Which is the best pair of wireless headphones for most people?
Wireless headphones have come a long way. Advances in wireless connectivity, battery and driver technologies mean wireless headphones come in numerous shapes and sizes and cover every price point under the sun.
We’ve crafted a definitive list detailing our picks of the best wireless headphones we reviewed across all categories to help clear up the confusion. Scroll down to see our top picks and read our full reviews, or check out our summary of the best below:
- Best noise cancellation: Sony WH-1000XM3
- Best sound: Bowers & Wilkins PX
- Best true wireless: Sony WF-1000XM3
- Best battery life: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
- Best design: B&O Beoplay H9i
- Best for comfort: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Best for enjoyment: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
- Best value: Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
- Best for fitness: Jaybird Vista
- Best under £100: Urbanista Seattle
- Best for portability: AKG N60 NC Wireless
- Best budget: House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless
If you’re in a rush, our current favourites are the Sony WH-1000XM3, but we’ll be updating this page with the latest and best as we review them. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to read our guide on the different types of wireless headphones and how to buy the right ones for you.
Related: Best headphones
1. Sony WH-1000XM3
The best wireless headphones
- The best noise cancellation ever
- Excellent sound quality
- Fast charge feature is great
- Comfortable fit
- Responsive controls
- Could do with a touch more detail in the treble
The Sony WH-1000XM3 currently offer the best noise cancellation performance on the market. Not only do they shut out noisy plane engines, they block out annoying passengers, too. Sound quality has been upgraded with a new analogue amplifier for a clearer, firmer and more enjoyable sound.
There are features aplenty, with the Quick Listen function muting your audio so you can listen to the outside world, and Ambient Sound does the same but lets you continue listening to your music as well.
Add a whopping 30 hours of battery for wireless playback (40 hours wired), plus more noise-cancellation tinkering via the Sony Headphones app and the WH-1000XM3 are excellent all-rounders.
2. Bowers & Wilkins PX
An excellent all-rounder
- Fantastic sound
- Handy smart sensors
- Auto power/connect/play
- Attractive design
- Noise-cancellation could be stronger
The PX are B&W’s first crack at a set of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, entering a challenging market to take on the likes of the Bose and the Sony.
To differentiate itself, B&W focused on its core strengths of luxury design and audiophile sound quality – but with some impressive tricks up its sleeve too. Those include adaptable noise-cancellation and a clever wear sensor, which detects when the headphones are on your head, pausing playback accordingly. They’re even smart enough to know when you lift an earcup for a quick chat.
Their noise-cancellation can’t compete with the likes of Bose or Sony, but that’s made up for by their audio performance.
3. Sony WF-1000XM3
Superb audio quality
- Great musical sound quality
- Super noise cancellation
- Snug, comfortable fit
- Rock solid wireless connection
- Great with all types of music
- Adaptive sound can be intrusive
- No aptX
With the emphasis on sound quality, they’ve borrowed tech from the WH-1000XM3 over-ears and crammed them into a tiny nugget small enough to sit in your ear.
They sound fantastic, with a great, musical quality to the sound and rock-solid wireless stability. And with active noise cancellation, they’re great at blocking out sounds that could interrupt your listening session. The best true wireless earbuds so far.
4. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
Talented beyond their price
|Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Earbuds Pair, True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0, Hi-Fi Sound, in-Ear Stereo Earphones with Portable Charging Case (Black)||$99.95|
- Great battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Poised, energetic sound
- Grey finish is a bit austere
- Touch controls take some getting used to
Cambridge Audio’s Melomania 1 took on the likes of Apple and Sony in the true wireless market and came out unscathed.
That’s due in part to their excellent features with nine hours of battery life (45 in total), Bluetooth 5 and voice assistant control in the form of Google Assistant. They not a pair of headphones that immediately jump out with their design, but you’re more likely to be interested in how they sound.
And they sound great, with an accomplished performance that’s full of precision, detail and character. They’re quite possibly a bargain for their price.
5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Very good noise-cancelling headphones
- Superb noise cancelling
- Excellent mic for calls
- Light and comfortable
- Long battery life
- No aptX
- Rivals sound better
Bose has a long history of making great headphones, especially ones with active noise-cancelling, and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the latest.
Like their predecessors, they’re light and comfortable and feature some great noise-cancellation. There’s still no aptX support (or aptX HD), but they still sound great, if not quite up to audio standard of the B&W’s or Sony’s offerings.
The level of noise-cancelling is now adjustable and Google Assistant feeds back notifications from your phone. Other than that, it’s business as usual for these capable cans, including a 20 hour battery life when wireless or 40 hours wired.
6. B&O Beoplay H9i
The most gorgeous wireless headphones you can buy
- Gorgeous looks
- Excellent build quality
- Sound great
- Proximity sensors work
- Removable battery
- Touch controls can be fiddly
- Optional app is buggy
If you have a taste for the finer things in life, and sound quality alone won’t do it for you, then check out the B&O Beoplay H9i. They’re great looking, luxurious wireless headphones, made from a mixture of anodised aluminium, toughened cowhide and super-soft lambskin leather.
They’re full of features too, with Bluetooth, active noise-cancellation, a battery life of around 18 hours, touch controls, and a ‘Transparency’ mode for hearing without removing the headphones. There are proximity sensors for auto-playing/pausing music too. All that, and they sound lovely.
7. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
Great looks, great sound
- Gorgeous looks and build quality
- Good battery life
- Effective noise cancellation
- Excellent, entertaining sound
- Newer rivals have a lot more features
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless aren’t the fanciest headphones on the market, but there’s a reason they’re still selling in the face of fresher competition: they’re excellent.
You get Sennheiser’s signature full-bodied sound, plus plenty of dynamism and sharp timing for a hugely entertaining listen. They’re not as neutrally balanced as the B&W PX, but you may be too moved to care anyway.
