Our guide to the best wireless headphones brings together our pick of the best overear headphones. These are the best-performing, longest-lasting, and best-value models we’ve tested. They offer the best sound we've heard for listening to all kinds of music and podcasts, ranked and rated by audio experts.
Don't forget, you'll find lots more info in our in-depth standalone reviews, covering design and comfort, features, ANC performance (where applicable), battery life, and sound quality across all kinds of media, as well as how well they handle calls.
Just follow the link at the end of each product summary or tap the product name next to the star rating to discover everything you need to know. Read on to find out which are the best wireless headphones you can buy right now.
The Quick List
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have top active noise cancelation, strong call quality, intuitive controls and enhanced connectivity. The elite sound, user experience, and hefty 30-hour battery life will not disappoint.
Read more below
The first model in an all-new range aimed at introducing the maker's signature sound, strong noise-canceling tech and class-leading battery life at a mid-level price point. These cans deliver high levels of sound and comfort at a great price.
The best wireless headphones you can buy right now
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Best wireless headphones overall
Sony’s flagship XM-series headphones improve upon the already great XM4s with better active noise cancellation, call quality, sound, comfort and connectivity. Most of the changes aren't huge — though the first two are certainly noticeable — but it's more than enough for Sony to retain its long-held number 1 spot.
The touch controls and battery life (30 hours with ANC on, 40 with it off) are also to be commended, as is the excellent Sony Headphones Control app, which lets you tweak the EQ to your preference. The slightly bland design counts against them, as does the $50 price increase, but the XM4s are still around if you want to spend less, and overall there's no question that these are the best wireless headphones you can buy.
Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review.
Best wireless headphones for value
Sennheiser Accentum are a mid-priced ANC pair of headphones with plenty of flagship features. Probably the most outstanding thing about the Accentum noise-canceling headphones, though, is the 50-hour battery life and quick charge that's achieves up to 5 hours of listening time from a 10-minute top-up.
These low-cost Sennheisers are based around the Momentum 4 Wireless (below), and although they have slightly smaller drivers, they master the company's signature sound. There are plenty of rich bass notes on hand to give whatever you're listening to the right level of energy without over emphasizing low frequencies. Everything feels nicely proportioned and there's plenty of mid-range clarity.
ANC mode is very effective at reducing background sounds to a pool of silence, and Transparency mode was effective during my testing, too. When it comes to taking voice calls, the Accentum has two built-in microphones and a dedicated wind-reduction mode. Multipoint seamlessly switches from one Bluetooth device to another, and there's an adjustable side-tone to help keep conversations feeling natural.
Read our full Sennheiser Accentum review.
Best wireless headphones for ANC
The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are the best ANC headphones overall. As the replacement for the Bose 700, the company has raised the bar yet again for active noise-canceling headphones, effectively silencing outside world around you. The new model throws in Immersive Audio tech and plenty of extras including Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint connectivity, aptX Adaptive support, and touch volume control. This all comes in an all-new modern and lightweight design that's comfortable enough to be worn for hours.
There are multiple levels of noise cancelation to balance the level of quiet with Aware mode (transparency) to suite your surroundings. Battery life has been extended to give up to 24 hours, while changes made to the controls and design make usability more practical and seamless. While the Bose 700 are a great alternative option (and can be found discounted in the best early Black Friday headphone deals) the QC Ultra raise Bose's game and are as close to perfect as you’re going to get in the noise-canceling headphones category.
Read our full Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones.
Best wireless headphones for high-end sound
The Px8 are Bowers & Wilkins' most advanced noise-cancelling headphones to date, and are a confident addition to the luxury headphone market. Wireless audio is via Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, aptX HD and aptX Adaptive codec support when connected to compatible playback devices, and cables are suppled for wired headphone jack connections too.
The bespoke 40mm Carbon Cone drive units present even more sound details across all parts of the frequency range than the the company high-ranking Px7 S2, and sumptuous materials to further aid comfort. Bass performance is more agile on the Px8, thanks to the new driver material, but it's the mid frequencies where these flagship headphones excel, delivering an abundance of natural detail and midrange clarity to make every voice syllable sound convincingly realistic. Despite the sound quality gains though, the higher price compared to its fellow Px7 S2 and near rivals, means they rank slight lower in terms of overall value.
Read our full Bowers & Wilkins Px8 review.
Best wireless headphones for elite sound and style
The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 over-ear headphones are priced the same as Sony's Sony WH-1000XM5. They feel good, are beautifully constructed and are either good-looking in an understated way or a bit too understated for their own good — it depends on your taste. They have active noise-cancelation and a control app — but ‘extended functionality’ is not their thing.
They’re designed to deliver the best wireless sound this sort of money can buy, and they do. The entire frequency range hangs together well, with nothing overstated and nothing struggling for representation. Tonality is clean, consistent and entirely convincing. If you want every wireless headphone feature under the sun, you have plenty of choice. If, however, you want headphones that make the most of the digital audio information you give them, the Px7 S2 really needs to be in your thinking.
Rear our full Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 review.
