The best wireless headphones 2024, chosen by our experts for all budgets

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best wireless headphones offer comfortable, portable convenience and a swathe of smart features, all wrapped up in a design that doesn’t need to be wired to any device to play your favorite music, movies or podcasts.

For quite some time now, Bluetooth headphones have been winning in the popularity stakes thanks to their sheer ease of use – forget cables snagging on coat buttons; forget in-line mics you struggle to hold close to your mouth while running for a train. The best wired headphones might still have the edge on sound quality for audiophiles, but for the rest of us, it's wireless options that dominate our pick of the best headphones. Their quality and reliability is so good now, there are very few downsides.

We’ve spent dedicated hours reviewing every pair of wireless headphones in this list and our testing is done by experts with more years of experience in the game than we'd care to admit. We know how the newer rivals stack up against the class-leaders – that's why the Sony WH-1000XM4 remain our top pick, despite being a few years old. (Spoiler alert: they're still top dog for value.) In this guide, we're all about headphones rather than earbuds – but do see our best wireless earbuds guide if that is what you chiefly need! 

The quick list

Want to cut out the noise and find which wireless headphones are the best? Below, you’ll find a quick roundup of our top choices for different needs, and you can jump to a more detailed review of every model.

Written by
Senior audio staff writer Becky Scarrott, in a field
Written by
Becky Scarrott

I've reviewed over 150 audio products since becoming a tech journalist, ranging from super-budget headphones to high-end Hi-Res Audio music players. Before joining TechRadar, I spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing everything the world of audio had to offer; before that, I was a professional dancer. My love of music ties it all together.

Recent updates

June 24
Added the Sonos Ace as our 'best for movies' choice and clarified why. Updated the copy throughout and the 'Also consider' section.

The best wireless headphones for 2024

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The best wireless headphones overall

Someone wearing the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones outdoors with a white trellis and plants in the background

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for most people

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed back
Weight: 253g
Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz
Drivers: 40mm dome-type
Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Great audio and noise cancellation for the price
+
Extremely light and comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
No water-resistance
-
ANC has been bettered

This is not a mistake – even though the newer WH-1000XM5 now exist, we still rate the XM4 as a better-value purchase for most people, because you can find them at such deep discounts these days compared to their launch price. The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver excellent noise cancellation and sound quality throughout every step of our testing, while remaining comfortable to wear for long periods thanks to their lightweight design. The XM5 do all of this better, no question, but they also do it for a lot more money, and we think the XM4 are the better balance right now.

The Sony XM4 are crammed with features, ranging from support for the LDAC codec for CD-quality audio (if your phone supports it) to location-based noise-cancellation modes, to Sony's 360 Reality Audio tech for spatial audio from compatible sources. It's a shame there's no aptX compatibility, though. But the standout feature is the superb noise cancellation for the price, which we found worked incredibly well in all kinds of environments – even noisy commutes and planes. 

Usually you’re forced to pick between a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that do a good job of blocking outside noise, or ones that excel at audio playback. The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are great at both, meaning you don’t have to pick – and they do it in a lightweight design that's comfortable to wear for long periods as well. We've been through lengthy international flights with these and come out unscathed, with maybe just a few pauses to let the area where the pads touch cool off.

The only drawback we've found is they’re not ideal for working out. That's because they don’t stay put with lots of movement and there’s not IP rating here, which means they’re not water resistant enough for sweating or even mild rain showers.

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM4 review

The best budget wireless headphones

Sony WH-CH520 headphones on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
The best super-cheap wireless headphones

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed back
Weight: 147g
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
Drivers: 30mm
Battery life: 50 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Sony sound for less money than rivals
+
Great battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No 3.5mm jack
-
A little flimsy

If you like the idea of Sony wireless headphones but don't need a high-priced, high-end set like the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones above, then the Sony WH-CH510 headphones are a much more affordable option packed with all the features most people will need.

The Sony WH-CH520 offer strong audio for the price that we found to be really well-balanced in our review, plus tons of battery life. At such a low price, they don't have the build quality or the dynamic audio of headphones costing five times as much, but they are an excellent pair of all-rounders for a very impressive price.

These are on-ear headphones rather than over-ears, and one result of that is that the soundstage isn't quite as immersive as with a pair of over-ears. You might also hear some ambient sounds too, but for those who work in an office or need to stay alert at home this could be a plus point rather than a criticism. Not everyone finds these as comfortable for long periods too, since they press right on the ear's helix (the outer edge).