The noise cancellation is among the most effective you can get, and the wireless performance is solid. They do lack the motion-sensor and swipe controls of more up-to-date headphones, but that’s not necessarily a big deal.
8. Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
Top sound quality and reliable wireless performance
- Great soundstage imaging
- Engaging sound
- Good wireless reliability
- Unusual pairing style
- Slightly thicker sound than older M50 models
The ATH-M50xBT are among the most engaging and entertaining wireless headphones at their price point. There’s energy in the treble and upper-mids, while the soundstage is full of clarity and fairly wide.
They don’t quite have the low-end power of Sonys and Sennhesiers, but they excel at relaying the rhythm of track, adding to the headphone’s engaging nature.
They lack active noise cancellation, but if you’re looking for a Bluetooth wireless headphone that doesn’t shatter the bank balance, the M50xBT deserve attention.
9. Jaybird Vista
An ideal fit for any avid runner
- Great seal
- Solid build quality
- Super stable connection
- No ambient sound mode or aptX
- Charging case only has 10 hours battery
For those who like to listen to music while being active, you’ll struggle to find something better than the Jaybird Vista. They’re wireless in-ears with an excellent seal, build quality and an IPX7 rating that should withstand plenty of use.
Battery life is less than the X4, dropping from 8 to 6, but with ten hours in the charging case, that’s more than enough. With a super-stable connection and above average audio quality compared to other running sets, they’re a fine pair of wireless earbuds for those who work out.
10. Urbanista Seattle
A great sub-£100 pair of wireless headphones
- Good value
- Smart design
- Great sound
- No NFC or aptX
If you want an all-purpose pair of wireless headphones for less than £100 then the Urbanista Seattle are hard to beat.
While there are headphones out there with better features, including a longer battery life, most will prefer using these headphones day to day. They sound better and are flexible, staying on your head during exercise without worry.
Like most headphones in this class, there’s a crowd-pleasing bass boost. The rest of the sound is smooth without sounding soft, and displays decent detail. Overall there’s very little to dislike.
Spend a bit more and you might get a bit more bite in the treble, but at this price there’s very little to grumble about.
11. AKG N60 NC Wireless
Super-portable noise-cancelling cans
- Excellent sound
- Collapsible design
- Good noise cancellation
- Could have more padding on the headband
- No NFC
The AKG N60 NC Wireless are a petite pair of on-ear noise-cancelling headphones aimed at travellers and commuters alike.
Their lightweight, collapsible design makes them more portable than their larger over-ear competition, and their 15-hour wireless battery life is more than acceptable for their size – plus they’ll work passively too.
As far as noise-cancelling, the N60 NC Wireless can’t quite compete with the likes of Sony, but they do enough to dull the outside world. They sound great too, offering a punchy, detailed and well organised performance that’s both fun and expressive.
12. House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 Wireless
Solid budget wireless headphones
- Solid sound
- Relatively tasteful but distinct look
- The best sub-£100 pairs sound more dynamic
Good looking headphones with Bluetooth and a price tag of £50. There must be catch, right? Surprisingly, no. House of Marley has nailed this one. In the past we’ve had some pretty mediocre models but these have a subtle design and good performance.
They’re comfortable and not too large to wear, the aluminium cups are nice touches we’d expect from more high-end alternatives. The 12-hour battery is reasonable at this price , the controls are basic, and the sound is solid too. They won’t outshine more expensive models, but they’re a very good deal.
How to choose the right wireless headphones for you
Why buy a pair of wireless headphones?
The main reason is convenience – wireless headphones offer unprecedented freedom from tangled cables, not to mention headphone jacks. Active noise cancelling (ANC) is a common and useful feature for blocking out noisy environments too, and is well worth considering if you travel frequently.
What do I need in a pair of wireless headphones?
Your first question when buying a pair of wireless headphones is what you need them for and what your budget is. Bigger budgets often (but not always) open to door to better performances and better finishes, while what you use them for will have a big say on the design you should opt for.
- In-ear Bluetooth headphones are a great pick for sports, and are often waterproof for outside training (not to mention, you know, sweat). There are more and more that are ‘truly wireless’ too, but keep an eye out for those with plenty of eartips to ensure a snug fit.
- Over-ear and on-ear styles are the most popular for day-to-day usage. On-ear are usually a little smaller and cheaper, but by design, they’re not always the comfiest – especially for glasses wearers. Over-ear are better in this respect, but can make your ears hot over long listens. Be sure to read our reviews to see how they fare.
- Battery life is another consideration, and will range from over 20 hours on larger over-ear headphones to as little as three hours on completely wireless earbuds. Fine for most commutes, but not as convenient for longer haul journeys. If you’re forgetful when it comes to charging, consider an on- or over-ear style that allows wired playback when the battery runs out. Not all do.
- As for getting the best sound quality, look out for aptX or aptX HD support (Sony offers its own solution called LDAC). You’ll need a source device that supports it as well as your headphones, which counts iPhones out, but most Android devices are on board.
If you’re not 100% sure wireless headphones are right for you, we recommend you take a look at our best headphones round-up as well.
Related: best true wireless earbuds
How we test wireless headphones
As with all our headphones, the key thing is about listening. So we listen to headphones until our ears go numb, and then we listen some more. But with wireless headphones, the quality of the connection is just as important as the quality of the audio performance. So we factor in connectivity – we care about how quickly a pair of Bluetooth headphones pairs with various devices.
We also fixate on things people usually forget about, such as connection range and stability. We’ll walk around the house or office to see how far we can take things before the music drops off. We’ll walk through the busiest, most signal-polluted parts of town to see how robust the connection is. Read more about how we test headphones.