Beats Studio Buds review: Your new daily driver. Beats studio wireless headphones charger

Beats Studio Buds review: Your new daily driver

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The Beats Studio Buds Plus is the company’s latest refresh for its consumer earbuds. Packed with features like transparency, spatial audio, and noise cancellation, are they worth buying over other earbuds?

Beats is in a strange spot. After being acquired by Apple, the Cupertino company launched the wildly popular Airpods line of earbuds. Beats now have the tall task of still producing earbuds competitive with its parent company’s offering, while retaining its unique branding and legacy.

The Beats Studio Buds doesn’t really reinvent the wheel when compared to its previous offerings. However, the company does manage to deliver an exceptional number of features for a modest asking price. We’ve tested the new buds for weeks, to give you the lowdown on how good they are compared to the Airpods Pro 2, and other earbuds, too.

Design

The Beats Studio Buds arrives in several colorways, including a striking transparent. We reviewed the black variant of the earbuds, and the pebble-shaped charging case is near perfection. Perfectly rounded, with a single USB-C port located at the bottom, which supports fast charging for an hour of listening after just five minutes. Like many other wireless earbuds, the case is magnetically secured and flips open with heft to them that you just do not get out of lesser wireless earbuds, like the Logitech G Fits, or the Asus Cetra. Aesthetically, the case does not look too different from its previous iteration.

One thing to note is that the case does not support wireless charging. This seems like an obviously disappointing omission to retain the tooling of the previous iteration of the device. We can only hope that this is addressed in the next product revision.

Housed inside are the two fantastic-looking earbuds. Unlike Airpods or other earphones, there is no noticeable stem coming from teh earbuds themselves, the buds also house a depressable button that allows you to control the buds without having to take your phone out. With several settings for ANC or transparency modes, the buttons are a much better way to control your earbuds on the go than a finicky capacitive option.

Also present within the box is a short USB-C cable for charging, in addition to four different eartips, which is a welcome addition, given the added “extra small” options now available.

Setup features

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Setting up the Beats Studio Buds is devilishly simple on iOS and Android. The one-touch paring available on the buds gets you all set up instantly. There’s no messing around in menus, and you are literally set up in seconds. This user experience is second-to-none in this product space, and it’s something that we wished that others in the industry took some notes on.

There is also some light integration into the Apple ecosystem, you can add the earphones to your Find My app, in addition to being able to customize the audio modes straight from iOS natively. There’s some spatial audio integration too, but that’s solely limited to Apple Music, and there is also no support for high-res codecs.

Active Noise Cancellation is nothing too special here, either. The earphones create a good seal around your ears, and while it’s not quite as impressive as other options that we’ve tried, there’s zero hiss when using the feature. As soon as you put some music on, sounds get drowned out, and you hear nothing but the audio coming from the buds themselves. Equally, transparency mode works just as you’d expect, and is a handy feature when walking out and about in public, or while crossing roads.

Sound quality

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The Beats Studio Buds has fantastic sound, which is almost perfectly balanced if it were not for the fairly punchy bass. Even in some of the more demanding grindcore tracks we’ve listened to from Nails, the earphones do not skip a beat, nor do they muddy the original mix of the headphones. With some lighter listening from Metro Boomin’s Hummingbird, the earbuds really come into their own. Vocals and highs sound incredible, with a defined midrange that sounds fantastic when in use.

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Subtle details are retained, and we think that despite the lack of EQ, we wouldn’t want to make any major adjustments to the earbuds anyway.

When listening outdoors, the ANC implementation also retains the mix of the sound very well, with no real distortions to speak of as a result of the feature. They just sound great, which is one of the best aspects of the buds.

Microphone quality

The microphone quality on the Beats Studio Buds isn’t anything mind-blowing. They don’t sound fantastic, but considering the size of the buds, they still perform well if you need to take a call, or hop into a work meeting in a pinch. We wouldn’t be going out of our way to recommend them for other use cases, though.

Should you buy it?

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In real-world usage, the Beats Studio Buds isn’t leading the pack for wireless earbuds. But, their stellar battery life and sound quality make it easily an everyday workhorse for anyone who finds themselves on the go, and does not want to splash out more than 200 for the privilege. You do miss out on some features like high-resolution codecs, and wireless charging.

The Verdict: 4/5

For most people, these earbuds are fantastic, and a great alternative to Airpods if you find yourself on Android, or if you dislike the look of Apple’s (other) earbuds. With a fantastic degree of comfort, the Beats Studio Buds is a relatively safe and well-built pair of earbuds that simply outshine most of the competition at this price point.

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Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: which earbuds should you buy?

Apple’s next-gen Airpods Pro 2 bring significant upgrades to the popular original to take performance to the next level. Externally, they look pretty similar to the first generation, but battery life has been increased to offer 6 hours on a single charge from the earbuds and a further 30 hours from the wireless charging case. Not only are the earbuds IPX4-rated, but now too is the case itself.

For

  • World-class noise cancellation
  • Volume controls on the stem
  • Spatial audio support
  • Battery life improves on original Airpods Pro

Against

The new Beats Studio Buds have plenty going for them. They retain the iconic design of the original but add improved ANC performance, stronger transparency mode, and hands-free Siri support. While the increase in battery life looks like a winner, it’s pretty standard compared to today’s rivals, making this next-gen version feel a little outclassed.

For

  • Iconic style and compact design
  • Effective noise cancellation
  • Improved battery life over the original
  • Good comfort levels

Against

  • No wireless charging case
  • Lacks on-ear detection
  • Awkward to get in and out of charging case

When you’re looking for the best noise-cancelling earbuds, there’s no shortage of options out there with Sony, Sennheiser, Samsung and Google all making some pretty compelling options.

That said, if you’re an iOS user and want to stay within the Apple ecosystem of products, then you’ve probably got your eye on either the Airpods Pro 2 or new Beats Studio Buds.

While both these earbuds share some of the same features, there’s a pretty substantial difference between them, not to mention a big differential on price that can make choosing between them more difficult than you’d expect.

Not sure which one to buy? This comparison breaks down both models and, by the end of it, should give you all the information you need to make the best choice.

