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The best wireless headphones in 2020

best wireless headphones
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Investing in the best wireless headphones doesn’t just free you from pesky cables. It also makes pairing to your portable devices (e.g. smartphone, laptop, tablet) more convenient, while offering listeners rich sound and special features that aren’t available on wired headphones.

Wireless headphones are more in-demand than ever, especially as modern smartphones ditch the headphone jack in favor of Bluetooth. Hence why we are testing the top models from every major headphone brand such as Bose, Sony,  and even Apple, along with rising stars like Jabra and JLab Audio. Our job is to find the right fit for your budget and style. 

In compiling a list of the best wireless headphones, Tom’s Guide evaluates several factors: including design, battery life, comfortability, and newly introduced features that increase their value. We also test audio performance across a range of music genres, as well as take controls and ease of use into consideration.

That being said, if you're searching for over-ear headphones or wireless earbuds, the ideal place to start is right here. Let’s take a look at the best wireless headphones you can buy now.

What are the best wireless headphones?

At the top of our list is the Bose 700, which also happens to be the No.1 pick on our best noise cancelling headphones roundup. Bose updated its adaptive mic system to deliver champion active noise cancellation that can be adjusted across 11 different levels via mobile app. The improvements in ANC circuitry also boost sound and call quality, giving these noise-cancellers phenomenal all-around performance.  

Next up is the Apple AirPods Pro – a surprise launch that has dominated the wireless earbuds category with surprisingly good noise cancelation. Newer features like the pinch-gesture controls and hands-free “Hey Siri” support make operating these pearly danglers a breeze, while series hallmarks such as the 24-hour charging case and instant iOS connectivity remain intact.

For the best overall wireless earbuds, there is no better option than the all-new Jabra Elite Active 75t. These sporty buds are the perfect balance of form and function, packing several listening features into a tiny waterproof design. Sound is dynamic, thanks to the inclusion of a built-in EQ and several music presets, and battery life surpasses all AirPods models: single charge and charging case capacities.

There are several other models available that are designed for practicality and individual needs, ranging from Apple-centric sports headphones to super-affordable earbuds in true wireless form. Not to mention we just found out about a new pair that will challenge the AirPods Pro with most of the same features and much better audio quality, which will likely make its way onto this list once tested by us and released to market.

Make sure to bookmark this page, as Tom's Guide will continue to update it with the latest and most popular releases. On our radar, Microsoft’s Surface Headphones 2, which feature up to 13 levels of ANC adjustment, along with improved sound and battery life. The Microsoft Surface Earbuds are another pair that have the potential for inclusion based on its adaptive sound and promising Microsoft integration.

The best wireless headphones right now

Best wireless headphones: Bose 700

(Image credit: Future)

1. Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best wireless headphones overall

Size and Weight: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Slick, attractive design
Adjustable ANC levels
Precise, balanced audio
Smart, intuitive buttons and touch controls
Fantastic noise neutralization on calls and music
Expensive
Battery life is the same as the QC35 II

These aren't your daddy's Bose. The Bose 700 headphones have raised the bar for active noise cancelling headphones, effectively silencing outside noise while simultaneously allowing you to clearly be heard when talking to someone on the phone or cueing up a digital assistant. The 700s don't skimp on audio quality either, offering clean, balanced sound with some impressive, intuitive tech flourishes.

Right now, it’s the only model engineered with 11 levels of noise cancellation to keep things quiet without adding distortion to your music, and the Full Transparency mode is similarly impressive. The headphones also come available in four striking colors: Black, Luxe Silver, Soapstone, and Eclipse. The Eclipse version is sold exclusively on Apple.com and Bose.com, and is bundled with a travel charging case that holds 40 extra hours of playtime. Add it all up, and it's easy to see why the Bose 700 is our best wireless headphones overall.