Sony says you can get 50 hours of battery life from a charge, and we found that to be realistic. Usefully, you can fast-charge from flat for 90 minutes of playback in just three minutes, which can be a lifesaver. Annoyingly, there's no 3.5mm audio jack for listening if you run out of charge, or to connect to a computer or plane system.

Read our full Sony WH-CH520 review

The best premium wireless headphones

Sennheiser Momentum 4 held in a person's hand

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)
The best wireless headphones for premium sound and features

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 293g
Frequency response: 6Hz to 22kHz
Drivers: 42mm dynamic
Battery life: 60 hours (ANC on)

Reasons to buy

+
Neutral, crisp, detailed sound
+
Excellent ANC and transparency
+
Incredible battery life even with ANC deployed

Reasons to avoid

-
A little plain aesthetically
-
Design doesn't fold up into the headband

These Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are incredibly impressive. In our review we called them excellent value for money and wrote: "The adaptive noise cancellation is strong, the feature set is as exhaustive as you'll find at the level, the design is minimalist but carefully considered, and the sound is supremely talented."

They're definitely one of the best pairs of wireless headphones you can buy today and one of the best pairs of headphones ever, full stop. 

Although there are plenty of reasons why we enjoyed testing the Momentum 4 Wireless, it's the battery life that really leaps out as being exceptional, especially compared to the competition. You'll get 60 whole hours of use with the active noise cancellation turned on. For comparison, Sony's XM4 wireless headphones at the top of this list, as well as its newer XM5s, offer only half that at 30 hours. Thankfully, given how long they last, they're very comfortable too – multiple members of team TechRadar use these headphones for long periods during the day with not problems.

But beyond that, we also loved the crisp and detailed sound these headphones deliver – on calls, too – as well as the solid ANC. The simple design was a plus in our eyes, but it might be a little basic for those who like their tech to really make a statement. Otherwise, these headphones might not be cheap, but they're still fantastic all-rounders and great value for money.

Read our full Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review

Visit our Sennheiser coupon page for our latest deals and discounts.

The best wireless headphones for active noise cancellation

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

(Image credit: Future)
The best noise cancellation from any wireless headphones

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 250g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 35mm
Battery life: 24 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Absolutely best-in-class noise cancellation
+
Exciting, deep, layered sound
+
Very comfortable to wear

Reasons to avoid

-
Weakest battery life here
-
Expensive
-
Spatial Audio is only okay

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are easily the best headphones from the audio pioneer yet – they sound incredible, they've got useful app-powered features, they have a premium and comfortable design, and their noise cancellation is the best we've ever heard. They cost more than most of the headphones here, but they are so, so worth it.

Let's be clear about the active noise cancellation: it's absolutely a clear level above the competition, turning cities silent in a way we've never heard before (so to speak). It makes it basically impossible to hear anything going on your own house even, or the office, or the bus. We found it did have some trouble with extremely loud noises causing it to glitch a little, but that was so rare (during a plane take-off, only for a few seconds, and when next to the engine of a bus struggling up a hill) that we don't really mind.

The sound quality is also the best we've ever heard from Bose, delivering a truly thrilling level of energy and dynamic range. It's so detailed, so poised, so lively, and so layered, from its (really very deep) bass to its clear and well-honed treble. And that's all with the noise cancellation turned on, so not even the 'purest' sound they can do. With Snapdragon Sound for high-res and a wired connection (though no USB-C audio, sadly), they can do higher-quality audio too, wired or wireless.

The Bose app enables you to make custom noise cancellation modes (dialling it from 1-10) to switch between, which is easy and really useful in our experience. You can also tweak the EQ, but you won't need to.

These are an obvious audio improvement on anything that costs less than them, and even sound a little better than the AirPods Max, which cost more – though the spatial audio on the Bose it's only 'okay' (it's nice with movies, we turned it off with music), while the spatial audio on AirPods Max with Dolby Atmos on Apple devices is 'wow'.

The only straight-up disappointment is the battery life. At 24 hours, they're lower than anything else here – lower than the 30 hours of the Sony headphones, and much lower than the 60 hours of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. But with sound this good, we forgive them. Just remember to turn on their auto-off feature.

