM4 supports Bluetooth multipoint so you may connect the headset to two devices at a time. Unfortunately, the feature only works when streaming over AAC on both devices (firmware 2.0.6). The WH-1000XM3 charges via USB-C and have a 20-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 Bose 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-1000XM4 or Shure AONIC 50. The microphones are very good on this headset, and certainly good enough for your average conference call. Bose updates its firmware and Bose Connect app frequently, and users can even create a custom EQ with the free app. This is great because the sound quality is neutral, which may not please listeners who prefer a bass-heavy sound.
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. Sennheiser HD 350BT
The Sennheiser HD 350BT is a great pair of wireless headphones for anyone who can’t bear to spend more than $100. You get Bluetooth 5.0, which helps the headset stay connected to your smartphone, and a slew of high-quality Bluetooth codecs (SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX LL). Whether you use an Android or iPhone, you can enjoy near-CD quality audio. This codec support comes in lieu of a headphone jack; there’s no way to connect the HD 350BT by wire.
The ear cups are a bit small for large ears, but the fit remains comfortable thanks to the appropriate headband tension. What’s more, Bluetooth multipoint is finicky at best. Even still, these are small compromises to make for an affordable headset that makes all music sound good.
These are our picks for the best wireless headphones. This category is constantly being updated with new options, so we’ll be sure to keep you informed as more options become available.
What you should know about the best Bluetooth headphones
There’s plenty to know about audio, and it can get a little intimidating especially if you’re new to headphones. Here’s a brief rundown of the most important things to know about Bluetooth headphones, so you make an informed purchase.
What is a Bluetooth codec?
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 connection stability 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.
Good noise-cancelling headphones are expensive
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. Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive than non-noise-canceling options because they pack a lot of technology into a very small package. The idea of spending $200 or more on a pair of headphones may seem mind-boggling at first, but it’s well worth it if you’re easily distracted by background noise. Donning a pair of ANC headphones can quickly turn your noisy office area into a pleasant productivity cube.
Read more: Best noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones can also protect your hearing by reducing your risk of noise-induced hearing loss. When our surroundings are loud we tend to increase the volume of our headphones in order to combat the loud outside sounds. While this kind of works, it can damage the tiny hairs in your ears that send signals to the brain for it to interpret sound. By using a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you’re effectively protecting your hearing because the headphones do the heavy-lifting of reducing outside noise, so you aren’t as tempted to increase the volume to dangerous levels.
Best Bluetooth headphones: Honorable mentions
- AKG N60NC: These are one of the few on-ear headsets that you can wear for hours on end without head and ear pain. AKG’s noise-cancelling is very good, as is sound quality.
- Apple AirPods Max: This headset has the best noise-cancelling around, but it didn’t quite nab a spot on the list because it’s so cost-prohibitive and many of its features are exclusive to iOS.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II: Bose’s headphones have been around for years now, but they still keep up with the best of them. If you value comfort above all else, you need the QC 35 II on your head. Bose keeps this headset alive and well with significant firmware updates.
- Jabra Elite 45h: On-ears are a rare breed, what with the rise of true wireless earphones, but the Elite 45h stand out from the crowd due to its 50-hour battery life.
- JBL UA Sport Wireless Train: If you’re one of the rare athletes who prefers to use headphones, rather than earbuds, to exercise, then JBL and Under Armour’s headset is for you.
- Microsoft Surface Headphones 2: Microsoft combines noise-cancelling, good sound quality, and a dedicated mic mute switch to make the Surface Headphones 2 one of the best productivity headsets around.
- Plantronics BackBeat Fit 6100: This is another great pair of over-ear headphones for working out, and it features an adjustable headband. You can tighten it up during vigorous exercise, and keep it more relaxed when enjoying music on the train.
- Sennheiser PXC 550-II: Sennheiser’s sound quality is stellar, as is its noise-cancelling in these relatively affordable headphones. The headset features spacious touch panels and ergonomically shaped ear cups that accommodate ears of all sizes.
- Shure Aonic 50: If you want a pair of luxurious headphones that sound great, support all the popular high-quality Bluetooth codecs, and are comfortable for bespectacled listeners, then the Aonic 50 is your end game.
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