Cables suck. They limit your movement and get caught on things. Sometimes they're necessary, but we’ve seen huge strides in wireless headphones over the last couple of years. Better still, the tax on price and quality has dropped as ‘style’ headphones have matured which is good for all of us.
And now that the Apple iPhone 7 has done away with the headphone jack – as we all expected – now is as good a time as any to look at wireless headphones. We've listened to many pairs of wireless headphones, and we've narrowed down the best for every occasion. These include over-ear and on-ear cans, and neckband-style wireless earbuds.
Of course, Apple has also announced its own wireless option in the form of the Apple AirPods, which are 'truly wireless' earbuds. These differ in the sense that there's no wire connecting the two earphones together. The Apple AirPods use a brand new W1 chip, which Apple promises will deliver a more reliable connection than standard Bluetooth as well as providing other useful functions. There are sensors so the earbuds know when they're in your ears to automatically play and pause. Accelerometers know when you're speaking to direct the microphones using beamforming, which should improve hands-free calling performance, too.
More and more manufacturers are creating truly wireless earbuds; Bragi, Motorola, Onkyo, Sol Republic and Jabra all have options, too. Some of these go beyond just playing music, providing extra 'hearable' computing tech. Think of them like a personal assistant in your ear. Of course, you always have Apple's Siri or Google Now to fall back on as well with certain models.
Some of the new truly wireless buds are focused towards fitness as well. Jabra's Sport Elite have a heart rate monitor inside as well as the ability to track reps during exercises such as push ups or squats.
Right now, we haven't included any truly wireless earbuds in our list but expect to see more of this style wireless earphone cropping up as the technology develops. We're reviewing more and more of these as well, so be sure to check back to see whether any are worthy of your ears. Right now, most of our favourites are on-ear and over-ear sets.
Video: Trusted Explains – What type of headphones should you buy?
Gibson Trainer at Amazon.co.uk | Was £199 | Now £149
Audio Technica ATH-ANC40BT at Amazon.co.uk | Was £199 | Now £122
Sennheiser RS185 at Amazon.com | Was $399 | Now $292
Related: Best headphones
There’s no magic to most standard wireless headphones. They normally use Bluetooth to receive audio from your phone, and therefore also have to pack in a battery to power that hardware. This is no biggie for lovers of larger headphones.
Wireless sets can be immensely freeing, letting you walk around without worrying about catching cables on anything. They're great for the gym. Do, however, bear in mind that you’ll pay a bit more for wireless sets. Sound quality can also be slightly worse than their wired equivalents, but things like supporting the Bluetooth aptX codec can do wonders for improving sound quality.
Hit the navigation arrows below, or use the dropdown menu above, to see our top picks for wireless headphones.