Best Wireless Headphones: Welcome to TechRadar’s guide to the best wireless and Bluetooth headphones you can buy in 2019.
Now sure, a few short years ago, we may have tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones (the technology had issues with wireless connectivity over Bluetooth and sound quality took a dive as a result) but these days, you can’t go wrong by buying a wireless pair of headphones.
Thanks to advancements in Bluetooth (thanks, aptX), the best wireless headphones not only stay connected to any phone, from the best smartphones to the best cheap smartphones, in every situation. But they sound just as good as their wired counterparts, too.
What you need to know about Black Friday 2019
It’s no secret that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the best times to find fantastic wireless headphone deals. Usually you’ll find that mid-range brands like Optoma and Jaybird get the biggest discounts at retailers like Amazon, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser have all recently released new models – and that means older models could be discounted.
Yes, a wireless pair of headphones might cost a bit more than a similar wired model, but wireless headphones offer greater freedom of movement and, because they don’t use an aux cable, make great companions for jack-less phones like the iPhone 11 and Pixel 3 that simply lack a 3.5mm aux port to connect with.
Whatever your reason for upgrading, we’re here to help you pick out the best wireless headphones, regardless of your budget. What you’ll find below are the top headphones we’ve reviewed – some of which come with neat features like noise-cancelation – all vetted by our staff so you can shop with confidence.
Wireless vs true wireless: what’s the difference?
Wireless headphones – the focus of this guide – are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband.
Wireless earbuds – the focus of this guide – have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too. Check out the best wireless earbuds for more.
True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. If you’re looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones.
Read on for our top wireless headphone picks.
Best wireless headphones 2019 at a glance
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
- Jabra Elite 85H
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
- Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)
- AKG N60NC Wireless
- Grado GW100 Wireless Headphones
- Microsoft Surface Headphones
The best over-ear wireless headphones
1. Sony WH-1000XM3
Wireless noise-cancelling headphones that sound better than Bose
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 275 grams | Frequency response: 4Hz – 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 103dB | Impedance: 46 Ohms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | NFC: Yes
30-hour battery life
Hinges are fragile
For the last three years, the Sony 1000X series of headphones have been our favorite wireless headphones on the market. They sound great thanks to a combination of superb wireless codecs – aptX and Sony’s proprietary LDAC tech – and keep outside noise at bay thanks to Sony’s ever-improving noise-cancellation algorithms.
While the Sony WH-1000XM3 might not be a massive improvement over last year’s WH-1000XM2, they’re still a cut above their rivals, the Bose QC35 II, in nearly every way: they sound better, they block out noise better and have better features like Quick Attention mode that lets in all outside noise without taking off the headphones. (The latter is perfect when giving a drink order on a plane or speaking to a coworker for a brief moment before diving back into your work.)
Great-sounding and feature-packed, these impressive Sony headphones are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones.
Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3 review
2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose’s new wireless noise-cancelling headphones are easily its best yet
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.64 lbs (289g) | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 100 meters (330 feet) | NFC: No
Outstanding noise cancellation
Fun, lively sound
Battery life could be better
More expensive than Sony
Bose has really outdone itself with the Headphones 700 – and a big part of these cans’ appeal, is the sophistication of the noise cancellation they offer.
As an alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM3, these headphones sound fantastic, with a vibrant, lively character and well-balanced soundstage and offer the same great noise-cancellation you’d expect from Bose.
They don’t have the same dexterity as the WH-1000XM3 and the battery life is also 10 hours less than Sony headphones despite costing more, but they’re still well-worth considering when looking for a pair of wireless headphones.
Read the full review: Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 review
3. Jabra Elite 85H
Giving Sony and Bose a run for their money
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 296 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 36 hours | Wireless range: 10m (33ft.) | NFC: N/A
Class-leading battery life
Excellent ANC performance
Stylish and comfortable
Lacks support for high-end codecs
Offering class-leading battery life, terrific style and plenty of personalization when it comes to sound profiles, the Elite 85h is easy to recommend. That said, purists will bemoan the lack of high-end codec support and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, the result is quite commendable. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will accomplish.
If you want an alternative to Sony’s WH-1000XM3, this is it.
Read the full review: Jabra Elite 85H review
4. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Premium wireless headphones that include Google Assistant
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
Broad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
Active EQ an acquired taste
Bose took the already-excellent QC35 and updated with Google Assistant. The headphone is identical in every way save for the new Google Assistant button. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort. Said simply, they sound great and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
If you’re looking to save some money, however, consider the original Bose QuietComfort 35. They can also be found for far cheaper these days, and if you’re not fussed about having Google Assistant built into your headphones then you can save yourself some money while you save up for QC35 II.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II review
5. Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless
The best-sounding (and most expensive) wireless headphones you can buy
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 380g | Cable length: 1.2 m, detachable | Frequency response: 5 – 40,000 Hz | Drivers: 50mm | Driver type: Dynamic, Tesla | Sensitivity: 100dB At 1KHz | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 10 meters (30+ feet) | NFC: N/A
Excellent build quality and comfort
Detailed, dynamic, spacious sound
Sounds just as good wired
Not ideal for travel
The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless are the best-sounding wireless headphones you can buy, period. Sound is spacious, detailed, and makes you want to rediscover your music library. Their bulky design and average noise isolation make them terrible for travel but if you’re looking for the best sound from a wireless headphone, this is it.