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Specs compared

PriceWireless charging caseChipBattery life (rated)Water resistanceSizeWeightSpecial features
199 169
Yes No
H2 Beats
5.5 hours (Spatial Audio and Head Tracking on) 6 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 30 hours (charging case with ANC on); 34 hours (charging case with ANC off) 9 hours (ANC off); 6 hours (with ANC and/or transparency enabled); up to 36 hours total (with charging case and ANC off)
IPX4 (buds and charging case) IPX4 (buds only)
1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches (per bud); 1.78 x 2.39 x 0.85 inches (charging case) 0.75 x 1.18 x 0.94 inches (per bud); 1 x 2 x 2.83 inches (charging case)
0.19 ounces (per bud); 1.79 ounces (charging case) Approx. 0.2 ounces (per bud); 1.72 ounces (charging case)
ANC, adaptive transparency mode, adaptive EQ, personalized spatial audio, automatic switching, Ear Tip Fit Test, physical volume controls, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Find My (Airpods), “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, MagSafe charging case with built-in speaker, Apple Watch charging, lanyard loop support ANC, adaptive EQ, personalized spatial audio, transparency mode, automatic switching, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Ear Tip Fit Test, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Find My in iOS

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Price and availability

As mentioned above, there’s a relatively large difference in price between the Beats Studio Buds and Airpods Pro 2, despite the Airpods Pro 2 being several months older than the newer Beats Studio Buds.

At the time this article went live, the Beats Studio Buds could be found for 169 / £179 / AU269, which also happens to be the price they launched at on May 17.

The Airpods Pro 2, meanwhile, can be found for 199 at most major retailers…exept for the Apple Store, where they’re still being sold for their launch price of 249 / 329 CAD / £249 / AU399. The Airpods Pro 2 were launched on September 23, 2022, making them around seven months older than the Beats Studio Buds.

There’s a difference in features, as we’ll explain below, but there’s no arguing the fundamental fact that the Beats Studio Buds are the newer, cheaper pair of earbuds.

Winner: Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Design

It’s really impressive how similar in features, yet so different in design the Airpods and Studio Buds are from one another.

The Airpods Pro 2, like the original Airpods and Airpods Pro, have that signature stem and only come in the one signature white color option. The Studio Buds on the other hand? Not only are they smaller and more spherical in their design, but they come in two different color options, black/gold and ivory, or completely transparent.

There’s an obvious aesthetic difference between them, but their difference in size and shape means that they’ll work differently for different sized ears — the Studio Buds are perfect for people whose ears hurt from wearing earbuds for long periods of time, while the Airpods are perfect for people who have a hard time keeping earbuds locked in place.

As far as the cases are concerned, there’s not a ton to say. Both are IPX4 water-resistant so they can stand a bit of rain and both can be found using the Find My… app on iOS devices should either get lost somewhere. The Airpods Pro 2’s case does have wireless charging, however, so if that’s a factor then count this category as a win for the Pro 2. Otherwise, I’m going to call this one a tie.

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Controls

While the controls are similar on both earbuds, each has one trick that makes them unique. For the Studio Buds it’s Android fast-pairing, while the Airpods Pro 2 uses its touch-capacitive stems for control instead of a physical button.

Because setup is pretty easy on Android with the Studio Buds, we recommend those if you’re planning on pairing it with something like the Google Pixel 7 while the Airpods are obviously a better option for any Apple device like the iPhone 14 Pro.

When it comes to physically controlling them, however, the Airpods Pro 2 are the better choice — being able to use the stem to control audio playback is significantly more comfortable than pushing a button on the side of the earbuds. The silver lining? Thankfully both earbuds support hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ voice control on iOS devices.

Winner: Airpods Pro 2

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Sound quality

Before we start, it’s important to remember that there’s a fair amount of subjectivity when it comes to comparing audio quality. No one’s ears hear exactly the same way, which means you might hear something we don’t and vice versa.

That said, based on our reviewers’ experiences, we think the Airpods Pro 2 are going to offer a better overall sound quality that more people will enjoy.

Just read these two excerpts:

From our Beats Studio Buds review: The frequency balance is on the lean side. There’s a lack of bass depth and warmth that I wasn’t expecting when listening to Loreen’s Eurovision-winning song “Tattoo” streamed via Apple Music, particularly at lower volume levels … Increasing the volume level does help to fill out the bass and bring more energy, but it needs to be pushed to louder than I’d expect to achieve full-spectrum sound.

Compare that to this excerpt from our Airpods Pro 2 review:

The higher frequencies can, at first, feel a bit fatiguing compared to other headphones (just try any Ozzy Osbourne song if you don’t believe me) and the low-end could still be a bit richer … but they do articulate some really nice details that you wouldn’t be able to hear as clearly with other earbuds.

OK, so the Airpods probably sound better — but that’s not all. They also have the more advanced spatial audio support with head tracking. That feature is only available on the Airpods Pro 2 and isn’t on the Studio Buds. To me, that puts the Airpods Pro 2 miles ahead of the Studio Buds.

Winner: Airpods Pro 2

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Battery life

Battery life between the two flagship earbuds is comparable, but the Studio Buds have a slight edge in this department.

According to Apple and corroborated by our testing, the Airpods Pro 2 should last around 30 hours with the charging case. The Beats Studio Buds bump that number up to 36 hours with the charging case, though both sets of earbuds will only run for about six hours before they need to go back in their respective cases to recharge.

When it comes to charging, both support fast charging, which gives you around one hour of playback from just a 5-minute charge. A full system recharge takes 2 hours on both ‘buds.

Winner: Beats Studio Buds

Beats Studio Buds vs Airpods Pro 2: Verdict

It’s a close call but in our opinion, the Airpods Pro 2 are the better buy — for just 30 more you’re getting better sound quality and controls. Yes, you’re losing out on some battery life and better support on Android — which, if that matters, then disregard this paragraph and just buy the Beats instead — but otherwise the Airpods Pro 2’s pros far outweigh the cons.

Price and value (5)Design (15)Controls (10)Audio quality (20)Active noise cancellation(20)Special features and apps (15)Call quality (5)Battery life (10)Total score (100)
4 5
15 15
10 7
18 15
18 16
14 16
3 3
6 8
88 85

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The 7 Best True Wireless Earbuds. Spring 2023 Reviews

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Truly wireless earbuds are fairly new in the headphones market. While several models were made by lesser-known brands for a couple of years, they didn’t become immensely popular until Apple released the first Airpods in late 2016. Since then, almost every company has thrown its hat in the ring. What used to be a relatively expensive product that lacked features is now available at every price point, with a performance that can match regular Bluetooth in-ears. While truly wireless headphones can’t quite match the battery life of larger Bluetooth headphones, most popular options come with a charging case to extend their overall battery life while away from a charger.