To save some money on Bose products, check out our Bose discount codes

Read our full Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones review

The best planar magnetic wireless headphones

Edifier Stax Spirit S3 on an orange and blue sofa

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for sound at a reasonable price

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 329g
Frequency response: 20Hz-40KHz
Drivers: 70 x 89mm planar magnetic
Battery life: 80 hours (we actually got 90)

Reasons to buy

+
Detailed, expansive, engaging and zealous listen
+
Light, comfortable, foldable design
+
Incredible battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No active noise cancellation
-
App is acceptable rather than comprehensive

When it comes to sound, these Edifiers absolutely excel, thanks in no small part to their planar magnetic drivers, which offer more precise and dynamic sound than standard drivers. Truly, in a wireless design you'll struggle to better the sound for this money – planar is incredibly rare, and doubly so at this price. However, are you willing to forgo active noise cancellation to get this sound? It's not included, so that decision is up to you – but a quick glance at the star-rating above proves how we feel about these regardless. 

And it's not just about the sound. As stamina claims go, 80 hours is impressively insatiable in almost any arena, but particularly concerning wireless headphones – and we actually gleaned just over 90 hours from these in practice.

These headphones are very easy to pair, very quick on the uptake where the app is concerned, and easy to use, too. Multipoint? Completed it; you'll happily be chopping and changing betwixt phone and laptop all the livelong day. They're comfortable for all that time, too – we said in our review that their "headband is nicely padded over the crown, which makes these cans feel well weighted and good for longer listening sessions".

But aside from lacking ANC, you're also not getting an ambient awareness mode here, no auto-off functionality, and the Edifier Connect app is fine, but that's as far as it goes. They're not the smartest on the block, but they sound so good.

Read our full Edifier Stax Spirit S3 review

The best wireless headphones for movies

Sonos Ace headphones in their case, showing how they fit flat

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for movies

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 312g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 40mm dynamic
Battery life: 30 hours (ANC on, over Bluetooth)

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic Dolby Atmos movie sound
+
Hi-res wired and wireless support
+
Sonos soundbar connectivity is great

Reasons to avoid

-
Music isn't as good equivalent competition
-
Not as comfortable with glasses
-
Noise cancellation weaker than BoseEmpty List

The long-awaited Sonos Ace over-ear headphones are our top pick for movies. But, to be honest, we weren't huge fans of the sound overall during our testing. We found that the Sonos Ace are behind rivals in certain respects, especially when it comes to expansive, expressive music reproduction.

However, for powerful and cinematic sound and listening in spatial audio from your Sonos soundbar, they're unbeatable. They're part of our new favorite home cinema setup – especially if you're a movie lover but don't want to wake the house up every time you put on a film. The features on offer here are also impressive, especially if High-Res Audio is a priority for you, including aptX Adaptive, Snapdragon Sound and USB-C lossless options.

Design-wise, Sonos speakers always look slick, minimal and high-end and the brand's first foray into headphones is no exception. In our review, we wrote that these wireless headphones have a classy, premium design and look "simple, elegant and thoughtful". They were comfortable to wear for the most part with a plush headband and earcups. However, it's worth pointing out that some glasses-wearing testers struggled for long-term comfort.

So although the Sonos Ace headphones are incredibly impressive, only consider them if you don't wear glasses and plan on pairing them with a Sonos soundbar. They're not the best-sounding headphones in this guide, but they're the best headphones for movie lovers, hands-down.

Read our full Sonos Ace review

The best mid-priced wireless headphones

Sony WH-CH720N headphones held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)
The best mid-range wireless headphones

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 192g
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
Drivers: 30mm
Battery life: 35 hours (ANC on)

Reasons to buy

+
Strong music quality and balance
+
Comfortable and light design

Reasons to avoid

-
No higher-res support
-
Somewhat constrained sound

The Sony WH-CH720N are a straight-down-the-middle hit. They aim to offer you impressive sound, useful extra features including adaptive noise cancellation, and a comfortable and light fit – and they succeed. 

The sound is extremely well-balanced, which is what we expect from Sony (though our review unit came set to a bass-heavy EQ setting out of the box, which we quickly corrected) and has an agile touch with detail. In our review, we said "Bass is warm but level-headed, mid-range is robust and individual instruments stand out within it well, and treble has plenty of clarity to make the little details pop. An extra step of precision is definitely what you get here that most other affordable headphones won't deliver." The only limitation from the price is that it's clearly a less expansive soundstage than higher-priced headphones, but that's fair.

The noise cancellation again is a very clear step down from the Sony WH-1000XM4, but it does its job of toning down outside sounds so you don't have to crank the volume all the way up to hear anything. For other features, you've got Sony's DSEE upscaling to make lower-quality streaming tracks sound better, and 360 Reality Audio support for spatial audio. There's no higher-res LDAC wireless tech, but they do come with a wired 3.5mm cable.

