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The Best Wireless Headphones for Perfect Sound in Every Situation

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Updated December 20, 2023

My pair of noise canceling wireless headphones from Sony (the WH-1000XM5 version included in this guide), literally changed my life. I suffer from mild hyperacusis (sound sensitivity), tinnitus, and experience difficulty concentrating when there’s too much background noise in my vicinity. I also travel frequently and find myself in hotel rooms sorely lacking in any kind of sound proofing or insulation. My wireless headphones help smooth out the world and keep my stress down.

Of course, these aren’t the only reasons to invest in a pair of quality wireless headphones. They’re excellent for enjoying all your favorite music as well as immersing yourself in your home entertainment or gaming system. They’re great to wear when you’re out running errands (walking, not driving) or going for a jog, run, or hike. And they’re a wonderful companion for gym workouts. As an old friend once told me: “Life is always better with musical accompaniment.” I couldn’t agree more.

Our top wireless headphones picks

Best wireless over-ear headphones and noise canceling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM5 

The Sony WH-1000XM5 earns both our best wireless over-ear style and best wireless noise canceling accolades for their ease of use, excellent sound quality, comfort, and battery life. I use these for everything ranging from listening to music, watching shows and movies, participating in zoom calls, and blocking out noise on airplanes (and other public transit) and in hotel rooms with little to no insulation, as well as drowning out the occasional noisy neighbor. They’re even comfortable enough to sleep with in a side position, as long as you position your pillow just right. Plus, they sense when you’re talking and pause whatever else you’re playing automatically.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 32 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Anything 

What we like:

  • Comfortable enough to wear all day
  • Excellent noise canceling ability
  • Long battery life

What we don’t like:

  • On the expensive side

Best wireless gaming headphones: HP HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless

These over-the-ear headphones from HP have an insanely long battery life of 300 hours. We have no idea what kind of magic produces something that is 10 times that of the competition, but we’re not sure we care. They have a detachable wireless, noise canceling mic that allows you to easily tell whether or not you’re muted via an LED indicator. The Ngenuity software provides all sorts of customizable options and the Spatial audio means you can experience virtual 3D sound stage immersion—all with a fairly reasonable price tag. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 300 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: No
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Ngenuity software

What we like:

  • Battery life
  • Reasonable price
  • Virtual 3D sound stage capabilities 

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t connect via Bluetooth, but rather the included 2.4GHz Wireless USB adapter. The company states that Bluetooth does not “allow for sufficient bandwidth for simultaneous high quality audio playback and mic usage.”
Best wireless gaming headphones
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless - Gaming Headset for PC, 300-hour battery life, DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio, Memory foam, Dual Chamber Drivers, Noise-canceling mic, Durable aluminum frame,Red

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless - Gaming Headset for PC, 300-hour battery life, DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio, Memory foam, Dual Chamber Drivers, Noise-canceling mic, Durable aluminum frame,Red

Best in-ear wireless headphones: Beats Fit Pro Earbuds

With secure fit wingtips so they won’t pop out of your ears at inopportune moments and pressure relieving vents, these Beats Fit earbuds are comfortable enough to wear all day no matter what you’re doing. One of the reasons (besides having great sound quality and noise canceling abilities) they earn our best earbuds rating is that they work out of the box with both iOS and Android devices (with an app that lets you customize all the controls as well as perform a fit test for proper bass levels). They’re even, and perhaps more importantly, available in a range of colors, including coral pink, purple, and neon yellow, so you aren’t tethered to Apple white. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 6 hours
  • Water resistance: Yes, IPX4
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Earbuds
  • Works best with: Both Android and iPhones

What we like:

  • Work equally well with both iOS and Android
  • Come in multiple colors
  • Great noise cancellation 

What we don’t like:

  • Sound quality not as good as some others
Best in-ear wireless headphones
Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Earbuds

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Earbuds

Best budget wireless headphones: 1More Sono Flow

For under $100, the 1More Sono Flow headphones offer great battery life and respectable sound quality and noise canceling ability. They’re not quite as full-bodied as premium models but, if you’re on a budget, these still have enough clarity and bass definition to keep your tunes sounding good. They also don’t cancel out noise as effectively as others but, again, for a budget model, they do muffle ambient sound adequately.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 70 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: 1More music app 

What we like:

  • Excellent value
  • Comfortable for extended wear
  • Good battery life 

What we don’t like:

  • Can’t use noise canceling feature when plugged in
Best budget wireless headphones
1MORE SonoFlow Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

1MORE SonoFlow Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best wireless headphones for running or working out: Jabra Elite 7 Active

Made with an EarGel design that molds to the shape of your ears, as well as the company’s ShakeGrip technology, the Jabra Elite 7 Active earbuds remain where you put them while running, jogging, walking, cycling, or lifting, without the need for ear wings. I’ve searched for a long time for a pair of earbuds that won’t pop out of my ears while running and these are, by far, the most reliable and secure I’ve found.