We’ve tested over 165 pairs of truly wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best options. They tend to cost more than ordinary earbuds, so check out our picks for the best cheap earbuds if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly. You can also take a look at the best in-ears and earbuds, the best earbuds for iPhone, and the best wireless earbuds for more options.

Best True Wireless Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless are the best true wireless earbuds we’ve tested. These premium buds are the next generation of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and have a less bulky design than their predecessor, which makes them very comfortable for long listening sessions. Although they’re a bit larger than other picks on this list, their build holds an outstanding noise cancelling (ANC) system. Whether traveling by bus or working at the office, these buds can block out lots of noise, meaning you can FOCUS on your audio. They last roughly 6.7 hours continuously, and their carrying case supplies an additional three charges if you need it. Their sound has more bass than we measured as the shape of our test rig’s ear canals impacts their bass delivery. However, subjectively, you can expect more boom, which muddies and clutters vocals and instruments. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you fine-tune their sound. Unfortunately, despite their high-end price, they don’t support multi-device pairing, so you can only connect them with one device at a time.

Best Upper Mid-Range True Wireless Earbuds

Apple Airpods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless

The Apple Airpods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are a great option if you’re looking for cheaper earbuds but still want a premium experience. These earbuds are better built than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless and offer a few features for iOS that you might appreciate if you’re an iPhone or MacBook user. Their H2 chip helps with easy pairing to Apple devices, and they support Spatial Audio, a surround sound feature meant to create a more immersive listening experience with compatible content. Their adaptive EQ results in a somewhat warm sound profile, so your audio has a bit of extra boom and cozy-sounding vocals and instruments. Unlike the previous pick, they don’t have an app with sound customization features like an EQ. Their ANC feature isn’t as effective as the Boses’, so they block out less ambient sound overall, but it offers excellent overall performance with a wide range of noise, including rumbling bus and plane engines. The earbuds last just under six hours of continuous use with ANC on and come with a case with four extra charges. They have a comfortable fit for most people, but you might find they wiggle out of your ears after a while and require repositioning.

Best Mid-Range True Wireless Earbuds

Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless

Consider the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless for something more reasonably priced. These earbuds have a less comfortable fit for most and aren’t as well-built as the Apple Airpods Pro (2nd generation), but they still offer a great all-around performance. Their ANC feature does an excellent job of blocking out noise, including rumbling engines during your commute. They support multi-device pairing, so you can stay connected with your phone and computer simultaneously. They come in more colors than the Apple or Bose, so you can get them in bright colors like coral and lemongrass. Their somewhat V-shaped sound profile adds rumble and punch to your audio and keeps instruments and vocals clear and bright. You can also customize the sound with an in-app graphic EQ and presets. However, these buds have a somewhat bulky design compared to the previous picks and aren’t as comfortable or stable for most. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless are around the same price and offer a more comfortable fit and better stability, so they’re less likely to slip out of your ears during workouts. However, their ANC feature blocks out much less noise, but they have a better mic performance, so they’re better for phone calls than many truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested.

Best Lower Mid-Range True Wireless Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless

If you’re looking for affordable earbuds, you might want to start your search in the lower mid-range with the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless. These earbuds don’t have a virtual surround sound feature. Their warm sound profile lacks thump and rumble, making them less well-suited for bass-heavy music. However, it’s well-balanced enough for various genres, and if you prefer a different sound, you can use the app’s graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. They support LDAC, Sony’s codec for hi-res audio via Bluetooth. They also have an adaptive ANC system to adjust to the noise around you. It does a fantastic job of blocking out ambient sound and isolates from bass-range noise like rumbling engines more effectively than the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless. The earbuds last more than eight hours of continuous use with ANC on, and they come with a case that holds an additional four charges.

Best Budget True Wireless Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless

Check out the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless for wireless earbuds that won’t break the bank. These well-built earbuds stand out from the crowd as their carrying case holds more than 12 extra charges. Although one charge lasts just over seven hours, their total battery life nears almost 100 hours, practically unheard of for truly wireless buds. They also enter a standby mode to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off. Also, while they don’t have an ANC system, they do a good job of passively isolating you from office-type noise like ambient chatter and humming A/C units. They come with a selection of differently-sized ear tips and stability fins, and they’re decently comfortable once you find a good fit. Their sound profile is also well-balanced, with some extra bass that lends more thump and rumble to mixes. Unfortunately, unlike the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless, they aren’t compatible with the Anker Soundcore app. They also don’t come with any sound customization features like an EQ or presets to help you fine-tune their sound.

Best Cheap Truly Wireless Earbuds

JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless

The best cheap wireless earbuds we’ve tested are the JLab Audio Go Air POP True Wireless. These earbuds don’t have stand-out features like the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless’ extremely long battery life, and like the previous pick, they don’t have an EQ for sound customization. You can cycle through a few EQ presets with the onboard controls. With the default EQ setting, they have a bass-rich sound that adds punch and boom to your audio without overwhelming instruments and vocals. They’re well-built and rated IPX4 for resistance against light water exposure. Their stable fit makes them a solid inexpensive choice for the gym. They don’t have ANC and don’t passively isolate from as much noise as the Anker, but they do a decent job of blocking out ambient sound. They have a long nine-hour continuous battery life, meaning they can last through a workday or long flight, and their case holds three extra charges. The case’s charging cable is built into it, which can be convenient but also means that you need to replace the earbuds if the cable gets damaged.

Best Truly Wireless Earbuds For Running

Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless

The Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are the best Βluetooth earbuds for running we’ve tested. Unlike other picks on this list, these buds have a rugged and sturdy build, rated IP68, meaning they’re fully dust-tight and protected from water immersion, making them a solid choice for tough hikes and outdoor activity. They’re also very comfortable and have a stable in-ear fit, so they won’t move around or fall out during a run. The case is also rated IP54 for dust and water resistance, so you can toss it in a bag without worrying about dirt or rain damaging your headphones. These earbuds have a well-balanced default sound profile that you can customize with a parametric EQ and presets in the headphones’ companion app. While their roughly five hours of continuous battery life is short for a 9-5 workday, it’ll last through most workouts, and their case holds a few extra charges. Unfortunately, even though they have an ANC feature, it doesn’t offer a very good noise isolation performance, so they aren’t ideal if you want to isolate yourself from noise at the gym. That may not be an issue if you run outside since it makes it a little easier to stay aware of your surroundings.