The very light build is comfortable to wear, so you can really get into how enjoyable they are to listen to – though we might request a little more headband padding in the next version. They don't excel in any particular area, but they do great in all areas, and that makes them ideal for most people.

Read our full Sony WH-CH720N review

The best wireless headphones for design

Bowers & Wilkins PX8 over-ears in hand, on white background

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for good looks and comfort

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 320g
Frequency response: TBC
Drivers: 2 x 40mm dynamic full range carbon driver
Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Agile, detailed, class-leading sound
+
Supreme comfort during wear
+
Classy build and finish

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life has been beaten
-
Expensive

If you're looking for a luxe pair of headphones that make a statement but still sound fantastic, then we recommend the Bowers & Wilkins PX8, which we called "exceptional" in our review. In fact, something magical happened when we tested them, we wrote: "To put these headphones on is to experience a pride of ownership rarely felt, even at this level."

Not only is the build fantastic, but the sound is absolutely jaw-dropping for detail, clarity, energy and agility. When compared to the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless above, we found the energy, depth and immersion of the PX8 to put them in a different league. Sonically, they're incredible. 

Of course, that's not a totally fair comparison given they're around double the price of the Momentum 4. At $699 / £599 / AU$1150 they're eye-wateringly expensive – even more so than the already expensive Apple AirPods Max. In our review we explained why some of the choices here resulted in such a high price tag: "a new carbon cone 40mm drive unit replaces the bio-cellulose driver in the more affordable Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 and the die-cast aluminum arms, diamond-cut bright metal detailing and Nappa leather trim elevates the build to high-end territory." So if you want luxury-feeling tech that sounds out of this world, this is it.

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins PX8 review

The best high-end Sony wireless headphones

The noise-cancelling Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones if you want Sony's best

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 8.81 oz
Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz
Drivers: 30mm
Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent noise cancellation
+
Great sound and features

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a huge leap over WH-1000XM4
-
No longer a foldable design

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are among the best wireless headphones we've ever tested – but their high price means we think there are better-value options in some cases.

Their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, are at the top of our list because we think the specs and the price will suit anyone looking for a high-end pair of headphones. But the XM5s do offer a more lightweight wireless design, new drivers for improved sound, a whole array of microphones for better call quality and super-fast charging. There's also beefier processing for the noise cancellation, which was already superb. It's beaten by the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, but basically nothing else beats these.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones give you exactly what they promise and then some thanks to their exceptional noise cancellation and cutting-edge codec support, which delivers even higher quality audio in compatible apps.

The drivers in these models are smaller than before at 30mm, but the soundstage remains spacious and gives all elements of a mix room to breathe and shine. We were happy to find that there’s very little sound leakage, too, even when you’re listening to loud music. We sat next to a colleague in the office with the volume at full, and they didn't hear anything – that's an improvement over the previous model. 

The issue is really just the price – they cost a lot more than the WH-1000XM4, but the differences are not totally night and day. You also get better features and sound quality from the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless at the same price (the Sony are better for ANC). It's also a shame they no longer have a folding design for travelling, though that's not a dealbreaker for most. We love these a lot, we just think other headphones squeak out more value.

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review

The best wireless headphones for sound

Focal Bathys on green grassy background

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for audiophiles

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 350g
Frequency response: 15Hz to 22kHz
Drivers: 40mm
Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Supreme audio quality
+
Excellent hi-res whistles and bells

Reasons to avoid

-
On-ear controls are hit-and-miss
-
Expensive

Audiophiles tend to prefer the higher-quality and rock-solid reliability of wired headphones over wireless once, but Focal has made something that could easily tempt them over. The Bathys offer wireless convenience over regular Bluetooth and aptX, even with active noise cancellation so can use them happily on transport, but also have the ability to connect over USB-C to make used of the 24bit/192kHz built-in DAC for truly hi-res power. 

Combined with a special M-shaped driver, these are very special when it comes to sound, and are geared to be superbly revealing and neutral, just like audiophiles usually like. Having said that, there's a five-band EQ that can be tweaked manually (or using presets) if you want to change the balance.

This sound quality comes at a very high price, but those who refuse to compromise on sound quality will find it to be worthwhile – these are truly the best of both worlds, bringing cutting edge wired and wireless tech together, in a package from one the world's most elite headphone makers. The noise cancellation isn't anything to write home about, and the battery life is average, but these aren't the focus here.

We should note that they're really quite heavy for wireless headphones, but we found them comfortable anyway – but if you're looking for something for a long flight, these may not be the best option, between the weight and the weaker noise cancellation.