The noise cancellation feature engages with the tap of a button and has five levels of hear-through technology, so you can be aware of your surroundings when you’re outside. The IP57 rating means they’re resistant to both dust and water, while the four microphones have a mesh wind protection, so you can even carry on a conversation while pounding the pavement or sprinting through the halls of your office building.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 8 hours
  • Water resistance: Yes (IP57)
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Earbud
  • Works best with: Jabra Sound+ app 

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Secure fit 

What we don’t like:

  • Sound quality not as good as some others
Best wireless headphones for running or working out
Jabra Elite 7 Active

Best wireless headphones for TV: Insignia RF Wireless

Insignia RF wireless headphones come complete with a wireless transmitter and docking station that charges the headphones when not in use. They operate using an RF radio frequency transmission (as opposed to Bluetooth), which means there’s less chance of your audio and video being out of sync (which can be both disconcerting and annoying). They’re light and comfortable with great sound quality, at a very reasonable price. The biggest downside is that you can’t add additional headphones to the system. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: No
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Most any TV

What we like:

  • Great value
  • Uses RF transmission 

What we don’t like:

  • Can’t add any more headphones to the system

Best wireless headphones under $100: Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT

For a pair of budget-friendly headphones, these cans from Audio-Technica offer an impressive 60-hour battery life and more than adequate sound quality. They’ve long been the headphone of choice for amateur DJs and content creators who don’t have tons of extra cash lying around to fund their careers. They also feature a low latency mode, which makes sure your audio and video playback are in sync. All in all, a great value pair of headphones. 

 Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Battery life: Up to 60 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Music apps 

What we like:

  • Great value
  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life 

What we don’t like:

  • Not as loud as some others
Best wireless headphones under $100
Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT

Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT

Best sounding wireless headphones: Focal Bathys

For the absolute best in sound quality, Focal Bathys are hard to beat. They feature incredibly comfortable leather earpads and fancy, French, proprietary aluminum-magnesium dome drivers (which is just a complicated way of saying that they deliver exceptionally clear, high-resolution sound). There are three different noise canceling modes: Silent, soft, and transparent, as well as eight microphones. They also possess their own ambient backlight if you’re so inclined (which can be switched off) and they can be operated via voice control. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Focal & Naim smartphone app 

What we like:

  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Comfortable
  • Easy-enable voice assistants

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive

Best wireless headphones with mic: Bose Noise Canceling 700

With their digital signal processing and advanced microphone array, these Bose headphones are especially well suited to cutting out background noise and focusing on a voice, which is what makes them the best wireless headphone with a mic, as well as our top choice for phone calls. They feature 11 customizable levels of noise cancellation because sometimes you do need (or want) to hear some of what’s going on around you. Bose is known for products that produce unparalleled sound quality, including speakers, headphones, and soundbars, and these are no exception. Shopping tip: For even more details, see our in-depth review of the Bose 700 headphones.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Bose music app 

What we like:

  • Excellent noise canceling abilities
  • Comfortable
  • Great sound quality 

What we don’t like:

  • Battery life isn’t as good as some others
Best wireless headphones with mic
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Best audiophile wireless headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

The wired version of these headphones can be found in music and film studios all over the world, since they produce balanced, rich sound in a durable, reliable package. Well, now you can take these beloved headphones out of the studio for a stroll around the city or through a park (sometimes a walk in nature is just the break you need). As well as premium sound, they also come with an iconic coiled studio cable so you can (stylishly) plug in when you get back. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Battery life: Up to 50 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: A-T Connect app

What we like:

  • Great sound quality
  • Come with a coiled studio sound cable
  • Internal amp 

What we don’t like:

  • Headphones can get warm when wearing for a long time

Best wireless headphones for Android: Google Pixel Buds Pro

The 11mm speaker drivers in these little earbuds mean they put out a big, full sound. As an Android user and a person who spends a good deal of time with headphones or earbuds attached to their ears, these are my go-to earbuds. Their battery life is much longer than many other earbud models (as someone who has work days that are usually at least 10 hours long, this is important). The noise canceling is also great; they easily drown out the sounds of coworkers discussing what they plan to order for lunch or their latest relationship ups or downs and allow me to listen to my podcasts in peace. Plus, they come in cute colors like coral, lemongrass, and fog.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 11 hours
  • Water resistance: Yes IPX4
  • Multipoint: Yes
  • Headphone Type: Earbuds
  • Works best with: Google Assistant

What we like:

  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life
  • Come in multiple colors

What we don’t like:

Best wireless headphones for iPhone: Apple AirPods Max

Like all things Apple, the AirPods Max feature excellent technology wrapped in a clean, minimalist design. These headphones produce a rich, bass-filled soundstage experience and, as you’d expect, seamlessly work with all your iOS devices. They also have what Apple calls “dynamic head tracking,” which means they’re able to make you feel as if you’re in a theater with surround sound. They’re available in pink, green, and sky blue, as well as the traditional Apple space gray and silver. 