Best wireless headphones for battery life
With best-ever battery life from a pair of over-ear wireless headphones, the revamped Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4 may not stand out quite like their classic-looking predecessor, but the 60-hour battery life makes these the one to beat. Add in the easy-going Sennheiser sound and effective noise cancelling, and the Momentum 4 are one the most practical wireless headphones we've seen, perfectly built for a life on the road rather than tethered to a power socket needing regular battery top ups.
Sennheiser's smooth house sound handles a wide range of music content, from pounding beats to more mellow tunes with aplomb. It has Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX Adaptive support, and there's a supplied 3.5mm cable for audiophile wired connections. ANC performance is effective, and auto Wind Noise Reduction is very impressive when stood on a windy train platform on daily work commutes.
Read our full Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review.
Best budget ANC headphones
Cleer is no stranger to high-end audio gear, like the $699 Cleer Crescent, but the Enduro ANC shows it can produce a seriously tempting pair of cheap wireless headphones as well. For starters, it's got the best battery life of any over-ear headphones we've tested: playing music at 50% volume got us over 50 hours of playtime, even with ANC.
And let's not gloss over that even having ANC at this price is an impressive feat. Filling out the rest of the the Enduro ANC's feature list are handy tools like the Ambient mode, NFC and Android Fast Pairing, aptX Adaptive support and EQ customization. That's an awful lot of toys for the price, and yes, sound quality is good too.
Read our full Cleer Enduro ANC review.
Best iOS headphones
The dinky AirPods Pro are a much more cost-effective route into Apple headphones, considering the AirPods Max cost a widowmaking $549. Still, you get what you pay for, and on a purely technical level, Apple’s first over-ear cans are absolute fantastic.
There’s active noise cancelling, which works about as well as the best on the market. There’s Spatial Audio, which creates a striking surround sound effect as you move your head. There’s a impeccable build quality, the comfy memory foam earcup padding, the healthy battery life – the list goes on. It’s worth noting that if you ever want to switch to wired listening you’ll need to buy a separate $35 Lightning cable, but on Bluetooth alone these headphones are an excellent iOS companion.
Read our full Apple AirPods Max review.
How to choose the best wireless headphones for you
Which are the best type of wireless headphones for your needs?
With so many wireless headphone and earbud options to choose from, you may find it difficult to settle on one design. There are several factors to weigh up, and which one is most important depends on personal preference. Follow out list of considerations to factor in when choosing the best wireless headphones and earbuds for you.
1. Design: When buying a new pair of wireless headphone or earbuds, it can be helpful to think about where you want to wear them. If you're going to use them on a run, for example, you may want a pair that offers the most secure fit and a high water resistance rating like all the models in our best sports headphones.
Whatever type you choose, make sure the earbuds are well built and comfy to wear for about 1 to 2 hours daily.
2. Sound quality: Different models offer different sound, and since you’re buying a pair to enjoy music individually, it’s important to find headphones that match your sound preference, be it heavy bass or distinctively clear to where you can hear the littlest nuances in recordings. Some models offer personalized sound via companion app, which allows the user to create their own profiles and tweak EQ levels to their hearing.
3. Battery life: The most important thing to look for in the best wireless headphones is battery life. You’ll want a pair that holds enough charge to get through a long business flight or weekly commutes. Thanks to the arrival of the Cleer Enduro ANC and the Sennheiser's Momentum 4 Wireless over-ear headphones, battery life standards have increased up to 60 hours. Although more typical figures are anywhere between 15 to 30 hours, while wireless earbuds are usually rated at 4.5 to 8 hours.
4. Accessories: It's disappointing spending money on a new pair of headphones only to find that you need to buy the accessories separately. Any models that come with a carrying case, charging cable, user guide, audio cables, extra ear cups or eartips are solid purchases.
5. Pricing considerations: Obviously, price is a big consideration when looking for the best headphones. Although there are always exceptions, big-name brands will typically command a bit extra, but generally speaking, the less you spend on a pair of headphones the greater the chance that sound and features will be compromised. Going for a budget option isn't always the best choice, as any money you save on your purchase won't do you much good if you're constantly needing to recharge your audio gear, or the sound quality is poor.
As the saying goes: timing is everything; and right now many of our favorite models are discounted at online retailers, meaning you can bag a bargain for even less. Bookmark our best headphone deals page to keep track of the latest discounts.
How we test the best wireless headphones
The best reviews criteria carried out by audio experts
With more than 30 years experience in testing and reviewing consumer audio products for all kinds of media outlets and big-name brands around the world, the Tom's Guide audio team follows a rigorous test regime when it comes to determining the best products for recommendation in our buying guides.
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.
Find out what we listen for during our testing process and how to get the best headphone sound for you.
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.
Star ratings explained: We evaluate headphones based on a five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every mark, it’s awarded a coveted Recommended badge, while our Best Value award speaks for itself. Only products with truly exceptional performance across the board are awarded an Editor's Choice badge.
Contributions from: Alex Bracetti, Simon Lucas, Kate Kozuch, Nick Pino