Is the future of music wireless? I wouldn’t bet on it. The wired headphones have – and probably still will – have their purpose, but in the meantime, there are more and more Bluetooth devices in the stores that have very little to envy to their wired counterparts: they are light, have a good autonomy and are able to guarantee a more than satisfactory sound quality.
I bet that you too in the face of this “flourishing” of wireless solutions are tickled by the idea of abandoning your old wired earphones and switching to Bluetooth headphones, right? Then give it a try.
Let’s find out what are the main features that must be taken into consideration before buying wireless headphones, we know more about this type of product and try to make a small ranking of the headsets that currently offer the best value for money. Do you want it? Well, then let’s ban the talk and start now!
Below you will first find a list of the best Bluetooth headphones of the moment, then a short buying guide on the factors and specifications to consider to choose the right product.
- Incredible Sound Loved by 20 Million+ People
- Hi-Res Audio: Custom oversized 40 mm dynamic drivers produce Hi-Res sound. Life Q20 active noise canceling headphones reproduce...
- Reduce Ambient Noises By Up to 90%: Our team of engineers conducted more than 100,000 tests in real-life scenarios to fine-tune...
- 100% Stronger Bass: Our exclusive BassUp technology conducts real-time analysis of the low frequencies to instantly strengthen the...
- 40-Hour Playtime*: Up to 40 hours of non-stop playtime in wireless active noise cancellation mode (at 60% volume) is extended to...
- The Tune 510BT wireless headphones feature renowned JBL Pure Bass sound, which can be found in the most famous venues all around...
- With Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Streaming, you can stream wirelessly from your device and even switch between two devices so that you...
- For long-lasting fun, listen wirelessly for up to 40 hours and recharge the battery in as little as 2 hours with the convenient...
- Easily control your sound and manage your calls from your headphones with the convenient buttons on the ear-cup.
- Siri or Hey Google is just a button away: activate the voice assistant of your device by pushing the multi-function button.
- [Stereo Sound Quality] Powered by 11mm dynamic driver and in-ear acoustic structure, wireless headphones presents a powerful and...
- [Up to 10 Hours of Playtime] Equipped with improved polymer lithium battery, bluetooth headphones delivers 10 hours of superior...
- [Ergonomic Design for Sports] Ergonomic design provides a comfortable and secure fit that doesn’t protrude from your ears...
- [IPX7 Waterproof] Rain, sweat, and water splashes all happen, so be ready with waterproof earbuds, which are rated at IPX7 to...
- [Stable Bluetooth V5.1 Connection] Adopting latest Bluetooth 5.1 technology, CSR chip and superior acoustic component, ensures...
- Custom acoustic platform delivers powerful, balanced sound
- Control your sound with two distinct listening modes: Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and Transparency mode
- Three soft eartip sizes for a stable and comfortable fit while ensuring an optimal acoustic seal
- Up to 8 hours of listening time (up to 24 hours combined with pocket-sized charging case)
- Industry-leading Class 1 Bluetooth for extended range and fewer dropouts
- BATTERY LIFE - Up to 12 hours of listening time
- CUSTOMIZED FIT - All-day comfort with Flex-Form cable and four eartip options
- APPLE HEADPHONE CHIP - Powered by the Apple W1 headphone chip for seamless connectivity
- THE MUSIC STOPS WHEN YOU DO - Magnetic earbuds with Auto-Play/Pause
- LISTEN WITH A FRIEND - Audio Sharing lets you wirelessly share audio with another pair of Beats headphones or AirPods
- JBL SIGNATURE SOUND: Small in size, but packing serious power, JBL LIVE 300TWS bluetooth headphones deliver the audio you expect...
- AMBIENT AWARE and TALKTHRU: Control the world around you. Instantly move from absolute music immersion to focus on your...
- UP TO 20 HOURS OF BATTERY: Never be without your music. JBL LIVE 300TWS bluetooth headphones give you up to 6 hours of playback on...
- TRUE WIRELESS EARBUDS: JBL LIVE 300TWS bluetooth headphones are totally wireless, with nothing to hold you back or tie you down
- STEREO CALLS: Wherever you are in the world, and whatever you are doing, take your music along for the ride and stay connected...
- High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in rose gold
- Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
- With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- With fast fuel, 5 minutes of charging gives you 3 hours of playback when battery is low
- High-performance wireless noise cancelling headphones
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices.
- Pure adaptive noise canceling (pure ANC) actively blocks external noise
- Real-time Audio calibration preserves a Premium listening experience
- Up to 22 hours of battery life enables full-featured all-day wireless playback
- Listen all day long with up to 35 hours of playback time
- Listen to your favorite tracks wirelessly with a Bluetooth wireless technology by pairing your smartphone or tablet
- 30mm driver unit for dynamic sound
- Swivel design for easy travel
- Easy hands-free calling and voice assistant commands with microphone
- Cancel out the world with smart noise cancellation
- Noise cancellation automatically senses your environment with dual noise sensor technology
- Long-lasting listening with up to 35 hours of battery and quick charging
- Smartphone compatibility for hands-free calls and use with your voice assistant
- Wireless Bluetooth streaming with NFC one-touch
The Best Bluetooth Headphones Buying Guide
Before choosing your next Bluetooth headphones, you need to consider various features. For example, you need to evaluate whether a pair of wired or completely wireless earphones are better for you (therefore without a cable that connects the right earphone to the left earphone), you have to check how long the earphones last before having to be recharged, what types of controls have and so on. For all the details, read on.