See our full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

Best wireless headphones: Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. Apple AirPods Pro

Best AirPods model available

Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Modern, functional design
Effective active noise cancelation
Expanded, easy to use controls
Comfortable semi-custom fit
Crisp sound
No companion app
Battery life could be longer

Apple’s noise-cancelling wireless earbuds have definitely lived up to their hype. Headlining its feature set is active noise cancellation, which is surprisingly effective for hushing rowdy commuters and minimizing background noises during phone calls. The addition of ear tips makes a world of difference for both on-ear stability and sound quality; the tips produce a safe, tight seal that allows music to sound fuller. Apple also developed an adaptive EQ that automatically tunes the low and mid frequencies to your ear shape. 

Hands? That's so passé. Thanks to Apple's H1 chip, the AirPods Pro are packing even more hands-free Siri integration. Plus, you get the near-instant pairing and stable connections we've come to expect from an Apple audio product. And with the new Force Sensors embedded in the redesigned stems, you may never need to touch your smartphone ever again. 

See our full Apple AirPods Pro review.

Best wireless headphones: Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t (Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

3. Jabra Elite Active 75t

The best wireless earbuds overall

Size and Weight: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.6 inches, 0.19 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Well-balanced sound
Sleek, sturdy, and waterproof design
In-app audio customization
Reliable comfort and fit
Longer battery life than all AirPods models
New features unavailable at launch
Can get extremely loud at max volume

If you are looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds that offers the right balance of personalized comfort, sound, and sporty features, then add the Jabra Elite Active 75t to your shopping cart. These buds earned a perfect score (5 stars) and our coveted Editor’s Choice badge for their amazing overall performance. Design-wise, they are 22% smaller than their predecessor, the critically acclaimed Elite Active 65t, and more rugged. Jabra also added IP57 certification to make them fully waterproof in up to 1 meter of water. 

Audio is another hallmark of the Elite Active 75t, delivering detailed and vibrant sound that gives music a lively presence. With the buds operating on Bluetooth 5.0 technology, they consume less power, so that you get more use out of them when fully charged. Users can also pair to two devices simultaneously and hear music wirelessly from a lengthy distance (est. 35 feet).

See our full Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

Best wireless headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones

4. Sony WH-1000XM3

Remarkable sound and ANC in a deluxe package

Size and Weight: 10.4 x 7.3 x 2.9 inches, 9 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (NC on), 38 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Class-leading sound
Impressive noise cancellation
Long battery with NC on
Companion app with sound-customization options
Intuitive features and touch controls
Aesthetics are less premium than the previous model
Call quality could use a boost

To say Sony upped its game with the WH-1000XM3 would be an understatement. The improvements in audio fidelity alone place these wireless headphones nearly on par with the Bose 700. They deliver a powerful low-end punch suited for their target demographic, bass lovers, and grant listeners a suite of sound-optimizing options accessible through the Connect app. Most music genres are well-represented, with live recordings shining in Ambient mode. The WH-1000XM3 even supports five codecs for music playback — aptX, aptX HD, AAC, LDAC, and SBC — each engineered to maximize sound quality over Bluetooth. 

But the WH-1000xM3 is not just about hitting your ear drums with a sonic boom. Sony packs killer noise cancellation into a slender design, immersing listeners into their Spotify playlists, while keeping distractions to a minimum; being trapped in the middle of a construction site is the only way you’re going to be pulled away from your music. Battery life is superior as well, at 30 hours with ANC enabled.

See our full Sony WH-1000XM3 review.
 

Best wireless headphones: Apple AirPods 2

(Image credit: Future)

5. Apple AirPods 2

Superb wireless earbuds for Apple fans

Size: 1.6 x 0.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 0.14 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours;13 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Lightweight, comfortable design
Faster connection on iOS devices
Hands-free Siri integration
Good audio quality
Limited controls
Lacks ambient listening mode and EQ

Fast, smart, and longer-lasting than the first-gen model, the AirPods 2 remains a top-tier option for iPhone owners who want the true wireless Apple experience without spending extra on the AirPods Pro. Apple has given people what they want with wireless charging and a hands-free approach to Siri. Other notable features include a Find My iPhone setting, Announce Messages with Siri, audio sharing between two AirPods or Beats headphones, and instantaneous connectivity to iOS/MacOS devices.