Just be prepared to shell out for them.
Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless review
6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
Technically brilliant on nearly every level
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 310g | Cable length: 1.2 m, detachable | Frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz | Drivers: 45mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99dB At 1KHz | Impedance: 38 ohms | Battery life: 40 hours | Wireless range: 10 meters (30+ feet) | NFC: N/A
Great sound quality
Audio-Technica has a long history of producing high-quality headphones, microphones, and turntable accessories, and with the release of the ATH-M50xBT, it delivers studio-quality audio without the cord.
The ATH-M50xBTs are designed for really high-end audio performance, with 45mm drivers and a frequency response range of 15-28,00 Hz, and it shows – we were very impressed with the warm, well-rounded sound.
The ATH-M50xBT headphones also performed well in terms of battery life and Bluetooth connectivity, however the microphone isn’t particularly strong, and you may struggle to make phone calls using them – still, that’s probably not the reason you would purchase a pair of studio grade headphones in the first place.
Read our full review: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT review
7. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)
Over-ear headphones that don’t skimp on the smart features
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 6Hz to 22kHz | Drivers: 42mm | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 17 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
Brilliant audio quality
Battery life isn’t great
More expensive than rivals
In terms of audio quality, these Sennheiser over-ear headphones sound fantastic, with high levels of detail, warm bass, and natural-sounding highs.
Customizable noise cancelation is a great touch, but it doesn’t quite reach the class-leading standards set by Sony and Bose. Battery life also doesn’t compete with the Sony WH-1000XM3s, and they’re more expensive to boot.
So, why buy the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)? Well, if built-in Tile tracking appeals to you, and you like the industrial design and premium materials of the Momentum Wireless, that could be reason enough – and if you do opt for them over the Sony model, you won’t be missing out on any audio quality. In that respect, they’re truly matched.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) review
8. AKG N60NC Wireless
Wireless noise-cancellation from another mid-range master
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 199.4g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 111dB SPL/V@1kHz | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No
Not the most comfortable
Initially confusing controls
The AKG N60NC Wireless sound like a pair of headphones that should be much more expensive than they are.
At their mid-range price point the headphones offer fantastic value for money, with great sound quality and a level of noise-cancellation performance that’s on a level with the much more premium entries on this list.
Our biggest issue with these headphones is the fact that they’re on-ear rather than over-ear, meaning that we found that they got uncomfortable over longer periods.
Regardless, the benefit of this is that this is a fantastically compact pair of headphones, and if you’re willing to make the trade-off then these are great for the price.
Read the full review: AKG N60NC Wireless review
9. Grado GW100 Wireless headphones
Grado makes the grade (again)
Acoustic design: Open | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: 10m | NFC: Yes
Fantastic audio quality
Cool retro design
Heavy sound leakage
Slightly flimsy build
The Grado GW100s sound great with a wide soundstage, clear highs, smooth mids, and extended bass frequencies. They also sport a kitsch, retro design that recalls Grado’s humble beginnings in 50’s Brooklyn.
Although the Bluetooth connection works very well, the need for a wireless pair of open-back headphones can be unclear; particularly if the design makes them unsuitable for commuting or listening in communal areas.
Saying that, having the option to listen wirelessly is undeniably convenient when you’re pottering around the house, and you can use these cans with an AUX cable if you’re something of an audiophile who prefers a wired connection.
Overall, we feel the Grado GW100s are designed for a fairly niche market of audiophiles who crave a wide, natural sound, and who do the majority of their music listening at home. If that sounds like you, you will probably love the Grado GW100s. If not, you may want to look at closed-back models instead.
Read the full review: Grado GW100 Wireless headphones review
10. Microsoft Surface headphones
Warm sound and great noise cancellation
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.64Ibs | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm Free Edge Driver | Driver type: Free Edge | Sensitivity: 115 dB | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
Brilliant sound quality
Effective noise cancellation
Design won’t appeal to all
Sound may be too warm for some
Overall, Microsoft’s Surface headphones are surprisingly good, with a stunningly warm sound, and generous bass frequencies, which means your music will sound great whether you’re listening to subby hip-hop or acoustic singer-songwriters.
One criticism of this warm sound is that it can take some of the attack away from lower-mid frequencies, which some users may find a bit underwhelming. However, if sharp trebles and mids tend to give you listening fatigue, these could be the perfect headphones for you.
The calling card of these headphones is the active noise cancellation, which we felt worked really well, and we loved how easy it was to control this using the inbuilt dials on each housing.
Although we were initially unconvinced by the high price (particularly when you can buy quality cans from heritage audio brands for less), the features work so seamlessly that it feels justified.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface headphones review