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All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbuds buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn’t worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for truly wireless headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

The Best Wireless Headphones, Based On Rigorous Testing

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

If you want to tune out the noisy world around you, a pair of wireless headphones can help you FOCUS on listening to music uninterrupted. They’re also useful for making hands-free phone calls as well as listening to audio from TV shows and movies. After much testing and research, I chose the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 as my pick for best overall wireless headphones.

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I tested more than a dozen of the most popular wireless headphones—all of which ended up in the 300 to 800 price range–with the goal of discovering which truly offer the best comfort, noise cancelling, overall sound quality and features.

If the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2s aren’t to your liking, I can recommend several other fantastic headphones. For a slightly less expensive option that serves as wireless headphones and as a wireless Bluetooth speaker, there’s the V-Moda S-80s, my choice for the best value wireless headphones. I awarded three other notable winners as well—one for Apple users, one for casual listeners and a pair of premium headphones for audiophiles. After spending weeks using each of these headphones in a wide range of listening situations, here are my picks for the best wireless headphones:

  • Best Wireless Headphones Overall: Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2
  • Best Value Wireless Headphones: V-Moda S-80
  • Best Wireless Headphones For Apple Users: Apple Airpods Max
  • Best Wireless Headphones For Everyday Use: Sony WH-1000XM5
  • Best Wireless Headphones For Audiophiles: Bowers Wilkins Px8

Best Wireless Headphones Overall

Audio Quality, Comfort And Style Combined

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Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2

Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.8 pounds | Storage: Hardshell case

  • Listening to music and hands-free phone calls
  • Looking good in a professional work environment
  • Extended listening sessions

The Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 impressed me through their performance and elegant design. These headphones produced rich, clear sound across all audio types—a quality which helped these headphones best the competition, including the similarly high-end Sony WH-1000XM5 and Apple Airpods Max. The one drawback to these otherwise outstanding headphones? They lack spatial audio, which makes a huge difference when listening to audio from TV shows, movies and games. (For more details, read my full review of the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2.)

These headphones are very lightweight compared to many others; after just a few minutes, I nearly forgot I was wearing them. The earcups use memory foam padding and apply just enough pressure to block ambient sound passively, but they’re still comfortable and breathable. Even better: the active noise cancellation works whenever you turn on the headphones, so you can relish the silence even without audio playing.

The noise cancellation let me FOCUS on the audio the headphones produced. I heard no noticeable distortion, even at louder volumes. The headphones use 40mm drivers and support high-quality 24-bit sound, perfect for hearing detail in audio tracks. These Bowers Wilkins headphones seemed to always keep the audio authentic to what the musician or producers intended.

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Thanks to six built-in microphones, these headphones do a great job monitoring and adapting to the ambient noise around you, removing unwanted sound from your ears. They also do an excellent job making audio from phone calls sound clear indoors and out, with exceptional wind reduction.

Even without tinkering with the equalizer, the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones produced audio that sounded rich and clear, with enough bass and treble to make me feel the lifelike audio in my head–not just hear it. The headphones provided full-bodied audio that was superior to most of the other headphones I tested—the exception being those that support spatial audio, like the Apple Airpods Max and Bang Olufsen Beoplay Portal headphones. However, since you don’t always need spatial audio, I found sacrificing this feature was an acceptable trade-off given the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones’ otherwise-outstanding audio, in all situations.

The one thing I wished these headphones had: touch-sensitive controls. Instead, these headphones have several tiny, hard-to-reach buttons around the edge of the earcups. But unlike many other headphones, the left and right earcups have clear labels, so there’s no confusion about how to put them on.

These headphones come with a zippered hard shell case. It includes a separate internal compartment (that stays closed with magnets) to store the supplied charging and audio cable. Because the earcups fold flat, the case is thinner than most, making it easier to stash in a backpack or briefcase.

The Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2s offer superior overall quality, with an impressive design, excellent sound quality and good noise cancellation. These headphones were my clear pick for best overall wireless headphones.

Best Value Wireless Headphones

Headphone And Bluetooth Speaker Functionality In One Device

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V-Moda S-80 Wireless Headphones

Battery life: Up to 20 hours (headphones), 10 hours (speaker) | Drivers: 40mm | Mobile app: Yes | Weight: 0.8 pounds

  • Using as headphones or as a Bluetooth speaker
  • On-ear (not over-the-ear) comfort
  • Having manual control over audio

The most interesting thing about the V-Moda S-80 headphones is that when you rotate the earcups 90-degrees—so they’re pointing outwards—the headphones transform into a wireless Bluetooth speaker you can wear around your neck (or place on any surface). These headphones uniquely handle two audio listening tasks in one device.

And I found these headphones sounded great, in either playback mode. As a Bluetooth speaker, it doesn’t output a tremendous amount of volume, but it produces true stereo audio, a feature most wireless Bluetooth speakers don’t offer. The speaker option is great for enjoying audio at your desk or sharing audio with a few people in close proximity.

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The V-Moda S-80 headphones have a sleek, sophisticated design that fits well in the office or while at play. It comes in three colors: black, white and black and rose gold. The earcups, for example, use a generous amount of comfortable memory foam covered by soft PU (artificial) leather. They’re also removable and interchangeable thanks to integrated magnets; unfortunately, this flexibility means the earcups can fall off easily during transport, especially since they don’t come with a protective case.

On the right ear cup sits a power, volume up, volume down and play/pause button. While I found these easy enough to reach while wearing the headphones, the buttons’ small size meant my fingers often fumbled before finding their target.

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It took about 10 minutes for me to acclimate to the feeling of the on-ear earcups. After that, the headphones felt comfortable on my head. The headphones’ design does an excellent job passively blocking out ambient sound when playing audio at over 50% volume, but it does not offer any active or adaptive noise cancellation. I could not achieve a secure fit, though. When I moved my head around—even with subtle movements—the headphones wobbled, which made them unusable during physical activity like jogging or running.

When used as traditional headphones, audio sounded exceptional, and it was both loud and vibrant across all music, soundtracks and podcasts. When I listened to Left and Right (Galantis Remix) by Charlie Puth and Jung Kook via Apple Music, the audio bounced around between the left and right audio channels, making me feel as if I were in the middle of a club’s dance floor.

Even at high volumes, I noticed no distortion. At the default settings, I heard just enough bass and treble, mixed with powerful mids and highs, to the make audio sound superior to many other headphones I tested—including those that are more expensive and that offer active or passive noise cancellation. I could make further adjustments to the equalizer using the mobile app.

These headphones’ battery life of 20 hours (when used as headphones) or 10 hours (when used as a Bluetooth speaker) is plenty adequate. The headphones come with a flat USB Type-C to USB Type-A charging cable. There’s no 3.5mm audio cable option.

Ultimately, the comfort and audio quality of the V-Moda S-80 headphones impressed me. I also loved the fact that they can also serve as a Bluetooth speaker—an extra benefit to headphones that already deliver excellent value and style.

Best Wireless Headphones For Apple Users

Spatial Audio With Dynamic Head Tracking

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Apple Airpods Max

Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.9 pounds | Storage: Minimalist silicon cover just for the earcups

  • Watching TV shows and movies using spatial audio
  • Automatic pairing and switching between Apple devices
  • Comfort during long listening sessions

There are many things to love about the Apple Airpods Max, but their high price tag is not one of them (so keep an eye out for when these go on sale). That said, if you’re a dedicated Apple user, these are the headphones for you.

The Apple Airpods Max headphones have the best spatial audio of any model I’ve tested. The spatial audio includes dynamic head tracking, which only a few of the other headphones offer. If you’re watching a movie that uses surround sound, the direction of the audio can actually change in real time as you move your head. This makes you feel as if you’re in the middle of an action sequence, as opposed to passively watching it. Spatial audio also works well for music–especially tunes that support the Apple Digital Master and lossless audio protocols available via Apple Music.

The earcups are coated with a breathable fabric that quickly molded around my ears, but not enough so to provide passive noise cancellation. With adaptive noise cancellation on, the headphones can almost fully eliminate outside noise.

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Unlike most other headphones I tested, the Apple Airpods Max use a stainless steel and mesh-covered headband that’s designed to reduce clamping pressure on your head. I found this very comfortable, with the telescoping arms allowing for a perfect fit. The earcups are made from anodized aluminum, combined with memory foam and a breathable textile covering. I discovered that this allowed for airflow that kept my ears comfortably cool without compromising sound quality during longer listening sessions.

The digital crown dial on top of the right earcup is a clever feature that let me control volume precisely, skip tracks, answer incoming calls and activate Siri. Another button enabled the noise canceling feature, even when audio wasn’t playing. I found these controls easier to use than on other headphones I tested. I also liked that the headphones let me adjust the volume directly, as opposed to via an app.

If you’re already an Apple user, the Apple Airpods Max are an ideal companion: They pair automatically with your Apple devices and automatically adapt the audio and noise cancellation to your environment. They work seamlessly with an iPhone for phone calls, with six outward-facing and two beamforming microphones that virtually eliminate ambient sounds–even when you’re outside on a windy day. My hands-free calls had crystal clear audio, and I found calls easy to manage from the headphones or the iPhone.

Unlike other wireless headphones, the Apple Airpods Max lacks a power button, mobile app and manual equalizer adjustment. Uniquely, the headphones instead automatically power on when you place them on your ears, and power off when you take them off. Siri can announce some of your notifications automatically via the headphones. And if you misplace the headphones, you can locate them using the Find My app. These points all contribute to why the Apple Airpods Max provides a premium experience for Apple users over the competition.

Finer design points aside, I love the Apple Airpods Max for its audio and aesthetics. Yes, you’re paying an “Apple tax,” but it’s worth it: I’ve had a fantastic experience using these headphones with my Apple devices. The sound quality and comfort, not to mention the extra features, make them well worth the investment–but only if you’re an Apple user.

Best Wireless Headphones For Everyday Use

Cutting-Edge Noise Cancellation

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Sony WH-1000XM5

Battery life: Up to 30 hours (40 hours with ANC turned off) | Drivers: 30mm | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Mobile app: Yes | Storage: Hardshell case

  • Listening to just about any type of audio
  • Eliminating ambient sound using superior noise cancellation

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones delivered the best overall audio quality out of the collection of sub-600 “mainstream” headphones tested. So why aren’t they the best overall winner? While these headphones can generate spatial audio, it only does so if you pay for a subscription to 360 by Deezer, Artist Connection, nugs.net, PeerTracks or Tidal. A subscription sets you back around 10 per month just to hear spatial audio with the Sony headphones.

That said, when using the Sony WH-1000XM5 with a Tidal subscription, the music quality improved dramatically compared to the same tracks on Apple Music or Spotify. I could hear every nuance with incredible clarity and fullness–it felt like the music surrounded me.

When I streamed music without spatial audio on other services, the music still sounded good, competitive with other headphones I tested. These headphones also support hi-resolution audio files, a boon if you play songs encoded that way. Spatial audio doesn’t work at all when watching TV shows or movies, which is extremely disappointing for a pair of 400 headphones. The only way to enjoy spatial audio with entertainment is to pair the headphones with a Sony Bravia XR television, which allows the headphones to play Dolby Atmos audio.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones feature a simple design, with adjustable telescoping arms and earcups that can rotate 90-degrees to lie flat. The left earcup has two small buttons (one for power), but otherwise you can control these headphones via the touch sensitive areas on the outer side of the earcups. I liked the soft coating on the earcups’ memory foam padding, but since the coating isn’t a breathable material, after an extended listening period, my ears felt warm.

These headphones stand out for their excellent noise cancellation. Sony combines its hi-res audio with two separate processors and eight microphones to remove unwanted ambient noise in a better way than the competition. The result is near silence with noise cancellation on, and exceptional call quality, where my voice had unmatched clarity and the audio volume stayed stable regardless of the noise around you. Although I’ve reviewed plenty of other headphones with extremely impressive noise cancellation, Sony’s implementation stands out from the crowd.

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When listening to music, these headphones use Sony’s LDAC audio coding to transmit three times more data than conventional Bluetooth headphones. The result, especially when listening to music from a supported service with spatial audio, is impressive high-resolution audio that uses artificial intelligence to upscale compressed digital music files in real time. This approach restores the high audio range that’s otherwise lost in compression. I found this technology works very well to enhance the overall listening experience.