Most Bluetooth headphones are in-ear type; therefore they are introduced directly into the ear canal through some interchangeable rubbers that are usually supplied in three different sizes (Small, Medium and Large) to adapt to various types of ear.
Those who do not like in-ear earphones, alas, have little choice, but luckily some classic earphones that rest only in the ear without inserting it in the ear canal ( earbuds ) still exist.
Another difference that must be carefully considered is that relating to the cable. Most Bluetooth headphones have a cable that connects the right earphone to the left earphone (and on which, often, the microphone and controls are included), but there are also 100% wireless earphones that do not have any type of cable. As can be easily guessed, the earphones without cable are a little more comfortable, they can also be used in mono mode (as a single headset for calls) but are lost much more easily and can be more uncomfortable for volume control, music playback etc.
In earphones with cable, the quality of the cable itself, its tendency to create tangles and its color must be evaluated, because after all, the eye also wants its part!
Bluetooth Headphone for Sports
There are also earphones intended exclusively for sports, which have characteristics that differentiate them from earphones for everyday activities (the so-called city earphones) and make them ideal for use in the gym or while running. For example, they are resistant to sweat, dust and rain; often have a headband that rests on the outer part of the ear to increase stability during physical activities (or it is the earphones themselves that have a bow shape) and can include sensors for detecting the heartbeat or counting steps and calories burned.
Finally, a separate discussion must be made for the Bluetooth mono earphones, i.e. those consisting of a single unit, which includes a microphone and is used only to make calls without keeping the smartphone close to the ear. In most cases, it is not possible to buy two mono earphones and use them in stereo mode to listen to music. Instead, you can purchase a pair of fully wireless headphones, such as Apple’s AirPods or Samsung’s Gear IconX, and use them in mono mode for calls by wearing only one.
Autonomy and Charging Times
Bluetooth headphones are battery-operated, so before buying a pair, you need to check their autonomy and their charging times.
Some earphones offer a quick charge function that allows you to get 1 hour of battery life (or a little more) with a charge of a few minutes.
If you are a type who always forgets to charge your mobile phone or other electronic devices, you could consider buying a pair of earphones with fast charging to avoid running out of music before going out or going for a run.
Pairing Methods and Supported Devices
Most Bluetooth headphones are compatible with the Bluetooth 4.1, Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5.0 standards and are backwards compatible with the previous Bluetooth standards, so regardless of the type of smartphone, tablet or PC you have, you should not have compatibility problems. The range that the headphones connected via the latest Bluetooth standards can cover is 10 meters.
Some headphones are also equipped with support for NFC technology, which allows you to pair with smartphones and tablets faster than the classic Bluetooth pairing. Just put the earbuds close to a smartphone or tablet with NFC support, and you’re done.
To be taken into consideration, there is also the maximum number of devices to which it is possible to associate a pair of wireless earphones without having to first disassociate them from other previously paired devices. The headphones that support pairing with multiple devices simultaneously allow you to switch from one device to another without having to repeat boring pairing procedures and, above all, without “forgetting” the device used previously. Then there are the multi-point earphones that can be connected to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously and manage them at the same time (e.g. one to receive calls and one to listen to music).
Controls, Microphone and Compatibility
Another feature that must be carefully considered before buying a pair of wireless headphone is that related to the controls.
The controls can be included on the cable that connects the two earphones or in the earphones themselves; they allow you to adjust the volume, answer calls, control multimedia playback and invoke services such as Siri and Google’s voice assistant.
In most cases, the controls work regardless of the device and the operating system used, but there are also controls that work on one system and not on the other, or maybe they work only partially. For example, you may find yourself buying a pair of headphones that allows you to control the volume, calls and music but not to invoke Siri on the iPhone. Check the compatibility of the controls carefully before purchasing a pair of wireless earphones.
The microphone for answering calls, on the other hand, is present on most headphones. Only the quality and the level of reducing external noise change (which must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis).
Sound Quality and Isolation
The sound quality varies from product to product; general considerations cannot be made. To find out which headphones sound as you like (e.g. with emphasis on bass or balanced sound on all frequencies) read the reviews and comments available online. As for the degree of isolation from external noise, it all depends on the quality of the headsets and the rubbers they have.
Many manufacturers allow you to adjust the sound equalization and other parameters of their headphones through practical smartphone apps. If you want to have complete control over the type of sound that needs to come out of the earphones (within limits imposed by the hardware), buy that has a good support app.
In the technical specifications of the Bluetooth headphones, in addition to the values relating to autonomy and range, you may find parameters such as frequency response, impedance and sensitivity. Here are their meanings in brief.
Design and Ergonomics
The first factor to consider before purchasing these devices is a direct consequence of the design or ergonomics. Bluetooth headphones, are real objects of wearable technology and, as such, must be comfortable.