On top of all of that, you’ll find much pleasure knowing the AirPods 2 holds a longer charge (5 hours) than the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours). However, portable power is the same, with the charging case holding 24 hours of juice. And the fact that they offer 50% more talk time is the icing on the cake, especially since the original AirPods' was near-instantaneous. 

See our full Apple Airpods 2 review.

Best wireless headphones: Sony WF-1000xM3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Sony WF-1000XM3 Earbuds

Great active noise cancelling in a compact design

Size and Weight: 5.6 x 4.7 x 2.5 inches, 0.3 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours (NC on), 8 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Stellar audio performance
Great noise cancelation
Tons of personalization via companion app
Excellent battery life across the board
Touch controls could use some work
Poor call quality

For a while, we didn’t think active noise cancellation was a possibility on true wireless earbuds at all, let alone good active noise cancellation. Then Sony dropped these compact sound-silencers and blew expectations out of the water. The Sony WF-1000xM3 successfully combines stellar sonics with best-in-class ANC technology, letting you enjoy your favorite music, movies or podcasts in peace. Deep, rich bass and tonal balance give these buds an edge over the rest of the competition.

The Sony Headphones app also hosts a variety of unique features, from adjustable ambient listening to custom sound profiles, elevating the WF-1000xM3’s status among the elite to land on our list of best wireless headphones. And with an estimated 6 hours of battery life (ANC on), you'll have a lot of time to indulge in some YouTube binging.

See our full Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds review.

Best wireless headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II (Image credit: Future)

7. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Terrific active noise cancelation for less

Size and Weight: 7.1 x 6.7 x 3.2 inches, 8.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on), 40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Amazing noise cancellation
Clear, dynamic audio
Comfy and lightweight
Solid battery life
Google Assistant integration needs work
Design remains unchanged

It wasn’t that long ago that the Bose QC35 II was considered the king of noise cancellation. The 700s may have rightfully taken over its spot atop the ANC throne, but these headphones remain a hot seller that can be had for a low price and are well worth the investment.

In terms of noise neutralization, the QC35 II is only second to the 700s, which speaks loudly to its sound-silencing capabilities. The headphones also feature a liberating and comfy wireless design and a dedicated button to summon Google's AI. There is a volume-optimized EQ that makes your tunes sound great even when you crank your phone to 11, and with the 20 hours of battery life, you'll have plenty of power for a couple of cross-country flights.

See our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.  

 

Best wireless headphones: Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Future)

8. Beats Powerbeats Pro

Top sports wireless earbuds with long battery life

Size and Weight: 1.1 x 1 x 0.9 inches, 0.7 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 9 hours; 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Magically seamless setup, just like with AirPods
Lengthy battery life
Well-balanced sound
Comfortable, stable fit for running
Bulky charging case
Wind resistance on calls isn't great

For the iPhone fanboy who desires a sporty AirPods alternative without having to give up all of its performance perks, the $249 Powerbeats Pro was specifically designed for you. These wrap-around-the-ear cordless buds don a sweat- and water-resistant shell that protects both the interior and exterior from moisture. Beats’ signature sleek low-profile design is on full display with the embossed B logo sitting pretty in the front.

Since it is technically an Apple product, that means you can expect Apple-y integration as well, which includes access to several iOS-friendly features and quick pairing to all iOS/MacOS devices. In addition, the Powerbeats Pro offers solid audio and a secure, comfortable fit. The best part? You get 9 hours of battery life, which is 4 hours longer than the AirPods.  Just keep in mind that these earbuds are also bigger than the AirPods.

See our full Powerbeats Pro Review.