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: Yes (ANC)
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • Water resistance: No
  • Multipoint: No
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: iPhones 

What we like:

  • Soundstage quality
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive
Best wireless headphones for iPhone
Apple AirPods Max

Best wireless headphones for kids: Belkin Soundform Mini

These sturdy and comfortable wireless headphones from Belkin have a volume cap of 85 decibels, to protect kids’ ears while they learn and play. There’s a built-in microphone for distance learning and they’re compatible with programs like Zoom, Schoology, and Seesaw. As well as being available in black, blue, pink, and white, they come with a sheet of stickers so young users can customize them. At $35.00, they’re an exceptional value.

Specifications:

  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Water resistance: No, but spill and accident-proof
  • Multipoint: No
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear wireless
  • Works best with: Distance learning apps and devices

 What we like:

  • Available in fun colors
  • Great value
  • Extremely durable 

What we don’t like:

  • Very basic
Best wireless headphones for kids
Belkin SoundForm Mini Wireless On-Ear Headphones for Kids, Pink

Belkin SoundForm Mini Wireless On-Ear Headphones for Kids, Pink

What to consider when buying wireless headphones

Here are some things worth considering to help narrow down the field and point you in the right direction to finding the best headphones for you.

Battery life

I have one pair of wireless earbuds whose battery life is an abysmal four hours. This is not useful for me, as I like to wear them to listen to podcasts throughout an entire eight to ten hour work day. In the earbuds vs headphones question, earbuds, in general, tend to have shorter battery lives than their over-the-ear cousins. If you’re going to be using your headphones on a daily basis for long hours, consider a pair with at least a 12-hour battery life.

Noise cancellation

In my opinion, noise canceling headphones are one of the great inventions of the modern age. If you’re like me and sometimes have trouble concentrating when there’s too much external noise, or suffer from sound sensitivity, a good pair of noise canceling headphones will change your life or, at the very least, make it easier to pay attention to the things you want to pay attention to (and ignore the things you don’t). 

Multipoint connectivity

Multipoint means that a pair of headphones can connect to multiple devices simultaneously and easily switch from one to another. This trait is advantageous to someone who wants to use their headphones for various tasks and in multiple scenarios, including work calls, listening to music, watching television, or just blocking out the world with a white noise app. 

How we tested and select the best wireless headphones

We tested and selected these wireless headphones picks by using them in a variety of real life situations, including Zoom calls, the work place, while exercising (inside and outside), while traveling (airplanes, trains, buses), watching shows and movies, and listening to music. We also scoured online reviews and user forums for alternate opinions and feedback. In selecting these particular models, we took into consideration comfort, ease of use, budget, durability, and, of course, sound quality and noise canceling abilities. I’m personally a very heavy wireless headphone user and have spent a significant amount of time (and money!) finding the pair that works best for me. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Should I buy noise canceling headphones?

In most instances, yes. The beauty of noise canceling headphones is that they can block out distracting (and sometimes annoying) background noise and chatter, allowing you to concentrate fully on what you’re doing, whether that be watching the latest episode of your favorite show or actually getting some work done. 

Additionally, they also help prevent whatever you’re listening to from seeping out into the world and bothering those nearby. They’re also great when you need to take some time away from the world and mellow out in your own personal sound cocoon. All noise canceling headphones have the option of turning off the feature when you’re in a situation when you need to be at least marginally aware of your surroundings.

What headphones do influencers use?

Influencers use all types of headphones, but some of the more popular ones (or the ones that seem to show up most often) include the Apple AirPods Max, the Bose 700, and the OG, Audio Technica M series. 

What are the disadvantages of noise canceling headphones?

Some people may experience pressure in their ears when wearing noise canceling headphones for long periods of time. They also can be potentially unsafe in some environments, as they make you unaware of your surroundings. I never wear any kind of headphones when cycling and definitely would not wear noise canceling ones. I also do not run outside with the noise canceling feature turned on because, well, traffic, dogs, other people, etc. 

Which is the number one headphone brand?

Apple AirPods always sell well and the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones included on this list are also at the top of many others’ lists.

Which is better, Bluetooth or wireless?

Most of the headphones included in this list use Bluetooth, which is the most popular wireless technology (all Bluetooth headphones are wireless, but not all wireless versions use Bluetooth). Radio frequency headphones are the second most popular wireless connection. These usually have a bigger range (including through walls) and provide better sound quality, though they require a transmitter or adapter to function. Bluetooth headphones are generally better for most people as they are easily connected to any Bluetooth enabled device, including smartwatches (especially crucial if you’re working out).

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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