In other words, whoever wears the headphones must not perceive an annoying object inserted in his ear canal. The form of the latter is different from person to person.
Therefore, headphones could be convenient and comfortable for one subject, while another could perceive them as annoying and bulky. Also for this reason, often several rubbers/adapters are supplied.
In-Ear Vs In-Ear Canal
Another element to evaluate the ergonomics of the headsets is undoubtedly the type of the latter. In fact, we can distinguish between in-ear earphones and in-ear canal earphones.
If we talk about Apple AirPods shape, they should not be inserted deep into the ear canal. They are therefore very comfortable (almost not perceived in the ear), but certainly not very stable and with limited sound insulation.
In contrast, in-ear canal earphones are inserted deeper and, at the moment, represent the most popular sub-category of products.
This type of earphones offers excellent stability and improved sound insulation.
Obviously, among the most relevant factors to evaluate the comfort of the headphones are the size and weight of the devices.
These may vary from model to model, but most of the products on the market have a very small footprint. However, headsets with physical controls are usually larger than those with touch technologies.
Of course, audio performance has a fundamental weight in the choice. Unfortunately, manufacturers are providing less and less technical information about headsets, making it fairly complicated to judge devices based on objective data. Often, you need to rely on the brand reputation itself and the feedback available online.
Frequency response is one of the easiest data to find when it comes to headphones. As we know, the human ear is able to hear sounds within a certain frequency range, in this case from 20 to 20000 Hz.
Any sound belonging to this range is audible, although other factors must also be taken into account, such as the age of the subject. In fact, over the years, hearing loses the ability to detect sounds with higher frequency, also influencing a possible judgment on the performance of a pair of Bluetooth headsets.
When purchasing Bluetooth headphones, it is advisable to move towards models that have a frequency response in the range mentioned above.
The latter is considered to be an international standard, although many budget Bluetooth headsets are unable to achieve it.
Another criterion for assessing the audio performance of Bluetooth headphones is certainly impedance.
This indicates the resistance that the audio signal encounters in the coil placed inside the earphone. It is measured in ohms and, generally, higher impedance values correspond to better sound quality.
On the contrary, the impedance value is inversely proportional to the performance in terms of volume (the greater the obstacle that the sound must overcome, the more challenging to reach high reproduction volumes).
To make the right choice, we advise you to orient yourself on products that have an impedance of at least 30 Ohm. This should be sufficient to offer good sound quality.
Drivers, as for the purchase of Bluetooth soundbars and speakers, are one of the most decisive factors. It is the physical element placed inside the earphones, capable of transforming the electrical signal into sound. In other words, it’s the speakers placed inside the ear-plugs.
Obviously, the larger their size, the more powerful the sound will be. However, today’s drivers are able to achieve excellent performance, while maintaining rather small dimensions (approx. 15 mm).
The Bluetooth headphones, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, connect to our smartphone (“pairing”) and offer the possibility to manage some of its features.
Obviously, the features change according to the model of headphone chosen, but in most cases, they include:
- Switch the earphones on / off
- Change song being played
- Answer/end calls
- Activate the voice assistant
- Raise / lower volume
- Activate NFC
Microphone and Calls
True wireless headphones are also devices that can make our calls more comfortable when we are on the move, obviously thanks to the integrated microphone.
In addition, the physical or touch controls of the device allow you to easily answer or close the line, without putting your hand on the phone. To evaluate the quality of the calls, you need to focus on the microphone power, noise isolation and stability of the Bluetooth connection.
Apart from the functions that can be managed directly from the earphones, it is good also to consider the presence of apps to associate and the additional features that they offer.
In fact, the brands of the best Bluetooth headphones offer dedicated apps where you can directly control the settings from your smartphone, adjust the equalizer, customize the keys or access some additional information.
For example, some models dedicated to athletes integrate accelerometer and heart rate monitor and allow you to track physical activity directly in the app, just like in other apps specialized in fitness tracking.
Noise cancellation or noise cancelling is a much sought after feature in the latest generation headphones and earphones. However, there is a first distinction to be made between passive and active noise cancelling.
The first refers to the “physical” ability of the earphones to adhere to the ear canal and prevent the passage of external sounds. So this is a feature closely related to the shape and structure of the headset. Active noise cancelling (ANC), on the other hand, uses a dedicated technology to cancel external noises.
Active Noise Cancellation
In other words, the headphones with ANC integrate a microphone capable of detecting the frequencies of external sounds, so as to cancel them by emitting opposite frequencies.
This is particularly useful in situations with fairly uniform and persistent background noise, for example on public transport or on aeroplanes.
This value indicates the acoustic pressure expressed by the earphones in relation to the applied voltage (2.83 volts listening at 1m distance) and is measured in dB. The higher the sensitivity, the greater the volume that the headsets can reach without distorting the sound.
Another feature that can be found in Bluetooth headsets is the support for aptX technology, which allows you to have 24-bit audio streaming, with therefore a higher quality than that of classic Bluetooth transmissions and even that of audio CDs.