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Best wireless headphones in 2024

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Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

While wireless earbuds are popular with many folks due to their portability and versatility, wireless on-ear and over-ear headphones are a great choice for more serious listeners. They can offer better comfort and a more immersive listening experience than their in-ear counterparts, while also delivering battery life that can be measured in days.



Of course, a full set of headphones will be heavier and more cumbersome than earbuds, but many of today’s designs mitigate that by using lightweight materials along with memory foam headbands, plush earpads, and carefully balanced and distributed weight. A good set of over-ear cans is typically much better for long listening sessions than something that sits inside your ear canal, and they also make the most of active noise cancellation (ANC) since they can block out even more outside noise.


However, that doesn’t mean just any old pair of headphones will be as good as a pair of decent earbuds. To help you navigate the best wireless headphones, we’ve gathered what we think are the top picks available on the market today, with something for every budget. We’ve meticulously reviewed many of the headphones on this list, plus quite a few others that didn’t make the cut, testing their audio quality across different genres of music, plus their comfort, features, and battery life. Below are our picks for the best wireless headphones available.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Best overall

Premium ANC and sound

If there’s a best-in-class when it comes to active noise cancellation, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones win. They also sound great with a neutral sound that works for just about everything. Although they can get a little hot after long listening sessions, the comfort is pretty good overall. Also, you have just about all the features you could ask for with these headphones.

Pros

  • Great, clear audio
  • Excellent ANC
  • Battery goes and goes
Cons

  • New design doesn’t fold
  • Limited upgrades from WH-1000XM4
  • Can get a little hot from listening sessions

The reigning champ of active noise cancellation is in no hurry to relinquish the crown. Sony’s most recent over-ear headphones, the WH-1000XM5, bring back that top-of-the-line ANC that many have tried to match — and failed. The headphones also offer fantastic sound quality that isn’t too exaggerated, so you can enjoy your favorite concerto or 98 Degrees track the way it was meant to be heard. However, while we found the mids and highs to be remarkably clear and crisp, they don’t deliver the bass-heavy listening that some folks prefer — at least not right out of the box — so you may have to play with the EQ settings a bit.


White Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones laying on top of a colorful puzzle.

While the new XM5s aren’t as portable as their predecessors since they lack the inward-folding earcups, that’s a small price to pay for the great sound quality, and we found them to be a generally comfortable fit, thanks to the pleather padding and lightweight construction. Depending on your head, you may have to fiddle with them a bit, but it’s not hard to get a pleasant fit.

Read Our Review

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: The ANC headphones to beat

Class-leading ANC, now in a prettier package

Excellent call quality, voice assistant compatibility, and speedy Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity are other features that make these headphones special. But, one other area where they excel is their long battery life, namely 30 hours with ANC on and 40 without. The only drawback here is that they can get a little hot around the ears after long listening sessions, but they are fairly comfortable otherwise.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra, white background

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

Premium pick

The pair that can do it all

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are the company’s latest flagship over-ears, replacing the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. They sport a familiar folding design and feature Bose’s new Immersive Audio tech that enables spatial stereo audio on any device. These headphones also support Fast Pair for easy pairing on Android.

Pros

  • Fantastic active noise cancellation
  • Comfort is perfect
  • Stellar, neutral-leaning sound
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Just okay battery life

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones could be the new favorites around here if it weren’t for their hefty price tag. However, Bose’s latest premium headphones are worth the investment if you’re willing to pay the asking price. The headphones are true to their name, offering both quiet and comfort. Plus, as one might expect from Bose, the ANC is the best of any headphones on this list, easily quieting obnoxious and loud environmental sounds.

White Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones hanging on a porch railing outside.

These headphones build on previous Bose models by making everything more plush, for a more comfortable fit. However, we found they they could use a little more padding on the headband for those with smaller heads. The overall sound quality is rich and crisp with ample low-end that isn’t overwhelming. In short, it’s the kind of well-balanced sound that Bose is known for.


