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Wireless headphones are a great way to give yourself more freedom of movement when working, gaming, or streaming movies and music. While you do give up the almost unlimited power supply that comes with wired headphones, you can still find models with very impressive battery lives, like the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless with its 300-hour playback time.
If you're an audiophile, you'll want to spring for a premium-grade model like the Bose Professional Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000XM5 for crystal clear and rich music and near-perfect noise cancellation so all you hear is your music or video.
Also: The best noise-canceling headphones
To help you decide which wireless headphones are best for you, in this list I've gathered five of the best models you can buy. I've broken down their price tags and features so you can get the wireless headphones of your dreams.
Form factor: Over-ear | Battery life: 30 hours | Noise canceling: Yes | Voice assistant: Alexa | Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm AUX
If you're looking to get the best of the best when it comes to wireless headphones, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better than the Sony WH-1000XM5s. These headphones have been designed from the ground up for superior audio quality and comfort. The headband and ear cups are padded and finished in faux leather for all-day comfort as well as a sleek, elegant look. An eight-microphone array not only ensures that your voice will be heard loud and clear during phone calls but also helps with the adaptive noise-canceling technology, so your music, podcasts, and calls are the only thing you hear in almost any environment. But if you need to hear background noise like travel announcements or traffic sounds for safety reasons, you can turn on the Quick Attention Mode so you don't miss your subway stop or in-flight announcements.
On a full charge, you'll get about 30 hours of playback time with the noise-canceling turned on, and just three minutes of charging gives you up to three hours of use; which is perfect for when you forgot to charge overnight and want to listen to music on your morning commute or a podcast on your flight. You can connect the headphones to up to two devices at once with Bluetooth so you can switch between virtual meetings on your laptop and business calls on your smartphone. They even have Alexa built in and work with OK Google for hands-free controls over your devices, but if you prefer manual controls, you can touch the left or right ear cups to pause and skip songs as well as answer and end calls.
Form factor: Over-ear | Battery life: 60 hours | Noise canceling: No | Voice assistant: No | Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm AUX
For customers looking to buy a great pair of wireless headphones but don't want to spend a fortune to get great audio, the Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT is a great choice. At about $60, you get studio-quality audio while listening to music, podcasts, and videos as well as while making calls or attending virtual meetings and classes. The built-in microphone lets you take calls on your smartphone or give presentations in video meetings, and the included 3.5mm AUX cable has an in-line microphone if you prefer to use it. The microphones also allow you to use virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa for hands-free control.
With Bluetooth connectivity, you can pair the headphones with up to two devices at once and switch between them for easier multitasking; and if you prefer a wired connection, you can use the included 3.5mm AUX cable. The battery gives you up to 60 hours of playback on a full charge, while just 10 minutes of charge time gives you up to 3.5 hours of use; which is great for when you forget to charge them overnight. The headphones weigh just 180 grams (about 6 ounces), making them lightweight enough to be comfortable for all-day use.
Form factor: Over-ear | Battery life: 20 hours | Noise canceling: Yes | Voice assistant: Alexa/Hey Google [Should this be Hey Google or OK Google?] | Connectivity: Bluetooth/3.5mm AUX
Bose has been one of the top names in home audio for almost 60 years, and its Noise Canceling 700 headphones continue to prove why the company deserves that honor. These headphones use an array of eight microphones for adaptive, active noise cancellation (ANC), so your music, calls, and podcasts sound their best while keeping distracting background noise at bay. Though if you need to hear things like travel announcements, you can tone down the ANC to stay informed and aware of your surroundings. You can pair the headphones with up to two devices at once with Bluetooth so you can quickly and easily switch between streaming movies and music on your laptop to taking calls on your smartphone or video chatting with friends and family on your tablet.
You can use the Bose Music app to quickly and easily stream music from your favorite services like Apple Music and Spotify as well as create custom equalizer settings so every song sounds crystal clear. The headphones work with virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and OK Google for hands-free control while the Conversation Mode automatically pauses your videos and music when you get a phone call and restarts when you hang up. On a full charge, you'll get about 20 hours of playback, and just 15 minutes of charging gives you about 2 hours of use. You can also use the included 3.5mm AUX cable when you need a wired connection.
Form factor: Earbud | Battery life: 26 hours with charging case | Noise canceling: Yes | Voice assistant: No | Connectivity: Bluetooth
I have a pair of Ugreen's HiTune X6 wireless earbuds, and they are some of the best I've ever used as well as some of the most affordable. With their price tag just under $50, you'll still get premium-grade features like active noise canceling, hands-free calling, and rich, clear audio. The earbuds also feature touch controls for your music, podcasts, and videos, and a clear, automated voice lets you know when the earbuds are paired, they're powered on and off, ANC is turned on, and you need to recharge. The earbuds give you up to six hours of playback time on a full charge, which is about 90 minutes more than Apple's AirPods Pro, and the charging case gives you another 20 hours of play time. Just 10 minutes of charging gives you around an hour or so of play time, which is perfect for when you forget to charge overnight for your morning commute.