Read our full Focal Bathys review

The best wireless headphones for Apple fans

The Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones in black against a white background

(Image credit: Future)
The best wireless headphones for iPhone, with superb sound quality

Specifications

Acoustic design: Closed
Weight: 350g
Frequency response: Not listed
Drivers: 40mm dynamic
Battery life: 20 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Great audio performance
+
Fantastic iPhone experience
+
Excellent noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
No 3.5mm audio port
-
Limited features for Android
-
Weak battery life

There's a lot to love about the Apple AirPods Max. The things we rated highest during our use of them includes extremely detailed and well-balanced sound, very impressive active noise cancellation, and an iconic look that's become one of the most knocked-off on the market (but you can always tell the originals).

However, while their exceptional audio performance, fantastic spatial audio for movies, and strong ANC continue to impress us to this day, their high price and their lack of support for Hi-Res Audio codecs or a standard 3.5mm jack are definitely an issue at this point, especially for hardcore audiophiles. They're also pretty heavy, and use a good clamping force to spread that weight around your head. This works fairly well, but isn't to everyone's taste – especially those with smaller heads and glasses, in our experience giving them to a few people.

These headphones are squarely targeted at people already bought into the Apple ecosystem, as they're packed with smart features for iOS users (including that astounding Dolby Atmos spatial audio, plus "Find My" support if you misplace them) and come in an unmistakably Apple design. And, bear in mind, they still sound fantastic.

For Android users, however, the AirPods Max don't have the same features as on iOS, so we can't justify the high price of these headphones if you won't be connecting them to Apple hardware. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are what you want instead. And may be what a lot of Apple users want too, considering their lower price than the AirPods Max.

However if you use Apple products daily, are happy to spend generously on a new pair of Bluetooth headphones with all kinds of extra tricks to use with that Apple gear, and you don't mind lacking hi-res audio, AirPods Max are a very nice package.

Read our full Apple AirPods Max review

More wireless headphones to consider

Two recent reviews that narrowly failed to make this list include the JLab JBuds Lux (which aren't buds, despite the name) and the Beats Solo 4. The JLab option are affordable over-ears that sadly were a little too bass-heavy to truly wow us for the money, despite an excellent build quality. The Beats Solo 4, meanwhile, performed well in certain areas but were hard to recommend in others. Ultimately, their middling sound quality for the money, lack of true multi-point pairing or noise cancellation and imperfect comfort levels are all clear issues – but you can read our Beats Solo 4 review or our JLab JBuds Lux review for our considered, in-depth analysis. 

In other wireless headphones news, the Edifier Stax Spirit S3 will soon to be superseded by a Spirit S5 (no, there's not been an S4 iteration!) and we're working on our review right now, so keep your eyes peeled. The Sennheiser HD 620S has also just reviewed really well if you're on the lookout for a wired option.

The Earfun Wave Pro are also a relatively new and affordable set of headphones  headphones with active noise cancellation, and they were serious contenders for this list. They sit in a slightly awkward price gap between the Sony WH-CH520 and the Sony WH-CH720N, although Earfun products are usually available with discounts once they've launched. We'll keep an eye on prices, and if the price drops closer to the Sony WH-CH520, they could well become our new budget choice, given that they offer good active noise cancellation, solid sound, excellent battery life, and even hi-res wireless audio sport. Read our full Earfun Wave Pro review for more.

Speaking of affordable noise-cancelling headphones, we also took at a look at the Edifier W820NB Plus. These are packed with features, and seriously impressed us when it comes to the spec list – but the music quality just isn't there, and for the same price as the Earfun Wave Pro, they're a clear step down. Read our Edifier W820NB Plus review if you want to know more about them, though.

At the higher end, the Sennheiser Accentum Plus are a great-performing pair of headphones, with two problems: the Sony WH-1000XM4, and the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. The Sony headphones are usually the same price as the Accentum, and they're still our number one pick, so… that's tough. And the Momentum 4 Wireless are often only a small amount more expensive than the Accentum Plus, but offer a stronger feature list, so are arguably better value. However, the Accentum Plus are definitely another option that could make it into this list if prices change, shifting their value. Definitely read our in-depth Sennheiser Accentum Plus review.

How to choose the best wireless headphones

We've tested hundreds of wireless headphones over the years, featuring every feature imaginable. That means we've learnt the key factors that make a great pair of Bluetooth headphones.