Best wireless headphones: JLab JBuds Air

(Image credit: JLab JBuds Air (Credit: JLab))

9. JLab JBuds Air Wireless Earphones

The best cheap wireless earbuds

Size and Weight: 1.8 x 3 x 1.6 inches, 0.13 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4 hours, 14 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Strong bass performance
Affordable price
Serviceable battery life
Water-resistant coating
Preset EQs distort audio
Bulky design

No one said you had to pay a premium to own great wireless earbuds. In fact, JLab has built its reputation manufacturing trustworthy cordless buds for cheap. At under $50, you can’t go wrong with the JBuds Air, which features powerful bass response and sturdy aesthetics. The buds are a superlative choice for exercisers who want energetic sound and IP55 durability, as well as budget shoppers who want an AirPods alternative for $100 less.

Battery life falls in the same area as the AirPods, though the portable carrying case does guarantee the buds won’t die on the road, storing up to 14 hours when fully charged. It’s also cool that the charging cable is built into the design, eliminating the need to carry around extra wires. We also love that the case is lightweight and doesn’t weigh down your pockets.

See our reviews of the best cheap wireless earbuds

Best wireless headphones: Google Pixel Buds 2

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

10. Google Pixel Buds 2

The best wireless headphones for Android users

Size and Weight: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.7 inches, 0.18 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours, 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 300 feet (91 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

The Google Pixel Buds 2 addresses many of the issues that hindered the original’s performance, including audio quality, comfort, and connectivity. These buds come equipped with custom-designed 12mm dynamic drivers and an Adaptive Sound feature that, together, help balance the soundstage to enjoy clear, rich sound. Out goes the nylon cord that doubled as an on-ear adjustment system and in comes a flusher design with a built-in fin that rests gently on the ears, providing great comfort and fit when properly adjusted. But what you really want the buds for is the deep Google integration, from the flawless Google Assistant performance to the instantaneous pairing with Android devices.

Battery life could be better, especially since it’s the same as the AirPods Pro (with noise cancelling on). Also, the touch controls, while very much appreciated, can act up at times, especially with macOS.

See our full Google Pixel Buds 2 review.  

How to choose the best wireless headphones for you

The most important thing to look for in the best wireless headphones is battery life. Most devices have an expected battery life, or the number of hours the company says the device can last on a charge. Most wireless earbuds are rated for 5 to 8 hours, while Bluetooth headphones can last about 25 hours or higher.

Another important factor is design — depending on how you like to wear them, you may want to go with on-ear, over-ear or in-ear wireless headphones.

Let’s not forget accessories. Should you want to purchase wireless headphones, look at the bundled accessories listed on the packaging. On your radar should be an aux cable, carry case, charging cable, and a user guide.

If you're interested in a pair of truly wireless buds, make sure you receive a handful of extra ear tips, charging cable, user guide, and most importantly, a charging case. Since earbuds have shorter battery life than over-the-ear headphones, there's a great likelihood you'll have to charge them on the go. 

Customization, while not a necessity, is something else to consider. Those who are interested in personalizing their own headphones or earbuds can check online to see what brands have customization programs; Bose currently lets you design the QC35 II with 37 different colors and two finishes (high-gloss or anodized aluminum) for an extra $50.

How we test the best wireless headphones and earbuds

To help you separate the wheat from the chaff when shopping for headphones, Tom's Guide evaluates the following criteria: design, comfort, features, performance and value. We employ a rigorous review process, comparing products with similar fit, features and pricing.

Each pair is worn over the course of a week for 2 hours at a time. During this testing period, the staff is evaluating comfort, ease of use and, of course, audio quality. We listen to several predetermined sample tracks that span a number of genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, and we evaluate the volume, clarity and fullness.

In terms of features, we test the effectiveness of active noise cancelling, Bluetooth range and battery life. For the fitness-focused models, we test to see how they stand up to vigorous workouts, evaluating both how securely they fit while we exercise and how well they handle ambient noise from things like falling weights and gym machines. We test every feature for app-enabled headphones along with ease of setup.

Once we complete our testing, we rate headphones based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product is truly exemplary, it's awarded an Editors' Choice.

And now that more streaming music services are offering high-resolution resolution audio, be sure to read our audio codec FAQ for everything you need to know about FLAC files, MP3s and everything in between.

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