The ANC feature is incredible, as well. I live very close to a major, busy highway, and I use the HiTune X6s to block out traffic noise when I want to enjoy my backyard. While they don't completely drown out passing cars, they do make a huge difference, allowing me to listen to music while I have dinner on the deck or soak up some sun after work. My biggest complaint is that even with the smallest tips, the earbuds feel a bit big for my ears, and if you like to listen to white noise or ASMR videos while you sleep, the HiTune X6s aren't the most comfortable to sleep in. But if you're looking for an affordable pair of true wireless earbuds with excellent sound quality, these are your best bet.
Form factor: Over-ear | Battery life: 300 hours | Noise canceling: No | Voice assistant: [Need an answer here] | Connectivity: USB adapter
If you've read my review for the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless headset, you already know that it's an excellent choice for gamers looking for clear, clean audio and a reliable microphone for voice chat. With a truly impressive 300-hour battery life, you can game and stream for eight hours a day for almost 38 consecutive days before you need to recharge. And that's even with the DTS Headphone: X audio drivers enabled. The microphone is detachable, so you can remove it if you want to use the Cloud Alpha Wireless as just a pair of headphones or prefer a separate microphone for game chat and streaming; it's also adjustable so you don't peak your audio or sound muffled.
The headset also has excellent audio quality, giving you rich, clean sound even at lower volumes; which means you don't have to crank the sound to get the most out of your headset. With the Ngenuity desktop app, you can enable or disable the spatial audio and DTS Headphone: X settings to squeeze the most play time out of the headset as well as monitor the battery levels, adjust volume, and create custom equalizer settings so everything from YouTube and Spotify to your favorite games sound their best. My biggest complaint is that it doesn't use Bluetooth for connectivity, opting for a 2.4GHz USB dongle instead. Which means you won't be able to connect to your tablet or smartphone for mobile gaming.
My pick for the best wireless headphones are the Sony WH-1000XM5s. They use an eight-microphone array for adaptive noise cancellation as well as crystal clear calls on your tablet, PC, or smartphone. It even has Alexa built in for hands-free control over your connected devices. You can use Bluetooth to connect to two devices at once for easier multitasking, and you'll get about 30 hours of playback on a full charge.
Bose Professional Headphones 700
UGREEN HiTune X6
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
2.4GHz USB dongle
The biggest thing to take into consideration when shopping for a new pair of wireless headphones, other than price, is battery life. You want your new headphones to at least last an entire work shift (about 10 hours) before you need to recharge. You'll also want to consider things like built-in voice controls via Alexa or OK Google, active noise cancellation technology to block out background noise, and the ability to use a 3.5mm AUX cable for when you need a hardwired connection.
Choose these wireless headphones…
If you need…
A well rounded wireless headset with excellent audio quality and noise canceling technology
An affordable pair of over-ear, wireless headphones with great audio quality
Bose Professional Headphones 700
Top-tier noise cancellation and audio quality
UGREEN HiTune X6
Affordable earbuds with great noise cancellation and battery life
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless
A wireless gaming headset with a truly impressive battery life and audio quality
I chose a variety of wireless headsets at different price ranges and with different form factors like over-ear and earbuds to suit different personal preferences as well as price points to fit different budgets. I also considered things like battery life, noise cancellation technology, on-board controls, built-in virtual assistants (or at least the ability to work with Siri, Alexa, and OK Google), and comfort.
The choice between headphones and earbuds is subjective, but there are a few key factors. Earbuds are more compact, more affordable, and more workout-friendly than their over-ear counterparts. On the other side, headphones offer the best possible audio quality and noise cancellation -- and sometimes better battery life -- if you're willing to pay up. Better still, wireless headphones still provide freedom of movement, whether you're working at a desk or using your phone to catch up with the news or stream music while on a morning commute.
The biggest disadvantage is that you need to recharge them every so often to get the most playback time out of your wireless headphones. If your wireless headset also uses a 2.4GHz USB wireless dongle rather than Bluetooth to connect to devices, you may not be able to use it with things like smartphones and tablets.
A reasonable expectation for a wireless headphone battery is at least 10 hours: enough to get through a full workday, including commutes. But most headsets, even true wireless earbuds, can give you much more than that. The average battery life is between 20 and 30 hours of play time, though you can find models like the Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT which give you up to 60 hours of use or the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless with its bonkers 300 hour battery life.
There are about as many different types of wireless headphones as there are people who shop for them. Here's a short list of additional models that I thought were great options: