These days, wearing the right wireless headphones is as much about making a fashion statement as it is about beaming the latest can’t-miss podcast directly into your synapses. They’re a bona fide accessory, as worthy of consideration as wearing the right type of shoes (well, almost).
But with in-ear models often considered ugly and over-ear headphones too often clunky, it’s difficult to find good-looking buds that still deliver on comfort and sound quality.
The good news is that there’s more choice than ever. And it’s worth investing in wireless headphones – not only for their sound quality and design, but also to ensure a superior fit. Some people like the security of an over-ear clip, some prefer more expensive true wireless options (the in-ear buds without a cable linking the two), while others keep it simple with a traditional wraparound neckband or chunkier over-ear design.
To save you the fate of getting lumped with crappy cans, we’ve sifted through the best wireless options – and they won’t all break the bank.
JBL Endurance Peak
JBL Endurance Peak are the ideal true wireless workout accessory. They sport 28 hours of battery life and conveniently power on and off as you start wearing them, allowing you to give full focus to your next set.
The water resistant design and rugged charging case ensure ample protection from the elements while the intuitive touch controls give you full control over music and hands-free phone calls. It also comes with a 10-minute speed charge which is great for last-minute spontaneous workout sessions.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
Sure, you’re paying a premium for these ‘buds, but like your mum always said, looking good ain’t cheap. This pair combines superior stereo sound performance with Sennheiser’s Transparent Hearing feature, which gives listeners the option of blending ambient sounds into their listening experience for improved situational awareness, or to participate in conversations without removing the ear buds.
There’s also direct voice access to smart assistants such as Apple Siri or Google Assistant. All this on top of some seriously good looking design.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Premium Truly Wireless
The latest top-end true wireless earphones from Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen is arguably the most stylish and streamlined on our list. Unless you find a deal, they’re also one of the priciest wireless headphones out there, but as looking damn good on your commute, there are practical touches to justify the purchase. For example, you can charge the headphones up three time from the case itself.
There’s also the fact that you’ll struggle to get more epic sound quality from a set of true wireless headphones, which might be important for some people.
RHA TrueConnect: True Wireless
Arguably the best bang for your buck, RHA’s TrueConnect true wireless earbuds boast phenomenal design and battery life. But it would be the British-born manufacturer RHA’s sound qualities that set them apart from many brands brands. They are also extremely well designed, have the Siri or Google Assistant function, and ambient mode isn’t featured so you’ll have to physically remove the earbuds if you want to hear your surroundings. Which true audiophiles will undoubtedly appreciate.
Skullcandy Bluetooth Jib Wireless
Bluetooth earphones don’t get much more affordable than the Skullcandy Jib Wireless, as it’s hard to find good wireless headphones in this price range. Skullcandy’s Jib Wireless packs a strong bass punch, a battery life of roughly six hours, and a decent built-in mic.
One click on the single-button remote handles playback and call management, and multiple clicks allow you to navigate tracks, while a behind-the-neck wire provides extra security. Our choice for the budget option, no doubt.
Denon AH-GC30 Headphones
These are the heavy hitters on our list. The flagship AH-GC30 headphones from Denon benefit from state of the art multi-mode Active Noise Cancelling with four microphones and three modes, for flight, city and office use. Both wireless and wired connectivity are available with the option of direct USB connection from a computer for the best possible sound.
The headphones also have a terrific 20-hour battery life and Denon FreeEdge drivers for an ultra-precise and powerful sound. Each earpad is designed with memory foam and trimmed in synthetic leather for a seriously comfortable fit for long-haul flights.
Libratone TRACK+ in-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones are lightweight with a strap that sits around the neck (designed with at the fore who don’t want to worry about earbuds falling out in the middle of a workout). Their innovative four-step adjustable noise cancelling tunes out the background, making hands-free voice calling audio clear and music crisp. They’re also splash proof, so won’t mind a 5K in the rain if you don’t.
ATH-M50xBT Wireless Headphones
If you’re looking for professional sounding over-ears on a medium budget, this could be the perfect pair for you. The original Audio-Technica M50x headphones were designed to bridge the gap between professional studio headphones and the ones you plug into your phone to block out talkative colleagues – and the upgraded M50xBT model adds Bluetooth connectivity, ideal for studio-quality audio without the cord.
The padded headband means a little extra chunk, but with the collapsible design and 40-hour battery life, you should be bopping along to your favourite tunes in no time.
Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbud
If you’re in the market for the ultimate set of true wireless headphones and don’t mind paying for them, then Jabra Elite 65t are a strong choice. Not only are these impressive Bluetooth buds for use around town, they have great microphones for calls, playback controls built-in, a long-enough battery life, and good sound quality.
Did we mention they’re also waterproof? Easily some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, offering a perfect balance of usability, features, and sound quality.
Bose SoundSport Wireless
Comfortable with sound quality, these lightweight wireless headphones offer a secure fit through a neckband cable and basic ear hooks, making them equally useful for your commute as for a HIIT session. They’re also sweat resistant, and among the best-sounding wireless in-ears around, and while they’ve got a modest six hour battery life, that should be more than enough for the average workout or commute.