Update, September 15, 2020: This article was updated to replace the Sony WH-1000XM3 with the Sony WH-1000XM4.
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
- Anker Soundcore Vortex
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-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 charge 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. 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.
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
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-cancelling 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.
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.
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