Wireless headphones free you from the cords that tether you to your music. And now that smartphones are ditching the headphone jack, they're more useful than ever. But with a plethora of Bluetooth headphones available, which are worth a spot on your ears? Is it the Jabra Elite 65t, our current favorite Bluetooth earbuds, the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, our choice for best wireless or the Enacfire E18 Earbuds our choice for best truly wireless earbuds for under $60? We tested the most popular and well-known Bluetooth headphones to find the ones that are best for you.
News and Updates (April 2019)
- Rumor has it Microsoft is developing a pair of AirPod rivals. According to Thurrott, Microsoft is aiming to release its Bluetooth Surface Buds by the end of the year.
- Tired of shorting out your AirPods at the gym? Apple just announced the PowerBeats Pro, a sweat-resistant pair of truly wireless buds set to launch in May for $249.95.
- We just reviewed the Apple AirPods 2 and they mostly lived up to the hype. Check out our full review.
- Our review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds is live! For $129, the wireless buds deliver great audio with plenty of cool tech tricks.
What to Look For
- The most important thing to look for in a pair of Bluetooth 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 6 to 8 hours, while Bluetooth headphones can last about 25 hours.
- 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.
- If you're interested in a pair of truly wireless buds, makes sure they come with a charging case. Since they have shorter battery life, there's a great likelihood you'll have to charge them on the go.
How We Test 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 ten-point system (1 = worst, 10 = 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.
|Related Buying Guides:|
|Best Cheap Headphones|
|Best Cheap Earbuds|
|Best Lightning Headphones|
|Best Gaming Headsets|