Read Our Review

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones review: Paying for near perfection

Don’t just block out the world; refill it with rich stereo sound

Bose also has another trick up its sleeve called Immersive Audio, a spatial audio mode that makes media sound like it’s coming from in front of you rather than right in your ears, regardless of what device the headphones are paired to. It’s fun, and the best part of it is that it works regardless of whether the content you’re listening to has been mastered for spatial audio. In reviewing the QuietComfort Ultras, it became obvious that Bose’s secret sauce here was that it doesn’t try to do too much with the audio, preferred instead to just settle for an expansive stereo sound stage.

Sennheiser-HD-250BT 1to1

Sennheiser HD 250BT

Best value

Great sound on a budget

Though the Sennheiser HD 250BT are a bit on the pedestrian side visually, they do the one thing that’s most important: sound really good. Of course, with their lower price, it’s no surprise that the comfort is decent but not great or that the feature set is very limited.

Pros

  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Decent battery
  • The price is right
Cons

  • Limited feature set
  • Comfort is just okay

Sennheiser headphones are usually pricey, and the HD 250BTs are one of the most affordable options in the company’s lineup. These wireless headphones connect through Bluetooth 5.0 and have a reasonable 25-hour battery life. The 32-millimeter drivers are a bit small but don’t affect the sound quality, and the AAC and AptX codec compatibility ensures that they sound great on Apple or Android devices. For affordable, no-frills headphones, the HD 250BTs still work with Sennheiser’s Smart Control app to customize the sound to your individual taste.


Considering their low price, the HD 250BTs have decent construction with ample padding on the earcups for long listening sessions. The lack of padding on the headband is a bit underwhelming, but fits the minimalist style and probably won’t be an issue for most buyers. The only polarizing feature is the earcups that slide up and down the headband and don’t have much flexibility to adjust to the shape of the user’s head. It’s still a minor drawback, and most buyers won’t care because they’re still getting outstanding value.

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Master-and-Dynamic-MH40-Wireless-2023

Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless (V2)

Best splurge

When money is no object

Master & Dynamic’s second-generation MH40 Wireless headphones breathe new life into the elegant design with finely-tuned 40mm titanium drivers and 30-hour battery life. The lightweight aluminum construction combined with lambskin leather removable ear pads make them comfortable to wear for extended periods, and they support both aptX HD and AAC for wide compatibility. 

Pros

  • Cool retro design with a comfortable fit
  • Great balanced sound
  • 30 hours of battery life

The Master & Dynamic MH40 might offer the worst performance-to-price ratio on this list. They’re fairly stripped down in terms of features — the lack of ANC is especially felt — yet they’re as expensive as anything else on this list. You may wonder why they’re included, then. The answer is because what the MH40 can do, they do very well.


Master-and-Dynamic-MH40-controls-and-ports-1

To start with, the sound quality is superb, with warm and balanced audio that will make you feel like you’re listening live. From progressive rock and metal to classical and jazz, we found the MH40s rendered everything we threw at them remarkably well, making them a great choice for folks with more eclectic musical tastes. The true-to-life sound signature lacks the bass-heaviness of many more popular cans, but it’s ideal for those who prize accuracy in their listening. Think of these in terms of a warmer and richer set of studio monitors.


Read Our Review

Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless (2023) review: Finally worth the price

The second-generation wireless headphones sound better and run longer

The style is also elegant and unique, making more of a visual statement than anything else with a classic retro-style aviator look. That design isn’t skin deep, either, as the materials and construction are next-level for a pair of headphones that you will want to buy just for the aesthetic, yet despite being less bulky than most of the competition, they deliver solid battery life, with up to 30 hours of listening on a single charge. They’re available in seven color schemes, from basic black to two-tone finishes with navy or brown accents, but keep in mind that, no matter the colorway you choose, there’s no way to opt out of the lambskin leather, so you’ll have to be comfortable with that.

headphones overear Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Best battery life

For those with longer commutes

$300 $380 Save $80

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are a great option for anyone who doesn’t mind paying a premium for high-end wireless audio; they sound utterly great. Battery life is also phenomenal at up to 60 hours per charge with ANC on. That ANC isn’t particularly impressive, though — especially compared to similarly priced options from Bose or Sony.