When I was out and about, Sony’s unique Speak-to-Chat feature proved especially convenient. While wearing the headphones, when I started speaking, the headphones automatically paused the audio I was listening to and let in ambient sound so I could carry on a conversation. Meanwhile, if you remove the headphones from one or both ears, the audio automatically pauses and resumes when you put your headphones back on your head.

With the mobile app, I liked the complete control I had over the audio equalizer, although I found it much easier to select one of the presets, like Bass Boost (which I found ideal for pop music) than it was to make manual adjustments.

These are superb general-purpose headphones with excellent noise cancellation. But to truly experience what they’re capable of, you need to shell out some additional cash and subscribe to Tidal or another supported streaming music service.

Best Wireless Headphones For Audiophiles

Great Sound, If You’re Willing To Pay The Price

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Bowers Wilkins Px8

Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Drivers: 40mm | Weight: 0.7 pounds | Mobile app: Yes | Storage: Hardshell case

  • Hearing high-fidelity audio from TV shows and movies
  • Enjoying the fine nuances of music
  • Feeling extra comfort around your ears
  • You’re on a budget
  • You use your headphones in harsh conditions
  • 360-degree or spatial audio matters

The Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones exude elegance and scream premium design. Everything about these headphones is a step better than their sibling, the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2. These are not a next-generation replacement for the Px7 S2, but rather a higher-grade tier that targets audiophiles.

These headphones have a single die-cast aluminum arm that adjusts to fit your head size, a notable upgrade over the polymer design of our best headphones overall pick, Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2. These headphones provided me with a snug fit around my ears and over my head. They have comfortably cushioned earcups, and a headband finished with ultra-soft Nappa leather.

I found the controls convenient to use. On the right earcup are the volume up and down buttons, with a programmable multi-function button in between and a power slider (which also depresses to toggle Bluetooth on and off) at the top of the stack. On the left is the Quick Action button, which you can set to handle several actions, including toggling noise-cancellation and pass-through so you can talk to someone and activating your phone’s voice assistant.

The premium fit-and-finish only addresses the outside upgrades. Inside, the Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones have a 40mm driver, same size as on the Px7 S2. However, the Px8 has a carbon fiber tweeter that helps lower distortion and improve the high end.

When I listened to Left and Right (Galantis Remix) by Charlie Puth, it sounded the best out of all the headphones I tested (with no spatial audio). The vocals and instrumentals bounced between the left and right channels in a way that sounded immersive—as if being in a dance club. And the virtual soundstage was satisfying and vast. I found audio exceptionally clear and vibrant, noticeably better than the already-great Px7 S2. It was easy for my ears to discern between the vocal and instrumental tracks. I noticed, however, that without manually adjusting the bass level in the mobile app, certain pop songs sounded slightly distorted with the volume turned was up. The app also allowed me to adjust treble and bass using sliders, but I usually found my music tracks didn’t require any adjustments at all.

Conveniently, these headphones can detect when you remove them from your head. Audio paused automatically when I took them off and resumed play when I placed them back on my head. The noise cancellation uses six microphones to effectively reduce or eliminate unwanted ambient sounds. This worked well when I engaged in hands-free phone calls. However, in my experience, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones’ noise cancellation performed a little better.

When I needed to interact with someone else or hear what was happening around me, I simply pushed the multi-function button to switch to Ambient mode (its default setting). I could program the button to do something else via the Bowers Wilkins app, which also handles adjusting the audio equalizer manually.

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I liked how the noise cancellation worked to mitigate ambient noise, even in the absence of audio. However, they weren’t quite as good as some other models: I could still hear the muffled noise from my keyboard while typing.

For everyday headphones, I was hard pressed to notice a tremendous difference between the Bowers Wilkins Px8 and Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones (that are less expensive). However, for me, the Bowers Wilkins Px8 headphones’ outstanding audio output, comfort and luxurious design make them stand out among the competition.

Other Wireless Headphones I Tested

While these five winners easily stood out as the best of the best, I weeded out more than a dozen other wireless headphones that simply didn’t make the cut. However, I chose nine other models that are worth consideration if one of my top picks doesn’t meet your needs. These are the runners-up for the best wireless headphones:

  • Bose QuietComfort 45 (278 at Best Buy): You can’t get on a plane or train without seeing dozens of Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. They’re relatively affordable, offer excellent battery life (up to 24 hours) and they’re very comfortable. What sets them apart, though, is their superior noise cancellation and easy-to-transport folding design. The reason they aren’t a top pick is because they use older technology that isn’t as advanced. Nonetheless, the QuietComfort 45 are an excellent choice for frequent travelers and commuters.

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  • Master Dynamic MW65 (299 at Amazon): These headphones deliver superior audio, two excellent noise cancellation modes, up to 24 hours of listening time and 40mm Beryllium drivers. But what really sets these headphones apart is their distinctive design. They have a very elegant but retro appearance that’s created using anodized aluminum and premium leather, with ultra-soft lambskin around the earpads. These headphones also offer a Bluetooth range up to 65 feet (double the usual). Their regular price (499) is steep compared with the competition, especially since it only includes a cloth travel pouch which offers no protection. That said, I really love the design and quality of the Master Dynamic MW65 headphones—and if you can grab them on sale, they’re a great deal.

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  • Bang Olufsen Beoplay Portal (358 at Amazon): These headphones target gamers as a gaming headset, but they’re so much more. I love the large, touch-sensitive controls on both earcups. The design features a lot of plastic, which keeps them lightweight, but that makes them less durable and elegant. Another thing that sets these normally pricey (MSRP: 500) headphones apart is their high-fidelity, three-dimensional sound. The audio surrounds you, especially when playing Dolby Atmos content. The 40mm drivers can run for 19 hours on a single charge and you get a wide range of EQ presets. There’s no case, but the earcups fold flat for transport and you get a cloth pouch for storage. These are amazing headphones, but they didn’t get a nod as a top choice mainly because of its price and lack of a carrying case. This is another model that makes a strong choice when on sale.

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  • Beats Studio 3 (234 at Amazon): Apple and Dr. Dre teamed up to create a pair of well-designed, foldable headphones that are easily transportable and offer outstanding sound. If you can’t afford the Apple Airpods Max, but want its close cousin, the Beats Studio 3 headphones are a terrific alternative—especially when on sale (MSRP: 350). My chief complaint is that they don’t offer the high-quality feel or appearance you get from other headphones. The padding is thin, and the earcups are coated with a rubber-like substance and lack memory foam. These headphones have been around for a few years now (since September 2017), so they lack the latest audio and wireless technologies.