First of all, the design really matters. Comfort is crucial when you're wearing wireless headphones: if they don't feel great for a long listening session that defeats the point of having them. So we'd recommend looking for generously padded ear cups for comfort, and strong headbands to help them survive everyday life. 

One key decision here is whether you want over-ear or on-ear headphones. Over-ears are generally more immersive, and with on-ears you'll need to factor in the fact that they do leak a bit more audio – which might make you less popular on the bus or train.

It's important to focus on the features that really matter to you. Touch controls are handy, but will you actually use them or do you prefer to use a voice assistant? Do you really need active noise cancellation if you're not going to be listening on public transport? There's no point in paying for features you're not going to use very often.

Price matters too, of course. And while it's true that you get what you pay for and some of the world's best headphones are pretty pricey, that doesn't mean you have to spend hundreds of pounds to get a great audio experience. There are plenty of affordable options that punch way above their price tag, and the compromises tend to be small: slightly less premium materials, perhaps, or a bit more audio leakage when you're listening in public places.

If you're planning to buy headphones to match your existing audiophile kit, such as high-end network streamers or Hi-Res Audio players, look for headphones that use hi-res audio codecs such as Sony's LDAC or the Bluetooth aptX HD and aptX Adaptive codecs. Without them, your audio source won't be able to stream hi-res audio wirelessly at its best quality.

What it boils down to is that every one of us is different, so there's no such thing as one pair of headphones everybody should buy. It's about balancing the price and the features so that you get the best possible audio experience at the best possible price. Which is exactly what our guide here is designed to help you with.

The best wireless headphones: FAQs

Which brand is best for wireless headphones?

That's up to you. The best brand of wireless headphones is the brand that delivers the features and audio quality you want at the price you're willing to pay.

That said, there are some pretty safe bets out there. Apple's headphones are a good option for teaming with Apple hardware; Sony makes a range of excellent all-rounders; and as you'd expect from the firm that popularized noise cancelling headphones in the first place, Bose makes some of the best noise cancelling headphones and earbuds you can buy.

We'd recommend thinking more about how you'll use them than about the logo. Some offer much better battery life than others, some are more focused on sound and some are focused on convenient features.

How much should wireless headphones cost?

You don't necessarily have to spend a ton of money to get great wireless headphones. Paying top dollar usually guarantees a first-class experience, but there are some incredibly good alternatives that cost a lot less.

For example, the Sony WH-CH520 headphones in this list are extremely affordable, costing only around $60 / £50. If you step up to around $120 / £120, you can get a big jump in quality from the likes of the Final Audio UX3000. Then, stepping to around $200 / £200 means another clear jump in features and quality from the Sony WH-1000MX4. And then you get towards $300 / £300 for the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless or Sony WH-1000XM5. Moving to $450 / £450 for the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones again rewards you with an obvious improvement, though not much in the way of new features.

How we tested the best wireless headphones

We've tested all of the best wireless headphones on this list. The ones that made it into our guide had to tick a number of key boxes.

First up, there's Bluetooth connectivity. Wireless is a given, but wireless quality is crucial too: we want our connections to be stable and reliable, not to cut out just as we get to the good bits.

Wearability and style matter too. We tested over long periods to see how comfortable they were during longer listening sessions or commutes, and we also evaluated their style to see if they looked like you were a plugged-in music fan or one of the Cybermen from Dr Who.

The days when wireless headphones got a free pass on sound quality because they were more convenient are long gone. We expect every pair of Bluetooth headphones to deliver clear and powerful sound.

Not all of the headphones in this list have more advanced features such as noise cancellation or AI assistant integration. But we tested those features on the ones that do in order to assess how well the features worked, how well integrated they were and how they compared to rivals.

Last but not least, we considered the cost. We're well aware that premium headphones can be too expensive for some; we're also aware that for some music fans, there's no such thing as an acceptable corner to cut when it comes to audio quality. So we've considered both kinds of listener here, and as a result we believe that every pair of headphones in our guide will make you feel you've spent your money wisely to get the best possible audio experience for you.

Latest updates to the best wireless headphones guide

June 24, 2024
Added the Sonos Ace as our 'best for movies' choice and clarified why. Updated the copy throughout and the 'Also consider' section.

May 30, 2024
Refreshed the intro to reflect the current choices for sound, updated the 'Also consider' section to include models recently tested.

April 11, 2024
Added an 'Also consider' section, where we cover headphones recently reviewed but not featured in this guide's top picks.

March 11, 2024
Added more information about the comfort of each pair of headphones, and added more clarity to our categorization.

Becky Scarrott
Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

With contributions from