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Unbelievable battery life
  • Bluetooth multipoint
Cons

  • Subpar ANC for premium headphones
  • Controls could be better
  • Middling call performance

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are a premium pair of headphones with a price tag that will match many of the flagship offerings of other companies. Finding out that the ANC is a letdown — especially compared to similarly priced options from Bose or Sony — or that the call quality could be better keeps these headphones from being perfect. But that shouldn’t necessarily dissuade you.

Black Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones handing on the back of a gray chair.


What these headphones do offer is Sennheiser’s marquee sound signature, which gives you a balanced and more neutral sound than most of the more bass-heavy cans, reproducing your music close to the way the artist and audio engineers intended. That’s not to say the bass is weak; we found the low-end response to be surprisingly impressive — EDM and hip hop shine through — but it’s not there at the expense of the mids and highs. This means you’ll have a hard time finding a genre of music that doesn’t sound good on them, making the Momentum 4 Wireless another great choice for those with varied musical tastes.

Read Our Review

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Awesome audio, average ANC

The Momentum 4’s Achilles heel could be a deal-breaker

The Momentum 4 Wireless deliver the best ANC you’ll find in any of Sennheiser’s headphones, but that’s not saying very much. They’re not even in the same league as Sony and Bose, with ANC that can be generously described as competent, but nothing to write home about. We found that they’ll filter out the usual rumbling background noises when you’re in transit, but barely make a dent in sharper sounds that quickly peak and diminish, whether that’s a barking dog, crying baby, or just the regular cabin noise of people moving around on an airplane. The upside is that they offer exceptional battery life — up to 60 hours on a single charge, even with ANC on — double that of most of the competition, which would make them ideal for travel if it weren’t for the middling ANC. Nevertheless, they’re a solid pick for home listening.


Audio technica ath m50xbt headphones angled white background

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

Best neutral-sounding headphones

For those who want studio-level sound

If you ever wanted headphones with studio-level quality sound (meaning nothing is overly boosted) but wireless, then the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are the way to go. Plus, they have an absurdly long 50-hour battery life. Just be aware that they don’t come with active noise cancellation.

Pros

  • Great studio-level sound signature
  • A really, really, really long battery life
  • Plenty of customization via the app
Cons

  • No ANC
  • Sound signature might not be for everyone

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 are missing the ANC feature most people expect to find in modern wireless headphones or earbuds, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer. These are essentially a wireless version of Audio-Technica’s excellent ATH-M50X, which are considered the go-to cans among audio engineers looking for affordable studio reference monitors. However, you don’t have to use them only in the studio, and Audio-Technica has recognized that by leaning these a bit toward a typical consumer sound profile. Just know that instead of sounding “fun,” like the Grados below, they’ll still give you a less filtered version of your music.


Studio reference monitors are designed to deliver the most accurate sound possible. This means the highs, mids, and lows should be in near-perfect balance, rather than being tuned for a more mainstream listening experience. However, the ATH-M50xBT2 try to embrace the best of both worlds by adopting a shallower V-shaped sound curve with lightly recessed mids and bass and treble response that’s more present than you’ll find on most pure studio monitors. That still leaves the low end a bit thin, and you won’t get any meaningful sub-bass at all — at least by default. However, the good news is we found the drivers to be more than capable of delivering on the lows, so you can add them back in with custom EQ settings.

We think these are excellent headphones for audio purists and especially great for those who enjoy playing with their settings to tailor their own unique sound signature rather than just going with what the manufacturer thinks is best. They also deliver an impressive 50-hour battery life, plus Bluetooth connectivity that’s strong enough that you won’t notice much difference between wired and wireless use. If you do, there’s a companion app you can download to turn on a low latency mode. Plus, it also gives you access to some EQ and personalization options.


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anker-soundcore-life-q35

Anker Soundcore Life Q35

Best feature-rich budget headphone

For those who need ANC on a budget

$100 $110 Save $10

The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 have great ANC and transparency, comfort, and sound quality… for the price. Nothing is class-leading, but considering the price, these headphones offer a performance-to-price ratio that’s hard to beat. If you’re looking for something that can do a little of everything while not breaking the bank, consider these headphones.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Features like ANC are done well
  • Good sound quality
Cons

  • Not the most detailed-sounding headphones
  • Most everything is good but not great
  • Game mode is lackluster

Anker is one of those companies where the product and the price tag just don’t seem to match, meaning that they’re often a steal. The Soundcore Life Q35 by Anker follows tradition with its just-above $100 price tag. While the plasticky design is unremarkable and lacks the premium feel of higher-end cans, it doesn’t feel cheap either.