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  • Sennheiser Momentum 4 (289 at Amazon): While the audio sounds great, these headphones use a lot of plastic and what appears to be only the most basic of padding. But the moment you pick them up, they turn on and pair with the device you typically use them with. Even without playing audio, the adaptive noise cancellation kicks in, so you can use the headphones to tune out the world around you and simply enjoy the silence. You don’t get spatial audio, but you do get high-quality stereo sound, which Sennheiser refers to as its “signature sound” (forward mids, relaxed treble and an overall warm sound).

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  • BeyerDynamic Amiron Wireless (549 at BeyerDynamic): My first impression was that these headphones are simply too large and bulky. They also don’t fold flat for transport, so the hardshell case is large and thick. But as I used the headphones, I appreciated their extreme comfort—they have thick padding that covers the underside of the headband, and thick memory foam that surrounds the earcups. While they lack spatial audio, they have large 45mm drivers that produce deep bass and rich, full-bodied sound. The noise cancellation works very well, too. The headphones lack physical buttons, with controls handled instead by convenient touch-sensitive earcups. At their regular price (MSRP of 799), they’re priced higher than most competitors, even when on sale.

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  • Yamaha YH-L700A (400 at Amazon): These headphones have a plastic and cloth design, which makes them feel lighter and more inexpensive than they look. While they’re adjustable, I was unable to acquire a snug fit, so any slight movement of my head caused them to wobble and made them feel uncomfortable compared with other headphones. I liked the 3D spatial audio with head tracking; it worked well with compatible devices. The Yamaha YH-L700A produced crisp, immersive sound, and they had effective noise cancellation during use. The audio automatically adjusted to my surroundings, so once I set the volume I liked, it remained constant regardless of the ambient audio in the area where I was using them. This was also handy during phone calls. The mobile app has tons of settings to choose among, and when enabled, these settings dramatically improved sound quality across all audio types.

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  • Shure Aonic 50 (299 at Amazon): My first impression of these bulky headphones was that their plastic outer design made them feel cheaply made. However, when I placed them on my head, I quickly achieved a comfortable and fairly snug fit, but the headphones wobbled with sudden and strong head movements. The headphones have small button controls on the earcups, for controlling key functions like volume control. The mobile app makes it easy to adjust the headphones’ noise cancellation level, select among seven audio presets and manually adjust the audio equalizer. Overall, I liked the balanced audio from the Shure Aonic 50 headphones, but I noticed that even with the Bass Boost preset enabled, highly produced pop music sounded a little tinny (albeit not annoyingly so). Rated for 20-hours, the battery life is typical. While I’d expect more features from headphones at this price, the Shure Aonic 50 can produce satisfying audio that won’t disappoint.

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  • Bose Noise Cancelling 700 (379 at Amazon): These headphones have a simple, modern-looking design that tilts the earcups by 15 degrees to mirror the shape of a human head. The earcups are coated with a soft artificial leather, with buttons on each as well as a touch sensitive area on the right earcup for onboard controls. They stayed firmly in place during testing, without applying too much clamping pressure on my head. The Bose Noise Cancelling 700s offer 11 levels of noise cancellation you can adjust manually. I could switch from noise cancellation to Conversation Mode with a tap; this automatically paused the audio so I could converse with someone nearby. These headphones use eight microphones (compared to six in the QuietComfort 45) to manage its adaptive and adjustable noise cancellation. I found Bose’s implementation ensured hands-free phone calls sounded crisp and clear, even when outdoors in the wind. The mobile app made it easy to adjust the audio equalizer settings to match my tastes. In my opinion, the Bose Noise Cancelling 700s performed as well as headphones that cost significantly more. Read my full review, and watch for sales; when the price dropped, these headphones were my pick for best value wireless headphones.

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  • Cleer Alpha (200 at Amazon): At first glance, the Cleer Alphas look and feel like headphones that should cost 350 or more. They sound like it, too: At the default settings, these headphones’ sound impressed me. I heard plenty of bass when listening to music or audio from TV shows and movies, and I appreciated how audio sounded extra immersive with spatial audio enabled. Its integrated noise cancellation was highly effective, too, and it has with wind reduction to allow clear hands-free phone calls. The headphones’ design includes touch controls on the outside of the earcups that made it simple to adjust volume, play/pause audio or skip tracks. As for comfort, the earcups are covered in soft leather, with a generous amount of memory foam padding. I found it easy to create a snug fit, without putting too much pressure over my ears. From the Cleer mobile app, I found it easy to pair the headphones with two devices, turn on spatial audio and adjust the noise cancellation level or audio equalizer manually. While the terrific audio is a draw, I also liked these headphones’ convenient 35-hour battery life. For the price, these headphones are an excellent value. They provide great performance as general purpose, everyday use headphones.

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  • Treblab Z7 Pro (127 at Amazon): These headphones were among the few that felt light on my head; its chassis is plastic, with memory foam earcups and soft leather coverings. The right earcup has touch-sensitive and responsive controls that were easy to use. Unlike most other headphones I tested, the Treblab Z7 Pro have an IPX4 water resistance rating, so sweat and a bit of rain won’t damage them. Another distinction: These headphones last up to 45-hours on battery power. The sound quality of the Treblab Z7 Pro is merely average, even though it has 40mm drivers. It has four microphones to assist with noise cancellation and make hands-free phone calls sound clear. But this model lacks a mobile app, so you can’t adjust any settings or the audio equalizer. From the headphones, though, it’s easy to switching between noise cancellation and transparency mode. Their folding design and hardshell case make the headphones easy to transport. But in the end, I found the Treblab Z7s’ sound quality was not as robust or immersive as I wanted. For not much more, you can get better sounding headphones.

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My Expertise

I rigorously tested more than a dozen popular and best-selling wireless headphones, from a variety of manufacturers and in a wide range of settings and situations. I’m not new to testing audio gear: I’ve been covering consumer technology for over 25 years, for publications like AARP the Magazine. Recently, for Forbes Vetted, I also tested dozens of the best wireless earbuds and best Bluetooth speakers. I have seen firsthand the dramatic evolution of wireless headphones technology.

