Wireless headphones can be polarizing. Not everyone loves the idea of dropping the stalwart 3.5mm jack. But, listen, it's possible to get that pristine audio quality that wired headsets provided along with the convenience of wire-free listening.
All you need is a pair of awesome wireless headphones, and thankfully we've rounded up the best right here.
You might've been hesitant to cut the cord before – everyone has heard a horror story of wireless headphones' bad battery life or awful sound quality before. But you've got little idea of how inconvenient wired headphones are until you try out a pair of really good wireless headphones.
Forget having to run a wire down your top every time you want to listen to music on the go, or struggling with a cable to get your phone out of your pocket, wireless headphones are comparatively a convenience dream.
Headphones, no strings attached
So what makes wireless headphones so special? And how do you determine the best wireless headphones from a whole bunch of wannabes?
Easy. You try dozens of wireless headphones and stack them against one another, mono a mono. (Well, stereo a stereo in this case.)
While these headphones are great for anyone looking to cut the cord from their music players, they're especially practical when you consider the growing amount of phones launching without a headphone jack such as the iPhone 7, HTC U Ultra and Moto Z. Most of these phones are shipping with adaptors to use your existing headphones, but if you want to charge your phone at the same time then wireless headphones are the way to go.
Looking to finally ditch the cord? Here are the top 10 wireless headphones, ordered by their price-to-performance ratio:
- Optoma NuForce BE Sports3
- Sony WH-1000XM2
- Bose QuietComfort 35
- Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
- Jabra Move Wireless
- Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
- Sony MDR-1000X
- Sennheiser PXC 550
- AKG N60NC Wireless
- Beats Studio 3 Wireless
- Beats X
- Be sure to check out our guide to the best headphones of 2017 if you want to browse some wired alternatives
NuForce knocked it out of the park with the BE Sport3 headphones. They're an incredible value for a pair of wireless headphones that sound good, last all day, have a bulletproof build and incredible noise isolation. While they're not the most dynamic or resolving headphones, NuForce shows us that the future of wireless headphones is a bright one.
Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE Sport3
The Sony WH-1000XM2 are an excellent revision of an already great pair of wireless headphones: They sound great, deftly wield noise cancellation technology and cost just as much as a pair of Bose QC35s. They might have a slightly shorter battery life than some other headphones on our list, but Sony’s WH-1000XM2 outclass them all in terms of performance and feature-set.
Not only do they provide awesome noise-cancellation, but they have three neat tricks that few other wireless headphones have: One is an ambient noise mode that only lets in mid-to-high frequency tones (announcements over a loudspeaker, for instance) and another being Quick Attention mode that allows you to let 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.) The last trick Sony has up its sleeve is the LDAC codec. Alongside the widely adopted aptX HD standard, LDAC enables Hi-Res Audio playback using the 1000XM2.
Great-sounding and feature-packed, the Sony WH-1000XM2 are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones.
Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM2
Sitting at the top our list is the Bose QC35. Bose has finally brought its fantastic noise-cancelling technology to a pair of wireless headphones and it's done so without any of the traditional drawbacks of wireless headphones. They sound great, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
At Rs. 29,363 the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available and the best wireless pair of cans, you can't get any better than this.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35
Although they're a much better looking, and sounding, pair of headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (not to be confused with the smaller, cheaper, Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Wireless) are kept off the top spot of the list by their premium price point, which puts them out of reach of all but the most committed of music lovers.
But for those that can afford them, these are a no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities. They're comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
If in-ear headphones aren't your style, your next best bet is the Jabra Move Wireless. These headphones may look like a budget buy, but don't let that fool you: this set of on ear Bluetooth headphones is nothing but an all-around stellar product. From the fun and edgy design to excellent performance, these cans come recommended for anyone interested in wireless on the cheap.
Read the full review: Jabra Move Wireless
If you're a frequent traveler you're probably all too familiar with headphones that can't hold a charge and can't block out sound, let alone sound very good. Let us introduce you to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, one of the few headphones on the market that can do all of the above and cost less than half as much as one of the bigger names like Beats, Bose and Sony.
If we had to boil it down to its core, the BackBeat Pro 2 offers an excellent travel headphone with incredible battery life, supreme comfort, the ability to pair two device as once and, most importantly, good sound quality for the cost.
Read the full review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
The MDR-1000X are definitely the closest competitor to Bose's QuietComfort series we've ever had the pleasure of testing. Some high-end codecs (LDAC, AAC and aptX) help the 1000X sound even better than the QC35s, but ultimately the noise canceling is a bit less effective in Sony's pair of cans.
What should drive your decision on whether to buy the MDR-1000X is your music player – if you're a Sony Xperia owner, you'd be hard-pressed to find a pair of headphones that sound as good as these with noise canceling tech built-in. Even if you're not, Sony's wares are still worth a listen – and maybe a purchase – if you aren't too put out by its Rs. 28,990 price tag.
Read the full review: Sony MDR-1000X
If you're a fan of Sennheiser's sound, but want noise-cancellation in addition to wireless operation then the PXC 550 headphones might be exactly what you're looking for. They might be pricey, but these headphones sound great.
The reason we haven't put them further up the list comes down to their controls. Although controlling the headphones with a series of swipes on the outside of the earcup feels futuristic, it's not much help when you want to quickly skip through multiple tracks, or set the volume at a specific level.
Outside of these issues, these are a great pair of headphones that tick (almost) all the boxes.
Read the full review: Sennheiser PXC 550
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
If you’re not too picky about audio, you’ll love the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. They look good, are comfortable and sound decent while releasing the pressure valve of city life with active noise cancellation.
Add great battery life and an Apple W1 chip and you have headphones that are very easy to get on with, particularly if you own an iPhone.
Read the full review: Beats Studio 3 Wireless
The Beats X is a bold new product for what has quickly become a traditional headphone maker. Instead of sticking to bass-heavy workout earbuds or wildly expensive over-ears, the company has crafted a new pair of musically inclined in-ears for anyone already sick of losing their brand-new Apple AirPods.
It has a few problems of its own – including poor noise isolation and a lack of fidelity – but if you’re looking for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes and don’t mind dropping some cash on them, the Beats X are for you.
The W1 chip also makes pairing and connecting these headphones a breeze.
Read the full review: Beats X
We're constantly reviewing new wireless headphones, but get in touch if there is a set that you'd like us to take a look at.