However, it’s what’s under the hood that counts here, and the Q35s deliver a full package of features including ANC, multi-point connectivity, LDAC support for Hi-Res audio files, and even fast charging. Of course, there are always compromises when you start pinching pennies. The ANC won’t hold a candle to what more expensive headphones offer, but it’s also surprisingly good for something in this price range. The sound stage is also a bit opinionated, leaning even more heavily into the bass than most headphones we’ve tested. It’s a popular sound profile, to be sure, so it’s likely many folks will enjoy it, but if you prefer more nuance in your sound, you’re going to want to go straight for the EQ settings to tone it down a bit. Thankfully, the headphones offer plenty of EQ presets and the ability to save your own settings, plus an impressive 40-hour battery life.


Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT-wireless-headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT

Longest battery life on a budget

For when you need long battery life but are on a budget

Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT is an attractive budget offering from the longtime audio manufacturer. While there are certain compromises, as the look and feel are a bit cheap and the fit is not great for long-term wear, they have the kind of battery life that will outlast most of the competition. On top of that, the price is just right at just over $50.

Pros

  • Impressively battery life
  • Low price tag
  • Multipoint Connectivity
Cons

  • Not the most comfortable fit
  • Missing ANC
  • A bit cheap feeling and looking

The landscape of budget wireless headphones is broad and can be confusing, and you’ll likely find yourself wading through a lot of duds to find something that meets your needs. The good news is that there are lots of established manufacturers that offer options on the lower-end. However, just be aware that not all of these are created equal, and we’ve occasionally been let down by brands that we’d expected better from based on their premium cans. Thankfully, Audio-Technica doesn’t fit into this category and has some choice offerings for a budget-conscious buyer that still offer a decent listening experience.

Enter the Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT. At just over $50, you shouldn’t expect too much from these; Audio-Technica has had to make a lot of compromises, but they’ve made the right ones, focusing on sound quality and performance first, and then cutting whatever other bells and whistles don’t fit into the price tag. The result is that the ATH-S220BT deliver above-average sound and an astonishing 60 hours of battery life on a single charge. Obviously, you’re not getting ANC at this price, and while the build quality is solid, it’s far from premium in feel. They also offer multipoint connectivity, so you can easily switch between multiple devices.


Grado GW100X-wireless-headphones

Grado GW100X

Most fun sounding wireless headphones

For when you want something different

The Grado GW100x do what all Grado headphones do — provide an engaging, fun sound in a lightweight retro styling, but these do so wirelessly. You don’t have to stay physically tethered to your phone if you want to use a pair of Grado headphones. But, as is to be expected with any pair from this company, the open-back design doesn’t do much to keep sound in or out, so they’re not the best option for use on an airplane.

Pros

  • Fun, engaging sound
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Solid battery life
Cons

  • Pricey
  • Open-back design means sound leakage

While the Grado GW100x are pricey, they’re worth the cost if you’re into funky, fun-sounding headphones. These aren’t neutral, studio-grade. Instead, they have the kind of mid-centric sound of all Grado headphones, making them perfect for rock music, though there’s also plenty of bass to get your booty shaking.

Like most Grado headphones, these sit light on the head and are fairly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. After all, they’re just 12.8 ounces. Since they keep the retro Grado styling of just about every other model the company makes, they keep that open-back design that also tends to leak sound. That means these are going to annoy your neighbors. It also means that they won’t do a great job keeping audio out. Add in that these are expensive, and you’ll find that these are not going to be the ideal option for a lot of people.

That said, their stellar and unique sound quality is enough to draw in those who want something that sounds great and different, not to mention they have great battery life.


Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2, angled view

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2

Best for spatial audio

For those who make spatial audio a priority

The killer feature here is spatial audio, which makes the Aonic 50 Gen 2 sound less like a pair of headphones, and more like a full speaker setup you’ve strapped to the side of your head, with a wide open soundscape. The big downside is that the ANC is merely good, and not quite great.

Pros

  • Fantastic spatial audio
  • Lots of connectivity
  • Great app and EQ
Cons

  • Slightly bright
  • A bit heavy

If you’ve only paid attention to wireless audio products, you’re probably not as familiar with Shure as you should be. The company has made a name for itself making excellent wired audio products for a long time, so it’s no surprise that the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 made it onto this list.

Not only can you basically connect them to anything, whether it’s wired, USB-C, or Bluetooth, but they have the sonic pedigree of a well-established audio company. The spatial audio on offer is not only great, but adjustable to your media, and the sound quality is good too, with excellent separation. As is the case with many sub-top shelf headphones, though, the ANC here is just good enough.

Also a consideration is that these headphones are a bit on the heavy side, something to keep in mind if you plan on wearing them for long bouts. Back on the positive side, the app is very well-designed and includes parametric EQ for deep fine-tuning.



What to look for in wireless headphones

There’s a longer list of things to consider than you might think when considering headphones, especially if you’re looking to invest in a premium set. While the first and most obvious would seem to be audio quality, it’s actually just the tip of the iceberg. The type of sound signature is also important, along with things like comfort, battery life, and feature set, all of which will depend on how you plan on using them. Of course, you also need to consider what’s within your price range and what you’re willing to trade off to get there.

As far as sound quality goes, it’s important to know what you like, as two equally good headphones can sound radically different. Do you like bright highs or big bass? What kind of music do you most often listen to? Are you looking for a set of cans that plays nice with everything from classical to EDM and hip hop or are you primarily a jazz aficionado? Many consumer headphones are tuned primarily for today’s rock, pop, and electronic audiences, while others are designed to deliver balanced sound that plays nice across a wide variety of genres.


Beyond personal taste, you also need to make sure that whatever you’re considering isn’t too focused on one area, while under-delivering in another. For example, many headphones deliver the big and bold low-end that’s popular among today’s consumers, but too much bass can drown everything else out.

Comfort is almost as important since you could be wearing these for hours at a time. No one wants something that hurts their face or head, so it’s crucial to look at things like clamping force, which indicates how tight or loose these headphones are. Too tight and they’ll give you a pressure headache. Too loose and they’ll continually slip off during use. Add to that the cushioning on the headband and earpads and the weight of the headphones, which may not seem like much when you first put them on but can lead to fatigue during long listening sessions. Look for lightweight headphones that use memory foam for a softer, pillow-like fit.


If you care about other features, like active noise cancellation, be aware that not all ANC is equal. Some companies, like Bose, Sony, and even Apple, have nailed it, while others are still hit-or-miss. However, it’s also good to temper your expectations, as the ANC on a sub-$100 set of headphones may be very good for the price, even though it can’t possibly match Sony or Bose’s premium $400. Bear in mind that all headphones offer passive noise cancellation by design since they cover your ears, so they will block out some environmental noise.

Lastly, battery life is important, too. Most of the good options have more than enough on tap. However, if you’re not in the practice of regularly charging your devices, then you’ll want to make sure you have more than enough with whichever model you go with.

Which headphones are the best for you?

While everyone has their favorites, the Sony WH-1000XM5 may be near the top in all categories, making them our top overall pick. However, those who want to splurge will be absolutely blown away by the new Bose QuietComfort Ultra.


However, there are still several fantastic choices for those on a budget, starting with the surprisingly great sounding, if stripped-down, Sennheiser HD 250BT and Anker’s Soundcore Life Q35.

Black Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones positioned at an angle on white background

Sony WH-1000XM5

Best overall

The pair that can do it all

While pricey, the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 are worth every penny. From top-notch comfort to fantastic sound and ANC, they can do it all. In particular, that ANC is about as good as it gets. And, though their 20 hours of battery life is not class-leading, it’s good enough and more than offset by several features.

Pros

  • Fantastic active noise cancellation
  • Comfort is perfect
  • Stellar, neutral-leaning sound
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Just okay battery life

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