During my testing, I consulted with three experienced music producers, including Michael Orland, (Associate Musical Director for American Idol); Drew Ryan Scott (singer, songwriter and multi-platinum music producer); and Gabe Lopes (singer, songwriter and producer for dozens of well-known artists). We discussed what key features they look for when choosing headphones. These three experts provided guidance about what functionality is most important to hearing music the way it was meant to be heard using wireless headphones designed for everyday use.

How I Tested The Best Wireless Headphones

To test the listening experience for each of the headphones, I paired them with an Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max and evaluated music from Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify–particularly tunes from Katy Perry and Harry Styles. These are pop artists who release sonically complex music. I also spent some time listening to Left and Right by Charlie Puth and Jung Kook, a song that purposely bounces between the left and right audio channels. When you’re listening on any of the best wireless headphones, the music should sound like it’s literally moving around in your head.

I tested the hands-free phone call capabilities of each pair of headphones and listened for clarity, volume consistency and how well the noise cancellation feature eliminated ambient noise. When outside, I tested the wind reduction and noise cancellation features too.

Paired with an Apple iPad Pro, I also tested each headphone by watching the first 15 minutes of the same episode of two popular TV series—Star Trek: Discovery and Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power. These high-budget series are a perfect storm of dialogue mixed with sound effects and swelling background music. I paid attention to clarity and whether the end result sounded muddled or flat, as opposed to immersive (as if sitting in a movie theater with a state-of-the-art surround sound system).

It was also important to evaluate comfort and craftsmanship, as well as portability, customization and other special features. For example, I found spatial audio made a huge difference in creating a truly immersive listening experience, especially when listening to audio from a TV show or movie. And there’s a significant difference between passive noise cancellation, active noise cancellation and adaptive noise cancellation in how well these headphones reduced or eliminated ambient sounds.

Along with sound quality and comfort, overall design is also an important consideration. I took all this into consideration when making my picks. In fact, all of these tests helped narrow the field down to 10 models. Here are the winners.

How To Pick Wireless Headphones

Many modern wireless headphones include audio-enhancing features, like noise cancellation, wind reduction, transparency modes and spatial audio. But you don’t have to become an audio engineer to choose the right pair of headphones as long as you know what to look for.

Michael Orland has been the pianist, arranger, vocal coach and associate musical director for the TV show American Idol for 16 seasons. Plus, for their live and televised performances, he regularly plays and conducts for music superstars like Kristen Bell, Erich Bergen, Sabrina Carpenter, Lynda Carter, Kristin Chenoweth, Ariana Grande, Tony-Winner Debbie Gravitte, Jennifer Holliday, Roslyn Kind, Barry Manilow, Maureen McGovern, Katharine McPhee and Idina Menzel.

According to Orland, “The number one priority when choosing wireless headphones is physical comfort. Even if a wireless headphone sounds fantastic, it won’t matter if they aren’t comfortable after an extended listening period. Other features, such as price, support for spatial audio/Dolby Atmos and noise cancellation, are entirely personal decisions. Not all streaming services support spatial audio or Dolby Atmos, not everyone needs or wants noise cancellation, and the importance of price is different for everyone.”

Drew Ryan Scott is a successful recording artist, songwriter and music producer who has worked with more than a dozen U.S. based pop artists. He’s also responsible for writing and producing more than 100 chart-topping K-Pop and J-Pop hits. He provides the singing voice to many Disney and Nickelodeon animated characters, was a vocalist on the TV show Glee, and is the singing voice of Cat Noir in the upcoming Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug Cat Noir animated movie.

“I am someone who focuses on sound quality as well as comfort, since I typically wear headphones for 10 to 15 hours each day when I’m working. I also like it when I’m able to manually control the sound using a mobile app, as opposed to relying on pre-sets,” says Scott.

As for equalization, just because headphones let you manually adjust bass, treble and mid-tones, that doesn’t mean you should. Scott explained, “It all depends on what you’re listening to and your personal preferences. Some people really like extra bass when listening to pop or rock music, for example. A headphone’s presets are designed to appeal to the average listener and are typically more than adequate if you’re streaming your favorite songs or albums.”

If you’re wondering if headphones are better than earbuds, Scott added, “I have been equally impressed by the audio quality of many higher-end earbuds and headphones, so which you choose is a matter of personal preference.”

Gabe Lopez is a chart-topping music producer, singer and songwriter working in Hollywood. He produces music for RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queen of the Universe and has written and produced music for Belinda Carlisle, New Kids On The Block, The Go Gos and other pop and rock artists.

He stated, “I think sound quality is the most important feature to look for in headphones. Ideally, the headphones should be true to the recording that was intended, with present and clear frequencies. Comfort for long-duration listening is ideal, as well. A true reflection of the recording is the most important to me. Most wireless headphones have apps that allow you to choose from a handful of presets. I like to go through presets like pop, rock, and so on, because I know that listeners often opt to use those settings. I think this is a personal preference. I know some people really love to feel the bass so they turn it up. Some like to hear more high-end.”

When asked how he can tell if a pair of headphones is any good, Lopez explained, “I simply play a few of my favorite songs. If the songs sound as good or better than I’ve heard with other equipment, then it’s a good set of headphones. If the songs sound thin or tinny, I’d look for another pair.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Wireless Headphones Okay For Gaming?

While you can use wireless headphones for gaming, the wireless headphones on our list are more suited for listening to music. You may not get much-needed gaming features like spatial audio, extra isolation and more. Our recommendation for gamers is to invest in a dedicated gaming headset so you can enjoy audio that will give you an improved gaming experience.

Do All Wireless Headphones Have Noise Canceling?

Not all wireless headphones opt to include noise canceling features. The wireless headphones that come with noise canceling will say under product features or specs descriptions. If you want this feature, you’ll want to check the fine print to make sure your choice comes with it.

Are Wireless Headphones Better Than Earbuds?

When it comes to comfort, whether you choose wireless headphones or earbuds really comes down to a matter of personal choice. But for your ear health, headphones typically offer better overall ear health. After all, when you’re using headphones, you’re not sticking something into your ear.

That being said, watch the volume. No matter whether you’re wearing wireless headphones or earbuds, you can damage your ears by listening to music too loudly. You’ll want to keep your volume levels low.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

The Forbes Vetted tech team strives to offer accurate and trustworthy product assessments that are the result of intensive research and hands-on testing. Our writers and editors have years of experience writing about a broad range of consumer electronics and have the background and expertise to help you make the best buying decisions possible.

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