Since Apple and the rest of the smartphone manufacturers seem to be insistent that the days of headphones with cables are numbered we thought we had better put together a list of the best Bluetooth headphones you can buy right now. Bluetooth headphones definitely have their advantages in that not having to deal with cable mess or breaks is quite a refreshing change to the way we have traditionally done things. That said choosing the right set of Bluetooth headphones is an absolute minefield right now. Lots of companies have jumped on the bandwagon and as a result, there are a whole host of terrible sounding headphones you can buy at every price point. What we wanted to do was to identify 20 of the best Bluetooth headphones and in doing so cover as many price points and usage characteristics as possible.
Choosing the right headphones for you
Before you just jump in and go with the name brand or the one with the best looks I want you to first stop an think about how you intend to use your headphones. Where are you going to use them? what features are most important to you? What is more important, style? Build? Sound Quality?
All of the above questions and more are important when buying your new Bluetooth headphones and ultimately they will all play a role in how happy you are with them in the end. What works well for one person might not be suitable for you and its key to think about the different qualities each model offers before purchasing.
Battery life is perhaps one of the most important things on a set of Bluetooth headphones. Depending on your use you might find that the battery on some models can run out in as little as 4 hours and that would absolutely such on a long flight or full day of studying. No one really wants to be taking an unplanned break in order to charge your headphones.
For that reason in this list I have set the bare minimum for battery life to be 8 hours with Bluetooth switched on. Any less than that I would consider unusable in most situations.
Build Quality on Bluetooth Headphones
Build quality is often overlooked when making a purchase but unless you intend to be buying a new set of headphones every few months you had better buy something that is going to stand up to the test of time. A good thing about Bluetooth headphones is that there is no cable to snap, the cable is usually the first thing to go on any set of cans and in many cases where it isn't replaceable it means the end of that units life.
Despite being wireless that doesn't mean that Bluetooth headphones won't fail. The most common area for failure after the cable is the headband and when made from inferior material they can crack or snap completely. After that we have worn of the earpads and so on.
With the most likely use case for Bluetooth headphones being with someone who is active and on the go (as opposed to solely using their headphones at home). You should be able to see that these headphones are going to be used more aggressively than a set of Hifi monitors. Build quality is important so factor that into your buying process.
How important is sound quality on Bluetooth headphones?
Audiophiles used to go on ad nauseum about how badly the sound quality over Bluetooth sucked and for a long time they were right. In the process of making your music wireless a lot of detail was lost in the process. However, over the past few years, we have seen the technology in Bluetooth headphones grow exponentially with a number of tricks that has greatly increased the fidelity. This ranges anywhere from the advancement of Bluetooth 4.0, Aptx and even support for high-resolution audio streaming from services like Tidal and Spotify.
12 Best Bluetooth Headphones of 2018
Master & Dynamic MW60
Bower & Wilkins P5
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Bose QC35 II
Noontec Hammo Wireless
Bower & Wilkins PX
Bang & Olufsen H8
Jabra Move Wireless
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
Marshall Monitor Wireless
V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless
1. Sony WH1000-XM2
Sony had been threatening to take over from Bose in the wireless noise cancelling department for years but the WH-1000XM2 is the one that finally did it. An outstanding headphone that is packed to the hilt with clever features and great sound quality. They also come in a little cheaper than the Bose QC35 and make very little compromises in terms of fidelity against similarly priced non ANC bluetooth headphones.
2. Master& Dynamic MW60 Wireless
Master & Dynamic headphones simply ooze class and we here at audiophile on dont think they get enough credit. The MW60 are a beutifull made set of full size bluetooth headphones that have a fit and finish in line with the highest end headphones. Top marks for construction aside we love the retro styling and the sound quality was some of the best on test providing a smotth and balanced midrange with an ability to deliver some refined yet deep bass.
3. Bower & Wilkins P5
Bower & Wilkins have a lot of headphones to choose from and they certainly know their sound as they are one of the worlds highest regarded speaker companies. If you are looking to buy a set of on ear bluetooth headphones these are one of the best on the market. I liked everything about them but personal preference would still lead me to take the MW60 over the P5 due to the better airflow of the earcups. For those that want something less bulky and still magnificent sounding they are a great option.
4. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Sennheiser could have taken it all in this list of the best wireless headphone if it want for one glaringly big hurdle. The price. The Momentum Wireless are on of the best if not the best sounding Bluetooth headphone we have ever reviewed and the build quality is just as impressive. Then of course you have the classy yet somewhat industrial styling cues that make them a bit of an icon but if I am being truly honest I don't know how many people will be able to swallow the price tag. If you can you are getting one of the best sounding headphones and they should last you for years to come.
5. Bose QC35 II
The comfiest wireless headphone we have ever tested. In fact these are actually the comfiest headphone period. Whilst the Sony WH-1000xm2 might now have the edge on sound and noise cancelling (slightly) there is simply no more comfortable headphone with which to enjoy hours of uninterrupted listening. This made them perfect for long haul flights and it will be a big reason we continue to see these adorning the heads of businessmen all around the world. Oh and on the head they also look far nicer than the Sony's due to the lower profile, less bulky, design.
6. Noontec Hammo Wireless
We reviewed the Hammo wireless earlier in 2018 and were mightily impressed at the price to performance ratio. While not quite a budget offering they are definitely one of the better priced headphones on this list and if you are willing to trade metal for plastic construction you are going to loose little in the way of sound. Smooth warmish mids and ability to hit heavy in the lows impressed us but what stole the show was just how comfortable they were. Generous sized earpads and comfy adjustable headband made using them a joy and we also liked that they fold up really small for travel.
7. Bower & Wilkins PX Nois Canceling Headphone
Bower have just thrown their hat into the noise cancelling Bluetooth headphone ring with the release of their new PX headphone and what a way to make an entrance. Its expensive yest but it is a very high end product in terms of both its tech, materials and sound. I also want to add that it is the best looking headphone released in recent memory.
8. Bang & Olufsen H8
A lot of you are going to ask why I chose not to include the H9 in this list and well to be frank it just isn't good enough for its price. B&O have a record of being hit and miss with the wireless headphones but the H8 is definetley the sweet spot of there range. The sound is rich wide and detailed with a stunning ability to play back mid-range focused music like rock and acoustic. The soundstage is also fairly large and the bass has an authoritative thump that will suite electronic music.
9. Jabra Move Wireless
The best cheap bluetooth headphones on this list are without doubt the Jabra Move Wireless. They are well made, sound fun and energetic and are easily found under $100. They are hard wearing and comfortable but you do make a couple of sacrafices in that the cant fold up and battery life is limited to just 8 hours of playback.
10. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
A cheap yet effective noise cancelling headphone that many people are chosing over Bose and Sony for price alone. The ANC is not quite up there with the best but it gets the job done and what we did like was that there was very little coloration to the sound. Battery performance was good and you have the ability to use the headphones in passive mode with a cable if you so wish.
11. Marshal Monitor Wireless
Another cheap and well made bluetooth headphone is the Marshall Monitor wireless. We threw them into this list because they are a realy good looking headphone with iconic styling from an iconic company. Most of the time fashion headphones are all style and little sound but the Marshall set hold their own in their price range and we were mightily impressed with the build quality.
12. V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless
The Crossfade design has been around for many years now and it has only seen slight refinments over time. V=Moda have really dialed this headphone in and there is notheing of note that we could fault them on. Build quality is best in class and you can really get away with being quite brutal with these headphones and have little fear of damage. Sound is energetic and crisp but when required the have a fast and deep bass response. If you listen to a lot of electronic music then this would be my recommendation.